Herald Journal - Enterprise Dispatch - Delano Herald Journal
2009 Year-End Review – Part Two

Jan. 11, 2009

This week, we look back at 2009 from July to December as part two of the year in review takes place.


Erin Nolan was crowned Miss Delano 2009-10 at the Delano Royalty Organization’s coronation. Bethany Locklear and Devin Weinzierl were crowned princesses.

Three local couples observe 60 years of marital bliss. Walter and Mary Grotz of Delano, John and Mary Olson of Maple Plain and Pete and Pat Theis of Delano all celebrated their 60th wedding anniversaries.

A surprised Alex Roeser was honored with the Minneapolis Aquatennial Honorary Commodore Award for his years of volunteerism and dedication to Delano. Earlier, Roeser was also presented a presidential medallion from the Minnesota Jaycees for his dedication to the Delano Jaycees.

Delano’s Citizen of the Year Ted May received an American Flag from the Delano American Legion Commander.

Former Miss Delano Alex Forster was crowned Queen of the Lakes at the Minneapolis Aquatennial. She will now spend the upcoming year representing the Aquatennial at numerous event and functions across the state and nation.

At a special workshop meeting June 30, the Delano City Council approved a resolution to apply for a $770,000 bond to fund Phase 2 of the Highway 12/Bridge Avenue project, which is set to begin Tuesday.

When Tom Emmer’s sister passed away from cancer nine years ago, that moment not only changed his perspective on life, but also influenced his recent decision to throw his name into the running for the Republican endorsement to be the next governor of Minnesota. With an announcement last Monday, the three-term state representative and attorney entered a field that already includes a number of hopefuls. Rep. Paul Kohls of Victoria, Sen. Mike Jungbauer of East Bethel, former state Rep. Bill Haas of Champlin, and Rep. Marty Siefert of Marshall have also announced their intent to seek the Republican endorsement for governor of Minnesota.

Located on River Street between Curves and Taekwondo, Linnie’s Ice Cream is ready for business. The shop is owned by Jon and Sheri Steinmetz of Delano.

The next five days will likely be the toughest for Delano of this construction period, as crews prepare to do deep utility work on Bridge Avenue, limiting access into downtown Delano and across the Crow River bridge.


Delano School Board learned of the resignation of one of its own at last Monday’s meeting at the Delano City Hall. Sarah Gallagher, who has served on the school board since being elected in fall 2004, tendered her resignation.

For Bill and Heidi Rosati of Loretto, the doors on their business, Retro Roast and Fountain, may have closed, but the memories and spirit of community live on. After opening in 2003, wanting to appeal to baby boomers, parents, and kids from teens to infants, they added special programs such as the Retro Reader, local musicians on the patio, and hosted large charity events, creating regular customers from as far as 90 miles away.

Longtime Delano Athletic’s scorekeeper Tim Zabel has decided to retire from the A’s at the end of the season. The team honored Zabel for his decades of dedication.

Despite a rain delay midway through the event, the fifth annual Relay for Life in Delano was a success.

The Delano Friends of the Library and a group of concerned citizens have initiated a “letter a day” campaign. The goal of the campaign is to share with GRRL decision-makers the importance of the branch manager in Delano.

When Jackson and Melissa Brandts of Watertown took a vacation recently in Canada, they didn’t think the Internet audience would go nuts over a curious squirrel in the picture. The couple were posed with a camera timer when the little critter crawled up and into the picture. The photo is currently a No. 1 search response for Google.

Pioneer Creek’s Mark Ellingson (a 1988 Delano graduate) rubbed shoulders with golf’s best as a volunteer at the PGA Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club.

The Church of St. Mary’s of Czestochowa is 125 this year, and to celebrate, the church is having a prayer service and lunch.

Delano’s Justin May recently placed third in the Wright County Fair talent show in the “all ages” division.

Brad Spencer was recently awarded a plaque commemorating six years of service on the Independence Planning Commission.

Middle school students, Wyatt Russek and August Otto, also known as “Men in the Garden” or M.I.G., are learning tasty life lessons about sustainable living while tending to an organic garden in Delano. Haberman and Associates, a public relations firm in Minneapolis, sponsors the garden.

Four Herald Journal employees advance to the state baseball tournament. Loretto’s Matt Kane, Dassel-Cokato’s Dan Birkholz, Winsted’s Aaron Schultz, and Glencoe’s Stephen Wiblemo will all participate in this year’s state tourney.

The Delano School Board appointed Lisa Seguin to the Board out of a larger pool of 11 candidtates. Seguin will fill the term of Sarah Gallagher.

While on a mission to bring joy to children at an Indian reservation in North Dakota, Delano students and adult leaders discovered that the joy flowed back into their own lives, as well. “Whatever life hands you, joy can be found,” said Ellen Bauman, director of youth ministry at the Church of St. Peter and St. Joseph in Delano. “It was fun to be able to witness that.” Bauman, along with five students, took the first trip to Spirit Lake Nation reservation, south of Devil’s Lake, July 5-10. For the second trip, July 19-24, six students and two adult leaders participated.


Wrap your taste buds around a juicy, handmade burger from the Peppermint Twist in Delano, and you’ll be savoring one of the best burgers in the Twin Cities area. The burgers scored fourth among “thin burgers” in the August issue of Mpls.St.Paul Magazine.

Looking forward to Saturday, Oct. 10, members of the Delano Area Chamber of Commerce Highway 12 Task Force are planning a “When the west was done” celebration complete with food, live music, and more to commemorate the completion of the final phase of Highway 12 road construction in Delano.

As a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train was traveling westbound from the Twin Cities toward Delano, a boxcar several cars back from the engine of the train caught fire. After the Delano Fire Department cooled the car down and extinguished the fire, it was reconnected to the rest of the train and pulled by its engine to Howard Lake, where it was dropped off.

Eight-year old Morgan Miller and her sister, Jayna, who is almost 7, wanted to help children who don’t have hair, so they set out to grow their hair and donate it. Learning about cildre with cancer and other medical conditions inspired the girls to donate to Locks of Love.

Delano Mayor Joe McDonald issued a formal proclamation honoring Alex Forster for all she has done to represent Delano as 2008-09 Miss Delano, and then 2010 Minneapolis Aquatennial Queen of the Lakes and Miss Congeniality.

Loretto Mayor Barry Andersen officially cut the ribbon for a trail system through Loretto, which is done up to city limits, and expected to be completed by December.

Nate Triplett has become a popular player for the Minnesota Gophers recently. Triplett is three games into his senior season, and, judging by his early-season statistics, life has been very good for the 2005 Delano graduate.

Kirby Crofutt and Dirk Meyer were crowned this year’s homecoming queen and king during Delano’s coronation.

When Bobby Crofutt’s youngest daughter, Kirby, was crowned Delano High School’s homecoming queen last week, she became the third Crofutt woman to wear the crown. Her older sister, Kylie as the 2007-08 queen and her mother, Katy, was the 1979-80 queen.

To help with mounting medical costs for Betsy Elsen, a young woman from Delano with cancer, a benefit is set for Sunday, Sept. 27 at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Delano. The event, Betsy’s Walk and Roll, promises to be a fun day of music, food, and fellowship, complete with a craft sale, 5k run, pork dinner, and more.

Want to see a first-rate school? Look no further than Delano High School, one of six Minnesota public schools named a 2009 Blue Ribbon School by the US Department of Education Tuesday. “We’re extremely excited,” Principal Matt Schoen said. “I really want to congratulate the staff, students, parents, and people in the community. They have been so supportive.”

Delano’s newest resident will have no fewer than five special fathers following her exciting entry into the world the early morning hours of Sept. 13. Ellie Jayne Fix, the daughter of Kevin and Jessica Fix of Delano, was brought into the world by two Ridgeview paramedics and three Delano firefighters.

The importance of music in education brought a special visit from Miss Minnesota Brooke Kilgarriff to Delano Elementary School Wednesday. Third grade teacher Leah (Sinkel) Petersen is in the process of obtaining her master’s degree in elementary education, and is writing her thesis on “the importance of music in education.” Petersen invited Kilgarriff, 21, to speak to all seven sections of Delano Elementary third graders about the importance of music in education, and she spoke about how music helps one learn, and ways to implement music into the learning process, and attain a lifelong love for music.


In the game of chess, the object of the game is to checkmate your opponent’s king, but for Drew Solomonson, the game became one of togetherness for the Delano seventh grader and his mentor, Sam Nelson. Sadly, Solomonson’s chess partner and mentor Nelson passed away peacefully Oct. 4 at his Delano residence. Nelson and Solomonson were part of the Connecting Links Mentorship program at Delano Public Schools. Nelson was elected to the Delano School Board in November 2008, and took his seat in January of this year.

Along with his involvement in the school system and Legion, Nelson had also been on the Delano Municipal Utilities Commission since his appointment in 2002. He was named secretary of the commission in 2003.

At Tuesday’s Delano City Council meeting, a moment of silence was observed for Nelson.

“He was so active and such a great man, who will be dearly missed,” commented Mayor Joe McDonald at the meeting. “We sure loved Sam . . . when he spoke, he had a gentle voice and such a presence. He will be dearly missed in the City of Delano.”

For Linda Motzko and her family, the past 30 years have been filled with picture-perfect memories at Linda’s Photography in Delano. “It’s been 30 years of connecting with families,” Motzko said. “What we do is so precious and so important.” She estimates that her studio has done a total of about 35,000 sessions throughout the years.

The end of the final phase of Highway 12 road construction is upon us, and a large community celebration is planned for Saturday night. This spring, it was a “How The West Was One” celebration that took place at the Delano American Legion. Now, for Saturday’s event, members of the Delano Area Chamber of Commerce Highway 12 Task Force have planned a community-wide free “When The West Was Done” celebration, complete with food specials, live music, and more to commemorate the completion of the final phase of Highway 12 road construction in Delano.

A 2.06 percent proposed levy increase from last year was approved at the Delano School Board meeting Sept. 28. Director of Business Affairs Sarah Miller said the increase is due to student numbers going up, which, overall, is a good thing.

It’s rare to find a wildlife painter with the talent of Bob Hautman of Delano, who won second place in the Minnesota 2010 Migratory Waterfowl Stamp (Duck Stamp) contest, but to find three brothers who all have award-winning painting skills is almost unheard of. At last count, Bob and his brothers, Jim and Joe, have had their art featured on more than 40 state and federal conservation stamps.

Sixty years ago, the Delano High School class of 1949 graduated and went their separate ways, but that hasn’t stopped them from getting together once a year to catch up and remember the “good old days.” Fifteen of the 43 original graduates met at the Delano Pizza Ranch Oct. 1.

The vacancy created on the Delano School Board with the passing of Sam Nelson is expected to be appointed at tonight’s meeting. Joy Bodin, who applied for the previous opening, has been asked to fill that vacancy and she has agreed to serve, according to Delano Public Schools Superintendent Dr. John Sweet.

There are some things even cancer can’t take away, and the blessing of true friendships is one of them. Toni Diem of Delano was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007. A recurrence was detected about a month ago, and this time, it spread to her liver. When she heard the news, Diem couldn’t help but feel a twinge of despair. Determined to help Diem in any way they could, friends and neighbors spent Oct. 16-18 revamping Diem’s home with new furniture, paint, cabinets, curtains, and other accessories.

The first Delano Area Community Garden produced an abundance of flowers and food for participants. Some organizations donated their goods to the local food shelf.

Delano Senior High student Melissa Hedtke was named a semi-finalist in the National Merit Scholarship Program.

Loretto Larks manager Herb Koch Sr. was honored as the North Star League Manager of the Year. Koch also received the Mike Downes Memorial Award at the Minnesota Baseball Association’s annual meeting for his lifetime service in Minnesota amateur baseball.

Woodland Meadows Park will now be known as Barb King Inspiration Park. The Delano Park Commission and Landscape Structures, of which King was the co-founder and CEO, have been in discussion for months on the proposal. King passed away in March after a battle with cancer.

It was announced that Delano Middle School teacher, Rebecca Rue, was selected as Delano Public Schools 2009 Teacher of the Year.

One of Dave Zitzloff’s favorite places will now bear his name, following the decision of the Delano City Council to rename the Manor Baseball Field as the “Dave Zitzloff Ballfield.”

In a weird twist of fate, Delano’s two doubles teams met in the semifinals of the Class 2AA tournament. The result may have surprised many, as the North Subsection’s second-seeded team of Ashlee Finn-Bruhn and Abby Farniok were defeated by the sixth-seeded team of Katelyn Knudson and Jordan Meyer in two sets.


A passenger rail system could be a “common sense” solution to heavy traffic on Highway 12, and cities along the proposed Little Crow Transit Way route have voiced their approval for further study of the idea. The commuter rail would utilize the current Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad, transporting passengers from Willmar to Minneapolis, with stops along the way.

A couple short weeks ago, Delano utility officials had been excited about the prospect of a new coal plant in South Dakota that would provide 30 percent of Delano’s energy needs. However, participating utilities announced last Monday that the project required additional participants in order to move forward, but none were found.

Delano’s third straight trip to the Class AA state volleyball tournament resulted in a second-place finish this year.

Noted sculptor Zoran Mojsilov of Minneapolis has made a temporary home in a small shed on the old Granite Works property in Delano as he works on two entrance monuments for the city. The monuments will feature three stones in two groups, and be located on the north and south points of the Highway 12/Bridge Avenue intersection. Mojsilov said his goal is for the monument to be used as a landmark to direct people into downtown Delano.

The American Volleyball Coaches Association announced that Delano senior Molly Kreklow was a first-team selection and Delano senior Kayla Koenecke was an honorable mention selection on the fourth annual Under Armour Girls High School All-American Team.

During her 10-month deployment to Iraq, Emily Larson was known as an Army National Guard chief warrant officer, but to her two young children, she’s simply, “mom.” On Veterans Day, Wednesday, Nov. 11, Larson plans to share her experiences with the first graders at Delano Elementary School.

Sam Nelson’s recent passing left a vacancy on the Delano school board, which has been filled by Joy Bodin. She has been a resident of Delano the past nine years and is the director of marketing and admissions at Hennepin Technical College.

A Buffalo man and a 17-year old Montrose juvenile were taken into custody following a shooting incident near Buffalo. Sandra Holtze, 67, of Buffalo had been traveling westbound on Highway 55, when a bullet entered her car and struck her leg, according to the Wright County Sheriff’s Office. She was transported to Buffalo Hospital, treated and released. William John Laplant, 19, or Buffalo and the juvenile male from Montrose were arrested and booked in connection with the shooting. It was indicated to the officers the two had gone into the field to hunt. The juvenile said he saw a deer and shot at it a few times.

Lynn Betts, an incumbent, and Brad Spencer, a newcomer to the city council, will serve four-year terms on the Independence City Council.

The Business Development Committee of the Delano Area Chamber of Commerce is again planning the Christmas tree lighting in downtown Delano on Thanksgiving evening this year.

A driving complaint that was called in to authorities by a Loretto woman led to a short pursuit and arrest of a Monticello woman near Delano Nov. 5 just before 5 p.m. The driver of the vehicle, Monica Mary Margaret Say, 29, of Monticello, refused to stop, and continued another 4.5 miles, nearly causing numerous accidents, according to WHPS.

Irene Gardner of Delano is a cheerful woman with decades of memories linking her to the Delano community. Many people might remember Irene from the Delano State Bank, where she worked for 51 years.

Three Rivers Park District has worked to reduce the impact of a natural gas pipeline project that will run through the Delano area and Lake Rebecca Park Reserve. Northern Natural Gas Company (NNG) has begun an expansion of its natural gas pipeline that intersects Lake Rebecca Park Reserve in western Hennepin County, according to a Three Rivers Park District news release. The expansion involves the abandonment of one current pipeline and the construction of a new, larger pipeline.

Family activities for all ages are planned throughout downtown Delano at the first-ever old-fashioned Christmas Saturday, Dec. 5. Planned by the Delano Arts and Culture Council, the day will highlight artists showing and selling their art, old fashioned decorations at the Heritage Center, stories, music, wagon rides, and even a tea party.

There will be an abundance of local talent at the Church of St. Peter in Delano this weekend, with three performances of a one-act opera called “Amahl and the Night Visitors.” Enchanting characterization, convincing costumes, and powerful music unite in this popular play that’s performed throughout the world each Christmas season.


Negotiations have been underway since September between the Delano School District and the Delano Teachers Association (DTA) for a contract agreement for 2009-10.

The first old-fashioned Christmas in downtown Delano event was a success, with many people taking part, enjoying an art walk, live Christmas Story windows, caroling, visiting with Santa and much more. Planned by the Delano Area Council for Art and Culture, organizers hope to make it an annual event.

Five players from the Delano football team were named to the Wright County Conference’s all-conference team. Players included Jake Raskob, Darius Clare, Mac Alger, Will Finn, and Nick Jacobs.

A fire that consumed an eight-unit apartment building in downtown Loretto began shortly before noon and burned well into the evening hours, displacing ten people from their home, days before Christmas. Nineteen fire departments were called in to assist the Loretto Fire Department in battling the blaze. Somewhat of a Loretto landmark, the apartment building had served a number of purposes over the years. Before being converted into an apartment complex, the building was the former home of DeWerd General Store, Saloon, and Machinery and Van Beusekom General/Grocery Store.

When Linda’s Photography of Delano was chosen as the official photographer for the “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” project in St. Paul, owner Linda Motzko was excited for the opportunity to help a family in need.

The old mural outside of Schnell’s Saddle Shop in downtown Delano has been turning heads lately, ever since McKay Elwood renovated the sign for his Eagle Scout project. Delano resident Ten Ganzel helped with the layout.


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