A wise man once said you can't have progress without change, and progress came to Maple Lake this week with the razing of a landmark home at 215 Division St. East.
St. Timothy's Parish purchased the nearly one acre property from John and Chloe Luebbers early this year for use as a Division Street entrance to school property. This new drive area will allow buses to enter from Division Street, drop students at the front of St. Timothy's School and leave by the existing driveway, making the on and off bus transition much safer for students.
With the hard work of several different companies, the house came down much faster than it went up.
A story that waited more than 60 years to be told is now a book published by a local author.
Jerry Hoem, a columnist for the Messenger and the author of the book "The Retiree: On the Road to Geezerhood," has published the World War II story of a friend in the book entitled "Veronika: Escape from Poland."
Hoem said that the son of Veronika Werner convinced him to write the story of that man's mother, who was a refugee during the turmoil of World War II. "Her son, who lives in Florida, told me that his mother had a story to tell and since I write, or at least try to write, I should write her story."
A fire that destroyed a 30x40 three-car garage and its contents at 4998 County Road 8 was likely the result of an overheated or electrically shorted drill that was in the garage/workshop. The exact cause of the fire may never be known because the intense heat melted down the drill and most of the other items in the building. Melvin Stuhr, the owner of the property, alerted his wife who called 911 when he noticed the shop filling up with smoke. Fifteen Maple Lake firefighters responded to the call. "It's a complete loss," said Stuhr.
At the scene, the firefighters found that the greatest danger in this fire was that of combustibles in the building.
"He had a lot of gas cans, oil and torches in there," said Assistant Fire Chief Bart Lauer, officer in charge at the fire. "We were going in and out trying to get all of those out of there."
Maple Lake will soon welcome a new business. Subway, which boasts over 27,000 restaurants in 85 countries, is the first occupant of the newly constructed Maple Lake Retail Center located on Hwy. 55.
Opening its doors the first week in May, the restaurant will be owned and operated by Deb Erhard, the owner of the Annandale Subway.
"After 13 years in one location we were ready to expand," said Erhard. "The plan has been to come to Maple Lake from the beginning. It's exciting but a lot of hard work. I'm used to being pretty hands-on. At least initially, I'll be almost exclusively at Maple Lake."
The new 2,000 square foot restaurant will have several interesting new features. The entire establishment is online for wireless internet service. In addition, a dining bar is equipped with a row of electrical receptacles, a 'docking station,' so on-the-road businesspeople can recharge cell phones or laptop computers during a lunch or dinner stop.
Two communities came together on April 18 and picked one coach to honor.
Annandale/Maple Lake wrestling coach Dean Jennissen was selected by both high schools as their 2007 Coach of Excellence.
The award was followed later in the week by the news that Jennissen, the principal at Annandale Middle School for the past six years, will leave at the end of this school year to assume his new duties as principal of Dassel-Cokato High School. Jennissen was a fourth grade teacher in the Dassel-Cokato School District for seven years before coming to Annandale, but he said that doesn't make his departure any easier.
"With this comes mixed emotions," he said, "but the door was open for me to purse a new challenge."
Jennissen won't be involved with wrestling at Dassel-Cokato, which makes it even tougher to leave behind his Lightning team.
Billows of heavy black smoke signaled for miles around the fire on Monday that destroyed a new 2007 Chevy pickup truck and the fifth wheel camper it was pulling.
Walter Bluhm and his wife, Mavis, were eastbound on County Road 37 in Albion Township at about 2 p.m. on April 23, when the right tires of their vehicles caught the soft shoulder, pulling both the truck and camper into the ditch where it hit a road approach. The camper struck a power pole, snapping it off and causing electrical wires to fall onto the roadway.
Mavis said she and her husband could hear that a fire was starting around the camper. "I told him (her husband) we have to get out of this truck quick," she said.
Fortunately, the downed wires did not fall on the truck and the couple was able to force the doors open and escape, but had to watch as the flames destroyed both the truck and the camper.
Maple Lake's oldest business recently received a new look as part of a big investment in its facilities in downtown Maple Lake.Maple Lake Lumber, which traces its history in Maple Lake back to 1893, is wrapping up a major remodeling of its showroom.
"This will be the third time," said owner Daryl Hennen. "The second time we added on to the building, this time we grabbed cold storage space. We've needed the extra display space for five or six years, we just finally got around to doing something about it."
The 3,000 square foot showroom addition, formerly storage for in-stock millwork, is located within the same building, due west of the original showroom.
The new area added offices for salespeople, and an easy to work in showroom. The showroom, split almost evenly between interior and exterior products, was designed to offer customers a chance to look at, touch and try different ideas for their homes.
Returning just two weeks ago, a group of Maple Lake High School juniors and seniors arrived back in Minnesota after a two week learning experience in Spain. While overseas, the students immersed themselves into the Spanish lifestyle and culture through stays with host families as well as sightseeing.
Kim Fynboh and David Hansen, teachers at MLHS, teamed up with Wilmer, "Shorty," Engel of Tracey Area Schools for the 2007 trip. Engel is a brother of former Maple Lake Superintendent Ken Engel as well as Hansen's former French teacher.
The three teachers, along with 38 other chaperones and students, spent half a month traveling around famous cities in Spain including Madrid, Segovia, Toledo, Granada, and Sevilla.
"Seeing the students experience the Spanish culture was one of the most exciting parts of the trip," said Spanish teacher Kim Fynboh. "They really engulfed themselves into the culture."
St. Timothy's annual dinner/auction fundraiser, one of Maple Lake's most anticipated events, took place at the VFW Saturday night. Viva Las Vegas was this year's theme, and as usual it was a great success in raising funds for St. Timothy's School.
"We're really pleased with the turnout," said event chairperson Susie Borell. "The gross profit is expected to come in at about $109,000. Though it may be down slightly from last year, we are still well over our annual fundraising goals."
At the end of the auction guests pledged money to help the school complete the new parking lot and a new sidewalk, outdoor basketball hoops, lunchroom tables, and padding to wrap the I-beam in the gym and a stage pad with the school logo.