Daryl Hennen, who has been involved in the Maple Lake Fire Department's annual banquet entertainment committee since the gavel was passed to him by the late Leo Dircks a number of years ago, was nearly speechless when his colleagues named him Maple Lake's Firefighter of the Year Saturday night at the American Legion Hall.
In recent years the entertainment programs have been headed up by the two Rogers (Wurm and Manuel). This year they chose a TV game show, Deal or No Deal, and named a group of ladies who each held a numbered box containing an undisclosed sum of money. Bob (Bubba) Polsfuss was the contestant and Hennen the banker. Wurm, Manuel, and Polsfuss kept the suspense at a fever pitch, ultimately naming Hennen the Firefighter of the Year.
More information appears in this weeks issue of the Messenger.
The status of the Maple Lake's St. Patrick's Day Festival as the community's biggest event of the year may now be in jeopardy.
On Saturday, a village estimated by organizers at twice the size of Maple Lake appeared on the lake of the same name as approximately 4,000 people took part in the 33rd Maple Lake Ice Fishing Derby.
Lines of cars were at times backed up in both directions on Highway 55 as participants entered the lake access in pursuit of the best spots to compete for a list of big prizes at the derby hosted by the Maple Lake Property Owners Association.
The biggest prize of the day was won by 14-year-old Tyler Peterson of Buffalo, who took home a 6.5x14-foot portable fish house with a retail value of $7,000. Tyler won his prize by recording the 33rd largest northern at 1.58 lbs. out of 83 northerns caught on Saturday. Including pan fish, more than 100 fish were caught during the tournament.
Whenever there is a contentious situation between government entities, about the only people who benefit are lawyers. Cases go to court and both sides end up paying in the end. While those cases are attempted to be avoided, when they arrive, regardless of who wins a judgment, both sides end up losing.
At the Jan. 15 meeting of the Wright County Board, the commissioners faced such a situation, as an attorney for Corinna Township came before the board to ask that the county acknowledge that the township has the right to do its own shoreland zoning. Peter Tiede represented the township at the meeting and said the town board wants to work together with the county to avoid an expensive litigation.
"The town board wants to approach this in a cooperative way," Tiede said. "The township doesn't want to fight with the county, but wants to assert its authority to do its own zoning."
This year's Maple Lake Community Theatre production of "The Bat" is not only an entertaining 'whodoneit,' but also a tribute to a previous performance of the same play on the same stage more than 30 years ago.
In May of 1975, the Maple Lake High School Drama Club performed "The Bat" with a cast that included Carol Hudek as Cornelia Van Gorder, Karin Kalli as Lizzie Allen, Pam Baker as Dale Ogden, Scott Winter as Dr. Wells, Fred Pribyl as Brooks, Brian Nelson as Detective Anderson, Bill Nagorski as Richard Fleming, Vicki Blizil as Milly (which is Billy in this year's production) and Carol Rachel as Regina Beresford.
Community Theatre Director Tricia Manuel, a freshman in the audience in 1975, was impressed enough by the production to bring it back to Maple Lake this year.
Gary Swearingen, a force in the Maple Lake business community for over 20 years, was honored as Wright County's Citizen of the Year for 2007 during last Friday's Wright County Economic Development Partnership annual meeting in Monticello.
Pam Lemieux, of the Maple Lake office of Schlenner, Wenner & Co., nominated Swearingen for the award, feeling his contributions to Maple Lake and the surrounding area made him a natural for the honor.
"I nominated Gary for this award because I have always admired how he has tried to make Maple Lake a better place," said Lemieux. "Most residents have no idea how much time Gary has invested in Maple Lake. He is very deserving of this award."
City of Maple Lake Maintenance Department employees worked to create a new skating rink this week on Maple Lake.
City equipment was used to scrape snow into ice barriers and lake water was pumped into the rink for a smooth skating surface.
The rink is located near the public access off of Highway 55. A city rink was maintained last year in Bolduan Park behind Irish Stadium, but residents requested a larger skating area and the rink was moved to the lake.
It's one thing to know that a school needs more space. How to best meet those needs while staying within a budget is the question that must now be answered.
The Maple Lake School Board met in a special meeting on January 9 as the school district moves forward with its construction project.
In November, voters approved a $6,980,000 referendum to add 16 classrooms and other improvements to the elementary and high school, along with a second referendum for a $1.75 million gym/multi-purpose facility.
The first item on the January 9 agenda was to determine how much of the project could be completed in time for the start of the 2008-2009 school year.
Four elementary classrooms were previously cited as an urgent need and are designated as the priority for completion in the fall. The four rooms will be added to the south wing of the building, with most of the construction project slated for completion in the fall of 2009.
Security State Bank got a new owner last year and this year, the local bank will be getting a new name.
The bank announced to its customers last week that it would be merging with The First National Bank of Elk River to form one bank. Both banks are owned by First National Financial Services of Elk River.
As of March 7, 2008, Security State Bank will be known as First National Bank, Maple Lake office. Other First National bank offices are located in Elk River, Zimmerman, Hassan, Anoka and Monticello.
Security State Bank President Doyle Van Dyne said the merger will have advantages for both banks and their customers, beginning with streamlining operations. Van Dyne said during the past year, the organization had to work with two sets of bank examiners, two sets of auditors and two different sets of reports.
The new 2008 Pontiac G6 that was the grand prize in the Raise The Lights Raffle, sponsored by the Maple Lake Softball Association, didn't travel far to get to its new owner.
The car was won by Robin Denny, finance manager at West Metro Buick Pontiac GMC in Monticello, where the car was purchased for the raffle and where it was stored awaiting the Jan. 5 drawing.
The drawing for the car and additional raffle prizes was conducted on Saturday during halftime of the Irish boys' basketball game. Winning other prizes were Todd Bliss of Buffalo, an Otter Outdoors portable 2-man fish house; Steve Deslauriers of Howard Lake, $200; Darin Wurm, $50 Cub Foods Gift Card; and Dick Behm and Dale Wurm were the lucky recipients of subscriptions to the Maple Lake Messenger.
Funds raised from the raffle will be used for improvements to the ball fields at Bolduan Park.
For the past 11 years in Maple Lake Community Theatre productions, Steve King has been a man of many hats.
King has served as an actor, director, writer, singer, dancer, set designer, stage manager, painter and member of the set crew. His first Maple Lake performance was in the summer comedy, "And Then There Were None," as the crazy German doctor, Dr. Prince, a character that has resurfaced in skits and church plays for King's congregation at Holy Cross Lutheran Church.
King's wife, Becky, also has a long involvement with the community theater, but their only previous experience on the stage was in high school.
"We were both involved in drama and choir in high school before we came here," King said. "I wasn't involved in theater other than writing small plays and skits for church."
But King saw an ad in the Messenger for theater auditions.