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

School votes on Tuesday, Nov. 7 in four districts

Voting will be underway in the BHM, Monticello, Maple Lake, and Rockford School Districts

Two school board elections and two school referendums are taking place in Wright County on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

The two school board elections are taking place in the Buffalo Hanover Montrose (BHM) School District and the Monticello School District.

The polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.  Check with your school district for polling locations.  In the BHM School District, the polling locations are the Buffalo Community Middle School, Montrose Elementary School of Innovation and Hanover Elementary School.

The BHM School Board candidates include three incumbents, Ken Ogden, Bob Sansevere and Stan Vander Kooi, and two challengers, MaryCathleen Fenske and Amanda Reineck.  Three school board seats are up for election.

In the Monticello School District, three candidates are running for three school board seats.  The candidates are Candace Carda, Melissa Curtis and Jennifer R. Lewis Kannegieter.

Voters in the Maple Lake and Rockford School Districts will decide whether or not to approve referendum proposals.

In the Maple Lake School District, two questions will be on the ballot.  The first question involves a proposal to increase the general education revenue by $600 per pupil for 10 years.  The second question involves a proposal to issue up to $950,000 in general obligation bonds for technology improvements.

The Rockford School District also has two questions on the referendum ballot.  The first question involves a proposal to increase general education revenue by $1,142 per pupil for 10 years.  The second question involves a proposed capital project levy authorization for just under $4 million over 10 years to fund technology improvements.

Nick Knese Construction


Students learn from former addicts during Know the Truth sessions

Kerry Anne Kelley of Teen Challenge speaks during a Know the Truth session at Buffalo High School.  She talked about how small compromises regarding drug use can lead to bad decisions and serious consequences.  (Photo by Ed DuBois)

By Ed DuBois

Four young people from Teen Challenge recently spoke to four sophomore classes at Buffalo High School during Know the Truth sessions aimed at drug abuse prevention.

The four speakers are each former drug users who told their stories about how using gateway drugs gradually led to serious addictions.  They recovered through treatment with Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge.

Know the Truth presentations take place all over Minnesota, and besides speaking to students at high school, they also conduct forums for parents.

Dan, 23, who is from Chaska, said he grew up in a good home where drinking and smoking did not happen.  However, he tried smoking pot when he was in middle school and started hanging out with fellow pot smokers.   He became a standout athlete in high school and was popular.  However, he tried morphine, an opiate, and that led to trying heroin.

His drug use was "under the radar" because he did well in school, he said.  But things started going bad after trying morphine.  He wanted it every day, and then after trying heroin, his performance in school suffered.

Instead of going to college, he took some time off from school, and then he joined the military.  He was getting high with friends in San Diego.  He said he felt invincible.

He got into trouble with the law and was arrested, but then he got off on a technicality, he said.

However, his life went downhill fast after that.  After the second time he was arrested, he decided it was time to get help.  He was back in Minnesota, and he entered a 30-day treatment program at Hazelden in Plymouth.

Afterward, he made a poor decision and went on a "last hurrah" of drug usage.  Tragically, he overdosed and nearly died.  His mother found him unconscious in his truck.  His heart rate was down to four beats a minute, and his body temperature was 78 degrees.

"I should not have made it," Dan said.

But then things got worse.  He said his parents could not watch what was happening to him.  He ended up in jail and even served some time in a state prison.

His father looked at him and said, "I want Dan back."

There was no hope for him.  Treatment centers didn't want him anymore.  He had let them down too many times.

"You would not have recognized me.  I was down to 170 pounds.  I had a beard.  I hadn't had a shower in about six months," he said.

He added that his options were down to "change" his behavior or "die."

He decided he was done being a victim.  He recovered with Teen Challenge and has been speaking at Know the Truth presentations.

He is now back with his family.

Kerry Anne Kelley, who works at Teen Challenge, said small compromises (regarding drug use) can lead to bad decisions and serious consequences.  She named several gateway drugs, such as: alcohol, tobacco, prescription pills, and marijuana.

Speaking from experience, she said such drugs seem harmless at first, but then "you don't know how to do anything without" smoking or drinking.

Mia, who came to Minnesota from New York City, was abused by her stepfather.  Her use of drugs began with smoking cigarettes and pot.  When she did it with others, she felt accepted.  Soon, she felt it was cool to smoke weed.

When her family moved to Florida, she found the same drug-use pattern and the same kind of drug-use crowd.

A boyfriend introduced her to cocaine.  Soon she craved it.

"It made me feel like I was doing things right," she said.

In reality, she was heading down a road to destruction.  She was kicked out of four schools when she was in the eighth grade.  Then her stepfather kicked her out.  She lived with an aunt, but her cousins were drug dealers, she said.  Her "so-called friends" stole things from her.

Mia entered Teen Challenge at 15 years old.  She said she has mental clarity now and has been clean nine years.

She has no contact with her stepfather and has been trying to get her brother into a program like Teen Challenge.

Sam, who is from Chaska, said he once sat in a Teen Challenge assembly at his school.  He didn't think drug addiction could happen to him.

He was an athlete and loved it.  Drug use became "what we did after games."

He eventually gave up sports.  In college, decisions were based on what friends were doing, and they used alcohol and weed a lot.

School did not go well, and when he left school, he started trying things like cocaine and ecstasy.  He ended up in jail for possession of heroin.

After a 30-day treatment program, he relapsed.  He said he was lost and broken.  He felt shame and guilt.

He crashed two cars that were given to him by his parents.  He added that he began stealing money from his parents.

At Teen Challenge, Sam learned values and gained purpose in his life.

"I can't thank Teen Challenge enough," he said.

He has been off drugs six and a half months.

Kerry talked about growing up in the Washington, D.C. area.  She said she fought with her mom and was in an abusive relationship with her.  She ended up taking it out on herself by cutting herself.  Besides that, she had an eating disorder, bulimia, and was drinking alcohol regularly.  She would sneak out and drink, she said.

When she tried pot, she ended up getting high all the time.

She attempted suicide three times and was sent to a mental institution.

Things improved when she moved to Colorado.  She worked three jobs to get through college.

Today, she says she loves her job with Teen Challenge.

She tells young people that one day, "the small decisions (about drugs) will matter."

She added that communication is very important.  If you have a question about drugs, "talk about it."

More information is available at  Call or text 612-440-3967.  Email  The Teen Challenge website is


Frighteningly snowy

A Halloween jack-o'-lantern in Buffalo took on an even scarier appearance with the addition of snow last Friday, Oct. 27.  About 1.5 inches of snow covered yards for a while, but it eventually melted away.  The weather stayed relatively cold for Halloween, but for now, snow has not made a repeat appearance.  (Photo by Ed DuBois)


Lifelong friends become Eagle Scouts at same time

Lifelong friends, Matthew Snidarich (left) and Bobby Brady (right), have each earned an Eagle Scout Award.  (Photo courtesy of their parents)

Longtime friends Matthew Snidarich of Delano and Bobby Brady of Buffalo, who are both Boy Scout Troop 355 members, were awarded their Eagle Scout Awards on Sunday, Oct. 15 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Highway 25 in Buffalo, their proud parents reported.

Matthew attends Delano High School and graduates in 2018.  His parents are Rawlin and Angie Snidarich.  Bobby attends Buffalo High school and graduates in 2018.  His parents are Bob and Melissa Brady.

Matthew's Eagle Scout project was coordinating and overseeing the building of seven birdhouses.  They are intended for various bird species, including: house wren, wood duck, bluebirds or tree swallows, and chickadees or titmouse.  The birdhouses were placed at Presbyterian Homes in Spring Park, Minn. for the residents of this retirement home.  There are 400 residents who can now enjoy an enriched view of birds on the 16 acres of grounds.

Bobby's project was to coordinate and oversee the cleanup and update of the outdoor amphitheater at the Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park near Monticello.  New dirt, gravel and wood replaced old eroded materials, leaving an enjoyable amphitheater for the community to enjoy.  Over 100 man hours were given to this project.


Pelican Lake project making progress toward water quality, habitat improvement, says DNR official

The Pelican Lake Enhancement Project has made steady progress toward lowering the wat-er level of Pelican Lake, and the project was within about three inches of reaching the new managed lake elevation of 950.7 feet above sea level, according to an Aug. 25 letter to shoreline land-owners.

The letter was sent by Fred Bengtson, area wild-life manager with the Minn. Department of Na-tural Resources (DNR).

"The main goal of lake level management is for wildlife habitat and water quality improvement," he said.

The project was initiated at Pelican Lake, located northeast of Buffalo in Buffalo Township, Monti-cello Township and the City of St. Michael, in December 2014, when the water level was at 954.4.  Water flowed from the lake via gravity out-letting for approximately a year and a half until a pumping facility was operational.

Three pumps were used since August 2016 at moderate rates of 12-21 cubic feet per second, except for January through mid-March.  As of the end of last August, the water level was lowered three and a half feet.

A temporary draw-down to 946 is planned during the next two to three years, and then the lake will be allowed to return to 950.7.

"Quite a few people in the Pelican Lake area have commented on the lowering lake level," Bengtson said in the letter.  "We expect to see lake water quality and wildlife lake habitat im-prove at a faster rate as we continue to lower the lake level.  We are already observing in-creased songbird use of mud flats and sandy shorelines.  As opposed to previous years, the entire lake has rooted aquatic plants with associated abundant invertebrate animal life that many species of waterfowl and other wetland birds species depend on.  We are pleased to see the increased progress this summer and are appreciative of landowner support throughout the 13 years of this project."

He concluded by saying projects like Pelican Lake demonstrate what can be accomplished with a degraded lake when different groups of people and organizations come together with a shared vision.


Dump truck driver dies at Delano road project site

A 55-year-old dump truck driver died due to a road construction project accident in Delano on Wednesday, Oct. 25 around 8 a.m.

The Wright County Sheriff's Office reported the dump truck driver was identified as Jacqueline Brueggemeier of Biscay, Minn. (located between Hutchinson and Glencoe).  Brueggemeier was driving a dump truck for WM Mueller & Sons Inc. at a road construction project on Railroad Ave. E.  While Brueggemeier was outside of her truck, she was backed over by another dump truck owned by Molnau Trucking LLC.  That truck was driven by Tonya Sibila, 39, of Eden Valley, Minn.  Brueggemeier's injuries were severe and she died at the scene.

The incident is still under investigation.  There are no criminal charges at this time, the Sheriff's Office reported.

Trick or Treat 2017

Safe, fun and welcome all over town

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