From Our Files - 10 Years Ago
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Thirty Years Ago This Week (1988)
Larry Johnson has racked thousands of miles in Minneapolis spreading the news of ethanon as the “Answer Man”.
Novak Pharmacy was going out of business after serving the community for 35 years; Saturday, Dec. 3 was their final day.
Larry Johnson, who had been farming six miles north of Belle Plaine for 25 years, became known as the “Answer Man”, as he traveled around Minnesota, as a member of the Minnesota and National Corn Growers Association, spreading the facts about ethanol and promoting the use of the fuel derived from corn.
The Belle Plaine Historical Society was using a Dutch theme for their annual Christmas party and open house on Sunday, Dec. 4. Members were planning to make Dutch apple fritters and had imported cookies from Holland for visitors to sample.
Three Belle Plaine businesses served as drop-off sites for the Caring and Sharing Program which collected new, unwrapped toys and gifts for infants through teens. As a project of the Belle Plaine Chamber of Commerce, the donation boxes were located at Peg Clips, Belle Ceramics, and Jayne’s Cuts and Curls.
With the big Christmas tree and garland at the intersection of Meridian and Main streets in place, the rest of Belle Plaine’s decorations were to be put up Sunday, Dec. 4, with the help of volunteers.
The Belle Plaine Chamber of Commerce kicked off its holiday shopping season with the theme “Get the Christmas Spirit in Belle Plaine”. Most stores were open until 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, until 9 p.m. Friday, and until 5 p.m. Sunday. Santa and Mrs. Claus set us their headquarters at Jayne’s Cuts and Curls, 132 North Meridian, where a special mailbox was also located for boys’ and girls’ letters to Santa. In addition, groups of carolers were invited to stroll the downtown streets, serenading shoppers with Christmas tunes every Friday and Saturday that Santa was in town, and several stores planned on serving hot chocolate along the caroling route.
Sponsel’s Minnesota Harvest Orchard, located between Belle Plaine and Jordan, was giving away free five-pound bags of no. 3 grade apples with a coupon.
A Carver County jury found Eugene “Buck”/ “Rock ‘N Roll” Zumhofe, 37, one time professional wrestler from Hamburg, guilty of one count of criminal sexual assault in the fourth degree, which was the third sexual assault case regarding Zumhofe on probation in a case involving a 13-year-old girl. Carver County Attorney Michael Fahey expected him to be sentenced to Stillwater State Prison for a mandatory 36 months.
Forty-seven Belle Plaine Elementary sixth graders returned from their first visit to the new Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center near Finland, MN. According to teacher Joan Hafslund, the differences between the old ELC near Isabella and the new ELC were startling. A group of adventurous adult chaperones - including Marlene Anderly, Carol Fogarty, Julie Latzke, Ron Nagel, Judy Otto, Liz Schmidt, and Connie Stuewe - accompanied the students and staff members.
One day after the firearm deer-hunting season closed, Brian Overline bagged a six-point buck with bow and arrow.
On the Belle Plaine Senior-Junior High School Honor Roll, an average of seven students at each grade level attained an “A” grade status, while an average of sixteen students in grades 7–12 were on the “B” honor roll.
60 Years Ago (1958)
That week the “Three Little Pigs” was staged at the Belle Plaine Theater. The famous dwarf entertainer Robin was on hand.
Novak Drug Store was celebrating its 5th anniversary with a big anniversary sale.
Miss Leona Stier, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Otto Stier, graduated from Mankato State College with a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education.
The Chicago and Northwestern Railroad announced the Central Agency Plan was to go into effect. That meant station agent, Leo Krekelberg, would handle the station business at Henderson and Blakeley in addition to his work in Belle Plaine.
Neal Doyle, well known to many in the St. Thomas community, passed away at his home in Minneapolis following a lingering illness.
Mrs. George Herder, 68, of Shakopee, died. She was the former Minnie Mesenbrink of Jordan.
Mrs. Margaret Conlin Cauley, lifelong resident of the St. John’s Parish area, died at the home of her son, James. She was 84 years old.
Mrs. Emma Schmidt, nee Sellnow, a former resident of this community, died at the home of her daughter, Caroline Wille, in Underwood, ND, at the age of 84.
About 200 friends and relatives helped Mr. and Mrs. Richard Zellmann celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary.
November 23rd recorded the season’s first snowfall amounting to over an inch.
Miss Betty Ann Snell, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Snell, was united in marriage to Myron Gruetzmacher, son of Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Gruetzmacher of Belle Plaine.
Robert H. Rohlf, administrative assistant in the Minneapolis Public Library, was appointed director of the Dakota-Scott Regional Library.
Jack Heitkamp, former Belle Plaine High School gridiron star, was named as one of the top 22 gridders in the Northern States College Conference. The 27-year-old quarterback, who helped Mankato State win the NSCC Conference crown, was named to the all-conference second team.
Belle Plaine merchants were keeping their stores open two nights each week during the first two weeks of December and then every night from Dec. 17 to Christmas.
90 Years Ago (1928)
Our November weather was praised as the most favorable that could be recalled. Farmers were ahead of other years with plowing.
Leo Sullivan, who had the contract for graveling the county line road west nine miles from Union Hill, completed the job and lifted that area out of the mud for all time.
It was arranged to have a public skating rink on the lots near the water tower. The borough would furnish water and light; high school boys agreed to do the flooding and maintenance of the rink.
Henry Bray brought into town an animal that local experts couldn’t name. It appeared to be a cross between a wolf and a fox but lacked some of the markings of either. He shot the animal on his farm in Faxon Township.
The state department declared the highway from Minneapolis to south of Belle Plaine a “stop” road, a new requirement where highways were paved.
The owner of the car found destroyed by fire in the Jessenland woods proved to belong to a Minneapolis man from whom the car had been stolen.
The children of Mr. and Mrs. Ernst Stier carried out a big surprise party for the couple on the occasion of their anniversary. Music, dancing, and a midnight supper were featured that evening.
Mrs. Edward Mangan of Washington Lake Township won the prize at the DeSoto Store for bringing in the largest amount of poultry – 500 pounds – during the three days before Thanksgiving.
Automotive news was that Chevrolet cars moved from four to six-cylinder class. The sedan was priced at $675 f.o.b. from Flint, Michigan.
120 Years Ago (1898)
The new grain mill shipped out its first carload of flour. Wheat was coming in so fast that they expected to start running nights.
Ladies of the Presbyterian Church held their annual chicken and oyster supper. A program of singing and recitations followed the supper.
Will Bailey of St. John’s started as a clerk in John Schaffer’s store.
This section was getting out from heavy snowdrifts.