September 4, 2006, Herald Journal

‘What’s going on in Delano?’


“What’s going on in Delano?”

I’m starting this introductory column with the simple phrase of “What’s going on in Delano?”

Seem strange? Probably. But like any good quote, there is almost always an even better story behind it.

Several years ago while I was a staff writer at Herald Journal, I was delegated to give an on-air report of news briefs happening in the area on one of our local radio stations on Friday afternoons.

Well, one particular Friday right before the Fourth of July, the deejay and I exchanged banter about the upcoming weekend before I got into the news briefs, and I had told him that my plans included a trip to Delano’s annual Fourth of July celebration.

After I had stumbled through the news briefs (I hated speaking on the radio to begin with), the deejay asked me “So Ryan, what is going on in Delano?”

I froze, because while I knew that my weekend plans included spending time taking in live music and the largest parade in the state in Delano, I did not have a schedule of events, or for that matter, even know any specifics about the event I planned on attending that weekend.

The answer I stammered out was less than graceful. Of course, all of my Herald Journal co-workers were listening to the live broadcast in our conference room, and let’s just say, for the next few months, it was common to hear around the office, “Hey Ryan, what’s going on in Delano?”

My career as a radio personality ended shortly after that, which was completely fine with me.

Anyway, I would like to take this opportunity to formally introduce myself to you, the community of Delano.

Although I grew up and have spent most of my life in the Winsted area, and currently live just north of there in Howard Lake, I can honestly say I would not be here today if it were not for a Delano native.

My grandmother, Elizabeth (Libor) Gueningsman, comes from one of the largest families to grow up in Delano in the 1930s and 1940s. Including my grandmother, there were 17 children born to Peter and Mary Libor, who raised their family on a farm on Farmington Avenue, and eventually moved to town to a residence on Elm Avenue.

Elizabeth married my grandfather, the late Joe Gueningsman, at St. Peter’s Catholic Church back in 1946, long before I was even thought of. But, because of this union, I am here today.

So, why am I here today, you may ask, along with the question of, “Why am I getting a newspaper that says ‘Delano’ on it that’s not the Eagle?”

Well, the answer is simple, really. As both Herald Journal Publishing and the community of Delano have grown, the company has been asked over the course of the past few years to consider starting a second newspaper for the Delano area.

After much consideration and discussion, we felt the time was right to launch the paper you have in your hands today. Many months of planning and meetings have culminated with what you see in front of you. And this is just the beginning.

The Delano Herald Journal is a community-oriented newspaper that prides itself on local news and information. Each week, we hope to provide you the best coverage of sports, school activities, human interest features, local government, and all other aspects of a successful community newspaper that we can.

Of course, because this is a new venture, there are going to be mistakes and learning curves we have to cross. I think I can finally say the name “Czestochowa” now without having to think too hard, or sound it out, before I say it. But, please, bear with us as we do our best to make this a success.

My hope for you, the community of Delano, is this – we want, and need, as much community participation as possible. We are always looking for interesting folks to write stories about, as well as current events and happenings in the community.

Please, let us know about any story ideas you may have, or events that are happening that deserve coverage in the newspaper. We are just a visit, e-mail, or call away.

Part of what makes a small community great is the sense of pride and volunteerism that takes place within that community; which was demonstrated recently with the work of a local task force that saw through the awarding of several large grants to assist in flood prevention. This group was publicly acknowledged for its work over the past three years at a city council meeting, and this is something we believe deserves recognition in local media.

That is our goal for the Delano Herald Journal in a nutshell. If anyone has any comments on things you would like to see in your paper, or ways it can be improved, please drop us a line, or stop by our office for a visit.

Also on board our staff are Sports Editor Matt Kane, who I’m sure some of you have seen already at various sporting events last week; Delano resident Jen Bakken, who will be handling our receptionist duties, writing, and providing us local knowledge; and Cullen Schultz, who will be working part-time for the Delano Herald Journal as a secondary writer/photographer.

And, of course, there is yours truly. I will be covering local government meetings and issues, writing human interest feature stories, and overseeing the day-to-day operation of our office and the newspaper.

I am a 2002 graduate of Holy Trinity High School in Winsted, and began working full-time at the newspaper following graduation as a staff writer/photographer.

I held the title of secretary of the Lester Prairie Business Association for a little more than three years, was the Montrose-Waverly Chamber of Commerce vice president in 2005, and currently am on the Winsted Summer Festival Committee. I have also been honored to receive several Minnesota Newspaper Association awards for writing and photography.

Not long ago, I relocated to a “bachelor pad,” as my co-workers call it, on the shores of Howard Lake, and am looking forward to working in and being a part of the Delano community. I also recently joined the Delano Chamber of Commerce’s Ambassador Committee, which visits businesses and presents progress and first dollar awards.

Now that I have the task of managing editor of the Delano Herald Journal, I can safely say that from this point forward, I will always know “what’s going on in Delano.”

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