Herald Journal - Enterprise Dispatch - Delano Herald Journal
2008: The year in review July-December

January 12, 2009

DELANO, MN – Part two of the year in review takes a look back at 2008 from July to December, including the conclusion of road construction and the opening of the new Highway 12 bridge, among many other activities and happenings.

July

Local roads aren’t the only thing experiencing construction this summer – a major overhaul of trails and roads at Lake Rebecca Park Reserve northeast of Delano also began July 7.

The project will widen the existing seven miles of paved trails from 8 to 10 feet, reduce trail slopes to increase accessibility for all physical abilities, improve sight lines and riding conditions, as well as reconstruct the park roads and parking lots . . .

The 40th Miss Delano, Alex Forster, was crowned during the Fourth of July Celebration festivities in Delano. Katie Stevens and Angie Snaza were crowned princesses . . .

Pastor Matt Sipe conducted his first service at Delano United Methodist Church . . .

The fifth annual Breeze for Needs Motorcycle Ride in memory of Dave Johnson was July 19. Dave was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma, which metastasized in his lungs January of 2003, only a few months before he and his wife, Jan Johnson, were planning to take an early retirement . . .

Commuters and those traveling Highway 12 between Delano and the Twin Cities can expect more than one construction project to potentially slow them down this summer.

Extensive repairs to a four-mile stretch of Highway 12 between Wayzata Boulevard in Wayzata and Interstate 494 in Minnetonka began July 7, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) . . .

End abutments for the Crow River bridge are completed, with bridge work being on schedule, and other road work being on or ahead of schedule, according to a report given to the Delano City Council . . .

Before the sun rises, Tom Holt is out of bed and heading to Delano from his hometown of Lindstrom.

As the superintendent for Park Construction, it is Holt’s responsibility to oversee daily road construction operations. Park Construction is the general contractor for the current US Trunk Highway 12 construction in Delano . . .

Just as Megan Custer, a 2007 graduate of Delano High School, was beginning to spread her wings and fly, this self-proclaimed number one fan of the Minnesota Wild, had to make a quick return to the family nest in Loretto.

A tumor was found in her chest, on her lungs and heart, the size of a football. It was wrapped around her throat and was constricting her trachea, as well as limiting her oxygen supply . . .

The first-ever Taste of Delano, an effort by the Delano Area Chamber of Commerce’s Highway 12 Task Force, was a big success. The event showcased restaurants from the Delano area and also provided plenty of family fun.

August

Fire destroyed a million-dollar home on Polo Club Road in Independence the afternoon of July 27.

The fire was called in just before noon, and when Officer Stephanie Heupel from West Hennepin Public Safety (WHPS) arrived, she observed flames coming out of the roof in the center portion of the residence on the outside wall . . .

This year, the Delano Relay for Life raised the highest amount it has since its beginning four years ago. So far, more than $103,000 has been raised, and donations are still being received.

Cancer affects millions of people around the world, and has touched the lives of many Delano residents, including Jeanne and Gary Zitzloff. Circle of Hope is the name of their Relay for Life team, and this year, the team raised more than $7,000, putting them in first place for fundraising out of the 32 teams in Delano . . .

When 5-year-old Justin May of Delano auditioned for the Wright County Fair Talent Show, he wasn’t shy at all. This irresistibly cute boy not only received a spot in the talent show, but ended up taking first place in the “pre-teen 12-years and under” division . . .

The largest employer in Montrose, ABC Truss, closed its facility Aug. 29 . . .

Minnesota high school students achieved the highest average ACT (American College Test) score in the nation in 2008, and it’s safe to say Delano Schools is one of the highest-scoring schools in the state. On a 36-point grading scale, Delano Schools had a composite score of 24 . . .

Deacon Joe Kittok, a man who is known for strong Catholic faith, or possibly his recognizable beard, could just as well be known for his dedication to preserving a piece of history – St. Peter’s Catholic Cemetery. Located west of Delano on 72nd Street, the property was the burial place for the 2-year-old son of early settler Joseph Matter. Eventually, the first St. Peter’s Catholic Church was built near this burial site, with its first service taking place March, 18 1866 . . .

September

Members of the Delano School Board reviewed minor changes to the agreement for the purchase of 5.84 acres of land by the school district from the city for $1 for future building construction at its regular school board meeting.

Superintendent Dr. John Sweet also explained there is interest from the city that, in the event the school district does not build a classroom structure on the site in 20 years, the land could go back to the city . . .

The Delano Area Chamber of Commerce will be hosting the 2008 Fall Harvest Festival Friday, Sept. 26 and Saturday, Sept. 27 in Delano . . .

Rather than prepare for fall classes this fall, Alicia Pearson of Delano, embarked on a mission that will affect more than 60,000 young people across the country.

For an entire year, Pearson will serve as a traveling missionary with the National Evangelization Team (NET) Ministries . . .

Delano Elementary School is one of eight schools named a Minnesota School of Excellence by the Minnesota Elementary School Principals Association (MESPA) . . .

Heidi Rensink was honored as the Delano Relay for Life’s honorary survivor . . .

The wheels on the bus have been successfully going round and round for the Stahlke family of Delano for 60 years.

For Stahlke Bus Service, those wheels have been successfully turning for both the Stahlke family and the Delano community. Ensuring children get to and from school safely is no easy task, but Mel and Julie Bernick’s company has been more than just trustworthy transportation throughout the years – they have been a strong part of the community . . .

What began as a self-serve fruit and produce stand on the side of Curt and Helen Peterson’s driveway has become Fall Harvest Orchard – where they don’t just sell apples – they offer an experience. The orchard allows families the chance to wander leisurely and visit goats, chickens, cows, and other various animals . . .

Voters managed to knock out a few candidates in the fall election, including former Delano mayor Jon Stienmetz, in one of the races for Wright County commissioner. Jack Russek and Matt Walker will move on to the regular election . . .

A new business in Delano, T Mat Consulting, specializes in quality improvement services, helping companies to achieve greater customer satisfaction and bottom-line results . . .

Sarah Bingea and Jake Bohler were named homecoming queen and king at ceremonies at Delano High School . . .

Wright County ranked sixth in the state for the number of foreclosures in 2007, and the number is expected to nearly double this year . . .

Beginning as 250 apple trees planted on 50th Street and a small apple cart alongside the road soon became 10,000 trees with 29 Minnesota apple varieties – a place now well-known in the area as Apple Jack Orchard. Kit and Mike Dekarski, as well as Kit’s parents, Jack and Leah Kelly, didn’t initially envision the orchard as it is today . . .

Phase one of the three-phase project reconstructing County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 17 south of Delano is nearing completion.

October

Three students from Delano Middle School recently joined forces to help the family of Ricky Cummings.

Cummings died Sept. 17 when he was electrocuted after coming in contact with a high voltage electricity line at the Xcel Energy nuclear generating plant in Monticello, according to the Wright County Sheriff’s Office. When sixth grade students Allison Schoepke, Julia Schansberg, and Maggie Marcus heard about this tragedy, they immediately thought of their fellow classmate, Cole Cummings, who is Ricky’s son . . .

With the push of a secret button, a train horn sounds, and the train that circles Dave’s Town Club on a daily basis is off and running down its tracks. A new engine that was donated by Crow River Bank recently gave that train a little more steam – and the ability to pull more cars, many of which advertise local businesses . . .

Two people died following an accident on what is locally known as the “backage road” west of the Peppermint Twist in Delano . . .

The issue of overcrowding is affecting all three of Delano Public School buildings, but it is currently more prevalent in the high school.

“Our school is designed for 700 students,” said Delano High School principal Matt Schoen. “We are hovering right around 770 now.”

John McCain for . . . school board? No, it’s not a misprint on the ballot. John McCain of rural Delano is running for one of five open positions on the Watertown-Mayer School Board. McCain lives in northern Carver County in Watertown Township, but has a Delano address . . .

For Jim Herzog of Delano, it’s not the color, size, or outward appearance of the suitcases that is important – it’s what’s inside them and where they go. Herzog packs each suitcase with up to 50 pounds of much needed medical supplies, donated by major hospitals, for trips to Bosnia, and those suitcases don’t come back . . .

After more than half a year of road construction, detours, and a slowdown in business for some local establishments – the end is near. Delano city officials are planning a large grand reopening ceremony that is set to take place in conjunction with the opening of the newly-constructed Highway 12 bridge in Delano that spans the Crow River, as well as the corridor throughout town . . .

Beginning Halloween night, one may notice something different in front of Retro Roast and Fountain in Loretto. No, it won’t be a new type of coffee advertised on their sign out front – it will be a tent. The tent will be home to three young men who plan on sleep outdoors while raising funds for Love INC Heartland . . .

It’s not every day that a college student has the chance to meet a former president. Brittany Locklear, the daughter of Bruce and Dawn Locklear, is a 2006 Delano High School graduate attending Georgetown College in Georgetown, KY, and a member of the Georgetown varsity golf team. Recently, former President George H.W. Bush visited Georgetown College because its recreation center was being named after him in honor of The First Tee Program . . .

After growing up on a farm about two miles west of Delano, it should be no surprise that Angie (Muckenhirn) Van Lith became accustomed to helping out at an early age, and has continued to lend a hand throughout the community in countless ways . . .

The newly-constructed Highway 12 bridge opened for traffic Oct. 25, including the first official vehicle across the bridge, which was a large truck sponsored by Randy’s Environmental Services and highlighting Delano businesses and residents . . .

November

After 35 years, Ed Williams will be retiring from Delano Municipal Utilities . . .

An approval by the Independence City Council to rezone 23 acres along Highway 12 and County Line Road from agricultural to commercial/industrial caused a packed council chamber to empty abruptly.

In what was said to be an issue of time for Ryan Companies, a Twin Cities-area developer seeking to build a commercial development in that area, a decision was made on a 4 to 1 vote by the council, with Council Member Lynn Betts voting against the request, saying it was the right purpose, but not the right time . . .

Following the resignation of school board member Lorrie Mulholland due to job commitments, a draw of the cards was conducted and candidate Amy Johnson was appointed to fill the remaining months of Mulholland’s term on the board . . .

A 17-year-old girl named Belinda VanLith from northern Wright County disappeared in 1974, and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is making a new effort to find information about her case.

The bureau has released cold case playing cards that highlight VanLith’s case and 51 other cold cases. These cases include violent, unsolved homicides, missing persons and unidentified remains cases that have occurred throughout the state over the past 50 years . . .

One incumbent will continue serving on the Delano City Council for another term, and one newcomer will join the group following the election Tuesday.

Newcomer Betsy Stolfa received the highest number of votes in the race with 1,078, and incumbent Holly Schrupp came in second with 887. Both were elected to four-year terms on the city council and will be administered the oath of office in early January. Sam Nelson and Amy Johnson were elected to their first terms on the Delano School Board, and incumbents Peter Brasket and Sarah Gallagher also reclaimed their seats . . .

Delano Middle School sixth grade teacher Rick Haley recently lent his voice and love of nature to WCCO Radio’s Nature Notes program . . .

After many years working for other companies, Amy Stewart of Delano decided to take her experience and expertise and open her own business – Maratona Communication . . .

There’s an angel holding together a Zimmerman family, formerly of Rockford. This angel is an adorable baby girl, born prematurely, weighing only one pound, 12 ounces. When her tiny fingers grasp the hands of her grandmother, Kari Palashewski, she gives a glimmer of hope to a grieving family.

The infant’s mother, 22-year-old Jamie Baer, a 2004 graduate of Rockford High School, was a passenger in the backseat of a 1999 Ford Mustang involved in a traffic accident Aug. 21. This young woman, known for her energetic personality, fought for her life, but lost the battle 25 days later . . .

December

On a split-vote, the Delano School Board voted to limit open enrollment for the 2009-10 school year.

This year, Delano has had 17 students open enroll into the district in grades one through 12, and 15 students in kindergarten. By law, school districts cannot limit open enrollment completely, but it can be limited to 1 percent of the total enrollment at a given grade level . . .

“Silverado.” The word means different things to different people. For John Tackaberry of Star West in Delano, it means beauty, peace, and happiness. That is why he chose the name “Silverado” for the large horse recently placed at his business on Highway 12 . . .

Jeremy Baker deals with life-and-death situations every day. As a communications officer at the dispatch center in Buffalo, Baker and his co-workers answer all the 911 calls in Wright Count . . .

The Delano Area Sports Arena (DASA) board members are smiling this winter, and for good reason. Since the arena’s opening day Super Bowl Sunday 1990, the DASA board members have been grinding their gears in planning the addition of an enclosed observation deck at the current arena.

Those plans became a reality this fall, when remodeling of the vacant area that sits above the arena lobby, restrooms, and concession area at the west side of the building resulted in that observation deck . . .

Ted May is named Delano’s citizen of the year by the General Federated Women’s Club of Delano. For 20 years, Ted May had the greatest job in the world. Walking the halls as the principal of Delano High School was exactly where he always wanted to be. For him, Delano felt like home the day he arrived in 1982 . . .

Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officer Emily Larson arrived home Dec. 14 after several months stationed in Iraq.

Though she will be returning Dec. 30 to Joint Base Balad, just north of Baghdad, she is thankful to be with her family. Emily has lived in Delano her whole life, and graduated from Delano High School in 1984. Her husband, Everett Larson, and their two children actually live in the home she grew up in . . .

Delano graduate Amy Gallus was one of 12 teachers from across the country to receive the 2009 NCEA (National Catholic Educational Association) distinguished teacher award . . .

A scaled-back version of plans for a hotel and banquet center in Delano was discussed at the Delano Area Chamber of Commerce’s Highway 12 Task Force meeting.

Tom Schaffer of Crow River Hospitality and USAquatics said plans have been in the works for a facility for several years. The project will be located on 3.6 acres of land along Highway 12 between Ridgeview Medical Clinic and Delano Crossings that is owned by the investment group.


 

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