Looking Back: News from Sleepy Eye, Springfield in past year
1 — The Holiday Lights in Motion Committee reported 11,400 vehicles drove through Sportsmen’s Park to view 90 trees with 250,000 lights through New Year’s Day. It was the sixth season of the light display. More than 1,700 people participated on the wagon rides offered on seven nights.
7 — Sleepy Eye Medical Center welcomed its first 2020 baby when Brooklyn Ann Mickelson was born to Courtney and Zachary Mickelson of Springfield. Brooklyn weighed 8 pounds, 2 ounces and was 21 inches long. Grandparents are Chrissie Schmitt, Tony Erickson, Rhonda and Larry Mickelson.
15 — Band members from Sleepy Eye High School, St. Mary’s High school and Cedar Mountain played pre-game music for the Minnesota Timberwolves game at Target Center.
20 — Sleepy Eye High School Minnesota State High School League Triple A Award nominees were Jaclyn Nessett and Matthew Sellner.
21 — Sleepy Eye High School eighth-grader Ava Schubbe won the school’s 36th Annual Spelling Bee.
20 — For the second straight year, Jennifer Lax of Sleepy Eye was awarded the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association Scholarship. The award is made to applicants at county sheriff’s offices and went to 22 students this year.
22 — Miss Sleepy Eye 2020 candidates are Maranda Braulick, Crystal Hecht, Jaclyn Nesset, Asha Schmid and Caylee Seidl.
29 — Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s students qualifying for the state science fair were Noah Simonsen, Liz Schwint, Natalie Marti, Annika Nosbush, Sophie Kyllonen, Maria Schwartz, Lyndsey Sellner and George Schwint.
3 — Madison Mathiowetz became the Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s all-time basketball scoring leader, passing her uncle Sean and aunt Molly. Sean Mathiowetz scored 1,838 career points, Molly had 1,709. St. Mary’s Coach Bruce Woitas said she had great passion for the game, worked very hard to become the player she is and is a great teammate.
27 — Mike Gordon joined the Sleepy Eye Police Department. A St. Michael native, she earned a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement at Metropolitan State University. His wife Marissa teaches grade school at Sleepy Eye Public School. They live in Springfield and have three children.
22 — Carissa Pelzel, daughter of Steve and Lynnae Pelzel, a Minneapolis Family Nurse Practitioner, began an eight-week assignment as a Registered Nurse with a travel nurse company in a COVID-19 unit at a New York City hospital. A 2005 St. Mary’s High School graduate, she worked for seven years in a adult and neonatal ICU Intensive Care Unit.
1 — Seneca Foods became the new owner of the former Del Monte Corp. corn and pea processing plant on the west end of Sleepy Eye.
20 — New Ulm area classic and muscle car owners journeyed to Sleepy Eye and Springfield nursing homes to give residents something new to see.
1 — Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s students Patrick Hoffmann was looking for a summer job and wound up becoming the owner of Hoffmann Landscape Curbing, LLC. Equipment he purchased included a cement mixer, curbing machine, bed edger and lots of tools. Hoffmann’s crew includes some of his schoolmates including Caleb Schumacher, Kaden Ryer and C. J. Surprenant.
2 — The Sleepy Eye YES (Youth Eco Solutions) team won state and regional awards. They finished first in the southern region and received $400 and second in Minnesota, receiving a $250 award from the McKnight Foundation.
9 — The Sleepy Eye Lions Club named Sleepy Eye High School student Alexa Steffl and Lauren Hoffmann of Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s as Students of the Year.
10 — Cindee Krzmarzick of Sleepy Eye was named District E Caregiver of the Year by the Leading Edge Minnesota Institute. She was one of seven caregivers selected among 60,000 caregivers in Minnesota.
23 — The Trinity Lutheran Church Weekend Food Program, Sleepy Eye FFA and Brown County area food shelves hosted a COVID-19 crisis food distribution at the Sleepy Eye Event Center.
1 — Trevor and Erin Wittwer of Redwood Falls b became the new owners of Anytime Fitness in Sleepy Eye. The Wittwers also own Functional Fitness and FF24 in Redwood Falls and said they were ready to expand their involvement in the fitness business.
14 — The Sleepy Eye City Council voted against allowing a dog boarding business to open in town after hearing comments from residents. A city ordinance allowed only two dogs per residence. Rose Martina told the city council she would board up to 10 dogs at a time at 421 2nd Ave. S.E.
30 — The Dennis and Mildred Rosenhammer family was named the University of Minnesota Farm Family of the Year for Brown County. The family farm includes Morgan Scholtz, Rebecca Rosenhammer, Ava Fischer, Greg, Johnny, Joe, John and Patty Rosenhammer, May and Kyle Fischer and Laura and Chris Scholtz.
12 – The District 84 Board of Education approved starting the school year with a hybrid learning model for students in grades 7-12. Daily, in-person learning was approved for grades K-6.
26 — Sleepy Eye High School science teacher Deb Reinarts was chosen 2020 Teacher of the Year by the Sleepy Eye Education Association. Her nominators praised her for her commitment to her classroom, community and passion for teaching science including labs, dissections and lessons on living responsibly on earth.
27 — Sleepy Eye FFA Summer All Stars were named for participating in at least a five summer FFA events. They included Antonio Ruiz, McKenna Dockter, Priscilla Martinez, Adam Johnson, Brennen Meyer, Nora Coulson, Leisha Martinez, Alexis Garza, Morgan Hoffmann, Jorden Niebuhr, Jake Price, Sophie Portner, Gracie Sellner, Miah Brown, Mateo Moreno, Alex Joramo, Nayzeth Luna, Carmen Lendt, Presley Bauer, Envy Morales, Katelyn Capacia and Gunny Coulson.
9 — The District 84 Board of Education agreed to cancel this year’s senior class trip to Florida due to it being unfeasible. High school principal Shane Laffen said he would help the class create a special activity or closer to home trip of some type.
9 — McKenna Strong and A. J. Arneson were crowned Sleepy Eye High School Homecoming Queen and King at intermission of the Indians-Murray County Central football game.
13 — Proceeds from the 2018 and 2019 fall Sleepy Eye Fire Department benefit events helped the fire department purchase the Genesis tool system — a jaws of life and cutting system that operates on lithium batteries.
13 — Clare Fischer of the Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s cross country team finished first in the Section 2A Cross Country race at Blue Earth. Nate Fliszar and Joshua Hagen of St. Mary’s finished 19th and 20th in the boys race in 18:39.4 and 18:39.6 respectively.
18 — Sydney Windschitl and Jacob Lux were crowned Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s High School Homecoming Queen and King.
27 — Courtney Sellner and Nick Ludewig received American FFA Degrees at the 93rd National FFA Virtual Convention. The Sleepy Eye FFA was named a Three Star National Chapter for growing leaders, building communities, and strengthening agricultural activities.
3 — Voters re-elected Sleepy Eye Mayor Wayne Pelzel and city councilors Scott Krzmarzick and Christina Andres. More than 160 people voted in the first 90 minutes of the general election at the Sleepy Eye Event Center.
5 — The Dyckman Free Library director and staff are in place. Former Sleepy Eye Event Center Manager Lisa Steffl was hired as library director over eight other applicants. Library aids are Katie Roiger, Angela Mielke, Patti Braulick and Sarah Hinderman.
18 — Sleepy Eye Parks Department Director Steve Lingen retired after nearly 21 years with the City of Sleepy Eye.
21 — St. Mary’s School Hall of Fame inductees for 2020 are Dorothy Haala, Verna Wendinger, Rosella Windschitl, Leo Braun and Steve Seifert.
22 — Sleepy Eye Public School offered free, curbside meal distribution from 1 to 3 p.m. at the elementary school doors.
26 — Sleepy Eye Holiday Lights In Motion begins in Sportsmans Park.
8 — Chasing Our Tails, Inc., a pet food manufacturing firm that recently moved its operations to Minnesota from New Hampshire, announced it reached an agreement to buy the Seneca Foods Corporation packing plant in Sleepy Eye for an undisclosed price. The plant was formerly owned by Del Monte Corporation. If successful, the deal is expected to create 50 jobs in Sleepy Eye over the next few years.
1 — Retaining walls are going up at the new Riverside Park concessions and rest room building. Work crews plan to install a new roof in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, new windows are being installed on the Springfield City Hall.
8 — Springfield Fire Chief Charlie Baumann retired after 23 years of service.
10 — Springfield High School wrestler Owen Bertram won his 100th wrestling match at BOLD. Earlier in the week, he recorded his 50th career pin.
20 — The Springfield Small Animals finished second in regional competition, advancing to state competition. Team members are KayLynn Sanderville, Ellie Tonn, Cylee Graff, Courtlyn Runck, Brooke Jensen and Mikayla Opatz.
21 — Three Springfield Tiger wrestlers, Owen Bertram, Kadin Johnson and Mason Rummel, qualified for the Minnesota State High School Wrestling tournament at the Excel Energy Center in St. Paul.
26 — The Springfield Tigers boys basketball team won the Tomahawk Conference title.
26 — The Springfield Tigers girls basketball team finished the regular season 20-5, 13-3 in the Tomahawk Conference and were ranked second in Section 2A South.
1 — Springfield Fire Chief Chuck Baumann is retiring after 35 years on the fire department, 23 years as fire chief.
10 — The Springfield High School boys Basketball Team won the Sub-Section 2A title and finished the season 26-3 before tournaments and school was halted by Coronavirus NOVID-19.
25 — The Springfield School Board postponed its bond election earlier set for May 12. A two-question referendum vote was planned. The first question asked voters approve up to a $15,950,000 school project for HVAC improvements and converting the elementary gym for shop and construction trades. The second question was for spending $2.02 million for construction of new locker rooms, cafeteria improvements and school programming needs.
9 — Former Springfield Lions President Deb Rasset received the Lions Club International Award at the Lions District 2020 Mid Winter Convention earlier in the year.
11 — Beth Griffis received the Brown County Distinguished Service Award at the Brown County Republican Convention.
27 — Paula Thomas of Springfield was named the Rural EMS Coordinator for Springfield Ambulance Service.
5 — Allina Health Clinic began offering drive-up lab draws as a courtesy service. The service is for blood work only.
8 — At a special meeting, the Springfield City Council approved sending a letter to Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz opposing the stay-at-home order extension.
12 — Noah Richert of Springfield was named 2020-2021 FFA State Secretary. Richert’s leadership and service includes FFA, community service, the Minnesota National Guard and working in agriculture. Richert was a FFA State Proficiency winner in goat production and a finalist in beef production placement proficiency.
21 — The Springfield High School Class of 2020 Valedictorian was Meriah Kirschstein; Eva Mark was named Class of 2020 Salutatorian. Class of 2020 President was Mitchell Buerkle.
17 — St. Raphael Catholic Church Pastor Fr. Phil Schotzko was honored with a drive-through, grab and go meal farewell. He will continue to work from his home in St. Peter, filling in for priests taking time off, on sabbatical or on retreats. He was ordained at the Springfield parish in 1977.
6 — The Springfield FFA Chapter held its annual banquet virtually. Award winners included Noah Richert, Dekalb Agricultural Accomplishment Award/Outstanding Senior, Mikayla Opatz Outstanding Junior, Connor Scholten Outstanding Sophomore, Star Greenhand Wyatt Schmidt. The chapter recognized Christ and Sally Richert and Curt and Roxanne Baumann with honorary degrees for going above and beyond to help the chapter.
17 — Nearly two dozen volunteers helped with a free food distribution at Riverside Park.
20 — Springfield City Hall was closed to the public from Aug. 20 to Sept. 2 in the interest of public safety after one of its team members was confirmed to have a COVID-19 case.
21 — The Minnesota State Class C Amateur Baseball Tournament opened at Riverside Park with an 11-inning game in which Foley edged Hanska.
24 — Springfield Public School and St. Raphael School students masked up and began classes in school.
8 – New electric car charging stations were placed at East End Park.
12 — The Minnesota Baseball Association announced the Mike Davison Award at the 2020 Class C Amateur Baseball Tournament at Riverside Park in Springfield. A Springfield native, Davison played briefly for the San Francisco Giants. His major league career included a brilliant moment in 1970 when he came into the Giants-St. Louis Cardinals game as a ninth-inning relief pitcher and struck out Hall of Fame inductee Lou Brock on a 3-2 pitch.
15 — Springfield City Manager Joe Stremcha told the city council that downtown elevator demolition plans are moving ahead after the elevator was inspected and asbestos was found. The city received a $35,000 asbestos removal quote. Estimated elevator demolition costs are $111,426.
2 — The MN Shed Shed Boutique held a grand opening at its new location, 101 N. Cass Avenue. Store owner Gretchen Peichel began the business about a year earlier at Pink Swan before moving to downtown Springfield.
23 — Springfield High School 2020 Homecoming royalty are Kadin Johnson, Tyler Vanderwerf, Mason Leonard, Dylan Batzlaff, Tori Helget, Courtney Wendt, Kennedy Groebner, Kimberly Infante, Cylee Graff, and Anna Mattson.
2 — Tyler Vanderwerf and Courtney Wendt were crowned 2020 Springfield High School Homecoming king and queen.
3 — Springfield voted in their new school board. Incumbents Justin Groebner and Michael Vogel plus Sarah Groebner and Lori Groebner.
11 — After 34 years of tradition, the Springfield Area Nativity Theatre Association (SANTA) decided not to perform the nativity pageant this year, due to COVID-19.
14 –The Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce named Dale Lindmeier to receive the Spirit of Springfield Award and Deluxe Print & Promotions as Business of the Year.
17 — The Springfield City Council approved the creation of the Welcoming Community Board.
4 — Viola Watkins celebrated her 101st birthday at St. John Home.
8 — The Springfield City Council approved a resolution adopting a deed demolition loan, meaning the City of Springfield will act as the legal sponsors for an elevator demolition project.
21 — Keith Riederer donated his 14th gallon of blood in 32 years at the American Red Cross blood drive at the Springfield Community Center. Riederer began donating blood at age 18. Lora Fredericksen donated her 13th gallon of blood. She’s been donating blood since the 1960s.