30 Years Ago: January Thaw

January Thaw - After the frigid double-digit below zero temperatures which preceded Christmas, residents were basking in March-like weather this week. The mercury climbed into the mid-40s on both Sunday and Monday and the little snow we had on the ground is almost gone. Elementary school students are pictured above jumping over a sloppy puddle as they leave school Monday.

From Our Files - 10 Years Ago

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Thirty Years Ago (1989)

January Thaw - After the frigid double-digit below zero temperatures which preceded Christmas, residents were basking in March-like weather this week. The mercury climbed into the mid-40s on both Sunday and Monday and the little snow we had on the ground is almost gone. Elementary school students are pictured above jumping over a sloppy puddle as they leave school Monday.

There was good news and bad news for Belle Plaine’s industrial economy. Nordic Track, a Chaska company that built exercise machines, was in the process of working out a deal to lease about one-fourth of the former Plastics building in Belle Plaine and hire a minimum of 30 employees in assembling, fabrication and warehousing, starting Feb. 1. The bad news was that the move was only temporary while Nordic Track built a new building in Jonathan.

Water and sewer rates increased for the first time since 1986, with the Belle Plaine City Council approving rate hikes Jan. 10. The water rates went up from $6.75 per person per quarter to $8 per person per quarter, which was an increase of 18.5 percent. Sewer rates were increasing from $5 per person per quarter to $8 per person per quarter, which was a 60 percent increase. The largest reason for the increased rates was improvements to the systems.

Megan Daly, Erin Fahey, Michelle Gransee, Troy Schultz, Mike Skelley, and Chuck Winter of Belle Plaine High School were among the nearly 1,300 high school students participating in Luther College’s 40th Annual Dorian Vocal Festival on Jan. 14-15.

The Belle Plaine High School Boys Basketball Team resumed its post-Christmas conference schedule on Thursday night, Jan. 4, against Montgomery-Lonsdale. Although the flu bug hit five of Belle Plaine’s top twelve players, the Tigers beat the Redbirds 60-47, to improve their overall record to 9-0 and 4-0 in the conference. Statistics for the game saw Belle Plaine shoot 50 percent from the two-point range, while Monty hit 39 percent. Both teams were 15 for 19 from the free throw line. Belle Plaine had three turnovers to the Redbirds’ 23. Leading the way for Belle Plaine was Brandt Vinkemeier with 14 points and 9 rebounds and Erik Einertson with 14 points and 8 rebounds. Brad Muehlenhardt chipped in 11 points.

The Belle Plaine Matmen opened the new year with a victory at Montgomery on Jan. 4. The final score of the match was Tigers 36, Redbirds 30. Jacob Sellnow won 10-6 at 103 lbs., Joe Fahey lost 7-6 at 112 lbs., Jason Piche won by a fall at 125 lbs., and Chad Sellnow won by a fall at 130 lbs. Both Jason Otto at 135 lbs. and Shannon Buesgens at 140 lbs. got forfeits. Josh Bayes lost 6-0 at 145 lbs., Paul Longhenry lost 4-2 at 152 lbs., and Bruce Siegle won by a fall at 160 lbs. Both Ross Martin at 171 lbs. and Jeff Hanson at 189 lbs. lost, and Matt Fahey won by a fall at 275 lbs.     

60 Years Ago (1959)

Patricia Piper joined the grade school teaching staff, replacing Marie Eustice who was killed in an auto accident Dec. 4. Piper was a graduate of the University of Minnesota, taking her first teaching job after receiving her BA degree.

In keeping with that year’s theme on International Relations, the PTA had two students from Gustavus Adolphus College as guest speakers at the January meeting. Eden Hutabarat of Indonesia and Paul Duncombe of the Bahamas told about their countries, especially about their schools, homes, and family life.

Three fire calls were received in eight days, keeping the firemen hopping. None of the blazes were serious, with smoke causing the most damage. An oil burner exploded in the living room of the Norbert Neisen home, a huge sawdust pile became ignited at the Olander Brothers Sawmill, and there was a chimney fire at the E.F. McDonald farm home.

Directors and managers of the eight co-operative creameries making up the MinValley group, plus other interested dairymen, met at the high school for the annual meeting. President Albert Lieske and Secretary Cletus Witt presided. The three directors, whose terms were up, were re-elected as follows: Clete Germscheid for Le Center Creamery, Arthur Beneke for Hamburg Creamery, and Cletus Witt for Belle Plaine Creamery.

Twelve boys from the FFA Chapter attended the Beautena Royal Show and Sale at Faribault, where their calf entry was shown and sold. The calf was given to the boys by the Hoelz Feed Mill, where she had spent her first two months. From there she was moved to the farms of several boys, namely Tom Fogarty and Manley Vinkemeier. Gary Schmidt bought the 330-pound Holstein for $195. A number of area farmers also attended the show. Roger Hoelz and Dick Schmit represented Hoelz Feed Mill.

Mr. and Mrs. Albert Trost arrived home from a trip to Old Mexico. In driving through New Mexico, they stopped over for a tour of the Carlsbad Caverns and at Dodge City, Kansas.

Jan. 19 was John Deer Day in town, with the Belle Plaine Implement Company having an all-day promotion.

A seven-year-old Carver County boy, Ronald Buckentine, died Jan. 12 when he was hit by a car on Hwy. 212. He got off the school bus at the family’s farm near East Union and paused to let two eastbound cars pass. Then he darted across the highway to reach the mailbox. He was struck and killed by a westbound car. He was one of three third-graders in the 25-pupil rural school north of East Union.

Clifford Johnson, secretary of the Carver County Soil and Water Conservation District, made the annual report of the year’s accomplishments at the end of the 13th year of the district’s existence. Outstanding accomplishments for 1959 included a radio program, construction of 14 stock water pits and ponds, installation of 99,365 linear feet of tile drainage, field days, and land judging contests.

Maynard Harms was re-elected president of the Commercial Club for another one-year term. The move was unprecedented, as the club policy was to offer the presidency for one year, moving the vice presidents up a notch each year. William Steffen, who was the first vice president in line for the top office, made the nomination to hold over Harms because of the fine job he had done that year.

Donald Morrison was named the National Two-Acre DeKalb Junior Corn-Growing Champion. This was the first time in more than a decade that a Minnesota boy had taken top prize in the contest. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Martin Morrison, who operated 346 acres about four miles north of town in Faxon Township.

The Model Clothing Store had it annual January sale, closing one full day to mark down goods and arrange for the big clearance. Other sales being conducted included a remodeling and clearance sale at Fisher’s Shoe Store, Rexall Giant Sale at Novak Drug, storewide discount sale at Coast-to-Coast, and clearance sales at Hahn’s and Hennen Jewelry.

Playing at the New Prague Theater was “The FBI Story” starring James Stewart and Vera Miles.

The BPHS Basketball Team was fifth in the Minnesota River Conference, with a 2-3 record. The Tigers lost 66-47 to New Prague. Greg Engfer was the leading scorer with 17 points, while Paul Johnson had 12 and Bob Walerius had 10.

90 Years Ago (1929)

In the second week of January, snowplows came into use for the first time that season. Fields had been bare of snow up to that time.

A 20-quart pressure cooker in the kitchen of the C.A. Neil home blew up. The ceiling plaster was shattered, and the walls splattered with baked chicken.

Frank Kilduff had a week’s paid vacation in Biloxi, Mississippi, for writing the most insurance for his company in Minnesota the preceding year.

Dr. John Scully died of a heart ailment at the home of his father in St. Thomas. He had been engaged in dental practice at Pine Island up to the time he was taken ill.

A Farmers Institute was held at Columbus Hall with more than 100 farmers in attendance.

After an existence of 32 years the creamery at Lydia decided to quit. Inroads by Twin City Milk Producers Association were the reason.

Peter Katzer, a resident of Belle Plaine for many years, died at the age of 71; his funeral was held at Sts. Peter and Paul Church.

The year 1930 as an election year and candidates for county offices were getting active early, particularly in Scott and Le Sueur counties.

Bank robberies continued to prevail. The latest was at the bank in Lonsdale where masked men made a $10,000 haul in broad daylight.

A former Belle Plaine couple, Mr. and Mrs. James R. Conlon, located at Swift Current, Sask., was given a big surprise party there on the occasion of their 25th wedding anniversary. Mr. Conlon had become an alderman at Swift Current.

Belle Plaine Borough had a taxable mill rate that year of 83.7 mills.

120 Years Ago (1899)

Will Carlin and Frank Weibeler bought out a store at Iona and prepared to embark in the mercantile business for themselves.

The town protested a decision of the railroad company to discontinue stops here of two of its trains.

The winter was so mild that St. Paul folks who had planned a winter carnival and erection of an ice palace abandoned the idea.

Governor Lind surprised the politicians by announcing he would not be a candidate for re-election.

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