The Year in Review
Celebrating 2015 with
review of news of 2014
Top weather events of 2014
had profound impact on us!
Winter of 2013-’14
In Minnesota, the weather always makes the news, but the winter of 2013-‘14 may be one to remember . . . . or forget! The North American cold wave was an extreme weather event caused by southward shifts of the North Polar Vortex (words we would like to have banned), extending from December 2013 to April 2014, was also part of an unusually cold winter affecting parts of Canada and the Eastern United States.
Minnesota’s top weather events of 2014 were winter- or cold-related, speaking to the profound impact the seemingly endless winter across much of the upper Midwest had on its occupants.
Blasts of arctic air rolled over the Midwest several times during January. Snow accompanied by stiff breezes and gusty winds produced several raging blizzards. Local schools were closed several days due to the cold and snow-drifted roads. Record cold temperatures, along with snow and ice, extended well into March.
Extremely cold weather that came early and persisted, increased the usage of fuel across the nation, causing a spike in prices. The price of a gallon of propane gas skyrocketed from about $1.50 to around $5 per gallon.
“Minnesotans in the Springfield area endured subzero temperatures during 55 days this winter,” the Advance-Press reported in its Wednesday, March 5, 2014, newspaper.
Then after a long brutal winter, and as local people were celebrating snow-free lawns and fields, Mother Nature lowered the boom on April 3, dumping 9 inches of snow on the Springfield area.
Cool, wet weather affected field conditions, but, despite a late planting and challenging weather, local corn and soybean producers ended up with a good harvest despite spotty crop yields in various geographic locations.
June 2014 claimed the al-time record for rainfall for any single month in local recorded weather history. According to local Official U.S. Weather Observer R.A. Feser. Springfield received 11.69 inches of rain during June. The rainfall during June was more than 8 inches above the average 3.55 inches for the sixth month of the year in this part of the country.
We are encouraged by positive news about economic development. After several years with little new construction, Springfield got a boost in commercial and residential building in 2014.
Schwartz Farms, Inc. constructed a truck wash and dry facility in the Industrial Park. Schwartz Farms showed their new state-of-the-art facility on June 26 with tours every half hour.
The Springfield City Council approved a development agreement between Thomas and Kori Ryan, the City of Springfield and the Springfield Public Utilities Commission regarding the Wild Ridge Addition, a new housing development in southwest side of town. The Ryans have built the first new house in the addition. Construction of infrastructure —water mains and sanitary sewer — was begun in Wild Ridge Addition in the fall.
Harvest Land Cooperative completed construction of buildings at the Springfield location for its seed department, and crop protection storage; and plans are being finalized to build a shop for the company’s truck fleet and agronomy fleet in the spring.
Riverside Animal Clinic, owned by Dr. Phil Gill, Dr. Phil Sadler and Dr. Jason Beyer, purchased Redwood Veterinarians P.A. and are merging the business into the local practice that also includes a Sleepy Eye clinic. A fourth veterinarian — Dr. Christian Wager — recently joined the team to help cover the expanded client base.
Businesses start up, and change hands
Betsy Saffert started Pink Swan Creations in her home. It’s a multi-faceted business making soaps and lotions from goats’ milk as well as unique repurposed items from discards. She recently expanded the business — adding new items including some clothing and shoes.
Two young women — Abbey Breisch and Shawna Hoffmann, are sharing their dreams by operating their own businesses — Treasured Times and Abbey’s Artists, LLC — in a shared building at 106 North Marshall Avenue. They opened for business on April 26.
Stacy Watje is renovating and improving the former department store building on East Central — Springfield’s “Main Street” — the building that is home to her LeBon Entertainment business. She opened LeBon Boutiques in the fall, held grand opening during Springfield’s Holiday Open House the evening of Nov. 12, and continues to work in developing a coffee shop in the west portion of the building.
Lisa Ann Hoffmann, a national certified therapeutic massage and bodywork therapist, opened Lisa Ann’s Healing Hands massage and wellness in the Schwanke Building, East Springfield.
Marlene and Jack Hartjes opened the doors of the Only House Downtown, adjacent to Tauer’s Grocery and Gas, during Springfield’s Holiday Open House.
The local Microtel Inn & Suites was sold to Mike and Neeta Chaudhari of Sisseton, S.D. The Chaudharis own and operate motels in Sisseton and Vermillion, S.D., and others in Edgley, N.D., and Diamondville, Wyoming.
Adam Beers, D.D.S., purchased the Springfield Dental Clinic from the Mayo Clinic Health System. The transfer of ownership from MCHS took effect at 8 a.m. Tuesday, July 1, when Beers Family Dental received its first patient.
Barney Borth and Mike Braun sold their waste management business to Brent Kucera and Chad Mathiowetz. The change of ownership took effect Jan. 1, 2015.
Barb Jones sold the Springfield Floral business that she established in 1984 and owned and operated the past 30 years, to Char Frank of Wabasso. The papers relating the business change were signed Friday, Jan. 2.
Not all news is good news
Year 2014 has been, in many ways, a difficult year. Our country faced turmoil, both home and abroad, with racer riots in Ferguson, Mo., the Ebola scare, the brutality of ISIS, and the crisis in Ukraine. Locally, we endured our share of tragedies and lost very good people along the way.
While we don’t consider the local murder Springfield’s top news in 2014, that heinous crime was, indeed, the most horrendous news that grabbed headlines and will continue to do so in the new year. Springfield was stunned by the murder of 23-year-old Amber Lechuga. Miguel Vasquez, 26, is accused of murdering his girlfriend and the mother of his two sons, dismembering her body and attempting to burn the remains in a van just outside Sleepy Eye on Sept. 25. A grand jury is convening this week to consider the evidence, and the murder trial is scheduled to begin on January 13.
Four young men, ranging in age from 17-20, including Caleb Quesenberry of Springfield, died in a two-vehicle crash on an icy curve on Highway 14 near Sleepy Eye the evening of March 7. Dead at the scene were passengers Quesenberry, 17, a senior at Springfield High School, Payton Adams, 17 of Sleepy Eye, Tyler Hadley, 20, of Sleepy Eye, and John Mangen of Fairfax.
A Springfield woman, Mridusha S. Allen, 30, died in a crash of her car and a semi truck on icy Highway 68 approximately 4 miles east of Courtland the afternoon of Nov. 10.
Whoever would have thought a lowly bucket of ice would become a pop culture phenomena? Celebrities and regular folks alike took on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014, generating many millions of dollars to fight the disease. Employees of Mayo Clinic Health System in Springfield accepted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge of Mayo Clinic Health System in St. James on August 27. The Ice Bucket Challenge is an activity involving dumping a bucket of ice water on someone’s head to promote awareness of the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and encourage donations to research.
With an eye to the future, we take a look at the past year that yields many stories We have completed a summary review of the news that can be found on pages 8 to 14 in this week's Advance-Press.