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Copyright 2017. All rights reserved. Wright County Journal-Press & The Drummer

Maple Lake defends state volleyball championship

The Maple Lake High School volleyball team has defended their state championship.  The Irish pose here with their trophy.  The group includes: (front row, from left) Linsey Rachel, Kora Fuller, Calli Maki, Mollie Scheiber, Alexus Jackson; (second row) Manager Brooke Mergen, Manager Kylie Edmonson, Maddi Maas, Mackenna Brown, Katie Goelz, Ella Kiebel, Manager Abby Althoff, Manager Alison Zander; (back row) Assistant Coach Lizz Gessell, Assistant Coach Monica Vanderlinde, Brielle Paumen, Amber Klug, Kaleigh Beehler, Head Coach Marty Kiebel, Brynn Paumen, Anna Becker, and Assistant Coach Amy Voigt.  See Sports in this week's issue of the Journal-Press for more information.  (Photo courtesy of Jeff Lenz, KRWC)


Veterans event celebrates service, during and after military duty

Retired Capt. Brad Thom

By Ed DuBois

An appreciation of our military people takes place on Veterans Day each year.  The thanks being expressed to veterans refers to their service in uniform, but the guest speaker at the Veterans Day Appreciation Event in Buffalo last weekend delivered a message about the great leadership veterans also offer after they leave the military.

Retired Navy Capt. Brad Thom of Clear Lake, Minn. spoke after a dinner at Buffalo American Legion Post 270 last Sunday, Nov. 12.  He began by reading parts of a letter to World War II soldiers by Gen. Jonathan Wainwright in 1945.  He praised the soldiers for their exceptional service during the war, and he called upon them to become leaders in their communities.

Seventy years later, the Joint Chiefs of Staff wrote a similar letter to the veterans of service in Iraq and Afghanistan, Thom said.  They called on the veterans to be proud of their service and to help lead the country into a new chapter in our history.

Veterans have understood the importance of a responsibility to help shape the future, Thom said.  Even after service in the military, they can still have a role in their country while continuing to make a difference.

Thom thanked the veterans in the room for responding to the call of duty, and for sacrificing time with their loved ones.

He went on to say those who serve in the military receive some of the best training available, no matter which branch of the service in which they served.  He mentioned a recent story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, which told about veterans who are still serving their country in various ways while making great use of the training they received in the military.  For example, one veteran volunteers to work with veterans in the court system to help them get back on a positive and contributing path.

He mentioned an organization, We Got Your Six, whose members average about 160 hours of volunteer time a year.

Right here in Buffalo, the American Legion contributes to the community in several ways, Thom said.  Just to name a few, he said the Legion supports youth baseball and youth hockey, as well as band students.  The Legion supports the Blue Star Mothers and the local Beyond the Yellow Ribbon chapter.  They support the St. Cloud VA, too.

During Buffalo Days, the Legion supports the community celebration and the fireworks event.  They supported the recent Coats for Kids drive, and they often work with local churches and civic groups,

Thom said the list goes on even further.  He stated that the veterans of the American Legion help build a strong community that grows leaders for tomorrow.

In conclusion, Thom looked at the veterans throughout the room and thanked them all for serving, and continuing to serve.

"You have and continue to make a difference," Thom said.  "Keep it up, and keep the faith."

Thom joined the Navy in 1980.  As a chaplain, he served on an aircraft carrier during the Persian Gulf War.  More recently, he has been serving at the St. Cloud VA.  Altogether, he was in the military 26.5 years, said Buffalo American Legion Commander Scott Edwards.

Talking about the origins of Veterans Day, Edwards said Nov. 11 at 11 a.m. was the date and time the armistice of World War I was signed.  Later in 1954, Armistice Day officially became Veterans Day.

He said the United States now has 21 million veterans, and 11.1 million have served in wars.

Buffalo American Legion Post 270 has 263 members, and the Legion Auxiliary has 163 members.  The Sons of the American Legion includes 25 members, and the American Legion Riders just added their eighth member.  Altogether, the local American Legion family includes 458 people.

Nick Knese Construction


'A Christmas Carol' coming locally, in Minneapolis, too

Local proceeds going to Love INC - Heartland

In "A Christmas Carol," Scrooge is played by Vic Anderson (left), and Tiny Tim is played by Campbell Kilian (right).  (Photo courtesy of Erin Blair)

By Ed DuBois

A community theater production of "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens will be presented locally, and it will also be presented at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis.

All proceeds from the local performances are going to Love INC - Heartland, which is a ministry shared with 29 area churches and is based in Delano.  Love INC (in the Name of Christ) is devoted to helping neighbors in need get back on their own two feet.  From 8,000 to 9,000 needs are met each year, said Terri Mills Harris, director.

Proceeds from the Basilica performance are going to their outreach programs.

The production of "A Christmas Carol" is being presented by River City Theatre of Watertown.  The first two performances are on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 25 and 26 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Watertown.  The Saturday performance is at 7 p.m., and the Sunday curtain time at 2 p.m.

The Basilica of St. Mary performance in Minneapolis is taking place on Friday, Dec. 1 at 7 p.m.

In Delano, you can see the show on Saturday, Dec. 9, 7 p.m., at St. Peter's Church.

You can also see the show at the Medina Entertainment Center on Sunday, Dec. 10.  Doors open at 4 p.m., and the show starts at 5 p.m.

Admission for the first three local performances is a freewill offering.

Tickets for the Medina Entertainment Center performance cost $50.

Advance purchases are available at

See for Basilica ticket information.

At the Medina Entertainment Center, enjoy appetizers and a cash bar.  Fifteen tables with seating for eight will be available.

River City Theatre presented "A Christmas Carol" last year, and they did such a good job, the Basilica opened a date for them this year.  Also, an anonymous donor, who loves the arts and has a great appreciation for the good work of Love INC, is supporting this year's show.

Suzi Larkin, who is directing the show with Heidi Hoks, said sometimes those who see the show provided an additional donation after the show.

The production is being presented in a "Readers Theatre" style.  Larkin compared it to "radio theater."  There are few costumes and few sets.  The performers are all on the stage throughout the show.

"People in the audience connect with the story in a strong way," Larkin said.  "You find yourself 'in' the story.  It really engages you."

Without many costumes and sets, audiences of Readers Theatre tend to focus on the story more.

It is hoped this year's production of "A Christmas Carol" will raise $15,000 for Love INC - Heartland.


Maple Lake Improvement District gets go-ahead

By Ed DuBois

Effective as of Jan. 1, a Maple Lake Improvement District will be established, according to action by the Wright County Board on Tuesday, Nov. 14.

The Board had conducted an Oct. 23 public hearing on the matter.  The county had received a petition to establish a lake improvement district (LID).  The LID's primary purpose is to address the goal of mitigating aquatic invasive species and improve the water quality by reducing phosphorous inflow.

The County Board voted in favor of establishing a Maple Lake LID.  A board of directors will be appointed and will serve until the LID's first annual meeting takes place, probably in July or August.  At that time, an election of board members can be conducted.

The LID was needed because a primary source of funds to improve the lake, the annual Ice Fishing Derby, has had to be canceled a few times due to warmer than usual temperatures and unsafe ice.  Assessments on benefiting properties in the LID will provide the needed funds.

In other business:



The Board tentatively scheduled a closed session on Nov. 28 at 10:30 a.m. for a presentation on lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and distributors.

Brian Asleson, chief deputy county attorney, said a number of suits have been filed by cities and counties in various places around the country.  A law firm that could possibly serve as outside council for such a suit by several counties has offered to give the Board a presentation.

Board Chair Charlie Borrell expressed opposition to such a suit.  He said it would be like holding a beer company liable for abuse of their product.  Borrell stated the closed session would be a waste of everyone's time.

Other commissioners said there could be bigger issues involved, and they would like to learn more.

A motion to schedule the closed session passed 4-1, with Borrell opposed.



Greg Pickard, the county's veteran services officer, delivered good news about a $2,500 donation from Disabled American Veterans Chapter 37 of Hutchinson.

He explained the chapter has provided donations in McLeod County, Meeker County and Renville County.  Because of new membership in Wright County, a donation is now being provided here.

The Board gratefully accepted the donation and asked Pickard to determine how best to use the funds.  He was also asked to send a letter of thanks from the County Board, along with information on how the money was spent.  Possible uses of the donation include Christmas baskets and transportation for veterans.



In other actions, the Board:

• approved sending $12,769 to Sherburne County for Wright County's share of taxes owed by the former River Rider bus service;

• approved some language changes in the county's tobacco ordinance  (The changes allow for seasonal tobacco sales licenses with prorated fees, and they clarify that any violations of federal, state or local tobacco control laws could be grounds for license suspension or revocation.);

• approved an agreement with the state for a traffic signal system in Clearwater;

• approved a right-of-way plat for work planned on CSAH (County State Aid Highway) 38 near Highway 101 and O'Dean Ave. NE;

• adopted a resolution for county sponsorship of Local Road Improvement Program (LRIP) applications regarding Annandale streets, CSAH 18 in the Monticello area and 150th St. NW in Clearwater and Silver Creek Townships;

• approved a contract with a firm called Paymentus for credit card acceptance;

• approved a repurchase of a small tax-forfeited property in Rockford Township by the former owner;

• approved the transfer of $1.9 million from the general fund to the capital projects fund;

• set the Dec. 26 county board meeting as a "claims only meeting," which means efforts will be made to keep the agenda very brief;

• scheduled a Dec. 12, 9:30 a.m. fees for service public hearing;

• approved a memorandum of agreement with AFSCME (Human Services) Council 65 regarding county contributions for 2018 health insurance; and

• approved a memorandum of agreement between AFSCME Council 65 and the county regarding compensation for social workers assigned to weekly on-call responsibilities.


Maple Lake man dies due to S.D. crash

Maple Lake resident Christopher Churchill died due to a crash on Highway 212 in South Dakota on Monday, Nov. 6.

During a hunting trip, Churchill, 34, was driving a pickup truck when it left the icy roadway and rolled, according to  He reportedly died at the Eagle Butte hospital.

The lone passenger in the vehicle, Nicholas Sjolin, 33, of Buffalo, sustained minor injuries.  The South Dakota Highway Patrol investigated the incident.

A Mass of Christian Burial was scheduled on Monday, Nov. 13 at St. Mary Catholic Church, Waverly.  (See obituary elsewhere in this week's issue of the Journal-Press for more information.)

A 2002 Maple Lake High School graduate, Chris was much involved with his family's business, H & H Sports Shop of Maple Lake.  He was managing H & H and also owned and operated Chris Churchill Flooring.

Chris is survived by: his parents, Jim and Jody Churchill of Maple Lake; sister, Lenora Churchill of Annandale; grandparents, Roger and Holly Rosin of Waverly, Frederic Reimer of Montrose, and Byron and Mary Churchill of Maple Lake; and many aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.


Striebel pleads guilty in Montrose death

An accomplice in a drug deal that ended in the death of Justin Harvey in Montrose last year has pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter.

According to the Wright County Attorney's Office, James Striebel, 19, of Howard Lake was originally charged with murder in the second degree and simple robbery.  On Tuesday, Nov. 7, he pled guilty to manslaughter in the second degree.  He will be sentenced on Nov. 29.  With time already served in jail, he could remain in prison another 17 to 28 months, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Last June, the driver in an August 2016 incident that ended in the death of Montrose resident Justin Harvey was sentenced on May 30 to a total of 41 months in prison.  Noelle Ziegelmann, 19, of Montrose was sentenced for felony criminal vehicular homicide.

According to the criminal complaint filed in Wright County, deputies responded at 2:28 a.m. in Montrose, where Harvey, 18, was lying unconscious and bleeding profusely on a street.  Harvey was allegedly attempting to sell marijuana to Striebel and Ziegelmann.  Striebel allegedly grabbed the marijuana without paying for it.  Striebel was inside a vehicle, and Ziegelman, who was driving, drove forward and accelerated.  Harvey was dragged, and then he fell to the pavement.  He died later at the Hennepin County Medical Center.


Far away where golf was born

Two Minnesotans who love the game enjoy playing on courses in Scotland
that are hundreds of years old

By Ed DuBois

For someone who loves golf, a trip to where golf was born might be the ultimate in golf adventures, and that's the way it was for Kevin Knop.  He had the good fortune to golf in Scotland with the author of a book on the subject, Marvin Athey.  The book is entitled "Play Away."

The two had met about 45 years ago, and a friendship based on their mutual enjoyment of golf was refreshed about 8 years ago.  One day they were talking, and Marv's book, "Play Away," was probably mentioned during the conversation.  At some point, Kevin looked at Marv and said, "I would love to go to Scotland."

That was about a year ago, and the two began looking into when they might go and where they might play golf.

"Around the first of the year, we got serious," Kevin said.  "Marv sent me homework assignments to get me familiar with the courses in Scotland and places to stay."

"I was preparing Kevin so he could get a feel for what we would do," Marv said.  "It was a fun thing for him to do."


Buffalo High School golfer

When not playing golf, Kevin works in the groceries industry.  He has been at it for a long time.

In fact, while growing up in Buffalo, he worked at Esau's Grocery Store, which much later became a NAPA store in downtown Buffalo.

He also worked at Holmquist's supermarket, which became the Lakeview Mall.  Before owning a produce brokerage business, Edgewater Marketing, Inc., he worked for the SuperValu Corporation.  He now lives in Monticello.

Kevin was a standout golfer at Buffalo High School, and he qualified for a state Jaycees' meet when he was a junior.  He is a past club champion at Buffalo Heights Golf Course, and more recently, he has won the senior club championship at the Monticello Country Club.  He has a 5 handicap, he said.

Marv, who was the general manager of the Wright-Hennepin Electric Co-op from 1975 to 1979, has played golf in Arizona many years, he said.

These days, he lives in Cambridge and winters in Florida.  Marv has managed to score four holes-in-one, Kevin mentioned.  He added that he has three aces, two in Monticello and one in Texas.


Landed in Glasgow

On Sept. 22, 2016, Kevin and Marv flew to Scotland with Icelandair.  The very long flight included a stop in Reykjavik, Iceland before landing in Glasgow, Scotland.

Being unfamiliar with driving a car that has the steering wheel on the right side, Kevin was glad Marv did the driving from the airport.

"I have so much respect for Marv's driving over there.  The brick walls are very close the road, and there were trucks coming the other way," Kevin commented.

He estimated they drove through about 200 roundabouts.  He said it was strange driving on the left side of the road all the time.

From his seat on the passenger side, he enjoyed looking at the "very scenic" countryside.

"Scotland has a tremendous variety of scenery, from farmland to villages," he said.

He remembered riding along a "long and winding road," like the one Paul McCartney sang about with the Beatles.  McCartney reportedly drew inspiration for the song from a long and winding road near his property not far from the coastal community of Campbeltown.

Kevin saw numerous castles, and at one of them, he and Marv watched a peregrine falcon demonstration.

Kevin mentioned seeing many puffins (seabirds), as well as gannets.  He bought puffin dolls for his daughter, Sandra, and daughter-in-law, Melinda.


Only one windy day

The land is rugged, and the temperatures were in the 50 to 60-degree range.

"We were fortunate to have weather with mild wind and sunshine most of the time.  We had one windy day to experience (while playing Scotland golf)," Kevin said.

They stayed at the Royal Hotel in Campbeltown.  The next day was a Sunday, and they played the Machrihanish Old Course.

Kevin said he wanted to play the old courses rather than the new courses.

"I can play all kinds of new courses in the U.S.," he commented.

The old courses in Scotland are special to him because they go back hundreds of years.

Generally, these "links courses" were established next to the sea.  Back when golf started, it was played on strips of land by the ocean.  This was land that wasn't considered very good for anything else.

You don't see very many trees in the coastal areas, which is one of the reasons the old links courses are distinct.


'Hotspots of golf'

The next course Kevin and Marv played was Royal Dornoch, and they stayed at a hotel called the Old Manse.

During meal breaks, Kevin discovered pureed soups "are great."  He also enjoyed the fish dinners.  He added that the people of Scotland are very friendly.

The itinerary set up by Marv basically circled Scotland and included what Kevin called "four of the hotspots of golf."

While the old links courses have few or no trees, they have other hazards, such as deep bunkers.

Kevin and Marv said the bunkers probably originated as places where sheep could gather and huddle for shelter from the wind.

Scotland still has plenty of sheep.

"I never saw so many sheep in my whole life," Kevin commented.

The old courses also have stone walls that go back to the 1800s.  They are called stone ledges in Scotland.  You better stay on the fairways.  It would be a tough shot to hit a ball lying next to one of those walls.

"It is unbelievable how many stone walls we saw," Kevin mentioned.

Another hazard is called gorse, a tough, thorny evergreen plant that grows thick in the roughs.  You don't want to lose your ball in there.

Kevin said gorse is nasty for playing golf, but it produces beautiful yellow flowers at certain times of the year.


Ball runs longer

Marv said the game of golf goes back to the 1400s, and then golf courses began to be designed around 1700-1800.

"It's a neat feeling to play on golf courses that are that old," Kevin said.

He found out he needed to hit the ball a little harder on the greens.  On the fairways, which are cut very short, the ground is hard, and the ball runs longer than it does here in Minnesota.

In Scotland, the ball makes a louder sound when it hits the ground.

Many of the famous old courses are near small towns.  Kevin said visiting the towns was like stepping back in time to small town USA.

He took a nice photo of Marv in front of a seaside setting at Ganavan.

At a course called Brora, Kevin was surprised to see cattle grazing in the rough.

"They own the place," he joked.

Electric fences are used in certain areas to keep the cattle off the fairways and greens.


Green fees and buggy fees

Kevin and Marv ventured on and played the St. Andrews New Course and the St. Andrews Eden Course.  They wanted to play the St. Andrews Old Course, but there was a long waiting list, and the cost was very high, $218.

Next, they played the North Berwick Glen Course and Dunbar while staying at Nether Abbey.

The green fees ranged from $65 at Brora (not including a buggy fee of $31) to $181 at Royal Dornoch.  At some courses, you are expected to walk, but at St. Andrews, you can get a buggy for $37 if you are 65 years old or over.


Where golf was born

Kevin and Marv concluded their special golf experience on Oct. 2.  Altogether, they played about seven rounds of golf, stayed at five locations and drove approximately 720 miles, not counting some local driving.

Playing far away from home, they came back with great memories in the land where golf was born.  They played on courses that go back hundreds of years, and they enjoyed meeting the people of Scotland, trying out their cuisine and taking in the sights and sounds of their coastal towns and villages.

For a couple of guys who love golf, the trip was an ultimate adventure.


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