2017 quotations of the year

Published 8:00 pm Thursday, December 28, 2017

Take a look back at some of the memorable quotes of 2017


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

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“Pretty much every inch of this lake has been negotiated.” — Andy Henschel on the final Fountain Lake dredging permit map approved by the Watershed District, quoted in a Dec. 22 article.

“Starting even something as small as language can mean a big deal. Not just learning the language itself, but the idea of, like, working with others and people that are different from me, or sound different from me, to the point where they hopefully don’t see the difference.” — Ariel Reyes before language club on Dec. 13 on the potential impact of the new club at Halverson Elementary School.

“You put the suit on and you just think differently.” — Larry Behrens on playing Santa Claus at Christmastime in a story published Dec. 9.

“I still believe. Otherwise, I wouldn’t get anything in my stocking on Christmas day.” — Dean Christianson, one-time Santa impersonator, in a Dec. 9 article on his philosophy on Santa Claus.

“My experience is that often the problem isn’t whether or not they believe it. But the second that you start to believe that they might be right is when it really starts to get to a person.” — Daniel Gould on being bullied in school, quoted in the first bullying series article on Dec. 4

“This stuff’s never going to go away, because we’re people.” — Glenville-Emmons superintendent Jerry Reshetar on bullying in schools in a Dec. 4 article for the “Breaking Down Bullying” series.

“The common ground, the common conversation of both families are how to keep the tradition more family-centered. And, I mean, I talk to her mom on the phone and she’s trying to figure out how to reduce down the Hanukkah gifts from Grandma.” — Mark Nechanicky on living out two faith traditions in one family, quoted on Dec. 8 near the start of Hanukkah.

“Someone gave them my name and thought that I would be interested in it, good at it, and I was too naive to know any different, so I took on the challenge and (I’m) still here. Something that I thought would be temporary ended up being, as I said, 33 years.” — Clay Miller, former United South Central drama director, quoted Nov. 4 on his time at the school before retiring this year.

“When they had the hospital bed in here, then I moved my chair over next to him and said, ‘We can sit and hold hands all day now. Make up for the lost time.’” — Marilyn Giles on spending time with her husband during his home hospice care, while sitting with him Nov. 2.

“Just as important, any relief plan should also address access to clinics and medical specialists. Many of these same people who are getting hit hard financially are also in the predicament of losing their long-time doctors and clinics because they’ve been forced off of their current insurance and into a different plan that doesn’t cover their doctors and clinics.” — District 27A Rep. Peggy Bennett in a Jan. 3 article describing her plan to address skyrocketing health care costs.

“If not for the grant and the staff and the knowledge that the staff has, those documents would probably still be sitting in our vault unscanned. Six hundred and sixty five hours is a very long time. We’re very grateful that everybody here was able to help us.” — Albert Lea Assistant City Manager Jerry Gabrielatos in a Jan. 5 article explaining his appreciation for the help the city received in archiving documents at the Freeborn County Historical Museum.

“Again, we continue to appreciate the Ellendale community’s support as we restored operations and cleaned up the site. With the exception of a small pile of railroad ties, the site is now clear of all incident-related debris. The rail cars are now gone.” — Union Pacific Director of Corporate Communications Calli B. Hite in a Jan. 6 article thanking the Ellendale community for their support in cleanup efforts after multiple rail cars derailed.

“There’s something said at a wedding ceremony, ‘till death do us part,’ that’s all we’re looking for.” — Wesley Nelson in a Jan. 8 article about the 70 years he and his wife, Shirley Nelson, have been married.

“The Minnesota Department of Education later assured the district that it would consider the staff’s input through written correspondence, but the Department of Education did not adhere to that assurance. The Department of Education’s failure to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation or make any meaningful attempt to obtain the perspective of current staff members who attended the individualized education program team meetings resulted in findings that are inaccurate and capricious.” — Albert Lea Area Schools Superintendent Mike Funk in a Jan. 24 article expressing his displeasure with the process the Department of Education took in finding the district violated its policy on extended school year services.

“There’s something about having the radio on, having the heater on, having the doors shut on the ice house and fishing away.” — Albert Lea police Officer Adam Hamberg in a Jan. 29 article on why he enjoys ice fishing.

“Pat Martinson was congratulated by the Minnesota Department of Revenue on her approach here. They said Freeborn County is very fortunate to have an auditor who takes this position, because she was correct. She relied on outside counsel, and she relied on her own interpretation of the statute.” — Freeborn County Attorney David Walker in a Jan. 31 article expressing his appreciation for the approach Martinson took in not certifying the Shell Rock River Watershed District’s proposed half-cent sales tax.

“(He said), ‘You know, Eileen, I think you have skills that could help you be a good pastor,’” she said. “Well, I thought he had drank too much wine at dinner, because I never saw myself doing anything like that. Church and faith were important to me, but I didn’t know any women in ministry. And the women I did know in ministry certainly didn’t look or act like me.” — The Rev. Eileen Woyen in a Feb. 7 article explaining her initial apprehension to becoming a pastor.

“This is first-hand history right here. These are the people that lived it, and there’s nothing better in history than to taste, touch, smell, feel, know what somebody else did from their own mouth.”  Albert Lea High School social studies teacher Jim Haney in a Feb. 10 article explaining why it was important for people who lived through the Wilson & Co. meat packing plant strike to speak with students about the strike.

“So he goes and then sure enough he shows up right there. He needed to be there.” — Josh Schipper’s brother, Mike Schipper, in a Feb. 12 article on the initial apprehension of his brother, Josh Schipper, to take the trip to the Twin Cities that resulted in him saving the life of another man on the way. 

“Once you’re in, you don’t ever want to get out. You love it too much. It’s one of those jobs that even if you got something that’s kind of a crappy deal (or) you don’t like it — it’s still the best job in the world.” — Albert Lea Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Laskowske in a Feb. 19 article explaining why despite the dangers of being a firefighter, he still loves his work.

“Usually you don’t have to worry about this. We might have to worry about a blizzard on March 6, but we should never have to worry about a tornado.” — Geneva resident Jeff Wayne in a March 8 article stating his shock about an early-season tornado that caused extensive damage to northern Freeborn County.

“This project is a big project, and it’s sitting right in the middle of town. We think that it’s important that it’s everybody. It’s the city, it’s the county, it’s the watershed, it’s the state of Minnesota. It’s going to benefit everybody, and everybody needs to get involved.”  Shell Rock River Watershed District Board Chairman Gary Pestorious in a March 9 article stating his desire for the Watershed District’s proposed $2 million loan from Freeborn County to help dredge Fountain Lake.

“I just love what I do. Doing what’s right for the kids, enjoying my kids and having fun with the kids, and helping them find their passion is really my main goal.” — 2016-17 Albert  Lea Area Schools Teacher of the Year Jacque Sorensen in a March 30 article describing what she enjoys about the profession.

“The process was hell. I learned investigators have got big hearts, and that the people that are involved with justice are not allowed to show their hearts, but they are working very hard and that through this whole process — when we got to the end of it, that’s when we got to see the justice department’s feelings. But at the beginning of it, it seemed like the justice was cold as ice, but (it is) finished. David Walker is our hero.” — Neal Gjersvik in an April 14 article reacting to David Easter being found guilty in the death of Spencer Brown.

“Loss is that vacant space in your life that seems no longer to be able to be filled by something else because of the uniqueness and amazingness of each and every one of us as people.” — Tracy Muhlenbach in an Oct. 3 article speaking about the loss of her aunt at a mass shooting in Las Vegas.

“After working for 47 years, I believe I have a right to retire in peace. It is an ironic twist of fate that I am now suffering the same fate my husband incurred while serving our country. The turbines have destroyed our home and our property. We can’t live there anymore, as long as the turbines continue to operate.” — Cheryl Hagen in an April 19 article on the effects she said windmills have had on her and her husband, Bernard Hagen.

“We felt that if we did not do something like this, that we potentially would lose a valuable asset. We have a lot of good things going on right now — we want to continue that ball rolling.” — Albert Lea Mayor Vern Rasmussen Jr. in a May 4 article on why the Albert Lea City Council approved a nearly 9 percent raise for City Manager Chad Adams.

“It was a hope that I had six months ago, and to see that it was unanimously voted on today, I think it’s wonderful, awesome.” — April Jeppson in a May 23 article explaining her support for the Albert Lea City Council approving placing stop signs at the intersection where Sophie Stultz, 8, was struck and killed by a vehicle in July 2016 while she rode her bicycle.

“My definition of Mayo is arrogance.” — Fairmont City Councilor Tom Hawkins in a June 29 article describing his dissatisfaction with the approach the hospital system has taken in rural communities.

“They are hoping that we’re done. They are hoping that we’re through. Our mission today is not only to rally the community and the 35,000 people around Albert Lea that use this hospital. Our mission today is to emphasize that commitment — that we are not done.” — Save Our Hospital Co-Chairman Brad Arends during a Sept. 29 rally about the community’s continued effort to keep a full-service, acute-care hospital in Albert Lea.

“These gentlemen are the reason that we can meet like this any day we want to, and thank you.” — Freeborn County Commissioner Jim Nelson in a Sept. 20 article thanking veterans for serving the country.

“You have made me part of a stigma. Because of you, I am the mother of a murdered child.” — Denise Brown, the mother of Spencer Brown, directly addressing convicted murderer David Easter in a letter during his sentencing hearing Sept. 15.

“This building was a hospital, and nobody has ever seen a fire in this place since they rebuilt this into apartments, and my apartment is gone. The whole roof is gone.” — Wellington Estates apartment building resident Elaine Grunzke Aug. 5 after a fire severely damaged the apartment building.

“That’s my favorite part, I guess, is listening to complete, absolute strangers saying good things about what I am doing here and good things about me. It makes me feel good. It makes me feel blessed.” — DAE Liquor Owner Dyllan Engebretson in a July 31 article about what he enjoyed about operating the business in its early stages.

“I think sometimes one of the biggest assets in me being able to provide the medical care that they needed to receive was that I knew their family. It was not unusual to have three, sometimes even four generations that I took care at the same time. And even now, it’s not unusual for somebody to come up to me and say ‘Dr. Buege — you delivered my babies.’ So their babies are old now, and it’s a real honor to hear that.” — Retired doctor Bill Buege July 18 on the enjoyment he continues to feel for being a local practitioner after retiring.   

“People have stopped by here — people we don’t even know have done things to help us out. It’s been amazing, and they say, ‘you would have done it for us.’ He was a really good guy.” — Roxanne Brue in a July 13 article of the personality her husband and longtime corn dog and pancake maker Dennis Brue had.

“If we have people in our country illegally, that is a crime. That is a felony, and we need immigrants to gain access to our country legally. We have set laws in place.” — Freeborn County Sheriff Kurt Freitag in a July 12 article regarding approximately 40 immigration activists who protested outside the Freeborn County jail earlier that week.

“I love Albert Lea. I love the medical center, as does everybody who came here today. This is what I expected, and quite honestly I would have been disappointed if we did not have this emotion … they are standing up for what they think is right, and I applaud them for that.” — Mayo Clinic CEO Mark Ciota in a June 30 article regarding the approximately 700 people who attended a public forum concerning the hospital system’s decision earlier that month to transition most inpatient services to Austin.

“Today was not about celebrating victory. Today was about celebrating democracy. … It didn’t feel like the people in the crowd were celebrating victory, it was just a very patriotic event. It wasn’t about winning, and it wasn’t about losing. It was about America.” — Cole Ignaszewski of New Richland after attending the inauguration of President Donald Trump in January.

“I had a feeling that something was wrong when I started to hear the most haunting noise. I don’t really know how to describe it, but it got gradually louder and louder. People who have been in tornadoes say that it sounds like a freight train, which I would say that’s fairly close to what I heard.” — Clarks Grove resident Dalton Dahl in a March 8 article describing his experience when an EF1 tornado swept through the community.

“What really got me and gave me the most hope for the town was the flagpole. The pole was bent, but the flag was fine. There was no tear, there was nothing. If the flag can survive, a town can be rebuilt. … All we can do from there is move forward.” — Clarks Grove resident Skye Miller about a flagpole at Bob Hanson Park near his apartment that was twisted during the tornado March 6.

“It was fun, it was just amazing to be here. You see all these amazing swimmers who are D-1 material, you just realize that this is next level stuff. I’m happy with it and next year will be even better for us.” — Albert Lea junior Emily Taylor quoted Nov. 20 after competing at the state swim and dive meet.

“I felt really proud because I have worked really hard in the offseason to get to that point. Then, to get out there and play with all those phenomenal athletes and having them set me up was great.” — Albert Lea senior Lennon Shimon quoted on Nov. 8 after being named MVP at an All-Star soccer game.

“I want to shape these kids into responsible men that carry themselves with integrity. I want them to exhibit positive behaviors and characteristics and make good choices. That’s going to be a major theme and part of my goals as a coach moving forward.” — Albert Lea head wrestling coach Paul Durbahn quoted on Nov. 7, just before the beginning of the season.

“It’s been a lot of fun to watch this defense improve from week to week and watch these guys step up into some pretty big roles on the team. I’m proud of the team and the steps we’ve taken this year.” — Albert Lea head football coach Corey Black quoted on Oct. 28 after the final game of the season.

“I wouldn’t trade my life for anyone else’s. I’m actually getting to live out one of my dreams, and there’s no better feeling than that.” — Mason Tuohy on being a professional water skier in Germany, quoted in an article on Jul. 18.

“Mayo’s failure to fully and proactively engage the Albert Lea community on this decision is disappointing. Hospitals — like our schools and small businesses on Main Street — are the lifeblood of rural America and small towns … I urge you to give my constituents’ concerns and ideas your full and fair consideration.” — U.S. Rep. Tim Walz in a letter to Mayo Clinic CEO John Noseworthy that printed in an Aug. 1 article.

“I think what you have here is what I will refer to as ‘legal magic,’ where the original intent of the original bylaws of the Albert Lea campus put in place after the Mayo acquisition magically disappear after the Albert Lea and Austin campuses are merged. Everyone knows those original bylaws had provisions that would not allow this move to happen. Everyone knows that those provisions were put into place to protect the city and citizens of Albert Lea from exactly this.” — Save Our Hospital Chairman Brad Arends in an article Sept. 1 regarding Mayo Clinic Health System’s response to Attorney General Lori Swanson’s request for documents.

“It makes me sad, but in the big picture it doesn’t matter. We are blessed by God that our family is safe.” — Clarks Grove resident Heather Earl after a fire destroyed their home in November in Clarks Grove.

“My heart’s broken. He’s been such a great friend and mentor, and in my opinion, he’s the definition of what a servant-leader is. He’s set a great example for the entire community.” — Albert Lea City Manager Chad Adams in a Nov. 25 article after the death of Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Randy Kehr.