News

Fri
06
Feb

Lonely Pines concert comes back to Maple Lake

The Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Association (MBOTMA) is bringing its annual Lonely Pines Concert Series back to Maple Lake on Friday, February 13.

This year the concert will feature David Davis & The Warrior River Boys at Bethlehem United Church of Christ (400 County Road 37) starting at 8:00 p.m.

With first generation bluegrass influences from Bill Monroe to Ralph Stanley, and direct links to the origins of bluegrass music, Davis offers audiences a rare glimpse at true American music. Back in the 1930s his father and two uncles played and sang in the brother-style traditions of early country music.

Fri
06
Feb

Ditter named ML Firefighter of the Year

Bill Ditter II, one of six potential firefighters asked to join the Maple Lake Fire Volunteer Dept. in 2003, was named by his peers as the 2008 Firefighter of the Year at the department's annual banquet on Saturday at the American Legion Club.

Ditter, more affectionately known as "Deuce," was 18-years-old when he was issued his turn-out gear as a firefighter. He felt his involvement with the fire department and having grown up in a family where his dad, Bill I, is also a local firefighter, were motivating factors in his life choice to become a professional firefighter. He said part of it was watching his dad being called out for fire or ambulance emergencies.

Ditter is the fire department's first paramedic and received his degree after completing a two-year course at Century College, White Bear Lake.

Read more about the annual Fire Department banquet in this week's messenger.

Fri
06
Feb

Fifty years later, remembering the last tour of Buddy Holly

A local man relived part of history this week, remembering "the day the music died."

At the Kato Ballroom on Jan. 25, 1959, John Rivers of Maple Lake rocked to the tunes of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson and the Belmonts. Now, 50 years after Holly, Valens and Richardson died in a plane crash on Feb. 3, 1959, Rivers paid tribute to the 1950s rock 'n' roll icons.

Buddy Holly was an American singer/songwriter and a pioneer of 'Rock 'n' Roll.' He was famous for songs such as "Peggy Sue," "That'll be the day," and "La Bamba." Bob Dylan, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones all credit Holly's influence in their music.

The 1959 plane crash that killed Holly is the subject of Don McLean's 1970s hit "American Pie" which refers to Holly's death as "the day the music died."

Fri
30
Jan

Local musicians win regional title

Mike Borell, Charles Caswell and Adam Dahlstrom of Maple Lake are part of a band that won first place at the Gorilla Music-Battle of the Bands regional finals. Their band, "The Fall Into Black," was invited to play in the regional competition on Jan. 18 at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis, after having won the preliminary Battle of the Bands in September.

Find out what "The Fall Into Black" won in this week's Messenger.

Fri
30
Jan

Little fish wins derby's big prize

A junior at Maple Lake High School had a really good day at the 34th Maple Lake Ice Fishing Derby on Saturday.

Megan Carriveau caught the 34th largest northern, which made her the winner of an Ice Castle fish house, the grand prize at the contest on Maple Lake.

The contest, hosted by the Maple Lake Property Owner's Association, drew an estimated crowd of 1,500 to the event, which is about half of those attending last year's event. Greg Thomes of the MLPOA said the cold weather was a big factor in reducing the size of the tournament crowd, but added that revenue from the event will be the same as last year thanks to an increase in ticket prices from $2 to $5. Proceeds from the event are used to stock walleyes on Maple Lake.

Thomes said he was pleased with the support the fishing derby has received from the Maple Lake community and that the goal is to make the contest even bigger and better next year.

Fri
30
Jan

Musical is no stranger to Steve & Becky King

This year's Maple Lake Community Theatre production of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" is a repeat performance for Steve and Becky King.

"How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" is the story of Finch, a window cleaner who uses insights from the book, "How to Succeed in Business," and his manipulation of those around him to climb to the top of the corporate ladder.

The Kings, who have taken on a variety of roles in Community Theatre productions over its 14-year history, were juniors at St. Paul Johnson High School when "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" was that year's school musical. Becky had the female lead of Rosemary, who is a secretary and the love interest of the musical's star, Finch. Steve was in the supporting role of Mr. Bratt, the company personnel manager.

Fri
30
Jan

Construction union stages protest at Maple Lake High School

Maple Lake High School was the scene of picketing on Thursday, Jan. 22, by a union with a grievance against a contractor working on the school construction project.

About two dozen picketers organized by the North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters (NCSRCC) took up their position on Thursday morning at an entrance on the west side of the high school. At issue is the labor practices of Friedges Drywall, Inc., a subcontractor of Rochon Corporation, the contractor for the school construction project that is adding classrooms to school buildings and a new gym.

According to the NCSRCC, Friedges uses workers who do not receive a fully-paid health care plan and pension.

Fri
23
Jan

New band director is on the job

After MLHS band director Tony Mazzone departed on a leave of absence at the end of December, that meant a new band director would start the new year.

That baton was passed to Jordan Swiontek, a recent college graduate from Osceola, Wisconsin.

Swiontek and his wife, Erin, moved to Buffalo the day after Christmas in preparation for Jordan's new job at MLHS.

Swiontek is a graduate of Southwest Minnesota State University, Marshall, with a degree in Music Education and an emphasis on instrumental music. After graduation, he obtained positions as a long-term substitute for band programs in Taylors Falls and in Frederic, WI.

"I'm really excited to be here," he said. "This is a great group of kids, their attitudes are great and their playing ability is awesome. The staff is great too, easy to talk to and very helpful."

Swiontek, whose main instrument is the saxophone, said his taste in music leans toward Jazz.

Fri
23
Jan

City council begins process to target budget cuts

In light of anticipated cuts in funding from the state as the legislature copes with a multi-billion-dollar revenue shortfall, the Maple Lake City Council conducted a workshop on Jan. 15 to discuss potential cuts in its own budget.

And drawing the most discussion was a proposal to hire a city administrator in an effort to save on consultants' fees.

Mayor Mike O'Loughlin began the meeting by noting that the state cut $40,000 out of its December check to the city and the reduction in aid for this year will likely be much larger. He framed the discussion on hiring a city administrator as a cost-saving measure by noting that the city paid about $90,000 last year for the services of City Economic Developer John Meyer and City Attorney Rhonda Pagel. His suggestion was to hire a law school graduate at a cost of about $35,000 to $40,000 and provide them with on-the-job training to function as a city attorney/administrator.

Fri
23
Jan

Thelen takes her place on county board

Earlier this month, the Wright County Board of Commissioners added its first new member in six years when Commissioner Rose Thelen was seated - replacing Commissioner Karla Heeter, who chose not to run for re-election after taking a job with Buffalo Hospital.

Two weeks into her first term as a county commissioner, Thelen said she is undergoing a sense of information overload.

"It's wild," Thelen said of the inundation of information. "It's a steep learning curve. There is a lot of information coming at me. Every time I go to a meeting, I come out with another three-ring binder of information. It's a lot to absorb."

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