Maple Lake Community Theatre has a diverse variety of newcomers and old hands involved in its February production of “Thanks for the Memories!”
Although the close-knit community theatre group has a core of long-time volunteers, there are also newcomers who are appearing in their first or second community theater show.
Sarah Lange of Annandale and Tim Leahy of Maple Lake are making their Maple Lake Community Theatre debut. Tami Blahut of Maple Lake, Jessica Strehlke of New Germany, and Becky Ward-Mead are performing in their second community theater production. Lange, Leahy, Blahut and Strehlke have singing and comic roles in “Thanks for the Memories” while Ward-Mead plays the drums in the band.
Thanks to the partnership of Wright County schools designed to give area girls an opportunity to play hockey, two students from Maple Lake High School will be heading to the Minnesota Girls State Hockey Tournament.
MLHS junior Chelsea Couette and sophomore Lindsey Korbel are part of the Blades hockey squad that created its own miracle on ice when it defeated defending state champion Elk River on Feb. 11 in St. Cloud during the Section 8AA finals.
Tim Hansen, who co-coaches the squad with Bob Driver, said the 3-2 overtime win was an incredible feat by his girls, especially in light of the fact that the previous two meetings with Elk River sent the Blades to defeat by a combined score of 14-0.
Disaster relief workers offering help for the victims of the December 26 Tsunami have come from all over the globe.
And now they are coming from Maple Lake.
On March 8, a crew that includes Phil and Terry Mooney of Maple Lake, and Phil’s brother and sister: Ray Mooney of St. Michael and Alice Schafer of Annandale; will head for Sri Lanka as part of a mission coordinated by a Minneapolis businessman to aid his homeland.
Evan Balasuriya, owner for the past 25 years of the Sri Lankan Curry House in Minneapolis, was featured in the January 23 edition of the Star Tribune because of his efforts to arrange disaster relief missions to Sri Lanka by Minnesota volunteers.
That article captured the attention of the Mooneys.
The events leading up to the 2005 Maple Lake St. Patrick’s Day Festival on March 12 got underway last week as the parents and sponsors of this year’s Miss Maple Lake candidates gathered for pizza and entertainment at Madigan’s Pub and Grill.
This year’s 14 candidates and their sponsors are: (front) Christine Klein, the Maple Lake Lions; Heather Couette, Sherlene’s Catering; Breana Ballweber, the Maple Lake Lions; Brianna Bruns, Karina’s Family Hair Care; Angela Stegeman, Maple Lake Messenger; April Lynch, Rob’s Custom Upholstery; Kim Schwartz, sponsored by Maple Lake Cafe; (back) Samantha Quinones, sponsored by the Maple Lake VFW; Jennifer Kempenich, Maple Lake American Legion, Kaitlyn Mooney, A-Meat Shoppe, Amanda Blade, Heavenly Grounds Coffeehouse; Erika Paumen, Hegle Door; Rachel Hudek, Security State Bank, and Kayla Rigenhagen, SP Electric, Inc.
A family that has been split between Minnesota and Iraq is now one big brother closer to a reunion.
National Guard Spc. Chad Wellsted arrived back home mid-January after a one-year tour of duty in Iraq. He recently joined little brothers, Zach and Blake, in their elementary classrooms for presentations on his experiences in the Middle East.
And the family will be reunited in April when their father, National Guard Staff Sgt. Scott Wellsted, is scheduled to return home from his year in Iraq.
Chad said he had the opportunity to spend three days with his father in Baghdad, helping Scott train members of the Iraqi National Guard.
“We gave them training in things like first aid and ran in formations,” Chad said. “It was their boot camp, but it was kind of hard to run in that kind of heat.”
Record-breaking temperatures on Saturday brought a record-breaking crowd out to the 31st Annual Fishing Contest on Maple Lake.
The event, sponsored by the Maple Lake High School Athletic Association, was originally set for January 22, but the first big snowfall of the winter and frigid temperatures caused organizers to reschedule the event to February 5. And on a day featuring 50+ temperatures, the result couldn’t have been better.
“We ran out of everything,” said MLHS Activities Director Dave Schroeder, who said that nearly all the concession items were sold out and contest volunteers had to run to the school to produce more tickets for the estimated 500 to 600 anglers who created a mini-city just off the public beach on Maple Lake. Schroeder said a final talley of ticket receipts hasn’t been completed, but he estimated gross sales of $5,600 should result in a record contribution to MLHS athletic programs.
At the beginning of March, Phil and Terry Mooney, and Phil’s sister Alice Shafer, will be joining a group of Minnesota volunteers heading to Sri Lanka for a 30-day humanitarian tsunami relief mission.
They will be a part of the second group of Minnesotans organized by Evan Balasuriya, a Minneapolis resident who is a native of Sri Lanka. The mission’s objectives are to rebuild housing, provide health services, repair schools and care for orphaned children in his childhood village, which was destroyed by the tsunami.
Evan’s endeavors were the subject of an article in the January 23rd Star Tribune and more information about his project can be found by going to: www.helpsrilanka.us.
Fifth grade students in the Maple Lake Elementary Social Studies classes of Kari Barlund showed their concern for the Tsunami victims by leading a school-wide effort to raise money for the Red Cross.
At left, student representatives Shelby Lengyel, Brian Redemske and Gretchen Menne presented Jill Walker of the Central Minnesota Red Cross with a jar filled with $1,182 raised by elementary students during a ten-day fund-raising drive in January.
Barlund said that her students wanted to do something to help Tsunami victims and after hearing a request from President Bush for cash donations, they began their fund-raising effort by sending letters to all families and staff. Fifth graders also visited each classroom to speak with other students about the project.
Maple Lake Community Theater is performing “Thanks for the Memories!” on the last two weekends of February at Maple Lake Public School. This entertaining USO show features music and comedy from World War II, Korean War and the Vietnam Conflict eras.
The musical comedy runs February 18, 19, & 20 and 25, 26, & 27. Friday and Saturday evening shows are at 7:00 p.m. and the Sunday matinees begin at 2:00 p.m.
Dale Bothun is directing the cast of about 40 actors and singers. Steve Bresnahan and Kurt Johnson are co-music directors and lead a band of a dozen musicians. Choreography for the show is designed by Allison Totz. Costume coordinator is Trish Bothun. The theater set crew is headed up by Andy Hudek. Dale Bothun is also leading the theater tech crew.
John Peterson was named “Firefighter of the Year,” and Mel Borell was recognized for 34 years of service to the Maple Lake Volunteer Fire Dept. Fire Chief Todd Borell, Mel’s son, made the presentations at the department’s awards banquet Saturday at the American Legion Club.
Peterson joined the department in 1995 and has served as the department’s training officer as well as completing required EMT (Emergency Medical Training) and Firefighting I courses. He said he has a lot of respect for those who came before and after him as he acknowledged his appreciation for being chosen for the Firefighter of the Year honor.