June

End-of-the-School-Year Recognition

On Wednesday night, May 29, Dollars for Scholars awarded 153 scholarships totaling $78,150  to 66 seniors for their scholastic achievement. Elise Hayes and Elliot Ruud were named BPHS’s AAA award winners for their excellence in the arts, athletics, and academics. Mary Moriarty, a former elementary teacher in BP, was named the Friend of Education Award winner in recognition for her volunteer efforts in the district. Retirees from the BP School District included Carol Hannon-Orr, 38 years; Janis Buesgens, 32 years; Annette Moylan, 18 years; and Jack Schuneman, 15 years.

Mapping the Past for the Future

On May 30, Dr. Ron Schirmer, a member of Minnesota State University-Mankato’s archeology department, and his assistant, Luke Burds, a MSU grad student, scanned the cemetery at Redeemer Lutheran Church, using a device that measured the composition of materials in the ground, at the request of Pastor Diane Goulson, who was concerned about the large sections of the cemetery that appear to be empty but may not be.

Graduation Day

One hundred seven seniors graduated from BPHS on June 2. Speakers at the commencement included Elise Hayes, who described her transformative experience moving to BP from Colorado, and BPHS science teacher Brad Pederson, who challenged the students to rise in the face of their fear of the unknown.

New BPHS Principal

The Belle Plaine School Board chose Mindy Chevalier, the assistant principal and community education director, to take the helm of BPHS as the school’s principal.

CBD Products for Sale

Tasha Flynn, a massage therapist at BP Chiropractic, started distributing CBD (cannabidiol) products from Hempworx, a Las Vegas-based company that specialized in the hemp derivative legalized under the under the 2014 Farm Bill but not yet fully reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, when she experienced relief from migraines by using it herself.

New Business in BP

Joshua Trotterchaud, a seasoned storage unit buyer, opened a new consignment and vintage store, called S.M.Z. Stop-n-Shop, at 122 S. Meridian St., the location of the former Hennen Furniture Store, on June 1.

BP Pool Project Delayed

To the chagrin of BP Mayor Chris Meyer and members of the city council, the date for substantial completion of the BP Aquatic Center was pushed back by six weeks, from June 26 to August 7, because of unseasonable weather delays.

TF Cricket Season Began June 2

The Tigers, BP’s first official U16 cricket team, was coached by Karan Kapoor, a former international cricket player from Botswana, and played weekend matches as part of the T30 cricket tournament from early June through mid-July.

Area Hit Hard by June 4th Storm

Weather spotters recorded wind gusts at 85 mph near the intersection of Hwy. 169 and Hwy. 19 and in Union Hill during the late afternoon of June 4. The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for a radar-indicated rotation later that night. Damage to power poles and structures was consistent with severe straight line winds, but there was no evidence of tornadic damage.

State Track and Field Meet

Six BPHS athletes participated in seven events at the State Track and Field Meet at Hamline University on June 7-8. Jaylen Struck-Schmitz earned first place in the 300m hurdles, ninth place in the 100m hurdles, and eighth place in the long jump. In addition, Struck-Schmitz led the 4x400m relay team, also consisting of McKenna Ziemke, McKenna Herrmann, and Lizzy Schmidt, to a third place finish. Herrmann placed 4th in the 800m run, Madi McGrane ended up with 14th place in the discus, and Drew Hastings placed 13th in the 1600m run.

Grand Opening of New Brewpub

The dream of Colt Oldenburg and his father, Don, finally came to fruition on Wednesday, June 12, when their new brewpub, the Oldenburg Brewing Company, opened on Main Street in BP.

German Day on June 14    

BP celebrated its German heritage at its 38th annual German Day festival on Friday, June 14, with a variety of activities for children, multiple free food samples provided by local merchants, the introduction of Bar-B-Q Days queen candidates, the coronation of new German Day royalty, entertainment by the Johnny Holm Band, and a sauerkraut eating contest ending the night at Neisen’s Corner Bar. Royalty included Queen Vivian Herrmann, First Princess Kimberly Teal, and Second Princess Wynter Davis.

New Oak Crest Principal

Ben Tressel became the new principal at Oak Crest Elementary School in the 2019-20 school year.

End of Gnat Nuisance?

A crew with the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District poured a brewed bacteria chemical toxic to gnat larvae but not to other critters into the Minnesota River from the Hwy. 25 bridge just outside BP on Wednesday, June 19.

Trophy of a Lifetime

In April, Bob Caola traveled to the Kodiak Island in Alaska and bagged an 11-foot, 900-pound Kodiak bear.

BP City Council

The BP City Council approved a non-conforming use expansion permit for a front yard setback at 301 Main Street East for property owners Robert and Kateryna McCloskey whose home had been destroyed by fire on Jan. 28, 2019.

BP School Board

Following a report by the business manager that the school district appeared to be financially healthy with a fund balance of over 13%, discussed the possibility of adding a full-time school resource officer. In a separate issue, the school board adopted a revised policy regarding harassment and violence with a 5-1 vote, in spite of board member Terry Morrison’s proposal to add language that would specifically forbid romantic or sexual relationship between employees where one individual had influence or control over the other’s conditions of employment.

Town Team Baseball

After an unsatisfying exit from the Tigertown Classic on June 8, the Town Baseball Team got back on track with three consecutive wins, defeating Lonsdale, 11-9, on June 12, Fairfax, 8-0, on June 14, and Henderson, 16-1, on June 16.

Eagle Scout Windscreen

Aspiring Eagle Scout Avery Mohlin, a senior distance runner at BPHS, completed a community service project on Saturday, June 22, by planting three four-foot and three five-foot Black Hills spruce trees that will potentially grow to be about 30 feet wide and, from end to end, totaling about 180 feet in length as wind protection at the BP Athletic Complex.

Baseball Hall of Famer

Dave “Greek” Wagner from BP became one of five individuals to be selected for this year’s induction into the Minnesota Baseball Association Hall of Fame. Wagner has played amateur baseball in the area for 52 years, including 15 seasons as a member of the BP Tigers town team.

BPHS Students Traveled to East Coast

Seventy-five BPHS students and 17 supervisors visited Washington, D.C. and New York City for two days apiece, June 10-14. Audra Cruz and Sydney Fors had the honor of laying the wreath in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, accompanied by Elliana Fahey and Paul Stoteran.

Hazard on MN River

The Scott County Sheriff’s Office reported Sunday, June 23, that a low power line between BP and Blakeley had caused a navigational hazard to those traveling on the Minnesota River.

Crackdown on Speeders

From June 18 through July 21, law enforcement officers conducted a month-long campaign to crackdown on speeding throughout the state of MN after speed-related facilities last year climbed above 100 for the first time since 2008.

Tiger Alumni Night

On Friday night, June 28, at Tiger Park, a patchwork team of Tiger alumni dusted off their cleats against the current town Tigers in a ballgame which ended in a 4-4 tie. A pre-game ceremony honored Brent Meyer, who had managed the 1994 Tiger team to that season’s Class C State Championship, the only such title in team history. In recognition of Meyer, who died from brain cancer in October of 2018, a new tabletop bearing his inscription was unveiled.

Positive Future for Softball

The BP 10U-Black girls traveling softball team took first place out of 47 teams at the Big West State Qualifier 10U C Tournament during the last weekend of June. They defeated Elk River 15-1, Monticello Black 8-7, Jordan White 12-3, Monticello Red 12-0, and Zimmerman 10-4.

July

Knee-High by the 4th?

On their century farm on the south edge of BP, Rob Schultz, along with his son, Chris, and grandsons, Luke and Logan, explained the pros and cons of farming, including its unpredictability of weather conditions and market volatility. Their corn crop was chest-high on the Rob and Chris, neck-high on Luke and Logan.

Motorcyclist vs. Target Shooter

A stray bullet from a group of individuals who were target shooting struck a motorcyclist, Troy Mack, age 41 of Minneapolis, who was traveling on Carver County Road 40 near Homestead Road on Tuesday night, June 25.  

State Bank of BP Merger

The State Bank of BP, which has been an institution in the city for 137 years, will be acquired by the St. Peter-based Bancommunity Service Corporation, the parent company of First National Bank Minnesota, by the end of the year. When the merger is finalized in the spring of 2020, its name will change.

Happy 100th, Dora!

Dora Slack, who grew up on her family’s farm near Le Sueur and now resides at Kingsway Retirement Living in BP, celebrated her 100th birthday on Tuesday, June 25. Slack stated that she had no idea what was responsible for her longevity since she did nothing special to attain the century mark.

Legion Baseball

The BP Legion Baseball Team exploded for 20 hits to defeat Faribault 15-6 and earn the consolation championship at the Todd Oakes Tournament in New Prague. A lot of different players contributed to the success on offense with multiple hits: Cade Morrison had four; Garrett Boblitt had three; Cole Brown, Derek Hoffman, Jack Kruger, Noah Schumacher, and Dylan Kahle (including a homerun) each had two; and Tucker Schultz and Mikkel Schmidt had one hit each. On the mound, Keaton Nordy pitched the first five innings and Schmidt the final two.

Mapping the Past: Part Two

A team from the Archeology, Geography and Earth Sciences Research Laboratory at MN State University-Mankato’s examined data from ground-penetrating radar readings at Redeemer Lutheran Cemetery in rural Belle Plaine and hypothesized that there are ‘definite buried objects’ beneath the surface which could be child coffins.

BP Thespians’ Appearances

Seventh-grader Gideon Pressley and tenth-grader Lauren LaCourse, both from Belle Plaine, appeared as Oompa Loompas in the Stages Theatre Company’s production of “Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka” in Hopkins.

BP Aquatic Center

As part of “Community Conversations” on Wednesday, July 10, BP citizens took guided tours of the new community pool facility and met with members of the city council and the pool’s contractor.

Junior Olympics Nationals

The BPXC Track Club competed in the Region 8 Junior Oympic Track and Field Meet in Fargo, North Dakota. As qualifiers for the national meet, these BP athletes placed among the top five in their events: McKenna Herrmann in the women’s 800m fun, 1500m fun and 400m dash; Jaylen Struck-Schmitz in both the women’s 100m and 400m hurdles; and Aria Jamison in the girls 15-16 3000m race walk. Other competitors from BP were Madison McGrane, Hayley O’Brien and Alaina Herrmann.

Tornado Damage

 A tornado struck the farm of Keith and Dawn Buszmann on Union Hill Blvd. on Monday evening, July 15, and caused major damage to the out buildings on their property. The storm overturned a trailer and  pulled sheet metal from the roof of a building housing beef cows, but the animals inside were untouched; likewise, the family’s home was untouched by the wreckage.

BP Policemen Honored

Police Sergeant Terry Stier and Officer Sterling Cayer were recognized for their exemplary law enforcement efforts at the BP City Council meeting on July 15. Stier received the Medal of Merit for his 2014 investigation of an infant death that led to an arrest and conviction. Cayer received a DUI Enforcement Award for issuing 16 out of 25 DUI offenses issued by BP Police during the first half of 2019.

Details of 61st Annual Bar-B-Q Days

• After a fourth clue became available at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, July 19, in front of the BP Chamber of Commerce Office, the medallion hunt ended about two hours later when the coin was found by Rachel Johnson, age 12 of BP, with the assistance of her sister Stephanie and their friends, Camryn and Carter Chard, in the alley behind the BP Post Office.

• The BBQ Days’ Horse Show, scheduled for Friday night, was canceled due to an extremely high temperature and dew point which threatened the safety of horses and visitors.

• Bill and Joe Huber, as well as Bill’s wife Lois and the brothers’ mother Toy, served as the grand marshals of the parade on Saturday, July 20, which had been delayed an hour, from noon to 1:00 p.m., because of a rain storm which finally ended about 12:30. Following them in the parade were dozens of family members dressed in red ‘Huber Clan’ t-shirts, in honor of Hubers’ Red Owl, the family’s BP grocery store in 1940-90, before it became a SuperValu and then closed in 2010.

• A new feature for the parade this year was the theme ‘Hit TV Shows’. These entrants won cash prizes provided by the BP Chamber of Commerce: 1st place - “Golden Girls” by NYA Stiftungsfest Royalty, winning $500; 2nd place - “The Price is Right” by State Bank of BP, winning $300; and 3rd place - “Little Rascals” by Kornder Farms, winning $200. Winners were announced Saturday at 4:00 p.m. at the Gazebo in Union Square Park.

• The BBQ Days Bull Run was rescheduled to Sunday morning, July 21, because of the rain storm Saturday morning. Winners included Andrew Thies, age 25 of Arlington, and Alyssa Alness, age 31 of Jordan.

• On Sunday afternoon, July 21, Kara Reitz was crowned Miss Belle Plaine. Her royal court includes 1st Princess Madison McGrane,  2nd Princess Brooke Adamietz and

Miss Congeniality Isabella England.

• Winners in the BBQ Button Drawing included Mike Spellacy for $200, Bruce Applegarth for $100 and Emily Denhartog for $50.

• Beef stand sales grossed $30,385.00 ($3,000 less than 2018) and beer garden sales grossed $57,601.00 ($6,000 less than 2018).

Farm Family of 2019

The University of MN Extension named the family of Mark Klehr - including his children, Marcus, Nick, Cameron, and Emily - whose 200-acre farm is just east of BP as the Scott County Farm Family of the Year.

School Resource Officer - Yes or No?

The conversation over whether or not to bring a school resource officer into the school district surfaced at the BP School Board meeting Monday evening, July 22, after multiple citizens requested that the city address the perceived issue of health and safety in the schools. BP School Superintendent Ryan Laager pegged vaping, the use of electronic cigarettes, as an ongoing issue, as well as physical altercations. Police Chief Tom Stolee stated that, by building relationships with students, an SRO can play a role which school leaders legally are unable to in terms of discipline. BP School Board Chair Terry Kahle said they believe that school safety is very important and planned to discuss the idea at future meetings.

Prairie Oaks Institute

The City of Belle Plaine’s latest progress on a sewer extension project designated to provide service to residents on the southern edge of town, though momentarily unsightly, didn’t pose existential threats to the Prairie Oaks Institute which has attempted to foster a place of isolation from the outside world since 2002. According to Tim Lies and newly-instated executive director Dana Melius, recent questions of development were resurfacing for the Institute and  reinvigorating conversations about the space’s future.

Scott County Fair

New attractions at the Scott County Fair on July 24-28 included the Kent Family Circus, an escape room, comic stunt juggler Tuey Wilson, the Red Bull Band, and others.

Sibley County Fair

The 150th annual Sibley County Fair in Arlington provided something for everyone on July 31 through August 4.The highlight was the 9/11 Never Forget Mobile Exhibit - a tribute to all who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001. Another new item was the TECKNOcenter. Three virtual reality stations were available as well as PS4 tournaments.

BPHS Class Reunions

Twenty-one members of BPHS’s four graduating classes from 1947 to 1950 met at Kingsway Retirement Living on Friday, July 26, to celebrate the memories made and stories shared over the last 70 years.

Felony Thefts at BP Store

Wilbert Miller, age 37 of Roseville, and Lionel Webb, age 46 of Minneapolis, were charged with multiple theft felonies after attempting to fraudulently obtain cell phones from the BP Verizon Store on Thursday, July 25.

BP Food Shelf

Because Second Harvest Heartland purchased dairy coolers for 37 food shelves throughout MN using $80,000 grant funding provided by Midwest Dairy, the BP Food Shelf received a two-door refrigerator to provide increased capacity and selection of fresh produce, lean protein and dairy products for fifty families who access the local food shelf every week.

Preparing for High School Sports

Ridgeview BP Clinic offered free MN State High School League Qualifying Sports Physicals to students entering grades 7-12 on Saturday morning, August 3.

Participants in volleyball, football, tennis, cross country, and the fall play, as well as their parents, attended the eligibility meeting at BPHS on Wednesday evening, August 7.

National Track & Field Meet

BP teen athletes Aria Jamison, Jaylen Struck-Schmitz and McKenna Herrmann competed in the seven-day Hershey’s Junior Olympic USATF National Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Sacramento, CA. Jamison earned sixth place in the 3000 race walk. Struck-Schmitz placed 11th in the 400m hurdles and 26th in the 100m hurdles. Herrmann finished 16th in the 800m race, 46th in the 400m, and 4th place in the 1500m.

Town Team Baseball Playoffs

The #2 seeded BP Tigers started their playoff push on Monday, July 29, and dismissed the 13-60 League’s #8 seed, the Janesville Jays, with a 9-2 triumph at Tiger Park.

On Saturday, August 3, at their last home game of the season at Tiger Park, the Tigers scored so many hits that the game ended early with BP defeating the St. Clair Wood Ducks, 12-2.

However, BP lost to Waterville, 0-4, on Sunday, August 4, and their season ended on Saturday, August 10, when the Tigers lost 2-1 to Waterville. The Tigers ended 19-9 overall with a 10-4 mark in RVL play.


August

Mapping the Past: Part 3

In their research of grave sites at Redeemer Lutheran Cemetery on July 31, Dr. Ron Schirmer of Minnesota State University’s AGES Research Lab and his assistants encountered different spellings of the same name on headstones as well as in church records. These discrepancies introduced an age-old archeological quandary: Do you record exactly what’s written or do you fix what you absolutely know are mistakes?

Hands-Free Law on Aug. 1

Minnesota’s hand-free law, the measure that gives law enforcement the clean-cut ability to ticket motorists for using cell phones while driving, took effect August 1; the BP Police Dept. issued at least four tickets in four days.

Scott-Carver Thresher Festival

For the 56th year, the Scott-Carver Threshers put on their annual Old Time Harvest Festival between BP and Jordan during the August 2-4 weekend to celebrate eras of agricultural life that have long since passed.

Pool Opening Went Swimmingly

BP’s long-awaited Aquatic Center opened Friday, August 2, with a splash and a great turn-out for the grand opening and ribbon cutting celebration. First in line and in the pool were seven-year-old Nolan Crooks, ten-year-old Sean Crooks and ten-year-old Eric Hoff.

Schmitz Replaced Wirt

Hope Residence, a ministry of The Lutheran Home Association, named Megan Schmitz of Belle Plaine as Therapeutic Recreation Director. Schmitz replaced Deb Wirt of New Prague who retired after more than 20 years of caring for souls within TLHA organization.

Scott County Fishing Derby

Kids from all over Scott County and their families flocked to Cedar Lake near New Prague on Monday, August 5, for the 20th annual Youth Fishing Derby hosted by the emergency and law enforcement personnel of Scott County.

New Part-Time Police Officer

Blaz (pronounced Blaze) Zlate, a native of Slovenia who now lives in Anoka, began working as BP’s new part-time police officer in early August. Zlate said he grew up around cops and always knew he wanted to be one - in a smaller community [like BP] so he can better connect with the people he serves.

Presley’s Backpack Program

For the fifth year running, fourth-grader Presley Volek and her family collected backpacks and school supplies from the public for BP’s students in need.

Excelsior-Henderson Remembered

It’s been 20 years since the now defunct Excelsior-Henderson Motorcycle Company opened its doors in BP, and to commemorate the milestone, the Excelsior-Henderson Road Club, a group of collectors and riders from all over the world, gathered in BP from July 31 to Aug. 4, to celebrate the machines which, in their opinion, ride like no other bikes.

Car Wash Coin Thieves

The BP Police Dept. was seeking the public’s help in locating two suspects, one male and one female, who attempted to steal the coins from a machine at Silver Bullet Car Wash on August 9.

Car Crashed into Candy Store

While traveling south on Hwy. 169 between Jordan and BP, a Chevrolet Equinox, driven by Jovan Davell Brown, age 42 of St. Paul, rear-ended a Honda Odyssey carrying a family from Iowa and then went off the road and slammed into Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store at 1 a.m. on Sunday, August 11. Authorities determined that alcohol was a factor in the crash. In response, the Wagner family hired local artist Lana Beck to artfully repair the damage by painting a vehicle crashing into the building.

BPFD Celebrated 125 Years of Service

To mark the occasion, the fire department pulled out all of the stops. From live music for a street dance to balloon artists, to the beanbag tournament and time-honored water fights, the 12-hour celebration on Saturday, August 17, was nothing short of a community hurrah.

Target Shooters Charged

 Four adults - Blake Martin, William Martin, Ian Simson, and Jasmine Morrow - were charged with felony counts of intentionally discharging firearms under circumstances that endangered the safety of the public, in connection to an incident on June 25, in which a motorcyclist was struck in the chest by a stray bullet on Carver County Road 40.

New School District Employees

The BP School District welcomed four new teachers - Kyle Krueger, Renee Dauk-Blees, Abby Merlis, and Rita Iverson; seven new staff members - Sara Hayes, Barb Fisel, Amy McAulay, Claire Otto, Angie Hoff, Micayla Shea, and Lindsay Foster; and a new elementary principal, Ben Tressel.

City Council Discussions

The BP City Council continued their discussion following their request in June that a resolution be drafted calling for the removal of all farm structures at 961 Meridian Street South, which housed Stier Trucking on the southern edge of BP.

Goodbye, Solid Grounds

After just over one year following its grand opening, the Solid Grounds Coffee House in BP’s Ridgeview Health Campus was set to close down operations, by its parent institution, The Lutheran Home Association, effective Sept. 18.

2019 Fall Sports Preview

• The BPHS cross country hoped their work over the summer would pay off during the season, according to Coach Steve Schroeder.

• The football team anticipated utilizing players’ versatility “to develop as many athletes at different spots as possible,” stated Coach Joe Joyce.

• Coach Melissa Hanson said, “Having lost five seniors from our starting line-up [on the tennis team], we will have to create our momentum this season by improving with each practice and match.”

• The BPHS volleyball team entered the season ranked fourth in the state, as the returning state consolation champions, but Coach Richard Foust believed the Tigers had to earn their new ranking.

Black Bear Spotted Nearby

When reviewing the footage on his wildlife camera, Mark Brennhofer saw a large black bear roaming around the woods on his property just after midnight on August 15 near County Road 3 and Highway 19 near Belle Plaine.

46th Annual Pioneer Power Show

The attraction that superseded all others at this year’s Pioneer Power Show was the Hart Parr tractor, along with Oliver and Cletrac tractors. David Preuhs, the founder and “unofficial mayor” of the Le Sueur County Pioneer Power Association, showcased a Hart Parr 20 tractor that he had recently restored.

Highlights of Aug. 26th School Board Meeting

• Omni-directional cameras and e-cigarette vapor sensors in school bathrooms were almost ready for the opening week of school.

• Board members discussed potential upgrades to the district’s performing arts center’s lights and sound system.

• Staff members looked forward to the implementation of schools’ newly adopted social-emotional learning programs.

• Supt. Ryan Laager received “high marks” in relationship to his intended goals for the school district.

• The two-year master agreement wit the BP Education Association was finalized.

New Machine for the BPHS Machine Shop

A computer numerical control (CNC) plasma cutter was purchased for $29,000, thanks to a joint effort between the BP School Board, Tractor Supply Company, and BP FFA alumni. The Lone Star Spitfire plasma cutter is capable of cutting steel as thin as Christmas ornaments or as thick as a half-inch and also engrave fine details on to the surface of the steel.

BP Winners at the State Fair

• Zachary Olsen took second place for his colored pencil drawing “Sentimental Memories”.

• Julian Reimer earned second place in the juniors division at the State Fair Fiddle Contest.

• Robert Chard came home with four ribbons for his six wine entries.

• Symphany Brown and Greta Steinhagen showed their goats at the State Fair.

• Samantha Kubes and Amber Glisczinski received first place blue ribbons for their red and white Holsteins in the 4-H dairy show.

• Austin Kehr took home a first place blue ribbon for his model rocket in the 4-H aerospace class after judging on Sept. 2.

End of Season for Gray Tigers

BP’s Gray Tigers, Class AA state champions in 2018, ended 2019 with a 13-2 victory over the Jordan Alers on Sunday, August 25, but went just 1-3 in the state tournament to finish 7th in Class A.


September

Missing Boater on MN River Identified

Authorities continued searching the Minnesota River north of BP after they received a report of an unoccupied boat with its motor running near the Hwy. 25 bridge on Monday, Sept. 2, at 10:50 a.m. The missing boater was identified as Bruce Copenhaver, 62, of Watertown, MN. His body was discovered on Thursday morning, Sept. 5.

The Wooden Fence

Written as creative non-fiction from the first person point of view by Dale Albrecht, a BP native who now resides in Maine, ‘The Wooden Fence’ chronicles the life and times of Albrecht, including his family’s rich history in circus performing and the friends with whom he got in trouble as a teenager growing up in BP.

BP Public Schools Enroll 1582 Students

On Tuesday, Sept. 3, 263 students began classes at BP Junior High and 487 at BP Senior High School. On Thursday, Sept. 5, Chatfield Elementary School welcomed 341 students and Oak Crest Elementary School greeted 491.

BP Parochial Schools Improve Libraries

Our Lady of the Prairie Catholic School welcomed 45 students in preschool through sixth grade, after the staff worked hard over the summer to make the school’s library more welcoming and easier to navigate. Trinity Lutheran School had 54 students enrolled in preschool through eighth grade and welcomed Claire Boeder, a new teacher in fifth and sixth grades. Trinity’s library was  reorganized during the summer by Susan Van Houten, teacher of grades three and four.

Plaza’s One-Year Anniversary

The BP community gathered at the Downtown Plaza on Wed., Sept. 4, exactly one year after its opening, for an evening of live entertained by musician Andrew Orvick and Poet Amanda Judd and with an opportunity to purchase food from Kona Ice, Russell’s Traveling Kitchen and The Dawg House. This event was part of the city’s Community Conversations initiative.

Gourds Replace Grass

Deb and Bob Stoffel decided to plant pumpkins instead of grass in the 20-by-40-foot front yard of their house on the corner of North Cedar and East State streets in BP.

American Legion Centennial Day

During the BP City Council meeting on Sept. 3, Mayor Chris Meyer declared Monday, Sept. 16, as “American Legion Centennial Day” and praised the veterans service organization, which was celebrating its 100th anniversary through Veterans Day on Nov. 11, for its contribution to the community.

Gaga Pit at Oak Crest

BP senior Vivian Herrmann earned a Girl Scout Gold Award by completing a project for the playground at Oak Crest Elementary School in BP. After researching students’ needs, Herrmann spearheaded the development of a 20-by-20-foot pit, where students can enjoy playing gaga, a variation of dodgeball.

Emma Krumbee’s Scarecrow Festival

First place winning scarecrows on display at Emma Krumbee’s from Saturday, Sept. 7, until Sunday, Oct. 27, (in their respective categories) included the following: Mary Otto of BP,  Traditional Harvest-Adult; Sydney Hartman of BP, Traditional Harvest-Teen; Grady Carlson of BP, Traditional Harvest-Youth; Lori Feltz of Savage, Humorous-Adult; Calvin Hartman of BP, Humorous-Teen; Miles Carlson of BP, Humorous-Youth; and Marcie Hartman of BP, Celebrity-Adult.

Homecoming Candidates Named

Homecoming King candidates at BPHS included Matt Fink, Colton Kerkow, Ben Hunsader, Josh Gregory, and Dylan Kahle. Queen candidates were Kara Reitz, Kimberly Teal, Kaitlen Holmbeck, Brooke Adamietz, and Victoria Larson.

Grain Bin Accident

Rodger Slater, 74, of Eagen, died Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 10,after being trapped inside a grain bin on his farm in Faxon Township, five miles west of Belle Plaine.

Controversial Apt. Complex

At their meeting Monday night, Sept. 16, the BP City Council approved the development program and tax increment financing plan for a two-building apartment complex, Belle Court Apartments, slated to be built by Schrom Construction on a vacant lot on Elk Street in the southern portion of BP. Doug Anderson, a spokesman for  the group of BP residents called Preserve Our Neighborhood, described the council’s lack of transparency in the preceding  months leading up to that evening’s hearing which he called a farce.

From One Family to Another

The 14,000-square foot building located at 301 South Meridian Street in BP that once belonged to the family of Bill and Joe Huber, the building’s third generation owners of Red Owl and later SuperValu grocery stores, was sold to the owners of Berger Interiors - Kevin and Cindy Berger and their son and daughter-in-law, Brian and Kelli.

Directors Receive Awards

BPHS’s one-act play directors earned the honor of their peers in the Minnesota Educators of Theater Association in St. Cloud on Saturday, Sept. 14.Tony Hartmann received the Outstanding Educator of the Year Award, and Chris Moore received the Distinguished Service Award. The joint awards marked the first time in META history that two directors from the same school won the awards in the same year.

Landon’s Law

On Aug. 14, 18-year-old Landon Gran, a senior at St. Peter High School and an active member of the school’s FFA, was killed by an auger in a grain bin on a neighbor’s farm. His mother, Michele Gran, spoke to the members of the Nicollet County Farm Bureau during its annual meeting on Sept. 14, advocating for new farm safety legislation called “Landon’s Law.”

Legion Post’s Namesake

American Legion Post #144 in BP was chartered and organized in 1942 and named after Leo B. Neubeiser, a BP native, for the sacrifices he made for the country during World War I. In recognition of the American Legion Centennial Day, a history of the local Legion’s namesake written by J. Robert Neubeiser, the great grandson of Louis Neubeiser (brother of Franz Josef) and the third cousin of Leo Neubeiser, was published in the BP Herald.  

More BPHS Class Reunions

The BPHS Class of 1954 reunited for their 65th class reunion on Wednesday noon, Sept. 11, at Dangerfield’s in Shakopee, and the Class of 1964 met for their 55th class reunion on Saturday, Sept. 14, at Ridges at Sand Creek near Jordan.

Homecoming 2019

BPHS celebrated Homecoming with a variety of events during the week of Sept. 23-27, beginning with the coronation of Queen Kara Reitz and King Matt Fink on Monday afternoon and ending with the football team’s defeat of Norwood Young America, 30-12, on Friday night.

Hall of Fame

Family and friends joined life-long BP resident Dave “Greek” Wagner at the St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center on Saturday, Sept. 21, to watch and celebrate his induction into the Minnesota State Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame. Wagner played amateur baseball in the area for 52 years, including 15 seasons as a member of the BP town team.

Local Streamer Showcased his Art

Since the beginning of the year, BP artist and Twitch streamer Mitch Kuhnke had live-streamed himself painting the pets of those who commissioned his work, including a total of 73 dogs and 14 cats, in memory of his late dog, Missy. On Sept. 27-29, Kuhnke joined 95 other artists in Artist Alley at TwitchCon, an annual convention, held this year in San Diego, CA, dedicated to the streaming platform in its namesake.

School Board Business

The BP School Board gave preliminary approval to the 2019 payable 2020 budget and levy, which was poised to be set at its maximum, including an 1.83% increase, at the meeting on Monday, Sept. 23. In other business, the board came to an agreement with the district’s support professionals regarding their contract for the 2019-21 school years. Also, Ann Carstens, a parent in the district and licensed school librarian, brought attention to the fact that the BP School District did not have fully staffed libraries.

Library’s 50th Anniversary

In honor of the Scott County Library System’s 50th anniversary, each of the seven libraries in the county celebrated with an open house, which included a display of library artifacts, light refreshments and a special event featuring a local artist or musician. BP’s open house was Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 25, celebrating the fact that BP had the first public library in Scott County in 1911, when the BP’s Women’s Study Club provided books for check out on Saturday afternoons in the home of Mrs. Fred Whitlock.

Miles for Monarchs

Prairie Oaks Institute partnered with Monarch Joint Venture to sponsor an educational walk and family fun event on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 6, at the POI property in the SW corner of BP. The “Miles for Monarchs” event highlighted the importance of the migratory journey monarchs make from Minnesota to Mexico.

Harvest Medallion Hunt

As a prelude to the annual BP Scenic Byway 5K and Half-Marathon races on Saturday, Oct. 12, three clues for the Harvest Medallion Hunt were published in the Herald on Sept. 25, Oct. 2 and Oct. 9. On Wednesday night, Oct. 9, Joey Gorman, 17, discovered the 2019 Harvest Medallion tucked under a rock in the mulch at Townsend Park in downtown BP. Joining Gorman in the hunt for coin hidden by Bill Kruschke were Lauren Johnson, 16, and Colin Schultz, a 2019 BPHS graduate.

Schoknecht Shootout

The third annual Schoknecht Shootout was held at the Arlington Raceway in Arlington on Saturday, Sept. 28, in honor of the late Scott Schoknecht from BP, an avid race fan who helped many race teams both in the pit area and in their home shops and who passed away unexpectedly in July 2017.

Memorial Golf Tournament

On Saturday, Sept. 29, dozens of friends and family of the late Paul Olsen, hairstylist and former owner of The Hair Loft in BP, gathered at the Montgomery National Golf Club to celebrate her life and raise funds for BPHS students who pursue a degree in cosmetology after graduation. The tournament was set up as a four-person scramble and awards went to the first and last place finishes.


October

Cash Calendars

The BP Dollars for Scholars added a new fundraiser to their repertoire. Cash Calendars for 2020 with various dollar amounts ranging from $25 to $500 on 265 days of the year are available for purchase at $25. A total of 1,000 calendars will be sold for this fundraiser.

Apples, Apples Everywhere

On the bluffs overlooking the Minnesota River Valley, Skip and Terri Cook of Minnesota Harvest, formerly owned by the Sponsel family, were very busy picking 25-26 varieties of apples on their 130-acre orchard. Throughout the season, they sell the most of Honeycrisp, Chestnut Crab, and Haralson apples.

Drive for Education

On Saturday, Oct. 5, Matt Saxe Chevrolet/Buick in BP and BPHS Choir students welcomed at least 300 people to test drive cars in the dealership parking lot as a fundraiser for the Choir’s upcoming tour in Chicago in March. The event generated $6,000.

Blood, Sweat and Gears

On Saturday, Oct. 5, the Belle Plaine and Jordan robotics teams who typically complete against each other joined forces to raise some cash for their programs by picking pumpkins in the fields of Jim’s Apple Farm.

Uncertain Future for Dairy Farmers

With the number of dairy farms in steady decline, Mark Klehr, an award-winning dairy farmer, and David Jones, a former organic dairy farmer, didn’t think that farm consolidation would happen as quickly as it has.

Discontinuation of DARE

Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE), an anti-drug education program that first made its way into Belle Plaine’s elementary education in 1992, was discontinued. The officer from the BP Police Dept. who taught fifth graders about various substances, peer pressure and other risk abatement strategies surrounding drugs and alcohol had been funded solely through city, not school district, funds.

Fire Prevention Posters

Eighteen students in kindergarten through fifth grade were honored for their fire prevention posters at the BP Fire Dept. on Saturday, Oct. 5. Averie Miesler took home the grand prize and displayed her poster alongside Blake Simons and Teresa Fogarty at the state competition.

BPHS Tennis

The BPHS tennis team’s season came to an end on Thursday, Oct. 3, when it was defeated by Annandale 6-1 in the Section 2A Tournament at Annandale High School. The team’s season record ended with five wins and eleven losses, placing them in fifth place out of eight teams in the MRC. Three seniors - Katie Piampiano, Kimberly Teal and Abby Bristlin - earned all-conference accolades, with junior Kadence Bran de Leon receiving honorable mention.

Two Hundred Wins

BPHS volleyball coach Richard Foust notched his 200th win on Tuesday, Oct. 8, when the Tigers swept the Chaska Hawks 3-0.

Safer Schools

Thanks to a one-time supplemental aid appropriation in the state’s new education budget, school districts throughout Minnesota received a combined $30 million to fund safety initiatives. Funds from the Safe Schools Supplemental Aid were earmarked for police liaisons, counseling, security, anti-gang education training, and crime prevention and safety measures for students and staff. The BP Public School District received $56,579.35, according to Minnesota Department of Education data.

State Bank Merged with First National Bank

First National Bank Minnesota announced on Friday, Oct. 11, that its purchase of the State Bank of BP had been finalized. Also, Michael Ludvick, who had served as a senior loan officer with the State Bank for five years, was named as its market president.

Scenic Byway Half Marathon

The overall winner of the Scenic Byway Half Marathon on Saturday, Oct. 12, was Brad Peterson, a track and field coach and cross country coach for BPHS, who finished the 13.1 mile race in 1:34:12. Not far behind, in fourth place overall with a time of 1:38:59, was the women’s champion Tara Henke, also from BP. Conditions were chilly as snow fell, temperatures dropped into the 30s and windswept the course.

Fundraiser at Impact Nutrition

On Sunday, Oct. 13, Karly Karst organized a fundraising event at Impact Nutrition in BP by bringing in silent auction donors and patrons to the nutrition shop with the goal of covering Caleb Pombert’s medical expenses in battling pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration (PKAN), an illness that causes iron to build up in the brain making motor functions like walking, eating and even breathing progressively more difficult.

Level Three Sex Offender

Michael Shawn Klappenbach, 46, a former BP resident and level three se offender, relocated to Chaska on Monday, Oct. 14, after being released from the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Rush City where he had been incarcerated since Nov. 18, 2013.

Increase in Vaping

To combat the possibility of vaping on school grounds, BPHS installed vaping sensors in the students’ bathrooms and locker rooms. The devices resemble smoke detectors, which when triggered, send a notification to the authorities who can then track down the culprit.

Old Press, New Memories

After recently purchasing an apple press that’s almost a century old, Jeff Bauer of BP used it to press over 100 gallons of apple cider, with the help of friends and neighbors. Bauer hoped that the cider-making get-together at his house will become an annual tradition.

Prairie Gardens

At their meeting on Monday, Oct. 21, the BP City Council approved the concept plan for Prairie Gardens, a potential residential subdivision situated on Commerce Drive West on the lot adjacent to the BP Athletic Complex. As proposed by Gary and Lynn Crosby, Phase I of the project could consist of 13 lots with 50 units and Phase II includes 16 lots with 64 units.

Public Hearing

BP residents living on Sunset Drive, Hillcrest Drive and Buffalo Street voiced their distaste for the calculation the city used in determining the final assessment for the 2019 street improvement project and stated that they would be appealing.

Happy Halloween

A variety of holiday events for adults and children were planned in BP for Oct. 24 - 31, including Witches on Main, Halloween Home Decorating Contest, Chatfield Elementary Costume Party, Trinity’s Harvest Celebration, BP Businesses’ Trick or Treating, and Nightmare on the Hill.

BP  FFA  Alumni

The BP Area FFA Alumni and Friends determined their new leadership as follows: Larry Kiewel, president; Amy Durand, digital officer; Gary Steinhagen, treasurer; and group members sharing the secretarial position.

BPHS Football

The Tigers’ football season ended on Tuesday, Oct. 22, at Providence Academy in Section 2AAA playoff action.  The team’s final record was three wins over Sibley East, Norwood Young America, and Tri-City United and six losses to Jordan, New Ulm, Marshall, Fairmont, Luverne, and Providence Academy. Members of the All-District Team for the South Central District-Silver included Cola Brown, Zach Olson and Ryan Retzer, with honorable mention going to Dylan Kahle and Matt Fink. Brown was also named the Offensive Back of the Year.

BPHS Volleyball

The volleyball team’s regular season ended with 15 wins and 6 losses. The Tigers shared the MRC title with Mayer Lutheran and Southwest Christian. During the tournament in Chaska, BP juniors Lauren Johnson and Sarah Lenz each amassed her 1,000th career dig. The Tigers qualified for the MSHSL State Volleyball Tournament by defeating Norwood Young America 3-0, Southwest Christian 3-2, and Le Sueur-Henderson 3-0 to become Section 2AA champions.

BPHS Cross Country

The six runners from BPHS who placed in the top ten to earn MRC All-Conference honors on Oct. 15 were Drew Hastings, McKenna Herrmann, Belle Jeuriseen, Malina Koepp, Savanna DeYoung, and Emmett Gerres. Receiving all-conference honorable mention were Mackenzie Murphy and Ben Hunsader. Also, Drew Hastings became the first boy from BP since 1972 to take home the MRC individual title at the conference race.

Nightmare on the Hill

After having moved their ‘Nightmare on Buffalo Street’ to German Road, Ken and Karen Anderson ratcheted up their Halloween display by transforming their pole shed into a haunted house and adding a professional theatrical make artist and previous Scream Town Talent, along with haunted, tree-lined walks through their woods. Plus, there was a small area with decorations and a circle of straw bales as well as a bonfire and farm animals for children who wanted to celebrate Halloween on Oct. 31, from 5 to 9 p.m. with something less scary.

Ball in Developer’s Court

According to city leaders, one of BP’s most anticipated projects, the construction of a Casey’s General Store and a Dollar General Store on the northeast edge of town, hit a snag because of the delayed implementation of various additions to the subdivision, including street curb and gutter and utilities, by the developer, Shaun Johnson.

Fall Photo Contest

Anna Venhuizen’s photo was selected as the winner of the BP Herald’s 2019 Fall Photo Contest. The photo was chosen as the winner based on its composition, adherence to the fall theme and its BP subject matter. Venhuizen’s photo featured the historic Episcopal Church surrounded by fall foliage on South Walnut Street in BP.

Halloween Home Decorations

Winners of the BP Herald’s inaugural Halloween Home Decorating Contest were (1) Mary Muehlenhardt on Market Avenue in rural BP, (2) Tricia and Joe Burmeister on South Willow Street, (3) Trevor Vickmark on East Main Street, and (4) Scott and Ann Troseth on Scott Lane.

Part Four: Mortality

In his fourth part of a series on the archeologists’ survey of the cemetery at Redeemer Lutheran Church between BP and Henderson, Casey Ek  met with the project’s lynch pin and instigator, Pastor Diane Goulson, who spoke about her personal motivations for initiating the project. Because of her diagnosis with pancreatic cancer in November of 2018, Goulson became “...very aware of our connection to the past, present and future...” and believes the Redeemer church community “...really speaks to the fortitude of the people.”

Which Witch?

The BP Chamber of Commerce hosted a Ladies’ Night Out in downtown BP, called Witches on Main, on Thursday, Oct. 24, to promote local shopping in a fun and festive atmosphere. Michelle Etienne won the witch’s hat contest which was new this year. At the end of the night, 63 cards were stamped by 12 downtown businesses and 10 small independent business vendors and  turned in for prizes donated by 16 businesses and organizations.

Motorcycle vs. SUV

A BP motorcyclist, Ryan Maciej, 41, was traveling southbound on Laredo Avenue near Hickory Park on Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 29, when a northbound Oldsmobile Bravada, driven by a 16-year-old male, turned in front of Maciej, who suffered multiple injuries, including a crushed pelvis and shattered elbow and knee. The teen was cited for failure to yield right of way. A GoFundMe page was set up for Maciej and his family.

High-Speed Police Chase

Anthony Sanchez-Segura, 19, of Shakopee, was driving his BMW over 90 mph in downtown BP on Tuesday, Oct. 29, and eventually crashed into a utility truck at the intersection of Willow and Raven streets. A 16-year-old female passenger suffered a cut on her neck in the crash. Sanchez-Segura was facing a felony count of fleeing in a motor vehicle and multiple counts for failure to stop at a stop sign and failing to signal a turn.


November

BPHS Cross Country at State

At the MSHSL Cross Country Championship Meet at St. Olaf College in Northfield on Saturday afternoon, Nov. 2, the BPHS girls team placed 14th in Class A. Senior McKenna Herrmann ended her high school career as BPXC’s fastest female 5K runner with the school’s record time of 19:24 and a competitor in the state meet for four consecutive years. This year she finished in 77th place. In the boys race, Drew Hastings finished in 47th place and ended his high school career as BPXC’s fastest male 5K runner with the school’s record time of 16:12 and the only male runner to make a state appearance three times.

City Council Making Updates

On Monday night, Nov. 4, the BP City Council  took the next step in making street improvements slated for the Jane Properties subdivision in northeast BP by accepting the preliminary engineer’s report that estimated the costs, necessity and feasibility of the road project that would adjust Hickory Blvd. and construct Prosper St. Another issue had to do with the main deck of the brand new BP Aquatic Center, where rebar ties were beginning to show through the concrete. The pool’s contractor, Bradbury Stamm Construction, suggested patching and sealing the existing concrete on the deck rather than demolishing and replacing the upper deck which could be risky to the facility’s foundation. City officials would also like an extended warranty on the deck.

Veterans Day

The BP Herald saluted local veterans by dedicating a page of the Nov. 6th issue to thank them for their courage, sacrifice and service. Representatives of the local VFW, American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary participated in the Veterans Day program on Monday, Nov. 11, at BPHS as the color guard. The speaker for the program was Dawn Underforth who spoke of her 11 years of service with the U.S. Navy.

Home for the Holidays

A special, 24-page supplement to the BP Herald and Henderson Independent was included in the Nov. 6th issues. “Home for the Holidays” included a variety of local events and activities, helpful hints and tips, as well as gift ideas and recipes.

BPHS Volleyball at State

The Tigers upset the second-seeded Marshall Tigers Thursday night, Nov. 7, by defeating them in three out of four sets. During the game with Marshall, junior Sarah Lenz achieved her 1000th set assist. In the semi-final match-up against the third-seeded North Branch on Friday, Nov. 8, the Tigers lost in five sets. On Saturday, Nov. 9, the BP Tigers earned third place in five sets by defeating Concordia Academy. Mikayla Coops was named to the All-Tournament Team for the MSHSL Tournament and the MRC’s Most Valuable Player. The 2019 BPHS Volleyball Team ended the season with 21 wins and 7 losses. Members of the All-Conference Team included Lauren Johnson, Morgan Kruger and Mikayla Coops, with Sarah Lenz receiving honorable mention.

Joint Nordic Ski Program

Jordan and BP combined to create Scott West Ski Club with the intention of becoming a MSHSL competitive team during the 2020-21 school ski season. The club planned to meet three days a week for six weeks from Jan. 6 through Feb. 13, first at the Jordan High School campus and then at the Ney Center near Henderson. According to Lisa Jamison, a catalyst for the new program, their main objective was to learn ski techniques in both of the Nordic Ski disciplines of Skate and Classic.

Happy Retirement

Patrons of the State Bank of Belle Plaine bid farewell to outgoing president Paul Gatz and outgoing vice president Bill Gatz at their retirement party at the bank on Friday, Nov. 9.

Future Eagle Scout

Zach Olson, 17, collected donated winter clothing over a two-week period beginning in mid-October, as part of his community Eagle Project to earn Boy Scouts’ top honor before his 18th birthday. On Wednesday, Nov. 13, the CAP Agency out of Shakopee picked up the items at the Olson family home in BP for distribution to the less fortunate throughout Scott County.

Liquid Propane Bottleneck

Farmers throughout the region were feeling the effects of tightening liquid propane distribution as the harvest season was wrapping up. Wet conditions in southern Minnesota created a scenario in which farmers were still trying to dry their crops late into the season. In addition, the aging infrastructure on the propane supply pipelines from Kansas and Texas created a bottleneck effect for propane suppliers pulling from the pipeline at the same time. Propane prices also continued to climb with a gallon of propane costing about $1.59 in mid-Nov., up from $1.31 at the end of Oct.

Fire Dept. Staffing Concerns

Amid BP’s busiest year for fire calls on record and less than a month before Fire Chief Matt Stier’s retirement, civic leaders were pondering various solutions for the increasing need for in-town responders.

Teen Suicide Averted

A female teenager, whose leg was over the edge of the Hwy. 25 Bridge north of BP and apparently attempting to commit suicide, was pulled back onto the bridge on Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 12, by officers with the BP Police Dept.  She was from Arizona but had family in the area and was transported to a medical facility to be psychologically evaluated.

Conference Bowling Champs

The bowling team consisting of Derek Hoffman, Lucas O’Brien, Ben Davis, Aidan Heidecker, Michael Glynn, and Ethan Hoffman, along with their coach Kris Davis, defeated New Prague to become the conference champions and move on to the Super Regional Tournament, where they took third place out of 20 teams and qualified for the state competition on Sunday, Dec. 8, in Alexandria. This was the first year in program history that the team was made up exclusively of BP bowlers.

Please Sign Here

BP student-athletes Dan Cooper (track), McKenna Herrmann (cross country), Colton Kerkow (baseball), and Morgan Kruger (volleyball) committed to participate in their respective college sports at a signing ceremony at BPHS on Wednesday, Nov. 13.

Angie Craig’s Town Hall Meeting

At her 11th town hall meeting since taking office as the U.S. Representative for Minnesota’s Second Congressional District, Angie Craig addressed a variety of controversial issues at Oak Crest Elementary School in BP on Saturday morning, Nov. 23. Craig focused her message to about 30 people in attendance on lowering the cost of healthcare, improving infrastructure, supporting farm families, and increasing career and technical education. A video of the hour and a half meeting was available on the Herald’s Facebook page.

A New Neighborhood Watch

The BP Police Dept. asked members of the public who have doorbell or other domestic cameras in use at their home or business to register their devices with the dept. so that police might access the video footage during investigations of crime or even traffic accidents or fires in the neighborhood.

School District’s Academic Goals

The BP School Board set specific goals for all students in each of the following five areas outlined by the Minnesota Dept. of Education as part of the initiative known as World’s Best Workforce: being ready for kindergarten, achieving grade-level literacy in third grade, being ready for career and college by graduation, graduating from high school, and closing the achievement gap between all groups.

‘Tis the Season of Giving

• The BP Rotary Club and Scott County CAP Agency teamed up for their 29th annual Christmas Gift Project by collecting toys and gifts for Scott and Carver County residents experiencing financial difficulties. Volunteers placed trees with ornaments each labeled for a specific age group in three local churches as well as drop boxes in three local locations for the donations until Dec. 10.

• BP Public Schools sponsored their Holiday Wishes program with donors signing up to sponsor a family/child in either a gift or stocking stuffer category or grocery gift card by Dec. 10.

• The BP Police Dept. with the help of the Girl Scouts, sponsored the sixth annual toy drive that gave brand new toys to children in need. Collection boxes were available from Nov. 22 to Dec. 14 at six different locations in town. Families in need of toys called to make an appointment to pick out toys between Dec. 16 and Dec. 20.

• Participants in the unofficial 5K Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning at Heritage Square Park in BP were encouraged to bring donations for the food shelf, e.g. baking mixes, paper products or cash.

• In addition to collecting food items, the BP Area Food Shelf accepted donations of new and lightly used, unwrapped toys during the regular hours of operation on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings in the holiday season.

• The Southern Valley Alliance for Battered Women was seeking donations through Dec. 9 of everyday essentials as part of its Gifts of Hope program, because women may leave home without time to pack all the items needed for themselves and their children.

• A team led by Jodi Boisjolie, within a non-profit organization called Best Christmas Ever, held a variety of fundraisers in BP to help families who were down on their luck though no fault of their own.

Plane Collided with Power Lines

A single engine place became entangled in power lines and suspended upside down south of Shakopee in the 2500 block of 150th Street West in Louisville Township on Saturday afternoon, Nov. 23. The pilot, who was the sole occupant of the plane, was identified as 65-year-old Thomas Koskovich of Shakopee and did not sustain any injuries as a result of the incident.

Winter Sports Preview

• Coach Paul Fogarty described the BPHS Boys Basketball Team as a really motivated group with an increased dedication and improved attitude who were doing exactly what he asked of them during the first week of practice - with smiles on their faces.

• Coming off a winning (14-12) 2018-19 season that stood out as somewhat of a breakout year for the team, the BPHS Girls Basketball Team, coached by Mindy Chevalier, made a goal to come home with at least two wins in the post season.

• The BPHS Dance Team increased to 24 dancers in high kick and 14 dancers in jazz. Coaches Crystal Ward and Mikayla Manley believed the new boost in numbers could mean the difference between solid scores and great scores this season.

• The Panthers were looking to carry on a dynamic matrix of success in the upcoming 30th year of Scott West Wrestling behind the motto-theme of “Two Town, One Team; 30 Years, the Train Moves Forward.”


December

New Band Trailer

In memory of their late wife and mother Petty Therese O’Brien Schley who was a BPHS alumna from the class of 1972, Michael Schley and his daughters, Maureen, Erin and Renee, donated a trailer to transport the instruments  of the BPHS Band to sporting events and competitions.

City Council Set Budget

The BP City Council adopted the final 2020 budget and levy at their meeting on Monday night, Dec. 2. The roughly $6 million budget was broken down into nine major areas, with a third going toward public safety, a fifth for public works and about 16 percent to administrative and general government costs. Parks and recreation, the fire department, community development, facilities and transportation, library, and emergency medical split the remaining third of the budget in descending proportional order.

Stier Resigned from City Council

Councilman Ben Stier submitted his resignation from the BP City Council because he was moving outside the city limits. His term was set to end at the end of December in 2020.

Stier Resigned from Fire Dept.

Following 20 years of service with the BP Fire Department, Fire Chief Matt Stier resigned from the position and from the department. Filling his role as chief remained an ongoing discussion between the fire dept. and city leaders.

New Corvette Unveiled

About 600 car enthusiasts witnessed the unveiling of the Corvette C8, a long-promised model featuring mid-engine design at Matt Saxe Chevrolet and Buick in BP. The Saxe dealership was the only place in Minnesota where the new Corvette was available to the viewing public. The C8 was named the 2020 Motor Trend Car of the Year.

BP Woman Assaulted Police Officer

Maureen May Mulcare, 55, of BP, reportedly called 911 about two people digging through the garbage behind the BP Area Food Shelf. When Mulcare first refused to respond to officers who went to her apartment on Sunday afternoon, Dec. 1, and then began fighting with them and screaming “lewd and profane” comments at them, Mulcare was arrested, facing one count of fourth-degree assault of a police officer and a gross misdemeanor for obstructing the legal process.

“Traditions”

The BP Historical Society sponsored the annual holiday event on Thursday evening, Dec. 5, at the Hooper-Bowler-Hillstrom House, where the public could visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus and make an ornament in the Red Barn Museum, tour the house and hear Victorian music, take rides in a horse-drawn wagon, enjoy cookies and hot apple cider, listen to the BPHS Choir, and watch Johnny Miller illuminate the tree.

A Very Rotary Christmas

Representatives from the BP Rotary Club picked up donated Christmas presents from BP churches on Tuesday, Dec. 10 and 17, and then delivered them to the CAP Agency in Shakopee.

Customer Appreciation Day x 2

Both the State Bank of BP and the Cornerstone State Bank celebrated customer appreciation day on Friday, Dec. 6, by serving their customers soups and cookies and giving them gifts.

Santa Shack

Thanks to the BP Police Dept. and Public Works Dept., children had the opportunity to visit with Santa at his shack in the BP Plaza on the corner of Main and Meridian streets on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, Dec. 7-8 and 14-15.

Deacon Daly

Mike Daly, longtime congregant at Our Lady of the Prairie Catholic Church in BP, was ordained as a deacon on Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Cathedral of Saint Paul. Daly delivered his first homily on Sunday, Dec. 8, which also happened to be his birthday, and expected to be assigned to work with prisoners at a correctional facility next summer.

BP Area Food Shelf Renovations

The BP Area Food Shelf was set to get a major facelift by Feb. 1, 2020, thanks to a grant provided by Health Partners. As part of a statewide initiative called the SuperShelf Program, the updated facility will provide healthy eating options and make the space feel more like a modern grocery store for those who need the assistance of a food shelf.  

BP School Board’s 2020 Levy

The BP School Board hosted its annual Truth in Taxation meeting on Monday, Dec. 16, without any opposition or input from local residents, and approved the 2020 levy, totaling $5,114,432.14 or an increase of 1.83 percent over last year.

BP City Council Highlights

The decision to fill the recently vacated fire chief I position, left by the resignation of Matt Stier, was temporarily put on hold, as the conversation surrounding the availability of daytime responders churned both at the city level and across Scott County.

The appointment of two new lieutenants to the BP Fire Department, Rob Selly and Mike Gau, was approved by the city council.

City leaders announced their plan to appoint Patricia Krings, former administrative assistant for the City of BP for about 30 years, to succeed Councilman Ben Stier, who resigned from his position in early Dec.

The city council approved a setback variance and lot combination for a property in the 300 block of Meridian Street North for the construction of rental duplexes by Scott Schmidt.  

TLHA’s CEO

Chris Meyer, current executive vice president and chief financial/business officer for The Lutheran Home Association, was named the association’s CEO, effective Jan.1, 2020.

Improving Connectivity in BP

One of the largest independent fiber broadband and telecommunications providers in the nation, Arvig Communications, announced its implementation of 1,600 fiber route miles of its upgraded network, which meant that many BP residents who are underserved by broadband services as defined by the FCC, according to an online survey of rural areas in Scott County last summer, could now get faster, more efficient internet speeds.

One of Top 15

BP native Katie Schmidt, 22-year-old daughter of Cory and Nikki Schmidt, placed within the top 15 finishers, as a semi-finalist, at the Miss USA-MN Pageant on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.

Less Than a Year Later

Kateryna and Robert McCloskey and their sons, Daniel and Benjamin, moved into their new home at 301 E. Main Street in BP, less than a year after a fire destroyed their previous, more than 100-year-old house on the property due to an electrical issue. The family noted that the community support they received following their home being destroyed on a frigid Monday night last January was both touching and humbling.

Best Christmas (Ever) Possible

Dozens of volunteers showed up at the home of Jake and Dana (Carney) Schaefer and their three children on Friday, Dec. 20, with dozens of gifts for the family selected as this year’s “Best Christmas Ever” program recipient. A couple of months ago, the Schaefers suffered a terrible tragedy when their son, Brogan, died in a swing set accident while visiting a friend, so the well-wishers were trying to ensure it was the “Best Christmas Possible” for the family.

BP Post Office

The crew at the BP Post Office, including Jeff McCabe, Anita Ernst, Nate Ediger, Diane Kes, Julie Oldenburg, Darrell Bieder, Leo Giesen, Cathy Creech, and Postmaster Brittany Hable, handled more packages each day this year than last, even though they were down three postal workers.

BB Teams at Top of MRC

The BPHS girls basketball team was in sole possession of the top spot in the MRC as the only undefeated team in the conference. Their wins so far included those over Southwest Christian (71-61), Norwood Young America (66-39), Mayer Lutheran (67-59), Jordan (45-43), and Sibley East (56-38). In addition, Sarah Lenz and Lauren Johnson became the 9th and 10th female basketball players in BPHS history to score 1000 points.

With wins over MRC-rivals Southwest Christian (78-59), Norwood Young America (77-57) and  Mayer Lutheran (69-67) in mid-December, the BPHS boys basketball team was in first place, along with the Jordan Hubmen, in the Minnesota River Conference.

First 1st in History

The BPHS dance team competed against multiple teams at four meets in December. At the Waconia Invitational on Saturday, Dec. 14, the BP’s jazz team took first place for the first time in the program’s history; the high kick team earned third place.

Scott West Wrestling

The Scott West wrestling team experienced some ups and downs during their first month of the season, defeating Wayzata (43-25), placing first in a tournament at Lakeville North, defeating Prior Lake (41-21), placing 20th at the Minnesota Christmas Tournament in Rochester, and         taking 11th place at the Rumble on the Red Tournament in Fargo, N.D. For the first time in the history of Scott West wrestling, a senior Panther, Jace Demmers, was selected as the Outstanding Wrestler (OW) in the upper weight classes at the Rumble on the Red Tourney. As the #1 seed in his bracket, Demmers earned the championship at 160 lbs.

Five Best Decorated Homes

The Sage Valley Ranch located at 23665 Sage Ave. and decorated by Jean and Jane Seykora and Linda Olson took first place in the BP 2019 Holiday Home Lighting Contest.

Second place went to Cindy LaPointe at 220 N. Grove Street. Mitch Kunke at 705 Butler Drive placed third. At 138 Sunset Drive, Rhonda and Chris Berscheit took fourth place. Kevin and Michelle Soller at 710 W. South Street placed fifth.

GBB at U of M

Members of the BPHS girls basketball teams traveled to the University of Minnesota for a day of team bonding on Saturday, Dec. 21, and watched the Gopher women’s basketball team defeat Lehigh University.

Almost Ready for Ice

Crews worked to finish up installing the boards at the new hockey rink in Hickory Park, so the rink could be flooded during the first week of January.

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