By Dan Kuss
The Lake Benton American Legion, Henry Sollie Post 10, Veterans Memorial Service held at 9:30 a.m. at the Opera House on Monday, May 28 was both moving and musical.
American Legion Post Commander Tony Dunn opened the program by greeting the many people in the audience and introduced the honored guests.
Ev. Arnold Fredricks gave the invocation and the Grace Lutheran Church Men of Grace performed the “Star Spangled Banner” with audience participation.
The Men of Grace immediately performed another number accompanied by Diane Evers on the piano.
Featured speaker Carl Burk talked of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice beginning with the Revolutionary War which gained our freedom to those fighting in every war since, including active duty personnel deployed overseas right now.
Burk spoke of those who have gone on before us or were injured in battle, living with disabilities and also living with the memory of losing comrades falling beside them.
“May God BlessAmerica,” said Burk in closing.
Dunn introduced Lonny Carpenter ofLakeBentonwho performed three original songs accompanied by bassist Jerry McCollough.
Carpenter wrote and recorded songs about veterans from WWII andVietnamand debuted a new tune recently written about the new liberators fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq right now.
Carpenter and McCollough closed their set with “God Bless theUSA” to a standing ovation.
“Thank you Lonny, for your gift of music,” said Dunn. “Keep writing those patriotic songs for us and we’ll keep listening.”
Chuck DeBates presented the Reading of the Roster of Lake Benton Area Veterans beginning with the Civil War and including the Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, the Korean Conflict, Vietnam War, Peacetime Veterans and the Persian Gulf War.
“May they rest in peace,” said DeBates in closing.
Dani Busselman and Richie Mulder played “Taps” from the balcony tagging off in echoes.
Ev. Fredricks closed the Opera House program with the Benediction.
The Henry Sollie Post 10 Color Guard retired the colors and took up position in the middle of Benton Street where they marched down to the War Memorial in front of the community center with the entire audience following them.
“Carl did a great job,” said Gary Serie, who organized the program. “It worked out very well.”
Ev. Fredricks said a prayer before the Color Guard presented the 21- Gun Salute.
Busselman and Mulder once again played “Taps” to close the ceremony.
People slowly made their way to the American Legion where lunch was served by the American Legion Auxiliary while a few lingered, searching for names of loved ones etched on the memorial walls.
“It’s too bad we don’t see more young people out here,” said Rev. Stephen Rasmusson of Winds of the Prairie Ministries and vocalist with the Men of Grace. “All too often we take these things for granted. Every one of us should honor our veterans.”
Many participants went to pay homage at Memorial Hill Cemetery following the program and lunch where American Flags not only lined Highway 14, but also lined the interior paths of the cemetery with smaller American Flags placed at each veteran’s gravesite.
Crosses adorned the larger flag poles with the name of a veteran written on each one.
“Carl Burk really gave a good speech and the music was wonderful this year,” said Don Evers as he visited the gravesite of his 23-year-old son who was killed in an accident. “There were a lot of people there today but the place should have been packed, overflowing into the streets.”
“You would think more young people would understand with the wars inAfghanistanandIraqgoing on. They need to know that freedom isn’t free.”Filed under Community |
By Dan Kuss
The city council held a special informational meeting on Tuesday, May 22 at 6 p.m. at the City Office/Heritage Center to visit with property owners onCottage Streetabout digging up, upgrading water and sewer and then resurfacing the street.
City Maintenance Supervisor Todd Draper was on hand to present an estimated assessment breakdown per homeowner and fielded questions from the home and property owners.
Draper said the engineer had given him an approximate preliminary cost estimate plus contingency funds to do the work and that corner lots would be more expensive according to the formula, since they are on two city streets where the water lines connect.
Five of the eight property owners attended the meeting and asked questions though all agreed that the street is in rough shape and needs work now or it will be much more expensive to replace in the future.
The project calls for new six -nch PVC water lines placed three feet off the curb to replace the four-inch cast iron lines now under the curb. The six-inch lines will create more water volume, not pressure.
The majority of the sewer lines are new but the water mains are cast iron and definitely need to be replaced before resurfacing so the road won’t need to be torn up to repair broken mains.
Replacing the water mains is no guarantee that a break won’t happen, but the odds are much better that it won’t happen as quickly with new mains.
Curb and gutter work will only be needed where the water and sewer lines run across and catch basins will be placed in appropriate places as water has to be pretty deep right now to run through and usually ends up in property owners’ driveways.
Draper showed a sample of a new Geo-tech fabric that will be placed in the street to help keep the soils separated before street resurfacing takes place.
Eight de-watering wells in a drain field will lower the water table before the work can be done and water would be back-fed into homes through an outdoor faucet or directly to the basement so homeowners wouldn’t be without water during construction.
The city would be responsible for 80 percent of the cost and the remaining 20 percent would be assessed to the property owners, who could pay it off up front or it could come out of their taxes over a 10-year period according to the city assessment policy.
Draper said the exact cost wouldn’t be known until the project is actually completed.
The council said the next step is to authorize Banner Engineering to complete a study to firm up the numbers and report back to the property owners in another special meeting.
The council passed a motion to sign a contract with Banner Engineering to get a better idea as to cost.
“If we don’t do anything,” said Mayor Mike Carpenter, “The street will deteriorate further and cost more down the road.”Filed under Community |
By Dan Kuss
The Larry and Brenda Olsen Music Fest completed its 18th year as a premier four-day music and dance festival a half mile east of Lake Benton over the Memorial Day weekend.
Music lovers from all over the United States and parts of Canada arrived on Thursday to dance the days and nights away despite a little rain and inclement weather.
Over the years, the music fest has truly become a family affair with three and four generations now regularly attending the event.
“It’s been over 10 years since my late husband Orvie designed the sign for the Larry Olsen Band and my son Brent painted it,” said Nancy Wiertzema, one of the crew that helps keep the festival running smoothly. “I figured Larry would have made a big banner to put on stage by now, but he still uses the one we presented them for Christmas many years ago.”
Orvie Wiertzema was one of the original workers for Larry and Brenda Olsen’s Music Fest since it grew too big to handle by themselves with just immediate family and a few friends helping.
The Olsens now have a board of directors to help with planning, set-up and operations covering all aspects of the event.
Olsen’s sister Lisa and her husband Phil Myhrberg and their friends John and Janet Trost, all of Marshall, now handle cooking and serving all of the food for the event, which Olsen’s mother used to do.
“Orvie and I had been coming for years before he started helping to work here and now my son Scott, his wife Sindy and I all pitch in,” said Wiertzema. “This year we’re celebrating several milestones. My son Scott turns 50, son Brent turns 40 and my grandson Dave turns 30.”
Wiertzema also has two daughters, 12 grandchildren, a step-grandson and four great-grandchildren and their Century Farm just hit the 125-year mark.
Wiertzema’s son Scott and his wife Sindy of Corson, S.D. tended bar on Saturday night while Wiertzema took tickets and also filled in to serve beer when one of the workers needed a break.
They would all occasionally find someone to cover for them so they could steal away to the ballroom for a dance or two before manning their stations again.
“What’s the point in life if you’re not having fun,” said grandson Dave Wiertzema of Sioux Falls, S.D.“I come whenever I can and average making it out here about every other year lately.”
“It all started with Grandpa and Grandma years ago and now I bring my wife Katie, who absolutely loves Larry and Brenda and the Music Fest.”
The Wiertzemas all gathered near the main ballroom for a family moment as Dave led them all in “Ein Prosit,” a German toast.
“It means ‘good friends, good times’,” said Wiertzema. “I also used it as a toast to propose to Katie.”
Music Fest brought regulars Mr. and Mrs. Young Kim from San Francisco, Calif. as well as Shirley Kasma from Pascoe,Wash.
Kasma was here with her sister from Sioux Falls, S.D.
“It’s in your blood,” said Kasma. “We girls used to go with Mom all the time. I would watch her for hours and then someone would eventually come up and ask me to dance. That’s how I learned.”
“It was at a place called Melody Hall in Sioux Falls, though we would eventually go to all the ballrooms and festivals to dance. I was hooked.”
Jim and Dolly Nitz of Rothsay were at Music Fest again with their many colorful matching cowboy hats, which they changed daily and twice on Saturday.
Wade Larson, formerly ofCoronanear Milbank, flew in from Seattle,Wash. as a gift from his wife.
“My wife said ‘Pack your bags, you’re going to the South Dakota border to polka dance’ and presented me with an airline ticket,” said Larson. “We can’t get this anywhere out west. Only here in theMidwest.”
“Polka dancing is in my roots and it feels really good to be here to do this again.”
Many of Karissa Olsen’s friends and classmates from Lake Benton School came out to dance and learn new steps throughout the weekend.
“We are having fun and I’m teaching them new steps,” said Olsen. “We need to keep this going in the younger generation.”
The many regulars enjoyed all of the festivities and participated in the special veterans programs and Parade of Musicians on Friday and Saturday in addition to the polka worship service on Sunday.
Larry and Brenda Olsen held drawings at the end of each night when the bands were done playing to give away prizes and keepsakes.
“Thanks again everybody for coming this weekend even with the rainy weather,” said Larry Olsen. “God bless you and we hope to see you next year.”Filed under Community |
By Dan Kuss
The Class of 2012 walked to the stage for the last time on Sunday, May 20 at 2 p.m. for commencement ceremonies at Elkton-Lake Benton High School.
The high school A Band played the processional directed by Nicole Eggebraaten.
Senior Ethan Rasmussen welcomed all in attendance and gave the opening remarks followed by a musical selection by alumnus Kaila Tingle singing “Set Yourself Free.”
Superintendent Brian Jandahl introduced honor students Derek Brockberg, Stephanie Johnson, Rebecca Jurgens, Megan Krogman, Ethan Rasmussen, Cassidy Gebhart, Michael Junker, Molly Koch, Alissa Landsman and Wade Stein who stood as their name was announced.
Kaila Tingle returned to the microphone to sing a heartwarming “Whenever You Remember” in view of her former underclassmen.
Valedictorian Megan Krogman gave the commencement address and talked of childhood memories as brothers and sisters graduated including memories of her own class as they proceeded through the school years.
“I’ll never forget the first day of school as we came in the door with backpacks bigger than our bodies,” said Krogman. “I remember feeling lonely even though our moms were right there with us. Just about the time we settled in and got to know each other, we met the OTHER half of our class.”
Krogman shared memories of both the boys and girls playing in the state basketball tournament their freshman year and of going to state three out of four years in high school.
She spoke of working hard, studying and playing together.
When Krogman finished, senior Brittany Pulscher took the podium and talked about the love and support their parents had given them throughout the years and thanked them.
The lights were dimmed and a memories video was played as each graduate candidate descended from the stage to take a white rose with aqua tips, dipped in silver from the vase at the base of the stairs and presented it along with a hug to their parents.
Superintendent Jandahl then presented the high school graduates.
“My gift for you today is that I will keep this brief so we can all get through this without shedding a tear,” said Jandahl. “As Megan said, you have all worked hard, studied and played hard together and one of you even turned in your two-week notice on May 7, Michael Junker.”
School Board President Tim Bauer then presented each graduate with their diploma as Jandahl read their names.
Senior Michael Junker made the closing remarks before Jandahl asked the graduates to move their tassels to the other side.
Jandahl then presented the Class of 2012 for the last time and on cue they threw their caps in the air and made their way out of the North Gym to the popular song “We Are Young.”
The seniors held their reception line outside on a beautiful spring day and shared hugs and handshakes with underclassmen, parents, grandparents, well-wishers and alumni.
The class colors are black, aqua and silver and their motto is “In growing, we have found friendships. In leaving, we shared knowledge. In pride, we have left memories.”Filed under Community |
The Henry Sollie Post #10 American Legion will host the Veterans Memorial Service on Monday, May 28 at 9:30 a.m. at the Lake Benton Opera House.
Post Commander Tony Dunn will do the welcome and introduce the honored guests. The invocation and benediction will be by Rev. Arnold Fredricks. Music will be provided by the Grace Lutheran Men accompanied by Diane Evers as well as music by Lonny Carpenter. Speaker for the service will be Carl Burk.
Services will continue at the veterans memorial in front of the Community Center following the program. Lunch will be served at the Legion Hall following the program.Filed under Community |
By Dan Kuss
Pianist Lorie Line came to town on Wednesday, May 16 to play a sold out concert in the historic Lake Benton Opera House.
Line was born with perfect pitch and is a classically trained pianist who has been playing piano since the age of five.
Line grew up in Reno,Nev.and graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno where she received a BA in music, piano performance.
She married her husband Tim Line in 1986 and moved to Minneapolis landing the perfect job, serenading shoppers at the piano in Dayton’s department store where she quickly gained a following.
Since then, Line has recorded 36 CDs and published 30 books of music, played for two presidents and produced three television specials for PBS.
Lorie Line and her band, the Fab 5, entertained the sold out Lake Benton crowd, including a packed balcony, with a variety of music in the two-hour performance which included several wardrobe changes as the band kept playing and entertaining.
“It’s a gift to have her here inLakeBenton,” said Gary Williams. “We saw her at the Washington Pavilion which is a nice room with a great atmosphere.”
The stage was elegantly set with bouquets of fresh flowers, risers for bass and cellist Josh Fink and drummer Kirk Johnson behind Line’s grand piano in the center with guitarist Chase Hardin on one side with Peter Ostroushko playing fiddle and mandolin and Derek Bromme of Duluth playing trombone on the other.
Line played each note of each song clearly and described to the audience the musical intonations, retards, root of note inverts that make each song special including modulation and distortion in a way that made the audience feel like part of the performance.
Line’s warm personality and professional musicianship invited the participants to relax and enjoy the soothing performance and brought out handclaps when the beat picked up.
“Wow, right here in Lake Benton,” said John Nibbe. “I heard they had less than an inch of clearance when they brought in that huge piano and that was after they removed the top part of the door.”
Line played for a straight hour before taking a 20-minute intermission.
“Are there any farmers out there?” asked Line at the end of the first set. “I have one question, Red or Green?”
The band members then donned ball caps of five different colors and proceeded to play “Orange Blossom Special” for the foot-stomping, hand-clapping audience.
Line opened in a blueberry dress by designer Bagley Mishka and her intermission pleated dress was by Phoebe Couture.
The men wore traditional tuxedos and suits by Vittorio St. Angelo with ties by Donald Trump.
Line came out in the second set and continued to wow the audience with songs from her favorite composers explaining the idiosyncrasies involved with each number.
“This is the part where I play the classical hand stretch,” said Line. “When I got the sheet music I noticed there were 72 pages in the song.”
“It’s not the pages that concern me, the song takes 75 seconds to play, and this is The Flight of the Bumblebee.”
Line played each note as precisely and intricately as it was noted on the written page.
As Line disappeared for her final wardrobe change, the Fab 5 came marching out with five different drums and percussion instruments brilliantly performing a medley of beats inviting the crowd to clap to “Shave and a Haircut.”
Line came back out in her final costume, a one-of-a-kind bustier designed by Lorie Line and Jack Edwards, fabricated by Yancey Thrift with skinny jeans by JOE’S and stunning shoes by Manolo Blahnik and Prada.
“I couldn’t find the music to this one so I decided to learn it by ear,” said Line. “In order to get it right I wrote and recorded all the parts including the Glockenspiel.”
“By the time I was done, I became the first and only person to publish The King’s Speech.”
Line went on to play an absolutely beautiful, soft yet vibrant version of the song.
Line explained that her favorite composer is Disney’s Alan Menken who would invert a note just one time in a song to make it extremely special and then played “I See the Light” from “Beauty and the Beast.”
Line explained that she came up with her closing song on the way to a camping trip in Spearfish, S.D. Her son had composed a tune using Garage Band on the laptop. She liked the song and asked if she could use it.
“My son said no until I offered to buy it for $100,” joked Line. “He sold it to me for $100 and I changed it a little into this techno music song which is different from anything else I’ve ever done. I call this JAXON after my son.”
Line and her Fab 5 received a standing ovation at the end of the show before the entire band gathered at center stage joined by her tour/stage manage husband Tim to sing the gospel song “Farther Along” by Brad Paisley a cappella.
“I saw a lot of people from town here tonight,” said Berniece Christensen, who ushered with her Town and Country Study Club members. “It’s good to see such a great show here.”
The show is called “Live In The Sunshine” which is part of the lyrics to the Paisley song. The name of the tour is The 2012 Intimate Series Tour.
“That’s the classiest show I’ve ever seen here and probably ever will,” said John Lichtsinn. “It’s as good as or better than I’ve seen anywhere, even (Las) Vegas. I hope she comes back.”Filed under Community |
By Dan Kuss
Elkton-Lake Benton School presented its Spring Concert and Music Awards, directed by Susan Sudtelgte and Nicole Eggebraaten, on Tuesday, May 8.
The show opened with the fifth grade band playing “The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down” followed by the sixth grade band playing “Ode to George of the Jungle” and “The Torch Burns Bright.”
The freshman music awards were presented as the fifth graders departed and the sixth graders set up and the sophomore music awards were presented prior to the Junior High Choir presentation of “Agnus Dei” and “Follow the Sun.”
The junior high music awards were presented before the Junior High Band played “Valley ForgeMarch,” “In the Shining of the Stars” and “Eagle Crest.”
The junior high music awards were presented prior to the High School Choir performing “Bless theBroken Road” and “Little Red Riding Hood,” featuring the male members of the choir singing and howling.
“My main howler, Derek Haugen, is gone tonight,” joked Sudtelgte. “He is a phenomenal howler, but these guys did their best. I have to say it was the longest minute of my life.”
The female choir members followed with another golden oldie and playfully tagged off from the right to the left side singing “You Don’t Own Me” as the guys’ real estate was in the center of the stage and Richie Mulder accompanied them on piano.
The High School Choir finished their set with “I’m Just A-goin’ Home” and a moving rendition of “Thank You, Soldiers” while Nick Delaney presented a slide show of parents of students and former students in uniform.
The Select Choir then performed “I Got a Name” by Jim Croce in perfect harmony.
Students took to the risers to receive their various awards, two of which were the Festival of Young Voices and the Band Master Contest in which several Elkton-Lake Benton students were chosen by audition.
The seniors lined up on the big stage in the north gym decorated with flower baskets which were sold at the end of the evening.
As the senior awards were presented, each was escorted down the stairs to receive a hug and a 12-pack of their favorite soda or a bucket of Gatorade with a special helium balloon in the shape of star attached.
A special award was presented to senior Molly Koch, who has designed the artwork for every music concert since she was in the eighth grade.
The High School Band then played “Sousa Spectacular,” “Eagle Mountain Overture” and “Exaltation” before the High School Jazz Band closed the evening with “Don’t Stop Believin’” and “In The Mood,” with help on the saxophone from Band Director Nicole Eggebraaten.
The FCCLA sold and served ice cream sundaes in the cafeteria after the performance.Filed under Community |
By Dan Kuss
The Lake Benton Chamber of Commerce still has openings for units in the Dakota-Minnesota Saddle Horse Parade to be held at noon on Sunday, June 17.
Community groups and organizations are invited to participate by contacting Janel Stuefen or Cheryl Kjergaard at 507-368-4261.
The Lake Benton Chamber of Commerce is offering $100 in Lake Benton Chamber Bucks for the Most Creative Entry, $50 in Lake Benton Chamber Bucks for the Most Colorful Entry and $50 in Lake Benton Chamber Bucks for the Best Musical Entry.
Lineup will start at 11 a.m. at Creamery Park by Lake Benton Lake.Filed under Community |
By Dan Kuss
The city council discussed the purchase of a new police squad car, paving Mork Street and repair of Cottage Street at the Monday night city council meeting.
Police Chief Guy Harding presented quotes for two different vehicles to the council and explained the details necessary to get one of them operational by city standards.
“Both vehicles are all-wheel drive and get around 18 miles per gallon compared to the 11.5 now,” said Harding. “One is an SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle) and the other is a sedan.”
“They’ve been working on a replacement for the Crown Vic for about four years and came up with the Interceptor.”
The vehicle would come with 90 percent of the necessary equipment and all the city would have to pay for is to fit a new radio, radar and light bar.
“We can install a brand new $2,200 radar system for around $750,” said Harding. “The old one was used when it was purchased 10-12 years ago.”
“We can wrap vinyl graphics on the car as opposed to spray painting so when we go to sell it we can just peel the graphics off.”
The projected cost of the squad car would be around $33,300 plus an additional $1,500 for the additional equipment for a total cost in the area of $35,000.
City Maintenance Supervisor Todd Draper said the engineer has given him a cost estimate of $85,165 plus contingency funds for a total of around an estimated $115,165 to paveNorth Mork Streetwith payment coming from tax-incremental financing (TIF) funds.
The project calls for water, sewer, curb and gutter from 100 feet west of Royal Lynn’s new place all the way to Benton Street with a catch basin in the southeast corner.
“That street has been there for quite awhile and should be paved,” said Mayor Mike Carpenter.
Draper suggested having the city attorney go through the documents.
The council also discussed resurfacing Cottage Street. The sewer lines are new but the water mains are cast iron and need to be replaced.
Draper said it might be the time to try out a new geo-tech fabric to keep the soils separated.
“I don’t know why we didn’t deal with it in the 2008 Street Project, but now it’s time,” said Carpenter. “We need to set up an informational meeting with the property owners to discuss our options.”
There are seven or eight property owners on that street and repairs would be assessed to them, since the city has an assessment policy in place.
The council authorized City Clerk Rosie DeZeeuw to send a letter to property owners about a special meeting on Tuesday, May 22 to hear their concerns about the possibility of improvements to the water and street.
Library project architect Tim Fonder of Banners said the projected cost is within the loan/grant range from USDA but the city needs to contract with an electrical architect for the heating, cooling and electrical for the building.
The city will send it out for bids on May 16 and hopes there is interest from local contractors. A performance bond is required to protect the city. There will be two bids, one for the electric, heating and cooling and the other for construction/remodeling of the building.
Carpenter asked Library Committee Members Duff Trautman and Barb Powell if there is any reason not to move forward with the project.
Powell said, “As long as we’re in budget.”
Carpenter said all i’s are dotted and t’s crossed and the next step is to call for bids. The council approved moving forward with the project.
Costs for electrical, heating and cooling will be on hand at bid opening.
The earliest construction could begin is mid-July and the goal is to be done by the end of the year.
Draper said he is watching the water levels onParkview Driveand may disconnect the drainage system to alleviate problems facing the northwest residents.
Draper also said the oil prices are down for the seal-coating project and the county will lock in a price on May 15.
Draper is also researching the best way to go with a street sweeper. There are two types, mechanical and hydraulic. There are pros and cons with each type as mechanical creates more torque and hydraulic wears out faster, but is easier to repair.
Bids for painting the water tank should go out in June.Tyleris painting their tower and Draper and Powell will talk to that company for information.
Carpenter said Greg Mensen reported that the Opera House Beaver Tail System is working and the floor was dry after the big rain over the weekend.
The council authorized issuing a $3,100 check from the insurance company to the Opera House, who will replace the signs damaged in the July 1 storm.
Johansen’s Repair submitted a letter to the city saying they will clean up some cars, barrels and iron by June 16.
The city attorney had a question on insurance for leasing the West Side Football Field to the Wildcats. The clerk will check with Coach Mike Tiedeman.
The city received the $5,000 grant for the siren project and will work with Meghan at USDA Rural Development on a low interest loan for the remainder.
The council authorized the mayor and the clerk to sign the mowing contract for Cemetery Hill once LaDon Prosch signs the document.
The city will have its annual Rabies Clinic at reduced rates on May 21 from 4-5:30 p.m. at the Fire Hall. Dog licenses will also be available at this time.
USDA Rural Development agrees with the city on redirecting CD funds for city projects.
The next meeting of the city council will be on Monday May 21, with theCottage Streetspecial meeting on May 22.Filed under Community |