Tanya, “The world’s tamest leopard,” gets a hug from Mark Oestreich of Belle Plaine

Tanya, “The world’s tamest leopard,” gets a hug from Mark Oestreich of Belle Plaine. A 14-year-old spotted leopard, Tanya traveled through here last Friday with her trainers and companion, Tasha, a 4-year-old black leopard to make an appearance. The big cats will perform with the Allen Brothers Circus this Saturday during Bar-B-Q Days along with other big top animals and performers.

From Our Files - 10 Years Ago

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Thirty Years Ago (1989)

Tanya, “The world’s tamest leopard,” gets a hug from Mark Oestreich of Belle Plaine. A 14-year-old spotted leopard, Tanya traveled through here last Friday with her trainers and companion, Tasha, a 4-year-old black leopard to make an appearance. The big cats will perform with the Allen Brothers Circus this Saturday during Bar-B-Q Days along with other big top animals and performers.

Emil Ashauer, a very active community volunteer who also owned a plumbing business, was chosen to lead the Bar-B-Q Days Parade on Saturday, July 15, as the grand marshal.

Once again the Klein Amusement Company brought its kiddie rides and games of chance to town for Bar-B-Q Days. Tickets for the children’s rides were available until Friday, July 14, at a reduced rate of five tickets for $2 at Belle Plaine Chamber of Commerce businesses and stores.

There were 32 candidates, all 1989 graduates of Belle Plaine High School, vying for Miss Belle Plaine, Queen of Bar-B-Q Days. The reigning queen was Margaret Siegler. Her court included Micki O’Reilly as first princess and Lori Johnson as second princess. Susie Bristlin was Miss Congeniality.

A new event for Barb-B-Q Days that year was a Volleyball Tournament, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 16, in the park. Eight teams competed in the double elimination event.

The Frustrations, Belle Plaine’s own singing group consisting of Tony Hartmann, Keith Nyblom, Chad Schmit, drummer Scott McDonald, and accompanist Anita Gransee, were doing double duty during Bar-B-Q Days. On Saturday night, July 15, they defended their title as winner of the previous year’s Talent Show; on Sunday night, July 16, they provided entertainment in a 20-minute Family Show at the baseball field prior to the Queen Coronation scheduled for 8 p.m.

Even though the water tower was full and there had been more than an inch of rain in the past five days, the Belle Plaine City Council imposed a seasonal sprinkling ban starting Thursday, July 13. On a split vote, the council set the ban following the recommendation of a citizens water planning committee set up in April to gather information from surrounding communities as to how many wells, what storage capacity, how water was metered, and what bans and fines the cities had. Councilman Ed Townsend was the only dissenting vote, expressing his opinion that Belle Plaine needed another well, not another committee.

Pearl Townsend, age 95 of Belle Plaine, died peacefully on Thursday, July 6, at the Hillcrest Nursing Home in Minnetonka with her three children, C. Edward Townsend, Dorothy Casserly, and Kathryn Berg at her side. The wife of D. Charles Townsend, the editor and publisher of the Belle Plaine Herald, Pearl was probably the oldest person in Minnesota actively engaged in newsgathering for a weekly newspaper until she suffered a stroke in her 92nd year.

Agnes (Brown) Bailey, age 78 of Belle Plaine, passed away on Monday, July 10, after a short illness. Agnes was a charter, lifetime member of the Belle Plaine Historical Society and married to Jay Bailey, who farmed in Faxon Township for about forty years until his death in 1974. Survivors included their four sons: Thomas of Kent, Washington, James of Brooklyn Park, Gerald of Waconia, and John of Belle Plaine, and their families.

60 Years Ago (1959)

Attendance at Belle Plaine’s three-day Bar-B-Q celebration was outstanding and the event was labeled highly successful. On Sunday afternoon alone, more than 4,000 barbequed sandwiches were served. Two street dances, barbequed sandwiches, and a stage show were all given free.

Mrs. Orison Hahn was the lucky winner of a $75 pair of gloves made of pure gold imbedded in soft leather at a Market Week assembly at the Nicollet Hotel in Minneapolis. Only nine pairs had been made with two of them going to the Queen of England. Hahn’s Store did not plan on stocking the item.

A 14-year-old Shakopee boy, David Strehlow, drowned in the Minnesota River after slipping from the bank and stepping off a six-foot drop-off. He was a grandnephew of Henry, Andrew, and Charles Ruehling of Belle Plaine.

The Belle Plaine Borough Council voted 3-2 to take part in the Dakota-Scott Library, at least on a trial basis. The bookmobile had already made two trips through the county.

For the first time in 39 years, all ten children of the late Valentine Retka of Derrynane Township gathered together for a reunion. The group consisted of about 70 wives, husbands, children, and grandchildren of the ten brothers and sisters.

Two eating establishments had a change of partnership as Wilmer Karnitz sold his hamburger shop to Virgil Herrmann and Roger Delgehausen bought out his partner, Hugh Johnson, at the Tiger Drive Inn.

Walter P. Fearing Sr., a descendant of a family well-known in the history of Belle Plaine, died in St. Paul, his home for many years.

Airman Second Class Lee Engfer arrived home after four years in the Air Force. For the past 29 months, he was stationed in Spain at Tarrejon Air Force Base near Madrid.

Ralph Church was assigned to the New Prague station of the state highway patrol, with his area including the Belle Plaine vicinity.

One of the highlights planned for the upcoming Scott County Fair at Jordan was the personal appearance of Bud Jacobson, known as the “Gentleman Pick-Pocket” from his guest appearance on some of the top television shows.

The Diers Bridge between Blakeley and Henderson was the scene of two gravel truck accidents. In the first, a truck left the road. In the other, two trucks collided at almost the same spot. No injuries were reported, though both trucks were severely damaged.

Barbara Ann Miller, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Hans Miller, formerly of Belle Plaine, was named Queen of the Rodeo at Spooner, Wisconsin.

The Tigers finally broke the ice and moved into the win column after defeating Savage, 6-1, behind the five-hit pitching of Paul Keup. The team’s record was then 1-7.

90 Years Ago (1929)

Early grain harvesting was on, and on the Belle Plaine prairie, all the grain was cut. A fine yield was expected.

Busch brothers were expecting a record yield of honey. They had 17 hives on their place.

At St. Anne Church in Le Sueur took place the marriage of Miss Anna Mae Kelly of that city to Richard O’Connell of St. Thomas.

Mildred and Harriet Hahn left on a two weeks’ vacation trip to Niagara Falls and Boston.

Fred Rolf of Hancock Township reported corn tasseled on July 4.

James Fogarty and three daughters motored in from their 500-acre ranch at Fairmont, N.D. for a visit in Jim’s old home community.

Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Sandberg announced the marriage in Los Angeles of their daughter, Theodora, to William A. Getten.

Chas. Stier bought for his son, George, the 160-acre Wm. Burmeister farm located three miles east of Belle Plaine for $25,000. The farm was completely equipped with fine buildings.

Ferdinand Peltz died unexpectedly on his farm on the east side of Belle Plaine at the age of 69.

The marriage of Miss Evelyn Hallinan of Jessenland parish and Thomas Shaughnessy Jr. of St. Thomas, took place at the Jessenland church.

J.F. Burkey, local auto salesman, saw a stranger doing his laundry work in a roadside ditch south of Belle Plaine and invited him to take a ride, which the man accepted. In town, Officer Busch invited the stranger to a meal and resting place in the town’s jail, which the hungry man was eager to accept. St. Peter Hospital officials, when contacted, reported the man had escaped from the grounds there several days before; they came for him.

Mr. and Mrs. Walter Lundborg celebrated their 10th anniversary with a gathering of their large relationship.

The Simonette Creek bed, located north of Le Center, had been dry as a bone. Then a very heavy rain put a lot of water in the creek and even some large carp floundering in the water.

120 Years Ago (1899)

Rye and barley were all cut and a start was made on the winter wheat.

L.E. Bryant, a jeweler from Elgin, MN, opened a jewelry department in Stratton’s Drug Store.

The C.O.F. of Assumption started the erection of a hall, a frame building 32 by 70 feet.

A diphtheria epidemic was causing much alarm. There was one death and four homes were quarantined. A number of families sent their children out of town.

At the school election, John Felder, Jacob Schmitt, and W.H. Weibeler were elected members of the board.

The county’s tax levy was $23,000, of which $3,000 was for county roads and bridges.

Max Segelbaum, Le Sueur’s leading merchant, ended his life by shooting himself. He left a note advising that the business be closed up and that “ his mind was stiff and would not work.”

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