Area News

July 31, 2020

Waconia private schools make plans to reopen

While local public schools await state directives on how they offer classes for the 2020-2021 school year, Waconia private schools are moving forward with reopening, the Waconia Patriot reported.

Trinity Lutheran School made the official decision last week to open full-time on a five-day a week schedule for the 2020-21 school year beginning Aug. 26. St. Joseph Catholic School will return to in-person learning on Aug. 31.

Details of how school during a pandemic year will look are still being worked out, but school administrators Bruce Richards (St. Joe’s) and Dan Maser (Trinity) say the vast majority of their families indicate they are comfortable sending kids back to school following a spring of distance learning. Both say their respective schools also have had considerable interest from new families about sending their children to school this fall.

Litchfield native’s project featured in airport exhibit

Dana Sikkila’s bike is both artwork and an implement to create art, the Litchfield Independent Review reported.

That’s why the bicycle plays a central role in a new art exhibit at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

It carried Sikkala 2,500 miles to meet more than 60 artists over five summers from 2015 through 2019.

“It’s really exciting,” Sikkala, a 2004 Litchfield High School graduate, said of the exhibit. “It’s their largest display area in the airport ... a really cool venue.”

McLeod County man working toward recovery from COVID

Steve Soeffker of rural Biscay was released from Abbott Northwestern Hospital in mid-May after recovering from COVID-19, but since then it hasn’t been all smooth sailing, the Hutchinson Leader reported.

“About a week after I was discharged, on Memorial Day evening, I had some leg cramps and my legs were real tight,” said Soeffker, 69. “I had blood clots in both lower legs and that was COVID related.”

Soeffker, a retired McLeod County sheriff’s deputy, is among thousands reporting ongoing complications following recovery from COVID-19. Research suggests the disease impacts numerous systems in the body, and patients have reported ongoing muscle pain, brain fog, breathlessness and more. For Soeffker, ongoing issues brought him back to the hospital, and he spent another week at Glencoe Regional Health.

“The oxygen levels are another concern,” he said. “When I went to the Glencoe ER, my oxygen had dropped into the 60s. Reports indicate brain damage can occur if the O2 levels drop below 70. Now my levels are back in the upper 90s.”

The race is on to fill Hutchinson City Council seat

The field of five candidates running for Hutchinson City Council Seat 3 will be narrowed down to two after the Tuesday, Aug. 11, primary election, the Hutchinson Leader reported.

Incumbent Steve Cook is not running for reelection, which means either John Lofdahl, Brandon Begnaud, Jeff Liestman, Mark Carrigan or Bill Teetzel will take his place.

Silver Lake elects to contract with sheriff’s office

Silver Lake City Council, on a 3-2 vote, has decided to contract with the McLeod County Sheriff’s Office, the McLeod County Chronicle reported.

After being without a full-time chief since December, and receiving the resignation of the city’s only full-time police officer, the city council had to decide what to do for police services.

A recent survey indicated residents were split on maintaining their own police department or contracting with the sheriff’s office.

The council voted to pursue a one-year contract with the sheriff’s office.

Annandale funeral parlor exhibit receives drapery

Annandale’s Minnesota Pioneer Park has been part of the community since 1972, the Annandale Advocate reported. Sometime during the park’s history, a funeral parlor was added.

July 16, a new backdrop drapery was unveiled. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, draperies like this were used as a backdrop for viewing a deceased person in the family home.

The new drapery, created by Rachel Waddell of RAW Designs, replaced a drapery that Waddell believes was more than 100 years old, and extremely fragile.

Glencoe approves $75,000 for pool repairs this year

After weeks of gathering some of the costs to repair the Glencoe Aquatic Center, the city council approved funding for this year, with the expectation of more funding needed in 2021, the McLeod County Chronicle reported.

The council approved $75,000 to be spent this year,

Preliminary quotes range from $81,000 to $200,000.

The city will use funds meant to cover the $60,000 to $70,000 in annual operating losses to help pay the $75,000 for pool repairs in 2020.

The city did not open the pool this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.