Sports fans love underdogs, and the love for the Irish girls’ track team has only intensified after their second-place finish in the True Team Class1A State Meet May 22 at the National Sports Center in Blaine.
“It felt great,” said Coach Ben Youngs. “There’s not much more you can say. It was great to look up in the stands and know it was little Maple Lake taking second in state.”
Entering the meet, the Irish were ranked fourth but had higher expectations.
“I thought we had an outside shot to win the meet,” said Youngs. “My personal goal was to be in the top three teams.”
The girls shared Youngs’ confidence in the abilities of their team.
“We beat a lot of the teams we were going to be competing against,” said Missy Halloran. “We were confident but not cocky.”
In the world of sports, pitching a perfect game is a miracle. During the course of a game there are so many things that can interfere with a pitcher’s chance at a perfect game - one bad pitch, one missed play, one mistake.
On Friday, May 7, none of these occurred as Jen Kempenich walked off the mound after pitching her first career perfect game. There were 15 batters up and Kempenich sat all 15 back down without even allowing a walk.
“It’s one of those times where things go right,” said Coach Brian Woodley. “She pitched well, hit her spots and it was a total team effort.”
Although Kempenich was the star of the game, the team effort enabled her to complete the perfect game. “Only four strikeouts,” explained Woodley. “So 11 batters hit the ball in play and we made the outs.”
It is the end of an era at Maple Lake High School as two long-time teachers say farewell to the students and school they have served for over 33 years.
Dave Schulte began his teaching career in Maple Lake in 1970, followed one year later by Gary Porter. And they have seen the changes that more than 33 years can bring to a school and its students.
“In the 1970s, the teachers would go into the boardroom, see a futuristic model of the the high school and say ‘Wow, this is a pipe dream,’” Porter said. “But in the ’90s, all these changes in regard to the building itself and the grounds came to pass. We have a state-of-the-art track and football facility, a new gym, good football practice facilities and a user-friendly commons area.”
With the sound of the starter’s gun, the Irish girls’ track team calmed their nerves and ran away with the True Team Class 1A Section 3 Championship and a berth in the True Team State Meet on May 22 at the National Sports Center in Blaine.
Entering the section meet on May 11 at St. Croix Lutheran, the Irish knew they had the ability to advance, but in their way stood reigning state champion Mayer Lutheran.
“I knew we could do it,” said Coach Ben Youngs. “The girls and I had talked about it. However, when it actually happened, I felt bizarre. It was surreal.”
This accomplishment has been the product of many years of work to develop the Irish track program.
“I think the gradual building of the program over the past nine years has led to this,” said Youngs. “It hasn’t happened overnight.”
An unusually warm Mother’s Day turned nasty as a series of storms charged through the Wright County area. Fortunately, the damages were minimal.
“As bad as it looked, it didn’t turn out to be that bad,” said Sheriff Gary Miller. “The main problem was wind-related damages and hail.”
At left, a photo by resident Dave Manuel shows a view of the approaching storm over a Maple Lake Lumber warehouse on the west end of town.
According to the National Weather Service, there were two tornadoes spotted by law enforcement agencies in Wright County. One in Waverly and the other one mile southwest of Monticello. Neither touched down.Although there were no touch-downs, the area was pelted with 3/4 inch hail and 60 mile-per-hour wind gusts.
According to Miller, this caused power outages in the Annandale area and south of Maple Lake, near County Road 5.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is inviting the community to a public information meeting to discuss the draft environmental review and water-quality permit for a proposal to build a new Maple Lake/Annandale Wastewater Treatment Facility. The meeting is on May 27, from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. at Maple Lake High School.
The public comment period on the draft Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) and permit will run concurrently, beginning May 10 and ending June 9. The proposed facility would treat wastewater for both cities, which have aging wastewater treatment plants that are reaching current design capacity. The proposed facility would be able to treat more than one million gallons of wastewater daily and also would allow for future population increases or development.
It’s no secret in Maple Lake that Marge Pavlik is one of this community’s most active volunteers.And on May 7, that reputation for volunteer efforts was rewarded with official recognition when Marge was one of eight women honored by the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women for their record of church and community service.
The ACCW Lay Women Volunteer Awards were presented during the Minneapolis/St. Paul CCW 72nd Biennial Conference at All Saints Catholic Church in Lakeville. Other honorees were Gerry Goryell from Minneapolis, Mamie Jackson from St. Paul, Darlene Witt from New Prague, Yvette Woell from St. Anthony, Teresa Salden from Watertown, Margaret McDonell of St. Paul and Lydia Hurd of St. Paul.
In addition, the CCW chapter from St. Timothy Church was honored with the Madonna traveling statue for bringing the largest contingent to the conference.
Friends and family of the 2004 graduates of St. John’s University gathered in the school’s Abbey on Sunday afternoon for the 147th commencement ceremonies.
The bells tolled, audience members fanned themselves from the heat, graduates entered to the sound of applause and proud parents jockeyed for position to get photos of their sons in caps and gowns. It would have been a typical St. John’s graduation in all respects. But this was the class of Maple Lake’s Joshua Guimond.
And he wasn’t there.
That sad fact was noted with flyers about Joshua’s disappearance in the Abbey entrance and in the Invocation by Abbot John Klassen, who read a message to the Class of 2004 written by Joshua’s mother, Lisa Cheney:
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced it will lift the spring open burning restrictions in seven counties within the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The imposed restrictions ceased on Monday, May 3.
Restrictions are being removed in the following counties because the vegetation has greened up enough to significantly lower the wildfire danger.
These counties include Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, Washington and Wright. However, the DNR cautioned property owners to refrain from burning near cured fuels.
After restrictions are lifted, property owners who need to burn should do the following: get an open burning permit, follow all open burning laws and regulations, only burn small piles that can be controlled, and attend the fire until it is completely out.
The fire departments of Wright County were presented with a check for $5,800 on April 27 to equip a fire investigation response trailer.
The equipment, purchased with a grant provided by State Farm Insurance Companies, will be housed at the Maple Lake Fire Hall for use in fire investigations throughout the county.
State Senator Mark Ourada (R-Buffalo) conducted the check presentation. “I am excited that this mobile unit will help our county better assist in the assessment and prevention of fires,” said Ourada. “Fire safety and education are crucial for fire prevention, and I am proud to be here with State Farm to present the Maple Lake Fire Department with this check.”
The money will go to create a response team that will work to increase life safety and property preservation in hopes to reduce the dollar losses incurred by insurance companies due to arson fires.