Fifty years ago, an innovative facility for people with disabilities opened its doors, becoming an important part of the Maple Lake community in the process and putting a small town in rural Minnesota on the national map.
Camp Courage, located west of Maple Lake, welcomed about 300 campers for its first summer session in June of 1955 and Minnesota children with physical limitations were allowed to explore life without isolation.
The Maple Lake Messenger office will be closed on Monday, July 4, for the Fourth of July holiday. Deadlines for next week’s newspaper for news, classified and display advertising will be at 4 p.m. on Friday, July 1.
The Maple Lake High School yearbook editors made their yearly trip to the Taylor Publishing Camp at St. John’s University from June 20-23 and came back with two awards.
At camp, the Irish editors critiqued last year’s book and began the creation of the 2005-2006 yearbook. Sarah Dombrovski, Lindsey Smith and Laura Norell concentrated on designing layouts for the first all-color yearbook to be produced by MLHS. Editor Sarah Latour attended sessions on how to use the yearbook’s computer program, Elitevision, and together the editors created a theme and designed a cover for the new yearbook.
On the last day of camp, awards were given to individuals cited for their outstanding work. Sarah Latour received first place for the Elitevision layout she created and Lindsey Smith received second place for her advanced layout design.
Shelley Karja and Chris Blade, current owners of Heavenly Grounds Coffeehouse, have decided to sell the business in downtown Maple Lake after more than five years. Their last day as owners of the coffeehouse will be Thursday, June 30.
After the sale, Karja plans to help her husband, Brad, with his businesses and Blade said she wants to get back into real estate and has plans to go back to school for nursing in the fall. But both said owning Heavenly Grounds has been a good experience.
“God’s hand was in our venture from beginning to end,” Karja said.
New owners of the coffeehouse, Steven and Sommer (Ferry) Elsenpeter and partners Bob and Marcy Hollis, will have the business open on July 1.
It was a big birthday celebration for Wright County on Saturday as the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the county took place at the Wright County Heritage Center in Buffalo.
On February 20, 1855, the county of Wright was created and approved by the territorial legislature and named after Silas Wright Jr., a U.S. Senator from New York. Statehood followed for Minnesota on May 11, 1858.
Saturday’s celebration offered a glimpse of the past and of the heritage of the settlers of Wright County with activities both inside the Heritage Center building and outside on the surrounding grounds.
The Maple Lake Chamber of Commerce is getting ready for the Second Annual Days of Old, sponsored by Ertel’s Butt Cream. This summer festival, which turns back the clock to days gone by, will take place on Saturday, August 20.
Once again, the event will feature a gathering of vintage cars, motorcycles, tractors and machines that will make Maple Lake’s historic downtown area look like a snapshot from the past. Owners of vintage vehicles and machines can register by calling Scott Chantland at 612-670-9622.
Words couldn’t express how wonderful it was to have her son home from duty in the Middle East, so Mary Murphy-Burud of Maple Lake lined the sides of Illsley Avenue in front of her home on Saturday with flag-waving friends and relatives. And when Army Reserve Spec. Eric Lee and his wife, Cheryl, drove up for the surprise greeting, they became the main attraction in a one-vehicle parade.
Lee, a 1998 graduate of Maple Lake High School, knew an annual family party was planned for the day, but didn’t know this year’s event was for him, with relatives traveling from as far away as Florida and California.
“I’ve been planning it for six weeks,” Murphy-Burud said. “That’s when we got the word that Eric was coming home.”
What do you say when an acquaintance at work offers to donate a kidney to you?
You say ‘yes.’
Barb Hudek of Maple Lake was in just such a position at work in the Wright County Human Services Department earlier this year when a lunchtime discussion about health problems caused by her failing kidneys caused social worker Grace Baltich to make Hudek an offer she couldn’t refuse.
“She said, ‘What do you need?’ Barb recalled. “And I said, ‘A kidney.’ And she said, ‘I’ve got two. I’ll give you one.’
“And lo and behold, three days later she said we were a match and we both started crying.”
Rain hampered the first week of CenterPoint Energy’s gasline replacement project in Maple Lake and Maple Lake Township, but an improved weather outlook could get the project’s schedule back on track.
Rolf Lund, CenterPoint Energy spokesman, said only five lines were replaced locally last week in a project that was scheduled to start on June 13 and conclude on June 30. However, rain through the first part of the week and wet ground delayed the start of the gasline repairs.
“The weather accounts for the small number of completions,” Lund said. “Heat fusion of the pipes can’t be done in the rain or in wet ground. Hopefully, this will be a week when we can pick up the pace.”
Courage Center, a rehabilitation and resource center for people with disabilities, has announced a series of summer events to celebrate Camp Courage's 50th anniversary year.
A reunion for former staff and campers and an Independence Day Celebration is planned for Sunday, July 10, from 2 to 7 p.m. There will be a camper parade, which in the past has been dubbed “the parade that nobody sees” because everyone at the camp is in the parade. Visitors are also welcome to camp on the grounds, but need to notify the Camp Courage office.