Hospital governance change leads 2012 Year in Review news headlines

New River Medical Center’s governance change from a publicly owned hospital to a health care system affiliate tops the 2012 Monticello Times news in review.
The actions of the hospital board remained front-page news throughout the year and has been selected as the newspaper’s leading story.
The city of Monticello’s ongoing efforts to restructure its FiberNet debt service agreement with bondholders and selection of a new management company to run the troubled community-owned telecommunications utility landed the No. 2 spot in the paper’s year-ending headline review.
Landing in the No. 3 spot was the local impact of Election 2012; specifically the spirited and sometimes contentious Wright County Board of Commissioners District 2 race involving Pat Sawatzke and Rose Thelen that wasn’t decided until the early morning hours of Nov. 6.
There’s an old newspaper axiom that states a headline’s main purpose is to quickly and briefly draw attention to the story. Keeping that in mind, today’s use of social media and the fast-paced nature of news still leaves the headline with a highly important role when top stories are presented.
With a nod to Twitter, the online social networking and microblogging service that enables users to send and read text messages of up to 140 characters, here are the Monticello Time’s top 2012 headlines, presented in reverse chronological order.
Dec. 27
City council approves 10 percent increase for residential, industrial water and sewer rates for 2013; Frostbite Challenge ice bar creates frozen fun; MHS graduate Stewart Brooks honored for Vietnam helicopter mission during Dec. 17 ceremony; Wright County employees upset over job classification change; District 882 Technology Director Susan Height honored for education service by being named winner of TIES Minnesota Technology award.
Dec. 20
New River Medical Center board OKs affiliation agreement memorandum of understanding with St. Cloud-based CentraCare; MHS students wrap up Toys for Toys collection effort, District 882 officials explain school policies in wake of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut; Mayor Clint Herbst provides year-end update at final meeting of year; Monticello resident Ashley Buzek benefits from random act of kindness after chance encounter; Wright County commissioners approve 2013 budget, levy.
Dec. 13
Monticello council gives $7.9 million city tax levy, 2013 budget green light; CentraCare executives talk about future affiliation with New River Medical Center; District 882 gets annual third-party audit, addressing fund balance and other financial issues; Parents, district ponder possible school time change; Monticello council amends snowmobile trail map.
Wright County Board Commissioners Jack Russek, Dick Mattson and Elmer Eichelberg prepare to leave public office.
Dec. 6
New River Medical Center affiliation plan gets green light with three CentraCare Health System boards; Monticello council approves $4.45 million in FiberNet operating transfers; Monticello School Board approves levy for 2013-2014 levy; Monticello Community Center $80,000 equipment purchase approved and council reviewed proposed 10 percent rate increase for facility users; Monticello Community Center staff celebrate grand reopening of renovated facility.
Nov. 29
New River Medical Center board selects CentraCare as affiliation partner after listening to task force recommendation; District 882 enrollment projections show continued increase; Interstate 94 highway improvement resolution approved by Monticello EDA; Wright County nets trust fund rebate of nearly $800,000; Monticello EDA commissioners pass resolution to renew Wright County Economic Development Partnership agreement.
Nov. 22
Pool project at Monticello Community Center nears completion, celebration set for Dec. 1; New River-CentraCare hospital affiliation recommendation expected ahead of schedule; Local effort headed by Cargill Kitchen Solutions helps military families; Wright County commissioners discusses soccer facility proposal.
Nov. 15
Highway 25 open house helps explain improvement project; Wright County candidates recap hard-fought election race; Monticello council canvasses election results; Authorities investigate alleged school bus assault of Monticello student; MHS students perform fall musical “A Christmas Carol” during weekend.
Nov. 8
Election 2012 results include Clint Herbst re-election as mayor, Wright County Board incumbent and Monticello resident Pat Sawatzke defeating challenger Rose Thelen in District 2 race; New River Medical Center board election results in two incumbents (Sheldon Johnson and Linda Doerr) retaining their seats and election of Douglas Schneider and Thomas Campbell. Two Silver Creek Township Board winners included Chris Klein, Sandy Forsman and Mike Ludenia. Other news included Monticello soccer facility plan nixed after Minnesota Youth Soccer Association membership vote; Superintendent Jim Johnson providing an update on 2013-2014 commissioners approving courthouse security camera upgrades totaling $44,500.
Nov. 1
Wright County gets ready for big Election 2012 effort and voter turnout; Last day for Monticello residents to vote absentee is Nov. 5; New River Medical Center’s affiliation task force gets ready for public forums to explain process in advance of naming affiliation partner; Monticello City Council approves fire truck study committee, New River Medical Center financial committee reviews fourth-quarter report that shows financial gain from operations; Monticello fire crews fight a mobile home fire; Monticello middle school students change world by collecting shoes and clothing by patterning with Making a Difference International.
Oct. 25
New River Medical Clinic sets Oct. 29, Oct. 20 affiliation forum meeting dates; Authors, illustrators entertain at Pinewood Elementary; Monticello council members approve Cornerstone Chevrolet’s zoning and development request; Wright County Commissioner Rose Thelen contends budget minutes inaccurate.
Oct. 18
New River Medical Clinic narrows affiliation partner list to Fairview Health Services, CentraCare Health Systems; Change order  of $161,000 for Monticello Community Center is approved by council; Local youth will sleep out to fight homelessness; New River Medical Center announces OB-GYN partnership with Clinic Sofia; Wright County Board approves road funding for Grand Castle Estates.
MHS Class of 1952 celebrates 60 years; fire crews fight mobile home blaze.
Oct. 11
Council tables car dealership PUD request; Hospital officials, board members continue to address affiliation; Local firefighters attend Minnesota Fallen Firefighter Memorial dedication; Wright County Board 2012 commissioner turnover and election process mirrors changes from 20 years ago.
Oct. 4
City working on wastewater upgrade as feasibility report prepared for Oct. 8 public hearing; Monticello district add two inductees to Hall of Fame; Monticello resident is presented Purple Heart; School board approves 2013 levy; Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant resumes operation after two-day shutdown; Wright County moves ahead with traffic grant, TZD safety program participation.
Sept. 27
Monticello pool project hits major delay, I-beam problem pushes opening date into late fall; Coronation kicks off Homcoming week events at MHS; WSi breaks ground on new facility, company’s 47,000 square-foot expansion is scheduled for completion next year; Steele’s Collision & Glass employee Ben Rouw receives national honor; Interstate 94 lane closures expected to slow traffic north of Monticello; Wright County Board of Commissioners election battle takes new twist; Monticello City Council orders McDonald’s sidewalk study.
Sept. 20
New River Medical Center board sets $1.5 million levy, 2013 operating loss estimated at $11.3 million; MHS graduate Chase Cushman works for President Obama; Candidates square off at Sept. 11 county meeting; Monticello Rotary celebrates Taste of the Towns; Fire department open house stresses safety.
Sept. 13
Monticello council approves 2013 preliminary tax levy by 3-1 vote; Monticello students make trek to garden plot; Downed utility pole causes power loss; Monticello Times gets new managing editor (Tim Hennagir); Wright County will take back prescription drugs; Monticello eighth graders learn about STEM; District celebrates academic performance milestones.
Sept. 6
Homeowners serving alcohol to minors get notice from county board; Contested, congested hospital board race expected after candidates file; Monticello Community Education celebrates four decades of life; Christmas comes early with fall auditions for MHS production of “A Christmas Carol.” McDonald’s opens rebuilt location near Interstate 94 after three-month construction period; Gary Gindale succeeds Carol Bitzer in Little Mountain Elementary School front office.
Aug. 30
Monticello City Council members order feasibility study on extending West Seventh Street; Wright County Board approves surface water plan that gives lake associations options to enforce no wake rules; Kayaker rescues stranded tubers on river; Trio of local artists have works shown at Minnesota State Fair.
Aug. 23
Wright County pedals for link in bike trail, Monticello Lions craft beer sampling for charity with Brewfest event; Wright County gets ready to crack down on drunken drivers; Monticello High School gets new assistant principal (Mike Carr).
Aug. 16
New River Medical Center finance committee is split on higher hospital levy; Monticello Farmers market celebrates statewide event; Gasket leak causes Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant shutdown; Monticello district honors six with outstanding service awards; Wright County bids farewell to Fingalson after three decades of service; Sheldon Johnson named to New River Medical Center Board of Directors; Filings end as primary voters head to local polls.
Aug. 9
Monticello residents get ready to head to primary polls on Aug. 14; Monticello city planning staff report single-family housing permits are up; Tractor-trailer rollover on westbound Interstate 94 causes six-hour delay; Nelson family farm celebrates 100 years with special honor; Monticello youth qualifies for Pokemon Elite World Championships; Wright County commissioners learn about innovative program for at-risk high school students; Wright County Fair brings fun.
Aug. 2
Preview of Wright County commissioner race that will whittle candidate field from four to two; Preview of Wright County Fair in Howard Lake features Colin Lyndorff and prize heifer; Monticello City Council discusses when, whether flags should hang on city poles; Wright County Board learns about population shift; Princess Taylor Emberton, Miss Monticello Mylissa Sauser and Princess Kayla Pribyl pose for first official photos after being crowned at Riverfest.
July 26
Monticello city staff receive pay increases, but Councilmember Glen Posusta says increases not necessary; Middle school student Josie Bovee recalls summer enrichment trip to Washington, D.C.; Wright County Board of Commissioners approves new agreement for crime lab; Report on learning thriving during summer at Pinewood Elementary School; Council OKs Mississippi Shores’ plan to seek tax relief; Monticello fire department releases quarterly spring recap.
July 19
New River Medical Center board nixes medical staff proposal to divide unassigned patients; Schimmel brings wealth of experience as new vice president at Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant; Mylissa Sauser crowned Miss Monticello during well-attended 36th annual Riverfest; Dream title surprises Monticello teen Kayla Kleinsteuber, age 14; Four more teachers (Dan Berg, Laurie LaVelle, Dan Mielke and Joyce Wallis) retire from Monticello district.
July 12
Monticello city council members learn community center pool closure could last eight weeks; Monticello Riverfest royalty recount year’s reign; Monticello Food Shelf reports increased need for services; Wright County trains for natural exercise; Little Mountain Elementary School students “Go For Gold” with reading.
July 5
New River Medical Center board reviews shortfall analysis report; Wright County Commissioner District 2 primary race candidates profiled; Pinewood Elementary School has six long-time teachers retire (Becky Beck, Pat Gates, Beth Hill, Cindy Moore, Rosie Peters and Julie Busta); New River Medical Center  board acknowledges its new nonprofit board will pursue a potential affiliation with another medical system partner.
June 28
City council members express concern about mobile home park seeking storm shelter; Wright County commissioner meeting with other counties regarding forensic lab remains in limbo; Dan Olson of Monticello is named 2012 Citizen of the Year by Monticello Chamber of Commerce, Rotary and Lions Club.
June 21
Report provides details, reaction to ex-Monticello firefighter Steve Sammuelson’s death in ATV rollover; Wright County commissioners vote down extension of forensics lab contract; Walk ‘n’ Roll participants brave rain during 17th annual event; Monticello Lions Club announces plans for Brewfest event during summer.
June 14
Monticello City Council unanimously votes to hire a new company to run financially struggling FiberNet Monticello; Wright County board race will include four primaries with a total of 24 contenders filing for various board positions; Former Magic basketball player Jason Schmidt returns to coach team; Wright County Board of Commissioners OKs deal to extend jail food service deal; New owners at Whispering Pines Golf Club hope to revitalize course.
June 7
Monticello High School graduates 298 students in Class of 2012; Arrest made after probe of deadly motorcycle accident; District 882 school fund balances are stabilized; Wright County Highway Engineer Wayne Fingalson announces he will retire; Story profiles foreign exchange students Mikkel Schmidt, Norman Drzenick, Nicholas Birr, Tim Strauf, Amandine Marion and Tayla Boucher; Auditor issues FiberNet financial warning while management firm search continues.
May 31
Monticello honors veterans with Memorial Day ceremonies; Community has large deployment ceremony for 257th Military Police Company before unit heads to Afghanistan for year-long deployment; Wright County commissioner hopefuls announce candidacy; MHS graduates make a difference by staying home.
May 24
Car veers into Little Cedar Lake with woman unhurt after rescue by firefighter; Wright County commissioners approve large list of road projects, rejects turn-back; Monticello school lunches get another 10-cent price bump; Dr. Troy Ivey joins New River Medical Clinic as general surgeon; recent grads share success.
May 17
Levi Werp, Monticello sixth-grader, tackles bullying prevention by having shirt signed at school; New River Medical Clinic suspends obstetrics services; City’s first-quarter budget number show increase; Wright County commissioners honor top law enforcement officers with proclamation; People flock to Community United Methodist Church plant sale.
May 10
Wright County approves redistricting map and Commissioner Elmer Eichelberg announces he won’t seek another term; Monticello council approves new look “unified” city logo; Monticello Clinic Dr. Glenn Nemec is honored by Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians with merit award; District 882 School Board reviews budget cuts that are less painful than those in past.
May 3
Employee at Monticello Walgreens reunites woman and her wedding ring; Tyler Gaeth, eighth-grade student at Monticello Middle School, plays during St. Cloud State Youth Symphony Orchestra concert; High school students get taste of Wright County government and meet commissioners; Three college-bound MHS seniors honored for letters written to a veteran; Girls Scouts learn about nuclear power generating during visit to Monticello plant.
April 26
Split vote ushers in second Monticello city liquor store; Wright County Board of Commissioners ponders voting machine dilemma involving Otsego; MHS students celebrate Prom 2012; City Engineer Bruce Westby addresses installation of stop signs; First-ever MHS mock crash teaches valuable lessons.
April 19
New River Medical Center announces it will close Level II nursery; Paul Fair and coach Dick Westveer honored for swimming, coaching accomplishments.
Wright County Board of Commissioners get report that shows current penny pinching is paying off; Commissioner Jack Russek won’t seek re-relection.
April 12
Nature’s call puts school bus off its schedule as nervous parent fires up Facebook; U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann rolls into Monticello as part of two-day energy tour; Wright County Board of Commissioners moves closer to no-wake ordinance; Rural road improvements pass city council, summer start projected;  Wright-Hennepin Electric Cooperative Electric Association celebrates its 75 anniversary.
April 5
Monticello Superintendent Jim Johnson provides state of district report; New River Medical Center expects actions after operating room fire will prevent Medicare interruption; Times Sports Editor Clay Sawatzke shares tale of time as Easter Bunny; Wright County board approves plan for nature-based school.
March 29
City seeks residents’ reactions to new logo; Wright County board opposes state bill on zoning; Monticello City Council considers opening a second liquor store.
March 22
Wright County Board sets redistricting schedule; DFLers file ethics complaint against GOP senator in Amy Koch political scandal; District 882 School Board votes to include spring break in 2012-2013 school calendar.
March 15
State investigates New River Medical Center operating room fire; Bids on Wright County projects are amazingly close; Magic girls’ basketball team leaps into first-ever state tournament; Monticello United event packages food for those in Dominican Republic; Quarry Church land purchase is reviewed by council.
March 8
Monticello teachers get pay increases of 1.5 percent and 1 percent, higher than state average; Swimmers finish second in state behind Fair’s four titles; Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant gets post-Fukushima upgrades; “Singin’ In The Rain” performed by Monticello High School students; Job numbers indicate Wright County is in rebound mode; “No Child” waiver gets review during Monticello School Board meeting;.
March 1
Preparation work helps Monticello city crews battle big storms; City’s branding project is rejected by council; Monticello Kmart closing is announced; Next stage in downtown redevelopment project includes relocation of nine businesses.
Feb. 23
City is eager to renegotiate FiberNet deal, lowering payments to investors is seen as critical; Fate of former Ford dealership remains in limbo pending sale; Impact of school district’s lack of a true spring break is examined; Wright County Board of Commissioners sets Board of Equalization date.
Feb. 16
District reaches tentative pact with teachers; Former teacher Kristen Wolford leads charge to help less fortunate a world away with Monticello United effort; Monticello fire crews battle two blazes in one frigid day; City council approves limited list of rural road repairs.
Feb. 9
New River Medical Center and Monticello Clinic aim to resolve dispute; School district prepares for more cuts; Political caucuses produce packed rooms at schools, Monticello resident Paul Conroy makes helping others his mission in life; Wright County Board debates road project funding.
Feb. 2
Wright County renews contract for child protection cases; Monticello Fire Department presents 2011 call report; Emergency responders watch warm weather.
Jan. 26
School district, teachers head for contract mediation; Mayor Clint Herbst sounds off on Monticello issues; City council allows new homes to break zoning stipulations; Wright County Department heads discuss impact of mild winter on government services.
Jan. 19
New River Medical Center CEO Marshall Smith says hospital will thrive despite situation with Monticello Clinic; Clinic says hospital has strained relationship; Wright Count receives two large grants for Bertram Chain of Lakes project; Swan Park still awaiting return of its winter tenants; Monticello bus driver Betty Chatfield calls it a career after 31 years.
Jan. 12
Monticello Clinic severs ties with New River Medical Center as doctors blame hospital’s lack of cooperation for recreating rift; Documents signed creating new governance structure for New River Medical Center; Ice rescue on Pelican Lake relies on cool heads; City council freezes city pay scale; Icy Interstate 94 accident gets national attention; Rose Thelen is named Wright County board chair for 2012.
Jan. 5
Wright County’s frugal ways keep it in the black as hiring freeze helps absorb latest round of state budget cuts; Firefighters rescue man from Pelican Lake; ECM merger deal for Sun Newspapers and Monticello Times is completed; Monticello Kmart not listed on original store closing list.

Contact Managing Editor Tim Hennagir at [email protected] plans and Wright County