By Gabe Licht
DELANO, MN 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 January to June 2015.
Obituaries in Review pay tribute to loved ones lost in the first six months of 2015 on pages 6-7A.
• Wendy Gilmer became president of the State Bank of Delano Jan. 1, becoming the fourth Gilmer to hold the position.
• Kevin Triplett became the new Montrose fire chief, replacing Jason Chaffins in the position Jan. 1.
• The Minnesota Beef Council opened the doors to its new office in Maple Plain Jan. 1.
• The Rev. Paul Risdall opened 2015 as the new pastor at WestPointe Church in Delano.
• Rep. Tom Emmer, of Delano, was sworn into Minnesota’s 6th District seat in the US House Jan. 6, 2015.
• The city of Delano purchased 31 acres for a new park across from the Delano wastewater treatment facility.
• Jan. 7, 2015 marked the 30th anniversary of a train-van crash on Third Street that killed four senior citizens.
• Jesse and Bobby Wolf, of Wolf Auto Parts, were named Wright County Economic Development Partnership Outstanding Entrepreneurs.
• Nicole Weisenburger, of Delano, won a prize total of $79,528 during the Jan. 27 episode of “Wheel of Fortune.”
• Randy’s Environmental Services acquired Wright Recycling, and the area routes it covered, Feb. 1.
• Dana and Pete Kittok fostered a black Lab named Vader for the Can Do Canines service dog program.
• Independence brothers William and Ian Anderson were charged with receiving about 200 pounds of “high grade” marijuana with a street value of about $750,000.
• The Delano Economic Development Authority authorized the sale of 203 Bridge Ave. E. to JPV Properties for $550,000.
• The Rieckenberg family from Delano was featured on “Family Feud” Feb. 16-18 and won $21,625. Though they competed in four shows, the first episode did not air until April 20 because it featured a question about news anchor Brian Williams, who was under fire for a false report. (photo)
• Ginny Schuelke, a special education teacher at Delano Elementary School, was named Delano’s 2014-15 Teacher of the Year by her colleagues.
• The Crow River in downtown Delano served as the venue for the inaugural Crow River Classic hockey tournament Feb. 14, featuring more than 100 players on 23 teams.
• Local groomer Lori Logli’s toy poodle, Manny, won best in breed at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
• Greg and Mary Reynolds, of Riverbend Farm near Delano, were named the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service Organic Farmers of the Year at the MOSES Organic Farming Conference.
• Brandt Companies was named the 2015 Delano Area Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year.
• The Delano High School Science Olympiad team competed in the state tournament, its 18th appearance in 19 years.
• The Delano High School Math Team advanced to the state tournament for the 12th straight year.
• Neil Zimmerman, 53, of Delano, was killed March 8, when the ATV he was riding in Mayer flipped on top of him.
• Taylor Hedtke was named a National Merit Finalist, one of only 8,000 finalists chosen by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.
• The Hornheads headlined the Delano Middle School Jazz Festival, working with students during the day and playing a concert in the evening of March 12.
• Gene Janikula celebrated 50 years of service to Woodland Township March 16.
• Former Delano mayor and business leader Gordy Wetter passed away March 17 at the age of 87.
• “Rock the Park” co-host Colton Smith, a 2007 Delano High School graduate, was featured in the Delano Herald Journal.
• The Delano School Board refinanced bonds for the Tiger Activity Center for a savings of nearly $2 million over 10 years.
• Delano American Legion Post 377 hosted a beer and wine tasting March 14.
• Montrose City Council, by a 3-2 vote, approved a settlement with former City Administrator Barb Swanson, who filed a grievance after being terminated by the city in November 2014.
• Delano Middle School seventh grader Cameron Vlach met author Ruta Sepetys at the Racine-Kenosha English Festival for her birthday.
• Charlie Brown, of Delano, was recognized for driving 3 million miles without an accident, one of only 22 YRC Freight drivers who have accomplished the feat.
• Delano High School presented the musical “Urinetown.”
• An Easter Sunday fire destroyed a home at 3564 Cameron Ave. SE, just west of the Rockford Township Hall.
• Delano High School hosted the SciTech Showcase, featuring area businesses and colleges from throughout the Midwest.
• The Delano Area Chamber of Commerce Community Expo featured dozens of businesses and organizations Saturday, April 11.
• The Rev. Lee Hallstrom announced he would be leaving Light of Christ Lutheran Church in Delano.
• April 14, 1965, marked the 50-year anniversary of the 1965 record-breaking flood in Delano, during which the South Fork of the Crow River crested at a record 23.4 feet, according to the National Weather Service.
• Fire departments from Delano, Watertown, and Maple Plain responded to an out-of-control grass fire at 9321 County Line Rd. SE in Franklin Township April 15.
• Delano High School students from the FIRST Robotics Competition Team 3026, also known as Orange Crush, competed at the FIRST Championships in St. Louis.
• Delano Floral and Gifts moved from 137 Bridge Ave. to 120 N. River St.
• Ron Drake moved from Larry Torgerson’s Edward Jones office at 133 N. Second St. to his own office at 725 Babcock Blvd. Suite 2.
• Bagy Jo moved its retail location at 1350 Babcock Blvd. in Delano to its corporate and factory location at 5563 Pioneer Creek Dr. S. in Maple Plain.
• A total of 10 Delano Destination Imagination teams competed at the DI State Tournament.
• The Juke Box Restaurant, at 203 Bridge Ave. in Delano, closed April 22.
• Mohamud Mohammed Maye, 36, of Maple Plain, was charged with driving at officers at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
• Barry Voight was named the new Delano Middle School principal, after serving as the Rocori Middle School assistant principal.
• West Hennepin Public Safety Chaplain Dave Garwick, of Christ Lutheran Church, retired from WHPS and the Lakes Area Police Chaplain Group after 23 years of service.
• Julio Salazar ran through Delano as part of his 240-mile Break the Stigma Run across Minnesota to raise funds and awareness about mental illness and depression.
• The General Federated Women’s Club of Delano honored 2015 GFWC Citizen of the Year Lloyd Griep at a May 2 banquet at B’s on the River in Watertown.
• Members of the Delano baseball team walked with Anika Paulson at the MDA Muscle Walk at the Mall of America May 2 to support Paulson, who has muscular dystrophy.
• Franklin Township approved a $1.2 million construction project for Farmington Avenue.
• GrandStay Hotel & Suites opened in Delano and hosted a grand opening and ribbon cutting attended by dozens of community members and business professionals.
• The Delano High School National Honor Society inducted 54 students.
• Fire departments from Delano, Watertown, and Montrose responded to a grass fire that claimed about 20 acres east of Delano.
• Maple Plain Boy Scout Adam Kusske received the Medal of Merit May 11 for saving a drowning child in a hotel pool more than two years earlier.
• Liz Gerads, of Montrose, organized Operation Thank an Officer to give thank yous to as many law enforcement officers as possible, resulting in 8,000 thank yous, which she distributed to as many departments throughout Minnesota and beyond as she could.
• Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts from Delano worked together to “Scout for Food,” and collected 4,600 pounds of food for the Helping Hands Food Shelf in Delano.
• The Delano Fire Department hosted the Health and Wellness Expo, featuring 22 exhibitors. It raised more than $1,400 for the department.
• Forty acres of swamp grass, brush, and trees burned in the 3500 block of Independence Road in Independence. Loretto and Maple Plain firefighters were assisted by firefighters from Delano, Rockford, Long Lake, Mound, Hanover, Hamel, Excelsior, St. Louis Park, and a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources helicopter.
• The Three Rivers Park District treated Lake Independence in Baker Park for zebra mussels.
• South Fork Brewing opened at 221 Second St. N. in the former location of the Bohemian Wine Bar.
• Chris Hawkey headlined the River Street Jam, a fundraiser for St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish, in downtown Delano.
• Delano High School celebrated its 121st annual commencement.
• Carl and Jim Janzen were recognized for working 40 years at Janzen’s Auto Body and Harwood Auto Body.
• Delano Public Schools hired John McDonald to be the assistant principal at Delano Elementary School. He had been a first-grade teacher at Big Lake Elementary School.
• The Cherub Corner Child Care Center, operated by St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish, closed June 19, to allow the space to be used for other activities. The parish also cited finances as a contributing factor in the decision.
• Delano kidney donor Steve Dahlman threw out the first pitch at the June 6 Minnesota Twins game.
• Three buffalo were spotted in the area of 11712 Eckert Ave. SE. They were safely corralled and returned to their owners.
• Al Kretsinger, 73, of St. Louis Park, suffered minor injuries when his gyrocopter crashed at Maple Plain Airport.
• Jim Mueller was featured for growing a “colors of cancer healing garden” for his wife, Cindy, who dealt with two bouts of cancer within two years.
• Dave and Kelly Jaunich moved their Keller Williams Realty office to 615 Babcock Blvd.
• Delano native Dr. Timothy Roth returned to Delano to practice dentistry at Delano Dental.
• The Minnesota Department of Transportation conducted a safety audit of Highway 12 from Wayzata to Dassel in conjunction with the Highway 12 Safety Coalition.
• The Minnesota legislature provided a grant to the Delano 4th of July Committee to cover a $38,000 tax bill from the Minnesota Department of Revenue.
• Vanessa Smith, 37, of Eden Valley, was injured when the vehicle she was riding in crossed the center line and struck a semi near 72nd Street Southeast on Highway 12.
• Delano Municipal Utilities General Manager Hal Becker announced he would be retiring after more than 30 years with the utility.