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The Maple Lake
Volume 116, Number 10

Inside . . .
•‘Common Cents’ meetings •W-H to return capital credits •Irish teams record wins • Christmas shopping for kids! page 6 page 2 page 3 pages 8-9 •Christmas donations sought page 4

Man dies seven months after bar fight in St. Michael
A man punched once in a bar fight in St. Michael seven months ago has died. According to a report in the StarTribune, Adam Baker, 32, of Ohio, was punched outside the Corner Bar in St. Michael on May 2 by Alexander Tuomisto, 24, who lived above the bar. A witness told police that Baker’s head struck concrete after Tuomisto punched him once in the jaw. Baker, originally from Stillwater, had been in a coma for the past seven months and had been moved two weeks ago from North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale to hospice care. Tuomisto had originally been charged with first degree assault. On Friday, the Wright County Attorney’s Office also charged him with second-degree unintentional murder. A trial has been set for Feb. 7, 2011.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Maple Lake, MN 55358

December DWI crackdown starts
If Minnesota motorists drive impaired in December, they will likely have themselves a merry little time in jail. Around 400 city and county law enforcement agencies will partner with the Minnesota State Patrol to conduct a statewide DWI enforcement crackdown throughout the month of December. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety is coordinating the campaign supported by $350,000 in federal funds — translating to 7,000 extra hours of enforcement. A similar campaign in December 2009 resulted in nearly 2,600 DWI arrests. The enforcement effort is aimed to address a potentially deadly period on the roads during the holiday celebration season. In Minnesota during the month of December, 2007–2009, alcohol-related crashes accounted for 34 traffic deaths. During this same period, 8,503 motorists were arrested for DWI. “We want to keep Minnesota friends and families safe during the holidays, and that’s why these extra patrols will be on the road,” said Col. Mark Dunaski, chief of the Minnesota State Patrol. “Put a designated driver on your holiday wish-list to avoid the harsh consequences of a DWI.” Dunaski said now is the time to plan for a safe and sober ride and to continue that habit in the New Year. He said that in addition to designated drivers and using a cab, families should let each other know that they will be available to offer a safe ride home. In Minnesota, one in seven drivers has a DWI on record, and each year more than 30,000 motorists are arrested for DWI. Consequences for a DWI include loss of license for up to a year, up to $20,000 in legal costs and heightened insurance rates, and possible jail time. Each year, alcohol-related crashes account for more than 140 traffic deaths and nearly 400 serious injuries. These crashes and fatalities have been declining in recent years, and DPS officials say enhanced DWI enforcement cam-continued on page 3

Don Scherbing of Monticello (at right) was on hand to help Shriner David Hill of Wayzata unload a plane full of toys and a life-size Scooby Doo flown by Hill to the Maple Lake Airport during Saturday’s Tree of Hope effort.

Tree of Hope takes flight at Maple Lake Airport
by Theresa Andrus

Maple Lake was at the center of a big effort on December 4 to get toys to hospitals for young patients at Christmas. For the first time, the Maple Lake Municipal Airport served as the Tree of Hope hub for the southern Minnesota area as aviators and Shriners worked to fill a need during the holiday season. Since 1990, Tree of Hope has collected toys which are distributed by the aviation community and the Shriners to brighten the hospital stays of children during the Christmas season. In the past, the airport collec-

tion for the southern part of Minnesota was located first at Bemidji and then at the airport in Faribault. When the hosting organization in Faribault could no longer provide enough volunteers for the effort, the Minnesota Chapter of the Ninety-Nines worked with the Zuhrah Flyers of the Shriners of Central Minnesota to bring the effort to Maple Lake. Also helping out on Saturday were members of the local chapter of the Experiential Aircraft Association (EAA) 878. The Ninety-Nines is an organization of female airplane pilots around the world who are profes-

sional pilots, military pilots or fly private planes for their own enjoyment. Member Elaine Morrow and her husband, Glen, live in Delano but have a hangar at the Maple Lake Airport. Elaine was working to guide the effort in Maple Lake, the 20th Tree of Hope effort. “Toys for Tots and other groups that collect toys at Christmas don’t give to kids at hospitals,” she said. “This was an area with a need and the aviation groups responded.” On Saturday, volunteers set up space in the Wright Aero hangar for the sorting and packaging of toys delivered by planes, cars and -continued on page 7

Mitch Wurm gets 1,000th point
Maple Lake High School senior Mitch Wurm joined an exclusive club on Dec. 2 when he scored his 1,000th career point for the Irish in the home opener. Wurm hit the milestone with about a minute to go when he sank a freethrow in the Irish win over Norwood-Young America. He needed 28 points to hit the 1,000 mark and ended the game with 29 points. Wurm also grabbed his 500th rebound in the same game. Past 1,000-point scorers in Irish boys’ and girls’ basketball are Chris Paumen, Keith Landreville, Vicki Klemz, Mandy Wurm and Molly Schaufler. A story and photos from the Dec. 2 game appear on page 8.

County completes recount, just three votes change
by John Holler

End is near for Wright County solid waste surcharge
by John Holler

For the second time in two years, the Wright County Auditor/Treasurer’s office was abuzz with vote recounts. In 2008, the senatorial election between Al Franken and Norm Coleman required months of recounting and contentious bantering back and forth. The state’s gubernatorial election between Mark Dayton and Tom Emmer is not only much less of a sticking point, but things went markedly faster and smoother this time around, as the county ballots were counted Nov. 29-Dec. 1. “The experience from two years ago made the process a lot easier this time around,” Wright County Auditor/Treasurer Bob Hiivala said.

“Knowing the logistics of what we needed to do made things go much smoother this time around. The second thing that made the process go better this time was the process by which absentee ballots were counted. In 2008, we didn’t have any of these processes to use as a guide. Having that experience made things much easier.” One of the reasons why things went so smoothly was there wasn’t much for either the Dayton or Emmer camps to argue. Dayton held a lead of more than 8,000 votes following election night last month – a lead that he has maintained through the recount process. The difference in Wright County? Three votes.

When the recount was completed Dec. 1, of the 48,199 votes cast in Wright County, the differences were incredibly minimal. After a hand recount of all the votes, Dayton’s voting total went up by two and Emmer’s dropped by one. Of the ballots reviewed, only 11 were challenged – 10 by the Emmer camp and one by the Dayton camp. “When you consider how many votes were cast, to have just three votes different from the machine count was truly amazing,” Hiivala said. “The voters of Wright County did a tremendous job of making their intentions reflected on the ballot. There were so few changes that -continued on page 3

For 15 years, Wright County taxpayers have had to shoulder the brunt of paying off the county’s illfated compost facility. In an attempt to be green before green was cool, Wright County looked to be at the forefront of the waste management business. In the end, the experiment was a dismal failure and county residents have been footing the tab ever since. The good news for taxpayers weary of paying the solid waste surcharge, is that their clock is running out. At the Nov. 30 meeting of the Wright County Board, the commissioners approved a $25 surcharge – what they hope will be the second-to-last time the surcharge will end up on property tax

statements. “There are just two years left on the bond,” Assistant County Attorney Brian Asleson said. “The figure arrived at for the charge per household was slightly more than $25. It has been near that level for several years and we will likely be looking at a similar figure next year, which will be the last of the surcharge fees.” When the surcharge was first initiated in 1995, it was set at $41. For the first six years of the surcharge being assessed, the rate was between $40-42. Starting in 2001, the figure dropped consistently ($35, $34, $34, $32, $28, $24 and a low of $22 in 2007). For the last three years, the surcharge has -continued on page 3

Snow doesn’t slow Christmas in Maple Lake
A day of snow on Friday didn’t stop a crowd of 173 children and their families from gathering at the VFW on Saturday for the Christmas in Maple Lake festivities hosted by the Maple Lake Chamber of Commerce. At left: A big crowd followed Mrs. Claus in greeting Santa as he arrived on a truck provided by the Maple Lake Fire Department. Winners of prizes provided by the Maple Lake Chamber of Commerce were Canyon Karvonen and Bailey Fieldseth, ages 1-3; Colton Ellingson and Brooklyn Elsenpeter, ages 4-6; Andrew Morton and Mikayla Koss, ages 7-12; and Kalli Hennen won a portable DVD player. Chairperson Cathy Elfstrand said she was excited to see so many children and families at the event and it was fun to have a big crowd on hand to greet Santa as he arrived. She also thanked the long list of Chamber members who provided donations. More photos from Christmas in Maple Lake appear on page 3.

Chamber to host Holiday in Lights
The Maple Lake Chamber of Commerce will once again be sponsoring the annual Holiday in Lights contest. Holiday in Lights honors the best residential light displays each year. The top prize is Chamber of Commerce Business Bucks of $100 for first place. Business Buck prizes of $75 for second place and $50 for third will be provided by the Maple Lake Messenger. Judges will conduct a tour of homes in the City of Maple Lake on the evening of Monday, Dec. 13, between the hours of 6 to 8 p.m. For more information, call Kathy Hennen at Maple Lake Lumber, 963-3612.

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