Delano artist wins 2017 Duck Stamp Contest
Bob Hautman, a wild-life artist from Delano, is the winner of the 2017 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest. The announcement was made by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Principal Deputy Director Greg Sheehan at the annual art contest, held at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point at the Noel Fine Arts Center.
Hautman's acrylic painting of a pair of mallards will be made into the 2018-2019 Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, or Duck Stamp, which will go on sale in late June 2018. The Service produces the Federal Duck Stamp, which sells for $25 and raises nearly $40 million each year to provide critical funds to conserve and protect wetland habitats in the National Wildlife Refuge System for the benefit of wildlife and the enjoyment of people.
This is Hautman's third Federal Duck Stamp Contest win. His art previously appeared on the 1997-1998 and 2001-2002 Federal Duck Stamps.
Hautman's brothers, Jim and Joe, are also multiple Duck Stamp artists, having each won the contest five times.
"Our nation's waterfowl hunters and other sportsmen and women have a long tradition of leading the way in conserving wildlife and habitat," said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. "There is no better example of this than the Duck Stamp, one of the most successful conservation programs in U.S. history, through which hunters have contributed hundreds of millions of dollars since its inception eight decades ago."
"Congratulations to Bob Hautman on his win today," Sheehan said. "He is part of a collection of talented wildlife artists whose work has helped conserve habitat not just for waterfowl, but for a vast diversity of wildlife, and helped create and maintain hundreds of places where hunters, anglers and outdoors enthusiasts of all stripes can enjoy their passion."
Of 215 entries in this year's competition, 12 entries made it to the final round of judging. Eligible species for this year's Federal Duck Stamp Contest were: the mallard, gadwall, cinnamon teal, blue-winged teal, and harlequin duck.
Greg Alexander of Ashland, Wis. placed second with his acrylic painting of a cinnamon teal; Christine Clayton of Sidney, Ohio took third place with her oil painting of a blue-winged teal. In 2000, Clayton won the National Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest with a painting of a northern pintail. She was 17 at the time.
The judges for this year's Federal Duck Stamp Contest were: Dr. Jacob Straub, a waterfowl biologist and the Wetlands and Waterfowl Conservation Chair in UW-Stevens Point's College of Natural Resources; Jane Kim, an artist and science illustrator; Robert Spoerl, a lifelong hunter and conservationist with a passion for waterfowl; Tim Pearson, an artist - and flyfishing guide - who paints mostly in watercolors, inspired by the waters and surrounding wilderness of Lake Superior; and Richard Prager, an avid collector of Federal and Junior Duck Stamps and Duck Stamp remarques and original artwork.
"A huge thank you goes to the faculty, staff and students of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point for hosting the contest this year," said Sheehan. "The UW-Stevens Point's College of Natural Resources is one of the nation's premier natural resources programs and has historical connections with the Service as the alma mater of a number of our staff and top agency leaders."
Waterfowl hunters, age 16 and older, are required to purchase and carry the current Federal Duck Stamp. Many non-hunters, including birdwatchers, conservationists, stamp collectors, and others, also purchase the stamp in support of habitat conservation. Additionally, a current Federal Duck Stamp can be used for free admission to any national wildlife refuge that charges an entry fee.
Ninety-eight percent of the proceeds from sales of the Federal Duck Stamp go to the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund, which supports the protection of migratory bird habitat within the National Wildlife Refuge System.
You can contribute to conservation and America's great conservation tradition by buying Federal Duck Stamps at many national wildlife refuges, sporting goods stores and other retailers, through the U.S. Postal Service, or online at http://www.fws.gov/birds/get-involved/duck-stamp/buy-duck-stamp.php.
A gallery of the 2017 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest entries is at https://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwshq/sets/72157686451028213.
Regional AIS Inspection Plan approved by County Board
By Ed DuBois
A pilot project, the Regional Aquatic Invasive Species Inspection Plan for Lake Sylvia, Lake John and Pleasant Lake, is proceeding through the end of the 2017 boating season. Evaluations will follow, and then decisions will be made about whether or not to continue the project in 2018.
Before adopting a resolution 5-0 to accept the plan last Tuesday, Sept. 19, the Wright County Board conducted a public hearing before a large audience. Comments were mostly in favor of the plan, but questions were raised.
Commissioner Chris Husom said the whole state is watching the project, which is an attempt to do something to stop or slow down aquatic invasive species (AIS). Husom said action is needed, especially in regard to starry stonewort.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Assistant Commissioner Bob Meier was on hand, and he said the whole nation is watching the project.
"I want you to be aware of what you are getting into. You are taking on a big responsibility," he said.
He commented that the project involves inspecting boats before going on a lake. Husom explained that boaters have a responsibility to inspect their boats after coming off a lake. The Regional AIS Inspection Plan is aimed at increasing awareness and informing boaters about "what to look for" when they perform their own lake exit inspections.
Alicia O'Hare, water resource specialist with the Wright Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), commented that experience at the inspection station (just off Highway 55 in the Annandale Business Park, 1300 Business Blvd.) will be documented and reported during the remaining 2017 boating season. Information will be provided to the DNR, which will decide whether or not to approved an application for 2018.
One concern is the possibility that boaters waiting in line to get their boats and trailers inspected might cause traffic delays. A question was raised about whether or not the inspection station will be staffed adequately during peak times.
A question about enforcement was also raised. Todd Hoffman, chief deputy of the Wright County Sheriff's Office, commented that the project takes a DNR responsibility and shifts it to the local level. The Sheriff's Office and Annandale Police Department do not know exactly what to expect but will do what they can, Hoffman said. He also brought up the possibility of the Parks Department helping with enforcement.
A question about exit inspections was raised. Would the money for the inspection project be better spent on inspecting boats as they leave the lakes? O'Hare said exit inspections on several lakes would cost much more. The project has one inspection site for boats before they go on the lakes.
Meier said there is no silver bullet for stopping AIS. But in Wright County, several people are willing to work together a try something. Meanwhile, the DNR wants to see how it works.
"We want to learn from this project," Meier said.
Commissioner Charlie Borrell asked about including a contingency plan for times when the inspection site is extremely busy.
Greg Kryzer, assistant county attorney, recommended addressing additions to the plan in the wintertime and going with the existing plan through the remaining 2017 boating season.
As the discussion was winding down, Commissioner Mike Potter said stopping AIS is a daunting task, but the inspection project is at least an attempt.
"We have nothing to lose by trying," he suggested. "We don't want this (AIS) to spread to other beautiful lakes."
With that, Potter offered a motion to accept the plan, and it was approved unanimously.
In other business:
The Board scheduled a public hearing on Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. to discuss a request from Advanced Disposal Inc. to rezone property from agricultural use to industrial use.
A similar request was made about two years ago when the company was planning to expand the Rolling Hills Landfill in the southwest corner of Monticello Township. When the request was being considered, and it appeared it would be denied, the zoning request was withdrawn.
In other actions, the Board:
• accepted a recommendation from the Personnel Committee to advertise a ditch coordinator position;
• adopted a resolution approving the Toward Zero Deaths grant of $27,300 for 2018 to enhance the traffic safety initiatives of the Sheriff's Office;
• authorized reclassifying one vacant account tech position to an office tech II position;
• received a request to hire a deputy due to an increase in the contract patrol hours for Montrose and Waverly; and
• approved filling a facility manger position and a land records administrator position.
Football teammates crowned Monday
Buffalo High School's Homecoming Queen is Danika Tweten (left), and the King is Alan Hernandez (right). They are both members of the football team. Tweten is a kicker, and Hernandez is a defensive lineman. The coronation took place last Monday, Sept. 18. (Photo by Rob LaPlante)
City's preliminary levy approved; several land parcels annexed
By Doug Voerding
As required by state law, the Buffalo City Council on Monday, Sept. 18 approved the 2018 preliminary levy for $7,906,723, an increase of $570,717 or 7.77 percent over last year.
The levy shows a general fund levy of $4,025,071, a debt levy of $3,037,374 and other levies of $844,278.
The largest proposed increase is $300,000 for a levy to "meet the costs on constructing, installation, maintenance, and operation of the City of Buffalo sewer disposal system." That part of the overall levy would establish funding for future improvements to the sewer system.
If the council does not change the preliminary levy, the increase in city taxes on a home with a taxable market value of $275,000 would be $7.28 for the year. If the taxable market value of that same home is increased by five percent to $288,750, the increase in city taxes would be $89.90 for the year.
Wright County will now use that information for the notices for the Truth in Taxation hearing. After that hearing in December, the council will approve a final levy, which can be lower, but not higher, than the preliminary levy.
Between now and December, the city council and city staff will be reviewing the 2018 capital project requests, the operating expenses and the overall expenditures in finer detail.
Comments at the hearing focused on the annexation of the Spike Farm, located west of Buffalo High School.
Judy Spike had several questions and said, "My main question is why? Is there a developer interested? Was it something we did?"
Spike also asked if they would be able to keep deferred green acres and keep the feed lot permit.
"Do we now have to follow the city's noise ordinance?" said Spike. "We run tractors late during harvest, and the drying bins run 24 hours a day for several days. And will our taxes go up 25 percent? Fifty percent?"
In response, City Attorney Susan Kadlec said the pre-existing use can continue, the green acres would continue and the county would still issue the feedlot permit.
"They can continue to farm as long as they want," said Kadlec. "The city has nothing to do with the sale of land for development."
Kadlec also said the estimated taxes on the two adjoining properties would increase from $2,218 to $4,810 per year.
After the public hearing, the council voted on annexing each of the six properties, as well as annexing six properties owned by the city.
Prior to the vote, Acting Mayor Scott Enter said, "We appreciate hearing from the property owners, but this annexation is completely allowed by state statute. We are not taking any land, and we are not forcing anyone out of business."
Earlier in the day, the city received three bids for the sale of $3,160,000 in general obligation water and sewer revenue bonds. The bond money will be used to finance various 2017 and 2018 water and sewer utility improvement projects.
Northland Securities was the low bidder at 2.2563 percent for the 15-year bonds.
The low interest rate was helped by the city's S&P Global Rating of "A+." That rating was improved further to "AA+" because the bonds are under the Minnesota State Enhancement Program.
On the recommendation of the Planning Commission, the council approved both a conditional use permit (CUP) and a planned unit development (PUD) to allow Wright County to construct a courts facility attached to the existing law enforcement center at 3800 Braddock Ave. NE. The courts facility will be 146,000 square feet.
The CUP is required for the height of the building, and the PUD is required because the building will extend over several separate land parcels.
The council also approved a CUP and a subdivision for David and Susan Backes to divide property on Swallow Lane into two parcels. The two parcels will meet city minimum lot standards but not conform to the minimum width at street frontage.
The approval required a 15-foot-wide driveway for street access to the subdivided lot, which is closest to Lake Pulaski.
In another action, the council extended for one year the conditional use permit and variance for property at 1477 Pulaski Road that will allow building on the lot.
During the open forum portion of the meeting, Karla Heeter of the Buffalo Hospital Foundation told the council about the upcoming Pink Street Party on Thursday, Oct. 5. This year, the event will be held entirely in the parking lot of the former Coborn's building and will include a laser light show rather than fireworks. Heeter said all of the money raised will go into the Community Cancer Care Fund of the Buffalo Hospital Foundation. The money is used to assist local residents who have money issues while being treated for cancer.
Buffalo resident Jim Tool addressed the council about costs and debt of Wild Marsh Golf Course. At the end of his presentation, Tool said his figures show the total budget deficit for Wild Marsh this year is $532,304.
Enter said, "Thank you for bringing this to the attention of the council. We are making baby steps, but I believe we are moving in the right direction."
After the meeting, City Administrator Mert Auger questioned the accuracy of Tool's figures and said he was planning to review the figures Tool presented with the city's finance department and with the city council.
The council approved the hiring of Katie Peterson, a Buffalo resident, as the Community Center Assistant Director. More than 35 people had applied for the position, which became vacant when Susan Johnson transferred to a position at city hall.
In other action, the council:
• agreed to the annexation of six properties owned by the city and nine other properties that are in Buffalo Township but are all surrounded by the city and served by the city with public services.
• approved a contract with the law firm of Halvorson, Langemo and Paschke of Buffalo for prosecuting attorney services for both the City of Buffalo and the City of Annandale. The $5,000 per month contract is for three years with a three-percent increase per year for the second and third years of the contract.
• certified delinquent taxes on one property to the county tax rolls.
The council accepted three donations for Bison Fishing Forever, including $100 from the Fishing Klinic for Kids, $25 from John and Charleen Zachman and $25 from an anonymous donor.
Roy and Jane Krueger recovering at home after struck by truck
By Ed DuBois
A Waverly couple who were struck by a pickup truck on Highway 12 during the evening of Sept. 7 are recovering and are home after hospital stays.
Roy Krueger, 57, said he sustained fractures in his pelvis and wrist and needed stitches on his head. He was taken to the Buffalo Hospital and then to the North Memorial Medical Center.
His wife, Jane, 40, suffered head trauma, broken ribs and back issues. She was taken to the Buffalo Hospital and then transferred to Mercy Hospital.
"We didn't see each other until Sunday (Sept. 10), when I was released and visited Jane at Mercy," Roy said.
They were both home as of Tuesday, Sept. 12, but they have been "bed or couch-ridden," Roy said.
Family and friends have been providing support, and Jane's brother set up a meal-delivery schedule through a website, meal train.com.
According to the State Patrol, a passenger car that was not involved with the Sept. 7 accident had stopped to allow pedestrians to cross Highway 12 in a marked crosswalk. A pickup truck passed the stopped car and struck two pedestrians, Roy and Jane. The incident occurred at Highway 12 and Elder Ave. SW in Waverly.
Rivers of Hope works to end abuse
(Editor's note: The following has been provided to this newspaper by the West Sherburne Tribune, Big Lake, Minn.)
Sherburne and Wright Counties are among the fastest growing in the State of Minnesota.
Problem is, so are the cases of domestic abuse.
Chris Pomerenke, in the chair for the past nine months as executive director of Rivers of Hope (ROH), points to it as a condition of our society.
In 2016, staffers of the non-profit organization attended to 1,200 cases of abuse with residents of the two counties.
"That includes people we had met with," said Pomerenke. "We had actual conversations with them - and we only counted them once."
Rivers of Hope, officed in downtown Monticello, has been around for 30 years.
By government and corporate grants and contributions from local residents and organizations, the organization lives on to listen to another story - and to help another person.
They are planning their giant fundraiser dinner - their fall ball, - headlined "Masquerade," at the Carousell Works in Big Lake Oct. 14. It's a time where everybody can help. See more details on that below.
Pomerenke sat this week and explained the role of Rivers of Hope, as it has joined efforts with law enforcement, the courts, schools and financiers, to better serve the residents of the two counties.
Into The Schools
Rivers of Hope for years was into just a few schools to do advocacy (counseling) work with students. That has flourished in just the past few years, as now they are in seven school districts in Wright County and two in Sherburne.
Annandale, Maple Lake, Rockford, Monticello, Buffalo, STMA, and Delano are served by them.
In Sherburne, Elk River and Big Lake schools host ROH staffers for specific time frames where students, having questions and can meet with advocates.
The organization, as a non-profit, doesn't have to answer all the questions staffers from public institutions, like schools do, so their interaction with students is on a more free basis.
"As to the need?" said Pomerenke. "I know for a fact we can have more people in our schools.
"The earlier children realize that it 'isn't them' when it comes to family abuse issues, the better the chance they can be helped."
She speaks of many instances where school counselors have referred students to ROH, which has one advocate for students in Sherburne and one for Wright.
There is the design of student curriculum that can help them deal with their issues.
"These (materials) are about healthy relationships, changing behavior," she said.
And the organization has been helpful in getting students with abuse issues out of their environments and placed in special learning situations, like the new Jane Goodall School of Environmental Sciences, in Annandale.
ROH has a continuing link with Open Doors of Elk River, the youth advocacy organization dealing with runaways after violence.
One ROH advocate has been seeing 80 students on a weekly basis through Open Doors.
ROH_has support groups in each county for students needing help.
"From year to year there are increases," she says "And the youth cases are going up with the population. There are all kinds of situations - eating disorders, cutting themselves, suicidal, running."
With The Cops
One of the most important advances ROH has made in recent years has been their increased visibility through the eight local policing departments in the counties - the two sheriff's and six city police departments.
All officers attending to potential abuse situations tell the victims about ROH and the services they provide.
They also conduct a "lethality assessment" of the aggressor, comprised of eight questions to them. If the officer determines the aggressor is capable of killing, they will automatically intervene with a ROH advocate.
"Some are giving us really strong support," Pomerenke said.
At The Office
In the past year, the organization has been able to secure volunteers to answer phones in a 24/7 crisis line.
Staffers are there by day and some evenings; volunteers carry the load weekends.
"Not all people will call right after an incident," says Pomerenke. "People will call when they are ready to make a change."
In the spring of 2016, ROH was able to develop a Safe House in the area, which they provide for families for short-term crisis housing.
Meanwhile, restraining orders will be placed on perpetrators. Advocates will follow victims through the court cases.
And legal assistance, many times from volunteering attorneys, can be available.
Help For The Board
The 15-member ROH Board currently has four openings due to recent retirements.
Boardmembers are sought due to their vocations - or expertises - which they can bring to deliberations. Pomerenke says there is need for persons representing the clergy, the legal professions, a school administrator, and a medical field professional.
Interested persons may contact her at the ROH office, 763-295-3433.
The Fall Ball
The ROH annual fall fundraiser ball, this year themed "Masquerade," is set for the Carousell Works in Big Lake Saturday, Oct. 14.
Sponsorships are available in any number of financial denominations, and individual tickets are available for $50. Go to riversofhope.org to order tickets. For more information, call 763-295-3433.
The program will consist, like all other fundraisers, of fun and money raising.
The effort that grips, however, will be the one from an abuse victim, terrified but willing to tell her story.
Grand opening makes new clinic official
By Ed DuBois
A grand opening officially welcomed the community to the new Allina Health Buffalo Crossroads Clinic.
Just before a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Dr. Andrew Burgdorf, lead physician at both Allina Health Clinics in Buffalo, introduced Wayne Hein of the Buffalo Art Guild. He told the audience Art Guild members have provided about 20 paintings and roughly 26 photographs to help decorate the walls throughout the new clinic.
The "Crossroads" name of the facility is related to the nearby Highway 55 and CSAH (County State Aid Highway) 35 crossroads. The name is also related to the ongoing development of Buffalo, which you could say is at a crossroads. The establishment of the new clinic represents a recognition that the community has been growing and will likely continue to grow.
Dr. Burgdorf mentioned the new facility has many of the latest features, including a high tech sound cancellation system to enhance patient confidentiality.
Along with Dr. Burgdorf, Dr. Dace Ehlenz spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, and he said legions of people in the background have played a big part in making the opening of the new clinic possible. He thanked them all.
Jennifer Myster, Buffalo Hospital president, spoke about how the hospital and the area clinics are all connected and integrated to provide top quality care.
Buffalo Mayor Teri Lachermeier kept her comments short and got right to the big moment, cutting the ribbon and allowing the public to go inside and look around.
"I get to be mayor when amazing things are happening in Buffalo. I am very blessed," she said.
The grand opening celebration for the community took place last Saturday, Sept. 16 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Everyone was invited to meet providers and staff, tour the building, hear music by West Metro Big Band, and participate in family-friendly fall activities, giveaways and more.
The new 14,000-square-foot clinic, which opened in late July, offers a more comfortable, efficient and healing environment for the community, Allina Health says. Located at 755 Crossroads Campus Drive, the clinic provides expanded family medicine service and an urgent care to help better serve patients in this area.
Learned to swim at age 83
Janet Lemp of Buffalo accomplished a goal of 21 laps only one year after her first swimming lesson
By Ed DuBois
At almost 83 years old last year, Janet Lemp had never learned to swim. She said she was afraid to get her face in the water, and even though she taught water aerobics seven years, she never went out of the shallow end of the pool.
For her 83rd birthday, Janet decided enough was enough. She signed up for swimming lessons with Rachel Busch at the fitness center in Buffalo, Fitness Evolution. Busch is the head coach of the Buffalo High School girls' swimming and diving team.
"She got me swimming before I ever knew it hit me," said Janet. "Rachel is patient and kind. She has a knack for teaching people how to swim."
One week was all it took. Janet was swimming after only three or four lessons.
Wanted to show her kids
"I set a goal," Janet recalled. "I wanted to swim 15 laps. That's close to half a mile. I wanted my kids to know I could still do something I never did before."
The whole family was at the pool last month on Aug. 25, the day before Janet's 84th birthday. They cheered her on as she set out to complete a newly revised goal of 21 laps. When she finished, she was delighted to hear she had actually completed 22 laps.
Her plan included seven freestyle laps, seven backstroke laps and seven freestyle laps.
"My kids and my grandkids were there cheering for me," Janet happily remembered.
"My son asked me if I could have done more. I said, 'Yes ... three maybe,'" she said.
Family members and a fitness center staff member posted photos on Facebook.
"My heart doctor is really proud of me," she joked.
Longtime fitness center member
Janet has been a member at the fitness center since the mid-1970s, she said. There was an interruption in 1986, when she and her husband, Bob, moved to Chicago. But they returned to Buffalo in 2001.
Bob worked in clothing sales. He passed away about five years ago. They had been married 59 years.
Janet is originally from Kentucky and still has a bit of a southern accent. She said her dad moved the family to Hamilton, Ohio, which is where Janet met Bob. They met in high school.
They raised four children, three boys and one girl. Janet said her daughter, Della, passed away due to cancer four years ago. Her sons include Jeff, who lives in Indiana, Shawn, a resident of Buffalo, and Robb, who lives in Illinois.
No pain in the water
Consistently showing up at the fitness center since 2001, Janet said the center has been very good to her.
"They have great water classes here for people my age. There is no pain when I am in the pool. The water classes are easy on the joints."
She swims and joins the classes three times a week. The water aerobics class usually includes around 20 people, and on Fridays, almost 30 people show up, Janet said.
She has not taught any classes since Bob died, but she enjoys being a participant.
"The classes are so good for people in my age group," she said.
Asked about a possible future goal, Janet said maybe someday she will try a mile, about 36 laps.
Who knows? She might even do it.