Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Jan. 3, 2000

1999: year in review (Winsted-Lester Prairie)

January

Newly elected members of the Winsted City Council, including Mayor Floyd Sneer, Council Member Tom Wiemiller, and incumbent Council Member Gary Lenz were sworn in.

At the same meeting, outgoing Mayor Don Guggemos was honored with a plaque for his years of service to the city.

The new owner of the Depot in Lester Prairie was profiled in the Journal. Angela Ross-Litzau, the grand daughter of the original Depot owner, Henry Wiedenroth, bought the business from Peter Jude in 1998.

New members were sworn in for the Lester Prairie City Council. Mayor Eric Angvall, Larry Hoof, and Roland Bruckschen were all given the oath of office by outgoing Mayor Ed Mlynar.

Outgoing Council Member Larry Peterson received a plaque for his years of service to the city. Angvall also had words of praise for Peterson, Mlynar, and outgoing council member Stan Erhke.

Ridgeview Ambulance Service of Waconia stated that it needs more emergency medical technicians for its service in the Winsted area.

The DNR met with the city council and local landowners to discuss the completion of the Luce Line Trail through Winsted.

Landowners present at the meeting included the City of Winsted, Steve Millerbernd, and Dan and John Entinger.

Discussion not only involved the sale or rental of land from the respective landowners for the trail's possible course, but its location near the airport and federal regulations concerning land usage near any air traffic area.

Millerbernd expressed an interest in renting land to the DNR as long as the trail was kept from his business' buildings.

The Entingers mentioned interest from another buyer, Cenex Co-op, for the tract of land the DNR wanted, and how that land would be appraised for purchase.

The Holy Trinity Trojan boys varsity basketball team continued on a seven game winning streak, beating Minneapolis Lutheran and Lester Prairie.

The Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity wrestling team placed fourth in a tournament in Norwood Young America.

The Winsted Karate Club was featured for its long line of members who have competed successfully in national and international competition.

Included in that membership was the current Chief Instructor Louis Stifter, who had competed at the World Championship with the U.S. team.

Winsted hosted a meeting between area city councils and the University of Minnesota Extension Service to implement a Business Retention and Expansion Plan.

The plan would send out volunteers with questionnaires for area businesses to diagnose problems the businesses were facing.

A recommendation was made that the cities of Winsted, Lester Prairie, Howard Lake and Silver Lake cooperate in the venture, but it was not met with enthusiasm.

Matt Johnson, from the Mid-Minnesota Development Commission, reported the results of a land use survey to the Winsted council.

The report was part of the city's effort to complete a new comprehensive plan. In the same council meeting, the council discussed member absenteeism, investigated a request from the Westgate neighborhood for a speed reduction, and processed applications for Winstock 1999.

February

The Long Range Facilities Task Force made recommendations for a new high school for the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted school district.

Task Force Co-Chair Joe Campbell cited a growing population and age of the current high school as reasons for the new school.

At the time, the project was predicted to cost $14.2 million. The task force recommended a centrally located site.

Winsted had already made three proposals for a site, Waverly had passed on the opportunity, and Howard Lake's proposals were pending.

Also, an option to consolidate with Lester Prairie was discussed due to the availability of a $6 million grant.

Dairy Farmers of America announced 34 layoffs due to a change in production from cheese to a cheese powder product.

A fire consumed Coachwork Connection in Lester Prairie. Fire Chief Jerry Pawelk reported that the fire was accidental.

The owner, Tom Westrup, had recently been remodeling his business, and it was believed that the fire started between a new and older ceiling.

Winsted American Legion Post 407 received a new mural entitled "Anchors Aweigh" from Giles Guggemos, Inc. The painting represented 200 years of United States Naval History.

Two railroad cars fell off their tracks east of New Germany. The cars, owned by Dakota Railroad, were carrying an alcohol-based, flammable liquid, and five families were evacuated from their homes.

Noah Carlson was selected as the Junior outstanding male competitor at the Hutchinson Shotokan Karate Tournament.

Winsted City Council turned down a request from Joe DeJaeghere of the DNR to write a letter to the FAA that it would not expand the airport runway.

The request was based on the DNR's plan to use land near the airport to complete the Luce Line Trail. If the runway were to be paved, the FAA would not allow the placement of the trail so close to air traffic.

The council said it could probably not pave the runway, since that would also require moving the airport due to its proximity to industry. The council rejected the request due to City Attorney Fran Eggert's recommendation not to write the letter.

Kyle Koch was named wrestler of the month by the Guillotine, a state wrestling magazine.

Bailey's Tavern and Grill was purchased by Jeffery Fuerstenberg, the father of the previous owner, Kim Hirsch.

Lester Prairie City Council appointed numerous members to its planning, zoning and park board. It also discussed changing the emergency services director from Police Chief Fred Pawelk to Fire Chief Fred Pawelk.

In the same meeting, the council considered a Web-site and city guidebook.

Winsted City Council moved into new offices in downtown Winsted.

Kay Jepson resigned from the Lester Prairie City Council due to her move from Lester Prairie to Sturgeon Lake.

Andrew Brown, Alex Brown, Matt DeMars and Heidi Roufs were named to all-tournament teams from Holy Trinity's participation in the Waconia Basketball Tournament.

At a regular meeting of the Lester Prairie School Board, discussion centered around a proposed excess levy referendum and what the proposed monies could be spent on.

Public concern was also voiced over the school's lack of space. Chairperson Gene Starke called upon the community to help direct the board in future planning issues and a proposed consolidation with the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted school district.

At that same meeting, the board got notice from the teacher's association to begin negotiations.

Lighthouse Educational Mini-stries, a school for home-schoolers, was profiled in the paper.

The school, run by Dave Behrens of Winsted, was designed to give home-school students the social aspects of regular classes.

The Winsted Civic and Commerce Association spent an evening at The Blue Note Ballroom honoring volunteers. Among the honorees were Francis and Germaine Schommer who were given a community service award.

Adam Painschab won the 1999 Humphrey Elementary spelling bee.

The HLWW Snow Fest Royalty were crowned. The queen was Sara Ostgulen, and the princess was Laura Williamson. Josh Oswald was the king, and Dan Gatz was crowned prince.

March

Paul Kliewer of Cokato opened a Subway restaurant with breakfast items and a drive-thru in Winsted.

Howard Lake presented its site proposals to the Long Range Facilities Task Force. The proposal not only included four sites, but a promise to waive sewer access and water access connections.

Mayor Gerry Smith included in the proposal reasons why the school should be located in Howard Lake. He cited transportation costs and time, support from local organizations, and other factors that would suffer if the school were located outside of the city. Howard Lake's proposal was also endorsed by Waverly Mayor Charlie Bush.

LP/HT wrestlers returned home from the state tournament to a welcome home celebration at the school's gym. Josh Eckstein placed as the state runner-up. The other wrestlers did not place, but had victories of their own at the tournament.

The LP/HT wrestling team also had a landmark season with 20 wins, breaking the school record.

Debi Zillmar won the district spelling bee at Lester Prairie High School.

The Lester Prairie eighth grade girls basketball team took seventh in the Norwood Young America Tournament.

The Lester Prairie School Board continued its discussion of its own long- range planning issues, while also discussing the merits of consolidation with the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted school district.

Discussion of sites continued as Winsted proposed its sites for the new high school again to the Long Range Facilities Task Force.

In a Winsted City Council meeting, City Administrator Aaron Reeves felt that Howard Lake Mayor Gerry Smith's presentation of growth and operation figures for the new school was subjective and said Winsted would not do the same.

In that same city council meeting, Winsted council members were solicited by Mike Larson for weight equipment in the fire hall.

The equipment would be available to Winsted City employees and the Fire Department. The proposal was rejected due to insurance liability to the city. Also, engineer Cynthia Moeller-Krass presented information on the impact of Dairy Farmers of America's change in production on the city's sewer rates. Moeller-Krass predicted a $10 increase in each resident's bill.

The Humphrey Elementary Knowledge Bowl team took fifth at a regional competition at St. John's University, Collegeville.

A bake sale was held at St. Paul's Lutheran Church to benefit Austin Luedke, who had hydrocephalus.

Ron Foust was appointed to the Lester Prairie City Council to replace Kay Jepson.

Prudence Gushwa, a professor at Minnesota State University, Mankato, presented preliminary data to the school board on her study of the Lester Prairie district. She also advised the board on strategies for involving the community in long-range planning decisions through public meetings.

All Star Wrestling came to Lester Prairie to raise funds to paint the gymnasium.

Winsted parents, community leaders, law enforcement officials met to discuss juvenile crime at the Holy Trinity gymnasium. The discussion centered around the presentation of Judge Phillip Kanning who challenged the idea that most juvenile offenders are violent offenders.

The Winsted City Council revisited the issue of having weight-lifting equipment placed in the fire hall. Officer Scott Larson asked the council to reconsider its decision.

The Holy Trinity varsity boys basketball team ended its season with a 22-3 record, a new school record. Seniors Blake Trnka, Kyle Kutz, and Jim Bisping were named to the all-conference team.

The Lester Prairie City Council opted to combine the Highway 261 turnback projects with improvements in their sewer and water systems.

In a joint meeting, the Lester Prairie City Council and School Board discussed future planning strategies for the community, including those for a new facility for the school and the need for more housing.

April

Chuck and Sandra Adams told their story about their wish to adopt four children from California.

Winsted Police Chief Mike Henrich reported in the police department's annual report that crime was down, but admitted that it may be on the rise.

Winsted City Council finally gave in to requests and allowed the fire department to have a weight-lifting set.

The Longhorn Days Committee announced that a demolition derby will be added to the festival's line-up.

The Adult Training and Habilitation Center was profiled in the paper for its work with adults with developmental disabilities.

The clean-out of County Ditch 12 was a concern, as the ditch flowed into Winsted Lake.

Of concern was whether the county was required to have a permit for the clean out, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. According to Winsted's Lake Association, the ditch was a significant source of silt in the lake, and the association was seeking that farmers in McLeod County, whose land intersected the ditch, put 16- foot grass strips along the course of the ditch.

RAM Buildings, Inc received a building lot as a new incoming business to Winsted.

The sale and agreement with RAM did stir some discussion in the Winsted council chambers as members discussed how much the city should give to the prospective business for locating in the city.

A joint meeting between the Lester Prairie and Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted school districts ended with a call for comparisons of curriculum.

The meeting addressed the continuing proposal of the two districts consolidating into one.

Sidney Stamm won first place in humorous interpretation at the state high school league speech meet.

May

Lester Prairie began preparations to take a survey to continue the creation of its comprehensive plan.

The Winsted Fire Department celebrated its new fire hall with a parade and open house.

ShadowBrooke Golf Course was vandalized.

The Lester Prairie School Board held a series of meeting including 70 members of the public and Prudence Gushwa, a professor from the Minnesota State University, Mankato, on long-range planning issues.

Members of the public broke into small groups, answered questions, and brainstormed for the future. Also, the majority of those in attendance indicated that they did not want to consolidate with the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School District.

Holy Trinity students Mary Schoenfelder, Melissa Weibel, Ryan Marquardt, Stacy Bebo, Dave Hoen, Laura Ollig, Adam Johnson, Katie Neumann, Jason Campbell, and Maggie Hertel were inducted into the Holy Trinity National Honor Society.

Two linden trees were planted at Linden Wood Apartments in Winsted to commemorate National Homes for the Aging Week.

Volunteers Richard Genty and Sylvia Artmann received the Bishop's Medal of Service from the New Ulm Diocese for their work in the Holy Trinity Parish and Winsted community.

Mitchell John Flatgard, 31, of Lester Prairie was arrested for discharging a weapon in his apartment.

Bids for the Highway 261 turnback project came in higher than expected in Lester Prairie, $40,000 more than expected.

In the same meeting, the council sought to pursue charges against Andrew Galles, a former police officer for breaching his employment contract. Galles left before the contract was up and the contract stipulated fees for equipment and training.

Community meetings in Lester Prairie regarding future planning for the school district concluded. The public in attendance told the board to keep the school independent and not consolidate with the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted school district.

Also discussed was possible future bonding for a new facility, most likely an elementary school.

HLWW hurlers Andy Gagnon and Laura Williamson pitched no hitters in high school baseball and softball respectively. Also, golfer Sarah Swenson had a hole-in-one at the The Greens golf course in Hoard Lake.

Lester Prairie School Board officially declined an offer to consolidate with the Howard Lake-Winsted-Waverly district.

Board Chair Gene Starke added, "That doesn't mean we would stop looking completely at Howard Lake with the possibility of cooperation in some areas."

When asked whether LP district citizens understood the significance of $6 million in state aid and the tax impact of the proposed high school, Starke said, "I doubt it. I don't think everybody does."

Ridgeview Medical Center purchased the Winsted Family Practice Clinic.

Ben Shaffer was the HLWW Valedictorian. Krista Gustad was the Salutatorian.

Wade Fowler received the John Phillips Sousa Award for the spring solo and ensemble competitions. Katie Padden was the recipient of the National School Choral Award.

Holy Trinity High School presented "The Wizard of Oz" to two nights of enthusiastic audiences.

Pastor John Hogue joined the Evangelical United Church of Christ as the church's pastor.

Highway 261/Country Road 1 was detoured for the turnback project.

The Pantry Cafe celebrated its one year anniversary under new ownership.

June

Holy Trinity, Lester Prairie, and Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted graduated three classes of seniors.

Audrey Litzau and Jake Bandemer held the 1999 Polka Festival at the McLeod County fairgrounds.

The communities of Lester Prairie and Winsted commemorated Memorial Day with ceremonies at their respective cemeteries.

Winsted finalized its purchase agreement with RAM Buildings, Inc.

Chuck Thiel gave a humorous good-bye to graduates at Lester Prairie High School.

Winstock '99 saw artists such as John Michael Montgomery and Jo Dee Messina take the stage for two days of music, food, and fun.

The Winsted on the Lake housing development project received a $1 million Community Activity Set- Aside for the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency.

The Lester Prairie Lions honored Joe Miller for his contributions to the community, as both a humanitarian and an educator. Miller received the Melvin Jones Award, one of the Lions' highest honors.

The Lester Prairie City Council met with the school board to discuss future planning issues. The school was particularly concerned with the possibility of more housing in the city of Lester Prairie. The school also began planning for an excess levy referendum vote in November.

The Howard Lake School Board urged voters to ignore the rumors that Winsted Elementary School would close. Board Member Charles Weber discussed the possibility of expanding the school to reduce open enrollment to other districts.

New streetlights were installed in Lester Prairie.

Dr. James Neff celebrated 25 years of dentistry in the community of Winsted.

July

RAM Buildings, Inc. broke ground in Winsted.

Louis Stifter qualified for the world karate championships to be held in Moscow, Russia.

Raymond Quast won $100,000 with a Casino Royale scratch-off ticket.

The state legislature removed language from the omnibus K-12 policy and appropriations bill that provided a $6 million grant for school consolidation.

The Department of Natural Resources received approval from McLeod County to manage an 80-acre habitat in Winsted Township.

Joan Barrie-Daigle took the position of general manager at TDS TELECOM of Winsted.

The city and township disagreed over the turnover of taxes regarding the annexation of Littfin Lumber Co. into Winsted.

A motorcycle accident took the life of Scott Leon Schultz, 42, a Winsted city employee.

The city began discussions on establishing a tax increment financing district at the industrial park.

Efforts to restore the old city hall in Winsted were met with calls for more information on the options for the historic building.

Public sentiment supported restoring the old building, despite a vote on raising taxes to pay for the renovation years ago.

The Lester Prairie School Board expressed some disappointment with meetings with the city regarding future planning issues.

A Homeward Bound Theatre Production of the Mark Twain classic, "Huckleberry Finn," was brought to Lester Prairie.

The HLWW Long Range Facilities Task Force discussed site selection for a proposed new high school for the school district.

August

Amy Gatz joined the Community Bank Winsted as a loan officer.

Micron Rubber Inc. proposed to build a tire recycling facility in Winsted, promising the city $15 million in funds.

The council was wary of the proposal due to a request to implement the deal quickly and legal inconsistencies in the contract the company wanted to sign with the city.

Ultimately, Micron withdrew its offer. The city later found that Micron had proposed similar deals to different cities and was under investigation for shady dealings.

The Winsted American Legion Festival '99 kicked off two days of festivities with a kiddie parade. The weekend included food, beverages, a full parade through downtown, and the crowning of the Winsted royalty.

Raleah Baird was crowned Miss Congeniality. Leah Jude and Sarah Bisping were crowned princesses. MacKenzie Strei was crowned queen. Dick Genty was the parade's grand marshal.

Holy Trinity proposed a joint community center with the City of Winsted.

The Lester Prairie Comprehensive Arts Planning Program held its second annual Prairie Arts Festival at the Lester Prairie High School.

Randy Pool was found dead in the Clearwater River in Wright County. An investigation led to the arrests of five suspects, some from Howard Lake.

The Lester Prairie City Council sought to cut its budget that showed a 47 percent increase.

The Lester Prairie School Board discussed the need for new technology for the district and the need to dedicate some of the excess levy referendum to that need.

Lester Prairie Police Chief Fred Blaser celebrated 25 years on the job.

Matt Johnson of the Mid-Minnesota Development Commis-sion presented the results of the Lester Prairie community survey, a part of the city's comprehensive plan.

September

Louis Stifter traveled to Russia to participate in the World Shotokan Karate Championship in Moscow. Dr. James Neff also attended as a coach for the U.S. team.

The Hair Company opened its doors in Lester Prairie.

Discussion at the Winsted City Council centered around a proposal of eliminating the city's police department in favor of having the sheriff's department patrol the city.

Ultimately, overwhelming business and public support for the city's police dissuaded the council from continuing to discuss the possibility.

Lester Prairie School Board set an excess levy referendum vote for $415 per pupil unit on its November ballot.

Bob DeMaris was welcomed to Lester Prairie as the new owner of the Lester Prairie Market and Deli.

Dairy Farmers of America exceeded its new production expectations of a value-added cheese powder product.

Kenny Norman received the Angelo Giuliani Award for his years in officiating baseball and softball.

Dana Ford was crowned homecoming queen in Lester Prairie. Joel Gueningsman was crowned king.

Holy Trinity crowned Jennifer Davidson homecoming queen, and David Hoen homecoming king.

October

Volunteers began Winsted's Business Retention and Expansion program by surveying 30 plus businesses.

A toy gun was used in a robbery of the Subway restaurant in Winsted. Two arrests were made, including one juvenile, and David Peter Mahon, 23.

Both the city of Lester Prairie and Winsted signed cable franchise agreements with Mediacom L.L.C. The two cities received a number of premiums in the deal including free service, a more powerful system with more channels, additional fund for cable access, infrastructure improvements, and internet service.

St. John's Lutheran Church raised funds with its Tea and Talent. Added to this year's event was a book fair to raise funds for the Sunday school.

The Lester Prairie varsity football team steamrolled past its first two playoff opponents, McLeod West and Onamia.

The Winsted City Council opted to overcome a sewer rate shortfall due to Dairy Farmers of America change in production by spreading out rate increases to all users.

The council also went through numerous meeting to discuss how to implement a pay scale for their city employees.

November

Veterans commemorated Veteran's Day with ceremonies at St. Mary's Care Center and the Martin Krueger American Legion Post 407.

Kenneth Conrad received his high school diploma through a program for veterans who did not receive their degrees due to their service.

Jonio's Pizza and Family Restaurant opened in Lester Prairie at the previous Past Times location.

The restaurant included dining, delivery and a complete menu. Owners Doug and Joni Olson were welcomed to the community as new residents.

The Lester Prairie varsity volleyball team ended its season with a 20-8-1 record and second place in the sub-section.

The Adult Training and Habilitation Center set up a Make-A-Difference-Tree to distribute presents to needy children throughout McLeod County.

Martin Schauer was profiled for his years of service to the Winsted community through the number of boards and commissions he volunteered for. Schauer was also this year's grand marshal for the Winter Festival parade.

December

Santa Claus made appearances at area community Christmas celebrations. He was seen at the Lester Prairie city hall and at the Winsted Winter Festival. Lester Prairie had an evening of music and bake goods for children of all ages.

Winsted had a two days of fun and games including prize drawings, craft sales, a model train display and a lighted parade.

Bishop Raymond Lucker visited St. Mary's Care Center administering mass and anointing the sick and elderly.

The Lester Prairie School Board reported that taxes for some districts may not go up due to state education credits. This was despite an increase in the levy approved by a November vote.

Lester Prairie and Winsted expect no problems with the year 2000 turnover.


Back to Current Stories Menu | Back to Archives List

Howard Lake-Waverly Herald & Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal
Stories | Columns | Classifieds | Obituaries
Community Guides | Special Topics | Cool Stuff | SEARCH | Home Page