Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, March 9, 1998

Winsted Civic & Commerce banquet showcases talented area students


Winsted business owners and other community members of the Winsted C&C Association were treated to live piano music as they signed in and had cocktails before their annual banquet on Feb. 19. The performer was Leah Behrens, a home-schooled high school sophomore who also attends Lighthouse Educational Ministries. Leah was one of nine students who volunteered their time and talents by providing entertainment for the C&C membership.

Emphasizing student participation in their annual banquet was a continuation of the Civic & Commerce Association's new commitment to support their future leaders. In 1997, the C&C organized and hosted a Career Day in Winsted, with participation of 19 businesses and almost 70 students from Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted and Holy Trinity High Schools.

This activity helped them realize the importance of getting to know the students and providing them learning opportunities and exposure to the business community.

Emcees of the student program were Sam Corr and Anna Millerbernd.

Sam, the son of Maggie and Pat Corr, is a junior at Dassel-Cokato High School and was sponsored by the Adult Training and Habilitation Center. In addition to emceeing, Sam read one of his published poems, "Die Gitarre," in both English and German.

Anna Millerbernd, the daughter of Julie and Steve Millerbernd, attends Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School as a freshman and was sponsored by Millerbernd Manufacturing. Anna shared her interpretation of a poem, "The Oyster," in addition to serving as co-emcee.

Performers also included Sid Stamm, Wade Fowler, Monica Hertzog, Leah Behrens, Sarah Behrens, Jeff Wiemiller and Brian Neff.

Sid Stamm, son of Mary and Larry Stamm and a junior at Dassel-Cokato High School, was sponsored by TDS TELECOM and shared a comical piece called "Student Bloopers - A History of the World."

Wade Fowler, son of Evelyn and Jim Fowler and a junior at Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School, was sponsored by the Community Bank Winsted and played a baritone solo titled "Honor and Arms" by Handel.

Monica Hertzog, daughter of Diane Hertzog and senior at Holy Trinity High School, was sponsored by St. Mary's Care Center and performed three poems that she has authored - "There is Someone Here," "Learn," and "My Best Friend."

Leah and Sarah Behrens and Jeff Wiemiller provided vocal entertainment, including a jazzy rendition of "Amazing Grace," and Leah and Sarah provided some stirring piano music. Leah and Sarah are daughters of Mary and David Behrens. Leah was sponsored by Neff/Heino Dental Clinic. Sarah is a home-schooled senior who was sponsored by Boger's True Value Hardware. Jeff Wiemiller, son of Luann and Bill Wiemiller, is a senior at Holy Trinity High School and was sponsored by Sterner Lighting Industries.

Brian Neff, son of Dr. James Neff, is a senior at Lutheran High and attends Crown College, was sponsored by the Neff/Heino Dental Clinic. Brian, with assistance from Winsted Karate Club Chief Instructor Louis Stifter, presented a number of impressive and challenging karate demos. Both Neff and Stifter are international competitors.

The student program, which met with much approval and applause, topped off an evening of variety and surprises. The Rev. Robert Wyffels of Holy Trinity, gave the invocation, then wine, dinner and dessert were enjoyed.

Mary Stamm, second year president of the C&C, served as emcee and introduced Winsted Mayor Don Guggemos, who provided an overview of the busy year that 1997 had been.

The 1998 C&C officers were introduced: Mary Stamm, president; Jim Neff, vice president, Donna Holovnia, treasurer; Chris Schultz, secretary; and directors Barb Boger, Kevin Chilson, Jan Millerbernd and Mike Seaberg.

Outgoing secretary Mae Stifter was recognized for her years of support and outgoing directors Brent Schank and Chris Schultz were acknowledged.

Seven new businesses in town are being presented with a free membership for 1998 and a recognition plaque to hang in their facility. Recognized at the banquet were: High Noon/Total Entertainment Center, owned by Mike VanderLinden; Hometown Mortgage, operated by Marvin Vetsch and Tim Walter; and Jimmy's Pizza, owned by Joe and Natalie Caouette.

Other new businesses not present at the banquet were: Bailey's Tavern & Grill, owned by KimKent Enterprises; Radtke's Bait & Tackle, owned by Dan and Charlene Radtke; County Road 1 Crafts, owned by Marilyn Gatz; and Keg's Bar, owned by Brian Langenfeld.

The 1997 Jim Baird Agricultural Award went to Joe Neubauer, the McLeod County Extension Educator. This is an especially meaningful award this year, since the recently deceased Jim Baird played a key role in nominating and selecting him as this year's recipient. Dr. Bill Fynboh and Roger Kritzeck, both prior winners of the award, were on hand to recognize Joe Neubauer with this award.

The 1997 C&C Community Service Award was presented to Mae Stifter, in recognition of her 40 years of community service. Several family members were present to surprise Mae and watch her receive her award, which was presented by Mary Stamm. She received a well-deserved standing ovation by the membership.

President Mary Stamm presented an overview of the year ahead. The two main focuses will be more involvement from our membership and more business involvement with our students.

Membership involvement will be increased with more communication and information sharing and with re-establishment of standing committees.

Information on the C&C's purpose and structure, and on the standing committees was available for all in attendance. Sign-up sheets were also provided.

Businesses will be more involved with our students through another Career Day, through business visits to schools, and through internships. Student participation in the banquet was another means of increasing their opportunities and exposure to our business community.

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