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2002 in review


Fri, Jan 3rd, 2003
Posted in Features

Editor’s note: The Journal looked at what newsmakers in Fillmore County said over the past year as a way to profile the year 2002. From the pages of the Fillmore County Journal, here’s what was said on a range of topics.

“The state Department of Transportation has been very excited over the fact that the Rushford community has kind of rallied around the airport.”Mike Thern, who operates Rushford Aviation, commenting on efforts to revitalize the Rushford airport (Journal, January 14).

Most people don’t like change. But then others see this as an opportunity to become more specialized in their fields. We can still be effective doing things differently.”Extension Educator Sheila Craig responding to how staff and budget cuts at the University of Minnesota Extension will change how the organization will operate (Journal, February 4).

“Otto Diesel designed the diesel engine to run off of vegetable oil. Soy diesel just makes sense no matter which way you look at it.” State Senator Kenric Scheevel promoting the Biodiesel Bill that was passed by the 2002 Minnesota legislature (Journal, March 11).

“I am not sure how many we should limit it to. I might be comfortable with two, but that depends on location. We might want to zone specifically for this.”Lanesboro City Council member Peggy Hanson commenting on whether the city should allow more than one off-sale liquor license. The council eventually approved a second off-sale license (Journal, March 25).

“In this case, the fire got out of hand and the hero also becomes a criminal.”County Attorney Matt Opat speaking at a news conference announcing the arrest of Lanesboro Police Chief John Tuchek for the April 7 “hero” arson fire in Lanesboro (Journal, April 15).

“People have come here to point fingers at the city council and fire department. Fingers should be pointed at Tuchek instead.” Lanesboro resident Karen Peterson, speaking at a tense Lanesboro City Council meeting one week after the city’s police chief, John Tuchek, started an arson fire (Journal, April 22). “There are 316 retired people in these two communities. Where is the money going to come from to pay for this?”Rushford resident Al Morken, who was opposed to the Rushford-Peterson School referendum to build a new K-12 school, commenting at a public meeting in Peterson (Journal, April 22). The referendum was defeated.

“I have never been in favor (of combining the two positions) but with the changing times, I would be in favor. I think it could work in Fillmore County.”Fillmore County Treasurer Philip Burkholder offering his opinion about the County Board’s idea of merging the Auditor and Treasurer positions (Journal, April 29).

“At the time we were primarily concerned with odors but we also wanted to be well ahead of the standards set for emissions. We expected that over time that environmental standards would become more restrictive.”Rich Eichstadt, General Manager of Pro-Corn ethanol plant in Preston, on why the company spent an estimated $1 million installing a thermal oxidizer (Journal, June 3).

“I think we are doing a real disservice to the townships by not opening it up.”County Commissioner Marc Prestby commenting on the newly passed zoning ordinance limiting two dwellings per 40 acres. Prestby voted against the plan (Journal, June 10).

“The Lanesboro fire really opened our eyes. If it does happen here, we would be in big trouble.’Harmony firefighter Bill Hanlon, questioning the amount of available water to fight a catastrophic fire. Hanlon was discussing the issue with the Harmony City Council (Journal, June 17).“I don’t know where to go with this tower stuff.”County Commissioner Duane Bakke commenting at a Planning Commission meeting about the increased competition amongst cell-phone companies for tower space (Journal, July 8).

“What we are asking for is the county’s contribution to be consistent with the agreement and to be fair. Rural circulation has grown three-fold.”Lanesboro Library Board member Frank Wright lobbying county commissioners to pay their fair share for library services (Journal, July 15).

“Besides the few in this room, I haven’t found one person who likes it. Not one person.”Preston Council member Steve Knoepke commenting on the proposed Highway 16/52 upgrade through Preston (Journal, July 22). The plan has since been modified.

“It doesn’t make sense to build a five-year-into-the-future project and pay for it for 20 years.”Commissioner Harry Root, explaining to colleagues why the courthouse remodeling project should take care of future space needs (Journal, September 16).

“What are the long term effects of this? I am worried about the kids.” Stuart Corson of Preston asked this question of Jenny Reinertsen of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency during a public hearing regarding the proposed Heartland Energy and Recycling plant (Journal, October 7).

“This plant will produce enough electricity to power all the needs of Preston, Wykoff, Fountain, Lanesboro, Harmony and all the farm in between.”Robert Maust on his proposal to build an energy plant in Preston that will burn tire derived fuel to generate electricity. “I will do my best to represent the people of Preston. I will look to our residents, businesspeople, and council members for continued support and direction. I believe in an “open door” administration and will work to build a united community.”Dave Pechulis following his successful write-in election for mayor of Preston (Journal, November 11).

“I don’t have a criminal record and no other charges against me have been proven.”Joseph Allen Folkert, charged with first degree murder in the death of Clarence Paulson, on why the court should reduce his bail set at $1 million (Journal, November 25). At the time, Folkert was wanted in Wisconsin, Wabasha County and Olmsted County on other charges.

“This is going to be the meanest, ugliest, roughest, rottenest session ever in the history of Minnesota state politics.”Representative Greg Davids commenting on the upcoming 2003 legislative session in a Journal interview (Journal, December 17). Minnesota faces a $4.56 billion deficit.

“I am sorry to the people of Lanesboro and to the people who lost things in the fire I started.”Former Lanesboro Police Chief John Tuchek, speaking at his sentencing on December 16 (Journal, December 23). Tuchek was sentenced to six years in prison and ordered to pay restitution to his victims in excess of $800,000.If you are not safe in your bed at 11:00 o’clock at night, where are you safe?Rod Cochrum of Lanesboro, who lost his apartment in the arson fire, testifying at the sentencing of John Tuchek (Journal, December 23).

If they are going to go ahead and grant a 400 foot variance - my question would be why does the county even have regulations?Sumner Township Supervisor Matt Snyder questioning the location of a proposed subdivision within the 1,000 foot setback of a feedlot (Journal, December 23).

“Each person here is unique and has brought something to the board. It’s been a great ride.”Outgoing County Commis-sioner Harry Root, commenting on the end of his term (Journal, December 30). Root was elected in a special election to fill the uncompleted term of Commissioner Gary Peterson. Root will be replaced by Chuck Amunrud.

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