The Maple Lake community joined together to honor local veterans in a Memorial Day ceremony May 31.
Although inclement weather moved the annual event indoors to the high school auditorium, it could not dampen the memory of those who gave all for our country.
Legion Commander Gary Jude said the decision to move indoors was made shortly before the ceremony on Monday. “There was threatening weather at that time, so we made the decision to move indoors,” he said. In event of inclement weather in the future, the rain site will be the high school auditorium.
The ceremony included Girl’s and Boy’s State participants, Rachel Hudek and Michael Gertjejansen, who read “Freedom is Not Free” and “The Dash Between the Lines.”
The ceremony also featured the Maple Lake Marching Band which played “The Star Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America.”
Time is running out on the opportunity to trade unwanted items for cash at Maple Lake’s annual All-City Garage Sale on Saturday, June 5.
Registrations can be made by calling the Messenger office at 963-3813 or by stopping in during business hours of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The deadline for registrations is noon on May 28 to allow time to prepare a map and a listing of sellers. The registration fee is $10 and a list of your sale items will also be included in the Messenger advertisement.
The Maple Lake Chamber of Commerce coordinates the event and the $10 fee is used to purchase advertising locally and throughout the area in the Wright County Journal Press and Drummer, the Monticello Times and Shopper, the St. Cloud Times, the Annandale Advocate and Advantage, the Howard Lake Herald and Shopper and the Cokato/Dassel Enterprise and Dispatch.
Maple Lake High School seniors Elyse Malherek, Heather Wurm, Ashley Spolarich and Katie Haegele were selected as this year’s Students of Excellence and were among those honored at the 17th Annual Students of Excellence Banquet in St. Cloud.
The Students of Excellence Banquet, sponsored by Resource Training and Solutions of St. Cloud, recognized 158 high school seniors from 40 area high schools.
Criteria for selection of the Students of Excellence is at the discretion of each school, but based on recommended guidelines. At MLHS, the honor is awarded to the top four students of the graduating class.
Last year, Maple Lake Schools went through the process of hiring a new superintendent. This year, the school district will once again be in the position of hiring an administrator as it seeks a new elementary principal.
At its Monday meeting, the Maple Lake School Board discussed the process it will use to hire a replacement for Dan Olberg, who has resigned to become principal of Lino Lakes Elementary in the Forest Lake Area School District.Olberg, who was hired as Maple Lake’s elementary principal in 1999, said it will be hard to leave.
“Maple Lake has offered me five great years and I will always appreciate the opportunity to serve this district,” he said. “I will miss the students, staff, and the relationships that I have with our administration team. My wife and I are looking forward to being close to family members and the job possibilities that this move will create for both of us.”
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.