The reason for the season was the focus of the Dec. 11 Christmas program, "Stranger in the Straw," presented at St. Timothy's School. Parents, friends and family enjoyed songs by students celebrating the birth of the Christ child. More photos from the program appear on page 9 of the December 20, Messenger.
The Wright County Sheriff's Department had a very visible presence in downtown Maple Lake on Friday, Dec. 15, as patrol cars traveled from one local business to another looking for clues into a string of overnight burglaries.
Maple Lake Floral, The Costume Shoppe, and Maple Lake Antiques all reported the theft of cash, with the largest amount taken listed at about $140. Those three thefts are in addition to a break-in at the Maple Lake Bakery on Nov. 20 and one earlier in the week at Olde Town Creamery.
Bakery owner Gary Swearingen said the back door was found unlocked early on Nov. 20, with papers pulled out of drawers in the front of the store and the day's starting cash missing from the till. He said it appears that the thief cut through a screen in the back of the store and pushed open a storm window to enter the shop.
Read more about the crime spree in Maple Lake in this week's Messenger.
It was a chance meeting that brought Maple Lake Floral owner, Darrell Jensen, to Maple Lake.
Jensen began experimenting with freeze-dried florals in his home in Buffalo in 1995. When he quickly out grew the space available, he began looking for commercial space, concentrating his efforts mostly in the Minneapolis area. A lucky meeting with Zita Manuel turned his focus to Maple Lake. Learning of his search for space, Manuel suggested he consider buying her Red Owl building on the corner of Birch and Division. Jensen found the space workable and set up shop, operating on a strictly wholesale level.
Read more about Maple Lake Floral and see additional photos in this week's Messenger.
There were weather-girls, snowboarders, postal workers, hockey players and a bunch of distraught ice fishermen as fifth and sixth grade students at Maple Lake Elementary celebrated the season with their production of "Snow Biz!" The musical was viewed by friends and relatives in two performances under the direction of Sue Nelson on December 7 in the MLHS auditorium.
More photos from the production appear in the December 13, Messenger.
His first Christmas at Silver Creek Community Church is a bright and hopeful time for Pastor Tim Overweg.
"Christmas is always a fun season because there seems to be more energy in people, and it's fun to go back to the traditions people love," said Overweg. "It's nice to experience a real sense of hopefulness and renewal."
Read more about Overweg's first months at Silver Creek Community Church in this week's Messenger.
Crystal Clean Car Wash, Maple Lake's newest business, opened its doors over Thanksgiving weekend. Located behind Roger's Amoco, the car wash features both full-service and do-it-yourself stalls. A vacuum with shampoo attachment and a vending area for automotive accessories are also included. Owners Irene and Tom Hudek built the car wash in response to requests by customers.
"It's something I've been asked about for years," said Irene Hudek. "I like to take care of our customers, this makes us more of a one-stop-shop. Everybody's so busy, now they can gas up, get lunch or a snack and wash their vehicle without making separate stops."
There were literally miles of smiles with a line of children and families waiting to see Santa and Mrs. Claus at Saturday's Third Annual Christmas in Maple Lake, sponsored by the Maple Lake Chamber of Commerce. In addition to visiting with Santa, children received gifts and had the opportunity to create personalized Christmas ornaments at craft tables set up at The Den in downtown Maple Lake.
The afternoon event concluded with the lighting of the community Christmas tree and the awarding of more than $500 in prizes. Winners were: Diane Brinza, $50 in Business Bucks; Judy Kelly, $50 in Business Bucks; Evyn Polsfuss, children's gift basket from Senior Connections; Miranda Jordan, children's gift basket from Senior Connections; Brooklyn Elsenpeter, girl's bike; Nathan Maas, boy's bike; Karen Jude, $150 in Business Bucks; and Rebecca Karvonen, $150 in Business Bucks.
What gift do you get for the one who has everything? Chances are, they don't yet have a copy of "Firefighters' Favorites."
A cookbook that contains the favorite recipes of Maple Lake firefighters, their wives, and members of the community, has been completed just in time for Christmas.
Elizabeth Borell, wife of Fire Chief Todd Borell, said creating a fire department cookbook has been under consideration for several years.
"We've been kicking the idea around for probably four years and no one ever followed through," she laughed. "It would get brought up at the fire department's annual party and we never really pushed it until last year."
What made the idea of creating a cookbook finally worth pursuing was the establishment last year of a new Breakfast with Santa event for the kids and gran kids of present and past firefighters. Proceeds from the sale of a cookbook could help fund that event and there was no lack of good recipes.
Four Maple Lake teachers were among the 150 Central Minnesota educators honored with this year's Leaders In Educational Excellence awards.
Honored from Maple Lake were high school English teacher Ben Youngs, high school teacher and district curriculum coordinator Jean Elsenpeter, elementary fourth grade teacher Diane Hertwig and elementary first grade teacher Kelly Seibert.
Read about the awards received by local teachers in this week's Messenger.