News in the Neighborhood

MONTGOMERY MESSENGER

Grain Bin=Warming House

The New Prague Snow Drifters, a local snowmobile club that maintains area snowmobile trails, converted an old grain bin into a warming shelter for snowmobilers.

Brian Entinger donated a grain bin and Club President Greg Entinger did repairs to it and painted the Snow Drifters logo on the side of the bin. Club member Brian Jindra’s dad, Greg, agreed to donate the land where the shelter sits, since the trail runs through part of his land.

The structure is 14 feet in diameter and about 8-9 feet tall. Brian Jindra said they converted the grain bin by cutting a few holes for windows and using Plexiglas for windows, installed a chimney, and found a cast iron stove to use for warming the shelter. Members also cleared some trees from the area and cut up the wood up to be used as needed to heat the shelter. The club also plans to install a laminated map with snowmobile trails on it inside the shelter.

Those who stop along the trail to use the warming shelter are asked to do so respectfully since it is located on private property. To learn more about the Snow Drifters club and how to join, visit newspraguesnowdrifters.com.

NEW PRAGUE TIMES

Paying it Forward

A pay-it-forward challenge is rapidly spreading through New Prague, and local businesses couldn’t be happier. The challenge involves an individual receiving a gift card to a local business and then buying multiple gift cards to local businesses and gifting them to friends with the challenge to keep the cycle going.

It all started Dec. 17 when New Prague residents Curt and Kirsten Lambrecht hauled their fish house to Fishtale Grill and Bar, ordered takeout meals, and dined in the parking lot. Before heading home, the couple purchased four gift cards from Fishtale, and the next morning, they purchased five gift certificates from the local Mexican restaurant, El Tequila.

After giving those gift cards to other people in the community, all nine paid it forward by each purchasing more gift cards locally and giving them to others. It just kept growing with more people and more businesses involved. To date, the Lambrechts estimate that close to 400 people have participated, but the count only includes those who posted the challenge on Facebook and tagged them. A scroll through Lambrecht’s Facebook page shows thousands of dollars in gift certificates purchased from local bars, restaurants, a brewery, winery, garden center, bakeries, boutiques, specialty grocery stores, and meat markets.

The New Prague Chamber of Commerce has also taken notice of the pay-it-forward movement and applauds the community for the on-going support of local businesses.

CHASKA HERALD

Growing Season in Carver

Residents in Carver may soon start registering to rent community garden plots behind Church by the River and, based on overwhelming interest from a recent survey, the city may also have a farmers’ market this summer.

Applications for garden plots will be accepted from Feb. 1 through March 15, with priority given to city residents. Each applicant is limited to one plot per person. Plans call for 18 4x8-foot plots with two 4x4-foot handicapped accessible raised planter boxes in phase one. A second phase would add 12 additional similar-sized plots. If more applications are received than plots are available, a random drawing will be conducted.

Estimated construction cost for phase one is $2,500 and $1,000 for phase two. Construction includes the garden plots and fencing. The city will also do site preparation and provide access to irrigation, compost bins, and trash bins. Gardeners will be responsible for maintenance throughout the growing season.

Reservation fees are $20, plus a $20 security deposit that will be returned once post-season cleanup is complete. Plans call for construction to be completed in time for April planting.

In addition, the city will be working with the SouthWest Metro Chamber of Commerce in developing marketing and coordination strategies for the possible farmers’ market, to be located either in the Community Park or Carver Station.

LE SUEUR COUNTY NEWS

Ukuleles Abound at TCU

Tri-City United Lonsdale Elementary music teacher Melissa Nielsen has had ukuleles on the brain ever since she attended a Minnesota Music Educators Conference a couple years ago. As a result, Nielsen has been teaching herself how to play ukulele as well as teaching her students at TCU Lonsdale. Now she’s organized a fundraiser to bring ukuleles to TCU Le Center and TCU Montgomery so other elementary students can benefit from the program.

The TCU School Board recently approved the fundraiser in which donors can sponsor the program at four different levels: $5 for the Aloha Level, $10 for the Lei Level, $25 for the Luau Level, and $50 for the Uke Prodigy, with the donors at each level earning a thank you card from a student, a shout-out at a concert, or a sticker on one of the instruments.

The whole goal is to give students another opportunity to learn how to play music independently. Apart from keeping them safe during the pandemic without the spread of aerosols caused by the recorder typically used by students in the past, it will enrich their music experience with a trending instrument. The ukulele is also accessible to students with diverse learning needs.

However, Nielsen doesn’t think ukuleles will replace recorders forever, though she joked some might prefer it that way. Instead, her hope is that once the pandemic is over, younger grades will spend more time with the ukulele since it serves a different purpose than the recorder.

Cotton Candy Bar

Froggy’s Cotton Candy Bar opened on Dec. 19 at 111 N. Main Street in Le Sueur with 45 flavors of cotton candy ranging from s’more to apple pie to mango pineapple. Robin and Keith Seger, owners of the shop, are also featuring pastries, cheesecake, popcorn, coffee, and beverages, along with cotton candy glitter bombs to sweeten drinks.

Originally, Froggy’s came to life as an attraction at the Le Sueur Farmers Market last summer. Robin said the organizers wanted to add something sweet to attract customers, so she purchased a cotton candy machine, while Keith brought in some hard candy to use as a base, and their product soon became a hit with visitors.

The Segers have plans to expand their offerings to include snow cones, mini-donuts, and ice cream burritos, an ice cream dish with candy or cereal topping wrapped in a cotton candy tortilla. Also, once COVID-19 restrictions loosen up, they would like to make Froggy’s a place for the community to hang out, as well as host private parties and promotional events.

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