It was Prom night on April 19, and the highlight of the event, at least for the big crowd attending the Grand March, was the fashion show of gorgeous gowns.
Junior and senior couples at Prom 2008 "Winter Wonderland Masquerade Ball" paraded through the decorated Maple Lake High School gym and auditorium with winter scenes created by the Class of 2009.
Following the prom, the annual all-night Post Prom Party kept the couples busy at "Mardi Gras" with a variety of games and entertainment. Photos from the two big events appear on page 7 of the Messenger.
This year's Maple Lake High School representatives to Boys and Girls County and Boys and Girls State, are Theresa Gilbertson, Girls County; Jeana Renier, Girls County; Kathryn Metz, Girls State; Dillion McBrady, Boys State; Ryan Kotila, Boys County; and Tanner Van Lith, Boys County.
The Boys and Girls County/State programs are sponsored by the American Legion Clubs and Auxiliaries for the purpose of providing high school juniors with citizenship training and to illustrate the principals of representative government and the responsibilities young people will assume as adults. Criteria for the honor includes community involvement, high personal expectations, good character, tolerance of differences in others, ability to get along with others and to treat staff and peers in a respectful manner.
A good coach can inspire kids and two of those inspirational coaches were honored at the Annandale/Maple Lake Coaches Appreciation Banquet.
Set for April 16 at Reichel's Event Center in Annandale, the event, sponsored by Annandale/Maple Lake Community Education, has provided a means to extend appreciation to coaches from t-ball to high school varsity while selecting one individual from each school for the Coach of Excellence Award.
This year's winners were boys' basketball coach Tim Staloch of Maple Lake and volunteer softball coach Rick Walberg of Annandale.
Maple Lake's winning coaches in the first three years of the award were volleyball coach Marty Kiebel, baseball coach Tony Smith and last year's winner for both schools, wrestling coach Dean Jennissen.
Jennissen, who is now the principal of Dassel-Cokato High School, returned to Annandale to speak to the coaches gathered for this year's event.
At its April 14 meeting, the Maple Lake School Board heard that 13 companies bid on the first phase of the school construction project and the results were good for the district.
The bids ranged from a high of $1,199,900 from American General Contractors of Valley City, ND, to the low bid of $1,089,700 from Gen Con Construction of Burnsville.
Vaughn Dierks of Wold Architects pointed out that all of the bids were well under the estimated cost for the project of $1.5 million.
The bulk of the Phase 1 project to be completed this summer will be four new elementary classrooms, which were put on a fast track to help ease crowded conditions at the school. The project will also include a new kindergarten classroom and elementary cafeteria renovations.
Duncan McLeod, a 1996 graduate of Maple Lake High School, died April 9 when the vehicle he was driving collided with a dump truck just outside of Sauk Rapids.
"He was pronounced dead at the scene," said Benton County Chief Deputy Troy Heck. "He was traveling northbound on 35th Ave. The dump truck was traveling east on 2nd St. SE when it was struck." The cause of the accident is still under investigation.
McLeod, an employee of Opportunity Manor, a foster home provider for people with cognitive delays, was transporting a client at the time of the crash.
Although the passenger had to be extricated from the vehicle by the local rescue team, Jon Sargeant, Director of Development at Opportunity Manor, says his injuries were not life-threatening.
It takes a village to raise a child and the village of Maple Lake will be coming together on May 4 for the benefit of nine-year-old Colin Wurm.
Colin, the son of Loren and Janet Wurm of Maple Lake, has Cerebral Palsy, caused by a lack of oxygen before his premature birth on June 13, 1999.
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a condition that affects thousands of babies and children each year. Children with Cerebral Palsy have damage to the area of the brain that controls muscle tone and affects, movement and motor skills.
Janet said she noticed she wasn't feeling Colin move in her womb about two months before her anticipated due date and a trip to the Monticello-Big Lake Hospital confirmed her worst fears that her first baby was in trouble.
"There wasn't any movement for quite some time," Janet said. "We went to Monticello and if they hadn't done a C-section to get him out, Colin probably would have died."
It was a happy Amy Ogram who shook the hand of Lundeen's Ford owner Vince Lundeen on Monday as the winner of a 2008 Ford Focus awarded at St. Timothy's Dinner/Live & Silent Auction on Saturday night at the Maple Lake American Legion Club.
A group of civic-minded volunteers recently made an unusual sacrifice to help law enforcement in Wright County.
They spent a Tuesday afternoon sitting in a drafty firehall surrounded by rescue vehicles and firemen's uniforms, at a fold-up plastic table with strangers, downing cocktails nearly as fast as the bartender could pour them.
They were the 'drunk driver guinea pigs' for a class of driving patrolmen and women learning the ins and outs of recognizing and testing drivers over the legal limit.
The patrol class, hosted by the Howard Lake Police Department, and its chief, Dan Lang, was the result of two federal grant programs that are part of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century: NightCAP and Safe & Sober.
More information appears in this weeks issue of the Messenger.
Operation Minnesota Nice was started by, well, a nice Minnesotan.
And the program has spread to nice Minnesotans in Maple Lake.
Early in 2004, founder, Denise Jorgenson, from Ramsey, Minnesota learned from a friend with a son in the armed forces that many of the soldiers fighting in Iraq received very little, or nothing at all, from home.
Vowing to change that, Jorgenson started small, sending care packages to a few soldiers named by her friend's son. Word quickly spread to family and friends, all who wanted to help or 'adopt' a soldier of their own, and before long, these special care packages were going out every three or four weeks and Operation Minnesota Nice was born.
Spreading like wild fire, those few volunteers grew to a current total of over 1,100, matched with as many or more soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait.
Shopping for unique items doesn't get any better than at the annual St. Timothy's Dinner and Silent/Live Auction.
With a theme of "Walk on the Wild Side," the event will feature a barbequed ribs and chicken dinner from 5 to 7 p.m., the silent auction from 5 to 8 p.m., a live auction that begins at 7:30 p.m. and the announcement after the auction of the winner of a 2008 Ford Focus from Lundeen's Ford of Annandale.
Auction highlights will include a trip for two to the Belize Parrot Cove Resort with $1,500 for airfare donated by Brad and Esther Paumen. Larry Pribyl of MP NexLevel will fly a group of four to either Mackinac Island or San Antonio. Other items include a 32-inch LCD television, an Ipod and docking station, a Cub Cadet push mower and many unique baskets. A few tickets remain for the car raffle and tickets can be purchased at First National Bank and Maple Lake Lumber.
More information appears in this weeks issue of the Messenger.