Year In Review

January

Frigid New Year

In terms of weather, 2018 started just like 2017 ended. Both the last week of December and the first week of January featured very little snow but extremely cold temperatures, ranging from single digits below zero to single digits above zero.

Firefighter of the Year

Bruce Applegarth, an eight-year veteran firefighter, was named as the BP Fire Department’s Firefighter of the Year for 2017 because of his willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty.

Homemade Ice Rink

Shawn Larson installed a homemade 44’ by 24’ ice rink on the vacant lot next to the house that he and his wife, Bethany, own on Provence Lane in eastern BP. The rink kept their oldest son, Beckett, playing close to home for the winter.

Liturgical Choir

Rachel Kelm, who graduated from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul in 2001, accompanied her alma mater’s liturgical choir to Italy where they sang at Masses at the Sistine Chapel on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Geography Bee Winners

Elochi Akah, a fifth grader, won the annual geography bee at Oak Crest Elementary School; Ezra Fahey finished in second place.

Rumble on the Red Champs

The Scott West Panthers won the 84-team Rumble on the Red Wrestling Tournament at the Fargo dome in Fargo, N. D. It was their fifth team championship in seven years at the tourney.

Outdoor City Ordinances

The BP City Council directed Cynthia Smith Strack, Director of Community Development, to create uniform, unambiguous sets of ordinances dealing with outdoor storage and parking of vehicles.

SVABW

The Southern Valley Alliance for Battered Women was defunded by Greater Twin Cities United Way, but a variety of area organizations in Scott County helped the group recoup its $50,000 funding gap. In 2017 SVABW’s five paid staff and 60 volunteers served 732 victims of domestic abuse.

School Board Reorganized

The BP School Board chose Dan Gardner as an interim member of the board, to fill the vacancy left by Dianne Skelley, for four months. Three newly elected board members – Amanda Gregory, Karl Keup and Matt Lenz – were given the oath of office. Terry Kahle was named board chairperson, and Tracy O’Brien was selected vice chairperson.

City Council Drama

BP City Councilor Theresa McDaniel requested to be assigned to the Finance Ways and Means Committee, replacing Ben Stier on the committee, but Mayor Chris Meyer denied her request.

Scott County Commissioners

The Scott County Board of Commissioners approved Tom Wolf of Credit River Township as their chairperson and Barbara Weckman Brekke of Jackson Township, BP’s representative on the county board, as their vice chairperson.

Apartment Bldg. Fire

Residents of an apartment building on the 200 block of East Commerce Drive in BP were evacuated Jan. 12 after the battery in a laptop computer in a first-floor residence exploded and burned. Residents took shelter in extra fire trucks and their own personal vehicles for about 40 minutes, while firefighters ventilated the building.

One-Act Play

BPHS presented its one-act play, “Elephant’s Graveyard”, at the Minnesota River Conference Festival on Saturday, Jan. 20, at Le Sueur-Henderson High School.

Candidates for City Administrator

Following interviews of four finalists for BP’s open city administrator position, the city council invited two candidates, Patrick Casey from Salem Lakes, WI and Dawn Meyer from Belle Plaine, for a second round of interviews on Jan. 31.

New Community Center

BP School Superintendent Ryan Laager started ramping up efforts to encourage school district residents to support spending $33 million to build a new community center.

Kitchen Fire

Ivan and Carol Dam were hospitalized with smoke inhalation after a kitchen fire broke out in their home on Kelley Lake Road in San Francisco Township on Thursday night, Jan. 11.

Bulldog Hockey

Mary Rella, a freshman, and Matt Fink, a sophomore, were the only two hockey players from BPHS on the Minnesota River Bulldogs, a co-op team of players from Le Sueur-Henderson, St. Peter, Cleveland, Tri-City United, and Belle Plaine.

Major Snowstorm

About a foot of snow, accompanied by strong winds, created whiteout conditions throughout the region on Monday, Jan. 22.

Best Beer

The brewers at U4ic Brewery in Blakeley – Dave and Jeff Luskey and Kurt Fossen – were honored with the “Best Beer” award for 2017 from Tap Traveler, a popular Twin Cities blogger named Ryan Salsman.

SnoFest Royalty

BPHS celebrated SnoFest Week in mid-January, which featured the following members of royalty: Andrew Hundsader, Kyle Siemon, Tyler O’Brien, Jackson Stauffacher, Noah Hastings, Brittany Teal, Maria Larson, Alexia Siegle, Amber Glisczinski, and Aryanna Mulroy.

New Businesses

Three new small businesses were opened in downtown BP including Ashley Cauley’s photography studio, Rustic Thyme, Kimerly Feming’s Belle Ame’ Styling Salon, and Dayna Meyer’s Green Care Pet Grooming.

SCBA Equipment

A $6,000 grant from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry helped the BP Fire Dept. purchase self-contained breathing appaGreater Twin Cities United Way, but a variety of area organizations in Scott County helped the group recoup its $50,000 funding gap. In 2017 SVABW’s five paid staff and 60 volunteers served 732 victims of domestic abuse.

School Board Reorganized

The BP School Board chose Dan Gardner as an interim member of the board, to fill the vacancy left by Dianne Skelley, for four months. Three newly elected board members – Amanda Gregory, Karl Keup and Matt Lenz – were given the oath of office. Terry Kahle was named board chairperson, and Tracy O’Brien was selected vice chairperson.

City Council Drama

BP City Councilor Theresa McDaniel requested to be assigned to the Finance Ways and Means Committee, replacing Ben Stier on the committee, but Mayor Chris Meyer denied her request.

Scott County Commissioners

The Scott County Board of Commissioners approved Tom Wolf of Credit River Township as their chairperson and Barbara Weckman Brekke of Jackson Township, BP’s representative on the county board, as their vice chairperson.

Apartment Bldg. Fire

Residents of an apartment building on the 200 block of East Commerce Drive in BP were evacuated Jan. 12 after the battery in a laptop computer in a first-floor residence exploded and burned. Residents took shelter in extra fire trucks and their own personal vehicles for about 40 minutes, while firefighters ventilated the building.

One-Act Play

BPHS presented its one-act play, “Elephant’s Graveyard”, at the Minnesota River Conference Festival on Saturday, Jan. 20, at Le Sueur-Henderson High School.

Candidates for City Administrator

Following interviews of four finalists for BP’s open city administrator position, the city council invited two candidates, Patrick Casey from Salem Lakes, WI and Dawn Meyer from Belle Plaine, for a second round of interviews on Jan. 31.

New Community Center

BP School Superintendent Ryan Laager started ramping up efforts to encourage school district residents to support spending $33 million to build a new community center.

Kitchen Fire

Ivan and Carol Dam were hospitalized with smoke inhalation after a kitchen fire broke out in their home on Kelley Lake Road in San Francisco Township on Thursday night, Jan. 11.

Bulldog Hockey

Mary Rella, a freshman, and Matt Fink, a sophomore, were the only two hockey players from BPHS on the Minnesota River Bulldogs, a co-op team of players from Le Sueur-Henderson, St. Peter, Cleveland, Tri-City United, and Belle Plaine.

Major Snowstorm

About a foot of snow, accompanied by strong winds, created whiteout conditions throughout the region on Monday, Jan. 22.

Best Beer

The brewers at U4ic Brewery in Blakeley – Dave and Jeff Luskey and Kurt Fossen – were honored with the “Best Beer” award for 2017 from Tap Traveler, a popular Twin Cities blogger named Ryan Salsman.

SnoFest Royalty

BPHS celebrated SnoFest Week in mid-January, which featured the following members of royalty: Andrew Hundsader, Kyle Siemon, Tyler O’Brien, Jackson Stauffacher, Noah Hastings, Brittany Teal, Maria Larson, Alexia Siegle, Amber Glisczinski, and Aryanna Mulroy.

New Businesses

Three new small businesses were opened in downtown BP including Ashley Cauley’s photography studio, Rustic Thyme, Kimerly Feming’s Belle Ame’ Styling Salon, and Dayna Meyer’s Green Care Pet Grooming.

SCBA Equipment

A $6,000 grant from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry helped the BP Fire Dept. purchase self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) equipment and fill system. The equipment was expected to cost a total of $154,035.

Fire Department Retirees

Ron Benck and Troy Otto retired from the BP Fire Dept., both with over 20 years of service.

Online Herald

The BP Herald announced the availability of a new web site featuring an online eEdition and eNewsletter for all subscribers in the area.

Spelling Bee Winners

Teddy Traxler, a fifth grader at Oak Crest Elementary School, won the district spelling bee by correctly spelling “dexterity”. Joelea Koepp finished second.

House Fire

Fire destroyed Justin Tanner’s house at 25653 208th Lane in Faxon Township on Tuesday morning, Jan. 30.

Help Desk Class

Patrick Scott and Ben Czarnecki, juniors at BPHS, participated in the first year of the help desk class, which taught them how to fix iPads and Chromebook computers, through the Southwest Metro Intermediate School District.

Student Representatives

Senior Gabrielle Malecha and sophomore Emily Berger were elected by their peers as non-voting student representatives on the Belle Plaine School Board.

Pond Hockey

The Savages from Savage claimed their third championship in the annual BP Ice Hockey Association Pond Hockey Tournament on Saturday, Jan. 27, by defeating the Borough Riders from BP.

February

One-Act Play at State

BPHS’s one-act play “Elephant’s Graveyard” advanced to the section finals on Saturday, Feb. 3, at St. Peter High School, where the troupe earned top scores from the three judges and a trip to the Minnesota State High School League One-Act Play Festival at St. Catherine University’s O’Shaughnessy on Friday, Feb. 9. “Elephant’s Graveyard” was one of four of the eight one-act plays to earn star awards at state. Four members of the cast earned All-Minnesota River Conference honors: Taylor Cote, Kadence Bran de Leon, Corneal Ngaima, and Griffen Ruud.

Super Bowl Commercial

Steve Berg of BP played a small part as a “Viking” – clad in furs and animal skins and carrying spears and axes – in a Dodge Ram Truck commercial that aired during the Super Bowl game on Sunday, Feb. 4.

Rural Fire Protection

At their 72nd annual meeting of the BP Rural Fire Protection Association on Jan. 23, Janel Schmidt and Kevin Slack of BP Township and John Busse of Blakeley Township were elected as new officers – replacing John Murphy, Brian Schmidt, and Jim Koonst.

Friends of Rush River

On Wednesday, Jan. 31, the Friends of Rush River (FORR) met at the Henderson RoadHaus Event Center and discussed ways to save money in the operation of the park in 2018 and made plans for their March 3rd fundraiser dance featuring the Dakota Ramblers.

New Feature in Herald

The BP Herald published its first ever crossword puzzle on the History of Belle Plaine on Jan. 31 and then the answers for that puzzle on Feb. 7.

Health Center Moved

Cory and Sarah Czepa moved their business, Natural Fitness, from the Borough Bowl building on South Ash Street to the Lutheran Home Association’s building formerly housing the Home-to-Home Thrift Store, which provided more than twice the space for their health center to grow.

Honor Rolls

According to BPHS’s first semester ‘A’ and ‘B’ honor rolls, a total of 76 seventh graders, 63 eighth graders, 73 freshmen, 53 sophomore, 50 juniors, and 54 seniors were recognized for their academic achievement.

Dance Team

BPHS’s Explosion Dance Team finished fifth in both jazz and high kick at the section meet at Waconia High School on Saturday, Feb. 3. The All-Minnesota River Dance Team included Kara Reitz (honorable mention), Vanessa Rosales, Morgan Prokosch, Abbie Siegle, Lauren Kerkow, and Paige Gau from Belle Plaine.

Solar Garden

The BP School Board started to consider the opportunity to get in on a solar garden with Apex Solar Power. Business Manager Chuck Keller said the district could purchase energy for 11.5 cents per kilowatt-hour and then get a credit of 12.4 cents per kilowatt-hour from Xcel Energy.

Lifetime Achievement

The Minnesota Valley Riders Saddle Club honored Joyce Johnson at its annual awards banquet on Feb. 3 by presenting her with its first-ever lifetime achievement award for her dedicated service as a club member for almost all of her 75 years.

Republican Caucus

Republicans from BP and the surrounding Scott County townships caucused in Jordan on Feb. 6 and overwhelmingly favored Jeff Johnson, a former state legislator, as their candidate for governor. They also supported resolutions to the party platform calling for environmentally responsible mining of natural resources and the repeal of executive orders protecting certain lands of mining.

Democratic Caucus

At the DFL caucuses for BP, U. S. Rep. Tim Walz was the top candidate of choice in the non-binding straw poll. Area DFLers passed resolutions for the party platform to include pre-kindergarten for all 4-year-olds taught by licensed teachers, as well as opposition to legislation to weaken or repeal state environmental laws, while supporting enforcement of treaty rights and support for universal single-payer health care for all citizens regardless of their age.

Sex Trafficking

Before and during Super Bowl weekend, BP Police Sgt. Terry Stier was among several area police officers that worked a special detail aimed at people using girls below the legal age of consent for sex.

Reckless Driving

A Sibley County District Court Judge approved a plea agreement on Feb. 13, reducing the charge a BP teenage girl faced for her role in a fatal crash, which resulted in the death of Philip Ilg of New Prague who was riding his bicycle on the shoulder of Hwy. 25 west of BP in Faxon Township on June 17. A felony vehicular homicide charge was reduced to a gross-misdemeanor reckless driving charge, despite objections from the victim’s family.

Scott West Wrestlers Win Section

The Scott West Wrestling Team closed out its regular season with a record of eleven wins and two losses and entered the Section 2AA team championship ranked number three. After thumping Mankato East, 62-4, and TCU, 57-11, the Panthers won the section championship by defeating Waconia, 34-20.

Boys’ Basketball Team Improved

BPHS’s boys’ basketball team climbed from the lower half of the Minnesota River Conference standings into third place with a nine-win, three-loss record since Jan. 1.

AAA & ExCEL Awards

BPHS senior Caitlin Preusser was the school’s selection for its AAA (Academics, Arts, Athletics) Award. BPHS juniors Siri Kuhn and Alexander Meger were named the ExCEL honorees.

Community Center Meeting

At least 150 people attended a public meeting on Tuesday evening, Feb. 13, at Oak Crest Elementary School. Superintendent Ryan Laager and Mayor Chris Meyer spoke about the proposed Community Center. Laager also answered a few questions that attendees had written on note cards.

FFA Week

BPHS’s Future Farmers of America recognized National FFA Week on Feb. 17-24, with a variety of activities at the district’s elementary schools to promote agriculture education. In addition, National FFA President Breanna Holbert gave presentations on Wednesday, Feb. 21, about the opportunities offered by FFA; on Sunday, Feb. 25, FFA members hosted a pancake breakfast.

Local Snowboarder

Max Gordon, a BP teenager who’s a junior at Southwest Christian High School in Chaska, competed in two different snowboarding events – snowboardcross and slope style snowboarding – for the G Team at skiing areas around Minnesota. Gordon also qualified for the United State Ski and Snowboard Association’s national competition in Colorado in March.

Provence on the River

The BP City Council approved a proposal to subdivide a new section of the housing development, called Provence on the River, into 38 platted single-family lots, half of which were ready for the market in 2018. Also approved were new regulations for accessory structures, capping the size of them at 900 square feet and requiring they be similar in appearance to the principal structure on the property.

Commercial Property

Aiming to facilitate the sale of commercial property, the BP City Council approved a re-subdivision of 5.7 acres, which the city owns on the south side of Hwy. 169 west of the public works facility, into one 3.8-acre parcel and two smaller parcels, each less than an acre.

Solar Energy

The BP School Board approved a 25-year solar energy contract with New Energy Equity, which was expected to save the district more than $2.5 million over the next 25 years.

Pennies for Patients

After collecting donations for a decade from seventh and eighth graders at BP Junior High School for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Pennies for Patients fundraiser, Ross Nelson, a junior high civics teacher, and Matt Hennen, a senior high English teacher, received a plaque in appreciation for the almost $22,000 worth of student generosity.

National Wrestling Champ

Austin Anderly, son of Peter and Kara Anderly and a 2015 graduate of Le Sueur-Henderson High School, became North Iowa Area Community College’s national wrestling champion in the 141-pound category.

March

Support for Community Center

The BP City Council made changes to a proposed memorandum of understanding on its support of the pools at the proposed community center, including a $250,000 contribution towards the operation of the aquatics facilities.

Donation of Classic Car

For saving their 14-month-old daughter’s life, Matt Thoraldson and Laura Docken, along with a team of professionals, created a classic car from the frame of a ’52 Chevy which they planned to donate to the U. of M. Masonic Children’s Hospital to help save other children.

Scott West Panthers at State

After defeating Grand Rapids, 56-7, the Scott West Wrestling Team fell to Fairmont-Martin County West, 30-28, in the semifinal round of the Class AA State Wrestling Tournament on Thursday, March 1, at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. The Panthers rebounded and defeated Perham, 33-30 to claim third place, which was the Panthers’ fifth consecutive medal-winning performance at the state tournament. Scott West ended the season with a 16-3 record. BPHS senior Jackson Stauffacher won the 126-pound championship at the state tournament for individuals on Saturday, March 3.

City Hall Improvements

The BP City Council approved a two-phased project for improvements at the city hall to be implemented over the next two years. At a cost not to exceed $85,000, BP’s public works staff planned to construct a new entrance, including a desk and counter prohibiting visitors from walking into the building unabated, as well as a unisex restroom in the front of the building.

Another Major Snowstorm

Classes were canceled in the BP School District on Monday, March 5, and Tuesday, March 6, because of heavy snow.

Essay Contests

Both the BP American Legion Auxiliary and Rotary Club sponsored essay contests for school children. Essays entitled “What I can personally do to promote Americanism in my school or community” and “What makes my family special” were due at the end of March.

Eight BP students were honored for their family essays, including Aaron Johnson, Michael Murphy, Autumn Pipal, Presley Volek, Addie Ricke Young, Olivia Endres, Hanna Konopacki, and Rachael Osborne.

Girls’ Basketball Team

With their 77-51 loss to Glencoe-Silver Lake in the first round of sub-section play-offs, the No. 7-seeded girls’ basketball team from BP finished their season on Friday, Feb. 27, with an overall record of 6-20 and 2-10 in conference play.

Lutheran Schools’ Week

Trinity Lutheran School of BP celebrated Lutheran Schools’ Week with a variety of activities March 11-16, highlighted by the students’ presentation of the musical, “Martin Luther”, featuring top hits of the first Christian pop star.

Scott County Sheriff

Sheriff Luke Hennen, appointed by the Scott County Board of Commissioners in May 2016 to replace Sheriff Kevin Studnicka who resigned mid-term, announced his candidacy on Monday, March 5, for Scott County Sheriff.

Miss Shamrock Candidates

Candidates for Miss Shamrock were Hannah Witt, Kiersten Skelley, Makayla O’Laughlin, and Kalley Noll. Irish lads were Tyson Fahey and Jamie O’Brien.

Entrance Monument

BP city councilors considered a proposed entrance monument, designed by artist Lana Beck, to be placed along southbound Hwy. 169. It’s projected to cost between $40,000 and $50,000.

Fundraiser for Stroke Victim

On Saturday, March 10, hundreds of people attended a fundraiser at the Vets’ Club for Bruce Stier who suffered a stroke Dec. 17.

St. Patrick’s Medallion

The St. Patrick’s medallion was found in the pocket of a frozen pair of jeans buried at the base of power line pole #169 on West State Street by Team Schultz, which included Pat, Luke, and Ce Ce Schultz and Rachel Johnson. The prize was $100.

Drug Sale Arrest

On Friday, March 9, Amie Robertson of BP was sentenced to 32 months in prison and 16 months in a supervised release program after pleading guilty to the original felony charge of a first-degree drug sale of a half-ounce of methamphetamine to an informant for $560 in Coborn’s parking lot on Jan. 28, 2016.

College Bowler

Aaron Lenzmeier, a BPHS senior and son of Alan and Jill Lenzmeier, signed a letter of intent to attend Iowa Central Community College and compete on the school’s bowling team. As a member of the BP-Jordan co-op team, Lenzmeier recorded strikes in 63 per cent of frames completed, with an average league score of 212.

End of Boys’ Basketball Season

The BPHS boys’ basketball team defeated Le Sueur-Henderson in the opening round of the sub-section playoffs on March 6, by a score of 60-42. However, in the sub-section finals in New Prague on March 8, Sibley East handed the Tigers a season-ending defeat, 78-57. BP finished its season at 13-12 overall, 6-6 in the MRC.

All-Conference Wrestlers

Scott West wrestlers who earned All-Minnesota River Conference honors included Jace Demmers, 160 pounds; Tyler Buesgens, 182 pounds; Calvin Menke, 285 pounds; Jackson Stauffacher, 126 pounds; and Tyler Shackle, 132 pounds. Honorable mention went to Dylan Aslakson, 195 pounds; John Hilgers, 220 pounds; Justin Stauffacher, 120 pounds; Jack Fogarty, 132 pounds; and Colton Kerkow, 145 pounds. Buesgens was named MRC’s Most Valuable Wrestler for 2017-18.

St. Patrick’s Day Details

Clarence (Bill) and Lynn Doheny were the grand marshals for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday, March 17, in BP. Kiersten Skelley was crowned Miss Shamrock. Connie O’Brien Straub was recognized for wearing the most authentic leprechaun shoes and won the $100 award. George Doheny was the emcee for the St. Patrick’s Day program.

See Something, Say Something

While high school students across the country walked out of school in protest over school violence, BP students and staff honored the 17 students who were murdered by a gunman at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, a month earlier, during a school assembly on Wednesday, March 14. The junior and senior high students in BP were encouraged to look out for each other and asked to repeat, “If you see something, say something.”

Community Center

On Monday night, March 19, the BP City Council approved a 21-year agreement (by a 3-2 vote) to participate in the aquatics component of the proposed community center, by contributing $250,000 annually towards its operation and staffing, if voters approve the whole project in a May 8th referendum.

School Board Recognized Success

The BP School Board recognized the one-act play cast, crew, and directors for their star performance in state competition, as well as the wrestling team for earning third place in the state tournament, including senior Justin Stauffacher who won the 126-pound state championship.

Improvement of Streets & Library

The BP City Council unanimously approved this year’s street improvement project in the Oakwood residential subdivision north of West South Street and drainage improvements in two downtown alleys (the T-shaped alley between South Meridian and South Chestnut streets and the other behind the post office) by accepting the lowest bid from OMG Midwest (formerly known as Chard Tiling and Excavating). The city council also OK’d a plan for improvements at the BP Library focusing on the Rose Room and restrooms.

Russell’s Traveling Kitchen

Kerry (Shields) Dose and her husband, Chase, own and operate a food truck, called Russell’s Traveling Kitchen, which was one of four food trucks under consideration for City Pages’ “Best Of” 2018 Awards.

All-Conference Hoopster

Sarah Lenz, a freshman on the BPHS girls’ basketball team, was named to the All-Minnesota River Conference Team. Lauren Johnson, also a freshman, received honorable mention.

Local Wrestler in NCAA

BP native and Scott West stand-out Luke Zilverberg, a senior at South Dakota State University, earned All-America honors with an eighth place finish at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Tournament in Cleveland, Ohio, on March15-17.

Superior Choirs & Band

At the Minnesota River Conference choir competition in Le Sueur on February 28, BPHS was the only school to earn superior ratings by each of its three choirs – the concert choir, festival choir, and chamber singers – which include 205 students in grades 9-12. In addition, the BPHS Concert Band received three superior ratings at the section’s large group contest in Jordan on March 7.

MnDOT Construction Project

At a meeting with the MnDOT on Wednesday, March 21, at BP City Hall, attendees discussed plans for a pavement replacement program along a 13½ -mile span of Hwy. 169 between Hwy. 282 in Jordan and southwest to Hwy. 19 on the border between Scott and Le Sueur counties.

Maple Syrup Season

Don Koepp of rural BP and a group of twenty friends and family members tapped maple trees for sap and then boiled it until its 98% water content evaporated and only pure maple syrup remained. Because of the late spring, they couldn’t collect sap until mid-March.

Robotics Team

The BPHS Cyber Tigers were one of 56 robotics teams who competed the last weekend of March in Mariucci Arena at the University of Minnesota, with the goal of being in one of the top alliances at the regional competition. The Cyber Tigers won six of their seven practice rounds, but when the formal competition began, they won three of the ten matches and finished in 45th place.

MVEC’s Donations

Thanks to Operation Round-Up for the first quarter of 2018, the Minnesota Valley Electric Cooperative donated $30,490 to over thirty organizations, including the following BP groups: $500 to the BPHS robotics program, $500 to the BP Food Shelf, and $2,000 to the Lutheran Home for camp scholarships.

Choir in New York City

The BPHS Choir students spent three days of their spring break performing and sightseeing in New York City.

Baseball Players in SD

Members of the BPHS Baseball Team, who were not on the choir trip to New York City, enjoyed some practice time at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for three days in late March.

April

Easter Egg Hunt

About 100 children participated in an Easter egg hunt on Saturday, March 31, at Heritage Square Park in BP. The event was sponsored by the BP Fire Department’s Ladies’ Auxiliary.

Minnesota Harvest’s CUP

Scott County Planning Commission considered an amendment to Minnesota Harvest’s 1991 conditional-use permit allowing the orchard on Old Hwy. 169/Cty. Rd. 66 to operate under the terms of a lawsuit the orchard’s previous owners had filed against the county in federal court during the summer of 2015. Among other requirements, the proposed amended CUP addressed the unlimited number of outside events the orchard could host.

Distracted Driving

BP police officers, area sheriffs, deputies, and state troopers were among 300 law enforcement agencies taking part in extra enforcement across Minnesota April 9-22, with the intent of educating drivers of the potential dangers of not paying attention to other motorists and pedestrians around them and enforcing Minnesota laws on distracted driving.

Move-Over Law

Kellen Schmidt, a 2007 BPHS graduate, and his coworkers with Xcel Energy helped to promote an expansion of the existing move-over law to include two-lane roads.

All-Conference Hoopsters

BPHS seniors Pat Bigaouette, Andrew Hunsader, and Noah Hastings were selected for the All-Minnesota River Conference Boys’ Basketball Team. Tom Dickman received All-MRC Honorable Mention.

All-Conference Speakers

The BPHS Speech Team finished second in the conference meet March 17 at Central High School in Norwood Young America, where Hunter Meyer and Taylor Cote earned All-MRC honors by finishing first in the dramatic duo category and Isaiah Trimbo finished first in discussion. Chastity Swenson was named all-conference honorable mention in discussion.

Possible Mining Pits

Two BP landowners, Mark Klehr and Randal and Mary Koll, proposed mining their agricultural property with the aggregate possibly intended for the Highway 169 project.

BP Schools Not Pools

Dozens of BP residents met at the Vets’ Club on Sunday evening, April 8, to express their concerns with the proposed $33 million community center. The meeting was hosted by a newly formed community group, Citizens for the Full Truth, who used the Facebook page “BP Schools Not Pools” to reach residents with their opinions.

Helping the Needy, not the Greedy

Residents of Boessling Lutheran Village Apartments on the Lutheran Home campus assembled packages of items for homeless individuals in the Twin Cities. Working with Todd Feske of Walking With a Purpose, a Christian outreach group, they helped “the needy, not the greedy”.

Junior High Musical

BP Junior High School’s drama department presented the musical “James and the Giant Peach Jr.” at the Performing Arts Center on April 20-22.

Spring Sports Previewed

BPHS’s trapshooting team included 33 shooters, who shot competitively every Monday in April and May at the Caribou Gun Club outside Le Sueur, and hoped to do as well – if not better – than last year.

BPHS’s golf team’s collective goal was to post lower scores every time they played. The girls’ team returned four golfers from last year’s varsity and the boys’ team included five players from last year’s varsity.

BPHS’s softball team’s goal was to keep their leads in games from becoming defeats. In the previous year, there were several games where the Tigers took early leads in games only to see their opponent rally late and steal a victory from them.

BPHS’s baseball team hoped to be in the mix for a fifth-consecutive Minnesota River Conference championship this spring.

BPHS’s girls’ and boys’ track teams’ goal was to become MRC champions and be one of the top teams in the section.

Weather Canceled Contests

Because of the spring’s unseasonably cold and wet weather, BPHS’s activities director John Bergs was scrambling to reschedule events and provide teams with as many contests as possible.

On April 11 MRC activities directors reshuffled the baseball and softball schedules so there would be six doubleheaders, instead of twelve single seven-inning games, during each sport’s season.

Speech Team at State

Seven members of the BPHS Speech Team participated in the state speech tournament at Apple Valley High School on April 20-21, including Isaiah Trimbo in discussion, Griffin Ruud in humorous interpretation, Kadence Bran de Leon and Emily Berger as a dramatic duo, Paul Hillstrom in serious drama, Hunter Meyer and Taylor Cote as a dramatic duo. Isaiah Trimbo, a junior, earned third place in discussion at state.

Favorable Audit

The audit of BP’s finances in 2017 showed a city with a set of assets and liabilities poised to meet the challenges of the future.

Girl Scout Silver Award

Eighth graders Elliana Fahey and Sydney Brown, members of BP’s Girl Scout Troop 25151, started working on a Silver Award project to help students in need of personal care and hygiene items plus winter hats and gloves.

Review of Community Center

Commissioner of Education Dr. Brenda Cassellius informed the BP School District that the proposed $33 million community center project received an unfavorable review with concerns about how it would benefit students as well as its economic feasibility. As a result, a simple voter majority no longer sufficed, so the district needed at least sixty per cent approval of the project.

At the BP School District’s second community center meeting, residents had the opportunity to ask questions and share their opinions on April 10 at the Oak Crest Elementary School. Plus, the school district shared $597,222 per year as the operational cost, including a 21-year contract with the city of BP, which had agreed to pay $250,000 annually, an anticipated total of $252,120 in memberships, and programming for tournaments generating at least $120,000.

Candidate for House of Reps

Rep. Bob Vogel, a Republican from Elko New Market, announced his plan to seek re-election to a third term in the Minnesota House of Representatives for the district including BP.

MVEC’s Annual Meeting

Incumbent Bill Heinlein of Chanhassen who represents District II (including BP north of the Minnesota River) and incumbent Kevin Gibbs of Le Center who represents District III (including BP south of the river) were returned to the Minnesota Valley Electric Cooperative’s Board of Directors for three-year terms. At MVEC’s 81st annual meeting on April 10 at New Prague High School, Amber Glisczinski of BP was one of 21 seniors who were each awarded a $1,000 scholarship.

Citywide Garage Sale

BP’s spring citywide garage sale was scheduled for April 19-21. More than thirty sales were listed on a 12-page flyer assembled by organizers Jen Winter and Jessica Nagel.

First Track Meets

The first invitational track meet of the season occurred on Thursday, April 12, at the BP Athletic Complex. The BPHS girls topped the five-team field with 155 points, and the boys finished second to Jordan with 89 points.

Free Throw Contest

BP third-grader Ethan Martin, son of Jill and Rick Martin, won the Knights of Columbus state free-throw contest at St. Cloud Cathedral High School in the category for ten-year-olds.

Fire Safety Posters

BP third-graders Morgan Zwick and Malory Kelm were honored for their posters promoting fire safety and prevention.

Vote for Community Center

Because of the Minnesota Department of Education’s unfavorable review of the community center referendum question, the BP School Board held a public hearing at the beginning of their meeting on April 23 and voted unanimously to move forward with the vote on May 8.

School Board Candidates

Two candidates – Alex Carlson and Terry Morrison – were running for the 2½-year term on the BP School Board, specifically for the seat Dan Gardner was appointed to fill when Diane Skelley resigned to take a custodial job with the district.

Fire Dept. Radios

The BP City Council approved the purchase of seven radios and bases for the fire department to replace obsolete ones.

Citywide Cleanup Day

BP held its annual spring recycle and cleanup day, sponsored by the BP Lions Club and the City of BP, on Saturday morning, April 28, at the police department parking lot.

Economic Development

Members of BP’s Economic Development Authority and City Council, along with real estate professionals and home builders, met on April 18 to discuss residential and commercial-industrial development in BP.

May

FFA State Convention

James Mathiowetz, BPHS senior and son of Wendy and Bruce Mathiowetz, was selected as the state FFA sentinel after a series of interviews before the start of the state convention April 22-24 at the U of M. In addition, BPHS’s FFA students participated in a series of competitions aimed at demonstrating lessons learned in FFA programming.

BPHS Prom

Kaitlyn Gorman and a group of friends traveled to their prom on Saturday, May 5, at the Cologne Community Center in her family’s 1976 Chevrolet Rockwood RV.

Candidate for House of Reps

Barbara Droher Kline, a DFLer from rural New Prague, announced her plans to challenge Rep. Bob Vogel, R-Elko New Market, for the opportunity to represent District 20A in the Minnesota House of Representatives.

New Dog Park

On Monday afternoon, April 30, Mayor Chris Meyer, City Councilor Cary Coop, and BP Park Board members Nick Jensen, Chris Klehr, Rachel Kelm and Liann Hanson attended the Arbor Day tree planting and the grand opening of the new dog park at Hickory Park.

River Flooding

Melting snow pushed the Minnesota River into the moderate flood stage between BP and Jordan, where County Road 9 was closed for several days.

Sibley County Sheriff

Following Sibley County Sheriff Bruce Ponath’s announcement of his impending retirement, both Winthrop Police Chief Karen Johnson and Sibley County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Patrick Nienaber announced their plans to seek election to the four-year term as county sheriff on November 6.

Softball Team’s Wins & Loss

BPHS’s softball team won its first two games of the season, with scores of 4-2 and 7-1, over Mayer Lutheran on April 24. The Tigers dropped the first game of a doubleheader, 2-1, on April 30 against Sibley East and then won the second game, 15-0.

Baseball Team’s Wins & Losses

BPHS’s baseball team was off to a bit of a roller coaster start with a loss to Maple River, 8-6, on April 24; a pair of wins against Sibley East, 12-3 and 8-3, on April 26; a loss to Elk River, 10-3 on April 28; and a doubleheader split, 8-3 and 2-0, with Le Sueur-Henderson on April 30.

Track Teams Run Strong

BPHS’s girls’ track team finished sixth with 55 points at Lakeville’s Mega Meet on April 21, while the boys’ team finished 12th with 20¼ points. At the MRC meet April 24 at Sibley East, BPHS girls finished first with 136 points and the boys’ 79 points was good for second place. At the Delano Invitational April 26, the girls finished second with 124 points, and the boys took fifth place with 21½ points.

Visual Arts Team

The BPHS Visual Arts Team enjoyed a successful showing at the section festival on April 25, earning five excellent ratings and twelve superior ratings for their entries. Pieces created by Faith Miner, Hanna Tharaldson, Tatum Ackerman, and Katie Piampiano advanced to state competition at the Perpich Center for the Performing Arts in Golden Valley.

Mother’s Day

Theresa McDaniel of BP celebrated Mother’s Day with her adoptive mother, Ruth Dietz of New Prague, and biological mother, Sandy, who had decided to put her up for adoption as an infant in 1968. After reaching out to her birth mother, McDaniel also discovered two half-sisters, Lisa and Victoria.

Library Expansion

The BP City Council reconsidered the architectural plans for expanding the public library and directed staff to update cost estimates from 2009 and continue discussions with Scott County.

Drinking & Driving

The day before BPHS’s prom, BP firefighters, policemen, paramedics, and state troopers staged a mock car crash to display the dramatic and sometimes tragic results of drinking and driving. In addition, Jon Markle from the Twin Cities spoke to BPHS students about causing the death of his daughter, Tabitha, who had been a passenger in the car that was submerged in water after he drove onto a section of frozen lake as a shortcut home. Markle, whose blood alcohol content was nearly twice the legal limit, pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and was sentenced to tell his story 100 times to others with the hope they never experience the guilt he endures.

Farmers’ Market

The BP Farmers’ Market opened Wednesday, May 9, in Court Square Park and continued for 23 Wednesdays – rain or shine.

Bowling Champ

Alissa Ebnetter of BP was honored for her 2017 national championship in Baton Rouge, La., when the U.S. Bowling Conference opened its 2018 national tournament in Reno, Nev.

Town Team Baseball

The Tiger Town Baseball Team opened its 2018 season with a 3-1 setback to St. Benedict on May 4 before outlasting Arlington, 13-9, on May 6.

Boys’ & Girls’ Golf

At a nine-hole meet at Ridges at Sand Creek, the BPHS boys’ golf team finished third on April 30 with Jordan and Le Sueur-Henderson. The Tigers finished seventh, with a team score of 366, at the eight-team Shakopee Invitational Meet on May 7. The girls’ golf team finished fourth out of five teams at the Le Sueur County Club on May 7.

Softball Team’s Wins & Losses

At the Rochester Lourdes tournament on April 28, BPHS’s softball team won one game with Rochester Mayo but lost two to Rochester Lourdes and Byron. The Tigers split doubleheaders with Le Sueur-Henderson on May 1 and Tri-City United on May 10.

Baseball Team’s Wins & Loss

BPHS’s baseball team earned the top spot in the MRC with a pair of wins over Tri-City United on May 7, after dropping their May 3rd game to St. Peter.

Track Teams’ Results

BPHS’s track teams enjoyed an impressive set of performances on May 1. The girls finished with 210 points and the boys earned 146 points, well ahead of Tri-City United, Central of NYA, and Mayer Lutheran. At the eight-team Mankato East Invitational, BPHS girls finished second to the host Cougars. BPHS boys finished fifth at Mankato East.

End of Community Center

On Tuesday, May 8, voters in the BP School District rejected the proposal for a $33.1 million community center by an overwhelming margin – 2,146 to 622, with about 48 percent of registered voters participating in the referendum. In the special school board election, Terry Morrison defeated Alex Carlson by a 2-1 margin – 1,635 to 801.

Decision on Mining Pit

An orderly annexation board – with representatives from the City of BP, Scott County, and Belle Plaine Township – approved a proposal to mine land on Mark Klehr’s property for aggregate and place a portable mixing plant on J&W Asphalt’s property needed for the Hwy. 169 resurfacing project.

Charter Member of Historical Society

Henrietta Stiles, age 101, passed away on Tuesday, May 8. She was one of the charter members of the BP Historical Society, which in 1975 purchased the Hooper-Bowler-Hillstrom house that had been built in 1871 and eventually became her childhood home.

Radon Tests

Of the 170 radon test samples placed at all four school buildings in BP, three came back with elevated levels – two at Oak Crest Elementary and one at the district center – and will be retested in the winter months.

Latina Advocacy Program

Southern Valley Alliance for Battered Women relaunched its Latina Advocacy Program, thanks to a $65,000 grant from the Otto Bremer Trust, to make sure Latina women, who often face language barriers, know their options in the face of domestic abuse.

Dollars for Scholars’ Car Raffle

Sophie Wright, a BPHS senior, sold her grandmother, Susan Newport of Minneapolis, the winning ticket in the BP Dollars for Scholars’ car raffle, a 2011 Chevy Cruze donated by Matt Saxe. BP students had sold 592 raffle tickets worth $17,760 in scholarship money.

Teens Charged for Property Damage

Three BP teenagers faced felony charges for multiple acts of alleged criminal damage to property, including spray painting and slashed tires.

Town Team Baseball

The Tiger Town Baseball Team defeated Cologne by a score of 9-1 in a game that featured a total of 22 walks on May 11. BP traveled to Gaylord on May 13, where the Islanders whitewashed the Tigers, 3-0.

Softball Team’s Losses

BPHS’s softball team dropped a pair of tough losses to Central, 14-3 and 2-1, on May 10 at the softball complex at Oak Crest Elementary School.

Trapshooting Team in 4th Place

After three weeks of virtual competition, the BPHS trapshooting team was in fourth place in its conference, with Park Rapids, Rushford-Peterson, and Rochester Mayo high schools in the lead.

Baseball Team’s Win & Loss

BPHS’s baseball team defeated the Central Raiders from Norwood Young America in the first game of a doubleheader, 5-3, but lost the second game, 4-3, on May 10.

True Team Track Meet

At the Section 2AA True Team Track Meet in Mankato on May 10, the BPHS girls finished fifth and the boys came in eighth.

Scouting For Food

The annual Scouting For Food campaign generated over a ton of food for the BP Food Shelf. Employees at the BP Post Office collected donations left at the mailboxes of area homes on May 12 and were assisted by the BP Boy Scouts.

Taking Animals to School

BP FFA students brought the animals – goats, sheep, calves, rabbits, etc. – they work with at home everyday to school on May 11 and explained how to care for them to fellow students.

Drug Awareness Resistance Ed.

Fifth graders at Oak Crest Elementary School graduated from the Drug Awareness Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program on May 10. Mikayla Anderson, Ali Sellnow, Waylon Friendshuh, Laney Dalchow, and Evie Minadakis were recognized for their essays.

Memorial Day Program

For the Memorial Day program at Veterans’ Memorial Park, Capt. David Schlichter of the 327th Military Police Battalion was the guest speaker.

Pearson Greenhouse Sold

Andrew Pearson sold the ten-acre site of Pearson Greenhouses and his 100-year-old house to Dave Siwek of Siwek Lumber and Millwork in Jordan. Pearson said he’d miss serving customers and working with plants, when the greenhouse closed in early July.

School Facility Maintenance

The BP School Board approved its long-term facility maintenance plan for the 2018-19 school year, including almost half a million dollars in various, estimated renovations.

Valley Business Park

The BP City Council approved the final plat for Valley Business Park, located north of County Road 5 and south of Diversified Drive and east of Laredo Street, which included four lots ranging from 34,500 square feet to 73,798 square feet.

Candidate for U.S. House of Reps

U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis, who’s running for re-election to his Congressional seat, hosted town hall meetings in Goodhue, Lakeville, and at a coffee shop in downtown Jordan on May 19.

Baseball Team Shared MRC Championship

After splitting doubleheaders with Jordan on May 14 and Mayer Lutheran on May 18, BPHS’s baseball team wrapped up its regular season with a solid win over Southwest Christian, 9-1, on May 21 and ended up sharing the Minnesota River Conference championship with Central of NYA.

Town Team Baseball

The Tiger Town Baseball Team continued its unusual early-season surge with wins at St. Patrick, 10-5, on May 19, and in Henderson, 6-5, on May 20.

5th & 6th Grade Talent Show

Fifth and sixth graders at Oak Crest Elementary School hosted their annual talent show on May 23 and 24, as a fundraiser for the trip to Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center.

End of Season for Softball Team

After a tough final stretch of the season, losing doubleheaders to Central of NYA on May 8 and to Jordan on May 15, as well as a 6-1 loss to St. Peter on May 17, BPHS’s softball team finished the season at 6-11 overall and 5-7 in conference play.

End of Season for Golf Teams

BPHS’s golf teams finished off the pace at the MRC Meet at New Prague Golf Course on May 21. The girls were unable to post a team score, while the boys finished in a two-way tie for second during the first nine-hole round and in fourth place on the second nine-holes.

Dominance at MRC Track Meet

The BPHS girls’ and boys’ track teams enjoyed dominating performances at the MRC Track Meet on their home track on May 17. The girls won 10 out of 18 events, and the boys earned second place in five events.

City vs. MnDOT

The City of BP and the Minnesota Dept. of Transportation were at odds over concerns a MnDOT-selected contractor, RAM Construction, had misrepresented its plans and was using a city roadway, Enterprise Drive, to enter a section of Hwy. 169 as part of a repaving project.

School Employee Retirements

Laurie Green and Marlene Turmes retired from their careers as BP School District employees. Green was a FACS teacher for 13 years and a guidance counselor for 14 years at the junior-senior high school. Turmes was a school nurse for 12 years at Chatfield Elementary School.

Music on the Lawn

The Lutheran Home Association announced a new Music on the Lawn concert series for Thursday evenings, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., from May 31 to Aug. 30 (except July 5 and 12) at 611 Main Street West.

New Cop in Henderson

Jessy Dols, a 2012 BPHS graduate, joined the Henderson Police Department as a part-time officer on May 24. Dols is also employed as a part-time police officer in Le Sueur.

Gov. Dayton at Oak Crest

Fifth graders at Oak Crest Elementary School enjoyed a private visit with Gov. Mark Dayton on May 24. While visiting the governor’s mansion in St. Paul earlier in the school year, the students had invited the governor to visit them in BP whenever his schedule permitted.

June

Leaky Swimming Pool

The BP City Council unanimously supported a staff request to discuss with architects various options for replacing the community’s 52-year-old swimming pool, which was losing up to 20,000 gallons of treated water a day and could cost three times what it cost to operate just two years ago.

Population Increase

BP has grown from 6,661 residents in the 2010 decennial census to an estimated 7,144 – an increase of just over seven percent – with a gain of 69 new households – an increase of 2.92 percent.

Class of ‘18 Graduation

BPHS’s Class of 2018 graduated on Sunday afternoon, June 3, in the school’s south gym. The ceremony’s keynote speaker, junior high social studies teacher Ross Nelson, encouraged the 105 members of the graduation class to surround themselves with the right people and be kind to everyone. Senior Brittany Tem offered her classmates a message of memories and encouragement to look ahead.

Friend of Education Award

Janel and Steve Eischens were honored with the BP School District’s “Friend of Education” award for the time and effort they contributed to building a facility at the softball complex near Oak Crest Elementary School that houses restrooms and storage space.

Patriotic Artwork

The BP VFW and Auxiliaries honored sixth-graders from Trinity Lutheran School – Dylan Meyer, Kiera Weiers, and Brian Baumann – for their patriotic works of art.

Superhero Toy Drive

Justin Overline and Andrea Gerres hosted their fourth annual Super hero Toy Drive and Blood Drive Party at their home in BP Saturday, June 2, in celebration of their son, Austin’s, cancer remission. Donations went to the Memorial Blood Center and Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis where Austin had been treated.

Insurance Agency of the Year

The Minnesota Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers named the Canopy Group, with offices in BP, Le Sueur, and Minnetonka, as the 2018 Agency of the Year at its annual convention in Minneapolis.

Police Dept. Radios

The BP City Council approved a plan to spend about $23,800 a year in 2018-2021 for encrypted technology radios for the BP Police Department, allowing them to communicate securely without being monitored by someone with a scanner.

Baseball Team’s Wins & Losses

The BPHS boys’ baseball team defeated Le Sueur-Henderson, 9-6, Tri-City United, 10-0, and Waterville-Elysian-Morristown, 7-2, before falling twice to the Jordan Hubmen, with scores of 5-1 and 8-2, in the double-elimination section playoffs.

BP Natives on Augustana Baseball Team

Augustana University’s baseball team, coached by BP native Tim Huber, won the school’s first-ever NCAA Division II College World Series Championship. The team included Derek Dahlke, Aiden Ladd, and Brody Curtiss from Belle Plaine.

Golfer at State

BPHS junior Cole Haller finished in a tie for third place at the section finals at New Prague Golf Club and earned a spot in the Class AA State Golf Competition at Jordan’s Ridges at Sand Creek Golf Club. Haller finished 58th at the state golf competition in mid-June with a score of 162.

Dollars for Scholars

A total of $80,200 in scholarship money was awarded to 69 seniors who received 173 scholarships for their scholastic achievement from BP’s Dollars for Scholars.

Discus & Shot Put Thrower at State

Ben Covington was the lone member of the BPHS boys’ track team to advance to state. In the wheelchair discus competition, Covington earned sixth place with a throw of 24’ 6”. His toss of 13’ 11¾” qualified for fifth place in the wheelchair shot put.

Foreign Exchange Student

Known as “Angel” to her friends, Rotary foreign-exchange student Yu-Ling Hsu planned to return to her home in Taiwan, after a bus tour of the eastern half of the United States.

Former Owner of DQ & Borough Bowl Charged

Ronald Allen Fry, who previously owned BP’s Dairy Queen and Borough Bowl, was charged with thirteen counts of conducting sales after revocation of his sales tax permit, underreporting sales taxes collected, filing false or fraudulent tax returns, and failing to file state income tax returns.

Girls’ Track Team at State

Jaylen Struck-Schmitz, a BPHS sophomore, won a state championship in the 300-meter hurdles on June 9 at the state track meet at Hamline University in St. Paul, with a personal best time of 44.24 seconds. The BPHS girls’ track team finished in fifth place with 31 points in state team standings.

Community Conversation Program

During the first installment of the Community Conversation program on June 7 at Heritage Park, residents discussed their concerns about parks, trails, and traffic speeds in the community with members of the BP City Council and city staff.

Trinity Welcomed the Bentzes

Trinity Lutheran Church welcomed Pastor Martin Bentz as a new associate pastor whose responsibilities include stewardship, properties, and adult discipleship as well as community outreach. His wife, Beverly, was also called to Trinity and will teach grades one and two.

First Presbyterian Welcomed Waibel

First Presbyterian Church took advantage of a new program to help small churches, called the Commissioned Ruling Elder program, to fill its pastoral vacancy. Wayne Waibel started employment on a quarter-time basis as an unordained pastor to serve communion and preach the Gospel.

Tigertown Classic Invitational Baseball Tourney

Heavy rains shortened the 20th annual Tigertown Classic Invitational Baseball Tournament on Saturday, June 9, when all five games as well as the loser’s bracket were washed out. On Sunday St. Louis Park hammered its way to a title by defeating the Minneapolis Mudcats (13-2) and Shakopee Coyotes (13-3). Belle Plaine won its game against Minnesota Lake (6-2) Friday night but lost to Shakopee (3-2) Saturday afternoon – both in extra innings.

German Day’s Details

Makayla Siefert was crowned Miss German Day on Friday night, June 15. Emma Reed and Oliva Schatz were named first and second princesses, respectively. Thirty-nine businesses and organizations served a wide variety of free food at the annual sidewalk cookout. Many children participated in the kiddie tractor pull and enjoyed pony rides on North Meridian Street. The Johnny Holm Band entertained visitors to downtown BP from 8 p.m. to midnight. Troy Otto was the winner of the sauerkraut-eating contest at Neisen’s Corner Bar.

Severed Gas Line Caused Evacuation

A severed gas line beneath a downtown BP alley forced the evacuation of several downtown homes Wednesday, June 13, about 6 p.m. Nobody was hurt when a crew from Morty Construction working on the alley east of South Main Street and south of East Main Street inadvertently severed the line. Firefighters from Cologne and Jordan helped BP firefighters check for gas migration into nearly buildings. Crews from CenterPoint Energy remained on the scene measuring the ground for levels of gas migration.

Longtime Family Physician

Dr. James O’Reilly, 66, who was a family physician at the Belle Plaine Clinic from 1980 through 1997, passed away Saturday, June 16, at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester.

River Fishin’ Contest Canceled

After more than 40 years, the Skelley family of BP decided to cut the line on the popular river fishin’ contest because the cost of operating the tournament in August and the amount of time and money it took to put on the event were no longer justifiable.

CUPs for Events Center & Centicare

The BP City Council unanimously granted a request from Philip and Mary Jo Morris for a conditional-use permit for an events center at the business at 311 Enterprise Drive East, currently used for retail space in Emma Krumbee’s General Store. The city council also approved a conditional-use permit for Centicare, a medical equipment assembly business where limited fabrication will occur in a 9,600-square-foot building at 406 Maple Street South. In addition, the city council OK’d the sale of the 34,500-square-foot lot between Centicare and Diversified Drive to Aztron Technologies for $1 per square foot.

Resolution of City vs. MnDOT

After the City of BP raised concerns about the impact of heavy trucks servicing the Highway 169 resurfacing project using Enterprise Drive on the south side of the highway as a haul route, the Minnesota Department of Transportation moved the route to Old Highway 169 Boulevard on the north side of the highway.

Library Expansion

The BP City Council directed City Administrator Dawn Meyer to have Urban Works perform a Phase I study on the proposed expansion of the public library.

Legion Baseball Season Begins

BP’s American Legion summer baseball schedule opened on Thursday, June 14, with an 11-8 loss to Waterville at Tiger Park.

Goodbye, Little Brown Jug

Ken Theis Construction razed the former home of Little Brown Jug, a longtime BP liquor store on East Commerce Drive, on Tuesday, June 19, after it was acquired by Ag Partners for the possible expansion of Co-op Tire.

Trinity Teacher Retires

Lavonne Bratsch retired at the end of the 2017-18 school year after teaching at Trinity Lutheran School in BP for thirty years. She was the guest of honor at an open house on Sunday, July 15.

River Flooding

Due to ample rainfall in June in southern and western Minnesota, the Minnesota River had risen almost five feet and forced transportation officials to close roads throughout the region, which resulted in more traffic passing through BP.

Beautiful Prairie Mural at Downtown Plaza

Area artist Lana Beck began working on a mural overlooking BP’s downtown plaza on Wednesday, June 27, and finished less than two weeks later. The mural features a stone-arch bridge over Robert Creek as the creek winds its way south to north through the beautiful prairie to the Minnesota River.

New Adventure Park

Kerfoot Canopy’s new adventure park – just across the Minnesota River from Blakeley village on Sibley County Road 6 in Faxon Township – was off to a solid start in its first few months of operation, hosting about 35 people on a typical weekend day.

Oops! BBQ Medallion Found

The first and only clue for the 2018 Barb-B-Q Days Medallion Hunt was published in the Herald on Wednesday, June 27. Less than a week later on Monday, July 2, Addison Bachand, 14, found the medallion by accident attached to the back of a thermometer south of the community pool.

Honor Rolls

According to BPHS’s second semester ‘A’ and ‘B’ honor rolls, a total of 78 seventh graders, 75 eighth graders, 76 freshmen, 49 sophomores, 46 juniors, and 54 seniors were recognized for their academic achievement.

Trapshooting Team at State

The BPHS Trapshooting Team’s season came to an impressive end after two rounds of the state meet where the Tigers finished 37th of 325 teams competing statewide.

Town Team Baseball

BP’s town baseball team won first place in the Farming Invitational Tournament by defeating Atwater, 7-5, St. Joseph, 8-7, and Delano, 11-1.

Legion Baseball Team

BP’s American Legion baseball team split a doubleheader with Montgomery, winning the first game 3-0 but losing the second game 8-6 on Thursday, June 21, at Tiger Park.

July

New Pool Manager

Izabella Schulte was named the new community pool manager and led a staff of 27 lifeguards throughout the summer.

Malz Brothers Retire from Farming

Ralph and Roger Malz have been farming for about fifty years on family-owned land in Blakeley Township and decided that this year’s crop would be their last harvest. An auction of their farm equipment was scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 1.

Loss of Former Businessman

Fred Keup, 88, passed away on Friday, June 29, at North Memorial Hospital in Minneapolis from injuries suffered in a fall at his house in Belle Plaine Township earlier in the week. Keup was proud to be a resident of BP and was an avid volunteer in a wide variety of activities in the community. Fred and his brother, Paul, assumed ownership of Keup Motors in downtown BP when their father passed away in 1967 and operated the Chevrolet/Buick dealership until retiring in 2003.

Local Cluemeisters

Gerry Meyer had written the clues for the Bar-B-Q Days’ medallion hunt for more than thirty years before passing the baton to Don Meger who has created the clues since 1999. In addition, Meger writes the clues for the St. Patrick’s Day medallion hunt. Bill Kruschke started the Harvest Fest medallion hunt in 2012 to complement the Scenic By-Way Half Marathon.

Town Team Baseball

BP’s town baseball team won six straight games, including a 7-1 decision over Watertown and an 8-3 win against St. Peter to reach a record of 13-4 so far.

Legion Baseball Team

The American Legion baseball team lost both games of a doubleheader – 8-6 and 14-9 – to Sibley East on Wednesday, June 27, at Tiger Park.

Grand Marshal of BBQ Parade

Retired BP Herald Editor and Publisher Ed Townsend was named the grand marshal for the Bar-B-Q Days’ parade.

Inauguration of New Cricket Field

Saby Sengupta, developer of Tatiana Fields, officially opened the new cricket complex in BP on Saturday, July 7.

River Flooding

Scott County Sheriff Luke Hennen warned boaters and anglers on the swollen Minnesota River to be wary of low-hanging power/utility lines, especially the one just six feet above the water in BP.

First Miss BP

Sandy Mueller Martin recalled being crowned as the first Miss BP during the third annual Bar-B-Q Days celebration in 1962.

Baseball Coach of the Year

Tim Huber, a BP native and head coach of the Augustana University baseball team, was named the NCAA Division II National Coach of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches’ Association and Diamond Sports.

All-Star Baseball Game

BP pitcher Wes Sarsland and infielder Jonny Vinkemeier made their first appearances in the River Valley League All-Star Game on Saturday, July 14, at Fairfax against the Dakota-Scott-Rice League.

All-Conference Honorees in Spring Sports

The following BPHS student-athletes were named to their respective all-conference teams by the Minnesota River Conference: Taylor Mullin and Jessica Prader – softball; Robert Hogan, Tyler O’Brien, Garrett Boblitt, and Andrew Hunsader – baseball; Cole Haller – boys’ golf. These athletes received honorable mention: Cecelia Giesen – softball, Jake Mercado – baseball, Caitlin Preusser – girls’ golf, and Justin Stauffacher – boy’s golf. The MRC’s All-Academic Team included Taylor Cote, Andrew Hunsader, Emma Luskey, Taylor Mullen, Alex Nowak, Jack Otto, Jessica Prader, Caitlin Preusser, Vanessa Rosales, Abigail Siegle, and Brittany Teal.

BBQ Days’ Bull Run

About 100 runners of all ages competed in the Bar-B-Q Days’ 5K Bull Run on Saturday morning, July 14. Ben Lattimore of Eden Prairie won the race in 16.59.

BP Royalty

On Sunday, July 15, Olivia Schatz was crowned the new Miss BP. Randi Fiskevold was named first princess, Tatum Ackerman became second princess, and Elyse Hayes was honored as Miss Congeniality.

Farm Families of the Year

The Steinhagen family of rural BP – including Gary, Lori, Martha, Greta, and David – was selected as the University of Minnesota Extension Service’s Farm Family of 2018 for Scott County.

Other U of M Extension Farm Families included Jeff and Tina Vinkemeier’s Seven C Dairy in Norwood Young America of Carver County, as well as the Donald and Sara Quiram family farm in Le Sueur County.

Americanism Essay Contest

Austin Meyer, son of Tory and Tracy Meyer and a student at Trinity Lutheran School in BP, won the American Legion Auxiliary’s Americanism essay contest for his entry titled “What can I personally do to promote Americanism in my school or community?”

Activities Fee Increases

The BP School Board approved increases in activities fees for the 2018-19 school year. Junior high sport fees increased from $10 to $100. The one-act play, speech, and fall musical fees increased from $80 to $125. Fees for the fall play and robotics increased from $80 to $100. Visual arts and junior high spring play increased by $10. Five school board members voted in favor of the increases, but Terry Morrison abstained from the vote because he didn’t have all the information he needed to make an informed vote.

Purchase of New Scoreboards

The BP School Board approved the purchase of two new scoreboards – one for football and one for softball at a total cost of $40,023. According to Business Director Chuck Keller, the scoreboards were included in the current budget as part of a long-term facilities maintenance plan. The motion passed 5-1, with Morrison casting the dissenting vote because of budget concerns.

Candle Maker in Former Hardware Bldg.

Brian Bahr, owner of NorthWood Distributing, purchased the old Steffen Hardware building at the intersection of North Meridian and East Church streets. Bahr produces, packages and ships out candles, bath and body lotions, producing as many as 2,000 12-ounce handmade candles in a week.

Strongman Competition

Jacob Nowak, who graduated from BPHS in 2014 and from the University of North Dakota in 2018, was one of several contestants in the North American Strongman Competition at the Scott County Fair on Saturday, July 28.

Legion Baseball Team Playoffs

After a so-so regular season, the BP American Legion baseball team won their first two playoff games on Saturday, July 21, in Cannon Falls, by defeating Goodhue 12-9 and Rockford 7-3.

Dungeys’ Fundraiser

On Saturday, July 28, BP’s Ryan Dungey and his wife, Lindsay, hosted the annual benefit for St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Hastings, which offered participants a 20-, 40-, or 60-mile bike ride or a 5K run. Dungey founded the fundraiser in 2012 as a way to dedicate himself to the children of St. Jude and their fight to eliminate cancer.

14U & 12U Softball Teams

Two BP fast-pitch softball teams – 14U and 12U – were nominated for the Youth 1st Team Sportsmanship Awards during the 2018 Jordan Earl Summer Bash Tournament.

Annual Pool Party

Dozens of BP area residents watched the Disney/Pixar Film, “Coco”, at the BP Community Pool Friday night, July 20. Patrons enjoyed refreshments while watching the movie on the big screen, either pool side or floating on the water on a warm summer evening.

New Features in Herald

A new feature, called ‘Happenings’, appeared for the first time in the July 25th issue of the BP Herald on page six. ‘Happenings’ includes area events and activities scheduled for the coming week. A week later on Aug. 4, another new feature was added, called the ‘BP Community Calendar’, which serves as a weekly guide to group meetings in the community.

August

Attendance at Scott County Fair

The Scott County Fair enjoyed five days of pleasant weather and good crowds from Wednesday through Sunday, July 25-29. Rhonda Kucera, the fair’s general manager, estimated the attendance this year might have been up 25 percent from a year ago.

Opening of Solid Grounds

Solid Grounds Coffee House, a ministry of The Lutheran Home Association (TLHA), hosted its grand opening celebration and dedication on Monday afternoon, July 30. Located on the Ridgeview Health Campus in BP, the 1,500 square foot coffee shop and meeting room is a place for everyone to enjoy a cup of coffee or favorite cold drink as well as breakfast or lunch item from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Plans for New Swimming Pool

At a special meeting Monday, July 30, the BP City Council voted unanimously to direct city staff to move forward to make formal plans and specifications for a new community swimming pool with 24 amenities and a bathhouse on the site of the existing pool which community leaders built 53 years ago.

Bear Sightings in Area

Area residents reported seeing strong evidence of a bear visiting their property. The most recent report of a bear was on Saturday, July 28, about 8:30 p.m., from Jack Fogarty, son of Emmett Fogarty, who spotted a bear in an open hay field about 100 yards from their house in Faxon Township, Sibley County, north of the Minnesota River. St. Lawrence Township resident Bob Caola found a 5 1/2 inches wide bear print on his property adjacent to the state park. Bear sightings in the BP area were unconfirmed, but Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer James Fogarty believed it could be a young male, a few years old and weighing about 200 pounds, roaming in the area after losing its territory to other male black bears further north.

End of Legion Baseball Team Season

BP’s American Legion baseball team walloped Waterville (14-1) on Friday, July 27, but fell hard to Le Sueur (17-0) and Sibley East (16-6) in Cannon Falls on Saturday, July 28, which ended their summer season.

Town Team Baseball

BP’s baseball team closed out a successful regular season at the end of July with an 18-7 overall record and a 9-5 mark in River Valley League play and secured a # 3 seed from the RVL in the newly-expanded Region 6C playoffs.

Dementia Walk

Willie Werner, an eighth-grader at Trinity Lutheran School, and his mother, Kristin, were among the participants in the second annual “Stepping Forward” Dementia Walk from the Lutheran Home Campus on West Main Street to KingsPath on West Commerce Drive on Saturday morning, Aug. 4. The walk was intended to raise awareness of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

National Night Out

BP hosted its annual observance of National Night Out on Tuesday, Aug. 7, at Heritage Square Park, from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. It was intended to help police work with residents to heighten safety and crime prevention awareness by building a stronger community.

Motorcycle Racing

Kyle Ohnsorg, a 2013 BPHS graduate, won all 15 of his motorcycle races at Brainerd International Raceway during the weekend of July 21-22 and earned a commanding lead in the Central Road Racing Association’s point standings for the season.

Jordan’s Catholic School

Demolition of the 110-year-old St. John the Baptist Catholic School building in Jordan began Tuesday morning, Aug. 7. Several ideas were considered since the school closed in 2004 after the parish built a larger school facility across the street since maintaining the historic building cost nearly $23,000 a year, but the cost of redeveloping the building was just too high.

New Varsity Football Coach

Joe Joyce was named the new head varsity football coach at BPHS, replacing Justin Johnston, who left BP to be Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop High School’s new principal. In addition to teaching social studies at BPHS, Joyce worked as an assistant coach for the Tigers last year, spending most of his time with the team’s offense.

Town Team Baseball in Playoffs

In the first round of the regional tournament, BP’s baseball team defeated the Cleveland Spiders (3-0) in Blue Earth on Saturday, Aug. 4, and the Blue Earth Pirates (11-6) on Sunday night, Aug. 5.

Donation of an AED

BP Festivals and Events and the BP Chamber of Commerce donated an automated external defibrillator (AED) to the BP Vets’ Club.

Monarch Butterflies

Betty and Bob Chard started a new hobby this summer and, as of mid-August, had released 44 monarch butterflies with over 20 more chrysalises in cages in their home. The Chards began their days by closely examining milkweed plants growing in their yard for monarch caterpillars, which they brought inside to a cage prepared with milkweed for them to eat. After the caterpillars crawled to the top of their cage and built chrysalises, butterflies emerged about two weeks later.

Challenge for Farmers

While excessive moisture during the spring proved to be a challenge for farmers across Scott County trying to plant their fields, crops such as corn and soybeans were actually ahead of normal growing rates going into harvest season.

Motocross Racing

Kai Morgan, a fourth-grader at Oak Crest Elementary School in BP and son of Allison and Jason Morgan of Henderson, was one of 42 racers from 18 states who competed at the Loretta Lynn Amateur National Motocross Championship in the 51 cc (7-8) limited division in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, which was held July 30 through Aug. 4, and earned a sixth place trophy.

Class Reunions

A number of classes graduating from BPHS held reunions, including the classes of 1948, 1949, 1950, 1957, 1958, and 1963.

Gray Tigers at Tiger Park

BP’s Gray Tiger baseball team cruised to a 12-3 record for a second-best mark in the River Valley League, by wrapping up the regular season Friday night, Aug. 10, with a 5-2 win over the Waconia Islanders. Playing in the highest “AA” bracket, the Grays opened the Over-35 State Tournament at noon on Saturday, Aug. 18, at Tiger Park.

Town Team Baseball Qualified for State

After losing to the Jordan Brewers (0-9) Friday, Aug. 10, BP’s baseball team qualified for the state tournament for the first time since 2015 by defeating Le Sueur (3-2) in Waterville on Saturday, Aug. 11, and Gaylord (7-4) on Sunday, Aug. 12.

Donations of School Supplies

To make sure all children in the BP School District could start the school year with the supplies they needed, Presley Volek, eight-year-old daughter of Caycie and Nick Volek, collected over 120 backpacks during her fourth annual drive for school supplies.

Peace Corps Volunteer in Africa

Kirsten Johnson, 23-year-old daughter of Brad Johnson and Melissa Stevens, was accepted to the Peace Corps and left Aug. 14 for the African country of Namibia, where she will be a secondary education science teacher.

 Participation in Primary Election

About 846 people came out to vote in BP for the primary election on August 14, out of 4.035 voters (or roughly21 percent). BP Township saw 160 voters turn up (about 25 percent of registered voters), and Blakeley saw 90 voters (about 30 percent of registered voters).

Candidates for Scott County Sheriff

The election for Scott County Sheriff whittled down the field of candidates from four to two, incumbent sheriff Luke Hennen (who collected about 43 percent of all votes cast) and newcomer Jason Arras (who ended up with 27 percent). However, in BP Arras was the preferred candidate with six more votes than Hennen (329 to 323). The other two candidates, Joe Theis and Duane Jirik, ended the night with 19 and 10 percent, respectively.

What Would Grandpa Say?

Joe Weber, who grew up in Jessenland Township and now lives in Barstow, CA, published a new book about life in the Minnesota River Valley, called “What Would Grandpa Say?” The inspiration of his book originated with stories Weber heard from his father and grandfather while growing up in Jessenland. He did a book tour in the area Aug. 25-28.

Proposed Street Projects

A public hearing on a proposed street project filled city hall during the B.P. City Council’s meeting Monday night, Aug. 20 but ended without much public content. The proposed $1.9 million project consisted of street and utility improvements for Sunset Drive, Hillcrest Drive, Buffalo Street, Prairie Street, and Park Street.

Hwy.169 Construction

Construction on Highway 169 from south of Highway 282 in Jordan to just north of County Road 64/Highway 25 in BP and from south of BP to Highway 19 was a few weeks behind schedule because of rain but was progressing along nicely and projected to be completed by fall.

Penny Wars Fundraiser

Cambria’s ‘Penny Wars’ fundraiser concluded Thursday, Aug. 16, with six managers and Executive Vice President of Operations Brian Scoggin getting chocolate or pudding pies thrown in their faces by co-workers who purchased raffle tickets for the opportunity to do so. The fundraiser generated a total of $2700, with help from matching funds donated by Cambria, which was donated to Presley’s Backpack Program, providing school supplies for students in need.

Exhibitors at Minnesota State Fair

A number of BP residents planned to participate in agricultural and creative competitions at the Minnesota State Fair, beginning Thursday, Aug. 23. Savannah Berg created a lesson plan on the Orphan Train Movement for her 4-H Youth Leadership project which was displayed at the State Fair. All three Steinhagen kids who participate in 4-H planned to show their animals at the State Fair. David, 17, was showing a market sheep; Greta, 15, took a dairy goat; and Martha, 13, took a different type of dairy goat.

FFA Alumni & Friends

Randy and Mary Koll made a donation to FFA leadership camp scholarships during the first ever annual meeting for the BP Area FFA Alumni and Friends.

Gray Tigers at State

The Gray Tigers, BP’s senior baseball team, won their first two games in the state tournament at Tiger Park, beating Menahga-Sebeka 2-1 and Northfield 4-0.

Town Team Baseball at State

BP’s baseball team returned to the state tournament for the first time since 2015 on Saturday, Aug. 18, in Shakopee, and defeated the Crookston Reds, 12-2. Every Tiger started had at least one hit and seven of the nine had multiple hits - for a total of nineteen in the game.

E-Learning Day

The BP School Board unanimously voted to pilot an ‘e-learning day’ on Friday, Nov. 9, a day when students stay home with their iPads supplied by the school and undergo electronic lesson plans put together by their teachers. The intent of the Nov. 9th ‘e-learning day’ was to prepare educators and students for unpredictable days when inclement weather might cancel brick and mortar school.

New Teachers

New 2018-19 BP public school teachers included Ann Walters, Cayla Menke, Brittany Olson, Dani Allen, Sara Olson, Jacqueline Miller, Cory Immerman, Maija Johnson, Kallen Knott, Nikki Golio, Jana Vanthournout, Kristin Carlson, McCall Lemmons, Heather Stewart, Brian Kotila, Stacy Olson, and Dawn Alto.

School Enrollment

Projected enrollment at BP Schools for 2018-19 was 1,610, down slightly from last year’s 1614 students. Of all the students who live in the attendance area, 86.3 percent attend public school in BP.

New Foreign Exchange Student

The Rotary’s foreign exchange student, Benedetta Roffia, arrived in BP on Wednesday, Aug. 22, from her hometown of Casalmaggiore, Italy, to stay with the first of three host families - Jill and A.J. Provancha and their two sons, Aaron and Levi. One of the things she was looking forward to most was attending prom.

Jessenland Irish Festival

The Jessenland Irish Festival took place on Sunday, Aug. 26, and featured church services, live music, vendors, and the Rince Na ChroiIrish Dancers performing to the music of the Wild Colonial Bhoys.

What’s Happening Guide

The first annual, 32-page fall/winter What’s Happening Guide was inserted into the BP Herald and Henderson Independent on Wednesday, Aug. 29. This special supplement provided residents and visitors with information on community festivals, activities and events for all ages and interests.

Tennis Players in New York City

BPHS varsity tennis players - Kadence Bran de Leon, Katie Piampiano, Siri Kuhn, Kiersten Skelley, Lilly Olson, Jocelyn DeFauw, and Tatum Ackerman - and three chaperones, including Coach Melissa Hanson, traveled to New York City to attend the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament from Aug. 29 to Sept. 2.

Girl Scout Silver Award

Freshmen Elianna Fahey and Sydney Brown took the final steps toward completing their Girl Scout Silver Award by installing and filling shelves in the nurse’s office at BPHS with items collected from donation boxes at various locations downtown. Donations included personal hygiene items, warm hats and mittens, and school supplies which will serve students in need.

Gray Tigers’ Championship

The Gray Tigers finished the season with their first AA State Championship since 1997 by defeating the Jordan Millers, 6-0, and the St. Louis Park Cardinals, 5-2. Pitching and defense were the name of the game, and the Grays allowed only two earned runs in the entire tournament.

End of Town Team Baseball Season

BP’s baseball team finished the 2018 season with a 23-9 record (9-5 in RVL). The Tigers lost their playoff game Sunday night, Aug. 26, in New Prague against the defending state champion Kimball Express, 5-2.

Conclusion of Music on the Lawn

The Lutheran Home brought together live music, food, and plenty of family fun for their “Music on the Lawn” series almost every Thursday evening from May through August. Attendance more than doubled throughout the summer, so the Lutheran Home has big plans in the works for 2019.

September

Longtime Lunch Lady

School lunchroom employee, Mary Jane O’Brien, has worked for the BP School District since 1982 and noted that a lot has changed, with lunches increasing from one main meal to at least three options every day including a salad bar.

In Lieu of School Resource Officer

Instead of having a full-time school resource officer, the BP School District has a strong relationship with the BP Police Department, which prides itself in building positive relationships with students in a positive light.

Kingsway Celebrated Anniversary

Kingsway Retirement Living, part of the Lutheran Home Association, celebrated their 10-year anniversary, featuring German food, live music and children’s activities, on Saturday, Sept. 8, at their West Main Street location.

Success at Minnesota State Fair

A number of local residents earned success at the Minnesota State Fair. Using his Grandma Emma’s lefse recipe which listed the five ingredients but no instructions, Kurt and Jean Aslakson put together a batch of the Scandinavian flatbread for the fair’s family heirloom recipe competition and earned a third place ribbon. Seventh-grader Brennan Veerkamp, who also competed for the first time at the state fair, took home a championship purple ribbon for his back face yearling ewe. John Morrison also took home his first championship for his shorthorn steer.

Family Time at Arlington Raceway

Dave and Cindy Becker of BP, along with their daughter, Karlee Block, spend quality time together every Saturday night at Arlington Raceway. Dave has raced for 28 years, while Cindy keeps his car running as the sole member of his pit crew; Karlee joined the family fun when she was 15 and earned “Rookie of the Year” in her division last fall.

Annual Trap Shooting

Dozens of people turned out at the Mark and Sherrie Simcox family farm on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 2, to participate in the annual trap shoot competition.

Downtown Plaza

On Tuesday, Sept. 4, a ribbon-cutting event signaled the official opening of BP’s downtown plaza on the corner of Main and Meridian streets. It celebrated the culmination of a year’s work to take the space from an empty lot, after a fire in October of 2005 destroyed the building, to a space showcasing a mural, which sports the words “Beautiful Prairie”.

Digging for Antique Bottles

Mark Youngblood, a bottle collector, and his associate, Brian Mann, dug up part of the yard, with the help of Clay Davis, at a house on North Linden Street in BP on Saturday, Sept. 8. The team unearthed Schutz and Hilgers Brewery bottles out of Jordan, dating to around 1915, several medicine jars, and various other beer bottles, but did not find any BP Brewery bottles in this dig.

Application for MDE Grant

The BP City Council moved forward to renovate the BP Public Library Sept. 4 at a work session following their regular meeting, by planning to apply for a Minnesota Dept. of Education library construction grant for a one-to-one match of funds up to $1 million by the end of October.

Harvest Medallion Found    

Following the publication of the second clue, Angie Johnson and Annie Miller found the 2018 Harvest Medallion behind an orange safety sleeve on an electrical post on Chestnut Street outside Annie’s Cafe.

Support for Cancer Patient

Randy Koll, who’s battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer, voiced appreciation, along with his wife, Mary, to everyone who has supported him in his 13-month struggle.

Cross Country Record Breaker

Posting a time of 16:30, BP’s junior Drew Hastings broke the boys’ school cross country record and set a personal record at the Tri-City United Gerry Smith Invitational on Thursday, Sept. 6, in Montgomery.

Powerlifters Pulled Plane

A team of eight powerlifters, assembled by Brian Kreeger, came together on Saturday, Sept. 8, for the 2018 Plane Pull at the MSP Airport Delta hangar and pulled a Delta airplane 25 feet in around nine seconds to take home the victory. The team included Grant Thompson, Shane Potter, Brad Neitzel, Mike Winter, Daniel Kreeger, Derek Vonnahme, Ben Blake, and Sheri Stiles. Along with 21 other teams, they raised $30,000 with proceeds benefiting Special Olympics Minnesota.

Scarecrow Festival

Emma Krumbee’s kicked off its 35th annual Great Scarecrow Festival on Saturday, Sept. 8, at their apple orchard, with plans to continue through the end of October. A total of thirty winners - including adults, teens and youth - competed for prizes in three different categories - traditional, humorous, and celebrity. Half of the winners were from BP.

Bear Hunting Trip

Two BP residents were successful on their very first bear hunting trip. Wanda Sellnow landed a 170 lb. black bear and Pilar Stier shot a 110 lb. black bear during the weekend from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2 in International Falls, MN.

Scenic Byway Half-Marathon Winners

Lena Hess of Minneapolis was the first woman to ever win BP’s Scenic Byway Half-Marathon on Saturday, Sept. 15. Coming in at one hour, 39 minutes and seven seconds, her pace of 7:34 per mile led her to take first place by 49 seconds over the second place finisher, Mike Hess, Lena’s husband.

Homecoming Week

BPHS celebrated Homecoming during the week of Sept. 24-28. The candidates for Homecoming Queen were Lilly Olson, Jessica Brueggemeier, Kiersten Skelley, Hannah Will, and Randi Fiskewold. Candidates for Homecoming King were Ben Czarnecki, Griffin Ruud, Justin Stauffacher, Tyson Fahey, and Elliott Ruud.

Construction on Hwy. 169

As of mid-September, motorists traveling southbound on Hwy. 168 between Hwy. 25 to Hwy. 19 in Blakeley Township could drive on their own side of the road and make left turns. The southbound access from Hwy. 169 to Meridian Street was closed with the Hwy. 25 detour in effect. The northbound lanes on Hwy. 169 remained as a single lane between Hwy. 25 and Hwy. 282 in Jordan through the end of September.

Tree Crashed into House

During a fierce windstorm on Monday, Sept. 17, at about 1:30 p.m., a large tree came crashing into the living room of Dan and Rita Cole’s home at 929 W. Deer Creek Pkwy. No one was injured.

Tip A Cop

On Thursday, Sept. 13, law enforcement officers from BP and Scott County served restaurant patrons at Jordan Tap Room during the dinner shift from 6 to 8 p.m. as part of the ‘Tip-A-Cop’ fundraising event. The goal was to earn tips which benefited the Minnesota Special Olympics; nearly $1,800 was raised.

First Food Truck Night

BP’s Community Conversations hosted the downtown plaza’s first food truck night on Thursday, Sept. 11. About 200-250 people enjoyed street side food provided by the Sparetime Tavern and Russell’s Traveling Kitchen food trucks, as well as live music provided by multiple local musicians.

Progress of Fall Sports Teams

As of mid-September, BPHS sports teams had experienced both success and failure. The varsity football team had lost to Tri-City United, Marshall and St. Peter. The varsity tennis team had defeated Annandale, Crosby-Ironton, Stewartville, Pipestone, and Maple River, but lost to Chanhassen, St. Peter, Hutchinson, St. James, United South Central, and Le Sueur-Henderson. The girls’ cross country team earned first place at the Norwood Young America meet, while the boys placed fourth. The varsity volleyball team had a perfect season so far, with wins against Jordan, Mayer Lutheran and Norwood Young America.

Visitor to Candy Store

Internationally renowned Irish folk singer Daniel O’Donnell and his wife, Marjella, visited Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store between BP and Jordan on Wednesday, Sept. 19, and were filmed for a future Irish television show.

Homecoming Royalty

On Monday night, Sept. 26, Kiersten Skelley was crowned BPHS’s Homecoming Queen; Griffin Ruud and Ben Czarnecki tied as the Homecoming King.

Award for Vintage Tin

Ted Thomason, former BP resident who not resides in New Prague and owns The Vintage Tin, received a 2018 One of the Best Award at the Minnesota State Fair, which was given out to only 12 of the 1,200 vendors. The Vintage Tin sells products created through refurbished pieces Thomason and his wife, Kecia, find at garage sales, antique stores, auctions, and flea markets.

Award for Mural at Candy Store

Shawn McCann’s mural on the 5,000 square foot vaulted ceiling of Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store won a people’s choice award from the Collaboration of Design and Art. As one of 425 entrants in the sixth annual competition, the mural entitled “Gotham and Beyond” was dreamed up to facilitate candy store’s owner Robert Wagner’s love of comic books. Eleven different artists came together to create the mural and express themselves by adding buildings from their hometowns into the skyline and hiding a Waldo somewhere, as requested by Renee Wagner.

Lots of Tornadoes

Thursday, Sept. 20 saw upwards of ten tornadoes across Minnesota, according to damage surveyors from the National Weather Service. Heavy rains also led the service to call for flood warnings for multiple rivers throughout the state, effective from Tuesday, Sept. 25 to Monday, Oct. 1.

Cricket Championship at Tatiana Fields

The Gymkhana Cricket Club of Minneapolis took the top spot at Tatiana Fields’ Super League Cup in BP on Sunday, Sept. 16. With weather in the 90s, the team pulled off a championship victory over Prairie Cricket Club, taking home $4,000 in prize money. Tatiana Fields’ Founder and CEO Saby Sengupta put together the competition for five teams from around the state for the key purpose of spreading the sport of cricket to younger generations.

Battle of the Bands

BP’s first ever Battle of the Bands took place on Saturday, Sept. 29 from 8:30 p.m. to midnight. Each BP bar had a band playing for the evening and the six bars gave away a total of $600 in drawings. Participants included Neisen’s Corner Bar, Huck’s Shipwreck Saloon, Andy’s Bar and Grill, Johan’s Sports Bar and Grill, Sparetime Tavern, and Neisen’s Red Door Bar.

October

New Firefighters

The BP Fire Department hired four new firefighters - Brandon Bast, Mark Kes, Nick Reishus, and Joe Valiant - to make a full staff of thirty firefighters.

Longtime Collector of Stuff

For thirty years, Keith Kvistad of BP has been collecting model cars, toy tractors, etc. which remind him of his childhood and have filled up his garage, a large portion of his home and parts of his storage space. Now he waits for stuff to come to him and only bites when something really catches his eye.

Operation Christmas Child

First Presbyterian Church in BP had been participating in Operation Christmas Child by sending gifts to children around the world for a couple decades, but this year Illene Maxwell wanted to change things up a bit. Included in over 200 shoeboxes were one-of-a kind pillowcase dresses for girls and t-shirts for boys, along with small stuffed animals and other basic necessities.

District Denied Safety Grant

The Minnesota Department of Education announced Monday, Oct. 1, that the BP School District would not receive a school safety grant. BP had applied for $133,190 in order to move the current main office at Oak Crest Elementary School to the entrance of the building, as well as other miscellaneous safety measures in the other three buildings.

North Sanitary Interceptor Project

The BP City Council voted to accept one of three bids for the North Sanitary Interceptor Project which will extend northeast into the city’s future land use area. EJM Pipe Services of Columbus, MN will complete the work for an estimated $738,763.01 by the end of June 2019.

Donation from Impact Nutrition

Lainey Schwartz, owner of Impact Nutrition in BP, donated a percentage of the store’s sales to BPHS sports teams - including tennis, volleyball, cross country, football, and dance - for the month of September.

Violation of Health Codes

Former Scott County Commissioner and owner of Wagner’s Funeral Home between Jordan and Shakopee, Joe Wagner, was fined and cited by the Minnesota Department of Health for a dozen violations in an embalming room. Among the violations were the storage of jars of applesauce for his brother who’s the owner of Wagner Bros. Orchard and the presence of a hazardous waste container used for blood, organs and other hazardous waste materials.

Scam Alert

The BP Police Department issued a scam alert warning the public not to give any personal information, especially credit card numbers, to anyone who claimed to be working with the BPHS basketball team in a fundraising effort. The most recent complaints resembled a scam that surfaced in BP last year involving a company called Boost Sports.

Donation of Dictionaries

The BP Lions Club delivered their donation of a brand new dictionary to every 3rd grade student in BP on Sept. 26, in an effort to support continued educational needs.

Challenge for Farmers

Rainy weather made for a sluggish start to the fall harvest season in the area. According to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, there had been less than four days suitable for field work by the end of September.

Murder Sentence Upheld

On Sept. 18, the Minnesota Supreme Court denied a Petition for Review filed by Edson Benitez Dominguez who had challenged his 37-year murder sentence for aiding and abetting the murder of Earl Olander in his San Francisco Township home in 2015.

First Foreign Exchange Student

Nelson Paz, BP’s first foreign exchange student, returned to BP to visit with his 1968 BPHS classmates at their 50-year class reunion. Paz returned to his home in Honduras on Oct. 9.

School Board Addressed Concerns

Looking for ways to cut costs for transportation, the BP School Board voted to purchase a 15-passenger vehicle and avoid using a 70-passenger bus to transport 15 or less students to and from their activities and considered the prospect of leasing a drivers’ education vehicle as opposed to renting one which would give the school more flexibility to offer drivers’ education throughout the year. The board addressed possible hurdles to the electronic-learning day, including the students’ limited access to viable internet from their homes.

Marathoner’s Fundraiser for Muscular Dystrophy

Ross Nelson, a social studies teacher at BP Junior High, accomplished an item on his bucket list by completing his first ever Twin Cities Marathon on Sunday, Oct. 7, and raising money in the process. As someone who carries the gene for muscular dystrophy, Nelson raised over $3,000 to donate to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, an organization that helps to fund MD research and treatment.

End of Season for Tennis Team

At their Section 2A quarterfinal match against Holy Family, the BPHS varsity tennis team earned a 5-2 victory on Thursday, Oct. 4. However, on Monday, Oct. 8, BP lost to the Jordan Jaguars, which ended the Tigers’ run for the state tournament. The tennis team ended their season with 10 wins and 8 losses. After defeating the Le Sueur-Henderson Giants, 5-2, Jordan advanced to their first ever state tennis tournament in school history.

Football Team Won One

On Friday, Oct. 5, the BPHS varsity football team traveled to New Ulm for their homecoming game. With only 22 seconds left on the clock, BP’s Weston Yattaw kicked a 42-yard field goal to make the final score 17-15 in favor of the Tigers.

ROMEOS Reunited

Twenty-nine members of BP’s ROMEOS - Retired Old Men Eating Out Single - gathered at a downtown bar/restaurant for their fall lunch on Oct. 2.

Redeemer Welcomed German Visitors

Members of Redeemer Lutheran Church in rural BP welcomed guests from the Sophienkirchgemeinde Church in Leipzig, Germany, on Thursday, Oct. 11. The visitors were attracted to Redeemer because of its German roots and rural location.

Candidates for City Council

On Thursday evening, Oct. 11, the four candidates - Paul Chard, Richard Effertz, Renee LeMieux, and Michael Pingalore - vying for two openings on BP’s City Council went head-to-head at BP City Hall in a question and answer forum moderated by David Bly and sponsored by the Scott County DFL.

Participants in BT5K Run/Walk

Suzanne O’Brien and Jackie Royer, both natives of BP, participated in the BT5K run/walk fundraiser at Como Park in St. Paul Saturday, Oct. 13. Hosted by the American Brain Tumor Association, the event brought together hundreds of guests who came to support the dozens of individuals, like O’Brien and Royer, who suffer from brain tumors. O’Brien is the daughter of Dick and Joann Schmit of Shakopee, and Royer is the daughter of Bob and Joan Hartmann of BP.

Fire Dept. Open House

The BP Fire Department welcomed community members of all ages to the fire house on Saturday, Oct. 13, for their first ever open house, giving everyone the opportunity to try out equipment, watch demonstrations and hear from BPFD volunteers and staff. The open house also celebrated the artwork of local students who designed fire prevention posters based on the theme “Look. Listen. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere.”

Early Snowfall

An inch or two of snow on Sunday morning, Oct. 14 caused another weather delay in a year full of weather delays for area farmers.

New Reporter at Herald

The BP Herald welcomed and introduced Casey Ek as the new reporter and photographer for the newspaper. Ek formerly worked as a multimedia journalist with the Mankato Free Press.

Miranda 169 Aggregates

The BP Orderly Annexation Board issued an interim use permit to Mathiowetz Construction for an open pit sand and aggregate mine northeast of BP on the property owned by Randy and Mary Koll and spanning 37.5 acres. The mine named ‘Miranda 169 Aggregates’ was set to operate for 12 mining seasons, with regular reclamation benchmarks.

Latest Plan of Satanic Temple

The Satanic Temple of Salem, MA was planning to sue the City of BP for denying their First Amendment right to erect a monument in BP’s Veterans’ Park, according to their attorney, Larry Frost of Paladin Law PLLC in Bloomington.

Status of ACT Scores

According to data released by the MN Department of Education, BPHS’s ACT scores are down from last year and are below the state and nationwide averages. BPHS juniors and seniors who took the college entrance test earned an average composite score of 20.5, down from last year’s 20.7.

New Teachers at Trinity

Trinity Lutheran School of BP added three new teachers for the school year - preschool teacher Cait Eisner, Bev Bentz who teaches first and second grades, and Zach Unke who serves as the fifth and sixth grade teacher as well as the director of the junior and senior choirs.

New Administrator at TLHA

Jacqueline Grimm joined The Lutheran Home Association as the Executive Administrator for the Lutheran Home, BP campus. Grimm oversees Kingsway Retirement Living, Boessling Lutheran Village, and The Lutheran Home, a skilled nursing facility.

Volleyball Star Excelled

Mariena Hayden, who led the 2015 BPHS volleyball team to a state championship title, led the NCAA in aces per game and overall aces by a healthy margin, as the outside hitter for the University of Nevada’s volleyball team. Hayden became the first volleyball player to be named the player of the week three consecutive times in the Mountain West Conference.

Girls’ Cross Country Team Became MRC Champs

The BPHS girls’ cross country team finished the season extremely strong by earning first place in their last three meets - at Fairmont-Cedar Park on Oct. 4, at Blue Earth Area Schools on Oct. 11, and at the Conference Meet at Baylor Regional Park in Norwood on Oct. 16. The girls earned their seventh MRC championship in a row. McKenna Herrmann finished the MRC championship race in first place with a time of 19:26.15.

End of Season for Football Team

The BPHS football team failed to string together a cohesive offense or defense in their final regular season game with the Albert Lea Tigers, who earned their first win in two years against BP on Wednesday, Oct. 17. The final score was 47-6. The Tigers ended their regular season with one win and seven losses. In the first round of the Section 2AAA playoffs on Tuesday, Oct. 23, the BPHS football team lost to the Rockford Rockets by a 34-6 score

Basketball Hall of Fame Inductee

After coaching the BPHS boys’ basketball team from 1986 to 2010 and the girls’ basketball team from 2012 to 2017, Randy Carlson was inducted into the Minnesota Basketball Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame at a ceremony on Oct. 27.

Fall Foliage Photo Winner

The BP Herald named Melissa Hagen of BP as the winner of the 2018 Fall Foliage Photo Contest for her photograph documenting the snowfall that hit the state Oct. 14. Hagen received a free one-year subscription to the Herald. Altogether, the Herald received 19 photo submissions prior to the Oct. 24 deadline.

New Banners

The public works department installed new ‘Beautiful Prairie’ banners on Main Street in BP.

New Aquatic Center

The BP City Council voted unanimously to accept a $5,007,000 bid for its new aquatic center project from Bradbury Stamm Construction Winkelman, LLC in St. Cloud, with a completion date of July 26, 2019.

Another Record-Breaking Run

Junior Drew Hastings took home BP’s first ever individual section championship in cross country with a time of 16:14, a personal and school record.

Girls’ Cross Country Team Became Section Champs

BPHS’s girls’ cross country team earned first place at the section meet and qualified for the state meet by running away as a group with a 20-minute, 16-second average, which was 24 seconds faster than the second place team, Glencoe-Silver Lake.

Two Tennis Players at State

BP’s doubles tennis pair of Siri Kuhn and Kiersten Skelley ended their high school tennis careers on Thursday, Oct. 25, at the Reed-Sweatt Tennis Center in Minneapolis. In the first round of the Class A state tennis tournament, the BP duo lost to a pair from Park Rapids Area Schools, 6-2 and 6-2. In the consolation bracket later that day, Kuhn and Skelley were defeated by the duo from Osakis High School, 6-3 and 6-3. Along with teammate Lilly Olson, the pair was named to the Minnesota River Conference’s all-conference team.

Harvest Celebration at Trinity

Trinity Lutheran Church and School hosted their first annual Harvest Celebration on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 27, with a variety of activities, including a bouncy house, hay wagon rides, kids’ games, live music, and trunk or treat.

Students at Music Festival

BPHS students Anneka Strek, Dylan May and Natalie Covington were selected to participate in the 30th annual Bjorling Music Festival at Gustavus Adolphus College on Nov. 4 and 5.

Paranormal Investigation Group

As one of over 100 paranormal investigation groups in Minnesota, the Northern OuterRealm Paranormal Society, founded by Patrick Theisen and Amanda Nelsen of Northfield, performs cleansings which purge trapped or angry spirits from individuals’ homes, through the use of a litany of prayers, candles and a swath of materials.

November

Home for the Holidays

For this year’s ‘Home for the Holidays’ special supplement to the BP Herald and Henderson Independent on Wednesday, Nov. 7, the focus was on shopping locally from the local gift makers, featured businesses and advertisers presented in the guide.

Finalist for Para of the Year

Amanda Berg, a paraprofessional at BP’s Chatfield Elementary School, was recognized by Education Minnesota as one of the top six finalists for the state’s top educational paraprofessional of the year.

Confirmation Class at St. John

As the largest class ever, 27 children were confirmed at St. John Lutheran Church on Sunday, Oct. 28.

Mining Pit

The BP City Council reviewed possible future development projects at their Nov. 5th meeting, including a plan for another mining pit outside of town on the property of Ted and Mary Kornder and an anticipated policy for accessory dwelling units on homeowners’ property.

Oldenburg Brewing Company

In an effort to leave their mark on BP, Colt Oldenburg and his father, Donald, planned to transform the 6,200 square foot building at 116 W. Main St. into the Oldenburg Brewing Company by mid-March 2019. Their new brewery will actually be a brewpub featuring about a dozen craft beers as well as food selections, with most ingredients sourced as locally as possible.

Hibernians’ Donation to OLP

The Shamrock Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians donated $500 to BP’s Our Lady of the Prairie Catholic School.

Tops in Horsemanship

Ryan Gallentine of BP placed 20th out of 209 competitors at the 2018 National Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity Finals in Ft. Worth, Texas, on Oct. 7.

Trick or Treating

Hundreds of trick or treaters this Halloween visited BP businesses and the new downtown plaza where their photos could be taken in fall displays created by city staff members.

Girls’ Cross Country Team at State

The BPHS girls’ cross county team placed 12th at the state meet Saturday afternoon, Nov. 3, on the St. Olaf College campus in Northfield. All seven runners competed as a pack and finished within less than one minute of each other, earning places between 45th (20:39.6) and 75th (21:31), with a total of 227 points. The overall winner had a time of 17:19.4, a new state meet course record. Perham was the team winner for the second consecutive year with 94 points.

Boys’ Cross Country Runner at State

Drew Hastings, the only runner from the BPHS boys’ cross country team participating in the state meet Nov. 3, capped off a great season by placing 18th with a time of 16:32.7. The overall winner had a time of 15:38, and Perham was also the team winner for the second consecutive year. Last year, Hastings finished 33rd with a time of 16:55.

Volleyball Team Qualified for State

For the tenth time in the BP volleyball program’s history, the team qualified for the state tournament by winning the Section 2AA tournament, defeating Jordan, 3-0; Norwood Young America, 3-1; and Kenyon-Wanamingo, 3-0. During the course of the tournament, Paige Narveson made it into the school’s record books by putting up over 2,000 set assists and 1,000 digs.

Election Results

In the Nov. 6th election, Renee LeMieux, with 1349 votes, and Paul Chard, with 1239 votes, were elected to four-year terms on the BP City Council. Their opponents, Michael Pingalore and Richard Effertz, received 1060 and 852 votes respectively.

* Christopher Meyer was re-elected, without opposition, as mayor of BP for two more years.

* In the Scott County Sheriff’s race, Luke Hennen edged out Jason Arras by 972 votes. However, BP voters gave Arras 75 more votes than Hennen, out of the 2640 votes cast in the sheriff’s race.

* Both DFL Senate candidates, Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, handily won their races throughout Minnesota, even though BP voted in favor of Jim Newberger and Karin Housley.

* Angie Craig secured her spot as the U.S. Representative in District 2 for the DFL over Jason Lewis, whom BP had favored by 17 percentage points.

* Tim Walz bested Jeff Johnson in the Minnesota governor’s race taking home around 200,000 more votes than his opponent, but Johnson had attracted the most votes in BP.

* Democrat Steve Simon retained his seat as secretary of state after beating Republican John Howe by over 10,000 votes, even though BP sided with Howe, 1566 to 1027 votes, over Simon.

* Minnesota voters elected Julie Blaha, a Democrat, rather then Pam Myhra, a Republican, for the job as state auditor; BP voters had preferred Myhra instead of Blaha.

* Democrat Keith Ellison narrowly won the election for attorney general with 49 percent of the vote over Republican Doug Wardlow, but BP had favored Wardlow over Ellison 1578 to 976.

* Bob Vogel defeated DFLer Barbara Droher Kline for the Minnesota congressional seat for District 20A by around 20 percentage points in both BP and statewide.

* BP Township Supervisor Seat A went to Tony Kornder rather than Chris Franke. Seat C went to David Entinger, who beat out Chris Bieder and Mark Schultz.

Veterans’ Day

Members of the BP American Legion marched the colors through the Oak Crest Elementary gymnasium on Monday, Nov. 12, in observance of Veterans’ Day.

School Board’s Considerations

At a work session Monday night, Nov. 12, the BP School Board moved closer to adopting the 2019-20 schedule, reviewed major budget savings, and discussed potential changes to electronic learning and transportation.

Sold Out Performances

With over sixty students involved in the BPHS’s production of The Little Mermaid, tickets for the five performances scheduled for Nov. 15-18 were completely sold out only hours after they went on sale for the public.

Recall at Ruck’s Meats

Ruck’s Meat Processing of BP pulled multiple products off its shelves following an inspection of a routine sampling that showed one product may have been contaminated with Listeria, a pathogenic bacteria that could cause severe illness, according to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

BPxC2track Club

BPxC2track Club, comprised of members of the BPHS Cross Country Team, competed against teams from seven other states at the Nike Cross Heartland Regional 5K Competition in Sioux Falls, SD, on Sunday, Nov.11.

Volleyball Team Became Consolation Champs

The BPHS Volleyball Team won the consolation championship in the Class AA state volleyball tournament at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Sat., Nov. 10, after sweeping St. Cloud Cathedral High School, 3-0. BP’s hitter Mikayla Coops was named to the Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association’s Class AA All-State 1st Team.

Video Surveillance

A sign posted in the parking lot of the BP Police Department signals a space in which people meeting to finalize online purchases can do so safely and under 24-hour video surveillance.

Anonymous Donation to Toy Drive

A local family who wished to remain anonymous donated 665 toys to the toy drive sponsored by the BP Police Department and Girl Scouts, even before the drive officially began.

Express Care Closed at Coborn’s

It was announced that Mayo Clinic’s Express Care service in Coborn’s Grocery Store in BP was closing at the end of the year.

Fire Dept. Retirees

The BP City Council recognized the retirement of two members of the fire department, Lenny Traxler and Jim Salden, who both had served for fifteen years.

Pot Fairies Decorated Downtown Planters

The Pot Fairies, including Jacki Siemon, Marcie Hartman, Mary Otto, Kristi Traut, and Tammy Drill, were hired by the BP Chamber of Commerce to decorate the planters downtown for the winter season.

Nativity Scene

Volunteers from the Rotary Club and the Boy Scouts set up the life-sized Nativity scene in front of JD’s Auto in BP.

Wrestler on Way to Wisconsin

Tyler Shackle, a senior from BP on the Scott West wrestling team, signed to wrestle with the University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse.

Final Tribute to Sheriff

Bruce Ponath, who served as the Sibley County Sheriff for the past sixteen years, passed away on Saturday, Nov. 24. Many law enforcement officers from around the state gathered in BP on Friday, Nov. 30, for Ponath’s funeral service at Our Lady of the Prairie Catholic Church.

Belle’s Event Center

The former Emma Krumbee’s General Store was being remodeled to become Belle’s Event Center. The building, which will accommodate over 400 people, will be managed by A’BriTin Catering and Hospitality from Farmington.

Shop Small Saturday

Rivertown Vintage, a BP antique store which is packed almost to the brim with wares its owner Cindy Heimerl has accrued over the last two years, was open to visitors on Shop Small Saturday.

Ugly Sweater Ball

Henderson’s sixth annual Ugly Sweater Ball on Saturday, Nov. 24, raised enough money for Smile Network International, more than $50,000, to pay for 100 cleft palate surgeries for children in Peru and Guatamala.

Students Learned about Cricket

Saby Sengupta, the founder of Tatiana Fields, taught the culture and mechanics of the game of cricket to about 400 students in BP Schools during one week in October and one week in November.

Preview of Winter Sports

After losing eight seniors from last year’s team, BPHS’s boys’ basketball team aims to learn from every game, while working well together, communicating with each other, and supporting their hometown.

With no players lost to graduation, BPHS’s girls’ basketball team plans to play a fast game at a pace that might be difficult for some teams to match and generate some steals that will boost their offensive game.

Starting practice earlier than the other winter sports, BPHS’s girls’ dance team hopes that attention to detail will lead to more success by focusing on their kick technique and strength training.

After making five consecutive trips to state, the Scott West wrestlers plan to stay the status quo and keep pushing themselves in order to reach their ultimate goal of a state title.

December

2019 City Budget & Levy

At its Dec. 3rd meeting, the BP City Council adopted the final budget and levy for 2019. Based on information from the city, most residential property owners will see anywhere from a $95.88 increase to a $149.46 decrease in their taxes payable in 2019, with the levy estimating an overall increase of 6.10 percent in taxes payable. In addition, the city adopted changes to its personnel policy which allow for longevity pay based on the number of years a non-union employee has worked with the city.

Santa in his Shack

Public works employees began setting up the Santa Shack and a warming tent Tuesday, Dec. 4, on the downtown plaza. Plans were for Santa Claus to be available in his shack for four days in December - on the 8th, 9th, 15th, and 16th.

Happy 50th, Skunk House!

The Skunk House celebrated its 50th birthday. After buying a set of seven life-sized animatronic skunks, Dr. Roger and Shirley Hallgren commissioned Edberg Construction to build a 8x5x3-foot structure for the skunks who have entertained passers-by every year in front of the Robert Circle residence from the Friday after Thanksgiving to the first of the year.

Family Heritage Tour

Twenty-six members of Jay and Agnes (Brown) Bailey’s family, including seven from Seattle, Washington, went on a bus tour of several family homesteads and points of interest around the BP area on Saturday, Dec. 1.

Crime Fighting App

A mobile application available on Apple and Android devices called “See Something, Send Something” allows citizens to remotely and anonymously give the BP Police Department crime tips from the convenience of their cell phones. BP will be the first city in the state to use it.

Township Supervisor Retired

Gary Schmitz served as a supervisor on the BP Township Board for 16 years and retired at the December 2018 board meeting.

A Season Opener Win

BPHS’s girls’ basketball team played their season opener in Fairfax and defeated Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop by a score of 60-53, on Thursday, Nov. 29. According to Coach Mindy Chevalier, the Tigers’ defensive pressure was a key component to generating quick offense and easy baskets. Offensively, they did a great job handling GFW’s full court pressure and scrappy play.

Bulldogs Hockey Team

Three hockey players from BPHS - freshman Amilia Messer, sophomore Mary Rella and junior Matt Fink - are members of the Minnesota River Bulldogs Hockey Team, which is made up of players from Le Sueur-Henderson, Cleveland, St. Peter, Tri-City United, and BP high schools.

Wrestling Season Began

The Scott West Wrestling Team opened its season in front of a big crowd at home in BP on Thursday night, Nov. 29, as the fifth-rated Panthers rolled to a 44-21 win over their local rival and AAA #11 rated New Prague. In addition, the Panthers traveled to the Cliff Keen Independence Invitational in Iowa the following weekend and took second place out of 33 teams.

ECFE’s Holiday Express

Hundreds of families attended the Holiday Express, a BP tradition sponsored by Early Childhood and Family Education at Oak Crest Elementary School, on Saturday morning, Dec. 1, so children could meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, enjoy breakfast and crafts, as well as purchase and wrap gifts for the special adults in their lives.

Firefighter of the Year

Todd Otto, BP’s most senior firefighter with almost 22 years of service, was named Firefighter of the Year for 2018 by the BP Fire Department.

Gifts Galore

On Tuesday, Dec. 11, Rotary Club members collected gifts and toys from Trinity Lutheran, St. John Lutheran and Our Lady of the Prairie churches, as well as from Strait Smiles Dentistry, State Bank of BP and Cornerstone Bank, and delivered them to Shakopee to be donated to the CAP Agency, the organization that distributes donations throughout Scott County.

Farewell, Old Pool!

Workers began demolition work at the BP Community Pool during the week of Dec. 10. The $5,007,000 aquatic center project is the responsibility of Bradbury Stamm Construction Winkelmann, LLC from St. Cloud.

“Traditions” Becoming a Tradition

For the fifth consecutive year at the Hooper-Bowler-Hillstrom House, the BP Historical Society hosted a community celebration on Thursday, Dec. 6, to initiate the holiday season. Beginning about 6:30 p.m., chamber choir singers at Transfiguration Episcopal Church welcomed visitors to the event, followed by Leo (Sonny) and Gloria Albrecht lighting the Christmas tree. Throughout the evening, visitors were welcome to tour the lower level of the H-B-H House and enjoy the music by Curtis and Loretta and hot apple cider, as well as take a horse and wagon ride around the block. In addition to singing carols with members of the BPHS Choir gathered around the fire in the yard, children created glittery pinecone ornaments and met Santa and Mrs. Claus and their reindeer, Bernard and Maria, all at the Red Barn Museum. A good time was had by all!

A Great Place to Learn

In his editorial column, BP Superintendent Ryan Laager encouraged everyone to take advantage of all the great programming and events sponsored by the Community Education Program, whose goal is to identify the needs of the community and provide corresponding educational and recreational experiences for all ages by utilizing all available resources.

Mixed Results for Girls’ BB Team

BPHS’s girls’ basketball team won their first conference game on Tuesday, Dec. 4, by defeating the Le Sueur-Henderson Giants, 67-55. Sarah Lenz led the Tigers’ scoring with 23 points and four assists. BP’s scrappy defense was exemplified by Jaylen Struck-Schmitz with four steals. On Friday, Dec. 7, the Jordan Jaguars converted on a lot of second chance opportunities and defeated the BP Tigers, 63-50.

Season Began for Boys’ Basketball

BPHS’s boys’ basketball team stood toe-to-toe with Glencoe-Silver Lake at their season and home opener Tuesday night, Dec. 4. BP junior Dylan Kahle put up a whopping 29 points over the course of the game and Noah Schumacher secured 14 rebounds, but the Tigers lost their rhythm in the second half and lost 77 to 69. On Thursday, Dec. 6, the Tigers again had a solid first half of their game against Watertown-Mayer, with Joshua Gregory putting up 15 points and 13 rebounds overall, but were defeated 64-49.

Scott West Won Again

The Scott West Wrestling Team hosted the Forest Lake Rangers on Friday, Dec. 7, in the Jordan High School Gym. The two teams battled back and forth, with the Rangers taking the lead in the meet four times and the Panthers only twice, but Scott West took the final two matches of the night and ended up winning 32-26.

BPHS Concerts

On Friday, Dec. 7, the BPHS Choir performed holiday classics from the balcony of the State Bank of BP during the bank’s customer appreciation day. The BPHS Concert Band performed at their 2018 winter concert Monday, Dec. 10, in the school’s south gym, along with the seventh and eighth grade bands, jazz band, and percussion ensemble.

$36,000 Theft

On Monday, Dec. 3, the BP Police Dept. took a theft report from a store on the 1000 block of Enterprise Drive East. Police determined that a juvenile male had stolen approximately $36,000 in cash value from his employer and may face felony charges.

Home for the Holidays

Rebecca and Justin Tanner, along with their three daughters, Addison, Charlotte, and Violet, started moving into their new home at 25653 208th Lane in Faxon Township, after their original house was destroyed by a fire of unknown origin in January. Having lost their dog, Remmington, in the fire, they await the arrival of a new puppy which could be delivered by the Easter Bunny.

School Board Approved New Calendar

The BP School Board approved the 2019-2020 school year schedule unanimously, after asking the school staff and the public to vote on one of three proposals. The new calendar adds 12 minutes to each school day, includes 169 student contact days instead of 174, and moves spring break to the week of March 9, 2020. In addition, the board voted unanimously to adopt the finalized version of the budget and levy, which reflects a 3.72 decrease from the previous levy. Finally, a retest for radon at Oak Crest Elem. School indicated that the initial reading from last spring was a false positive, so radon levels are within safe levels, as are lead levels.

City Council Considered Future Items

The BP City Council voted to order a feasibility study on a proposed sanitary sewer extension on the east side of BP at their meeting Monday, Dec. 17. They also awarded the sale of $3.2 million in general obligation tax abatement bonds to finance the new aquatic center. At a work session following the meeting, councilors discussed whether or not to update the city’s nuisance code and how to draft a code enforcement policy.

Future Farmers Competed

On Thursday, Dec. 13, members of BPHS’s Future Farmers of America had a strong showing at a competition at the University of Minnesota. The next day they hosted around 300 students from 27 schools from the southern portion of MN in a variety of competitions. BP’s team took first overall in the small engines category, eighth place in farm management, and 14th in wildlife management.

Christmas Wish List

Luke Siemon, who wrote a letter to Santa as a six-year-old, admitted 15 years later that “all the Christmas gifts I thought were dumb when I was a kid are exactly what I want now.”

Letter to the Editor

Big Don Edberg expressed his appreciation for the generosity of an unknown stranger who bought his mom’s groceries at Coborn’s in BP on Saturday afternoon, Dec. 15.

Holiday Lighting Contest Winners

The following BP area residents won the holiday lighting contest sponsored by the Rotary Club and over forty local businesses: 1) Dot and Al Bartolomei at 92 Oakwood Drive, 2) Sue and Brad Schultz at 21385 Johnson Memorial Drive, 3) Mitch Kuhnke at 705 Butler Drive, 4) Noreen and Brian Schultz at 20235 261st Avenue, and 5) Michelle and Kevin Soller at 640 South Street.

Holly Jolly Time at KingsPath

KingsPath Senior Living lit up with cross-generational holiday cheer Wednesday, Dec. 12,when the St. Johnson Lutheran Youth Choir filled the atrium with musical numbers for residents and other community members during the Holly Jolly Christmas Party.

BPPD Toy Drive Doubled

The BP Police Dept.’s third annual toy drive concluded on Friday, Dec. 14, with a gift total that at least doubled last year’s. Distribution of about 1200 gifts in the police department’s basement began on Monday, Dec. 17, and continued for about twenty local families per day throughout the week.

Bulldogs Hockey Teams

The Minnesota River girls’ hockey team collected its second conference victory on Thursday, Dec. 13, against Waseca. However, the Bulldogs lost to Worthington on Saturday, Dec. 15, and to Hutchinson on Tuesday, Dec. 11, bringing their overall record to 3 wins and 7 losses.

The Minnesota River boys’ hockey team continued to burn out lamp bulbs in area ice rinks with three victories in one week, improving their overall record to 8-1 so far for the season. The Bulldogs defeated Worthington, 9-1, on Saturday, Dec. 15; Hutchinson, 7-1, on Thursday, Dec. 13; and Albert Lea, 4-0, on Tuesday, Dec. 11.

Wrestlers Won Santa Hats

The Scott West Wrestling Team made its annual trip to Rochester for the Minnesota Christmas Tournament where 40 teams from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Oklahoma competed. The Panthers finished in sixth place, with 138-pounder Tyler Shackle and heavyweight Calvin Menke each winning first place and a Santa Hat. Scott West also had other wrestlers who wrestled up to the competition, including Justin Stauffacher at 132 pounds who took third place, as well as Jace Demmers at 160, Jon Huss at 182 and Hunter Struffert at 220 who all wrestled their way to 8th place finishes in their respective weight brackets.

Mixed Results for Boys’ Basketball Team

The BPHS boys’ basketball team played back-and-forth ball with the Le Sueur-Henderson Giants on Tuesday, Dec. 11, before pulling away to earn a 68-59 win. On Friday, Dec. 14, the Jordan Hubmen played aggressive press defense that neutralized many of BP’s plays and ended up defeating the Tigers 87-62.

Girls’ Basketball Team Collected Losses

The BPHS girls’ basketball team lost its game on Tuesday, Dec. 11, to Lake Crystal, as a result of the Knights’ swarming pressure which prevented any consistent scoring by the Tigers. On Thursday, Dec. 13, the Tigers put up some solid stats with Lauren Johnson scoring 27 points and Sarah Lenz with 21, but the size of the Norwood Young America players got the best of the Tigers; the game ended at 66-83 in favor of the Raiders.

Post Office Overload

Employees at the BP Post Office were working to complete the delivery of an average of 1,400 packages per day during the holiday gift-giving season.

Miniature Two-Story Outhouse

Bob Loberg, a 78-year-old resident of Cardinal Ridge Apartments in BP, built minutely-detailed model houses, one of which featured an attached two-story outhouse with two holes rather than five that exist in BP’s Hooper-Bowler-Hillstrom Historical House.

Grandpa’s Rocking Chair

Vern Schultz, a former resident of Kingsway Retirement living who now resides in Apple Valley, penned a new financial self-help book, entitled “Grandpa’s Rocking Chair: Retirement a Dream, Your Journey, The Challenge”.

Greeting Card Designer

The Scott County Sheriff’s Office announced the winner of their second annual Season’s Greetings Card Design Contest as Sofia Fritzke from Jordan Elementary School. Runners-up were Zach Gilbertson and Noriel Sanchez, both from Eagle Ridge Elementary in Elko New Market.

Boys’ Basketball Team’s Trifecta

BPHS’s boys’ basketball team improved their season record by winning three games in four days: 51-44 over Lester Prairie, 60-57 against Lake Crystal, and 62-51 over Norwood Young America.

Scott West Won 12-Weight Match

After traveling to Dassel-Cokato on Thursday, Dec. 20 where the Scott West Wrestling Team defeated both the host team Chargers 42-21 and their Section IIA rival Watertown-Mayer Lutheran 39-22, the Panthers closed out their pre-Christmas season of wrestling with a dramatic 30-25 win over the Big Nine Conference Albert Lea in a 12-weight match.

Girls’ Basketball Team Splits

BPHS’s girls’ basketball team earned a 55-42 win in their game with Mayer Lutheran on Tuesday, Dec. 18, but lost a close one, 51-54, to Maple River on Thursday, Dec. 20.

Diving into Demolition

The end of 2018 marked the end of BP’s community swimming pool which had been built in 1966. A new aquatic center, valued at over $5 million, is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2019.

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