By Gabe Licht
As the year winds down, it’s a good time to look back at the last year in the Delano Herald Journal.
This edition showcases highlights from the communities the newspaper covers, large news events and other milestones from July to December 2014.
Obituaries in Review pay tribute to loved ones lost in the final six months of 2014 on pages 7-8A.
• Despite the flooded Crow River, Delano’s Fourth of July festivities went on. A girl named Madeline, representing the Wishes & More organization, was grand marshal of the parade.
• The Delano Royalty Organization won the 2014 Bill Diem Memorial Chairman’s Award.
• Jeffrey John Plzak, 52, of Delano, pleaded guilty to felony false statements in connection with prevailing wage violations.
• Delano Ambassador Victoria Hagen, daughter of Jeffery and Deborah Hagen; Montrose Ambassador Miranda Krause, daughter of Jeff and Barb Krause; and Wright County Fairest of the Fair Ambassador McCall Kleve, daughter of Dan and Julie Kleve, participated in the Minneapolis Aquaten-nial.
• Delano Area Chamber of Commerce Director Jean Yunker Kopp resigned to take a full-time job in the Twin Cities area.
• Delano mourned the loss of Harlan Lewis, who passed away at age 72 after years of volunteering and advocating for Delano.
• Tim Zabel, who was battling cancer, was honored at a Delano Athletics baseball game.
• Delano hosted the Relay for Life, where Craig Schansberg was the honorary survivor.
• Fred and Julie Brightman restored a 1967 Camaro for Darlene and Cary Garmann, whose 9-year-old daughter Karee Jo had been battling cancer. The car was presented at a Delano car show that raised $3,075 for Make-A-Wish Minnesota.
• Trailblazer Transit began serving Wright County after RiverRider Transit was discontinued.
• Delano Area Chamber of Commerce hosted Taste of Delano in Central Park.
• Ground was broken for a 54-room Grandstay Hotel at the corner of Highway 12 and 13th Street in Delano.
• Authorities investigated damage done at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Delano and were able to arrest one of three individuals believed to have been involved.
• Delano Cub Scout Pack 273 hosted a bicycle rodeo and BMX stunt show at Delano Elementary School.
• The Delano Fire Department hosted the local National Night Out event.
• Montrose hosted Montrose Days.
• Robert J. Brau, 21, of Willmar, was killed in a head-on crash between a car and a motorcycle near the intersection of Zephyr Avenue and Highway 12 in Montrose.
• Lloyd Griep retired from State Farm after 42 years and Bryce Deter became Delano’s local agent.
• A bomb threat was investigated at CVS Pharmacy.
• Golden LivingCenter welcomed Shannon Donahue as its new executive director.
• A total of 21 new teachers joined the staff at Delano Public Schools.
• Delano Herald Journal editor Ryan Guenningsman resigned to become executive director of the Delano Area Chamber of Commerce.
• The Wuerger family opened Apple Tree-O orchard near Delano.
• Green Dream began raising funds for new trees in downtown Delano, with a goal of $1,000 by mid-September.
• Loretto hosted Loretto Fun Fest.
• Five students and two adults from Delano traveled to Uganda to build a science lab at Our Lady of Guadalupe School in Uganda.
• Jordan Pardee became pastor of student ministries at Maple Plain Community Church.
• The body of a man from the metro area was recovered from Lake Independence.
• Minnesota Lakes Bank purchased Crow River Bank, including the Delano location.
• Delano Girl Scout Meghan Minor earned a Gold Award with a historical scrapbook about the Delano Girl Scouts.
• Downtown Delano hosted the Fall Heritage Festival.
• Coborn’s in Delano was honored by the Helping Hands Food Shelf in Delano and Second Harvest Heartland for the store’s contributions to the local food shelf.
• The homestead of Bill and Gerry Horsch celebrated 150 years of being in the family.
• The Light homestead in Watertown Township was recognized for being in the family for 150 years.
• Vintage on Bridge opened in downtown Delano.
• Gabe Licht became editor of the Delano Herald Journal.
• Former Delano resident Trudi (Sexton) Porter had her photography exhibited at the Winsted Arts Council.
• Students began using the Tiger Trail from Elm Avenue to Wright County Road 30 to go to and from school.
• Delano resident Chrissy Taylor was recognized for her Taylor House blog, which focuses on easy recipes for busy moms.
• Ricky Bury and Bria Barfnecht were crowned homecoming king and queen at Delano High School.
• Taylor Hedtke was honored as a 2014 National Merit Semifinalist by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.
• Delano American Legion Post member Willard Sipe won a Chevy Camaro in the Knights of Columbus summer raffle.
• Students and staff from Delano’s sister school in China visited the local school district.
• Liz Gerads, of Montrose, attended the Eating Disorders Coalition Fall Lobby Day and Moms and Others March in Washington, DC.
• Ride for a Reason raised more than $54,000 for St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic School in Delano.
• A video of outgoing Councilman Dan Vick responding to a sign on a door while campaigning was posted online and garnered more than 1,300 views.
• Delano senior Marissa Bartels was named a Paralympics All-American for the second year in a row.
• Delano Municipal Baseball Park was named a finalist for national field of the year.
• Brandt Companies was recognized as the Delano Area Chamber of Commerce Manufacturer of the Year.
• Delano High and Middle School hosted a Veterans Day program with Delano American Legion Post 377 featuring Bill Trow, who walked the length of Illinois to raise funds for Vietnam Veterans of America.
• Monster Hockey opened in downtown Delano.
• Members of the Delano School Board learned that the school was in the top tier for proficiency based on Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment results.
• Delano Public Schools went into secure mode following a mental health-related situation near the high school.
• Delano Mayor Dale Graunke was re-elected; Jason Franzen and Holly Schrupp were elected to Delano City Council; 72 percent of voters voted against abolishing the City of Delano Water, Light and Power Commission; Julie Maas-Kusske and Michael DeLuca were elected to Maple Plain City Council; Greg Youmans was elected mayor of Montrose; Melissa Gudvangen and Jillayne Menard were elected to Montrose City Council; Tom Emmer was elected to represent US District 6; Wright County Sheriff Joe Hagerty was re-elected; State Rep. Joe McDonald was re-elected; Delano School Board members Mark Larson, Carolyn Milano, Corey Black, and Lisa Seguin were re-elected; Loretto Mayor Kent Koch was re-elected; and John “Archie” Neumann and Brenda Daniels were elected to Loretto City Council.
• Light of Christ members voted to allow same-sex weddings.
• Lorraine Peterson and children reached out to community members to try to reconnect photos with family members of those in them.
• American Legion Post 377 in Delano hosted a benefit for Ron Sparks, who was diagnosed with severe neuropathy.
• Montrose City Council terminated longtime City Administrator Barb Swanson.
• The former Three Crows building was demolished following flood damage.
• Stomach cancer survivor Sue Topel participated in a No Stomach for Cancer walk to raise awareness about stomach cancer.
• Tawnia Prior purchased Delano Veterinary Clinic.
• West Hennepin Public Safety recognized Lisa Schreier with a 5-star years of service pin in recognition of 28 years of volunteer service and Philip Beck with a 2-star years of service pin for 10 years of volunteer service.
• Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose School District voters approved a $33 million bond for improvements.
• The expansion of Delano Wine and Spirits opened.
• Nick Oeffling, 80, of Loretto, suffered cardiac arrest and was resuscitated. Members of the Loretto Fire Department and Ron and Keith Converse were recognized for their quick response that helped save Oeffling’s life.
• The Delano Area Council of Arts, in conjunction with other organizations in the community, organized Old-Fashioned Christmas in downtown Delano.
• Delano Area Chamber of Commerce hosted the Christmas Tree lighting.
• A fire destroyed the home of Andrew Boll, of Montrose.
• A head-on crash one mile east of Maple Plain claimed the life of Jamie Lee Whipperman, of Plymouth.
• Delano City Council approved the 2015 budget, which includes a tax rate drop from 56.7 percent to 54.1 percent.
• Kevin Orr, 53, of Watertown, was killed in a head-on crash on Highway 12 near Hennepin County Road 83 in Maple Plain.
• Diamond Surface, Inc. donated the installation of rumble strips from Hennepin County Road 6 to County Line Road following two fatal crashes within one week on that stretch of road.
• Delano High School guitar club released an extended play with five original songs to raise funds for the club.
• The Delano Water, Light and Power Commission voted to keep water and electric rates the same, while also approving a 3 percent raise for Delano Municipal Utilities employees.
• The Delano Public Schools facilities committee recommended $65 million in projects and improvements for school facilities.
• The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train stop in Loretto drew a record crowd of an estimated 7,000 people, who donated about $26,000 and 7,000 pounds of food for the Hanover Area Food Shelf.
• Lloyd Griep was named Delano’s 2015 Citizen of the Year by the General Federated Women’s Club of Delano.