It was a Memorial Day weekend for the record books as Maple Lake and several surrounding communities fell victim to a band of supercell thunderstorms that produced high winds and large hail before spawning tornadoes east of Maple Lake, most notably in Coon Rapids and Hugo.
Storms rolled through the area Sunday afternoon around 4 p.m., pelting the area with hail that ranged in size from marbles to golf ball to baseballs, leaving some lawns looking like they survived yet another late season snowstorm.
Those who served their country in the Armed Forces were honored in Maple Lake on Monday during the annual Memorial Day parade and program at the city park.
Marching units included the Maple Lake Fire Department, Legion and VFW Post and Auxiliary color guards and firing squad, Legion and VFW members, Legion and VFW Auxiliary members, Sons of the American Legion, program speakers, Boy and Girl Scout troops and the Maple Lake High School Marching Band under the direction of Tony Mazzone.
American Legion Commander Gary Jude presided over the program, which included a moment of silence for those who gave their lives in the service of their country. MLHS students Dillion McBrady and Jeana Renier respectively read "The Dash Between the Dates," and "Memorial Day."
Rev. Steven King of Holy Cross Lutheran Church delivered the Memorial Day address to the crowd assembled at the Veteran's Memorial at the park.
Effort, perseverance, achievement, fame and success were all words wrapped around the message at the 21st Annual Students of Excellence Banquet and Awards ceremony in St. Cloud.
An evening filled with accolades, best wishes and congratulations marked the event, with over 650 people attending to honor the area's top 167 high school students soon to graduate from 43 high schools in Central Minnesota.
Maple Lake Superintendent Mark Redemske served as the presiding superintendent for the evening. He encouraged the young adults to say a special thank you to those who encouraged and helped them achieve, in particular, their parents and guardians.
Criteria for selection to the recognition event is at the discretion of each school, but based upon recommended guidelines. In Maple Lake, the top four students in each graduating class are awarded the honor.
Maple Lake School District 881 just managed to squeeze in its Monday morning ground-breaking ceremony before rain drops started to fall.
The 10 a.m. event at the east end of the elementary featured student representatives of each grade from kindergarten to 12th with golden shovels to break the earth. The theme for the event was "Breaking Ground, Building Dreams, Believing in Our Future." All students in Maple Lake High School and Elementary celebrated the big day at lunch when they were served slices of 'Dirt Cake,' a creative concoction of cocolate pudding, Oreo cookie crumbs and gummie wurms.
A three-vehicle crash on Highway 55 at the intersection of Maple Avenue sent a local man to the hospital.
Pat and Al Elsenpeter of Maple Lake were heading southbound on Maple Avenue at about 8:45 a.m. on Tuesday morning when the Ford Econoline 150 they were traveling in entered the intersection with Hwy. 55 and was struck by a semi- truck traveling eastbound on the highway. The force of the collision drove the Elsenpeter vehicle into a GMC Sierra waiting at the stop sign on the south side of the intersection. That truck, driven by Chad Lofgren of Big Lake, and the Elsenpeter van came to rest on the lawn of the Maple Lake VFW.
Maple Lake Ambulance and Fire Department personnel were called to the scene and transported Al Elsenpeter to Buffalo Hospital. No other injuries were reported.
Firefighters also worked at the scene to contain diesel fuel that was leaking from the semi.
It was a week of firsts, record breaking performances, and excitement this past week for the Maple Lake track teams. On Tuesday the squads loaded up and headed up to Pillager for the Section 7A True Team track meet where the boys earned themselves a trip to state by winning the meet by 75.5 points. The girls also faired well, placing third out of 14 teams and the two teams that beat them, Esko and Staples-Motley, both earned a trip to state.
More information and pictures appear in this weeks issue of the Messenger.
The cities of Annandale and Maple Lake have taken the first step in acquiring a new partner for the Annandale/Maple Lake Wastewater Treatment Plant.
At a joint meeting of the two city councils on Monday, tentative approval was given to amending the joint powers agreement for the inclusion of Howard Lake as the third partner in the sewer plant.
Richard Lammers, the mayor of Howard Lake, opened the meeting by saying that he appreciated all the hard work the two communities had gone through to reach this point in the construction of a new joint sewer plant. He said the citizens and the city council of Howard Lake were committed to pursuing a partnership in the joint plant and were looking forward to working with Annandale and Maple Lake in the future.
James 'Winnie' Weninger of Maple Lake was recently named as one of nine recipients of KMSP Fox 9 "Top Teacher" awards.
The Twin Cities television station annually recognizes nine teachers throughout the state in an effort to promote the importance of education and the impact made by outstanding teachers.
Weninger, in his 24th year of teaching, is the agriculture teacher at Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School and also serves as the Future Farmers of America advisor. He was nominated by the parent of one of Weninger's former students, who said Weninger made a big difference in the life of her son and all his students.