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Area News

Nov. 24, 2014

Litchfield residents put out fire with snow

Litchfield residents were able to put out a small fire at about 6:15 a.m. Nov. 20 by throwing snow on the fire, the Litchfield Independent Review reported.

According to the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office, Mark and Julie Bakke used snow to extinguish a fire that started in a well house connected to a residence at 19478 612th Ave. Inside the well house was a small heater, which possibly started the fire. The estimated damage to the well house and residence is between $2,000 and $4,000. The sheriff’s office and Litchfield Fire Department responded to the fire, and no injuries were reported.

New mayor appointed in Maple Plain

The Maple Plain City Council appointed Jerry Young as the city’s new mayor during its Nov. 10 meeting. Young will serve the remainder of former Mayor Roger Hackbarth’s term, which runs through the end of 2016.

Hackbarth abandoned the office of mayor in October. Previously, the council had asked him to step down due to alleged misconduct. Young’s appointment as mayor left a vacancy on the council, which has been filled by Julie Maas-Kusske.

New Annandale priest is a native of India

The new priest at St. Ignatius Catholic Church in Annandale, Fr. George Kallumkalkudy, is a native of Kerala, India, the Annandale Advocate reported.

Kallumkalkudy, 70, came to the US in 1998 as a priest in a Louisiana diocese. After three years, he headed north to Minnesota. He has served in Lakeville, Little Canada, North Minneapolis, and Montgomery. Kallumkalkudy’s family remains in India, and he plans to return to Kerala after retirement.

Waconia has distillery and microbrewery

Waconia recently became home to a microbrewery and a distillery, the Star Tribune reported. The city recently updated its liquor ordinances to accommodate the newcomers, clearing the way for Waconia Brewing Company to have a taproom that opened in October and a tasting room at J. Carver Distillery set to open next spring.

Waconia Brewing Company, located at 255 Main St. W., offers four namesake beers as well as an ever-changing supply of seasonal and specialty brews. J. Carver Distillery is located at 1320 Mill Lane, and shipped its first bottles of gin and vodka to stores in October.

Monticello schools show flat enrollment trend

A declining Wright County birth rate since the Great Recession signals a corresponding decline in kindergarten class size numbers in the years to come, but other factors led Monticello School District officials to predict nearly flat enrollment through 2020, the Monticello Times reported.

Board Member Bill Spartz said a continued upswing in the housing market could brighten forecasted numbers. There is also an opportunity to increase the district’s student population by attracting families from surrounding communities through Minnesota’s open enrollment policy.

Hutchinson supports Dakota Rail Trail study

The Hutchinson City Council recently approved sending a letter of support for a grant application for a study on the Dakota Rail Trail, the Hutchinson Leader reported.

The Minnesota Department of Resources, with the support of McLeod County, is seeking a $120,000 federal Transportation Alternatives Program grant to study the trail and develop preliminary designs for its future. A local match of $30,000, either from the DNR, county or other sources, would need to be found, too.

Waconia mourns loss of mother and daughter

A mother and daughter are dead after an icy crash near Waconia Nov. 15, the Carver County Sheriff’s Office reported.

Misty Petschl, 34, of Waconia had been traveling west on County Road 10 near 102nd Street when she lost control of her 2005 Dodge Caravan and skidded into a 2002 GMC Yukon driven by David Splettstoeszer, 59, of Waconia. Misty and her 6-year-old daughter, Jazmine, died after being transported to Hennepin County Medical Center. Misty’s 8-year-old son was listed in critical condition. Splettstoeszer was traveling with his wife, Cindy, his 3-year-old granddaughter, and 80-year-old Jean Harms of Waconia. All four were transported to Ridgeview Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

Glencoe classrooms heated to 98 degrees

At a special work session tonight (Monday, Nov. 24), the Glencoe-Silver Lake School Board is hoping to resolve heating problems that have arisen at Helen Baker Elementary School in Glencoe, the McLeod County Chronicle reported.

Board Member Jason Lindeman said some of the classrooms were at 98 to 99 degrees and could not be adjusted. Facilities manager Brady Flaherty said the heat in the building is controlled by a pneumatic system, and since starting the boilers, he has been troubleshooting some air pressure issues.

Buffalo woman wins dance competition

Buffalo resident Jessica Miles, who works as a KSTP broadcast journalist, and her dance partner, Shane Haggerty, won a recent Minneapolis dance competition, the Wright County Journal-Press reported.

Miles and Haggerty had the most votes, and judges gave them a perfect 10. In preparation for the event, Miles was coached by Haggerty, who owns a dance studio. The competition raised funds for CornerHouse, which helps child abuse victims.

Carver County deputies help with baby delivery

Carver County Sheriff’s Office deputies Nick Bengston and Josh Fielder were recently awarded stork pins for assisting in the delivery of a baby boy in October, the Waconia Patriot reported.

According to the sheriff’s report, deputies were called to a home in Chanhassen at 10:25 p.m. Oct. 6 to help a pregnant woman who was having contractions. When they arrived, the birth of the baby was imminent. When paramedics from Ridgeview Medical Center arrived, deputies assisted with the delivery of the baby in the master bathroom.