You may have seen Holly Wagner’s live reports on the morning show and the noon show. She’s been with WCCO since August 2009.
She said, “This was a destination for me. When I worked in Fort Myers, Fla. at WINK-TV, I made a vision board with a top list of stations I would love to work for. WCCO was at the top of the list, a place with integrity, strong and ethical journalists I could learn from. After a lot of leg work and pestering, I finally got the call to join the team! I couldn’t believe it!”
Holly grew up in Council Bluffs, Iowa and spent time every summer at her grandparents’ cabin on the Mississippi River in northern Iowa. She graduated from University of Nebraska-Omaha with a degree in communication and major in broadcasting. Holly spent time producing and reporting at TV stations in Omaha and in Lincoln, before moving onto Fort Myers, Fla. She worked at WINK-TV for five years as a reporter, and eventually a weekend morning anchor.
“I loved living in Florida! The hurricanes I could do without,” said Holly. “I started my job a week after Hurricane Charley hit. Francis, Ivan, and Jean followed. Talk about an initiation! This was a period of great growth in my career. I stood out in hurricanes, covered brush fires, a Presidential visit, and for two years I worked the crime beat.”
Holly said she was blessed to cover the story of a WWII Veteran who at 80, met the son he never knew he had. Turns out a former lover never told him she was pregnant and gave the baby up for adoption. The man found out about his son thanks to Google. His son Googled the name on his birth certificate and found out his father had written a book.
“We got to be there when they met,” she said. “I will remember that moment the rest of my life. The story ended up winning at Emmy Award.”
Holly says she has always loved telling people’s stories. When she was in junior high, she played Barbara Walters for a school project and interviewed troubled beauty queens.
“I used to have a show in my best friend Mel’s basement called ‘The Holly Dolly Parton Show.’ It had an audience of one, but was very entertaining!”
Holly also worked on her high school newspaper and went onto study broadcasting in college.
In the winter of 2012, she says she “married the most amazing man I’ve ever known!”
Holly said she realizes now, there was more to the plan of me moving to Minnesota. She and her husband, Brandon, are just starting their lives together. He’s from Dayton, Minn., and an avid wrestling fan. They love to spend time outdoors hiking and biking, and last year they took up gardening. Holly said they both enjoy volunteering and helping others in our community.
“I don’t want to leave out Lady Elizabeth, my long-haired mini-dachshund! She is the sweetest, naughtiest best friend a girl could ever have!”
The Salvation Army kicked off the holiday season with its “Rock the Red Kettle” Campaign on Saturday as hundreds of bell ringers set up at Cub Food Stores throughout the Twin Cities. The Salvation Army is looking to raise more than $10 million this season, and in order to reach that goal, Commander Jeff Strickler said they will need a lot more volunteers. “We have 120,000 hours to fill with volunteer bell ringers, so we can use all the help we can get from people,” Strickler said. Whether it’s a couple of hours or a few dollars donated, Strickler said it all adds up.
There will be a benefit Sunday afternoon for an Army Recruiter who was hit and dragged for almost a mile by a driver who didn’t stop.
Accusations of abuse and racism at a Salvation Army treatment center sparked protest Saturday. Demonstrators called on the organization to fire the new administrators brought in over the summer. They gathered outside of the Adult Rehabilitation Center on Minneapolis’ North 4th Street.
The brother of a 24-year-old Minnesota woman who went missing last spring says his family felt some relief when they heard that human remains were discovered Saturday.
A historic landmark at a Minnesota State Park is about to reopen to the public after flooding destroyed it. Park goers will finally be able to walk across the swinging bridge at Jay Cooke State Park next week. Rushing water from the St. Louis River tore it apart during flooding in the Duluth area two summers ago. Park historian Kristine Hiller says the swinging bridge, originally built in 1924, has a long history at the scenic park.
An emotional ceremony to honor Minnesota’s fallen officers and their loved ones was held in St. Paul Saturday night. Family members of officers killed in the line of duty gathered at the Peace Officers Memorial near the State Capitol for the Blue Light Ceremony. They each carried a blue-tipped white rose, a symbol of loss and sacrifice. They are parents, wives, children and loved ones who come to honor the ones they lost too soon.
Minnesota veterans also rallied Sunday morning in support of the march in D.C. The protest on the National Mall in Washington D.C. was led by hundreds of veterans and demonstrators, against the shutdown.
Minneapolis Police are investigating a shooting that has left one man dead and another in critical condition.
Dozens of animals rescued from a puppy mill this the summer now have new places to call home. Two hundred dogs and puppies seized from a breeding facility in Pine River in July were up for adoption on Saturday at all Twin Cities Animal Humane Society locations.
About 200 animals that were rescued from a breeding facility in northern Minnesota will go up for adoption in the Twin Cities on Saturday. “We’re gonna have a mad rush at our shelters tomorrow,” said Kathie Johnson with the Animal Humane Society.
A 9-year-old Minneapolis boy was able to get through security and onto a plane at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport without a ticket, an airport spokesman said Sunday. Security officials screened the boy at airport shortly after 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Metropolitan Airports Commission spokesman Patrick Hogan said. The boy then boarded Delta Flight 1651, which left for Las Vegas at 11:15 a.m. The flight was not full, Hogan said, and the flight crew became suspicious midflight because the boy was not on their list of unattended minors. The crew contacted Las Vegas police, who met them upon landing and transferred the boy to child protection services, Hogan said.
Thunderstorms dumped several inches of rain in and around the bluff town of Winona early Saturday morning. WCCO Weather Watcher Dan Amundson reported eight inches of rain in the area. Flash flooding washed away part of a road on Bob Dunn’s property, and the force took out a walking bridge. “You can actually see the mud build up. You can drive across there before. I used to have a decent road,” Dunn said. “That used to be a bridge, used to have a bridge going right across here.”
Next month, a school district here in Minnesota will be honored in Washington D.C. for its unique approach to education. Orono’s school district is one of three in the country to be named one of the National Schools of Character. It’s the first public school district in Minnesota to get the award. The character-focused education program was implemented several years ago. Since then, school leaders have seen the number of referrals, detentions and suspensions drop by two-thirds.
Gopher head coach Jerry Kill received a spirited show of support before Saturday’s game against San Jose State. Hundreds of people gathered outside TCF Bank Stadium for a rally organized by the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota. The outpour of support comes after Kill suffered a seizure during last week’s game. It was third time in the last three years he missed part of a game because of his epilepsy.
Family, friends and teammates remembered the life of a college athlete killed in a tragic accident. Phillip LaVallee was a cross country and track star at Monticello High School and was heading into his sophomore year at South Dakota State. The 19-year-old was hit and killed last month while out on a training run, three miles from his parents’ home in Otsego.