From Our Files - 10 Years Ago
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Thirty Years Ago (1989)
Young Astronauts Launch Rockets
The Young Astronauts Club, a group of elementary students who meet once a month after school to learn about aerospace from instructor Phoebe Einertson, recently held a launch-off event with their instruct made rockets. Heads went up to see just how high the rocket could go.
Jerry Miller retired after 38 years as a teacher, coach and athletic director for the Belle Plaine School District. Miller arrived in Belle Plaine in 1951, lured by the prospect of playing town team baseball and by a teaching salary of $2,900. He was also hired to be the head football and baseball and B-team basketball coach but didn’t get paid for coaching. “They just assumed you liked [coaching] so much that’s just what you were going to do. It wasn’t until the ‘60s that that changed,” Miller explained.
Graduation for 77 members of the class of 1989 went off without a hitch; parents and friends watched as the graduates received their diplomas on Sunday afternoon, May 31, in the high school gym. Beth Jones gave the honor students speech, Matt Skelley spoke on the class motto, and Julie Johnson gave the high honor student speech. Luella Bromaghim, former elementary school secretary, was named the first Belle Plaine School District “Friend of Education.”
Belle Plaine’s city budget was in excellent shape, according to the city auditor’s report to the city council on Monday night, June 1. 1988 revenues exceeded expenditures by $1,152, despite the city having to pay for an unbudgeted storm sewer project and for unexpected legal fees.
A public hearing was held on Simon Haefner’s request for a rezoning and variance for lots 1-5 in city block 59 in order to expand his mobile home park. When council member Cary Coop made a motion to approve the matter, it didn’t receive a second, so other council members, citing a lack of R-7 land for multiple family buildings, voted down Haefner’s request.
The Highway 25 Bridge over the Minnesota River was scheduled to be repainted during the summer of 1989. The project was bid at $147,128 as part of MnDOT’s $20 million highway improvement program and was expected to take at least 30 working days to complete, as several coats would be applied.
Gladys O’Day, a customer of Huber’s Red Owl in Belle Plaine, was one of the lucky winners in the “Grand Slam Specials” promotion. O’Day won a Twins overnighter package at the Holiday Inn Metrodome which included tickets to the game and one night’s lodging.
Superkids, the Belle Plaine Community Services sponsored preschool program, marked the conclusion of its fourth year with a super-duper Reunion/Carnival on Thursday night, May 25, at the elementary school gym. Over 600 Superkids, moms, dads, brothers, sisters, and grandparents attended. One of the carnival’s highlights was an S-shaped “super highway” extending from one end of the gym to the other, which the children traveled on using a small car. It represented the journey, or gentle transition, from school to home – a primary goal of the Superkids preschool program. The event was organized by parents on the Superkids Advisory Committee who wanted to provide good family entertainment in honor of the 175 children who had been Superkids during the previous four years.
Michael Perkins, son of Chuck and Becky Perkins, was recognized as the first place winner in Division I of the Scott County Bicentennial of the Constitution Drawing essay contest in an awards ceremony on May 22 at the Scott County Courthouse.
In honor of Older American Week, Belle Plaine’s sixth graders wrote essays about their favorite grandparent or older friend. Judged by the Synergetics Company of Blakeley, Jeff Witt and Amy Schmidt earned top honors, while Scott Kahle and Tricia Buesgens received second place and third place went to Joel Brenke and Holly Willson.
The thirteen sixth graders from Our Lady of the Prairie Catholic School who graduated on Thursday, June 1, included Jamie Meyer, Melissa Wagener, Jaymie Walerius, Jeff Johnson, Stacy Klehr, Tony Kornder, Jan Witt, Gene Witt, Chantel Fogarty, Becky Mahoney, Melissa Hayden, Russell Paul, and Jared Hennen.
Members of the Belle Plaine FFA Chapter presented a “Knowing Mowing” program to fifth and sixth graders. The program included lawnmower maintenance, safety tips, and first aid information. As part of the experience, each student walked a lawnmower through an obstacle course set up in the field behind the elementary school.
60 Years Ago (1959)
The famed “Sea Scout”, otherwise known as Charley’s Ark, sailed into Belle Plaine and dropped anchor at the river bridge near Hwy. 25. Over 2,000 visitors stopped the first night to view the homemade houseboat. The boat’s colorful captain, Charley Poliquin of North Mankato, was on his way to the Mississippi River, via the Minnesota River, with plans to reach the Gulf of Mexico and the open sea.
The Minnesota Railroad and Warehouse Commission approved a rate hike for Central Telephone in Belle Plaine. Under the new rates, one-party business lines went from $6 to $7, and one-party residential lines went from $3.75 to $4.60. Rural lines increased to $4.10 from $3.75.
Eight hundred pounds of beef were ordered for local chefs to prepare in pits downtown for the first ever Bar-B-Q Days. The beef was to be given away free to everyone wearing Bar-B-Q buttons.
Many motorists turned their heads in amazement when they saw two elephants grazing near Rothfork’s Truck Stop on Hwy. 169. The animals were with a traveling show called “Noah’s Ark” and had to wait until Sunday truck restrictions were lifted until they could resume their travels.
The borough council was considering joining the Scott-Dakota Regional Library System with the possibility of Belle Plaine becoming a branch of the regional library. The biggest problem facing the council was that the borough had to provide a ground floor room with about 1,000 square feet of unobstructed floor space. Belle Plaine was the only municipality in the county not a member of the regional library because the library here was already tax supported on its own.
One of Belle Plaine’s leading businessmen, Harold H. Hoelz, died unexpectedly at his home at the age of 64. He had just gone to bed when stricken with a heart attack. He had come back earlier that day with his wife, Cora, from a four-day fishing vacation at their cabin on Eagle Lake north of Grand Rapids. Hoelz had made a big success of his Hoelz Flour and Feed business.
Elford Wilton Williams, a native of West Union, met an accidental death while employed in the construction of the Lyndale Bridge over the Minnesota River. The second fatality since construction on that structure began, Williams, 39, backed his vehicle over the edge of the unfinished bridge and fell 80 feet to the dry riverbed.
Nannard Anderson went by plane to Rochester, N.Y. to attend the marriage of his son, Alvin, to Miss Marlyn Hall of that city.
Outfielder Paul Johnson and third baseman Greg Engfer were Belle Plaine High School’s representatives on the SLS All-Conference Baseball Team. Receiving honorable mention were shortstop Bob Walerius and pitcher Otto Schultz. Jerry Miller was the coach of the team.
Model Clothing advertised $23.50 sports coats and $39.95 suits as gift suggestions for Father’s Day.
Mystery man Dr. W. Wm. Mackenzie of White Plains, N.Y. departed after two months in Belle Plaine proposing a $7½ million, 2,000-foot square frozen food plant. The red carpet was rolled out for the easterner and a committee from the commercial club showed him possible building sites. Options were taken on 30 acres in the northwest section of town near the railroad tracks, but the bigger the proposed project got, the more skeptical locals became. Three weeks after he left, Mackenzie sent a letter saying he would not be locating his plant in Minnesota. In fact, the town discovered there was no such company at all.
90 Years Ago (1929)
Belle Plaine was offering two-hour band concerts on the street every Wednesday night for the summer months.
Dr. Ben Neubesier and his sister, Teresa, arrived from St. Charles, Missouri, for a visit at their parental home. Teresa just graduated at Lindenwood College with a degree in education.
District 24 in Hancock Township voted a $3,000 bond issue for remodeling and enlarging the district schoolhouse.
At the state Knights of Columbus convention held in Albert Lea, J.S. Effertz of Belle Plaine was re-elected state treasurer and J.A. Mohrbacher was elected a delegate to the national convention.
Miss Mae Aufderhar and Edward Lynch were married. Gladys Aufderhar and Frank Lynch were the attendants.
Mrs. Jerome Greenbusch, mother of 17 children, died at Le Sueur at the age of 78, with burial in Oakwood Cemetery, Belle Plaine.
Le Sueur and Sibley County boards agreed to appropriate $20,000 towards the cost of a new bridge at Henderson. Scott County and the state were also expected to assist.
At. St. John’s Church in Sibley County took place the marriage of Miss Marie Cauley and Charles J. Murray of Jessenland. The couple left on a wedding trip to Yellowstone Park.
Relatives from Belle Plaine and the Benton-Hancock area attended in large number the funeral in Arlington of Mrs. Fred Buszmann, nee Regina Schmidt.
Theo Beckers, who lived many years in Belle Plaine and was engaged in the carpenter trade, died at Adrian where the funeral was held. His wife, who was Hanna Gasta of Belle Plaine, survived him.
120 Years Ago (1899)
It was a wet season. Few trains were running on account of washouts, and the river was over its banks.
Sam Bowler and Alfred Hillstrom left for Breckenridge, Colorado, to look after the former’s mining interests.
Thomas Crahan stopped over for a visit with his folks in Faxon Township while on his way back from Paris where he arranged for an exhibit of the Klondike Mining Company at the Paris World’s Fair in 1900.
New Richmond, Wisconsin was wrecked by a cyclone and over a hundred people were killed. The injured were hauled to St. Paul in trainloads.