From Our Files - 10 Years Ago
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Thirty Years Ago This Week (1989)
After nearly 25 years on the Belle Plaine Fire Department, George Herrmann was named the 1989 Fireman of the Year for his 90 percent attendance at fires and accidents and for his contributions to the department.
Dallas Bohnsack, 51, a life-long farmer of New Prague who was in the fourth year of his first term, was elected as the new chairman of the Scott County Board for 1990. Commissioner Mark Stromwell, 43, a defense attorney from Prior Lake who was in the fourth year of his second term, was elected vice chairman. Constructing a solid waste processing plant, solving space problems in the courthouse and county jail, and constructing and upgrading county roads were “foremost in their minds.” Bohnsack also had a goal to increase communication among the 400 plus Scott County employees and between county employees and the country board.
Stamps matching the description of those stolen from the Belle Plaine Post Office on Dec. 10 were found by Mike Herrmann, who was towing a stolen piece of construction equipment from a deep ravine along Blakeley Trail in Blakeley Township. The amount of the stamps recovered was $1,868.10 of the $2,230.50 stamps stolen. Plus, $18 worth of stamps from a previous burglary at the post office was found as well.
Helen L. O’Connor, 72, of Belle Plane, died Thursday, Dec. 28, at Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park. Her husband J. Russell, three daughters, seven sons, and 14 grandchildren survived her.
After 1990 salaries were set by the Scott County Board, most full-time elected officials made over $50,000 a year. Since the county board wanted to keep the employees’ salaries in line with labor market levels, many officials saw combined raises of $10,000 or more since 1987. County Attorney Jim Terwedo garnered $63,350 in pay, along with a $250 per month vehicle expense; his salary increased 30 percent since he took office in 1987. Sheriff Bill Nevin received a $56,592 salary, an increase of 33.9 percent increase since he took office in 1987. Treasurer Thomas Muelken received $44,684 in 1990, up from $43,484 in 1989. Auditor Tom Hennen earned $46,124 in 1990, up from $42,926 in 1989. Recorder Paul Wermerskirchen’s salary climbed from $47,716 in 1989 to $50,911 in 1990. Ditch Inspector and Surveyor Bill Schmokel’s total salary was $56,397. County commissioners voted in a 4.3 percent pay raise for themselves, with a $24,388 part-time salary in 1990, rising nearly 20 percent since 1987. Commissioners also received $30 in per-diem pay for each county board and committee meeting they attended.
The sub-zero temperatures dominating the weather scene for about a week and half before Christmas finally warmed up. The bitterly cold weather caused many cars not to start and kept people indoors as much as possible, with sub-zero wind chills causing frostbite to exposed skin in two minutes.
The Belle Plaine Boys Basketball Team played in the Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop Run and Shoot Tournament and brought home the championship trophy, by defeating Minnesota Valley Lutheran of New Ulm, 65-54 in the first game; Nicollet, 61-54, in the semi-finals; and MRC rival Mankato Loyola, 76-67, in overtime. The Tigers’ overall record was 8-0.
60 Years Ago (1959)
Four presses went into action at the new Excelsior Plastics Plant in Belle Plaine, turning out a variety of small plastic items. Three of the four press operators were local residents – Ray Ahrens, John Buszmann, and Katherine Hoye.
John Hyland, a Belle Plaine native, died at the age of 70. For nearly 50 years, Northern Pacific Railroad employed him.
New Year’s Eve was lively but orderly in Belle Plaine, as mild weather, no snow, and perfect roads induced many visitors to the downtown area. Despite the crowded town, no auto mishap or unruly persons were reported.
Richard Hodnett, well-remembers former resident of St. Thomas and Belle Plaine, died at his daughter’s home in St. Paul of a heart attack at the age of 88.
Many lucky residents took holiday trips to California, the Southwest, and other warm places.
Albert Opperman, a resident since 1935, died at the age of 75. P. J. Duffy died at the age of 74.
“The F.B.I. Story” starring Jimmy Stewart and Vera Miles played at he Le Sueur Theater. “Forever Darling” starring Lucille Ball and “The Miracle” starring Carroll Baker, Roger Moore, and Walter Slezak played at the New Prague Theater.
Waconia beat the Belle Plaine Tigers 52-45 in a non-conference basketball game. Ron Peterson’s team was preparing for three road games following the Christmas and New Year’s layoffs.
The April-like weather that made December seem unreal ended New Year’s Day with six inches of snow and temperatures that dropped to 19 below zero.
Prices at the grocery store were 59 cents for a five-pound bag of apples, 39 cents for ten pounds of potatoes, and 69 cents for a half-gallon of ice cream.
90 Years Ago (1929)
During the month of December, the Belle Plaine Post Office handled more mail than in any other month in the history of the office – 1,378 sacks of mail exclusive of the letter pouches.
Emil F. Voigt, former Belle Plaine boy, and Miss Mary Heibert of Bingham Lake, were married at the home of the bride’s parents. The couple established their home in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
In those years, new cars went on display right after New Years. Chevrolet offered a reduction in price - the roadster $495, the coach $565, and the four-door sedan $675, which were all prices f.o.b. Flint, Michigan.
The national board of underwriters had representatives here a couple of weeks in a new building survey. The previous survey was made in 1914. The estimate was that there had been about eighty buildings of one kind or another built since 1914.
Getting wintertime jobs at the auto plants was popular. Joe, Ben, Jim, and Wm. Labin and Tony Retka left for Flint, Michigan to work in the Pontiac factory.
Relatives of Sophia Diers, who had located in Oakland, California, received word of the death of her husband in that city where they had lived their happy married life of only two years.
Dr. Leo J. McDevitt, veterinarian, died at a Minneapolis hospital after an illness with pneumonia. Funeral services were held at Sacred Heart Church.
During the previous July, three men had entered the Adam Hartwig home near Mayer and brutally beat up Mr. Hartwig and robbed him of $800 in cash, which he had secreted in a trunk in an upstairs bedroom. That week the St. Paul police captured the three men.
Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Jents of Tyrone Township had a family reunion, and when the dinner bell rang, exactly fifty persons responded to the call – ten children, 29 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren.
August Jents, one of the leading farmers of Tyrone Township, died at the age of 62.
West Union parishioners observed New Year’s Eve with a program and oyster supper at the hall. The program included an address by one of the professors from Gustavus Adolphus College.
120 Years Ago (1899)
Bernard Stradcutter had a two-year-old hog, which after being dressed weighed 700 pounds.
The flour-milling firm of Johnson & Latzke dissolved partnership. J.H. Johnson and son, A.G., sold their interest to W.F. Latzke who took full charge of the business.
That week saw the advent of Will Bailey into the mercantile life of Belle Plaine. He purchased the stock owned by John Schaffer in the Schilz building and was all set to embark in that long career of merchandising here.
The monthly meeting of the borough council was taken up with complaints, among which were claims that persons had extended fences out onto the streets and in some instances obstructed street travel.