Many good things happened in Rockford, Greenfield, Medina, Corcoran, Loretto, Independence and Delano this year. Some sad and unfortunate things also happened.
Here is a look at some memorable events from 2012 — excluding events people might want to forget.
ECM Publishers acquired Sun Newspaper group on Dec. 30, so now the Delano Eagle & South Crow River News is owned by the newspaper company founded by former Minnesota Governor Elmer Anderson.
Loretto city offices moved its City Hall to 279 Medina St. N., suite 260, in the Loretto Business Park. Old city hall was above the Loretto Fire Department, located next door.
Jack Lynch was named the 2012 Delano Citizen of the Year. His record of service includes the Delano Athletic Club, Delano Fourth of July Committee, Knights of Columbus, St. Peter’s Catholic Church, the Delano American Legion and the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Campaign.
The city of Delano hosted a ribbon cutting for the new Riverwalk Park and Trail, located on Highway 12 across from the Peppermint Twist drive-in restaurant. The 8.1-acre park has a natural trail along the Crow River for walking and biking, as well as park benches and a controversial piece of sculpture.
Gen Olson remains firm about retirement. After nine terms spanning 30 years in the Minnesota State Senate, one might have assumed when filing opened in May for November’s election, Gen Olson might have had second thoughts over her decision to retire.
Motorists who traversed Rockford, Greenfield, Medina, Maple Plain and Independence during the summer did not get a vacation from roadwork. Resurfacing projects came to both Highway 55 and Highway 12.
The Delano to Dassel Wagon Train rolled across Wright County June 6 through June 9. The entourage started from Calvin Brandt’s farm near Delano and headed for Delano Central Park and Apple Jack Orchards near Rockford the first morning.
Vinland National Center, of Independence announced that financing for its building expansion project had been finalized and construction would begin immediately. Located just west of Loretto on the north side of Lake Independence, the building expansion added 20 chemical health beds to the existing 41-bed residential facility — along with a new kitchen and dining facility, an expanded therapeutic exercise facility, a new commons area, and additional meeting space.
Floor Technologies used its state of the art pump truck to lead the Hamel Rodeo Parade.
Arts, crafts, fresh produce, preserves and community activities. Visitors to River Street in Delano found all of these at the new outdoor Delano Community Market on Saturdays from mid July through mid September.
Rockford fetes 30th annual River Days. The Grand River Days Parade was the peak attraction, with Marsha and Doug White serving as Grand Marshals.
The Crow River Food Co-op hosted an event to spread awareness of the area’s efforts to bring a food co-op to Rockford. Citywide surveys indicated over the last three years that an overwhelming majority of Rockford area residents would like to have a grocer in town, first and foremost.
Planners of Loretto Funfest decided to make their community celebration more uplifting this year by adding new attractions such as hot air balloon rides. Unfortunately, windy conditions put a halt to the balloon ride idea.
Parishioners in the Delano Catholic Community unwrapped a gift to themselves that has been many years in the making. The gift is a new social hall, related improvements, energy efficient boilers for both the churches of St. Joseph and St. Peter, a new playground for St. Peter’s School and more. The official unwrapping was Sunday, Sept. 30.
Medina gets historic low interest rates. The low bid for Medina’s sale of $6.1 million in General Obligation Capital Improvement Bonds was at an interest rate of 2.13 percent — definitely less than her estimate of 2.6 percent. The $6.1 million bond sale is being used to purchase and remodel the Clam Corps office/warehouse building, at 600 Clydesdale Trail, which will house Medina’s Public Works and Police Departments.
Hamel VFW looks forward on its 50th. The Heinzen Ditter Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in Hamel is celebrating its 50th anniversary by finding new ways to put its resources and building to use.
Girl Scouts blast away at leaves to prevent pollution. Girl Scouts and adult volunteers converged on parks in Delano and Medina for their Centennial Day of Service Saturday, Oct. 13. They raked leaves to keep them out of storm drains which discharge water and phosphorus directly into nearby lakes and rivers.
Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek on Oct. 10 presented an award to James Keefe, who lives on Lake Sarah in Independence. Keefe accepted his Citizen Commendation Award for helping rescue a man whose ATV went through the ice on Lake Sarah.
The city’s first ever fire hydrant was photographed in action in October. It is located near St. Thomas Catholic Church. Phase one of the city’s sewer/water project was complete, extending services from Maple Grove to County Road 116.
Voters approve school levies. School District 879 voters approved two operating levy questions for Delano Public Schools — one for $426 per pupil and one for $325 per pupil. The $426 levy (Question One) received 4,769 “Yes” votes (73.85 percent) and 1,689 “No” votes. The $325 levy (Question Two) got 3,628 “Yes” votes (56.33 percent) and 2,813 “No” votes. Voters needed to approve Question One in order to also approve Question Two.
Residents of School District 883 (Rockford) authorized issuing general obligation school building bonds in an amount not to exceed $27,000,000 to provide funds for acquisition and betterment of school sites and facilities, including renovation, repair, remodeling, upgrading, equipping and construction of improvements to various school sites, parking lots, sidewalks, athletic and activity areas, mechanical, ventilation, heating and plumbing systems, electrical systems, life safety and security systems, technology infrastructure, and building roofs, windows, doors exterior envelopes and interiors.
Greenfield Mayor Jerry Hertaus won his bid to be the new representative in Minnesota House District 33A with 62 percent of the vote (14,717 votes).
Jack Russek of Delano is looking forward to taking a short walk from his Bridge Avenue home to Delano City Hall to get to work rather than driving to the Wright County Courthouse in Buffalo after 20 years as a Wright County Board member.
Loretto City Clerk Cindy Patnode announced that she would leave her position by the end of the year in order to pursue new endeavors. Patnode succeeded Loretto City Clerk Kelly Grinnell six years ago just prior to elections — the busiest time of the year for a city clerk.
Area businesses planned and executed a number of different events during the week of Dec. 10 (Business Week) to support the annual Sleep Out campaign of Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners (IOCP). In Medina, Sleep Out King Peter Larson returned to lend his expertise for a sleep out at Loram Maintenance of Way on Dec. 13. A thermometer sign showed that Loram had far exceeded its $1,500 goal with total donations of $9,078, up to that point.
The city of Greenfield and the Greenfield Historical Society announced that the city is building on its cultural and historic legacy with $7,000 in grant funds for a history and historic preservation project of enduring value.
– Compiled by Susan Van Cleaf