The Princeton Union-Eagle Community newspaper of Princeton, Minn. Mon, 05 Oct 2015 01:20:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Chilifest chefs stir the tasty pots Mon, 05 Oct 2015 01:20:48 +0000 chilifest boothThe 10th annual Chilifest took place Saturday, with booths set up for chili and salsa tasting, some chefs in costume and live music by the Everett Smithson Band. Event organizers printed 800 chili-tasting punch cards and had handed out nearly all of them by about halfway through the event. Some visitors said the beautiful warm weather coaxed them out to the event. Left to right are chili taster Dick Dobson and booth staff for Princton Meats, Bill Heimberger and Regina Howard. ]]> 0 Funfest honors park-donor family Mon, 05 Oct 2015 01:20:30 +0000 A big part of Baldwin Township’s fifth annual Funfest event Sept. 19 was cutting the official ribbon on a park monuments erected to honor the Young family, which donated the land for the namesake park, as well as celebrate the completed boardwalks in the park. Pictured is Bill Young, a relative of benefactors Kermitt and Margritte Young, and where he’s standing near the monument stones is the approximate spot where the front porch of the Youngs’ house used to be.  held its fifth annual Funfest Sept. 19, where lots of fun awaited guests of all ages, including two rounds of tug-o-war, one between groups of kids and one between members of the Northeast Sherburne Fire and Rescue and members of the Baldwin Township board and staff, which the fire department won.
A big part of Baldwin Township’s fifth annual Funfest event Sept. 19 was cutting the official ribbon on a park monuments erected to honor the Young family, which donated the land for the namesake park, as well as celebrate the completed boardwalks in the park. Pictured is Bill Young, a relative of benefactors Kermitt and Margritte Young, and where he’s standing near the monument stones is the approximate spot where the front porch of the Youngs’ house used to be.
held its fifth annual Funfest Sept. 19, where lots of fun awaited guests of all ages, including two rounds of tug-o-war, one between groups of kids and one between members of the Northeast Sherburne Fire and Rescue and members of the Baldwin Township board and staff, which the fire department won.

The Baldwin Township’s annual Fun fest event Sept. 19 at Young Park had all the grill-smoking, hay-riding attractions of a fall event, but it included a special part that most years don’t – the dedication and ribbon cutting on a monument to honor the family that donated the land to create the 80-acre park.
Bill Young attended the Funfest and dedication and said the gathering for him was like a family reunion, with 25 more members of the Young family attending. They’re all descendants or relatives of Kermitt and Margritte Young, and Bill is their nephew. He and other family members helped cut the ribbon on the stone monument that is shaped like a baseball home plate and sits approximately where Kermitt and Margritte’s front porch had been.
Baldwin Township Supervisor and Parks Committee member Tom Rush said the park has been progressing since Kermitt donated it in 2004. This year the stone monument was finished, and there were big stones placed around the play equipment for better safety. The township has 2 miles of trails in the park and finished topping the trails early this year with a couple inches of crushed granite, as well as finished the boardwalks and installed a new swing set.
Rush said the trails and boardwalks go in an H shape and will eventually connect when the township develops a plan to work around the wetlands in the area. He said the park-dedication funds from development helped the township build the trails, and a grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation funded the boardwalk construction.
Baldwin also installed a picnic pavilion last year and this year put a pole for a basketball goal onto the concrete pad that used to be a garage foundation. Rush said the “court” would eventually be striped, too. The township is in the process of applying for grants to build a ball field at Young Park; the vision is for a single field, protective fencing, two dugouts and a set of bleachers.
Other recent additions include a few stand-up grills for the pavilion, and Rush said Baldwin has already had a few reservations for the pavilion, which is adjacent to a covered picnic area. The park features a working cemetery that’s existed since 1874; the longtime caretaker of it gave tours of it on Fun Fest day.
Rush said the township keeps in mind Kermitt’s wishes as it develops the park. He wanted it to have something for everyone, including sports and nature lovers alike. He said a big group of people have volunteered time, labor, materials and more to continue improving Young Park.
Graffiti interrupts preparation
Everyone gearing up for the Funfest celebration became aware of vandals, who spray painted vulgar and profane graffiti all over both of the slides at the play equipment sometime the night of Sept. 16. It was discovered the morning of Sept. 17 and Rush said the township scrambled to cover the words with paint before the Funfest celebration two days later.
He said the Sherburne County Sheriff made a report, but no suspects have been caught. A few people who saw the graffiti speculated that the perpetrators were probably juveniles. Anyone with potential information about the crime is can call the Sherburne County Sheriff’s office. ]]> 0 Policies tend to the common, unusual Mon, 05 Oct 2015 01:20:15 +0000 At each of its meetings for the past several months, the Princeton School Board has heard the reviews and revisions of the district’s hundreds of policies, divided into nine categories, each with dozens of subsets and maybe hundreds of procedures needed to line up with that policy.
Princeton Schools Superintendent Julia Espe, along with longtime Board Member and 30-year teaching veteran Howard Vaillancourt, said the committee and then board members examine policies about 15 or 20 policies at a time. Some of them need revisions and some of them are just up for review in a cycle that leaves them looking at each policy about every three years.
Espe said most Princeton policies come straight from the Minnesota School Board Association. Vaillancourt said the district has fewer than a dozen policies that are unique to Princeton. Both said that the entire, extensive list of them is on the Princeton Schools website, under “home,” “school board” and then “policies.”
One School Board meeting drew discussion about the policy on do-not-resuscitate orders. Though the school would call 911 in any emergency anyway, the policy requires them to keep the order on file. The members acknowledged that not many of them exist.
Espe explained at another meeting that while the school district had never had a student with a service animal before, it could in the future and many other districts are considering and adopting policies about them. She gave the examples at one meeting that nobody associated with the school would be responsible for the animals’ walks, waste, food, etc.
Another policy requires that teachers be informed of any student’s violent behavior, which Vaillancourt said was once required by the state and Princeton chose to keep. He said the policy can apply not just to older kids but the smaller ones, too.
A veteran teacher, he smiled, “You do get your kickers and biters.”
The bullying policy expanded this year to say that educators must act on any reports they get within 24 hours, which Espe said means calls and inquiries would begin within that period. She said it is the same concept for any kind of hazing activity. The places where bullying or hazing are prohibited by the school and where the code of conduct applies extend beyond the building and grounds to any adjacent property, school computers, walk or bike routes to school and the school bus.
The hazing policy had a paragraph added to prohibit retaliation for hazing and false accusations.
The mandatory reporting policy requires teachers and school staff to report any suspected maltreatment, such as a black eye or cuts and bruises. A policy allows picketing but says it can’t interfere with business or be aggressive. The district’s guidelines on fundraising discourage door-to-door sales except with a parent or guardian.
The weapons policy names firearms loaded or unloaded, fake or real, pellet, BB or air; knives or any kind of blade; brass knuckles; nunchucks; throwing stars; explosives; fireworks; stun guns; chains; arrows; pepper spray; and any other item that can be used to inflict bodily harm.
Vaillancourt said, “I think the majority of them (policies) are to keep students and staff safe” and, he added, to tend the district’s legal responsibilities.
The school can search a student’s lockers or desk at any time and a student’s person or personal possessions if reasonable suspicion exists that the child is violating school policy.
There are more policies to cover food allergies, the district’s code of ethics, discrimination, substances, veterans, personal data, who a parent talks to about what and many more.
Vaillancourt said the biggest challenge to policy is keeping up the Minnesota School Board Association changes and keeping everyone else aware of the changes. Espe said the policies give an idea of where things stand and then each policy involves procedures – actions the district takes – to adhere to it. ]]> 0
First-ever PHS state champ to go into national wrestling hall of fame Sun, 04 Oct 2015 01:20:24 +0000 stottler, earlHe came to Princeton from Benson, Minnesota, in the summer of 1957, played on an undefeated football team that fall, and a few months later won the 112-pound state wrestling title, Princeton’s first ever.
And now 74-year-old Earl Stottler, of Starbuck, Minnesota, will be inducted next week into the Minnesota chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Stottler, who was partially paralyzed by a stroke in 2011, will be awarded the Medal of Courage Award for his continuing efforts for the sport of wrestling.
Along the way Stottler accumulated an impressive array of awards related to wrestling.
After being a four-time state entrant (three at Benson), he attended Moorhead State University after a redshirt year at the University of Minnesota and won the 123-pound national NAIA championship.
He suffered a broken ankle the next year, didn’t wrestle, and went out into the work world for awhile before enrolling at North Dakota State University in 1966. He graduated in 1969 and worked with some wrestlers there to help out brother-in-law Bucky Maughan, the legendary head wrestling coach at NDSU.
After one year of teaching and coaching at Milbank, South Dakota, he moved to Starbuck, Minnesota, in 1970 and was head wrestling coach and assistant football coach there for 16 years until a heart attack put an end to his coaching duties.
He coached 68 conference champions, 58 district champions and 10 regional champs, as well as 11 state entrants.
He was inducted into the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association hall of fame in 1991 and was inducted in 1997 into the Dragon Hall of Fame at Moorhead State.
Despite the heart attack that ended his coaching, he continued to be involved in wrestling as a color commentator on area radio stations for broadcasts of wrestling matches. He was also a public address announcer, ran the scorebook and was the clock operator.
The 2011 stroke set him back, said his wife, Kathi, but he has continued to be involved with wrestling, going over wrestling tapes with his four grandsons, sons  of their two sons who were also wrestlers.
“I think it’s nice to be recognized by your peers,” Kathi said about next week’s honor. “He has always had a passion for the sport and always gave back. He had a way of reaching the students.” ]]> 0
Princeton police nab man wanted for rape Sun, 04 Oct 2015 01:20:22 +0000 Princeton police responded Sept. 6 to a call about a suspicious character in the area of Sixth Ave. N. after a caller complained that a male party had knocked on the door asking for directions to a trailer park. The complainant said the person was acting strangely and might be on drugs.
When officers approached the man, Waylon Lee Lowry, 36, Socorro, New Mexico, he gave them a false name of Cassady and an incorrect date of birth. The officer ran the name with no results in Minnesota and New Mexico. While the officer talked to Lowry, he noted the suspect seemed fidgety and changed his story about why he was in town and looking for the trailer park.
The suspect claimed to know an employee of a local company and mentioned needing diabetic medicine that his friend would know where to find.
Princeton Police Chief Todd Frederick said the investigating officer had a “hair-on-the-back-of-the-neck” moment and called a Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s deputy with a mobile fingerprint scanner. Once Lowry’s fingerprint was run, several warrants out of New Mexico showed up, including for two felony counts of rape – “criminal sexual penetration” – and a felony count of aggravated assault against a household member, as well as battery on a household member and assault on household member.
Frederick said New Mexico authorities were quick to inform Princeton that they wanted to extradite the wanted man, and he has a $50,000 cash-only bail. Lowry had also used his alias of Cassady in New Mexico.
Officers informed him he was under arrest for the warrants and for giving local police false information, and they placed him in the front seat of the squad car. Once in the back seat of the police car, Lowry began to pound hard on the partitions between the front and back but was soon transported to jail. ]]> 0
City Council Briefs Sun, 04 Oct 2015 01:20:21 +0000 Below are summaries of news that occurred during the Sept. 24 City Council meeting that were compiled by Debbie Griffin.

Members OK talks on old fire station
The City Council gave City Administrator Mark Karnowski a green light to talk with a real estate agent or business interested in the old fire-station building on Fourth Avenue South for an auto-detail business in a potential lease-to-own deal. Karnowski said the city would pay property taxes with a lease but in the past has passed that cost on to tenants; a lease would also take the property off the sale market unless the city asked for a short-notice vacancy clause.

City appoints new planning commission member
The City Council accepted and welcomed planning commission applicant Chuck Young, who said part of his motivation for applying is that he wants to see more affordable and senior housing in Princeton, as well as help the city seize good development opportunities. The Princeton Planning Commission has one vacancy remaining.
Credit rating rises before bond sale
The city’s municipal-finance consultant briefed the council on the issuance and sale of $910,000 in 15-year bonds at an interest rate of 2.5 percent to pay for the West Branch and Seventh Avenue improvement projects and said it would save money over time, since Princeton’s credit rating improved from an AA- to an AA due to good budget practices and “strong cash reserves,” partly due to the success of the municipal liquor store.

New policeman comes from reserve ranks
The City Council approved and witnessed the swearing-in of new Princeton police officer Cole Wubben, who everyone agreed had been a dedicated reserve officer with more than 1,000 hours of service and whose application rose to the top of the pile.

Zoning change allows small addition
Princeton said OK to an application from Dan Erickson to alter the zoning slightly at 701 Fifth Avenue North from residential to multi-family so that a fourth living unit could be added in the basement of an existing structure with three living units. Community Development Director Jolene Foss said the change is consistent with the direction in which the city’s comprehensive plan would move in order to meet the need that studies have identified for more affordable housing in the city.

Family will hunt eastern limits of golf course
The council gave Nate Cook permission to hunt waterfowl on the eastern limits of the Princeton Golf Club, which sits east of Fourth Avenue on the east side of Rum River Drive. The members said yes after seeing a plan and map he’d submitted for permission to hunt with light ammunition away from homes and the wastewater-treatment plant. Cook said he’d be hunting with his son, his father – an ex-firearms instructor – and his nephew; he’d notify people in the neighborhood; and he’d done a similar hunt eight years ago with great success for them and the city, since geese had been “taking over.” ]]> 0 Tigers hold off Hornets for Homecoming ‘W’ Sat, 03 Oct 2015 15:09:06 +0000

Homecoming king Marcus Flicek corralled Big Lake's Tanner Teige in the second half of the Tigers' 14-12 Homecoming win. Photos by Greg Hunt
Homecoming king Marcus Flicek corralled Big Lake’s Tanner Teige in the second half of the Tigers’ 14-12 Homecoming win. Photos by Greg Hunt

In front of a huge Homecoming crowd on Oct. 2, Princeton football pulled off a 14-12 win over Big Lake. Going with the brisk wind, the Tigers scored all their points in the first quarter on TD catches by Shane Fleury and Drew Walquist from QB Tyler McAlpine.

Big Lake rallied behind its tough running game in the second half. Logan Christensen bolted on a 57-yard TD run on the first play of the half, and the Hornets later scored in the third quarter on a one-yard QB sneak. But the extra point kick was missed after the first score, and the Tiger defenders gang tackled the runner on the two-point conversion on the next TD to hold on to the slim lead.

Princeton is now 3-4 on the season and travels to Cold Spring Rocori Oct. 8 for the final game of the regular season.

Senior linebacker Gabe Kolhoff supplied some big hits to hold off the Hornet uprising in the fourth quarter of the Oct. 2 win.
Senior linebacker Gabe Kolhoff supplied some big hits to hold off the Hornet uprising in the fourth quarter of the Oct. 2 win.

  ]]> 0 Local family hosts regional forestry event Sat, 03 Oct 2015 01:20:42 +0000 The Jensen family, of Princeton, prepares to open their 194-acre property, at 30045 136th St., to the public 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 10 for the annual Fall Family Forestry Field Day. The metro chapter of the Minnesota Forestry Association and the Sherburne Soil and Water Conservation District coordinate the event that is a combination of fun, fall activities and educational information presented outdoors.
Resource conservationist with the Sherburne County SWCD Gina Hugo said the day will include demonstrations, children’s activities, exhibits and a visit from Smokey Bear 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., among other things. There will also be nature crafts, some group activities, door prizes and horse-drawn wagon rides.
“This year they’re trying to reach the north-metro audience and beyond,” Hugo said.
Though open to everyone, the day focuses on the many facets of managing woodlands. The event is free, and there will be food available for cash-only purchase. Hugo said the day will be as eco-friendly as possible with biodegradable containers and recycling and the business Prairie Restorations on hand with related information.
Demonstrations happen in the morning and afternoon to give people two chances to see draft horses pull logs, a portable saw mill in action, a fire demonstration and a solar kiln. MFA representatives and other experts will be on hand to talk about forestry topics, such as soil health, plant communities, pollinators of the land, oak-wilt management, how to monitor and inventory wildlife, and which techniques and equipment are “light on the land.”
The Jensens, tapped by the SWCD to be a host family because the agency was aware of their sustainable practices, will lead a walk in the woods and talk along the way about how they’ve implemented different forestry-management practices. Hugo said for example, they have placed some of their acreage into the state land trust, have been actively restoring the land, including prairie and use sustainable harvesting, a solar-powered drying kiln and a portable saw mill. She said the owners are able to produce marketable goods from their forest and set a good example for large wood-lot owners.
“Peter and Debra Jensen own just a phenomenal piece of property and have demonstrated such a wonderful commitment to stewardship,” Hugo said.
Their actions match the MFA’s efforts to promote good land stewardship because a majority of forested land in Minnesota is privately owned, Hugo said.
The forestry event is especially applicable to people with more than 20 acres because they can use forestry-management practices to qualify their land for the reduced-tax status of a 2C managed-forest. She said those who attain it receive “0.6 tax rate instead of 1.”
An MFA board member will give current information about the tax programs, and a University of Minnesota Extension representative will talk about marketing and profitability of forested lands. Exhibits will carry information about the private-land programs of multiple federal and state agencies, as well as the county and university and other organizations. Those agencies collaborate to present information on such topics as intergenerational land transfer, managing invasive species and woodland pests, as well as fire safety through the “Firewise” program.
Hugo said one of the demonstrations, for example, will be a process for visitors to brush invasive plant species off their shoes to keep them from spreading. She and the other organizers think there will be something for everyone to enjoy, from the forest lovers to those looking to learn more about managing forests and the potential tax relief associated with sustainable practices.
A flier is available on the Sherburne County website, and people can get more information by calling 763-241-1170, ext. 131 or emailing ]]> 0
Royal court kicks off homecoming week Sat, 03 Oct 2015 01:20:29 +0000 homecoming court NEWPrinceton held its homecoming royalty coronation Monday night, where the court members played games, watched a slide show and crowned the king and queen. Front row left to right are homecoming queen Abbie Jones, Taylor Laabs, homecoming prince Drew Julson, Olivia Hunn, homecoming princeses Alix Roth, Miranda Hanson, and Kelsey Hanscom. Back row left to right are homecoming king Marqus Flicek, Tyler McAlpine, Lee Clyne, Sam Barthel, Caleb Daniels and Elliott Arens.

homecoming royaltyPrinceton crowned its homecoming king and queen, Marqus Flicek and Abbie Jones, at a coronation ceremony Monday night. ]]> 0 City agrees to annex school district property Sat, 03 Oct 2015 01:20:08 +0000 The City Council voted unanimously at its Sept. 24 meeting to annex about 91 acres of property owned by the school district from the Princeton Township into the city of Princeton. The action follows a petition by the school district after it and the township disagreed about road improvements and the money to pay for them.
The impasse arose earlier this year during the process of new-school construction and an application for a conditional use permit to install a four-plex of ball fields adjacent to the new primary school and existing elementary and middle schools.
Residents at the recent meeting shared opinions during the public hearing on the annexation. Dan Whitcomb on 33rd Avenue said his JQ Fruit Farm and Orchard shares a boundary with the annexed property, and he is not opposed to the annexation or adjacent sports complexes. His main concern is for the residents on the surrounding streets such as 82nd Avenue, 33rd Street, 11th and 12th streets north, Eighth Avenue North and other roads around the developing school property.
Whitcomb said 80 homeowners share this area with the school district, which despite its assets compared to the township and residents, would not meet the demand to improve 1.2 miles of road. He said the school district requested annexation to sidestep the permit requirements and has placed two other government entities “at odds with each other” on how to improve the road.
He said it is likely the residents of the neighborhood will be assessed for improvements at some point and that it seems like a “pay me now or pay me later” situation. Whitcomb also said that while the school-referendum funds pay for construction, they don’t account for needed road improvements. He thinks those will be made by assessing residents and the school district, which he said has the choice of generating its assessment funds by additional levy.
Jason Wolfsteller lives on the north side of the city and said, “I don’t feel it’s being done in the proper manner.”
He said the school district asked for annexation when it didn’t want to meet the requirements of a conditional-use permit. Wolfsteller’s concern is traffic, he said, which is already “horrendous” and generates so much dust that his family can’t open their house windows. He said he would like to see the road-maintenance agreement for the two roads near the property – 33rd and 82nd – that fall half in the city and half in the township.
John Roxbury Jr., a resident and vice chair of the Princeton Township Board, said Whitcomb had summed up the concerns well. He said the school wasn’t taking responsibility and was trying to shift the burden to the city.
Kevin Wall said he owns a home in the neighborhood and is in favor of the annexation. He said the township had been somewhat uncooperative on the road issue plus had only set aside $50,000 for a paving and improvement project that was estimated to cost a few times that amount. He said the idea of annexation was to distribute the burden more evenly and that maybe it wouldn’t be fair for adjacent property owners to benefit from a road or utility improvement but not expect to pay for it.
His question was about a well that had been planned to water the future playing fields and if the city planned to extend water service to the area.
The school district’s planning and construction consultant with ICS, Ryan Hoffman, said he wanted to clarify several things. He said the annexation was not a work-around to get out of requirements and that the school district will also be responsible for its share of the infrastructure in the city, which will require a conditional use permit to build the ball fields as well. Hoffman used the Seventh Avenue North project as an example, where everyone on the street was assessed for the project and the schools district’s share of it is about 80 percent of the total project cost.
He said the annexation simply opens up options on how to enter and exit the property and, with access through the middle school, eliminates township concerns about added traffic on 33rd and 82nd. Hoffman said the annexation allows the community to have more options on what happens on the district-owned parcels in that part of the city.
There were only so many dollars approved for construction through the referendum, he said, and adding roads to the price tag “would have priced the project out of feasibility.” Hoffman called the annexation process one used to actually get the fields completed, so that as the school board has said, kids have an established place to play ball.
The consultant said there is no proposed design of the relocated ball fields yet, so the team does not know specifically how irrigation would work. Hoffman said the plan has been to use an existing well near the property to irrigate the fields, and that may still work depending on exactly where they’re placed. If it doesn’t water them well enough, the district might have to consider drilling a new well. He said the original plan presented to the township included well design for the fields.
After the vote, Council Member Victoria Hallin said the annexation is also about bringing all the school district’s land into one jurisdiction and making emergency response more seamless and cohesive. Past school board and council discussions had acknowledged that typically, Mille Lacs County responds to addresses outside the city limits, and Princeton responds to addresses within the city limits, with some mutual overlap upon request.
Hallin said, “There’s more to it than just the land and the roads and all that.” ]]> 0