The best quotes of 2014

Published 10:08 am Friday, December 26, 2014

A selection of the Tribune's favorite quotes of 2014. — Albert Lea Tribune

A selection of the Tribune’s favorite quotes of 2014. — Albert Lea Tribune

Editor’s note: The news staff has selected its favorite quotations from the past year and present them here for you to recall.

“My heart was going crazy. I thought people could hear it.” — University of Minnesota women’s basketball freshman guard Carlie Wagner, whose hometown is New Richland, on being introduced as a Gopher for the first time on Nov. 14.

“Not a lot of communities have what Albert Lea has.” — Departing Albert Lea High School Principal Jim Wagner in May praising the trails, lakes and beauty of Albert Lea. He left to become a superintendent for Kimball Area Public Schools.

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“Savick worked very hard to make sure the project was fully funded in the capital investment bill.” — Sen. Dan Sparks at a ceremony June 13 at the Edgewater Bay Pavilion with Gov. Mark Dayton present and ceremoniously signing the state’s capital investment bill. People who were present praised state Rep. Shannon Savick for ensuring $7.5 million in state funds would assist with the $15 million cost of dredging Fountain Lake.

“Aaron Miller did a great job bringing youth to the party, and he deserves the nomination.” — Mike Dettle, a Freeborn County delegate to the 1st District Republican Convention held April 5 at Southwest Middle School in Albert Lea. Miller, a Byron businessman, accepted the party endorsement as his opponents, Blue Earth’s Jim Hagedorn and Rochester’s Mike Benson, withdrew after three ballots.

“Nothing happened. That’s the point.” — Blue Earth business man Jim Hagedorn, who had withdrawn his campaign at the April convention, stating in May why he re-entered the race. He charged that Miller was failing to campaign. Hagedorn went on to defeat Miller in the August primary election.

“He said he was still tingling because the bells were chiming all over Cuba.” — Larry Alvey of 4 Seasons Travel in mid-December, describing a telephone conversation he had with a tour guide in Cuba following the announcement that the United States would reverse its foreign policy with the island nation.

 “The defense was absolutely lights out. I’m so excited to be heading into the second round.” — Albert Lea Grizzlies head coach Stephen Piper. The Grizzlies followed a 42-24 win over The Panic in the regular season finale with a 20-5 win June 28 in the first round of the Southern Plains Football League playoffs at Grizzly Field in Frank Hall Park.

“I wasn’t your normal kid.” — Glenville man Spencer Krier, 20, on how he had an uncanny interest in the U.S. presidents as a child and in how local, state and federal politics works. Krier, a visible face during the campaign season, was featured in a Prairie Profile on Dec. 2.

“Four lanes only creates an abusive behavior by cars that the street is only for cars. That deters pedestrians.” — Traffic expert Dan Burden in September on why Broadway in Albert Lea should have two lanes for cars and two for bikes and with space for parking following a resurfacing planned for 2015. Burden visited as the city gears up for a return of the Blue Zones Project in 2015.

“I myself like the poles the best because it takes more skills with your horse.” — Gary Richter, in a Aug. 3 feature story during the Freeborn County Fair about the horse competition known as pole weaving, where riders guide horses left and right down a line of poles.

“It’s been hard for me to watch as Greater Minnesota has become an afterthought at the Legislature.” — Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, the Republican gubernatorial candidate in Minnesota, on Oct. 26 during a campaign visit in Albert Lea. Johnson grew up in Detroit Lakes.

“You are either going to be a dealer of the future or not.” — Butch Kibble on how farm implement dealers must either grow or get out of the business. Kibble Equipment Inc. in June closed the Albert Lea and Kiester John Deere dealership as it consolidated operations to Blue Earth and Minnesota Lake.

“I am disappointed and sad about the loss of a hometown grocer and the effect it will have on our employees. We are a big family. It’s disappointing.” — Chris Nelson on April 19 speaking of the closing of Nelson’s Marketplace. He owned the store with his cousin, Jay. The following month it reopened as MarketPlace Foods, after being purchased by Jim Baldus, owner of Jim’s MarketPlace in Austin.

“I hadn’t come out of the psychic closet because I didn’t believe there was interest.” — Albert Lea mother of three Susan Kalis on a decision she made in the fall of 2013 to open up about the psychic readings she does for people. Kalis was featured in the Tribune on June 6.

“To invest in a hearty, healthy, 100-year-old bank, that doesn’t happen ever.” — Daniel Otten, an officer at Farmers State Bank who became one of the owners when he, officer Mark Heinemann and a group of investors closed on the purchase of the 102-year-old bank from the Skophammer family on April 11.

“The South Sudanese church prays for those who are innocent and dying that God will save them.” — the Rev. James Rut, head of the Nuer Christian Mission Network of North America, on Jan. 19 at First Presbyterian Church in Albert Lea. He was referring to violence tearing apart South Sudan.

“I think there’s a place for me out there.” — Gun shop owner Milan Hart, who lost the Republican endorsement for House District 27A representative in Geneva on March 29 to Sibley Elementary School first-grade teacher Peggy Bennett.


“It’s part of the government going on a diet, if you ask me.” — Sibley Elementary School first-grade teacher Peggy Bennett seeking the Republican endorsement the District 27A convention March 29 in Geneva. She got it and went on to defeat incumbent Shannon Savick in the November election.

“If the community seems like there is some interest in this, then naturally we would start to move forward. If the community says, ‘No way we are not interested in doing this at all,’ we got it and we understand that and we are going to look at some other options that are available to us.” — Albert Lea Superintendent Mike Funk on March 31 about the district administration and school board mulling what they called a balanced calendar, which required classes to start in early August. The board voted it down Dec. 1.

“God is going to use this as an example of what churches can do when they work together.” — Rev. Mark Miller, associate pastor at Calvary Baptist, said in June on First Baptist and Calvary Baptist churches voting to merge their two churches into one congregation.

“It’s in my blood. … What else is there?” — David Skogheim in August on why he keeps going to vintage car shows and fixing up cars, particularly his 1932 Plymouth three-window coupe.

“There’s no pressure to make it work now. … It’s kind of an art.” — Dan Studier in July, on how much more he enjoys beekeeping as a hobby rather than as a sole source of income.

“Going back and doing it two years in a row — it’s a dream. I feel like I’m not even here right now. It’s mind-boggling to me.” — NRHEG senior point guard Carlie Wagner after the Panthers beat Kenyon-Wanamingo 71-61 on March 22 to repeat as the Class AA state champions.

“I enjoyed every second with this group. I looked forward to it every day — just being there, seeing them and taking this journey. It ended here tonight, but for me it’s going to be a lifetime memory.” — Albert Lea girls’ soccer coach Rick Barnhill on Oct. 22 after his team lost 1-0 in the Class A state quarterfinals against Park Center at Park High School.

“Those kids worked their butts off,” said Albert Lea coach Jon Schmitz. “They deserved to be up there.” — Albert Lea girls’ swimming coach Jon Schmitz as the team stood on the podium with the third-place trophy on Nov. 14 after the Class A state swimming meet at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.

 “As our first year in Class AA, I’d call this season pretty satisfying. Their attitudes were good, their scores got better and they’ve got smiles on their faces.” — Albert Lea boys’ golf coach Riley Worth after each member of the team who qualified for state — Lucas Peterson, Brady Loch and Alex Syverson — improved his score on June 11 during Day 2 of the Class AA state golf tournament at The Ridges at Sand Creek.

“I can’t even say we’re disappointed. We understood that since the recession hit we were going to face a scenario like this at some point.” — United Way of Freeborn County Executive Director Ann Austin on Jan. 10 in response to the organization running short of its 2013 goal. It raised $552,000 out of its $696,000 goal.

“If this would have happened I would have taken responsibility for it. This situation and the dishonesty that has occurred in this investigation has cost me my livelihood and my reputation.” — Former Freeborn County jail administrator Marcellino Peña in January about allegations that he threatened, intimidated and sexually harassed other employees in the jail.

“His speech was about rural development and rural growth, and we say you missed the boat on this one not including this project.” — Shell Rock River Watershed District Administrator Brett Behnke Jan. 15 after finding out the project to dredge Fountain Lake was not included in Gov. Mark Dayton’s bonding proposal.

“There’s no better time to be a Republican than right now.” — Freeborn County Republican Party Chairman Jerrold Dettle on Feb. 4 after a straw poll at Southwest Middle School.

“I’m sure they’re nervous. Getting up and being told there’s a fire, that’s traumatic.” — Licensed practical nurse David Willsher of Lutheran Retirement Home of Northwood about how the residents of the nursing home were responding in the wake of an evacuation of the city Feb. 20.

“There’s not going to be a winner today.” — Albert Lea Mayor Vern Rasmussen in response to a vote Feb. 24 about whether to relocate the city’s skate park or to leave it at city beach. The council voted to leave the park at its present location.

“I’m not a member of your community, but I’m excited for your community. It’s an extraordinary building. It’s in great shape, and we are thrilled at the condition the building is in.” — Developer Clint Jayne of Cohen-Esrey on March 10 after the Albert Lea City Council approved a predevelopment agreement with the firm to renovate the Freeborn National Bank and Jacobson Apartment buildings.

“You either have to give them a livable wage or give them support. You give them a livable wage and they’ll work harder for their employers.” — District 27A Rep. Shannon Savick on April 8 in response to a deal reached to raise the minimum wage to $9.50 per year within the next few years.

“There was a big boom when the truck hit it, and I smelled gas. That’s when I called 911.” — Albert Lea resident John Lenze on April 8 after a portion of the road collapsed on East Fifth Street.

“We did what we thought was the proper thing to do.” — Clayton Petersen, then Shell Rock River Watershed District administrator, in April in response to the district’s decision to purchase a dredge for Fountain Lake at Ritchie Bros. in Owatonna. The purchase was reviewed by the Office of the State Auditor.

“We’re going to be very aggressive to make sure it’s included,.” — Minnesota Speaker of the House Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, on April 16 during a news conference in Albert Lea. Thissen referred to a $15 million project to dredge Fountain Lake.

“This is wrong. It’s an excessive punishment. She has never had detention. She’s never been scolded. She’s as perfect of a student as you can get.” — Rick Drescher on April 18 about his daughter Alyssa Drescher who was reportedly found with a pocket knife in her purse during a random drug search at United South Central School. Drescher was ultimately expelled for the rest of the 2013-2014 school year.

“This is totally wrong. There’s no common sense used in America anymore.” — Hart Bros. Weaponry owner Milan Hart during a protest in support of Alyssa Drescher on April 21.

“The fight’s not over. The school district using excessive punishment has got to stop.” — Rick Drescher on April 24 after the United South Central school board voted to expel his daughter Alyssa for the rest of the school year for mistakenly bringing a pocket knife to school.

“We’re frustrated with the legislative process. One million is inadequate for our project. For the past four years we have been asked to phase this project and have done so. We no longer have time to phase it.” — Shell Rock River Watershed District Administrator Brett Behnke on April 5 after the Senate included only $1 million out of a total $7.5 million project to dredge Fountain Lake in its bonding bill.

“Our job is to bring the lady back and restore her to the place she once was.” — Developer Clint Jayne of Cohen-Esrey on May 13 during a meeting to discuss his plans to renovate the Freeborn National Bank and Jacobson Apartments buildings in downtown Albert Lea.

“Albert Lea is on the map, and I can really see us moving forward.” — Lakes Foundation of Albert Lea President Laura Lunde May 17 during a celebration of a $50,000 grant for Albert Lea Lake from Michelob Goldon Light. The funds were used to restore a portion of shoreline of the lake.

“It’s a very exciting day for Albert Lea, and I think the final push over the finish line has been very gratifying. I’ve never worked so hard in my career here in St. Paul to get a project fully funded.” — State Sen. Dan Sparks May 16 in response to the Senate voting to include the full request for the Albert Lea dredging in its bonding bill.

“Our community worked so hard for so many years to get to this point, it is overwhelming to actually see this outcome.” — Brett Behnke, administrator for the Shell Rock River Watershed District, on May 20 after finding out the Fountain Lake dredging was included in the state bonding bill.

“It’s disgusting. It’s unacceptable, and the city should be embarrassed it even happens.” — Albert Lea resident Bob Arnold June 23 about sewage backup that went into his home from heavy rains.

“I have nothing to hide. Being fair and honest is part of having integrity.” — Freeborn County Sheriff Bob Kindler on Aug. 7 after a debate for the sheriff’s office at Riverland Community College.

“I am awestruck. I’m humbled. I’m thankful. It’s really an amazing feeling.” — District 27A Rep.-elect Peggy Bennett after winning the Nov. 4 general election.

“I’m excited to start implementing the things I’ve talked about. I have a lot I feel I can give to the residents of the county.” — Freeborn County Sheriff-elect Kurt Freitag Nov. 4 after finding out he won the election against Sheriff Bob Kindler.

“It feels like coming back to a family reunion without the annoying uncle Ernie.” — Blue Zones Founder Dan Buettner Nov. 5 at Albert Lea High School during an event to an announce plans for the return of the Blue Zones Project to Albert Lea.

“I have had nights when I woke up in the middle of the night and have been thinking about this. I haven’t thought about this lightly.” — Second Ward Councilor Larry Baker in an Albert Lea City Council meeting Nov. 24 about a proposed reorganization of the city’s management structure. The reorganization failed 5-2.

“From the moment I saw the organizational chart and began to process the information, something inside of me opposed this. I have not wavered in my opposition.” — Third Ward Albert Lea City Councilor George Marin on Nov. 24 about a proposed reorganization of the city’s management structure.

“Life is a learning experience. Stories are always happening in our lives.” — Michael Cotter, an 83-year-old storyteller, in December on his type of storytelling, which is life stories rather than made up ones.

“The whole environment is great. It’s a place that we want to be.” — United South Central senior Amber Klein in December about the new school building. USC’s new building was completed in the summer of 2014.

“I got together with my group of friends and said, ‘All right. Let’s put an airport on stage.’” — Dylan Kaercher on his decision for the plot of his annual Christmas musical for this year. The musical, “Flyin’ into Christmas,” was Dec. 5 and 6 at the Albert Lea High School auditorium.

“We need you, and we value you.” — Albert lea school board member Julie Johnson during the Dec. 1 meeting when the school board voted a proposed calendar down with a 3-3 vote. Johnson was talking about her promise to the community as a board member to not approve the calendar if the community didn’t support it.

“There’s just not enough people to run the congregation anymore.” — The Rev. Cherie Daniel in October on the closure of the Freeborn Congregational United Church of Christ. The church closes on Dec. 31 after 141 years of service.

“It’s time for it to come back.” — Tammy Krowiorz of the Albert Lea football boosters club about the Homecoming parade on Oct. 2. Albert Lea hadn’t seen a Homecoming parade for 14 years until this year.

“These are our sons and daughters expected to do our dirtiest work.” — National Guard 2nd Lt. John Lesch in August during annual training, talking about the nature of the military.

“This is ‘Marley and Me’ on steroids.” — Albert Lea native and author Dana Boettcher on his latest novel, “Decoy,” which was released in the beginning of June.