Area News | Home | Marketplace | Community

Return to Archived Stories

Paynesville Press - June 20, 2001

Governor's show highlights WCCO visit

By Michael Jacobson

crowd for Gov. Jesse WCCO Radio fans battled cool, windy weather on Friday morning at the Duane and Irene Burg farm south of St. Martin to listen to the radio broadcast from the farm. By the time Governor Jesse Ventura arrived for his show, Lunch with the Governor, at 11 a.m., the sun had come out and over 500 people were on the farm to listen to the charismatic former wrestler now heading the Minnesota state government.

Around 500 people gathered on the Dan and Irene Burg farm near St. Martin on Friday to listen to Gov. Jesse Ventura deliver his weekly radio show on WCCO.

"I'm very impressed with the way things turned out," said Duane Burg at the close of the event. "Great turnout. Great coverage by WCCO. Great job by Jesse Ventura."

The day was worthwhile in getting exposure for farmers and publicizing their needs, Burg said. "It'll be a lot more relaxing tomorrow," he said, "but I'm glad we did it."

WCCO Radio broadcasts from a farm each June to celebrate June as dairy month and to bring attention to the farms that form the backbone of the state's economy. WCCO Radio contacted AMPI about finding a farm for the broadcast, and representatives from the local AMPI plant chose the Burg farm, which is located a mile south of St. Martin and nine miles north of Paynesville.

At the end of his hour-long show, Gov. Ventura drank a glass of milk in honor of dairy month. "You can drink milk with any meal," he said. "Of course, at my age," he added with a laugh, "I've got to drink skim milk."

"Next time you have a full stomach, thank a farmer," Ventura said at another point in his show.

Leanne Kolb Accompanying Ventura to the farm was his Commissioner of Agriculture Gene Hugoson. They lobbied for the governor's tax reform, which they said would save farmers $62 million.

Hugoson said property taxes were not a fair way to tax farmers. "The problem has been the people have to pay property tax whether they make money or not," he explained.

Stearns County Dairy Princess, Leanne Kolb, gave the farming report on the air.

Ventura also questioned the federal milk pricing policy, which pays farmers based on their distance to Eau Claire, Wis. He proposed moving the basis point to Beaumont, Texas, to provide more for Minnesota dairy farmers.

While talking with the governor on air, Duane Burg agreed that changing the price supports was very important for farmers, as was doing something about the importing of milk protein concentrates.

Mike Lynch Ventura saved his most critical comments for the Minnesota Legislature, Sen. Paul Wellstone, and the media. Ventura urged the legislators to come up with a compromise that would avoid a government shutdown.

"Each and every one of us takes an oath that we will run the Minnesota government," Ventura explained. "None of us takes an oath that we will shut down the government. Reach the compromises that need to be reached so government will not shut down on July 1, which would be a disaster."

Weatherman Mike Lynch was a hit with the early morning crowd of Good Morning show fans, leading the group weather reports and having the audience cheer when Sid Hartmann stayed in the Twin Cities.

The media drew Ventura's ire because he felt they had not held others to the same criticism he has drawn for his book and outside income and his education budget. He noted an $80,000 advance that Sen. Paul Wellstone earned for his book, and wondered why this wasn't held to the same scrutiny as his books. He pointed out that the federal government had not funded special education and wondered why he got grilled for his education budget.

Ventura also grilled Dan Burg and his fiancee, Lynn, about how they met on a blind date, how he proposed, and their upcoming wedding.

David Lee Good Morning Show
The laughs started on the Burg farm long before Gov. Ventura arrived for his show. Dozens of die -hard listeners arrived at the farm before 5 a.m. to catch the entire Good Morning Show broadcast with Dave Lee, Kim Jeffries, and Mike Lynch.

David Lee, the new voice of the Gophers, hosted the Good Morning Show from 5-9 a.m.

Lynch interacted with the audience throughout the morning, having them shout out the weather details and leading them in cheers when it was announced that Sid Hartmann would be staying in the Twin Cities.

At one point, Lynch threatened the audience if they didn't laugh at his joke that he would make it hail. "If you can't make the sun shine," came an answer from the shivering audience, "how are you going to make it hail?"

Later, Lynch changed the chance of rain from 30 percent to 50 percent, which brought some laughs from the audience, prompting Lynch to say: "I can change my mind. I'm playing my mulligan."

Lynch constantly exaggerated the crowd on air, saying the crowd - which might have topped 1,000 for the whole day - was up to 15,000. Traffic reporter Jerry Peterson made the first mention of County Road 32 on WCCO, citing slow traffic by the Burg farm.

Kim with Harvey Several local people were interviewed on the radio, including former AMPI plant manager Ken Gniffke, who was given WCCO's Good Neighbor Award.

WCCO personality Kim Jeffries interviews St. Martin fire chief Harvey Rothstein during the Good Morning Show.

Joel and Laura Schmitz, fire chief Harvey Rothstein, and firefighter and baseball player Jim Lieser all represented St. Martin during on-the-air interviews. The broadcasters asked why the baseball team was called the Martins and not the Saints, how many stop lights are in St. Martin, and the activity of the fire department.

Sheila Merrill, who lives south of Lake Koronis, testified to the friendliness of the community. She related a story from when she had just moved to Paynesville. Having forgotten her checkbook, she was surprised to find the grocer asking her to just pay when she came back to town and then dipping into the till to loan her $20.

"They don't do that in Edina," joked Roger Strom, WCCO's ag specialist. "They don't even do that in Friendly Fridley."

Jesse autographing Farm tour
Visitors to the farm could also tour the barn, and learn how the different aspects of a dairy farm worked, from feeding calves and milking to milk hauling and heavy machinery. Eleven vendors had booths on the farm as well.

People could eat breakfast and lunch served by K and K Catering, which also handles food at the American Legion. They served 375 people for breakfast and 500 people for lunch , according to caterer Barb Kotten.

Minnesota's celebrity governor, Jesse Ventura, showed his star power once again while visiting Paynesville.

Helping WCCO organize the event were AMPI and the Paynesville Chamber of Commerce. Helping at the event were the St. Martin and Lake Henry Lions clubs and the St. Martin and Lake Henry fire departments.

Contact the author at   •   Return to News Menu

Home | Marketplace | Community