2011 in review

Editor’s note: This is the first of a three-part series reviewing the year 2011 as seen in the pages of the Star Eagle


Staff Writer

2011 was a year of change for most of the world. The year saw the end of the FBI’s most wanted terrorist, Osama Bin Laden. The state of Minnesota experienced the longest shutdown in the United States. Weather wise, we were wet in the spring and unseasonably dry in the fall here in Minnesota. Several important people left us in 2011, notably Steve Jobs, founder of Apple and Harmon Killebrew, Hall of Famer who played for the Minnesota Twins. Locally, another stretch of Highway 14 opened up south of Waseca, saving driving time west to Mankato.


• “Whitey” Hagen, of the Geneva Cancer Auction Committee, announced the prizes and highlights of the annual affair scheduled for January 7-8, and 14-15.

• Eric and Heather Hendrickson of rural New Richland spoke of how their lives were forever changed when they were blessed with triplets November 4, 2010.

• Third grade students at Ellendale went on a shopping spree at Lerberg’s Foods to gather items for the area food shelf. The students decided to give to others instead of having a gift exchange among themselves. All told, the students collected $450 which purchased about 200 pounds of food and other items.

• The Panther girls’ basketball team was nipped by tourney host St. Peter 57-55 in a holiday tournament.

• Thelma Kormann’s children hosted an open house for their mom in honor of her 80th birthday.

• The New Richland Care Center re-opened after over a three-month closure due to the September 2010 floods.

• Recently re-elected Mayor Tom McShane and New Richland Council Members Christine Gislason and Amy Ihrke are sworn in for their terms at city hall.

• The Panther wrestlers top Medford to stay unbeaten in their young season.

• The NRHEG Star Eagle celebrates its 125th year serving the news needs of the community.

• Jess Viktora and Brent Dobberstein announce their engagement and February wedding date.

• Two of the Minnesota Vikings cheerleaders were on hand at the Geneva Cancer Auction’s second weekend. The annual event collected $81,000 for cancer research. “We want to thank everyone for their generosity, loyalty, continuing interest and loving kindness,” said “Whitey” Hagen.

• Ellendale City Councilman Scott Groth is sworn into office. Groth had previously served as a city councilman.

• Meet your Neighbor for the week Chuck Haefner confessed he “enjoyed shaving while growing up.”

• Fencelines columnist Mark Bernard told us the “seed catalogs are in the mail.”

• The NRHEG Competition  Cheerleading Team takes first place in their class at the Battle of Midwest held in Rochester on January 12.

• Geneva’s Dakota Tracy is featured as the junior quarterback led the St. Thomas football team to a 10-0 regular season record. It was the best start in the school’s 105-year history.

• NRHEG Elementary students raised $4,739.36 in just one week for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. For their efforts, the students made a huge ice cream sundae on top of Elementary Coordinator Doug Anderson’s head.

• Brenda Haugen takes over as Housing Director at Country Neighbors Home in New Richland.

• Al Batt asks the question “Have you ever seen a bird’s breath?”

• Karen Flatness and Lis Kormann were sworn in as new members of the NRHEG School Board. They replaced departing members Neil Schlaak and Rick Firme.

• WFS-New Richland manager Wayne Jacobs reports that “no two days are ever the same” at the facility.


• Eighth-grader Melissa Malakowsky outlasted the competition and repeated as NRHEG Elementary Spelling Bee Champion.

• Kevin Klocek, Jessica Wayne, Angela Giles, Sarah Morgan, Brandie Idso and Nicole Plotz were all selected to the Dean’s List at Rochester Community and Technical College for the 2010 Fall Semester which ended in December.

• New Richland plays host to two Norwegian professors who are in town doing research on Trygve Lee, who was the first Secretary General of the United Nations. Lee’s father lived in New Richland for a time. The professors were slightly surprised when rural New Richland resident Torunn Nelson talked to them in their native language. Nelson was an exchange student from Norway in 1981.

•The Elllendale-Geneva Sportsmen announce they will be having their first “Polar Plunge” in conjunction with the annual fishing contest on Sunday, February 13th. Proceeds from the plunge will go to breast cancer research.

• Steele County Sheriff Lon Thiele asks for the public’s help regarding several break-ins around the Ellendale area.

• Dancers from Carol Reese’s Dance Studio perform at halftime of a Panther basketball game.

• The 2nd Annual Dave Rysavy Memorial Vintage Snowmobile Run was held. Rysavy, one of the original organizers of the event, was killed when his snowmobile was hit by a truck the year prior. An estimated 144 riders took part in this year’s run.

• Prizes up to $1,250 are waiting to be won by the person who can guess the identity of “Frosty.” The contest is part of Waseca’s Sleigh and Cutter Celebration.

• Gene and Sylvia Dodge of New Richland celebrate 67 years of wedded bliss. Their secret? “I say, yes dear,” said Gene. “I think you need to have a little religion in there too,” added Sylvia.

• The NRHEG Competition Cheerleading Team wins first place at the State Championship held at the University of Minnesota.

• Dale Kugath, aka “Kugie” rejoins the Star Eagle as sports columnist.

• The Polar Plunge at Beaver Lake sees 64 brave souls get cold for breast cancer research. Over $5,000 was raised by the participants. “If you can’t do crazy stuff with your friends, who can you do crazy stuff with? You only live once,” said one of the plungers.

• The Panther wrestlers secure the Gopher Conference Championship for the ninth time under head coach Paul Cyr.

• Lexi Mendenhall won $500 after her ticket was drawn at the New Richland Sportsmen’s Club Fishing Contest held on St. Olaf Lake. She plans to take grandma Geri Mendenhall shopping with her winnings.

• Neighbor Dave Wildgrube says lunch with former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura “would be quite interesting.”

• New Richland Retired Fire Fighters were honored. The collective years of serving the community for the group was 476.

• Students at Elllendale Elementary are treated to a magic show by Rick Smith Jr. Smith who is in the Guinness Book of World Records for throwing a regular playing card 216 feet, four inches at a speed of 92 mph.

• New Richland Clinic welcomes Nurse Practitioner Allison Heinemann to the staff.

• Panther girls’ basketball team senior Kristina Cole reaches the 1,000 point mark in her four-year career at NRHEG.

• Nationally know gospel group Sweetwater Revival performed at United Methodist Church in Ellendale.


Five NRHEG wrestlers earned a trip to the state tourney. They were Jake Staloch, Brandon LeBlanc, Seth Petranek, David Lassahn and Dustin Esplan.

• The New Richland Area Food Shelf “Mission Impossible” team springs into action. Their mission is to raise $5,000 and 5,000 pounds of food during the Minnesota March Food Share Month.

• Al Batt learned that “few things are worse than that moment during an argument when I realize I’m wrong.”

• The NRHEG Sixth-grade girls’ basketball team placed either first or second in all eight tournaments they entered.

• Students learn the ways of yesteryear during an ice harvesting demonstration on Clear Lake in Waseca.

• Mark Bernard ponders the wisdom of Daylight Saving Time and the observance thereof.

• The Panther girls’ basketball season ends with a painful loss to Blue Earth Area 39-34. Their 23-4 record took them to the sub-section finals in Mankato.

• The family of Doris Christensen held an open house at Whispering Oaks in Ellendale in honor of her 90th birthday.

• The annual Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast served 600 in Ellendale.  It is the finale of the yearly Read Across America event in schools, which encourages reading to young people.

• Geoff Stiegelbauer breaks the mold being the first male paraprofessional at NRHEG School.

• Budach Implement employee Sheila Arndt served lunch to Travis Root during Budach’s Customer Appreciation Day March 11.

• NRHEG grad Brad Kruckeberg earns Student Athlete Award and second team All Conference honors as a defensive safety on the Gustavus Adolphus football team.

• The NRHEG PTO holds a Family Fun Carnival and Art Show.

• The NR Fire Department elects new officers. They are Jeremy Parpart, chief; Cody Dobberstein, assistant chief; Mike “Larry” Shurson, captain; and Josh Moen, lieutenant.

• An inaugural dodgeball tournament is held during spring break.

• Matt Dahle and Jill Theuer were chosen to attend Boys and Girls State by the New Richland American Legion and Auxiliary.

• The lost town of Cooleyville and the gold rush of the 1890’s is told by Star Eagle Staff Writer Carol Jolly.

• The Broskoff quadruplets (three girls, one boy) celebrate their first six months.

• Local agronomist and all-around nice guy Mark Bernard predicts spring planting may be delayed due to the snowy winter.

• A small pipe bomb was found east of New Richland. The Bloomington (MN) Police Bomb Squad was summoned and safely disposed of the device using a robot.

• Waseca County Sheriff Brad Milbrath urges residents to sign up for “Code Red.” The system enables residents to be warned of severe weather or general emergencies within the county.

• The Prairie Fire Children’s Theatre presented “Tom Sawyer” at Ellendale Elementary School.