Crops looking good as harvest proceeds
Soybeans are harvested by Roger Krause of Buffalo on property a few miles south of town. Krause, 84, said he started at the end of September and continued combining soybeans and corn until the beginning of November. He said the corn was in surprisingly good shape. The soybeans were also good, but the quality varied. Rod Greder, Extension educator in Wright County, said recently a significant amount of corn harvesting remains. Yields have ranged from 60-70 bushels per acre of soybeans and from 120-180 bushels per acre of corn. Yields depend on soil types, planting dates and the timing of rains, he noted. Prices are in their usual harvest season lows with slim prospects for much upward movement. (Photo by Ed DuBois)
Landfill expansion proposal being considered by county
By Ed DuBois
Advanced Disposal is proposing a zoning change that would help with plans to expand the Rolling Hills Landfill in the southwestern corner of Monticello Township. The matter is being discussed during a public hearing at the Wright County Government Center on Wednesday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m.
According to information provided to the public by Advanced Disposal, the landfill only accepts construction, demolition and industrial waste materials, and the expansion would be limited to these materials, as well. No household waste or hazardous waste would be accepted.
The zoning change being requested is from agricultural use to industrial use. The expansion would be next to the existing landfill and the Wright County Compost Facility site. Advanced Disposal says the new expansion would incorporate multiple safety and environmental monitoring systems.
The size of the expansion site is 214 acres, and 72 of the acres would be used for disposal. To address noise, plans call for creating natural berms and adding trees and other landscaping features.
Advanced Disposal offers a Property Protection Plan to address concerns of neighbors regarding property values.
The company says the expansion would provide additional tax revenue for the county, and the landfill would provide continued safe disposal for construction waste from area businesses, contractors and handymen, who would not need to travel far to drop off the materials.
The Wright County Planning Commission voted 3-3 on the zoning request, and then sent the matter to the County Board with no recommendation, said County Board Chair Charlie Borrell. As a member of the Planning Commission, Borrell has asked Commissioner Mark Daleiden to conduct the public hearing on Nov. 15.
Advanced Disposal welcomes questions. You can call Mike Niewind at 320-963-3158 or send him an email at Michael.Niewind@AdvancedDisposal.com.
Two incumbents and one challenger win BHM School Board Election
Referendum proposals approved in Maple Lake, voted down in Rockford
By Ed DuBois
Two school board elections and two school referendums took place in Wright County on Tuesday, Nov. 7.
The two school board elections were conducted in the Buffalo Hanover Montrose (BHM) School District and the Monticello School District.
The BHM School Board candidates included three incumbents, Ken Ogden, Bob Sansevere and Stan Vander Kooi, and two challengers, MaryCathleen Fenske and Amanda Reineck. Three school board seats were up for election.
Two incumbents, Ken Ogden and Bob Sansevere, are returning to the Board in 2018, and newcomer Amanda Reineck will join them. The election results were as follows: Ken Ogden 495, Amanda Reineck 442, Bob Sansevere 440, Stan Vander Kooi 429, and MaryCathleen Fenske 244.
In the Monticello School District, three candidates ran for three school board seats. The vote totals were Melissa Curtis 105, Jennifer R. Lewis Kannegieter 96 and Candace Carda 95.
Voters in the Maple Lake and Rockford School Districts decided whether or not to approve referendum proposals.
In the Maple Lake School District, both questions on the ballot received yes votes. The first question involved a proposal to increase the general education revenue by $600 per pupil for 10 years. The vote was 506 yes to 380 no. The second question involved a proposal to issue up to $950,000 in general obligation bonds for technology improvements. The vote was 515 yes to 370 no.
Both referendum questions on the Rockford School District ballot were voted down. The first question involved a proposal to increase general education revenue by $1,142 per pupil for 10 years. The vote was 1,031 yes and 1,309 no.
The second question involved a proposed capital project levy authorization for just under $4 million over 10 years to fund technology improvements. The vote was 1,048 yes and 1,290 no.
City Council hoping to increase business in downtown area
By Rob LaPlante
An attempt to increase business in a vacant section of downtown Buffalo, the Buffalo City Council took another step in that direction at the Monday, Nov. 6 meeting.
The Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) is currently in the process of working on a short-term deal in the amount of $300,000 to acquire the property from Kurt Anderson and family for purchase of property located at the old Coborn's grocery store site.
Also included would be the former Napa building, along with nearby parking areas.
"I think this lets people know that we're moving ahead with our plans," said Mayor Teri Lachermeier. "I think this brings excitement and lets developers know we're interested."
A tax abatement that currently exists, put in place in 2012, has $400,000 of unused funding, according to Nick Anhut of Ehlers & Associates.
Anhut says a short-term deal ranging from 2-3 years for HRA's acquisition of the area is to provide lower interest costs.
Assistant City Administrator Laureen Bodin says the city is seeking another grocery store, as well as future development.
Due to the existing abatement, a public hearing is not needed to proceed, but the hope is at least one proposal is in place for the Nov. 20 city council to consider.
• Utilities and drainage easements for two parcels on the property by Lake Pulaski owned by David and Sue Backes were approved at Monday's meeting. Another parcel of the easement will be considered for vacation at a future meeting.
• Council approved the addition of Terry Morrow for the Airport Advisory Board, previously held by Rainer Pensky, who recently resigned due to personal reasons. Morrow is a former member of the Airport Advisory Board.
• Wes Jung was recommended and approved to fill the open position on the Housing & Redevelopment Authority Board. The position was previously held by the late Judie Rose.
• A donation in the amount of $1,000 from the St. Michael American Legion was accepted with gratitude on behalf of the Bison Fishing Forever program. Another donation in the amount of $10 by Patricia Regentz was made to the Buffalo Fire Department.
At the conclusion of Monday's meeting, city council members adjourned to a workshop discussing the Draft 2018 City Budget and Capital Improvement Plan. A city attorney was present for an executive session. No action was taken.
Adopt A Family program needs donated items
The Buffalo Rotary's Adopt A Family program is desperately seeking families willing to provide clothing and other personal necessities for children this holiday season.
Unlike Toys for Tots, also organized by Buffalo Rotary, the Adopt A Family program provides clothing and necessities for needy children in the Buffalo and Montrose communities. As you can imagine, the need is incredibly great this year as many families are struggling financially. When you adopt a family, you purchase three gifts of clothing (pajamas, socks, underwear, outerwear, shoes or boots, hats, and mittens) using information provided by the family.
The drop-off of all items is taking place on Sunday, Dec. 10 between 3 and 8 p.m. at the Buffalo Hospital.
If you wish to adopt a family this year or require more information, please call 612-490-0025.
"Thank you for considering joining Buffalo Rotary and other families, individuals and organizations in making this an abundant holiday season throughout our community," a spokesperson said.
Wright County 4-H Centennial planning now underway
In 2018, Wright County 4-H will be celebrating its 100th Birthday. In honor of the centennial, the organization is collecting stories on how 4-H has impacted the people and communities of Wright County.
These stories will be included in a commemorative document called, "100 Ways Wright County 4-H Impacts People & Communities," and used to create a new 4-H promotional video to celebrate the occasion.
Are you a former 4-H member or 4-H adult volunteer? How has Wright County 4-H made an impact on you? What ways has it affected your life or others? Share your story with 4-H, no matter how big or small. They are looking for stories from 4-H alumni, community leaders and others who have been impacted by 4-H.
"Please share your experiences with us to highlight the great work we are doing locally," a spokesperson said.
To share your story, complete the online form at https://z.umn.edu/4Himpact. To submit your story in other ways, contact Kelly Strei at 763-682-7394 or email email@example.com. The deadline is Jan. 1, 2018.
For more information on upcoming Wright County 4-H Centennial events, please check out the website at www.z.umn.edu/wrightcounty.
Army buddies reunite after 49 years
They had not seen each other since one was wounded in Vietnam and taken by helicopter to Saigon
By Ed DuBois
Forty-nine years had passed since Army buddies Leon Trigg of Minnesota and Billie Wade of Tennessee were together in Vietnam. Leon was wounded during a firefight. He was hit five times by bullets from an assault rifle. Billie helped save his buddy and got him onboard a helicopter. That was the last time they saw each other until last September at the VA health care facility in St. Cloud.
"Leon, we made it! We made it!" Billie said with a big smile.
"Yeah, I guess we did," Leon replied.
Both friendly and outgoing individuals, Leon and Billie were immediate friends when they met during basic training at Fort Campbell, Ky. They moved on together to advanced infantry training at Fort Lewis, Wash., and they completed jump school (airborne training) together at Fort Benning, Ga.
Leon is white, and Billie is black. Their shared likeability, and their fondness for joking around easily crossed the racial boundary. In fact, they celebrated their ancestral differences.
"Send in the black man and the Indian," they would say. (Leon has some Cherokee in his ancestry.)
Fought together in Bong Son
Leon was a gunner with an M60 machinegun, and Billie was often at his side with the ammunition for the weapon.
Leon's wife, Leslie Trigg, said they served with the 173rd Airborne Division, which was nicknamed "The Herd." They arrived in Bong Son, Vietnam in September 1967 and fought together until Feb. 17, 1968, when Leon was wounded.
Leon told Leslie the wounds felt like they burned. He was hit after the unit had settled down for lunch during a lull in the fighting. He was standing up when suddenly a new firefight started. A burst of assault rifle fire hit him in the hip area and legs.
Once he was aboard a helicopter, Leon was taken to Saigon. He eventually was taken back to the U.S., where he recovered in a Denver military hospital, Fitzsimons Army Medical Center.
"He still has one of the bullets that was taken out of him," Leslie said.
Leon was on a one-month leave after getting out of the hospital. He finished his military service at Fort Bragg, N.C. and was honorably discharged in April 1970.
Married in 1972
A Big Lake High School graduate, Leon worked in construction and as a machinist before he was drafted into the military in April 1968.
Leslie said she met Leon at a party in Rockford. Leslie had grown up in Buffalo, where her mom and dad owned a business, the City Bakery, which was located on 1st Ave. NE at the current site of the Hot Wok restaurant. They lived upstairs in an apartment. When the Holmquist's supermarket opened in what is now the Lakeview Mall, a deal was worked out to set up a bakery inside the grocery store, and Leslie's parents, Les and Ruth Bakke, were the bakery managers.
Leon and Leslie were married in 1972 and lived in Buffalo for over 30 years. Leslie said Leon worked as a machinist and a welder through most of their years together. They have three children, two sons and a daughter. One of the sons, Eric, served in the Navy four years and lives in San Diego. Interestingly, Eric was born on Feb. 17, which is the same date on which Leon was wounded five years earlier.
Leon and Leslie's daughter, Tarra, was a New Year's baby. She lives in Buffalo. Her brother, Shane, also lives in Buffalo and has a personality like his dad.
Suffered a stroke in 2004
Leon, who is now 71, loved fishing.
"He was known for his fish fries," Leslie said.
Sadly, Leon suffered a massive stroke in 2004. Leslie said he has been suffering from seizures and is disabled by dementia. He has been living at the VA in St. Cloud just over a year. Leslie drives up and visits Leon often.
Last spring, Leslie received a call from a veteran who had served with Leon and Billie. The caller lives in Missouri, and he and Leslie exchanged phone numbers.
"Soon I received a call from Billie," Leslie said. "We conversed on Facebook for a while, and then Billie said he wanted to come and see Leon."
"He wanted to come before winter because he was unsure if he could drive on Minnesota's roads in the wintertime," she added with a smile. "He drove 900 miles to see his Army buddy."
"They are both such lovely people," Leslie also said. "It had been 49 years since they saw each other."
Two days in September
Billie showed genuine care and concern for Leon when they met.
"He was so gentle with Leon," Leslie said. "He even wiped some drool from Leon's chin as they talked.
Billie visited Leon on both Sunday and Monday, Sept. 10 and 11.
"They didn't want to say goodbye," Leslie recalled. "When it was time for Billie to go, Leon said, 'Billie, drop and give me 20!' Billie smiled and did 6 pushups."
"They just laughed," Leslie continued. "Billie said, 'That's all I can give you, Leon.'"
Before computers and Internet
Leslie said Leon had tried over the years to look for Billie.
"That was before computers and the Internet, and it was before his stroke," she explained.
When their long-awaited reunion finally happened, Leslie contacted the Journal-Press.
"This was like a Hallmark movie. I wanted to share it," she said with a few tears forming.
She learned Billie had done factory work for a few months after getting out of the Army. He then returned to the service and made the rank of major in the Reserves.
While meeting with Leon, Billie took out a map of Vietnam, and they circled the places where they served. They recalled doing some hunting in Vietnam when they had a chance, and shared a memory involving a wild boar.
They also shared some family pictures.
"They kept looking at each other like 'Oh my gosh, I can't believe it,'" Leslie said.
Buddy Billie D. Wade
During a walk outside, Billie asked Leslie if he could push Leon's wheelchair.
"You take some R&R. Let me push my buddy," Billie said.
Leslie remembered Leon talking about Billie over the years.
"I heard about Billie D. Wade all the time," she commented.
As Leon and Billie spent time together in September, it was fortunate that Leon can still remember things that happened before his stroke.
Forty-nine years had passed since they were in Vietnam together, but they picked up where they left off.
"They have similar happy-go-lucky personalities," Leslie said.
"Leon, we made it! We made it!" Billie said with a big smile.
"Yeah, I guess we did," Leon replied.