Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Dec. 31, 2001

2001: Howard Lake-Waverly year in review

By Lynda Jensen


Brett Ryan Relander, 12 of Howard Lake, was seriously injured while crossing an intersection at Wright County Road 6, in Middleville Township on his snowmobile Dec. 29.

The impact from being struck by a car resulted in two minor skull fractures, and broke his left leg in four places, his father Ted said.

Relander underwent 10 surgeries on his leg. His last surgery was Jan. 24.

During its January meeting, the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School Board planned its next step in the future potential high school site selection.

Proposals from the cities of Winsted and Howard Lake were given Jan. 22 to a school board committee and discussed at the next board meeting.

A sub-committee of board members Gene Lorentz, Jim Raymond and Charles Weber, as well as Superintendent Riley Hoheisel, met with city administrators from Howard Lake and Winsted to discuss offers from each city for the school site.

The board was looking at the Ray Fiecke property, located 1/4 mile north of Winsted city limits, and the Edna Frank property, which was on the Howard Lake city limits.

There are 101 acres on the Frank property, at the southwest corner of Howard Lake, at a cost of $10,000 per acre. The Fiecke property offers 70 acres available for $5,000 per acre, or 150 acres available for $4,500 each.

Later that month, the Howard Lake City Council appointed its own contractor to appraise both properties. The appraisals were used to determine Howard Lake's offer for the new school site.

Sample floor plans of the historic City Hall building were examined by city personnel and a number of residents during a workshop.

The on- and off-sale municipal liquor store is expected to increase by one third of its size to meet growing demand.

Another event in January included the semi-retirement of Pastor Marvin Repinski of United Walker Methodist Church. He started to serve the Montrose Methodist at two thirds time.

The former Werner Hardware building was demolished to make way for new development at the corner of Highway 12 and Eighth Avenue.

The demolition of the building, which was built before 1900, took one day, shutting down a section of Eighth Avenue.


About three dozen people braved the weather conditions after an ice storm to attend the city of Howard Lake's open house regarding its future development.

The city planned the open house to attract participation in its comprehensive land use plan being formulated by an outside consultant.

One of the oldest churches in the Howard Lake community celebrated the dedication of a new addition.

St. John's Lutheran Church dedicated the addition of Epiphany Hall, which included classrooms that surround a central gym.

Also during February, coach Merrill Skinner was honored for 25 years of coaching Laker basketball during a surprise ceremony given by former players, friends and other coaches.

At the end of the month, the city council approved the onset of more apartments, townhomes for Howard Lake. Development of the former Sand Bar and Grill and the lot where the former Werner Hardware Building used to be was OK'd.

At the end of the month, HLWW continued its collection of information about the two final school sites chosen, although the school board would not divulge information about the two sites yet.


An estimated 100,000 gallons of liquid manure spilled into a storm water pond and county ditch three miles south of Waverly March 16.

The spill occurred at one of two lagoons at Metro Dairy, a dairy cow operation with 1,150 animals. The lagoons are the size of football fields, said neighbor Margaret Millerbernd.

Other events in March included the death of Ida (Eddy) Gilmer, 93, the last of the Eddy triplets, who died March 5.

Gilmer was born to Ida and William Eddy on a farm south of Howard Lake in 1907. She was the only girl of the triplets, with two brothers, Howard and William.

HLWW wrestler Pat Salonek earned the state championship, and wrestler Joey Graczyk earned sixth place in the state class A wrestling tournament.

As a sophomore, Salonek became the first state champion in the school's history.

A Marlboro burglar was caught outside of Pete's Grocery after he helped himself to nearly all of the cigarettes at the store. Wright County deputy Matt Heaton apprehended him outside the business, March 24. Charles Emmett Hurd, 49, of Walker, Minn., was charged with second degree burglary, in connection with the incident.

In other March events, Kevin Ryks of Waverly opened a landscape, irrigation business on the east side of Waverly's park and ride lot, called Metro West Irrigation & Landscaping.

Toward the end of the month, Joe Drusch announced plans to expand Joe's Sport Shop with the addition of a hardware store. The expansion will add 3,500 square feet to the store.


In Waverly, RoseMary Woitalla opened a new business, called Embroidery by RMW.

Long-time conservationist Ken Durdahl of Howard Lake was elected for a two-year position as state chairman of the Minnesota chapter of Ducks Unlimited (DU).

Angry residents said the Metro Dairy manure clean up was late and slow following a meeting with state officials.

A tense, standing-room-only informational meeting was attended by 120 residents, four Minnesota Pollution Control Agency officials, a third-party moderator from the Twin Cities, Metro Dairy owner Virgil Scherping, and two representatives from an environmental legal consulting firm who spoke on behalf of the dairy farm.

Initially, Metro Dairy attempted to contain the spill on its own property, but did not notify any authorities of the problem until four days after the event, Halbach said, when the spill got out of control and spread down the adjacent creek.

In the middle of the month, the HLWW board approved the site near Winsted as the best choice between the two remaining possible sites for a new high school, as recommended by the sub-committee that studied the issue, said Vice Chairman Randy Heuer.

Two board members dissented, Rick Lammers and Kirk Jensen. The choice angered many Howard Lake and Waverly residents.

Ron and Gene Gilbert opened Auto Choice, an auto dealer in Howard Lake, along with their son, Jason. The business offers used cars, along with a locating service for vehicles, Gilbert said.

Auto Choice is located formerly where Tom's Collision used to be.

Former HLWW student Mat Ollig, 17, won runner up distinction out of nearly 1,000 entries at the Duck Stamp competition at Burnsville March 27.

There is only one runner up and one winner in the state, although there are several honorable mentions awarded to Minnesota students.

In other events, a scheduling conflict between the Waverly planning and zoning commission and the fire department mushroomed into what appeared to be a standoff between the city and firefighters, as discussed by the council during its meeting April 10.

At the meeting, council members spent nearly 30 minutes discussing the conflict, which occurred when planning and zoning moved its meetings from Monday to Tuesday night a month ago, to avoid holidays.

The council chambers are used by the fire department on the first and third Tuesday of the month for training, which is a meeting time practiced by most departments across the state.

Fire department members attended the last regular council meeting and a work session to protest the conflict because it was a hardship to move their equipment to other meeting places.

Following up the Metro Dairy spill, an enforcement forum made up of MPCA staff, supervisors and representatives from the attorney general's office, planned to meet again to discuss the manure spill.

Two fires and flooding from a four-inch deluge April 22 impacted residents in Howard Lake two weekends in a row.

Four inches of rain fell April 21 and 22, causing storm water to overwhelm the city septic system, said Public Works Manager Tom Goepfert.

The city treatment plant ended up processing six and a half times more water than usual, Goepfert said.

A group of Waverly residents representing a cross section of the community secure a two-year grant worth $10,000, given on behalf of the Initiative Foundation, which is a non-profit organization serving Wright County.

The grant's purpose is to train Waverly community leaders in community development.


For the first time in school history, a team of five Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted students headed to Brainerd to compete against 47 other teams in state competition in the Knowledge Bowl, with advisor Rita Grimm.

The Knowledge Bowl is a competition of intelligence, similar to Jeopardy.

Two townhome developments were approved by the Howard Lake City Council after a bit of controversy in front of a fair-sized crowd.

The first development, planned for the southern half of Franklin Street, was granted over the objections of the county board, two businesses and two residents who voiced concerns about access.

Part of the plans for development include closing the railroad crossing at 13th Avenue, since the townhome unit would physically block this crossing on one side.

The Wright County Board vigorously opposed closing the railroad crossing at its May 1 meeting because it provides access to the western portion of the Wright County Fairgrounds, according to a letter written by Chief Deputy Attorney Brian Asleson.

The seven-month reconstruction of Highway 12 officially started Monday, May 14, when road weight restrictions were lifted by the state. The construction ended Monday, Dec. 10.

Weekly public meetings hosted by MnDOT ensued to address any issues related to construction.

Also in May, the HLWW reported the cost to build new high school was higher now due to the passage of time on construction costs.

Inflation in the building market was the chief factor for an estimated 26 percent increase in the cost of a new school, according to the architect, said Superintendent Riley Hoheisel.

In a consolidation scenario with Lester Prairie, the school district could receive a $6 million grant from the state, Hoheisel said.


Marvin Decker, 76, of Waverly was named runner-up for the Wright County outstanding senior citizen award. Decker is an active member of Senior Citizens in both Waverly and Montrose. He is a retired truck driver.

Also in Waverly, two buyers expressed interest in railroad property recently purchased by the city.

Landscaper Kevin Ryks pressed the council to take action in selling him a parcel of the railroad property on the north side of the tracks.

Another buyer also contacted the city, expressing an interest in buying the entire section of railroad property on the north side, Mayor Charles Bush said.

The council decided to order a survey done of the property and form committees to prepare the land for sale.

In a separate meeting, talks started between a cooperation committee from Lester Prairie, and a similar committee from Glencoe-Silver Lake. They said they have not made any firm commitments; they are just gathering information.

The Howard Lake Good Samaritan Center marked 30 years of service.

The Howard Lake Historical Society announced the sale of memorial bricks for the sidewalk area in front of the historic city hall building.

With no promises, the Lester Prairie school board left the door open for consolidation following a joint school board meeting that month.

Lester Prairie school board members asked for more time to consider a possible consolidation effort with the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted school district.

Lester Prairie school board members promised to give an answer during a special meeting in July.


Sparks from a welder's torch caused a fire that destroyed a metal shed at T&O Auto Parts, two miles east of Howard Lake, Highway 12.

The Citizens State Bank of Waverly added loan officer Mary Sieling to its staff.

An early morning fire July 13 devastated Sonstegard's Foods, an egg processing facility on Wright County Road 6 in Howard Lake. No one was hurt in the blaze. A slight explosion, spark, or form of combustion appeared to cause the fire.

Also in July, Anna Millerbernd, Miss Waverly, 2000-2001, was chosen as one of two princesses of the Minneapolis Aquatennial, in the Queen of the Lakes Coronation July 21.


The Orphans baseball team qualified for the state tournament.

The fast pitch softball team H&S (Herda and Sons) Seal Coating of Waverly won the state championship in the Minnesota 2001 Men's Class C State Fastpitch Softball Tournament.

The new Howard Lake police patrol car was declared a total loss following a one-car accident after midnight at 50th Street and Wright County Road 6 July 28. Police Officer Tim Sonnek swerved and rolled the car onto its side, hitting a tree in the process. He was unhurt.

In other events, tempers flared as two property owners discussed their property's worth to the city during the Howard Lake City Council meeting. The city filed eminent domain proceedings against all five lots on block 16 and part of the block 17: two houses owned by brothers John and Dave Kadlec, a house owned by Dave and Michelle DuChaine, one empty lot with an absentee owner, and a house owned by Tom and Jim Peterson of Lakes Realty.

The redevelopment is probably the largest and boldest ever made by the City of Howard Lake for commercial development, Administrator Doug Borglund said.

Meanwhile, in Waverly, a petition of 189 signatures, designed to save the railroad park, was presented by a large crowd to the Waverly City Council. The group vigorously objected to the sale of the railroad park, which represents five lots out of two large sections of land that the city recently purchased from the railroad.

All of the council members, except Mayor Charlie Bush, voted in favor of keeping the park.

Milo's Restaurant in Howard Lake closed its doors for good at Highway 12. The business later re-located to Dassel. Its building was demolished a few months later.

The Howard Lake City Council unveiled plans for the Security State Bank of Howard Lake to be relocated to the south side of Highway 12.

The city is considering moving its offices into the existing bank building, with a new bank building to be built along Highway 12.

Although the city is making an initial investment in buying the properties on block 16, the immediate impact will not raise the tax levy, he said.

Still at the forefront for the Lester Prairie School Board was cooperation/consolidation with either the Glencoe-Silver Lake School District, or the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School District.

During the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted school board meeting, a new committee was formed to oversee a potential consolidation with Lester Prairie.

Committee members will reflect an identical committee formed by Lester Prairie. A committee was also being formed by Glencoe Silver Lake.


Both the Waverly and Howard Lake city councils observed a moment of silence to honor the dead at the terrorist attacks Sept. 11.

Former employee Cheryl Tormanen took over Red's Pizza in Howard Lake. Tormanen is leasing the business from Bill and Gloria Strandquist, who used to own the establishment for 12 years. It was sold to Kimberly Hughes of Buffalo, who managed the business for eight months prior.

Phenomenal Rehabilitation, opened its doors at the Stellar Health Center, located at 12th Avenue and Highway 12. The owners and operators are Craig and Jennifer Butturff, Dassel.

The proposed levy for the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted school dropped by more than $1.6 million compared to last year, due to changes in the state tax formula. Superintendent Riley Hoheisel wondered if the state could afford to keep its end of the bargain, if it fell on hard times.

Music teacher Dawn Kalvig, a veteran of the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted district, was selected as the Minnesota Music Educator of the Year.


Residents reflected on the terrorist attacks, and two local organizations worked on fund-raising projects to benefit the victims.

The Youth Group for St. James Church hosted a bake sale, and the HLWW drama department sold t-shirts, of which all the proceeds were sent to victims in New York.

Commercial pilot and Howard Lake resident Mathew Simmons, 26, encouraged others to use the airline industry to prove to the terrorists that their efforts to scare the American people were lost.

The Howard Lake City Council passed condemnation proceedings against property owned by Allan and Donna Munson on Block 17, which is where Donna's Salon is located between the Howard Lake Ridgeview Clinic and Milo's Restaurant.

The City of Waverly ordered property owner Edith Ouverson to have tenants vacate her property during its meeting as the result of a long-standing dispute over the sub-standard septic system at 902 Pacific Avenue. The order displaced three renters living at the property, but came on the heels of the city spending a great deal of time over the past few years trying to get Ouverson to bring the sewer system into compliance with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Six of eight candidates who filed for two Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted school board positions squared off during a forum sponsored by the Howard Lake Business Association. The remaining two candidates did not participate for different reasons.

Incumbent Kirk Jensen announced his withdrawal from the election, saying he was unable to give the proper amount of time to serve. Incumbent Leo Weber was unable to attend the forum due to illness.

The Howard Lake City Council was kept busy at its regular meeting: a closed street. Business owner Joe Drusch attended the meeting to strongly protest the closure of Ninth Avenue. The council re-opened the road for a short time.

Howard Lake resident Vivian Mahlstedt purchased Ramstad's Photography in Cokato from Dave and Norma Ramstad.


Brothers Warren and Bill Dell opened a new car repair shop in Howard Lake, located formerly at Howard Lake car wash, across the street from the Good Samaritan Center.

In local school elections, Charlie Borrell and John Lideen were elected to the HLWW school board.

Talk of a potential consolidation between Lester Prairie and the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted school districts was suspended.

Both districts cited the desire to organize with respective new board members - none of whom were in favor of consolidation on either end - as the result of recent elections.

A new deli opened called Deli Max, located just east of Dura Supreme in Howard Lake. Deli Max joined the Pit Stop convenience store, Howard Lake Auto Center, Fast Lube, and car wash; all under one roof.

The Howard Lake-Waverly Herald and Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal newspapers were sold to Chris Schultz and Amy Hoese-Schultz of Lester Prairie and Dale and Linda Kovar of Watertown. The newspapers have been owned by Bill Ramige of Glencoe since 1986, when he acquired them from Floyd and JoAnn Sneer of Winsted. The new corporation will be known as Herald Journal Publishing.


Four major plans for residential development are in the works for the south side of Waverly, as well as an industrial park.

A land swap deal fell through at the Howard Lake City Council meeting, following talks between the city and owners of the last lot located at block 16 on the south side of Highway 12 in Howard Lake.

The lot represents the final portion of a proposed Security State Bank and expanded medical clinic development planned by the city.

During the past year, the city has been buying lots on blocks 16 and 17, located between Bergie's and Gerry's Super Valu, to make way for the development.

The city filed eminent domain proceedings against two lots owned by brothers Tom and Jim Peterson. One lot contains a house, which is just east of Bergie's.

The Wright County Fair Board discussed its new, unwanted, role in an ongoing dispute over the new Howard Lake water tower during the county board meeting.

The board indicated it felt caught between the county and the City of Howard Lake over the issue, and hoped that increased communication would be the answer.

The dispute erupted over a verbal agreement made between a former city council and the county two years ago. Tensions flared up over the past six months when the county attempted to get a written contract signed of the verbal agreement.

Joe Drusch of Howard Lake is planning to pick up where his father, Don, left off, with the opening of a new hardware store in Howard Lake in January.

Drusch's store, Joe's Sport Shop, is located at Highway 12 and Ninth Avenue, and will feature the addition of a new Hardware Hank.

In January, the store will end a period in history - the first time ever that Howard Lake did not have a hardware store in town for the duration of two years.

The last hardware store to close its doors in Howard Lake was Rod and Wanda Werner's hardware store in December 1999, located where a new development exists at the corner of Eighth Avenue and Highway 12.

The city put a price tag on the cost of development for a new proposed Security State Bank and proposed expanded medical clinic located at Highway 12, in the heart of town.

The deal involves the city buying the existing bank building, including the furnishings.

The cost to taxpayers will be $500,000 for the deal, or a payment of $42,245 per year for 20 years with an interest rate of 8.5 percent, Administrator Doug Borglund said.

HLWW eighth grader Julie Rohling was chosen out of 71 other students from across the nation and Canada for her colored pencil drawing of 12 Holstein cows. Her drawing was printed as the January artwork for a full color calendar of Westfalia Surge, a dairy equipment supplier.

The resignation of long-time HLWW Superintendent Riley Hoheisel ended 2001.

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