John Elsenpeter of Annandale died on January 4 in an afternoon construction accident at a work site in Mound.
Twin Cities media reports said that Elsenpeter was working on a retaining wall project on County Road 15 in Mound where a full cement bucket weighing three to four tons was being moved by a crane. The bucket hit Elsenpeter, killing him instantly.
The construction crew was in the process of finishing a project that began last spring and the site was shut down to permit O.S.H.A. to investigate the accident.
Elsenpeter, a 15-year employee of Kramer and Sons Construction, leaves behind his wife, Janice, and two sons who are students at Maple Lake Public Schools.
A full obituary will appear in next week’s Messenger.
Ben Youngs, head track and field coach at Maple Lake High School, was named at the end of December as the 2004 Minnesota Class A Girls Track and Field Coach of the Year.
Youngs was selected by the Minnesota Track and Field Coaches Association for his success during the 2004 season and for his accomplishments during his nine years as the Irish track coach.
In 2004, Youngs led his team to a title in the Central Minnesota Conference. The team won the true team section 4A meet, and were runners-up at the state meet. They finished as champions of their subsection and 4th in the section 5A meet.
Maple Lake Activities Director Dave Schroeder said Youngs has worked hard to build a strong track program in Maple Lake.
Wright County Sheriff Gary L. Miller reports that on December 28, 2004at 9:56 p.m. the Wright County Communications Center received a reportof a one-vehicle rollover accident in the 10300 block of County Road 136in South Side Township.
The initial investigation indicates that John Kenneth Hill, 23, fromCokato, was traveling eastbound on County Road 136 when he veered off ofthe south side of the road and struck an electrical pole. The 1998Dodge Dakota truck continued onward striking a field approach, whichcaused the vehicle to roll over.
Hill, the driver and lone occupant, was ejected from the vehicle. Hewas taken to St. Cloud Hospital and later transferred to Hennepin CountyMedical Center where he is listed in critical condition.
A fire just before Christmas destroyed the home of Maple Lake High School Gymnastics Coach Kris Kitzman and to support their coach, the Irish gymnastics team made an effort to play Santa for the Kitzman’s five girls.
Kitzman, a truck driver who owns and operates his own rig, said he was working on his truck in the garage of his Big Lake area home at about 6:30 p.m. on December 23 when a trouble light ignited some spilled gas. “It exploded and just kept on going because of all the other stuff in the garage,” he said.
No one was injured, but the home was a total loss and the Kitzman family is staying at his parent’s home in Dayton. Kitzman and his wife, Kelli, have five young daughters: Kalee, 6; Kadee, 5; Kacee, almost 4; Kamee, almost 3; and Karee, 1.
Amy Muenkel, a junior at Maple Lake High School, is recovering from serious injuries suffered in a Hwy. 55 crash on December 21.
Amy was transported to North Memorial with a break in the second vertebra in her neck. She underwent surgery on December 22 and is reported by to be doing “extremely well” in the recovery process, with no damage found to her spinal cord.
She has been moved out of intensive care and is reported to be up, walking and undergoing physical therapy. Current plans are to release her from the hospital as soon as the end of this week.
Amy’s mother, Tami, said the family is thankful for the support they have received since the accident. “I can’t even begin to say thank you for all the thoughts, the prayers, and all the things people have done for us,” she said. “Amy is extremely touched by it.”
It was a busy year for Misty Yanish, a former resident of Maple Lake and graduate of Maple Lake High School, who was crowned in March as Ms. Wheelchair Minnesota 2004.
She has spent considerable time throughout the year attending parades and events promoting disability awareness while also advocating for individuals with disabilities.
This summer, Yanish was a special guest at the Mobility for Independence Celebrity Fundraiser banquet and golf tournament. She also took part in several parades which included the 4th of July Parade in Annandale, the Monticello River Fest parade and appeared at the Children’s Museum for their disability awareness day. At the conclusion of the summer, Yanish attended the Minnesota State Fair where she spoke to several TV and radio stations.
Coming up for Yanish on January 29 will be the Roll & Stroll event at the Mall of America.
Rockford started out hot on the offensive side of the floor and by the end of the first quarter was leading the Irish 15-30. Maple Lake kept with the Rockets in the second quarter both offensively and defensively, as each team scored 16 points. However, that wasn’t enough for the Irish as they still trailed 31-46.
Coming out after half-time, the Irish had some catching up to do. They pushed the ball up and down the floor, but were outscored again in the third quarter. The score was now 38-68, in favor of the Rockets. The Irish did manage to outscore the Rockets in the fourth quarter, 20-17, but that wasn’t enough for a come-from-behind win. The Irish were defeated by the Rockets, 58-85.
“Rockford is a very good team and outplayed us on both ends of the floor. We need to work on improving our teamwork,” said Coach Tim Staloch.
After two months of working to target reduced vaccine supplies to people who are most at risk of complications from influenza, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has decided to recommend that influenza vaccination now be open to any Minnesotan who wants a shot.
“We have directed flu vaccine to 100 percent of our nursing homes and long-term care facilities, and we have made every effort to ensure that high-risk Minnesotans have had an opportunity to get flu shots this year. But we have about 60,000 doses left in the state that could go unused if we don’t take this step,” said Minnesota Health Commissioner Dianne Mandernach.
It is still important for Minnesotans who are in the high-risk groups to get a shot this year, Mandernach said. “It’s not too late to get a flu shot--flu season has barely begun in Minnesota and can peak as late as March or April.”
At least two people were injured in an early morning crash on Tuesday near the intersection of Highway 55 and County Road 109 about four miles east of Maple Lake.
The Minnesota State Patrol reported that four vehicles were involved in the crash which occurred at 6:57 a.m. Drivers of the vehicles were MLHS junior Amy Muenkel, 17, of Buffalo; Gary Leither, 50, of Cold Spring; Elaine Mohlin, 52, of South Haven; and Ronald Berry Jr., 34, of Annandale. Muenkel and Mohlin were taken to Buffalo Hospital, and Muenkel was then transported to North Memorial.
East bound traffic was backed up for miles before the accident was cleared. The State Patrol said the slippery driving conditions caused by the two-inch overnight snowfall was a factor in the crash.