From Our Files - 10 Years Ago
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30 Years Ago (1989)
Members of the crew from Bay West, a hazardous wastes handling company, remove their contamination suits after taking samples from the old milk plant building.
The saga of Belle Plaine asking for metro phone service had been going on for over four years. In May of 1989, despite citizen testimony in favor of extended telephone service, the Public Utilities Commission turned down the city’s request on two separate votes. In each case, the vote was 3-2 against extending the service. As a valiant, final attempt, the Belle Plaine Development Corporation metro phone committee scheduled an informational hearing with the overseeing committee of the Public Utilities Commission, which had the influence to recommend to the MN Legislature an extension of the metro phone service by writing a bill to authorize it.
The City of Belle Plaine and Hardees’ franchise owner Fred Oreel reached an agreement on two roadways surrounding the restaurant property, and the city council approved Oreel’s request for a land rezone and a conditional use permit. Once Hardees could redraw its plans and apply for a building permit, it was estimated that it would take a little over 45 working days to construct a Hardees Restaurant.
An investigation was underway concerning the possibility of there being hazardous waste material in the former Minn Valley Processing Building, more commonly known as the old milk plant. A search warrant was obtained on Wednesday, August 23, to allow a six-man crew from Bay West of St. Paul, the state Pollution Control Agency’s contractor for handling hazardous wastes, to go into the building and take physical, soil, and water samples.
State Commissioner of Transportation Len Levine announced that the Shakopee Bypass would be built as four lanes beginning in 1990 as originally planned, and a dangerous three-mile stretch of Trunk Hwy. 13 in Prior Lake would have left turn lanes added at six intersections beginning in 1995.
Since there had been numerous acts of vandalism in and around Belle Plaine which coincided with the frequent citations issued for curfew violations, the Belle Plaine Police Department planned to continue strictly enforcing the city’s curfew ordinance. Parents were also warned that they, too, could be issued citations for allowing their minor children to violate the curfew hours. Children under 12 years old needed to be off the streets or with their parent by 9 p.m. Children 12-16 years of age could be out until 10:30 p.m.
Dean Benson, 10-year-old son of Larry and JoAnn Benson of Belle Plaine, had been pulled out of the audience at the Johnny Holm Fun Show and invited on stage to sing either “La Bamba” or “In the Jungle, the Mighty Jungle” three times during the summer of 1989 at Valleyfair.
Waconia Theatre opened Friday, Sept. 1, at the corner of First and Olive streets in downtown Waconia, and owner Mike Muller rated his theater as an eight or nine on a scale of one to ten. With its racing neon marquee lights outside and its art deco interior inside, including three chandeliers gracing the mauve and silver-colored lobby, the theater was designed to hold six screens with a total seating for 1,300.
Eighth grader Jayme Bergs, daughter of Don and Bev Bergs, stormed from a 5-3 deficit in the third set at #2 singles to lead Belle Plaine past Waconia, 3-2, in one of the first girls’ tennis matches of the season. Waconia’s senior Brenda Schultz had won the first set 6-2 and Bergs claimed the second set 6-2. In a tiebreaker to decide the third set, Bergs came out on top 7-3 to win the final set and the match. Coach Pam Gilchrist commented, “It was one of the best matches I had ever seen. Jayme never gave up. When she made a mistake, she would just become more determined.”
60 Years Ago (1959)
A chain of Belle Plaine business movements took place, beginning with the closing of Danny Hottinger’s Stop Inn Café, which quit business after 30 years in the same location. Peter Mahoney decided to enlarge his bakery into the adjoining portion of his building, which for 14 years had been occupied by Engfer’s Barber Shop. Leo Engfer, needing a place to move his barbershop, decided to occupy the building below his residence, which he had been renting to the Stop Inn Café.
Richard C. O’Connell, 55, brother of Gerald O’Connell of Belle Plaine, died suddenly of a heart attack at his home in Minneapolis. Born in St. Thomas, Mr. O’Connell had been employed by the Star and Tribune circulation department for 14 years.
Mrs. Emma Schmidt, widow of Frederick A. Schmidt, died at St. Francis Hospital in Shakopee after suffering with a heart ailment for a year. Born in Le Sueur County, she was a faithful member of St. John Lutheran Church all her life.
Trinity Lutheran School started the term with two new teachers, Sharon Marcotte of Wayne, Michigan, teaching grades 1 and 2, and Charlotte Rauschke of Stanton, Nebraska, teaching grades 3, 4, and 5. Melville Schultz continued in his position as principal and teacher of grades 6, 7, and 8.
Sts. Peter and Paul Parochial School began classes with the same faculty as last year. Sister Lauretta was the Superior and taught grades 1 and 2. Sister Bernadette had grades 3 and 4, and Sister Michael had grades 5 and 6. Sister Godoleve had the task of keeping house and cooking.
The FFA General Livestock Judging Team of Roger Stier, Ed Otto, Terry Ische, and Bill Zaun tied Waterville for first place at the Le Sueur County Fair. They judged classes of market hogs, beef cattle, dairy cattle, and fat lambs.
Ted Wolf, who farmed south of Belle Plaine, escaped with just minor scratches and bruises from an accident, which rendered his car a total wreck. Wolf was on his way home when his 1956 Hudson was struck from behind by a pickup truck on Hwy. 169 near the edge of the borough limits.
Charles Diers, the last of the four sons of pioneer William F. Diers, who left their home in Blakeley at the turn of the century for the Pacific Northwest, died at his home in Modesto, California, at the age of 86.
The Western Union Telegraph Company petitioned the Federal Communication Commission for permission to close the agency telegraph office at Blakeley.
Julius Holste was having constructed at his farm at the east side of town a three bedroom rambler 28x36-foot house. Baumann and Son were erecting it on the site of the old house which had been moved to another part of the farm.
The month of August wound up with a total rainfall of 10.5 inches, according to Ted Venske’s recordings.
Mrs. Jennie Maud McDevitt, widow of James McDevitt, passed away at her home in Minneapolis and her remains were brought to her old parish in Belle Plaine for funeral services and burial.
Well-known and distinguished senior citizen, Mrs. Pauline Keup, celebrated her 93rd birthday at the home of her son, Fred J. Keup. The grand old lady was born in St. Lawrence Township in 1866 to Mr. and Mrs. Henry Bauer, German immigrants. She married August Keup in 1890 and they continued on the St. Lawrence Township farm until 1918 when they moved to Belle Plaine.
Back-to-school specials at Matt’s Variety Store included 10 pencil for 27 cents, 10 ball point pens for 77 cents, 400 count filler paper for 87 cents, 24 crayons for 29 cents, Big-V tablets for 25 cents, and zipper binders for 98 cents.
90 Years Ago (1929)
Corn cutting on the Belle Plaine prairie had started. A week of 90-degree temperatures had hastened ripening.
Assumption Parish held its annual Labor Day picnic, a feature of which was the chicken dinner served by the ladies.
Thomas Dougherty of Minneapolis announced he would be opening a law office in the Stratton Building two days a week. He was a nephew of Ollie Dougal.
Mr. and Mrs. Charles Spellacy rented their property here and moved to Minneapolis.
The marriage of Miss Leona Druke and Lee Weist took place. The couple established their home in Bismarck, North Dakota, where the groom was the cashier for the International Harvester Company.
Thomas Clark, 71, was back from Durango, Colorado, for a visit with the Clark family here. He was born in Blakeley Township in 1858 near the shore of the lake that bears the family name. There were originally three Clark brothers who were among the first settlers in the center of Blakeley Township, taking homesteads in 1854.
The St. Paul motorist, who made things unpleasant for oncoming drivers by throwing spotlights in their faces, was fined $25 in Justice Gabbert’s court. He had the top of his car rigged with three spotlights that he could manipulate from his seat.
The marriage of Miss Viola Baumann and Frank Johnson took place. Rev. C. P. Koch of St. Paul performed the ceremony. The couple established their home in Belle Plaine.
Mr. and Mrs. Mike Kane moved to Minneapolis to make their home in that city where their three daughters lived.
Henry Lindemeier of Hancock Township was given, in honor of his 72nd birthday, a big surprise with over a hundred callers, including the male choir of the Hamburg Lutheran Church.
Walter C. Larson came by airplane from Chicago for a visit with his relatives in Jessenland.
120 Years Ago (1899)
Eighty railroad tickets were sold at the Belle Plaine station for the state fair the first two days of the fair.
Herman Dahn of Henderson purchased and took possession of the Fred Nieman farm of 160 acres in the German Settlement, the purchase price being $7,300, which was less than $50 an acre.
Belle Plaine defeated Green Isle 9-4 at the Labor Day picnic at Assumption. After the game, Green Isle put up $25 as a challenge for a repeat performance and Belle Plaine took the bet.
Henry Miller’s new threshing machine was declared the finest ever brought into this section. It was a 20 horsepower affair.