Severe weather passes through

The day after the storm passed through Wright County, a strong wind produced whitecaps on Buffalo Lake.  The wave action broke up much of the ice on the lake and pushed it toward the eastern shore last Tuesday, March 7.  The earliest Buffalo Lake ice-out we know about was March 15 in both 2000 and 2016.  The photo was taken from the northern shore, looking toward Sturges Park in Buffalo.  (Photo by Ed DuBois)

By Ed DuBois

Sure signs of spring were showing up last Monday, March 6, with a high temperature of 65 degrees, ice melting on Buffalo Lake ... and a severe thunderstorm that dropped large hail in the Cokato area.  The storm also dropped about an inch of rain in the Maple Lake and Monticello area while storm clouds were rotating.

Steve Berg, Wright County's emergency management director, said, "The only damage report I have is vehicle damage from the hail in Cokato.  Hail was reported at 1.5 to 2 inches (in diameter) southeast of Cokato."

Hail almost as big as golf balls fell in the Cokato area Monday evening, March 6.  The storm cell moved toward Maple Lake and Monticello.  (Submitted photo)

"We had a number of radar indicated rotation reports from Cokato to Maple Lake to Buffalo and south of Monticello," he added.  "Also, spotter reports of rotation south of Monticello and Buffalo; these were probably the same cell."

Warnings about the approaching storm cell included a tornado watch announcement a little after 3 p.m. Tuesday and a severe thunderstorm warning just before 5 p.m.

Whitecaps replaced ice on most of Buffalo Lake last Tuesday, March 7.  (Photo by Ed DuBois)

As for the disappearance of ice from Buffalo Lake, wind and wave action broke up and pushed the ice to the eastern shore Tuesday, March 7.

The earliest Buffalo Lake ice-out in the incomplete and unofficial records at the Journal-Press is March 15 (in 2000 and 2016).

Meanwhile, other sure signs of spring are presenting themselves.  The snow is almost totally gone.  Daylight Saving Time begins this Sunday, March 12 at 2 a.m.  And the St. Patrick's Day Festival in Maple Lake is taking place this Saturday, March 11.



Adult Prom Scholarship Fundraiser described to Buffalo City Council

By Rob LaPlante

With high school students soon preparing for prom, it's not too late for adults to do the same.

Decked in black and white tuxedos, four representatives from Nelson Masonic Lodge No. 135 in Buffalo used the Monday, March 6 city council meeting to relay information about their upcoming fundraiser event.

Bison Creek Event Center will host from 6 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, April 22 the first ever Adult Prom Scholarship Fundraiser event.

This is a chance for adults, age 21 and over, to have a prom re-do, while being able to help raise funds to help offer local high school students college scholarships.

Currently, Nelson Masonic Lodge No. 135 offers two $1,000 scholarships to a pair of Buffalo High School students, and one $500 scholarship to a student at Maple Lake and Annandale High Schools.

The night will offer adults a chance to enjoy the prom they once or never had the opportunity to attend as a student.  Highlights from the evening include: dinner, cash bar, raffles, silent auctions, dancing, and at 9 p.m. a king and queen will be crowned.

Buffalo Floral & Landscaping is doing floral and tuxedo rental specials for attendees and has donated a $200 gift certificate good for a high school prom tuxedo rental, corsage and boutonniere.  This will be raffled off the night of the Adult Prom.

Tickets for this event cost $35/person through Saturday, April 8.  Prices increase to $45/person as of Sunday, April 9.  For more information, visit



Council accepted the approval for the sale of city street and parks equipment online through Elsenpeter Auctions.

Among the six items to be auctioned off is the Buffalo Wireless Internet Group (BWIG) 2000 S-10 Blazer with 4-wheel drive.  Other items include: an 8'x8' insulated and wired storage building (the former compost shack), mosquito sprayer - LECO ULV new flow system and engine, two Stihl weed whips and leaf blowers, truck hoist from the old dump truck, and old street signs.



Five donations totaling $6,310 were received on behalf of the Bison Fishing Forever program.  The American Legion donated $5,000 of that total, and Allina donated a $1,000 grant.  Other donations included: Judy Steeber ($200), Don Boettcher ($100) and Linda Kennedy ($10).

The Flora of Buffalo program also benefited from four donations totaling $295. Among those to donate were former mayor Brad Nauman ($65).  Other donations included Steeber ($115), Jerome and Sharon Kelly ($65) and David and Denise Casey ($50).



A public hearing scheduled for the Monday, March 20 city council meeting will discuss a proposal by John Radford, owner of Mill Creek, to amend the city ordinance regarding on-sale Sunday liquor sales at his establishment to be concurrent with the state statutes.

State statutes allow for Sunday on-sale liquor sales from 8 a.m. to midnight.  The current city ordinance runs from 10 a.m. to midnight.  These times do not reflect the sale of Sunday off-sale liquor.

Buffalo Wine & Spirits manager Jason Swanson spoke at the conclusion of Monday's meeting about a future hearing to discuss potential Sunday operations pending the state's approval, most likely starting this 4th of July weekend.  Swanson says it would be in the city's best interest to operate on Sundays.  Hours of operation most likely would be 10 a.m. to 6 or 7 p.m.  This would affect the Highway 55 store only, and the downtown liquor store would remain closed.

On Tuesday, March 7, the day after the city council meeting, Gov. Mark Dayton signed the Sunday liquor sales bill.



Daylight Saving Time begins this Sunday

This Saturday night, it will be time to spring ahead an hour.  Daylight Saving Time is beginning at 2 a.m. Sunday, March 12.

We fall back in November and spring ahead in March.

So, before you go to bed Saturday night, adjust your clocks.  However, the clock in your computer and your smartphone will probably adjust automatically.

Now is a good time to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries, as well.

Daylight Saving Time will end on Nov. 5 at 2 a.m.



History of Tractors event focusing on Cockshutt brand

This year the Wright County Historical Society (WCHS) is proud to present their History of Tractors program focusing on Cockshutt tractors on Tuesday, March 21 in the Wright County Heritage Center Activity Room (2001 Hwy. 25 N., Buffalo).

Speakers from the Minnesotans Gopher Cockshutt Club will be on hand to inform, enlighten and educate attendees, and will bring some of their own personal Cockshutt memorabilia collections for viewing.

The History of Tractors Series began in 1999 and was an instant success.  Due to overwhelming attendance in the past, WCHS is now hosting two presentations, at 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., with different presenters for each session, so plan on attending both.

In its 19th year, the History of Tractors Series has drawn upwards of 250 attendees from around the state and beyond.  This event is free and open to the public.

There will be a Cockshutt display, and tractors will also be on site for the event, weather permitting.  If attendees wish, they may bring bars or cookies for the coffee hour following each presentation.

For more information on the History of Tractors program or any other upcoming events at the Wright County Historical Society, please contact Sally Stevens, business manager, at 763-682-7323 or 800-362-3667, ext. 7323.  You can also find WCHS online at, on Facebook, or by email at



Level 3 offender notification issued by Sheriff's Office

Duane Swanson

The Wright County Sheriff's Office has issued a level 3 sex offender notice.

The offender, Duane Swanson, has a history of sexual contact with adolescent male victims (age 12 - 14).  Contact has included sexual touching.  He was known to one victim, and the relationship to another victim is unclear.

As of March 1, Swanson was living in Clearwater.

The Sheriff's Office is releasing this information pursuant to Minnesota Statutes 244.052.  The statute authorizes law enforcement agencies to inform the public of a sexual or predatory offender's release from prison or a secure treatment facility when the Sheriff's Office believes that the release of information will enhance public safety and protection.

The individual who appears on the notification has been convicted of criminal sexual conduct or another offense that requires registration with law enforcement pursuant to Minnesota Statues 243.166 or 243.167.

This offender is not wanted by the police at this time and has served the sentence imposed on him/her by the court.  This notification is not intended to increase fear in the community.  Law enforcement believes that an informed public is a safer public.

The Wright County Sheriff's Office may not direct where the offender does or does not reside, nor can this agency direct where he works or goes to school.  The risk level of this offender has been determined largely on his potential to re-offend based on his previous behavior.

Convicted sexual and predatory offenders have always been released to live in our communities.  It was not until the passage of the Registration Act that law enforcement had an ability to track movement of these offenders after their initial release.  With the passage of the Community Notification Act, law enforcement may now share information about many of these offenders with the public.  Abuse of this information to threaten, harass or intimidate a registered offender is unacceptable and such acts could be charged as a crime.  Such abuses could potentially end the ability of law enforcement to provide these notifications.  If community notification ends, the only person who wins is the offender, according the to notification.  Many of these offenders derive their power from the opportunity that secrecy provides.

The Sheriff's Office is available to provide you with useful information on personal safety.  The Sheriff's Office can be reached at 763-682-7600.  To report criminal activity by this offender or any other individual, please call 911.

Free community breakfast March 18 in Buffalo

A free community breakfast is being offered at the Buffalo Community Center on Saturday, March 18.

The breakfast is being served from 8:30-10:30 a.m., and all are welcome.  Hosting the breakfast this month will be the Hearts Afire Church.  Other sponsors include the Buffalo Community Center and the Buffalo Food Shelf.

The planned menu includes: scrambled eggs, pancakes, sausage, fruit juice, rolls, and coffee.

Bring the family, bring a friend, meet old friends, make new friends, and enjoy some time of food and fellowship.


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Five Eagle Scouts from Troop 312

In less than a year, five young men have achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, all from the same Troop 312 in Montrose

By Doug Voerding

Since 1991, twenty-six years-ago, eighteen young men of the Montrose Boy Scout Troop 312 have earned the top award of Eagle Scout.

But, highly unusual, five of those have been within the last year.

With high energy and a strong commitment to serving others and their community, Kyle Anderson, Kaleb Gilson, Ty Heckenlaible, James Kesler, and Riley Pfau all achieved Eagle Scout within the last eight months. All are seniors at Buffalo High School.

Boy Scout Scoutmaster Brian Gilson said, "This is a remarkable feat achieved by our small troop this past year."

"That is a testament to our youth," said Boy Scout Committee member Greg Youmans. "It takes tenacity to achieve Eagle Scout. And it is also a testament to the Boy Scout leaders and the boys' parents. It has been an amazing year with these dedicated boys."


Becoming an Eagle Scout

Becoming an Eagle Scout is a major achievement for a young man. Only about five percent of Boy Scouts ever earn that rank.

The requirements are quite demanding, and scouts must demonstrate a wide variety of skills, all before their eighteenth birthday.

After beginning as a Tenderfoot at age 10, boys earn advancement to Second Class, First Class, Star Scout, and Life Scout. The Life Scout Rank requires eleven merit badges.

To advance to Eagle Scout, the scout must complete another ten merit badges. Some of the required merit badges include first aid, citizenship, communication, cooking, personal fitness, camping, family life, environmental science, and personal management.

Along with the merit badges, the scouts must participate in leadership roles and complete an Eagle Scout service project.

The project requires detailed planning. Meetings are held with all those involved in the project, including an approval meeting with the District Committee. The Scout must find needed funds and the materials for the project.

All of the Montrose Boy Scout Eagle projects can be seen in Montrose and along County Road 12 between Montrose and Buffalo.


Kyle Anderson

Kyle Anderson loves nature, so he planted four trees in each of three parks in Montrose. The trees were not just any trees, but Honeycrisp and State Fair apple trees.

"I wanted to provide extra food for the community," said Kyle.

Kyle presented his plan to Otten Brothers Garden Center and asked if they would donate the trees. After making sure that Kyle understood how to plant the trees and keep them growing, Otten Brothers did donate the twelve trees.

Kyle said that the trees were started in 2013 and expects to see blossoms and some fruit this year.

In the fall, Kyle will be attending either St. Cloud State University or Minnesota State University, Mankato, to study geology, anthropology, or paleontology.


Ty Heckenlaible

Ty Heckenliable was out for a bike ride on the County Road 12 trail from Montrose to Buffalo.

"There was no place to sit and rest," said Ty. So, he went to Wright County Parks and asked about putting benches at scenic spots along the trail.

Not only did Wright County agree with the need, the county provided the materials for three benches and the forms to construct permanent cement bases. For extra help, Ty enlisted the assistance of Al Jordan, who provided equipment for the pouring of the cement.

Now walkers, runners, and bikers have places to sit and rest along the trail.

Ty enjoys whitewater kayaking on the Tomahawk River at Tomahawk Boy Scout Camp in Wisconsin. He has also participated with the  Order of the Arrow ceremonial team.


Kaleb Gilson

Seeing a need, Kaleb Gilson constructed a stone circle around the flagpole at the VFW Post 1901 on the east side of Montrose on Highway 12.

"The flagpole was there," said Kaleb, "but to put up the flag, the VFW members had to sometimes walk through mud to get to the flagpole. I built a much-needed platform around the flagpole."

Kaleb started in Cub Scouts back in first grade and said, "Scouting has opened lots of doors for me. During the summer, I work for three months at Tomahawk Camp in Wisconsin."

This fall, he will be attending the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, planning to major in meteorology.


James Kesler

James Kesler expanded on to the work of Kaleb. Again working at the VFW Post site, James constructed pathways out from the flagpole circle. Most importantly, the main path is from the cement pad of the Post Home out to the flagpole.

"Now," said James, "there is something solid to walk on when going out to the flagpole."

James started in Boy Scouts in fifth grade. He says his favorite merit badges to earn were for fly fishing and fishing. He also enjoys helping the other scouts with the Eagle Projects.

In the fall, James will be attending Ridgewater College in Willmar for automotives.


Riley Pfau

After determining the need with VFW officers, Riley constructed a fire pit on the Post Home site.

The primary purpose of the pit is for the proper retirement of old American flags.

"But," said Riley, "it can be used by the VFW for recreational fires."

Funds for Riley's project came from the VFW, as well as the Delano American Legion and the Montrose Lions Club.

Riley said that he really enjoyed attending the National Jamboree in West Virginia in 2013. His favorite merit badge work was for the rifling badge, which included rifle usage and target shooting.

Riley will be attending this fall either South Dakota State University or North Dakota State University to major in physical education.


Montrose Troop 312

Youmans said, "This has been an amazing year with these dedicated boys."

According to Youmans, the goal in Scouting, is not to get to Eagle Scout.

He explained, that there are several goals that the boys meet long before reaching the rank of Eagle Scout.

Those goals include proficiency in the outdoors, capable to administer first aid to save themselves and others, an appreciation for the environment, understanding citizenship and giving back to the community, and developing character.

These five young men have clearly achieved those goals and have gone beyond and committed themselves to reaching Eagle Scout.