Monday, June 30, 2008

Saints Drop Two Over the Weekend in Stearns County League Action

The Elrosa Saints fell on Friday night in a home game to New Munich, losing 6-1. On Sunday afternoon they lost 4-1 at Meier Grove. The Grovers and Saints are tied in the SCL-North with 4-8 league records.

Mark your calendar this week for the final home game of the season on Thursday, when the Saints host Greenwald at 8:15.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Elrosa Saints Have 3 Games Left Before Playoffs Start - Host New Munich on Friday Night

The Elrosa Saints will attempt to hold their third-place spot in the Stearns County North standings, when they host league-leading New Munich on Friday night at 8:15. Then on Sunday afternoon they travel to Meire Grove to face the Grovers at 1:30.

Next Thursday (July 3) they host Greenwald to wrap up the regular season. Game time that night is 8:15.

This Elrosa Saints update brought to you by:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

List of Budget Reductions From the 6-19-08 School Board Meeting

Two retirements (Beliveau & Listug) $153,803
Shuttle bus savings $5,500
.125 FTE half-section Elementary $5,700
1 bus route $13,000
1 Para at High School $4,000
.60 FTE Physical Education $14,500
No bus stops in city limits $13,000
1/2-hour cut on every Para $13,000
No Bus Purchase for 2008-09 instead
Purchase 2 vans for savings of $10,000
Golf Coach (already done in 2007) $2,500
One partial retirement $49,000
Superintendent savings $25,000
Legal fee reduction $10,000

I think it goes without saying that a bus will still pick up kids in Elrosa.

Changes for college-credit courses reduces the fees for this programming to the school district by $14,000. The school will still expand its course offerings that are for college credit for qualifying juniors and seniors. B-B-E will be gaining its college-credit courses through Central Lakes College of Brainerd, versus Southwest State-Marshall and St.Cloud State in the past.

Additional fees: Athletic fee increase for $10,000 - Gate admission to games for $2,000 - Raise season pass price for $2,000. Of course these are rough estimates to what will be raised, but are probably quite accurate nonetheless.

Vote margins:
Question 1, Roof issue passed by a slim margin, 513-460 (52.5% yes)
Excess Levy issue failed by a 576 (no) to 395 (yes), with 60% voting no.

A Sign of the Times - Question 1 Passes to Fix School Roofs, Excess Levy Fails

In a just-completed mail-in public vote, the taxpayers of B-B-E voted down an excess levy referendum for the first time in the history of the school district. The only good sign was the passage of "Question 1" which allows taxes to be raised to fix the roofs of both school buildings. Since the 1989 pairing of the former school districts for academic and athletic purposes, excess levies were passed in 1990, 1994, and 2003. A building bond referendum was passed in the 1992 election, which raised taxes to create what we now see as our 2 school buildings.

I wanted to add a bit more information before I head to the school board meeting. The vote in 2003 was for a small levy that dealt with safety & heating control issues in the two school buildings. The vote in 1990 was a levy for the former Brooten district only, a levy mill that was raised in order to pay off debt built up by that school district in the 1980s. (Basically, an honorable attempt to clean things up before the two former districts ultimately consolidated into the current, unified B-B-E school district 2364.)

The "heavy lifting" by taxpayers was done in 1992 and 1994. Those tax hikes helped create what we've had as a school district over the past 15 or so years. It's now time for the school district to figure out what to do with lower revenues. I do not envy their position.

Tonight the school board will begin steps to figure out what to do, with their regular monthly meeting at 7:30 at the high school commons area.

This was not unexpected. Of course, school officials had high hopes that district taxpayers would keep up the perfect streak of "thumbs up" votes we've enjoyed at B-B-E. However, the economy is in the tank. Gas is hovering around the $4 mark. Times are tough. The school will further tighten their belt, along with every other family budget in the area.

We certainly are not the first school district to experience a failed excess levy vote. Heavy lifting must be done, starting this summer, in order to restore confidence in the school to taxpayers. I will keep up my calls to form a new athletic conference. I have many other ideas on how to save money for the school, most coming from a little common sense. Some are controversial, however, so they won't find their way on this website.

Sidebar: The Elrosa Saints travel to New Munich this Sunday for a 1:30 game against the undefeated Silverstreaks. The Saints are in a battle with the Spring Hill Chargers for the 2-seed slot for upcoming division playoffs in July.

Monday, June 16, 2008

All-Star Amateur Game Held Friday Night - Cornbelt Blanks the Stearns County League 4-0

The pitchers of the Cornbelt combined for a 2-hit performance on the mound at St.Martin's ballpark.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Benson High School wrestler dies after collapsing at summer camp

Linda Vanderwerf and Tom Chervany, West Central Tribune
Published Friday, June 13, 2008

BENSON — A Benson High School wrestler died Friday morning after collapsing following a training run while participating in a summer wrestling camp here, according to Benson school officials.

Miles J. Staton, 16, of Benson died Friday morning at Swift County-Benson Hospital here, according to school and funeral home sources.

Staton collapsed following a run during a summer wrestling camp in Benson, according to Benson Superintendent Lee Westrum and Benson Wrestling Coach Brian Knutson.

Blogger's note: Brian Knutson is a 1990 graduate of B-B-E High School. He was an integral part of the Jaguars' 1988-1989 Prairie Conference Championship team, as well as the Jaguars' 19890-1990 West Central South Conference championship team. Those two teams were two of the three wrestling conference championships that we have had at B-B-E (the other came in the 1996-1997 season). Beyond having farming in his blood, he's also got wrestling in his blood. Prayers to the Knutson family.

I'll post more information as I gather it, I also am preparing for the All-Star Stearns County-Cornbelt Amateur game in St.Martin tonight. The game is at 8:15.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

B-B-E Sports Fans - It's Time, We Need a new Conference

I've held my tongue for quite some time on this, while giving a few hints about my feelings, but I finally am going to voice my real concerns over the conference situations we have going on across our area.

Here's some key points to consider:

1- Transportation costs are outrageous, and they will probably always be outrageous as long as we have stupid and outrageous fuel economy from our cars & trucks (which has really been unchanged for over 20 years).
2- The West Central Conference is unstable, as it recently was forced by the MSHSL to accept Mora & Milaca.
3- B-B-E is facing a levy referendum, asking local taxpayers for more money to balance the budget and carry existing curricular and co-curricular programs at the school.

Here's some schools I'll kick around for a new conference: Sauk Centre, Paynesville, Melrose, Osakis, Minnewaska Area, Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg, New London-Spicer, Albany, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City, Long Prairie...and B-B-E.

Can you imagine the Sauk/B-B-E or B-B-E/Paynesville rivalry becoming a conference showdown? It would be fun, no doubt.

For sure, the Central Minnesota Conference is an excellent conference with excellent schools. It would be tough to see the rivalries we've developed with the CMC disappear if we left. A trip to Pierz is always worth it, as they have an outstanding athletic program in every respect (facilities, coaches, attitude & support of the parents/community for their student-athletes). But we have to come to the reality that something has to change, something's gotta give, the status quo is un-sustainable.

It costs nothing to talk about it, and it costs nothing to ask what the possibilities are.

Sidebar: B-B-E taxpayers, make sure to mail in your ballot before June 18.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Lensing Medals at State Track and Field Meet

Coach Richards telling Heidi, "You can't jump any higher than that?" (Actually, he didn't say that)

Junior Jaguars Girl Track & Field team member Heidi Lensing earned the second medal of her track career at the state meet today at Hamline University. Lensing finished 8th out of the final 16 athletes in the Class A state High Jump. She earned 5th place for a medal in the Long Jump in 2007.

Lensing had simply fantastic jumps on her preliminary height (4'8"), first height (5'0") and then second height (5'2") before running into trouble going for 5'3". Numerous athletes began falling off at the 5-2 height and once the bar went to 5-3 the field was narrowed quickly to the final four.

The great showing by Lensing at the state track meet brings to a close the 2007-2008 sports year for B-B-E. It's finally summertime.

State Fastpitch update:
Maple Lake 3, Littlefork-Big Falls 1 (Class A semi-final game played today at 10:00am)
The Irish, 2008 Central Minnesota Conference and Section 5A champion, played New Life Academy in the state championship game today at 2:00. New Life Academy is a private school from Woodbury.

The Irish lost the title game 3-0. They did an excellent job representing Section 5A at state and should have a number of players earning all-tournament awards.

Maple Lake, Barnum, and B-B-E all return a fair amount of talent from this year's teams, and they will all be looking at winning Section 5A in 2009. This experience earned at state will give Maple Lake a slight advantage going into next season.

Section 6AA Baseball:
Congradulations to the Albany Huskies, who advanced to the Class AA baseball tournament next week with a 7-3 win over Rocori-Cold Spring in the final game of the championship series today. They last went to state in 2005.

In my "good grief, are you serious!" category:
A video was recently posted on MSNBC.COM from a Little League game that showed a kid swinging a baseball bat at an opponent in the post-game handshake line! What's going on with our kids today? I have to say, when I witness poor sportsmanship on the playing field/court from B-B-E players, or opponents of teams playing against us, those are very dark, difficult moments to be a sports reporter. Thankfully and proudly, I can say that over the past school year ('07-'08) I can count on one hand the times I saw some poor behavior/language from Jaguars student athletes.

This Jaguars sports state tournament update brought to you by:

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Herickhoff & Bertram Have Great Showing at Class A State Golf Tournament

Jaguars girls golfers Megan Herickhoff, a senior, and Whitney Bertram, a junior, both had great showings at the state tournament, held today and yesterday at Pebble Creek Golf Club in Becker. Bertram finished in 13th place (out of 88 golfers) with a score of 195. Herickhoff was not far behind with a two-day total of 212, tied for 39th.

Also, last night Browerville/Eagle Valley completed a stunning run through the Section 5A baseball tournament to advance to "state" next Thursday & Friday in Jordan & Chaska.

Baseball results from Wednesday night in Pierz:
Section 5A losers bracket final:
Hinckley-Finlayson 6, Upsala-Swanville Area 2

Section 5A championship:
Browerville/Eagle Valley 6, Hinckley-Finlayson 3 F

Fastpitch State Tournament Update:
Class A quarterfinal:
Maple Lake 6, Badger/Greenbush-Middle River 5

This Jaguars sports state tournament update brought to you by:

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Class A State Golf Tournament Update - Whitney Bertram tied for 14th overall with a 98

After one day of golfing complete at Pebble Creek in Becker, Jaguars girls golfer Whitney Bertram is tied for 14th overall with Abby Knutson of Ortonville in the standings. I almost missed that on KSAX Channel 5 news tonight, but turned my head to the TV just in time to catch it! I'm not sure how high you have to place to get a medal in golf, perhaps a Top Ten finish. Best of luck to Bertram & fellow Jaguars girls golfer Megan Herickhoff on day two at "state" tomorrow.

Osakis, who was the team champion of Section 5A, is in the running for the state title. They sit in 2nd place after the first day. It's lovely (sarcasm) to see the team in first place is a private school. Gotta love it.

Section 5A baseball update:
It looks like Browerville/Eagle Valley just might pull off a wild run of upsets in the Final Four, as they sit in the championship series set for Wednesday night. They knocked state-ranked Hinckley-Finlayson into the loser's bracket on Monday night.

Hinckley-Finlayson knocked Upsala-Swanville Area out on Wednesday night with a 6-2 win over the Patriots. The H-F Jaguars face B/EV in the late game on Wednesday night. Later on Thursday afternoon I'll post more information about that.

This Jaguars playoff sports update brought to you by:

Sunday, June 01, 2008

B-B-E Class of 2008 Graduates

20th B-B-E Graduation Held

The 20th class of Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa graduated on Sunday, with the annual commencement ceremonies held at the high school gymnasium. A packed crowd was on hand for the 68 graduates of 2008.

After Pastor Dan Hermanson's opening prayer, graduate Brent Gregory gave a Senior Class speech with enjoyable anecdotes and bits of advice for his fellow classmates.

Salutatorian Brett Landwehr then gave his speech, marked by an ending quote saying, "Life smiles at us, all we have to do is smile back," in a sign that life is what we make of it, good or bad.

Valedictorian Lindsay Goodwin's speech was filled with highlights from their K-12 school career. She cited very humerous stories about classmates Josh Roelike, Jordan Beier, and Jesse Wold, and noted a handful of times when the class drove B-B-E teachers crazy.

The Outstanding Senior Female Award was then given. This award is based on strength of character, scholastic achievement, history of service in and out of school, and leadership in classroom and co-curricular activities. Lindsay Goodwin was honored with this award, and will be attending Concordia-Moorhead this fall.

The Greg Mohs Memorial Award was given to Brent Gregory. This award is given based on scholastic achievement, participation in athletics throughout the student's high school career, along with leadership skills displayed in grades 9-12.

High School Principal Matt Bullard then gave a self-proclaimed "no-nonsense" good-luck speech. Mr. Bullard told the class to make the most of their work ethic, as that gives the first impression in the work place. He noted that successful people are not lucky, they create it themselves. His final note was for graduates to "Discover your passion, and foster your passion through your career."

Mr. Bullard's parting quote summed the ceremony up nicely, "If there's no passion in your life, then you haven't really lived."

Pastor Hermanson gave the final prayer, noting the graduating class's "desire to serve the world. They have blessed our community, now they can be a blessing to God's world."