Pastor Neil Ellingson, holding his son Hans, and his wife, Allison, holding daughter, Glory. Ellingson is the new pastor at the United Church of Mapleton.
By Tamara Dicks
Messenger Staff Writer
The new Pastor at United Church of Mapleton preached his first sermon the first Sunday of December 2018. Ellingson is a Minnesotan through and through, growing up in Brooklyn Center and Minnetonka. He lives in St. Peter with his wife, Allison, and two children—Hans, age three and Glory, age one and a half.
Every pastor has an interesting journey to the pastorate and Ellingson is no exception.
The now Pastor Ellingson graduated from Harvard with a Social Studies degree. He went to Beijing to teach English, then on to New York where he worked at a magazine as an editorial assistant, and then he moved to Chicago to attend divinity school where he was involved in church planting and was instrumental in starting a church that was 50 active members strong before he was moved on.
His journey is interesting in that the he did not grow up with a vast religious heritage of fathers and grandfathers being pastors. In fact, his parents were not particularly religious.
One parent was Catholic and the other Lutheran. Ellingson himself was baptized Episcopalian and confirmed Presbyterian. Ellingson and his friends searched out churches in his youth and while he did have many positive church experiences, he admits that he was not really interested in religion until after attending Harvard. He further admits to being a hard core atheist for a while. So how does one get from there to here?
After graduating from Harvard, he had what he calls “a religious experience.” He was walking in the woods, enjoying nature and he had “a powerful experience” that took the culmination of his thoughts, questions and experiences up to that point where he knew in that moment that when people used the word “God” they were talking about something real, someone we could know. God was not just a comforting thought or platitude.
“This powerful experience opened the door to my religious search. My friends at Harvard and parents were shocked I made the decision to go to divinity school. Pursuing religion is not a cool thing in elite academia. I looked into Buddhism and tried it out, but this seemed self-focused. However, I did appreciate the aspects of Buddhism as it relates to prayer. I found I was looking for not just personal inner peace stuff or my own private journey, but I was interested in sharing the journey together, serving one another and trying to save the world in small ways.”
He then joined a church in New York—the church he would be ordained in—that was a combination of the United Church of Christ and American Baptists, the same denomination affiliation as United Church of Mapleton.
Ellingson did not start divinity school with the intent of becoming a pastor. He thought he might be a professor. He went to divinity school to understand the “God stuff” through studying and school. As God continued to draw him in, he began his internship in a church as a part of his academic requirements. Ellingson fell in love with “doing church” and realized that the gifts and abilities that he had been given were the necessary attributes of a pastor. His third year in divinity school he took becoming a pastor seriously and was ordained in the church he had joined in New York, Judson Memorial Church.
Pastor Ellingson would like to bring his church planting experiences to Mapleton and start something new and dynamic at the United Church of Mapleton, seeking to bring in young people and young families. He believes that his willingness “to be real and authentic” will pierce through some of the stereotypes of what a minister should be like. He realizes that people both in and out of church think of a pastor as being one that is especially holy. “Pastors are just real people with real struggles.”
Pastor Ellingson’s son, Hans, suffered a brain injury at birth and now has quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy. This life changing event has brought him closer to God and provided him with a deeper understanding of God’s love and the silent suffering of God’s people. He believes in being open with his “struggles, uncertainty, questions, doubts and fears” because life is real and sometimes messy. As the pastor at the United Church of Mapleton he wants to be able to honestly show others how to look beyond to who God is and what is possible for their lives. He hopes this will help people to connect with a church and God that loves real people leading real lives.
Amboy Considering Reverse Osmosis Water System: Special Meeting to Obtain Public Input Regarding Future Police Department is Jan. 14
After taking the oath of office from City Clerk Patty Smith, Mayor Michael Sevcik administered the oath of office for council member Tom Boeck.
By Koni Preston
The Amboy Council opened the Jan. 7, 2019, meeting with City Clerk Patty Smith administering the oath of office to Mayor Michael Sevcik, who in turn gave the oath to council member Tom Boeck. Committee appointments were then set for the year 2019—Water and Sewer Committee: Radley Sorenson and Tom Boeck, Employee Committee: K.C. Reuter and Michael Sevcik, Audit Committee: entire council, Fire Department Committee: Reuter and Busse, Tri-City Police Commission: Boeck and Sevcik, Sidewalk and Park Committee: Reuter and Busse and Acting Mayor: Boeck. The Maple River Messenger will be the official newspaper. Mileage Paid for 2018: 58 cents as set by the IRS. Official depositories are currently at US Bank and Community Bank. All accounts will be switched to Community Bank after the audit in February due to the closing of the Amboy branch of US Bank.
Public works employee Jeff Urban reported that the generator at the water plant is now up and running and has enough power to run the whole building. Smith noted that they are waiting for Royers and Luke's Electric for final bills to get reimbursed for grant money from the Department of Health.
Urban then addressed the issue with the aging filters at the water plant. He said that Karen Cavett from SEH recommended replacing the filters rather than trying to fix them. Another option for the city would be changing over to a Reverse Osmosis (RO) system. As Urban mentioned at the December meeting, the first step is to take water samples from wells 1 and 2, and from the water going into the water tower. He explained that they will use a kit to test for levels of different elements in the wells. This testing will help determine what the options are for the city. He also pointed out that the RO system would eliminate the need for water softeners in houses.
Urban said he would like to have the city engineers talk with the council about the options at a future meeting. In the end, the council approved the cost of $1,800 to get the water sampling done. Testing would provide data for the engineers “so that they will have a better idea of what we are looking at” before they come to a meeting, Boeck noted.
In other business:
• Public works employee Joe Buckholtz reported that he has attended classes and is preparing to take the exam for his MPCA Waste Water Class D license in March.
• The fire department report included six fire calls for the month of November—one fire assist, one gas leak, three medical calls and one structure fire.
• The council discussed increasing the income level for reduced sewer and garbage, which is currently $15,000. In 2018, the income level was increased from $12,000 to $15,000. There are two residents who are eligible to receive reduced sewer and garbage rates. Council member Tom Boeck questioned if other towns have a similar structure in place and council member K.C. Reuter asked City Administrator-Clerk Patty Smith if she would check with the neighboring cities of Mapleton, Good Thunder and Vernon Center to see what their policies are for reduced sewer and garbage rates to see if they are comparable. A decision will be made at the February council meeting.
• Resolution 2019-1, accepting a donation to the fire department in the amount of $500 from the John Mack Estate was approved by the council. The donation was designated for the purchase of Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus. Reuter asked Smith to extend an extra thank you to Gloria Mack, stating, “She served our community for a very long time.”
• The council will continue to meet on the first Monday of each month at 7 p.m., with the exception of September, which falls on Labor Day. That meeting will be moved to Tuesday, Sept. 3.
• A special meeting has been set for Monday, Jan. 14, at 7 p.m. at the Amboy City Hall, to hold a discussion regarding the future police department. The council would like input from residents of Amboy to help in making its decision in moving forward after the dissolution of the Tri-City Police Department takes place sometime in 2019.
• Sevcik noted that Smith is now a certified municipal clerk. Smith stated that after three years of training and meetings, she recently turned in all the paperwork showing that she has completed the 50 points of education and 25 points of experience as well as a letter from Sevcik proving that she has been working with the city.
• Upcoming meetings and miscellaneous events include: Mayor/Clerk Meeting in Mapleton at the Heather Curling Club at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 10, with Jeff Annis as the speaker; Tri-City Police Department Commission meeting on Monday, Jan. 28, at 7 p.m. in Amboy; the annual audit with Abdo Eick and Meyers on Feb. 4 and 5; Mayor/Clerk Meeting hosted by the city of Amboy on March 14 at 6:30 p.m.; MRWA Conference for Joe Buckholtz on March 5-7 at St. Cloud; and MCFOA Conference for Patty Smith on March 19-22 in St. Cloud.
• The next Amboy Council meeting will be held on Monday, Feb. 4, at 7 p.m.
Dean Green Retires After 33 Years at Midtown Auto: Randy Mosloski Set to Take Over Moz's Midtown Auto
Randy Mosloski and Dean Green
By Tamara Dicks
Messenger Staff Writer
When Don Rice Chevrolet closed in Mapleton, Midtown Auto opened with Dean Green at the helm for the last 33 years. All good things must come to an end and Green officially retired from Midtown Auto on Dec. 31, 2018, after 33 years of keeping the cars in Mapleton up and running.
He has made Mapleton his home since 1974, renting a place and then in 1992 building the house he currently lives in with his best gal, Karen Fitzpatrick. Green feels very grateful going to work every day for the last 33 years doing something he loves. “I would like to thank the residents of Mapleton for supporting Midtown Auto throughout the years.”
Dean graduated from Wells/Easton in 1972, growing up on a farm south of the Pink School House. He has always had an aptitude for fixing cars and went to vocational school in Canby, Minn.
Dean has many fond memories of helping the residents in Mapleton out, but he particularly remembers helping a man with his car during a difficult time in this man’s life as his wife was dying from cancer and he needed the car to go back and forth for appointments. Cars break down at the most inopportune times, and this particular fix touched his heart—to be able to help and make this man’s life easier during such a trying time.
Green and Denny Wilds started Midtown Auto on a shoe string budget of $2,000. Wilds dropped out of the picture in 1999 when Green bought him out. Green needed a mechanic, and a young Randy Mosloski applied and was hired. Mosloski has worked along side Dean for the last 23 years. Mosloski—or “Moz” as his friends call him—is self-taught on semi’s and farm tractors and he attended vocational school in northwest Iowa. He is now a Master Certified Mechanic and starting Jan. 1, 2019, will be the new owner of Midtown Auto.
Moz will continue the excellent quality service Mapleton has come to expect, with one small change. Midtown Auto will change its name to “Moz’s Midtown Auto.”
Randy has lived in Mapleton for the past 21 years with his wife, Tami. His children—Heather, Kevin, Amanda, Taylor, Kristen and Stephanie—all attended Maple River Schools. Moz grew up in Rapidan and graduated from Garden City High School.
Mosloski is one of three organizers for the Winter Slam Demolitan Derby, rated fifth in the world, in St. Peter at the Nicollet County Fair Ground. He has been a participant and supporter of demolition derbies since he was 12 years old.
Moving forward, Moz’s son Taylor will be joining him at the newly acquired Midtown Auto. Taylor currently works at Farm and Home in Mapleton in the repair department. Making it a family affair, wife Tami will also be involved by helping out with the books. Tami currently works part-time at the Mapleton Community Home.
When not working, Moz enjoys demolition derbies and his 14 grandchildren.
What will Dean Green do with all his newly found free time? Dean plans on driving school bus, enjoying time with Karen at their camper on Lake Sakatah in Waterville, and traveling. And probably working on a car or two along the way!
L-R: Mayor John Hollerich acknowledged Jerry Etherington’s 12 years of service as a council member with a certificate of appreciation at the Dec. 18, 2018, council meeting.
By Heather Lowe
Messenger Staff Writer
The City of Mapleton has lost a legend of sorts. After 12 years as city council member, Jerry Etherington’s last council meeting was held on Dec. 18, 2018. It had a bittersweet tone with audience members knowing the November race was so close—just one vote. But, in classic Etherington-style, he was lightening the mood all the way to the end. Despite his characteristic quips and jabs, he was eagle-eyed on the bottom line. Often, he was the lone vote against spending measures he felt were frivolous. He did often say that you will never make everyone happy. Maybe that is the lesson for incoming council, vote how you feel is best as you will never make everyone happy.
Mayor John Hollerich sent Jerry off with a certificate of appreciation.
Med Compass unfortunately may have violated HIPPA when publicly disclosing two firefighters’ medical information. It would have seemed more likely a mistake if it was an isolated incident. The fire chief had all firefighters involved write up an incident report. The city council approved the city attorney to send a letter to Med Compass notifying them of their concerns.
In other business:
• There was discussion on whether or not the Veteran’s Memorial Park at the north entrance to Mapleton needed snow removal on the sidewalks and parking lot. It was decided to wait until the monuments are installed and the park is fully completed to clear snow next year.
• The final draw request for the water tower was approved and by all accounts that project was done to the city’s satisfaction.
• Lastly, it was noted that Mapleton’s regular council meetings will be Jan. 8, and Jan. 22, 2019 due to holiday conflicts.
Most in attendance stayed for the annual elected officials training immediately following the regular council meeting. Meeting adjourned at 6:12 p.m.
It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
On Saturday, Dec. 15, the halls of St. John Lutheran Church in Mapleton were bustling with the volunteers who, in this busy holiday season, so graciously gave of their time to fill Christmas food boxes for Maple River Loaves and Fishes Food Shelf. The old saying “Many hands make light work” proved true.
The group assembled 170 boxes in short order before the doors of the food shelf opened to distribute the boxes to its patrons. In addition to the food boxes, patrons were given the opportunity to “shop” at a gift store set up in the basement of the church. Toys, coloring books and crayons, and knitted hats and mittens were donated through the generosity of a local family, who wished to remain anonymous. We’ll call them the Smith family.
About 12 years ago, the Smiths started a tradition on Thanksgiving Day. At that time they decided instead of exchanging Christmas gifts, the family members would make a monetary donation to the “Blessings” envelope and then choose a charity or maybe a particular family they know who has experienced hardship and is in need of something extra during the holiday season and share the blessings.
Each year an envelope sits in the kitchen window with the word “Blessings” on it and everyone places their contribution in throughout the day. Together the family decides who will receive the “Blessings.” They use what is collected to purchase gift cards for food, toys, or whatever the need may be. It is heartwarming to see how much the families appreciate their gifts.
This year the Smiths actually carried forward what was started last year by another family who had money left from an estate. They approached Loaves and Fishes Food Shelf Director Jon Klenk to see how this money might be used by the food shelf. They came up with the idea of providing a gift shop as an extension of the Christmas food boxes provided each year to families in need. Age appropriate toys and coloring books were provided and the shopping was set up where patrons of the food shelf were able to choose a toy to put under the Christmas tree. Hats and mittens knitted by local women were also included for families to take.
Both families wished to remain anonymous; however, they were happy to share their story in hopes that it might inspire others to consider stepping forward next year to continue the gift of giving of oneself so that others may receive through generosity.
It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas
Each year, Christmas comes and we all enjoy the sights and sounds of the holiday season. But do we really stop to think about who takes the time to make our towns in the Maple River area festive and bright? From hanging the lighted decorations on the light poles and making the Main Streets festive, to Santa’s visit and the holiday celebrations—all this takes time and manpower to plan and execute. There are many in the Maple River area who give of their time and talent to make this happen.
In Minnesota Lake, the Kremer House board comes up with a theme each year and decorates the historic building for Hometown Christmas. The fire department sees to it that Santa arrives on a fire truck and the Minnesota Lake Lions fill treat bags for Santa to give to all the good girls and boys who stop by to visit him.
This year, photographer Ashney Helleksen organized a free photo opportunity with Santa in Good Thunder with a donation of a toy for the Toys for Tots. In addition, a horse-drawn trolley made its way around the streets in Good Thunder.
In Vernon Center the annual holiday festivities include a soup supper, bake sale and a lighted parade. Despite a snowstorm that cancelled the parade on Saturday, Dec. 1, the bake sale and soup supper was held on Sunday and over 70 people came out to celebrate and get in the holiday spirit, thanks to the volunteers who hosted the event. Funds raised help support the annual Fourth of July celebration and fireworks. In Amboy, a decorated tree stands in the center of town next to The Depot and lighted spruce pots have been placed all along Maine Street. The fire department sponsors a chili supper and Santa’s visit every year.
Deck the Halls
The Maple River Chamber of Commerce begins working on plans for Mapleton’s Snowflake Dazzle in the summer months, each year adding something new to make the annual kickoff to the Christmas season a little different. They plan many activities for youngsters and the young at heart to get in the holiday spirit.
This year, the Sertoma Beautification Committee had the help of Lorry Denn and Tammy Schmidt, who shared their expertise and designed new decorations for the planters on the corner of each block along Main Street and added decorations to the street lights. Denn has helped Sertoma in coming up with the design for the planters throughout the whole year for each of the different seasons and Sertoma members provide the manpower in planting the flowers in spring and dissembling them to get ready for the fall and Christmas season. Summer maintenance and watering of the planters is also done by Sertoma members.
This year, Denn was able to repurpose wood from a fence that caught fire to make the street light decorations, and made the decorations in the planters from treated lumber. The city of Mapleton provides funds for the planters and many community members donated many of the materials needed for the different seasons as well.
The new decorations really add to the holiday experience and everything looks amazing. Schmidt said that someone commented to her that Mapleton’s Snowflake Dazzle was “just like a Hallmark movie.” Schmidt said comments like that mean a lot to all the volunteers who put in countless hours working to make the holiday season bright for everyone. They work together to make Mapleton a community that people want to come to.
Take time in this busy time to thank the people who work so hard during the holiday season and throughout the year in each of our Maple River communities. Merry Christmas Maple River!
Submitted By Lois Terhurne
The Kremer House will be celebrating a “Beary Merry Christmas” this year thanks to Marla Nelson Hueper, of Minneapolis, who is sharing her collection of Dayton’s Santa Bears. She brought 46 different bears to display throughout the rooms of the Kremer House during the holiday season.
Marla worked for Dayton’s in Minneapolis and then later in St. Paul. She bought her first bear for $10 with a $25 purchase the day after Thanksgiving. She started a collection that would span two decades. She noted that once a person becomes a collector, they could call and put in an order to reserve a bear.
In 1994, Dayton’s came out with a 10-year anniversary bear—gold with a crown, limited edition. When Marla called to put in her order to get this special edition bear, she spent a lot of time on the phone just trying to get through to place her order.
After a few years, Dayton’s was sold to Marshall Fields and Macy’s later bought out Marshall Fields. They continued to sell the bears until 2007 when they discontinued making them.
An aviator bear and airplane that came out around 1988 is also on display at the Kremer House. That is also the year the Miss Bear was introduced. In 2000, the wedding bears—Mr. and Mrs. Bear—were introduced, and they complement wedding dresses and suits that are also on display. In 2002, twin bears, Berry and Bella, were introduced.
Marla also bought and collected the tree ornaments which she has shared with the Kremer House as well.
Marla’s husband and children were disappointed to hear that she had loaned out her bear collection this year as the bears have always been part of their Christmas decor.
It’s worth a trip to Minnesota Lake to take a step back in time and enjoy the Santa Bear collection and festive holiday decorations that adorn the rooms at the historic Kremer House.
Minnesota Lake’s Hometown Christmas will be celebrated Saturday, Dec. 15, with the Kremer House’s annual cookie sale fundraiser beginning at 12 p.m. The cookie sale will be held as carolers fill the halls at the Kremer House with a variety of holiday music. Door prizes for adults and children will be given away also.
At 1 p.m., Santa will arrive on a fire truck at the Kremer House and listen to the Christmas wishes of the children. The Minnesota Lake Lions have prepared Santa’s treat bags for all the children.