Archive for Hot Topic

Delano City Council approves bias/hate crime response plan

DELANO, MN – Delano’s Spirit of Community Commission has been working with the Wright County Sheriff’s Office to draft a bias/hate crime response plan, and the Delano City Council approved that plan on a 4-0 vote, with Councilman Jon Sutherland absent, during its meeting Tuesday.

Modeled after similar plans in cities like Red Wing, St. Peter, and Chaska, it is the first plan of its kind in Wright County.

Senior and Community Services Coordinator Nick Neaton, who serves as staff liaison to the SOCC, said the definition of a bias or hate crime is defined by state statute as an offense motivated to commit the act by the victim’s race, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, or characteristics identified as sexual orientation. If that statute changes, the definition in the response plan would also change automatically, a component that Mayor Dale Graunke applauded.

What does the new plan entail?

“When a bias or hate crime is committed in the Delano area, first the sheriff’s office notifies the city that a crime of this nature has occurred,” Neaton said. “Next, the sheriff’s office notifies the victim of this plan and of the Spirit of Community Commission’s role in this plan, and the support we’re able to provide.”

The victim would be able to decide whether or not to accept that support. If so, the officer would assist the victim in completing the sheriff’s office’s bias/hate crime referral report and immediately forward the referral to the sheriff, who would then contact the SOCC chairperson. If not, the officer will give contact information of the SOCC staff liaison to the victim in case support is requested in the future.

While the sheriff’s office would investigate the crime, Neaton said SOCC members would interview the victim regarding what happened, who was involved and “especially, ‘how can we ensure that what happened won’t happen again?’”

Community response is another component of the plan.

“If appropriate, this includes the Spirit of Community Commission, City Council members, local media, and, of course, the sheriff’s office,” Neaton said. “This response could be something like a letter to the editor, a community meeting, or another action step developed in cooperation with all the involved partners, especially including the victim and their wishes.”

While Neaton believes the city responded well to the racist graffiti and burglary that occurred in March of 2017, “it was off the cuff, it was improvised. This provides more of a formal blueprint for what we are going to do. What are the steps we take to make sure all our bases are covered if this happens again?”

He noted that the city’s legal counsel had reviewed the plan and found no issues with supporting it, which is what he requested the council to do on behalf of the SOCC.

“We’re asking for consideration and adoption of this plan as a formal declaration of Delano’s commitment to being an inclusive and welcoming city,” Neaton concluded later.

Councilwoman Betsy Moran, formerly known as Betsy Stolfa, asked about how the privacy of victims would be respected.

“In the policy, it mentions the person speaking to the victim reiterates the privacy policy, but there isn’t a privacy policy attached to this plan, so is that referred to in a different document?” Moran asked. “What is the privacy policy?”

“My presumption is that it lies with the victim’s legal rights,” Neaton said. “That would be something we would develop with the cooperation of the sheriff’s office, making sure that what they wish and what their right is to remain private remains private. That’s something we need to look into and consider.”

When Moran made the motion to approve the plan, she said she would “look for a privacy policy amendment in the future.”

The plan states the response coordinator would request permission from the victim to report the information to the League of Minnesota Human Rights Commission, and Councilman Jason Franzen asked if the city was under obligation to report such a crime regardless. City Administrator Phil Kern said he was not certain of any legal requirement to do so.

Before the vote, Councilwoman Holly Schrupp said, “I just want to thank the committee. It’s very thorough. I was very impressed reading through it. There was a lot of thought and care given to a very sensitive issue.”

“Hopefully, we won’t ever have to implement it,” Moran added.

Neaton agreed with Schrupp’s assessment.

“If it comes up again, we will be ready,” he said.

See Friday’s edition for more coverage of the meeting.

Prom policy changes on split vote

DELANO, MN – Monday, the Delano School Board approved a government-mandated meal price increase, bread and milk vendors, the Wright Technical Center’s long-term facility maintenance program budget, and a new boys swimming cooperative.

Amidst a full agenda, the Delano High School handbook, specifically the school’s prom policy, garnered the most discussion for the second month in a row before being approved as proposed on a 5-2 vote, with board members Carolyn Milano and Rachel Depa opposed.

With approval of the handbook language as proposed by Principal Steve Heil, following review by the DHS site-based leadership team, prom will be a junior and senior event, with younger students not eligible to attend.

Before the 5-2, Milano made and Depa seconded a motion to approve the handbook without the prom policy change until it can be further reviewed, but the motion died on a 2-5 vote.

“The reason I want to make these changes is the current language really needs to be clarified,” Milano said.

She raised concerns about the pre-registration and vetting process, the lack of a minimum age to attend prom, and no language limiting students to only have one guest at prom.

School board member Al Briesemeister did not like the idea of delaying a portion of the handbook.

“If we’re going to approve everything but that, we’re putting that back to square one,” he said.

Milano said prom language could be added as an addendum in September after review.

She asked for the limitation on prom participation to be reconsidered and to take into account the maturity of students.

“It’s arbitrary to say sophomores aren’t allowed,” Milano said. “I’m giving my sophomore a car every day to drive. He better be very mature to drive a vehicle.”

Depa agreed, saying that there are many sophomores who are the same age as many juniors.

“It’s arbitrary to say, ‘This 16 year old can go, but this one isn’t mature enough,’” Depa said.

When school board member Amy Johnson asked how many schools limit prom participation based on grade level, Heil said it’s “inconsistent,” with schools like Orono limiting participation to juniors and seniors, while schools like Wayzata allow freshmen and sophomores to attend.

Johnson also asked if parents had contacted Heil about the change, and he said, “I haven’t really received feedback on the change. I only hear about it when a sophomore wants to go and there’s some kind of issue.”

Board member Corey Black suggested following the recommendation made by Heil and the site-based leadership team.

“We go through a painstaking process of hiring competent administrators,” Black said. “Something such as this needs to be left to them . . . They know the students. They know when they should and shouldn’t make changes.”

“You’ve done research and are putting this forward,” Black told Heil. “As a school board member, I support that. It’s way out of my area of expertise.”

Though Milano disagreed with the prom policy in the handbook, she was happy with a change Heil made to the language regarding what kind of outerwear can be worn in schools.

See more coverage of the meeting in the May 25 edition of the Delano Herald Journal.

Motorcyclist seriously injured in crash

GREENFIELD, MN – A Delano man was seriously injured after 7:30 p.m. Sunday when his motorcycle hit a guardrail on Hennepin County Road 50 at the intersection of Roy Road near the Delano Sportsmen’s Club.

The motorcyclist, 26-year-old Zachary Van Erp, was flung about 50 feet from his bike and suffered internal bleeding, a broken pelvis, two broken legs, a collapsed lung, fractured face, and broken eye socket, according to a gofundme page set up for him. He was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, according to family.

He was airlifted to Hennepin Healthcare.

“He is still in critical condition but fighting just as we expected,” Amanda Young wrote on the gofundme page. “He is still unconscious and in a lot of pain, but he is in an induced coma. His brain injury is still to be determined.”

She asked for prayers and expressed thanks for those praying and sharing support.

Powers out as Montrose city clerk-treasurer

MONTROSE, MN – Dale Powers, who had served as Montrose’s city clerk-treasurer since October 2017, has been relieved of his duties by the Montrose City Council.

Dale Powers

Dale Powers

According to the Wright County Journal-Press, the council approved the termination on a 3-2 vote during a special meeting April 19.

Mayor Michelle Otto and councilmen Lloyd Johnson and Roy Henry voted in favor of the termination, while Councilman Ben Kuehl and Councilwoman Jill Menard opposed the action.

Initially, the meeting had been posted as a closed special meeting to review the performance of an employee subject to the council’s authority. It became a public meeting at Powers’ request.

Minnesota Newspaper Association attorney Mark Anfinson stated he believes the handling of the meeting was a violation of state open meeting law.

A closed meeting cannot be opened for action if it was posted as a closed meeting, according to Anfinson.

He also noted that, once the meeting became public, the council should not have proceeded at the scheduled time for the meeting because the posting referred to a closed meeting that the public would not be able to attend.


Delano teacher, coach finishes 77th at Boston Marathon

Matt Kane
Sports Editor

BOSTON — Japan’s Yuki Kawauchi crossed the finish line at the 122nd Boston Marathon before anybody else did Monday, winning the prestigious race with the time of 2:15:58.

Following Kawauchi to the line in the cold, wet weather were 25,745 other finishers, the last of whom reached the finish line more than six hours later, at 8:22:05.

In that pack of finishers, wearing bib No. 246, was Delano cross country coach and assistant track coach Jackson Lindquist, who crossed the line much, much closer to the Kawauchi end of the pack, in 77th place with the time of 2:36:42. That equates to approximately 6 minutes per mile.

That time is less than 21 minutes behind Kawauchi, the race winner; and three minutes better than the women’s overall winner, Desiree Linden (2:39:54).

RUNNING MAN Four days after coaching the Delano distance runners at Belle Plaine on what was one of the only nice days of the spring, Jackson Lindquist pushed through the rain, cold, and a steady headwind to a 77th-place finish Monday in the Boston Marathon. It was just the second marathon Lindquist had ever run. The first was the Med City Marathon in Rochester last May. He won that race to qualify for Boston. Photo by MarathonFoto

Four days after coaching the Delano distance runners at Belle Plaine on what was one of the only nice days of the spring, Jackson Lindquist pushed through the rain, cold, and a steady headwind to a 77th-place finish Monday in the Boston Marathon. It was just the second marathon Lindquist had ever run. The first was the Med City Marathon in Rochester last May. He won that race to qualify for Boston.
Photo by MarathonFoto

Lindquist, who is 24 years old and a first-year third grade teacher at Delano Elementary School, finished in the top 2.9 percent of all runners who started the marathon (26,948). These numbers dropped the jaws of those who know him.

“I knew he was going to do good,” said Charlie Georges, one of Lindquist’s third-grade students.

Maybe not this good, Georges admitted.

“Out of, like, 30,000 people — that’s, like, so good,” said Georges. “How is that even possible? A teacher that is from Delano, Minnesota; how can he get 77th place out of 30,000 people?”

Georges’ classmate, Will Gorrill, is equally impressed.

“I think it’s crazy how he did all that, because there were so many people,” said Gorrill. “It’s just crazy.”

The students and teachers in all the third grade rooms kept tabs Lindquist’s progress during the 26.2-mile run through Boston on the SMART Boards used in each classrooms.

“[We could see] how fast he was going. And he was going pretty fast,” said Madison Ring, another of Lindquist’s homeroom students.

Ring, like Georges, was impressed by her teacher’s performance.

“I knew he is the boys’ track coach and I knew he was a good runner,” she said. “I’m happy that he did a really good job. I didn’t know he was that good of a runner.”

It seems nobody knew Lindquist was that fast.

“He’s such a humble person. He would mention it, but didn’t talk about it like it was a big deal,” fellow third grade teacher Teresa Langton said. “I would have been bragging about it all the time. He is very quiet about it.”

It is often difficult for those outside the running world to understand a runner, and that, Lindquist said, is the primary reason he doesn’t talk much about his own running prowess.

“I’ve never been one to talk about it, because I have the impression that a lot of people don’t get it and they don’t understand much about it,” he said.

Even those well-versed in running and endurance races are awed by Lindquist’s run in Boston.

“As a recreational runner myself, I’ve dabbled with the idea of trying to qualify for Boston, but I’m a middle-of-the-pack runner and I’ve not yet conquered the infamous Boston qualifying time. So, I was simply impressed that coach was fast enough to have qualified to run in Boston,” said Alli Zens, whose seventh-grade twin boys, Justin and Caden, ran cross country for Lindquist this past fall. “ I had no idea he’d be finishing in the top 100 in Boston, which arguably makes him among the fastest runners in the world.”

Her two sons warned Zens, who is a triathlete, about how fast Lindquist is. She admits she took what they told her for granted.

“My boys had told me coach had a ‘really fast’ marathon PR, but I had no idea how ‘really fast’ they meant,” she said.

Zens and the entire running community at Delano schools are glad Lindquist is their lead runner.

“It is really fun to think about how lucky my boys are to have him as their coach for, hopefully, all of their school running tenure,” she said. “The boys really enjoy that coach runs with the kids and is always inspiring them with stories.”

In just one fall as the boys’ cross country coach, and part of this spring as the distance coach for the track team, Lindquist has earned great respect.

“Not only does he have a talent for running, but he does an excellent job with his rapport with kids, both in the classroom and on the track. He has that passion, and finds running enjoyable and wants to pass that passion on to his athletes,” said Delano Activities Director Mike Lindquist, who is also Lindquist’s uncle. “He finds success in a kid who just wants to beat his own best time. We are fortunate at Delano to have him with us.”

His third-graders at Delano Elementary School were happy to have Jackson Lindquist back in class Wednesday, two days after he finished 77th at the Boston Marathon. The students tracked Lindquist’s progress in Boston on the classroom SMART Board. Photo by Matt Kane

His third-graders at Delano Elementary School were happy to have Jackson Lindquist back in class Wednesday, two days after he finished 77th at the Boston Marathon. The students tracked Lindquist’s progress in Boston on the classroom SMART Board.
Photo by Matt Kane

Chasing around those runners he coaches played into Lindquist’s training for Boston.

“With him, he would run with everybody. Kids would go on a  4- or 5-mile run, and he would put on 6 or 7 miles,” explained Mike Lindquist. “He would run back-and-forth, from the top guys to going back and encouraging the guys in the back.”

The athletes he coaches and their parents have an understanding of the running world, but not everybody does. Even those who don’t really get why someone would run 26.2 miles lent their full support for Lindquist’s journey to Boston. That, he said, meant a lot.

“One thing I really appreciate are my coworkers. None of them are runners and they don’t really get it, but they are all interested. I appreciate that. Mr. Schuler gave me a shout-out at our last staff meeting,” said Lindquist. “The support I got was ridiculous. My third grade class was unbelievable.”

Lindquist’s third grade students made a giant banner saying “Good luck, Mr. Lindquist” in support, and, Wednesday, when he returned to school, Lindquist was greeted with more banners from the entire third grade contingent.

“We are proud of him,” said Leah Petersen, another of Lindquist’s third grade colleagues.

Some of those supporters have, not-so-passively, taken credit for Lindquist’s successful run.

“I was just kidding when I said he owes all of his success to us, because he only owes part of that success to us — his running success,” said third grade teacher Teresa Langton, with no seriousness at all. “We are his coaches, but we don’t like to hog the attention. We like to stay under the radar.”

Lindquist may not have willingly told his colleagues about his excellence in the running world, but the statistical evidence was out there long before he patted the streets of Bean Town with the soles of his running shoes.

Lindquist qualified for Boston by winning the Med City Marathon in Rochester last May. His time was 2:34:25.

The Med City was Lindquist’s first marathon. Boston was his second.

In college, just two years ago, as a senior on the UW-Superior cross country team, Lindquist won his share of opens and invitationals, and placed 123rd overall at the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships. Before running at Superior, he was a state runner in both cross country (five times) and track (three times) for Esko High School, where his dad, Tim Lindquist, was a longtime track, cross country, and basketball coach.

Away from the tracks and cross country courses, Lindquist was a 1,000-point scorer for the Esko basketball team, finishing as the Eskimos third-leading scorer with 1,503 career points (2008-2012).

“In high school, I was a three-sport athlete and I’ve always been athletic,” he said. “And my family is all about sports. Our trips revolved around running; it is a huge part of our lives. We go to the Olympic trials in Eugene, OR as spectators, and other races. As a family, we go hiking, and we all played basketball.”

Lindquist ran Boston with his older brother, Bryan, 28, who finished 634th overall with the time of 2:50:49; and friends Adam Eskuri (970th, 2:54:31) and Kate Eskuri (14,360th, 3:53:40).

Marathoning as a family is not new to the Lindquists.

Both of Lindquist’s parents, Tim and Shari, along with his uncles, Mike and Joe, all ran marathons together, including New York.

No tea party

With his background as an athlete, Lindquist is naturally a competitor. That is evident in his own criticism of his Boston run.

“Overall, I am happy with where I finished, but, like any runner, I think I could have done better,” he said Tuesday after stepping off the airplane at MSP. “I think I could have conserved more energy. I wasn’t running as well at the end, where I wish I could have maintained a little longer.”

The scenario of not saving energy for the latter part of the race was a common occurrence, according to Lindquist’s observation, as he continued to pass more runners than what were passing him late.

Conditions were tough.

“The course is unforgiving. You think you can run fast there because the first 15 miles are downhill, but it takes a toll because you can’t train to run downhill that much,” he said. “Legs can’t train to run fast downhill. It got to the point where it was very uncomfortable running downhill.”

And, of course, the weather didn’t help.

“Going in, I was going for more time, 2:30, but, once I saw the weather forecast, I knew that wasn’t going to happen, based on knowing there would be a headwind and it would be cold and rainy,” he explained. I adjusted my strategy, and my goal was to be in the top 100. I decided to race it and that made it fun. Different motivation instead of time.”

Those conditions in Boston included temperatures in the 30s, rain, and a headwind with gusts as high as 40 miles per hour.

A Tweet Monday from Boston Marathon Medical Coordinator Chris Troyanos gives a strong indication of just how bad the weather was for runners. Troyanos Tweeted: There have been 81 runners (all from the course) transported to local area hospitals so far, 2527 total medical encounters, 25 elite athletes treated, 90 percent of them suffered from hypothermia (with [body] temperatures ranging from 80s to low 90s). Medical coordinator compared this marathon to the 2015 one, but said this was much colder with a strong head wind that made running dangerous. He said he’d still choose this day over hot ones because it’s much easier to warm people up.

After finishing the race, both Byran Lindquist and Adam Eskuri were treated for hypothermia.

Even before the Lindquist brothers arrived in Boston, the weather tested their mental toughness with last weekend’s spring blizzard. They sat at MSP International Airport for  34 hours, Saturday into Sunday, before finally finding a flight to Boston.

“We were supposed to fly out Saturday at 6 a.m. and get to Boston at 1 p.m. We tried to get on four flights before they shut the airport down. We spent the night at the airport and hopped on the next flight. We left at 10 a.m. Sunday and got to Boston at 4 p.m. Eastern time.

Lindquist could have run 13 marathons at the airport in that time.

Helping him pass the time at the airport were the well-wishes from his teaching colleagues.

“They were texting me the whole time. They wanted me to get out there because they knew how bad I wanted to do this,” he said.

Lindquist was the first Minnesotan to cross the finish line. A total of 443 runners from Minnesota completed the race.

Maybe the Minnesota winters prepared these runners for this year’s Boston Marathon.

“He trained in ridiculous conditions here in Minnesota. After our Tiger Fun Fair, he was out in the blizzard and ran 20 miles that day,” third grade teacher Charlene Warne said of Lindquist. “Hopefully, the great conditions here helped him in Boston the other day.”

There is some truth to what Warne said. And, after surviving the journey it took just to get to Boston, there was no way Lindquist was not finishing his run.

“Dropping out for me was never an option. I spent 30-plus hours in an airport to get there. I was going to finish the race,” he said. “Also, I am sure training here in Minnesota over the winter prepared me for the brutal conditions. I was relatively warm the entire time I was running. As soon as I finished is when I realized how cold, windy, and wet it really was.”

Delano Strong

While he teaches and coaches at Delano, Lindquist’s hometown for the Boston Marathon was listed as Buffalo. Delano, itself, was represented in the Boston registery Monday, by Christine Lowery.

Lowery, 48, finished all 26.2 miles of the marathon with the time of 3:58:02.

She was running fresh off an injury, so Lowery was pleased with her finish.

Delano’s Chris Lowery ran her fifth Boston Marathon Monday. Here, she is finishing the 2017 race, when the weather was much more comfortable. Photo courtesy of Chris Lowery

Delano’s Chris Lowery ran her fifth Boston Marathon Monday. Here, she is finishing the 2017 race, when the weather was much more comfortable.
Photo courtesy of Chris Lowery

“Considering that I only had four weeks to train for this race, my goal was only to finish. I ended up finishing in less than 4 hours, which I am very happy with,” said Lowery, who vows to be back and better. “I can and will do much better the next time I go back, but I am very satisfied with my performance this year and have no regrets.”

It was Lowery’s fifth running of Boston and her 10th marathon, overall. This edition was a challenge, she admitted.

“Donned with a rain jacket, long pants, and two long-sleeved shirts, I was able to keep from being cold,” she said. “The rain was intense at times and hit you like little darts. The wind gusts slowed you in your tracks when coming head on, and pushed you off your course when it came from the side.  It was pretty bad, especially when entering Boston. One girl in front of me lost her hat, and I saw a metal barrier gate get blown out into the street.”

Like Lindquist, Lowery was worries she expelled too much energy early in the race.

“The first 10K were very, very difficult, mentally. Getting into the groove with the wind and rain took a lot out of me, physically, emotionally, and mentally. I was happy to hear that I was not alone in that. And that the eventual winner of the race wanted to drop out at that point, too. Trying to avoid larger puddles took a lot of energy,” she said.

There may have been a Higher Power leading Lowery to the finish line.

“I suffered a hamstring injury early on in the training, way back in mid January. I stopped training at that point and planned on withdrawing from the 2018 race,” said the 14-year Delano resident. “However, in March, I received what I believed to be a spiritual push to go ahead and run the race. My hamstring injury was mostly healed, and, so, with four weeks to get some long runs in,  I trusted that God was in this with me, and recommitted to running it.”

She was also pushed to run and finish the race by an unwavering support team.

“What eventually brought me out of that place of discouragement (during the run) was thinking about my friends, who have given so much of themselves and their time and their hearts to getting a BQ (Boston qualifying time) and have either yet to do so or their BQ times were not fast enough to get them into this year’s race. I decided that I was going to run this race for them,” she explained. “Each of them would’ve given so much to be where I was at that precise moment — rain, wind, and all. How could I grumble? I did it for them. That’s how I got through it.”

The mental willpower and physical stamina to finish were both there for Lowery. She, like Lindquist, credits training in Minnesota for preparing her for the conditions Boston presented.

“Training for the Boston Marathon through the cold Minnesota winters gets you ready for just about any weather variable except heat, of coarse,” she said. “I have always felt that the mental fortitude one gets in training through difficult circumstances is always to a marathoner’s benefit, as any endurance event is very mental.”

Other runners from the area included Diana Jacks, 31, of Independence (4:32:57); and David Gutermuth, 54, of Orono (3:10:30).

UPDATE: Delano coach, teacher places 77th in Boston Marathon

BOSTON, MA – With a time of 2:36:55, Delano High School cross country and track coach Jackson Lindquist, who also teaches third grade at Delano Elementary School, finished 77th overall out of nearly 26,000 finishers from 94 countries at the Boston Marathon Monday.

Jackson Lindquist

Jackson Lindquist

Lindquist’s time was about 25 minutes behind the 2:10:46 time put up by overall winner Yuki Kawauchi, and nearly 3 minutes faster than the 2:39:54 put up by Desiree Linden, the fastest woman in the race.

Lindquist averaged 5:59 per mile.

We suspected this was the case, but now we have proof,” a post on the Delano Public Schools Facebook page said. ” . . . Congratulations on a great run, Mr. Lindquist!” 

See more in Friday’s edition of the Delano Herald Journal.