Wagner, NRHEG girls’ basketball team steal the show
STATE SPOTLIGHT — Carlie Wagner (3) drives to the basket during the Panthers’ state semifinal loss to Sauk Centre last March at Target Center in Minneapolis. It was the Panthers’ only loss of the season. (Star Eagle photo by Chris Schlaak)
By JESSICA LUTGENS
This past year has been filled with changes, achievements, giving, receiving, recognition, and so much more. We witnessed world and nationwide events that will be in history books one day.
It’s hard to pinpoint the most important events of 2012, but we at the Star Eagle decided to give it a shot.
The top story of the year: Carlie Wagner and her success in both basketball and track.
Why did we choose one girl out of everything that happened last year as the top story? Well, it’s simple: she’s just that good.
Not only did she practically lead the NRHEG girls’ basketball team to state, where they placed third, but she broke state, state tournament, and local records in basketball (she scored her 2,000th point recently, making her NRHEG’s top scorer ever, for boys’ or girls’ basketball; at the state tournament, she scored 48 points in one game, beating a state record, and scored 112 points in three games, breaking a tournament record) and won the state high jump championship (she was NRHEG’s first state track and field champion, as well).
And, she achieved all this in (mostly) her sophomore year. She’s an inspiration to the school and the community, she’s one of the most sought-after college prospects in the nation, and she’s not even 18 yet. I think it’s safe to say we’re all pretty excited to see where this hometown hero will go, but there’s no doubt that wherever that is, she will do great things.
The NRAFF received its largest donation ever in 2012, thanks to one wealthy man who made it very clear that with his passing, a gift of $320,000 would be given to the New Richland Area Foundation Fund. This man, Don Hamilton, was born in England a little over 100 years ago.
He became a worldwide traveler while serving his country, worked for the Border Patrol, met John, Robert, and Ted Kennedy, along with Presidents Johnson and Carter, and his wife, Ester, had her picture on Land O’ Lakes products years ago. When his time came to retire, he chose New Richland, and lived there until he passed. The NRAFF continues to thank Hamilton for his extremely generous gift.
Along with joy, tragedy struck our area a few times last year. A boating accident caused the death of Sue McDonough and her 10-year-old granddaughter, Zoe, when the pontoon they were on overturned during high winds in July. McDonough was a lifelong resident of New Richland and had many friends through church, the local food shelf, the New Richland Care Center and her part-time job at the local consignment store. Zoe was a fifth-grader who loved to sing and dance, was a straight-A student, was involved with her Girl Scout Brownie Troop, and enjoyed volleyball and soccer. Both of these wonderful people were and will continue to be missed.
Two Ellendale homes were completely destroyed in fires that both appear to have started in the kitchen. The first, which occurred last December, involved the home of Mark and Sara (Degan) Misgen and their four children, whose house fire was described as the “worst fire in five years,” according to the local authorities. The kitchen scorched first, and two hours later another fire destroyed the rest of the house. The second occurred in July at the home of Donna Mae McCamish. The home was occupied by Donna’s daughter and her four children during the time of the fire, which resulted in a total loss of the house.
It was a great year for NRHEG Schools on the financial front, however. In 2012 the school received a $25,000 grant from Monsanto for science lab equipment along with a $10,000 grant from Alliance Energy for the new crosswalk that was installed this summer.
LeSeuer River and Vista Lutheran welcomed a permanent, first-time pastor. The churches welcomed Pastor Brian Gegel in August.
NRHEG’s Cheer Team had success not only on the floor, but in the classroom, as well. At the 2012 State Championship, the cheerleaders took home 3rd place for their routine and received first in academics, having the highest average GPA of any cheer team in the state.
Harmony Park drew increased police attention during this year’s Shangri-La festival. Dozens of arrests were made in an effort to lower drug trafficking during the event in order to reduce many dangers, including one seen in the past few years: overdosing. Although the event isn’t about supporting drug usage, numbers don’t lie, and the number of people with illegal substances in their possession has only risen in previous years. Hopefully the citations will encourage people to continue to go to Harmony Park, but keep it clean and safe.
And last but not least, the NRHEG band continued to have success last year, again winning the Waseca Marching Classic. They also held their annual indoor concert two nights this year instead of the usual one, and the turnout showed just how talented the band is: the gym was packed both nights with fans, friends and family who all wanted to see the show.
Also noteworthy in 2012: Hannah and Grace Lewison qualified for the National Barrel Horse Association Youth World Finals in Georgia; Hailey and Aubrey Johnson were crowned Freeborn County’s Dairy Princess and Milk Maid, respectively; French foreign exchange student returned to New Richland to visit her host family and classmates for the first time in 34 years; 5th Avenue Pizza Shoppe, formerly Maggio’s Pizza, opened under the ownership of Ricky and Sarah (Lundberg) Long; Remy Wayne won Grand Champion at the State Fair; Minnesota led the United States in corn production for the first time ever; Denise Boelter, Avon sales representative, has been selling Avon for 42 years; Gail Schmidt was named Grand Marshall for Farm and City Days; Chris Pfeffer retired after 41 years at NRHEG; Sue DenHerder retired after 23 years at NRHEG; Bernie Anderson retired after 35 years at the New Richland State Bank.
It certainly was an eventful year for our community. Now it’s time to see what 2013 will bring!