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Parents react to speaker’s comments regarding Republicans

DELANO, MN – A comment made by author and professor James Loewen during a presentation at Delano High School Monday drew the ire of some students, parents, and community members; prompting district representatives to respond and release a summary and recording of the presentation to district families and staff.

During a question-and-answer period, a student asked “Would you consider certain Democrats racist for telling black people that they can’t vote for Trump?”

Loewen said he grew up Republican and stayed in the party for a long time.

“Since 1964, the Republicans have been the party of white supremacy, which breaks my heart because racial issues are important to me,” Loewen said. “Some of the things Republicans stand for are good, but this racial issue breaks my heart.”

He defined dog whistle racism, where racism is implied rather than explicit, before going on to talk about President Donald Trump, though not by name.

“Unfortunately, for the last three years, our national leader – and you know who I’m talking about – has abandoned the dog whistle and is pretty much saying it straight up,” Loewen said. “ . . . He says a lot of things straight up, but, unfortunately, he’s saying it straight up about white supremacy.”

A critical comment about the presentation drew more than 150 reactions and about 500 additional comments on social media. Subsequent posts on the topic drew at least 150 more comments.

Some said the presentation forced liberal ideas on the students, who were juniors, seniors and sophomores taking the Advanced Placement history class.

They questioned why parents did not know about the presentation before it happened.

At least one person suggested that the individual responsible for bringing Loewen to the school be fired.

Others defended the decision to have Loewen speak, stated that his presentation aligned with AP history curriculum, and said schools are a place where all viewpoints should be shared.

DHS Principal Steve Heil confirmed Tuesday afternoon that parents had approached him about the presentation.

“I’ve had a couple good conversations with a few parents,” Heil said. “A few of them were curious.”

When asked to define a few, he said, “More than two or three.”

He added Wednesday that, “Not all feedback was negative. I did have a couple parents talk with me, along with email. This feedback revolves around the main topic of the speaker of using multiple sources when looking at history.”

Delano Public Schools Communications Coordinator Paul Downer sent an email to all families in the district Tuesday afternoon.

The email noted that the Delano United Diversity Task Force and other community groups brought Loewen to the community to discuss his book “Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your High School History Book Got Wrong.” Delano High School agreed to host Loewen for a 75-minute presentation “about aspects of American history that are typically overlooked or misunderstood,” Downer wrote.

The email included more information about Loewen and notes summarizing his presentation.

“We appreciate the interest you have demonstrated in the content of your student(s) education, and hope you find this information helpful,” Downer wrote.

Wednesday afternoon, Downer sent an audio recording of the entire presentation to all district families, as well as a response from Loewen.

“Of course I did not say, ‘All Republicans are white supremacists,’ nor do I think so,” Loewen wrote in an email.

“Given Loewen’s wording in his original statement, it is not surprising that interpretations of his meaning varied,” Downer wrote to district families. “However, since the content of Loewen’s planned presentation was historical rather than political, there was certainly no intent on the part of the school to push a political agenda. In this case, he was providing a personal opinion to a political question.”

Heil said the crux of the conversation was to use more than one source and critical thinking when looking at history.

He explained why the presentation was limited to certain grades.

“He’s a college professor, so he presents like a college professor,” Heil said. “Topic-wise, thinking of our kids going the next step to college, we kept it to our junior and senior students and sophomore AP history students.”

“I thought his presentation was pretty good on staying on the facts,” Heil added later. “When you start asking questions, you’re asking what he thinks then.”

Regarding notification of parents before presentations, and the opportunity to opt out, Heil noted that he had made an announcement about the presentation during a school board meeting and that a note about it was intended to be in the school newsletter but “got missed among the multitude of articles. As always, we allow opting out of presentations.”

Shingobee certified as Women’s Business Enterprise

LORETTO, MN – Shingobee Builders Inc., a business specializing in commercial construction and development, is proud to announce national certification as a Women’s Business Enterprise by the Women’s Business Development Center – Midwest, a regional certifying partner of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).

“I welcome the opportunities that WBENC Certification provides, the networks that it makes available, and access to new prospects for our business. It provides chances to act as a role model and mentor to like-minded peers, and it motivates women entrepreneurs to be confident in their abilities and in their potential to drive success in their companies and industries.” – Nancy Samson, Shingobee CEO and President

With the successful certification and acceptance by WBENC, Shingobee is returning to its roots as a woman-owned business. Now in its 40th year of servicing hospitality, retail, financial, and other clients, the Certification begins a new chapter for the company, while at the same time remembering the inspiration of its founder, Gae Veit, and the accomplishments she brought as a woman in the male-dominated construction industry.

WBENC’s national standard of certification implemented by the Women’s Business Development Center – Midwest is a meticulous process including an in-depth review of the business and site inspection. The certification process is designed to confirm the business is at least 51% owned, operated and controlled by a woman or women.

By including women-owned businesses among their suppliers, corporations and government agencies demonstrate their commitment to fostering diversity and the continued development of their supplier diversity programs.

Holiday of Waverly Grand Opening Event


Come celebrate Holiday of Waverly’s new store opening with us!

REGISTER TO WIN One of several Holiday Car Wash Coupon Books!

Each book features 4 works wash coupons, a $29.99 value. Print the registration form below, fill it out and turn it in to Holiday of Waverly on Thurs., Oct. 10, 2019. Drawing will be held Fri., Oct. 11, 2019. Winners will be announced on Holiday of Waverly’s Facebook page and website.




Wright County preliminary levy up 6.52 percent

BUFFALO, MN – After a 17.3 percent levy increase in 2019, the 2020 increase will not exceed 6.52 following approval of the preliminary levy by the Wright County Board of Commissioners.

While the 2019 levy passed on a 3-2 vote, with commissioners Mark Daleiden and Charlie Borrell opposed, the 2020 preliminary levy passed unanimously.

The proposed budget is $160,949,532, an increase of $13,730,433, or 9.3 percent. That puts the preliminary tax levy at $78,587,512, compared to $73,652,160 in 2019.

“We should all take great pride in the fact it’s not last year’s number,” Commissioner Mike Potter said. “It was an anomaly you don’t want to revisit again.”

“We made the correction last year and can move forward with more reasonable numbers,” Commissioner Christine Husom said.

Daleiden thanked department heads for working with the board to make that possible. He and Potter said the levy increase should be covered by the growth in the county’s tax base.

“As long as your house didn’t see an increase in value, you really shouldn’t see a change in property taxes,” Daleiden said.

The board set a special meeting to approve the 2020 budget and levy for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3.

Delano EDA purchasing former Quik Shop site for redevelopment

DELANO, MN – The former Quik Shop gas station at 125 Woodland Rd. has sat empty since May 2014.

The Delano Economic Development Authority is aiming to change that.

A purchase agreement was signed Wednesday.

The agreement calls for the EDA to purchase the site from Red Rooster Properties, Inc. for $325,000, the assessed value of the property.

Red Rooster Properties had initially purchased the property for redevelopment for the same price Sept. 1, 2016.

Previously, the property was purchased for $2 million in 2008.

The sale is expected to close in November, following further environmental testing and site inspections.

“It is an excellent commercial site located near the Highway 12 corridor and, unfortunately, environmental conditions with the site have prevented the private market from proceeding with a reuse,” City Administrator Phil Kern said in a press release.

Using proceeds from other development projects, the EDA will remove the underground storage tanks, gas pumps, canopy, and substandard buildings from the site prior to redevelopment, according to Kern.

The goal is to get the property back into private ownership.

“The EDA will consider proposals for commercial and retail redevelopment uses, and intends to eventually resell the site to a private user willing to invest in a viable commercial/retail use of the property,” Kern said. “More information will be coming soon regarding the process for individuals to express interest in the site for redevelopment.”

Kern indicated that there has been interest in the property once it is remediated.

Fire damages Montrose home

A fire damaged this home at 513 Emerson Ave. in Montrose Tuesday afternoon. The fire was contained to the exterior of the house. No one was injured. Delano and Waverly fire departments were dispatched to the fire, but later canceled. The cause of the fire is under investigation. Damage is estimated at $50,000, according to Montrose Fire Chief Kevin Triplett.

A fire damaged this home at 513 Emerson Ave. in Montrose Tuesday afternoon. The fire was contained to the exterior of the house. No one was injured. Delano and Waverly fire departments were dispatched to the fire, but later canceled. The cause of the fire is under investigation. Damage is estimated at $50,000, according to Montrose Fire Chief Kevin Triplett.