The 33rd Annual Maple Lake Ice Fishing Tournament is under new management, with an aim of making it bigger and better than ever.
The tournament, which was the signature event of the Maple Lake Jaycees until it was taken over in recent years by the Maple Lake High School athletic department, is now an event hosted by the Maple Lake Property Owners Association. And a committee consisting of Nick Olsen, Greg Thomes, Chris Nelson and Kim Menth has been working overtime to enlist sponsors, secure big prizes, and market the tourney throughout Minnesota.
"We're listed with all the other bigger fishing contests and we're the first ones to go out," Nelson said.
Matthew Northenscold received his Eagle Scout Award in a Court of Honor ceremony Nov. 25 at St. Timothy's School. He is a member of Maple Lake Boy Scout Troop 219, sponsored by American Legion Post 131. The Eagle is the highest rank a Boy Scout can earn and historically only about two out of every 100 boys who start scouting earn it. Matthew, 18, is the son of John Jr. and Linda Northenscold of Maple Lake and the grandson of John Sr. and Carol Northenscold and of Richard and Ruth Kunkel, all of Maple Lake.
The new year will see a big change in the Maple Lake School Board as two long-time members with more than 30 years experience between them step down.
Kitty Rasset and Dave Gohman both made the decision to retire from the school board this year, with Ed Trager and Shelley McAlpine set to take their places at the table in January.
Rasset, with 17 years on the board, is a branch assistant at the Buffalo Library. Gohman is a former MLHS science teacher and wrestling coach with more than 16 years of school board service. Both lost elections early in their school board tenures, but came back to regain their seats. Rasset was appointed in 1988 to fill an unexpired term, lost an election and was off the board for a year before winning back her seat. She then decided not to run for re-election in 2001, but after a two-year absence, ran again in 2003 and won.
More information appears in this weeks issue of the Messenger.
Winter starting with a bang this year suits one local inventor just fine.
Ryan Renstrom, inventor of the Visual Mark High Visibility Tip-up, watches the ice fishermen drilling holes and sees new customers.
"A lot of people snowmobiling and riding ATV's run over tip-ups ice fishermen leave out," said Renstrom. "If there's even two or three inches of snow, you just can't see them. People started leaving five-gallon buckets, ice scoops, any thing they could find to mark their spots."
Renstrom's new product, a unique tip-up with an attached rod topped with a highly reflective material, can be seen in headlights or the light of a flashlight from a long distance, even in the snow.
Despite the harsh weather of December, work continues on the Annandale/Maple Lake Wastewater Treatment Plant.
At the December 19 meeting of the Annandale/Maple Lake Wastewater Commission, project engineer Brad DeWolf reported that construction is still on schedule. He said the contractor is currently focusing efforts on the construction of the operations building, installing roof trusses so that work can continue through the winter. Masons have enclosed that building and work is also proceeding with form and reinforcing steel work on the aeration basin walls. Work on the aeration basin walls will be accelerated when the temperatures moderate and will be finished in the spring.
DeWolf said that installation of forcemain to the plant has ended and will resume as soon as the weather permits in the spring.
It looks like case closed for the two Maple Lake businesses burgled within 24 hours of each other in late November.
The Wright County Sheriff's Department has requested that Felony Third Degree Burglary charges be filed against two 19-year-old Maple Lake men, Cody Niland and Justin Wolney, for the burglaries at the Video Closet and Bonnie's Maple Lake Cafe.
It was just a year ago, in December of 2006, that Maple Lake businesses were dealing with another string of burglaries. Maple Lake Floral, The Olde Town Creamery, The Costume Shoppe, Maple Lake Antiques and the Maple Lake Bakery all reported break-ins and thefts of cash. These crimes were resolved when the juveniles involved were apprehended during a break-in at Maple Lake High School.
From the start of these most recent crimes against Maple Lake businesses, similar modes of entry and other circumstances led the Sheriff's Office to suspect the crimes were related.
A 28-year career in the Maple Lake School District Office is about to come to a close.
School staff members gathered last week to honor Ellie Tuffs at a retirement party that also drew three past and present school superintendents with terms that span nearly 50 years of school leadership.
And though those superintendents led the school district, they couldn't run the district without the help of Ellie Tuffs.
Tuffs was hired as the district's payroll clerk in August of 1979, on the same day as her interview with Superintendent Roger Riesgraf and Business Manager Bette Cantin. But, Tuffs almost didn't take the position because she had to make sure that it was okay with her son, Tim, who would be starting 7th grade at MLHS, and daughter, Tammy, a third grader in the elementary.
Tuffs started her career at the Wright County Court house, and then entered the Rockford Public Schools system before landing a job in Maple Lake.
Judges for the annual Holiday in Lights contest sponsored by the Maple Lake Chamber of Commerce had no trouble picking the home of Todd and Elizabeth Borell at 69 Rose Avenue South as the best lighting display in Maple Lake.
The annual contest provided a prize of $100 to the Borells. Taking second and a prize of $75 was the home of Brad and Kristi Hennen at 310 Maple Avenue South and in third with a prize of $50 was the home of Rachel Gagnon at 1031 Aspen Circle.
Jen Kempenich, a 2005 graduate of Maple Lake High School, was first on the scene after a hit-and-run driver fatally injured a bicyclist in Minneapolis last week.
Edward Joseph Gorecki, 51, of Minneapolis, was riding his bike on the evening of Dec. 10 near the intersection of Quincy and Broadway streets in northeast Minneapolis when he was hit by a Jeep driven by Irene Amy Graves, 41. Graves did not stop after hitting Gorecki.
"I was in the far lane going in one direction and he (the bicyclist) was in the far lane coming at me," said Kempenich, who is a student at Normandale College. "There was this Jeep speeding up behind him with no lights on. I knew it was going to happen and there was nothing I could do, it was unstoppable."
After the Jeep struck the cyclist, Kempenich pulled over, hoping to aid the injured man.