From Our Files - 10 Years Ago
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Thirty Years Ago (1989)
Construction for the Waste Water Treatment Facility expansion project was in full force, with about 14 employees moving dirt on the land adjacent to the current facility on the west end of Belle Plaine. The total estimated cost of the project was $3 million, of which the city’s portion was approximately $800,000 plus land acquisition costs that had not yet been determined. The Federal Environmental Protection Agency was contributing 55%, and the state Pollution Control Agency was adding 22½ % of the cost. The city had been planning the project for ten years, but it had been waiting for money to pay for it. With the addition of new primary and secondary ponds, the size of the Waste Water Treatment Facility was expected to almost double, increasing Belle Plaine’s total capacity to serve 4,000 people, which was the projected population for the year 2010.
The Belle Plaine School Board denied a request from Donn Whetzel for a change in the bus route based of his inability to watch his children safely board the bus due to a bend in the road. Whetzel said that Bud Hart also lived on that road and had a child in a similar situation. One major factor in the school board’s decision was that there was not a good place to turn a bus around near Whetzel’s house because the roads were narrow. Cost and ridership relating to a change in the route were also factors. However, several board members offered alternatives to help solve the problem.
Belle Plaine High School added a new program to improve student recognition. In addition to the “Senior of the Month” award, “Students of the Quarter” from each academic area were recognized, so more students with a variety of strengths received awards. For the first quarter in the 1989-90 school year, 22 students were awarded certificates in front of the entire student body.
The U.S. Postal Service issued a block of 25-cent stamps portraying three dinosaurs, including Tyrannosaurus, Stegosaurus and Brontosaurus, as well as a Pteranodon, a winged creature that ruled the skies while dinosaurs ruled the land. In recognition of this depiction of prehistoric animals on stamps, Belle Plaine Postmaster Linda Matson and Jordan postal worker Pat Rezac spoke to the second and fourth grade classes at Belle Plaine Elementary School about dinosaur stamps and stamp collecting.
Six FFA members from Belle Plaine High School were among more than 20,000 members at the National FFA Convention on Nov. 8-11 in Kansas City. Students participating were Brad Karnitz, Chris Kiewel, Shelly Fogarty, Becky Glisczinski, Lisa Schoknecht, and Candy Lambrecht. Along with FFA Advisor Joel Larsen, they joined about 110 people from the area that chartered three buses to make the eight-hour trip south.
During the week of Oct. 23-27, nine fifth and sixth grade teachers, 52 students, and 11 parents/chaperones learned about the environment at the Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center located in Isabella, near Finland, Minnesota. The most popular classes were adventure ropes, canoeing, voyageur canoe, beaver ecology, rock climbing, Ojibwa heritage, and initiative games. Verne Larson, project chairman at the Belle Plaine Elementary School, commented, “They love it [so much] they always want to stay another week.”
Belle Plaine High School Drama Club presented “The Importance of Being Earnest: on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 18 and 19. Oscar Wilde’s satiric comedy was led by Chris Skelley as Algernon Moncrieff and Mike McCue as Jack Worthing, both of whom wanted to be Earnest and win a lady’s affection. Kathy Malz as Gwendolyn and Shelley Koehane as Cecily were the recipients of their affections. The infamous, Victorian grande-dame, Lady Bracknell, was played by senior Carol Schmidt. The supporting cast included Megan Daly, Kirby McDonald, Tracy Flynn, Mike Skelley, and Angie Johnson. Director Cahill said, “Oscar Wilde is wordy, so getting all the words to the audience, understandably, and with a little British accent, has been the challenge for this show, but “Earnest” is a great comedy.”
The remains of Joseph A. Albrecht, who was killed in Vietnam on August 2, 1968, were returned to Belle Plaine and re-interred next to his father and mother in the Sts. Peter and Paul Cemetery. A graveside memorial was held on Saturday morning, Nov. 4.
60 Years Ago (1959)
Fire of unknown origin destroyed the large 106x36-foot barn and granary on the Edwin Harms farm five miles northeast of Belle Plaine. Lost in the blaze were three yearling heifers, 2500 bales of alfalfa hay, 1200 bales of straw, 1100 bushels of oats, milking equipment, and other farm equipment. Total loss was estimated at between $16,000 and $20,000.
The most dangerous of all farm equipment, the corn picker, took its toll in this area last week when Hilary Trimbo suffered the loss of his left hand and wrist in the treacherous machine.
Final touches were being put on the BPHS Junior Class Play with only a few days until the first curtain. The play, “Little Women”, was under the direction of Roger Delgehausen. The four sisters were played by Lois Stier, Ann Ramstead, Mary Ann Herder, and Patty Mahoney. Others in the cast were John Miller, Duane Wagener, Helen Stier, Marlene Rebers, and Otto Schultz.
The members of Zion Lutheran Church gathered at the church and auditorium to carry out a surprise on the 25th wedding anniversary of Pastor and Mrs. John E. Melchert, and also the 25th anniversary of his ordination.
A frightened young Minneapolis man drove into Belle Plaine and called the Scott County Sheriff’s Office to report that his hunting companion may have drowned on the river between Henderson and Blakeley. Two deputies searched the river in their patrol boat, but the missing man had docked at the Blakeley Bridge about a half hour ahead of the deputies. His only explanation was that he had misjudged the distance, and with no motor, had traveled only as fast as the current would take him.
Maynard Harms and a group of his FFA boys attended the general livestock and meat judging contest held at the Hormel Packing Plant in Austin. Participating in the contest were Bob Dickie, Bill Zaun, Elroy Riesgraf, Bill Leonard, and Terry Ische. Among 20 schools, Belle Plaine came out seventh in meat judging.
Charles J. Krumrey, native of Blakeley Township, died at the Veterans’ Hospital in Minneapolis at the age of 61.
In a surprise move, Lakeville, the newest member of the Minnesota River High School Athletic Conference, announced that it was withdrawing from the conference. Lakeville said it would continue in the conference during the 1959-60 basketball season.
Greg Engfer was voted by his teammates as the Tigers’ most valuable player on the 1959 football team.
Thanksgiving specials at Hubers’ Red Owl included five 10 oz. packages of strawberries for $1, yams for 10 cents a pound, eight cans of pumpkin for $1, and 50 pounds of Robin Hood flour for $3.79.
At the theater was Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “South Pacific” starring Rossano Brazzi and Mitzi Gaynor.
90 Years Ago (1929)
Having successfully managed “the greatest football team Belle Plaine School ever had,” Coach Tom Flynn turned his attention to duplicating the record with a basketball squad.
Mr. and Mrs. Herman Ashauer observed their 20th wedding anniversary with a large gathering of relatives and friends.
M.J. McKenna was a patient in a St. Paul hospital as the result of an automobile accident in which he was pinned under his car and his skull nearly fractured. Returning from a drive to Henderson with Fred Beinhorn, his car slid off the road and overturned.
At St. John’s Church in Sibley County took place the marriage of Mary McVary and Edward Kelly, with Father Barry officiating. The couple established their home on the Kelly farm in Carver County.
The horse auctions sponsored by Frank Albrecht were going over big. Bidders came from a radius of thirty miles.
The Poultry Association elected officers as follows: Carl Brahs president, A.A. Hahn first vice president, Carl Lundborg second vice president, Harvey Ruehling secretary, and J.A. Mohrbacher treasurer.
Guest speaker at the monthly meeting of the Belle Plaine Commercial Club was George W. Bagen of Albert Lea who talked about better merchandising.
The George W. Welch family moved to New Ulm where Mr. Welch took a position with the state highway department.
Joe Wherley of near Assumption made a shipment of three hogs that weighed a total of 2,046 pounds, for which he received $153.
Duck shooting matches were a pre-Thanksgiving event. Two that week, one at the Rudolph Hespenheide farm and another at the Steve Shaughnessy farm, drew large crowds.
John Lawrence, who was born in Jessenland Township in 1881, died at the hospital in Minneapolis after a brief illness. His funeral was held at the Jessenland church.
Mr. and Mrs. Emil Peller moved here from Brownton, making their home for the present with Mrs. Petter’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Louis Ische.
120 Years Ago (1899)
J.P. Sisterman was day operator at the Belle Plaine Depot.
Ladies of the Presbyterian Church conducted their annual oyster supper and program.
The first day’s run of the new Johnson & Latzke Flour Mill was marred by an accident that befell W.F. Latzke, who got his hand caught in a set of rollers and several fingers were crushed.
Andrew Wherley arrived home from the Klondike after spending a year and nine months there. He had met with no more luck in finding gold than the others but found the trip one of great adventure. With his return, the Belle Plaine colony in the Klondike was reduced to three – M.S. Wherley, George J. Milton, and Ed Duffy.
John Lundborg, one of the first settlers in Carver County, died at the age of 67.
While alone in the farm home, eight-year-old daughter of the Patrick McVarys tried to start a fire in the stove and her clothing caught fire. She died from her burns.