2018 Buffalo Hall of Fame winners announced
Winners of this year's Hall of Fame Award at Buffalo High School are seniors Danika Tweten (left) and Peter Deneen (right), who were named during Monday night's Academic Excellence Awards Program. For more, see School News on page 8C. (Photo by Rob LaPlante)
Montrose Council hires interim clerk/treasurer
By Doug Voerding
Deb Boelter has been hired as the Montrose interim city clerk/treasurer and was introduced at the city council meeting on Monday, May 14.
Boelter, a resident of Waverly, has been working at area city offices for the past several years. She served as the housing director and management assistant in Delano from 1994 to 2004. From 2004 to 2016, she was the city clerk/treasurer in Winsted.
In 2016, she worked in Big Lake in accounting and as the deputy city clerk. Boelter left Big Lake when she was unable to reduce her hours to accommodate her desire to take care of her grandchildren one day a week.
As Montrose city clerk/treasurer, Boelter will work up to 40 hours a week.
Boelter is hired on a 90-day interim basis with the possibility of being hired permanently after the 90-day period.
Said Boelter, "I am looking forward to working with the city residents on code enforcement and on all of the other aspects of the job as city clerk."
Montrose City Council hires four, two staff and two summer seasonals
By Doug Voerding
Deb Boelter has been hired as the Montrose interim city clerk/treasurer and was introduced at the city council meeting on Monday, May 14. Boelter was hired on a 90-day interim basis with the possibility of being hired permanently after the 90-day period.
Ryan Eischens is the new operator at the wastewater treatment plant. There were five applicants for the job, but Eischens was the only one with the appropriate licensing and was hired after an interview. His salary will be $19.75 per hour.
Zac Anderson and Mitchell Menth were hired for the summer season. Both worked for the city last summer and will be paid $12 per hour.
Park and Rec
Park and Recreation Commission Chair Bru Ploog reported that a quorum was not present for the May 7 meeting.
Ploog said that former City Clerk Dale Powers had been working with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the state legislature to get grant funding for the regional park.
"I don't know what the next step is now," said Ploog.
Ploog then said, "The city council is circumventing the Park and Rec Commission. You are making decisions that are causing hoopla on social media. Confidences have been broken."
Ploog continued, "The commissioners do not have the full backing of the city council. The treatment of commissioners is based on personalities and not on what's best for the city."
"I appreciate the opportunity to serve the city," said Ploog, "and I am tendering my resignation from the Park and Rec Commission."
The council took no action on the resignation.
Fire Chief Kevin Triplett reported that in April Montrose firefighters responded to 16 calls, 13 emergency medical services (EMS), one grass fire, one residential fire alarm, and one motor vehicle crash.
New firefighters Eddie Andreoff and Jeff Holt officially joined the department.
The department recognized Jason Hilgers of Public Works for assistance in getting the skid unit back into service and Allina EMS for assistance with training.
During the open forum, Pat Ploog talked about his work as a volunteer for the city, "all to help the community, keep costs, down, and give public works more time."
Ploog estimated that since the middle of 2014 he has volunteered 6500 hours. Ploog said that he no longer has a commercial driver's license after he had a heart attack in January, 2014.
"Now somebody got their feathers in a ruffle," said Ploog. "because I was driving. According to state statute, I don't need a commercial driverís license when I am volunteering for an emergency."
Said Ploog to the council, "Look forward to a lawsuit. There is an issue with a HIPAA law violation." (HIPAA is a law that protects health information.)
Ploog did not identify the employee, but also told the council, "Action needs to be taken immediately, a suspension without pay. This has been going on way too long. If that person is still there at 4:00 tomorrow, I will make one more phone call."
The council took no action on Ploog's request.
Earlier this year, the council had adopted an ordinance that would establish a franchise fee for every gas and electric meter in the city served by either Xcel or Wright-Hennepin.
Confusion in the language caused the council to repeal the ordinance.
After the meeting, Councilmember Jill Menard said that the council and city staff will be meeting with representatives of the two companies to develop accurate language.
The council is still planning a public hearing on the issue once the language is clear.
The original plan was to charge $4 per month per meter and that the money would be designated for street repair.
In other action, the council
• agreed to the purchase of a 2018 Ford F150 pickup and a 2018 Ford F350 pickup at a total cost of $54,712. The trucks replace two that are more than ten years old. The purchase was in the Capital Improvement Plan.
• approved the summary publication of the changes to the nuisance ordinance.
• agreed to reduce by half the $831 second meter water bill of Josh Jennings of Christof Court. Jennings told the council that he thought someone had turned on the water and that he was not aware that the second meter was running until getting a call from the city.
• authorized changes to the bank signature cards.
• learned that the Montrose Days Committee will be meeting Sunday, May 20, at 7:00 p.m. at city hall.
Councilmember Ben Kuehl acknowledged Bru Ploog, saying, "Your dedication, heart, soul, and passion will be greatly missed."
Councilmember Jill Menard acknowledged Dale Powers for his service to the city.
'Broadway in Buffalo' performs this weekend
You'll be able to hear some of your favorite musical theater songs from shows such as "Cinderella," "Cabaret," "Grease," "Kiss Me, Kate," "The Music Man," and "Phantom of the Opera" this Saturday, May 19, at 7:30 p.m., or Sunday, May 20, at 2:00 p.m., when Buffalo Community Theater and the BHS Tri-M Music Honor Society present "Broadway In Buffalo" at the Buffalo High School Performing Arts Center.
In addition, there are many newer and lesser known shows from which songs have been selected: "Candide," "Closer Than Ever," "Company," "Curtains," "Dear Evan Hansen," "Dogfight," "Drift," "Hamilton," "In the Heights," "She Loves Me," "Sunday in the Park With George," "Sweeney Todd," and "Wonderful Town."
The all-star cast includes many past leading actors from BCT and BHS productions all brought together into one show. The cast of 18 singers (see picture) will be accompanied by Joy Swearingen on piano, F. Michael Miller on bass, and Grayson Wubben on drums.
Tickets are $10.00 for adults and seniors, and $5.00 for students, and are available in advance at Gartner's Hallmark in Buffalo, or at the door.
Proceeds from the musical revue all go to provide scholarships for BHS music students and a BCT college scholarship.
"It's Official!" - Justice Center breaks ground May 15
By Miriam Orr
"I would say it's now official," County Coordinator Lee Kelly said to Commissioner Charlie Borrell regarding construction efforts for the new Justice Center, "There's no turning back now."
The statement was common among Commissioners and County staff members on Tuesday, May 15, where members of Wright County government met with BKV Group and Contegrity Group managers to break ground on the County's new Justice Center, at the Law Enforcement Center site.
The building's bonds were recently sold earlier this month for approximately $45 million, though bonds were originally estimated around $48 million. As reported, thirteen bids to purchase the bonds were received, and the County ultimately awarded them to Morgan Stanley & Co. out of New York, where the County will have accessibility to funds starting June 7.
"It's a very exciting time," said Alan Wilczek, Wright County Facility Services Director, "It will be wonderful to have things merged out here in the long run."
Present for the groundbreaking were managers from BKV Group and Contegrity Group, Wright County Commissioners, as well as County Court Administration, and representatives from the County Attorney's office.
Wright County Sheriff's Office: Sheriff Joe Hagerty presented the request for the County Board to adopt a resolution commemorating the week of May 14-19 as Wright County Law Enforcement Officers Week, to honor those who have dedicated themselves to the service of the Wright County community through Law Enforcement. Hagerty stated that since the 1800's, Wright County has only lost a total of seven law enforcement officers, and has been fortunate to have a "long run of no loss of life." He stated, "We are working hard to make sure everyone stays safe within the community."
Hagerty's office also presented awards to local Monticello teachers Bruce Balder-Lanoue and Jason Telecky, who recently were responsible for saving a student's life in November of 2017. At basketball practice, a student collapsed into unconsciousness. Balder-Lanoue and Telecky intervened and helped administer an AED. The student was alert and speaking upon arrival of EMS. They were honored with the Citizen Letter of Recognition award by the Sheriff's Office, and were recommended for the award by the student's father.
The Sheriff's Office also awarded Deputy Dep. Eric Thole, who, while responding to a medical call in Otsego with Dep. Mike McGill in Dec. 2017, assisted a man who had fallen on the ice, and lived alone. Upon arrival at the scene, both deputies assisted the man, who had repeatedly reassured them he was fine, and did not need further assistance. Thole, however, insisted he and McGill stay on scene, and after moments of prolonged awkwardness, both men were suspicious of stroke indicators. Due to Thole's persistence, concern for the individual, compassion, and instincts, both deputies remained on scene with the citizen until EMS arrived. It was later confirmed that the citizen had experienced two strokes during that time, which would have been fatal if both deputies had not been present. He is still alive to this day.
His patrol partner, Dep. Mike McGill, nominated Thole for a Commendation Award. Sergeant Ryan Ferguson of the Wright County Sheriff's Office stated that by following his instincts, Thole showed the highest, long-standing traditions of the Sheriff's Office.
Also scheduled with the Sheriff's Office was a 9-1-1 Planning Committee meeting, which is slated for June 13, at 1:00 p.m.
Auditor's Office: Bob Hiivala presented the request to approve the April 2018 revenue/expenditure budget report, which he stated the county had just received on May 15. Also presented was the request to authorize Hiivala's office in the signing of an agreement with KNOWiNK, for additional electronic poll-pad rosters. Hiivala asked for the approval to obtain poll-pads for every one person out of 700 people in townships, or approximately three poll-pads per township in Wright County. The Board approved both requests unanimously.
Also approved the was update to pursue a contract for credit card services in the County with Fortay, which will work on implementing credit card technology at the Government Center and other areas within the coming months. Hiivala explained that, "Wherever we can use Fortay and its technology in this area, we want to use them." He will explore what implementing that technology will look like at the DMV, where MnLARS and DNR licenses are concerned.
Parks and Rec: Director Marc Mattice called for the acceptance of a 1.1 acre property donation to Ney Park, which was previously included in a 2003 subdivision plan as acreage that the parks system would eventually look at pursuing. A citizen of the county is donating the land.
Highway Department: Virgil Hawkins, Highway Engineer, asked for approval of an agreement regarding the No. 18-51 CSAH 18 reconstruction project within the city of Albertville and St. Michael. Also recommended was awarding the contract to a low bidder, Veit Company.
Lake Constance to be treated
Lake Constance Improvement Association (LCIA), in conjunction with Wright County Soil and Water, and the MN Dept. of Natural Resources, will be treating Lake Constance for curly leaf pondweed, started on May 18 through June 1.
Landowners may opt out of treatment by contacting Bob Meeker online at email@example.com.
Approximately 5.49 acres are to be treated with 2 ppm Aquathol K at 4' avg. depth, and 4 ppm DMA-4 at 4' avg. depth. Milfoil treatment will be treated at a later date.
Community bike rides are here!
Explore Buffalo Parks & Trails with members of your Community while getting some fun exercise!
Riders will meet at Griffing or Sturges Park and take a leisurely pace through sections of Buffalo.
In partnership with Allina Health and City of Buffalo Parks and Recreation Department, riders will be led by members of the Buffalo Bike Club to help educate about safe riding and fun routes in Buffalo.
Rides will be approximately 3-5 miles and last about 30-60 minutes. The individual riders can adjust length and time frame of rides. All ages and ability levels are welcome, though an adult must accompany riders under 18. Helmets are required to join the rides.
The City of Buffalo's new rental bikes and helmets are provided at no charge for those that don't have their own bike. There are also a couple bike trailers for parents to pull little ones. There is a limited supply, so please contact Parks and Recreation Director, Lee Ryan, to reserve your ride at 763-682-4132 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To maximize opportunities, we may have to limit this to one date per resident.
Buffalo Days, coming June 10-17
Buffalo Days, an annual tradition since the early 1950s, is a community-wide celebration bringing together the best of all summer has to offer. This year, the week-long celebration is taking place from Sunday, June 10th to Sunday, June 17th.
As it gets closer, be looking for posters around town, listen to KRWC, see the billboard on Highway 55, watch the Buffalo Area Chamber of Commerce Facebook page and webpage, and of course, follow the Journal-Press and The Drummer for information about this year's events and activities.
For now, save the dates now for the Fly in Breakfast on Sunday the 10th. Kiddie Parade/Buffalo Sings Vocal Contest/Schultz Family Band/Movie in the Park on Thursday night, Beer Garden and Fireworks Friday night, the Grand Parade on Saturday night and Royalty Coronation on Sunday the 17th.
Of course the carnival and food trucks will be town mid week to delight the kids and the kids at heart!
Be sure to mark your calendars, right now! More details to come are forthcoming.
County seeks outstanding senior citizens
Nominations from county residents are now being sought for the 2018 Outstanding Senior Citizen Award for Wright County. The award recognizes outstanding senior citizens (70 +) who have volunteered their time and talent to benefit their community. They will be honored at the Wright County Fair on July 20, 2018.
The eligibility criteria for the outstanding senior are that they are a Minnesota resident and are 70 years of age.
Only volunteer activities after the age of 65 for which there is no compensation (except for reimbursed expenses) are considered.
Winners at the county level will move on to compete at the state level at the Minnesota State Fair.
Nomination forms can be found online at www.wrightcountyfair.org or www.mnstatefair.org. Please have the nomination form returned by June 18 to Nancy Betzler, 3623 156 ST. NW, Clearwater, Minn. 55320. For more information or questions, please contact Nancy at 320-558-2431.
The Echoes of War
Remembering the fallen United States WWII heroes of The Netherlands
By Miriam Orr
Imagine, for a moment, your heart racing in your chest with fear as your limbs tremble and your head spins with a myriad of thoughts swirling through your mind like a whirlwind. You're far from home, and all around you, the echoes of war are loud.
Fellow men fall around you, while you hope beyond hope that you'll one day make it home from a land that is not your own.
This is The Netherlands, World War II.
Where in the world?
Nestled in a quiet village, 10 kilometers east of Maastricht, is Margraten. At the most southern part of the Netherlands, this village was once a municipality, and in 2011, Margraten merged with a neighboring entity, which is now known as the Eijsden-Margraten municipality. With a population just under 14,000 souls, the village is small, but has a rich history of being involved with a war that shook the world – World War II (WWII).
While what is known about this place is not its towering buildings nor bustling populace, Magraten hosts what is perhaps one of the most solemn memorials erected in remembrance of WWII – the Netherlands American Cemetery.
Dedicated in 1960, the cemetery covers 65.5 acres of land, with approximately 8,301 burial sites of American troops who defended the Netherlands during Hitler's advancement. Of those 8,301 burials, 1,722 of them are declared as men who were missing in action (MIA) during the war, and are currently unidentified. Many of those same graves are unmarked to this day.
The Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial is the only American cemetery in the Netherlands, and it rests near the famous Cologne-Boulogne highway, originally constructed by the Romans, and used by Caesar himself during his efforts of conquest in that area. Other famous names to tread that highway were Napoleon, Charles V, Kaiser Wilhelm II, and finally Hitler himself, when in 1940 his troops advanced over the route to overwhelm and overthrow the Low Countries. Finally in 1944, the Germans would use that route for a timely retreat from the countries they'd conquered and occupied for four years in the last days of WWII.
Within the cemetery is the memorial tower, and when guests arrive, they are led to the Court of Honor with pools, which reflect the tower. A statue at the base of the tower represents the many women who suffered loss of their loved ones, and on either side of the tower are rooms which contain engraved maps that lay out the operations of American troops during the war. Along the entire court are the Tablets of the Missing where 1,722 names are recorded, and where Rosettes mark those soldiers who names have been recovered and sites identified.
The burial area is divided into 16 plots, and every single one of the 8,301 graves line up perfectly in order.
This area has a strong connection with the Dutch, who since 1945, have invested in the cemetery where generations have adopted the graves of the American men who fought diligently and died for their freedom. They bring flowers and visit the graves to commemorate the service members and honor their sacrifice. The Foundation for Adopting Graves at the American Cemetery Margraten manages the program, which collects photos and names of the fallen, and helps sponsor the commemorative Dutch Memorial Day event, while the U.S. War Department oversees the operations of the cemetery.
Anthony Glavan, of Monticello, has been involved with this project for a number of years. Coming from a long line of servicemen, Anthony understands the importance of commemorating these men who served not only the United States during the World Wars, but who also were vital players in the cause of liberating The Netherlands, in addition to much of Europe during that time. His own uncle, Louis, is one of the brave men who are buried in Margraten.
A history shared
Anthony is very solemn, as he sits forward in his chair, elbows on his knees. He stares momentarily to the box beside him, where a myriad of memorabilia is packed neatly together. He takes a moment to lift a folded piece of paper from the box, carefully unfolds it, and points to the list of names printed in bold black font.
"These are many members of my family who have served in the armed forces," he says, pointing to one name particularly. "This is Louis – he served in World War II, and survived many a scrape, and is buried in Margraten."
Anthony explained that President Eisenhower, as WWII was coming to a close, would not allow servicemen of the U.S. to be buried on enemy soil in Germany. In 1944, the Margraten Cemetery was reserved to bury U.S. soldiers, and Americans asked for local Dutch help in beginning to bury and care for graves. Some British and Canadians were also buried in Margraten, but the majority of the buried are U.S. soldiers.
After the Battle of the Buldge, Eisenhower gave the order for a cemetery, and approximately 18,000 fallen were taken to Margraten.
In 1945, the local people of Margraten village started assisting the U.S. by taking care of the graves and ornately decorating them in honor of their service. Shortly after the war concluded, the U.S. War Department began asking American families of the deceased if they wanted their family members' bodies to be shipped home for burial arrangements, only to have roughly 60% of the original 18,000 servicemen brought home. The remaining 40% received burial in Margraten.
Every year, the Dutch hold a local ceremony on what is known as Dutch Memorial Day, where more than 3,000 photos of fallen servicemen are displayed on headstones and the Walls of the Missing, where the Dutch can see, eye-to-eye, those who gave their lives for their liberation.
Anthony has visited Margraten a total of three times, mostly recently during a Memorial Day ceremony. "It's a very quiet, reverent time," he explains, "and also very beautiful to see people gather around to honor our men buried on foreign soil. The cemetery is always decorated so beautifully with flowers, and you can just walk the rows of graves in reverent, almost ominous, silence. It is truly remarkable."
Anthony traveled to the cemetery in 2001, 2003, and more recently in 2015, where he witnessed his first Memorial Day service. There, he met Greta Sins, whose family takes care of Louis' grave. She explained to him that her family has been doing so for generations since the end of WWII, and will continue to do so because of their undying gratitude.
Minnesota and Margraten
During his research about his uncle, Anthony decided that he wanted to get involved with the process of identifying the 1,722 men who are missing and unidentified at the cemetery. So, he reached out to the Foundation for Adopting Graves at the American Cemetery in Margraten to see how he could help.
He found out that, currently, there are approximately 90 servicemen who have been listed as Minnesota citizens who are unidentified in Margraten – unidentified, as in, there is no photograph or background information listed for them.
"Their names are accounted for but not any biographical data," Anthony clarified. "The goal is to get every grave identified with a photo and brief information over there." The project centric to Minnesota servicemen was named the "Minnsota Faces of Margraten."
Approximately 90 servicemen from Minnesota are not currently picture-identified in Margraten, as of a count at the beginning of the year. Since Anthony has been involved, 61 of the 90 individuals from Minnesota have been identified with photographs and information.
The Dutch locals created a listing online, known as the Fields of the Missing, which runs through www.ancestry.com, where families can research the names of the servicemen to track down information. It exists to bridge the Dutch to American families, in an effort to stay in touch and work internationally to commemorate fallen heroes.
On the matter, Anthony shared, "I think this is so important to make sure that these men do not fade into history unknown and unidentified. They did a great service to not only a people, but to our country during WWII. I'm so glad someone watches over my Uncle Louis' grave, and that we stay in contact, because it really bridges the gap and shows my family what this was all for to begin with. It brings a nice closure."
Louis Glavan saw much combat after he was drafted in 1942, at 20 years old. He would serve with A-Company, in the 60mm Mortar Platoon – first in North Africa in 1943, in the 18th Infantry, part of the First Infantry Division. Later that same year, he served in Sicily, and then was on Omaha Beach in June of 1944. Louis saw combat across France, helped liberate the Mons in Belgium, and was among those who were at the German border and captured the first German city for American forces.
Louis also served in the Battle of the Bulge, in the north shoulder of the skirmish. He was killed in action from an artillery shell on March 20, 1945, which Anthony explained was a Good Friday.
"It is both harrowing and bolstering to know my family served in that war, and lived such a legacy," Anthony shared. He explained that the First Infantry Division was among the most experienced, and one of the top divisions in the area at the time, and that his uncle was among some of the most experienced and war-hardened men in Europe. That fact, he commented, was honorable for him as a nephew.
Memorial Day in Margraten will be May 27, where soldiers, locals, ambassadors, and family members will gather to remember the fallen heroes who so gallantly gave their lives during a troublesome and difficult era of world history. Anthony plans to attend more ceremonies in the future to commemorate his uncle and the rest of America's fallen troops – while also working diligently to see more graves identified and brought to life with photographs.
Anthony asks that if members of the community have any information on loved ones that are buried in Margraten, that you reach out to him to see the project through. He can be reached at 1-763-548-4308. For more information on Margraten, as well as additional photos, please visit https://www .abmc.gov/cemeteries-mem orials.
Following are a list of those remaining Minnesota servicemen that have not been yet been photo-identified in Margraten. Anyone with information regarding these listed men are encouraged to contact Anthony, in an effort to recognize them at the cemetery in Margraten.
Those unidentified fallen heroes are: Aldrich, Louis T.; Arnold, Levi A.; Bajula, John R.; Chester, Lewis H.; Christensen, Holger R.; Detlefsen, John; Ellerbusch, Herbert W.; Evans, Roy W.; Johnson, Leonard M.; Kayute, Marvin E.; Kosloski, Paul L.; Lambrecht, Alexander; Lehmann, Monroe J.; Ligaard, Herburne W.; Moen, Richard S.; Nason, Charles M.; Nelson, Percy C.; Peterson, Lloyd M.; Phillips, Hymen; Reichenbach, Theodore.; Sahlberg, Raymond E.; Schneider, Elmer E.; Scott, James W.; Tate, Robert J.; Westlund, Clarence R.; Wolstein, Isadore; and Young, Gerald E.