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Friday, July 26, 2013

Through the years From its founding in 1867 to today, Waseca is a city that has embraced progress.

With a strong commitment to positively impacting our community, we are proud of our employees and the amount of time they volunteer and give back!

Inview Hosted by Larry King ir


Waseca T

aste of the


Waseca County Relay for Life

Waseca Gas Take Ove

Historical photos courtesy of Waseca County Historical Society


PROGRESS IN OUR COMMUNITY AND BUSINESSES A special project of the Waseca County News 213 2nd St. NW, Waseca, MN 56093 Publisher/Editor Julie Frazier Managing Editor Suzanne Rook Cover Design Naomi Kissling Advertising Design Naomi Kissling, Keeley Krebsbach, Nikkie Gilmore, Jenine Kubista, Paul Ristau, Kelly Kubista Page Design Tony Borreson

Postivively Impacting Peoples’ Lives since 1881


Progress in Our Community and Businesses is distributed to subscribers and readers of Waseca County News at no additional charge. All rights reserved. ©2013 All advertising contained herein is the responsibility of the advertiser. Waseca 507-835-4220, 200 2nd Street NE Waldorf 507-239-2166, 102 South Main


InsuranceAgency 1-800-835-1499



Member FDIC

Investment Solutions Waseca 507-835-4220, 200 2nd Street NE

Friday, July 26, 2013


WHITESTONE CLEANERS— 80 YEARS 110 2nd Ave NW, Waseca Owner: Toby Jensen Year started: 1933 Tell us about your business and how you have remained a vital part of the Waseca/Waseca County community for so long? We have been in the cleaning business for 80 years. A loyal customer base couple with a dedicated staff have contributed to our longevity. How has your business changed over the years to meet your customer’s needs? As more and more households contain two wage earners we find that the laundry part of our business is growing. Working parents value their rime more than ever. What is the best thing about operating a business in Waseca/Waseca County? You get to know not only your customers on a first name basis, but also the service people and vendors on who you depend. The environment is one of mutual cooperation. Everyone shares in both the successes and failures.



City of Waseca more stable, progressing toward goals The city of Waseca has emerged from the financial uncertainty of the past five years more stable and making steady progress on our goals: • Maintaining a solid financial management system; • Ensuring a high level of public safety; • Preparing for the growth; • Fostering a business climate to sustain a solid tax base, provide employment and other economic opportunities for our residents; • Maintaining and improving critical city infrastructure; and • Providing a pleasant environment as a source of pride, and important component of our quality of life. In the last 12 months true progress has been made in many areas, including:

Financial stability

the planned growth needs of the U.S. Hwy. 14 bypass west of Waseca. We are nearing completion of the Comprehensive Plan Update, a long range strategic planning document that will guide planning for the next two decades.

City’s View J. Crystal Prentice

general fund levy in the last five years. According to our auditors, Economic development city of Waseca taxes were $388 per The city has offered considercapita compared to $500 for our able technical and financial assispeer group. Waseca’s bonded debt tance to encourage private investper capita was $684 compared to ment in Waseca, including land $2,826 for our peer group. and tax incentives. The city has also been very successful in securPublic safety ing grants and loans to assist busiThe Police D ep ar tment ness and industry. In addition, the launched the Citizen’s Police Acad- City has secured nearly $1 million emy; and accomplished financing in Small Cities Development Proand bid award for construction of gram grants from DEED for singlethe Waseca Public Safety Building, family residential rehabilitation. future home of the Police Department, Fire Department and Visita- Capital improvement tion and Exchange Center.


The city has received more Planning for growth than $3 million in grant and aid The city updated the West Infunding; and despite a $1.7 milterchange Infrastructure Study, lion reduction in State Aid, the City Council has not increased the which identifies costs related to

Community aesthetics The Heritage Preservation Commission undertook reconnaissance surveys of three historic residential areas and a comprehensive survey of the historic central business district. Based on resulting recommendations, the HPC is moving forward with design guidelines for the historic downtown before pursuing designation of a downtown historic district. Staff is currently refining a property maintenance ordinance to provide clear, enforceable regulations for maintenance and upkeep of all property within the city, which the City Council is expected to consider this year. The city is committed to delivering the highest quality services at the lowest possible cost to taxpayers. All of our endeavors focus on making Waseca a safer and more livable and prosperous place.

The city has completed an update of the 10-year Capital ImJ. Crystal Prentice is Waseca’s provement Plan (CIP) for maintaining and expanding the city’s city manager. Reach her at crysinfrastructure.

Building a Progressive Business Community Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors Recognize SUCCESS AND Business Growth in Waseca Marcy Buchele – United Prairie Bank Brad Connors – iWealth Tim Dennis – Dennis Funeral & Cremation Services Katie Dumdei – Home Design Gallery Ed Frederick – Professor Emeritus, U of M Bernie Gaytko – First National Bank Linda Grant – Healing Hands Wellness Group Rob Helms – Brown Printing Company Peggy Hildebrandt – Connors Plumbing and Heating Amy Krueger – Roundbank Insurance Agency Cassie Meister – Cassie’s Classic Cuts Tom Piche – 4-Seasons Athletics Jade Prins – Roundbank Paul Rongstad – Waseca Agency Tom Sankovitz – First National Bank Theresa Sunde – Mediacom Larry Thompson – Roundbank Kevin Walter – Ameriprise Financial Tim Wenzel – Winegar, Inc. Pat Wiesler – Hy-Vee

The Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors are comprised of business professionals that serve as the Chamber’s liaison to the business community. The Ambassadors recognize business expansions and owner/management changes with their presentation of Progress Awards in 2012-2013.

Airwave Solutions Akorn Photography El Molino Mexican Restaurant Generations Antiques & Gifts ServiceMaster of Waseca/Mankato Team Academy Waseca Arts Council

Waseca Community Education & Recreation Waseca County Historical Society Waseca Family Dentistry Waseca Lakeside Club Waseca Marching Classic Wiste’s Meat Market

2012/2013 Business of the Year

Colony Court

Roots Award - 2012-13 the purpose of this award is to recognize and honor businesses that have provided goods and services to people in the Waseca area for more than 30 years.

American Family Insurance Ameriprise Financial Dennis Funeral and Cremation Services Edward Jones Company – Bill Groh

Kiesler’s Campground McRaith Funeral Homes and Crematory Melcher’s Power Vac State Farm Insurance

The Ambassadors recognize investment in the business community by making visits to new businesses with their presentation of First Dollar Clear Profit Awards 2012-13 Danielle Androli Photography Edina Realty – Waseca Family Tree Creations Twig Case Company

1-888-9WASECA or 507-835-3260 | |

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Friday, July 26, 2013


The new Hwy. 14 bypass has eased traffic congestion caused by large semi-trucks that had to travel through the middle of Waseca to get to Owatonna. (Marianne Carlson/Waseca County News)

Almost a year after opening, residents and businesses give Highway 14 bypass postive reviews By MARIANNE CARLSON that decline hasn’t affected his said. “We love our location. It

Having to wait through the same stoplight twice in downtown Waseca because the streets are so congested with large semitrucks has almost become a distant memory. “When we see trucks in town now, we joke at the shop that they must be lost or that their GPS hasn’t been updated,” Curtis Tesch, owner of Tesch Service Center, said with a laugh. As the one year anniversary of the opening of the Hwy. 14 bypass nears, business owners like Tesch, city officials and residents agreed that the Hwy. 14 bypass overall has been a good thing. “It is a lot quieter around here that’s for sure,” Tesch said. “It has been a lot easier to get across the street and even drive around town now that all the big trucks are up on the interstate.” Tesch said that although he is selling less gasoline at the pump,

bottom line. Tesch’s business is located on old Hwy. 14, one block off State Street. Driving through town is much safer since the new highway opened, said Waseca Mayor Roy Srp adding that it’s the change he appreciates most. “I have not had any businesses come forward and offer criticism,” Srp said of the new road. “In fact, with the work that is being done on Hwy. 13 right now we are going to have great roads coming into town from all directions.” Mike Deml, owner of Deml Ford, said although he located outside of town on old Hwy. 14, the opening of the bypass has not affected his business negatively. In fact, customers driving from the west have praised the new highway and the easy access to and from the dealership. “A lot of our customers find the vehicle they want online, then they plug our address into their GPS drive over to see it,” Deml

works well for us.”

Industrial park The new Hwy. 14 interchange built as part of the expansion to Owatonna has made it easy for semi-trucks to travel to and from the south industrial park in Waseca, Kim Johnson, planning director for the city of Waseca, said.

“I see the new bypass as a real positive to community,” Johnson said. “Berry Pallets chose to locate there and we have a new business that is constructing mini storage units out there.” That growth directly relates to the transportation access, Johnson said. “The proximity to the interchange is very beneficial to (Berry Pallets) business,” she said. Elegant Creations, another

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business located close to the interchange on the south end of Waseca, recently decided to expand its showroom. “Reps from the company said that this expansion is directly related to the interchange which allows travelers to easily get to their business,” Johnson said. “Everyone that I’ve spoken to truly sees this bypass as an opportunity that needs to be embraced.”


Even though the stretch of Hwy. from Janesville to Waseca was completed in 2006, the recent four-laning all the way to Owatonna has created economic opportunities for the city of Janesville. Janesville recently signed an option to purchase up to 10 acres


Friday, July 26, 2013




The new Hwy. 14 interchange on the south end of Waseca allows an easy access for semi-truck trailers traveling to and from the south industrial park. (Marianne Carlson/Waseca County News)

Highway: Road boosted imports, exports, chamber director says From Page 4C

of land close to the new Hwy. 14 bypass and since talks began two months ago, the city has had three companies interested in building a convenience store on the property. “Things don’t usually move this quickly,” Janesville City Administrator Clinton Rogers said. “The proximity of the land -to (the new) Hwy. 14 has played oa big part in the level of interest.” The city of Janesville -wants at least $250,000 for the 49,000-square foot lot in downtown near the bypass. Completed proposals will be reviewed by the Economic Development Authority and they will make recommendations to the City Council July 22. Paul Pfennig, owner of Janesville Service Center which is located near the bypass, said that since the expansion of Hwy. 14, he has had more people stopping in his shop to ask for a restroom or gas station. “It happens at least once a day,” Pfennig said with a laugh. “Overall, I think it has had a minimal effect on our downtown, but there is definitely a need for a gas station on this side of town.”

Building business

“This signage will assure travelers that they can take a tour through downtown and be able to easily get back on freeway,” Foels said. “This is a one-time cost and I want to commend them for being a visionary and moving forward with this.” The Chamber also sent all of their members information on how they can get their logo on a sign out on the new Hwy. 14. The business loop signage is being paid for by the city and the EDA, but business owners must pay to have their individual logo on a sign on Hwy. 14.

The Waseca County News asked readers what they think of the new Hwy. 14 bypass. Here’s what some had to say: Jill Halvorsen Thursdale: As a resident I am loving the less congested old Hwy 14. We live four houses down from the old highway by Clear Lake and there is definitely less traffic noise. (big rigs especially) Getting kids to school in the morning was also a lot easier this year without having to wait so long to cross 14. Robin Headline: I love the under 15 minute ride to work. I live in Waseca work in the south area of Owatonna. Paula Jean: I feel it has definitely harmed the communities of Janesville and Waseca. Both towns have basically become ghost towns in my opinion. Small businesses are closing their doors, and there is absolutely nothing to do downtown anymore. When I was a kid growing up in Waseca, there was all kinds of things to do, there were clothing stores, a shoe store, roller skating rink, etc. Now there is nothing! It’s really sad, nothing left here for my son when he get’s older. Sarah Meyer: I can’t speak for Janesville but traffic wise it is DEFINITELY better in Waseca. We don’t need big rigs driving down the center of town, toppling over. It wasn’t made for that kind of traffic (the downtown area). The Old 14 driving is much safer for locals without all the trucks and crazy interstate drivers. I never lived here when it was bumping and bustling, frankly....I’ve lived here for about five years and I’ve never seen an abundance of businesses in town. Whatever downfall to Waseca began LONG before the stretch of 14 was put in. I feel for the small business owners but most of them I can’t frequent because of their odd hours, my family has to work during the time they are open. I am driven out to Owatonna or Mankato to do much of my business. I think it can only help from here on out, once the chamber of commerce allows some businesses to come in along that stretch of 14. Some new restaurants would be great that actually operate sensible hours. These small businesses are not surviving because they do not want to change with the times. Life doesn’t operate from 12-5 anymore, it’s ALL hours. They don’t want to be open and working after those hours, but they need to be. And some places the staff is very rude or totally clueless around here. Some variety would be great. I would rather stay in town then go to Tonna or Kato but there is NOTHING here. More restaurants, more stores and more jobs. And I swear if they add ANOTHER Mexican restaurant or auto parts store, I’m protesting! Seriously, how many do we need???? There was like 5 Mexican restaurants and 4 auto parts stores! AND THAT’S IT! Really!?? I want a Perkins, please! Bonnie Woitas: I love the change and disagree that it has harmed the local business. Although the stores and skating rinks listed in another post are no longer in these communities, they were gone long before the Hwy 14 bypass. Just as with bypasses in other communities such as Shakopee and Savage, I think it will benefit traffic, make for safer roads and attract new business as a result. Cheryl A. Dotterweich: The by-pass doesn’t help me much, I live on the old stretch it is out of my way to go to the bypass to go either direction. Unless I’m short of time to go to Owatonna or Mankato I travel the old road. It is nice to not have so much truck traffic in town and I agree with the other comments about not enough variety of businesses in town and I don’t think the bypass had anything to do with that. Jon Stoltz: Ditto to Sarah’s comment

The bypass officially opened in September 2012 and Kim Foels, director of the Waseca Area Chamber of Commerce said that the four-lane bypass has been a great advantage to some area businesses and that it has really helped move goods in and out of the community. “Traffic from everyday travelers driving through downtown has decreased some so that has affected some of the retail businesses that depend on that kind of traffic, but most of them were prepared for that to happen,” Reach reporter Marianne Foels said. Carlson at 837-5451, or follow Many businesses in town her on @marianhave come up with innovative newcn. ways to market their business, Foels said. Some of them have put resources into startin websites or updating their current one as way to reach customers. The Chamber of Commerce has also offered a variety of educational forums this year for busi“A One Stop Shop” nesses to learn more about marLarge Enough to Do the Job, Small Enough to keting their business using social Give you Personal Service Plus Confidentiality. media such as Facebook. 30+ Years Professional Experience The city of Waseca and the Waseca Economic Development Waseca Secretarial Service Authority are working with the Minnesota Department of Trans123 6th Ave SE, Waseca • 835-4770 portation to install directional signage for a business loop.

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WASECA GLASS — 30 YEARS 1200 S. State St., Waseca Owners: Randy and Sandy Prange Year started: 1988 Tell us about your business and how you have remained a vital part of the Waseca/Waseca County Community for so long? We do auto glass, commercial and home glass and window/screen repair. We also sell and rent trailers. How has your business changed over the years to meet your customer’s needs? We move to a larger building and have more employees. We also offer more services besides glass work. What is the best thing about operating a business in Waseca/Waseca County? The people are good to work with and we try hard to keep a standing with our customers.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Waseca Arts Council provides cultural services, arts education Organized in 1976 the Waseca Arts Council has been providing cultural services, art education, and events to the greater Waseca County area for 36 years. Our mission statement is: to provide the people of the greater Waseca County Area opportunities to experience diverse creative arts essential to a healthy community. This mission is met through a wide variety of programs and services, the main one being the operation of the Waseca Art Center in our new facility at 200 State St. N. Here at the Art Center from 10 – 12 art exhibitions are held each year in the main gallery plus smaller exhibits at other places in the building. Two of the oldest and annual shows are the High School Exhibition & Workshop Day featuring 10 MN schools, 50 students; and the annual Elementary Art Show featuring all Waseca schools grades K to 4. Having just moved into the new art center in February of

Guest View Pat Beckman

2013, programs in the new space are still growing and changing. What has carried over is an informal group of adults meeting Wednesdays to draw/paint. Warm days are spent outdoors, while portraits and still lifes are worked on in the winter. After their session, the Art Appreciation Group meets to discuss current exhibitions, art, and artists. The Art Center’s library and resource center is always open to the public. It is a collection of books covering major artists, museums, cultural groups and other reading. Also the art center has a fabulous gift shop filled with art supplies, books, stationary, gifts, handmade items, many by Waseca artists and original paintings. An art education video program is being established, which will be

aired on a regular basis beginning fall of 2013. Many special concerts are now being organized for 2013-14. Plans are in the works for a variety of talented groups and a concert series will be developed. Watch for more news, soon. The WAC extends its programming outside the walls of the art center. ArtNews is the monthly newsletter keeping all contributing members and friends informed of Arts Council offerings plus local, regional, and state news. The Picture Parade Art Appreciation Series, is another of the WAC’s oldest programs. It is a volunteer school traveling series rotating to public and parochial schools in area school districts for grades 1 to 6. Gallery Guide Cable TV show is shown twice weekly on local channel 8, this is an introduction to the current gallery exhibition at the Waseca Art Center. Each year the WAC gives a $500 scholarship to a high school senior living in Waseca County who will be pursuing an

art, music, or theatre career at an accredited college. Funds to support this scholarship come from Sights & Sounds of Christmas Housewalk. And finally the WAC assists with the Waseca County Fair Art Booth. The WAC is a nonprofit organization dependent on support from the people of Waseca County and the area. Well over half of its yearly income must be raised by the organization thru its special events, concerts, and educational programs. By attending these events, making purchases at the art center, or making a membership donation, people are assured that the Waseca Art Center will be open and free to all. The new Waseca Art Center is an great asset for downtown Waseca and a proven leader in economic development. Please support the Waseca Arts Council, Inc. Pat Beckman is director of the Waseca Arts Council, Reach her at

Privileged to help.

Providing opportunities for employment to individuals with disabilities.

Jobs Plus recycles and its free to anyone who would like to participate. We Recycle: plastics 1-6, cardboard, aluminum, shrink-wrap, and clear plastic bags.

Gloria Butler, Agent 507-835-8301

Jobs plus will pick up or you can drop off, call Penny for more details at 507-833-1230

Jobs Plus, Inc. | Waseca, MN | 507-833-5004


We’re honored to serve this community for 30 years. My staff and I look forward to many more with you. Thank you for your continued support and business.

State Farm, Home Office, Bloomington, IL

Friday, July 26, 2013



2013 business achievements and growth


Business achievements and changes in Waseca County include:

Dan Nitz, the former president and chief executive officer of Clear Lake Press in Waseca, became the executive vice president of manufacturing and distribution at Brown Printing Company in June as part of a strategic alliance between the two printing companies. (County News file photos)



Brown Printing and Clear Lake Press announced a strategic alliance the companies expect will better serve customers. Robert Schmidt and Dan Hoehn will merge their respective law firms on or about Aug. 1. The location will be at Schmidt Law Office, 36050 Clear Lake Drive, Waseca. Brian Hansen, of Edward Jones in Waseca, won the firm’s Ed Armstrong Award for achievement in building client relationships. Curtis Smith merged his business, Arrow Printing, of Albert Lea, with Quality Print of Waseca. Dr. Andrew Backes, from Buffalo, has joined Waseca Family Dentistry. Steele-Waseca Area Habitat for Humanity has hired a new executive director, Karla Swanson. McRaith Funeral Home & Crematory of Waseca and Janesville added Jessie Starkson to its funeral home staff. Four Seasons Athletics in Waseca changed owners after 37 years in business. New veterinarian, Nancy Greenwald, took over at Waseca’s Premier Vet. Berry Pallets moved into their new location in Waseca, relocating from Janesville. Brothers Ed and Leo Hoehn bought the South Side Education building and plan to converted it into a new apartment complex.

2100 Old Hwy. 14 West, Waseca Owner or Owners: Gary Deml, Laurie Deml, Mike Deml and Brad Deml Year started: 1983 Tell us about your business and how you have remained a vital part of the Waseca/ Waseca County Community for so long? We sell new and used automobiles as well as provide parts and service for all makes and models of vehicles. The automobile industry has changed a great deal in 30 years and we have always strived to stay ahead of those changes and be a leader in our market. The internet has allowed us to reach out to even more customers from greater distances and continues to grow our business. Our growth has allowed for two expansions and a continually increasing number of employees. How has your business changed over the Brian and Katie Neegard are the new owners of The Purple years to meet your customer’s needs? Goose Eatery & Saloon in Janesville. The Internet has made our products and Teri Hanks opens The Tropics Bar in Janesville. services available to people around the clock. Mike Morton purchases Ewert’s Hardware and changes its We now offer electronic service scheduling name to Janesville Hardware. and service Monday through Saturday with Troy and Deanne Summers open a thrift store in Janesville. no appointment necessary. We stock more Lonnie Lundgren and Angie Juliar open Legends Bar opens than 175 vehicles and both our facility and in Janesville. lot have expanded to accommodate our customers. We have a state of the art facility that includes a 12 vehicle showroom and Derek Dittrich and his wife Emily, opened a new restaurant amenities such as a comfortable customer in New Richland. lounge, business center, free Wi-Fi, beverages, Linda Wagner re-opened the Lady Bug thrift store in New TV and fireplace. Richland after its previous owner decided to retire. What is the best thing about operating a business in Waseca/Waseca County? Waseca County’s great communities have been very supportive and loyal. We are also very proud of Waseca and people from out of town often comment on History doesn’t make itself, people do! what a “nice town” Waseca Your local history will be important to you is. All three Deml families someday for your kids and grandkids. like living in the community Support it today for their curiosity we work in and enjoy our tomorrow! You can join or donate online: relationships with our friends and customers.

Premier Veterinary Clinic got a new owner when Dr. Nancy Greenwald took over for Dr. Jim Rundquist.


Tropics bar owner Teri Hanks stands poses for photo in her new bar located on Main Street in downtown Janesville.

New Richland

celebrating 75 years! Waseca County History Center

Bill Groh

Financial Advisor 119 N. State St., Waseca, MN 56093 507-835-3902

Nyla Hagen

Financial Advisor 132 17th Ave NE Waseca, MN 56093 507-835-5207

Brian Hansen Financial Advisor 1309 N. State St. Waseca, MN 56093 507-835-4716 Member SIPC




WASECA COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY — 75 YEARS 315 2nd Avenue N.E., Waseca WCHS is a non-profit, 501c3 organization. Year started: February 1938 Tell us about your business and how you have remained a vital part of the Waseca/ Waseca County community for so long? The Minnesota Historical Society was formed BEFORE Minnesota was voted into the Union in 1858. Each county eventually formed their own county historical societies through the years. Waseca County formed theirs in 1938 through the efforts of Herman Panzram and Herman Peterson and other civic-minded members of the community. All the WCHS Board of Directors has been responsible for promoting membership, hiring executive directors and staff, recruiting volunteers and attending to the collection. Each historical society is maintained by its local government entities for appropriations for operations. This in turn provides for staff who write grants and nurture the relationships with members and residents who donate information, artifacts, time and additional financial support. Keeping our history local, accessible, sustained, and growing is essential to a healthy community. How has your business changed over the years to meet your customer’s needs? Technology and communications have had the greatest impact on how we carry out our mission to maintain Waseca County history. The personal computer, the Internet and software have made all the thousands of bits of our information instantly accessible for WCHS staff and members, journalists, researchers, county residents and officials, visitors, newcomers, students — all over the world. What is the best thing about operating a business in Waseca/Waseca County? Working for WCHS is very satisfying, particularly because Waseca/Waseca County has so many unique stories. It’s not just another agricultural small town on the Minnesota prairie. Those who seek out this information are looking for why this place is special and reasons to feel proud of their community.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Continue to expect great things from Waseca schools At a recent Exchange Club meeting, members were asked, “based on what you have read about schools in the United States and Minnesota, how do you think our schools would have compared in the most recent Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS, 2011)?” Given that there were 55 entities in this study (45 countries, eight states and two Canadian provinces), most answered that the U.S. would finish toward the bottom of the group with Minnesota finishing slightly above the United States. The facts are quite different though. Minnesota 8th graders finished seventh out of 55 in math and third in science. Where it counts, Minnesota students are among the best in the world! Waseca students are among

Guest View Tom Lee the best in the state according the Minnesota Department of Education data. Surprised? There are several other studies that have similar findings. Despite the well documented financial turmoil of the last several years, the staff of Waseca Public Schools have been providing a world class education to the students of the community! They have done so while experiencing myriad cuts and adjustments and as such, should be recognized for all of their efforts. Of

course we have issues. We are not perfect. Yet we strive every day to provide the highest quality experiences possible for students. Thanks to the support of the community, an operating levy was passed in 2011 that allows us (beginning last year) to stabilize financially and to continue this work with students. After a previous year of study, a new grade level configuration was initiated last year that saw Hartley remain as a K-3 school, the former Junior High School was transformed into Waseca Intermediate School and for sound programmatic reasons, our seventh and eighth-grade students were moved into the high school to create a 7-12 campus. Although there was some anxiety about this realignment, most feed-

back reveals the transition went extremely well. Sound financial stewardship and organizational realignment this past year has positioned the Waseca Public Schools for greater financial stability and continued success with students into the foreseeable future. We are grateful for the partnership with families and the support of the community. You can continue to expect great things from us because we realize that in order for us to be successful with students, we need your continued partnership. Thank you for the privilege of serving the students and families of Waseca.

Tom Lee is superintendent of Waseca Public Schools. Reach him at

Waseca chamber continues involvement with Grow Minnesota! The Waseca Area Chamber of Commerce is in its seventh year of involvement with the Grow Minnesota! initiative. Grow Minnesota! is the business retention and assistance program of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. The primary mission of the Grow Minnesota! program is to retain Minnesota businesses and encourage them to expand here. The program operates in partnership with more than 60 local and regional chambers of commerce, and conducts regular retention visits with close to 1,000 Minnesota companies a year, thanking them for operating in our state and, when necessary providing direct assistance to help them success and grow here. The Minnesota Chamber and the University of Minnesota have formed a new partnership, the affiliation will be known as the BR&E Strategies – Grow Minnesota! Program, effective fall 2013. The partnership reinforces the strengths of both programs. “We anticipate excellent outcomes for community-level economic development initiatives from the emerging cooperation between these statewide programs,” said Michael

Guest View Kim Foels Darger, director of business retention and expansion of the University of Minnesota Extension. The University BR&E program encourages broad community involvement in business retention in support of identifying community strengths and problems to solve. The Waseca Chamber will be hosting a Q&A with Michael Darger in the near future to learn more about the partnership and other town’s testimonies of their outcomes from the U of M’s program. I receive a weekly economic development newsletter, and recently came across an article titled “The Top 5 Things About Attitude to Succeed for Small Town Businesses in the Next Decade.” This information has been condensed. 1. Embrace change and be flexible. Don’t be pre-occupied with trying to hang on to “the way things were.” The only constant in life is change. 2. Embrace technology. Tech-

nology will buffer you from the ups and down of a local economy. Become adept at social media – for social media will widen your reach of contacts and ultimately the support when you need it most. 3. Embrace your community. Your community, your neighbors, are your primary safety net and support structure. Lend a hand whenever you can. Be the “goto person” in your town. Be the “help” leader that people will follow. Be the one that is the first one to rally the people to make things better for all. 4. Embrace the youth. Make your town the one that welcomes

young people. For it’s the young people who will create the new opportunities, the opportunities that will keep your town’s death at bay. Mentoring and internship programs do wonders keeping your young talent at home. 5. Focus on businesses that serve out-of-town customers. Be responsible for bringing needed money into the community. This list was written by Clay Forsberg, a small town advocate for business success!

Kim Foels is executive director of the Waseca Area Chamber of Commerce. Reach her at 835-3260 or

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There’s no immediate end in sight for negotiations between the Minnesota Department of Transportation and Waseca County over the turnback fund. Being disputed is how much money the state will pay Waseca County to return the road to an acceptable condition, and what parties will assume which responsibilities to complete the work. (Jennifer Holt/Waseca County News)

Waseca County, state still in negotiations over old Hwy. 14 By JENNIFER HOLT

After nearly a year of negotiations, lobbying legislators and looking to the courts for answers, Waseca County has made little headway in getting state money for Old Hwy. 14. The money, from a $40 million turnback fund from the Minnesota Department of Transportation, is distributed to counties for repairing roads previously maintained by the state. MnDOT originally told Waseca County it needed to reach an agreement by Oct. 12 of last year or lose access to the funding. Since the completion of new Hwy. 14 in September 2012, Steele and Waseca counties have negotiated with MnDOT for an “appropriate fix” to repair the roadway because the county boards didn’t believe the state’s proposed fix was adequate for

the amount of traffic the road experiences. Before MnDOT’s first deadline, Waseca County filed a petition challenging the state’s authority to release the roadway without an agreement. MnDOT released the roadway to the county last December, but recently the county decided to give the road back to the state, saying maintaining the roadway is too expensive. The county has the matter in district court and the court of appeals to see which of the two should take the case. Waseca County Engineer Nathan Richman said the case could stay in the court system for a number of years. “There is not enough funding for us to maintain the road,” Richman said. “So we have given the road back to its original owners, and through our research, that’s the state.” Richman told the Waseca City Council that county staff

researched 40 projects over the last 10 years, and 38 of 40 cases worked out well. The only two that didn’t was Waseca and Steele County. This April, MnDOT approved an $11.3 million agreement with Blue Earth County for the reconstruction of Old Hwy. 14, which was turned back to the county more than 10 years ago — part of the same Hwy. 14 road Waseca

County is trying to get funding for. According to a July 15 letter drafted on behalf of Waseca and Steele counties to MnDOT and state commissioners, vacating the roadway must occur by midDecember. “This is not a decision either county is going to take lightly and will be engaging in public discussions,” the letter states. “Waseca

County will begin its public discussions on Aug. 20. We invite representatives from MnDOT and the Attorney General’s office to attend those meetings as both (parties) will have a significant final stake if either county decides to move forward.” Reach reporter Jennifer Holt at 837-5446, or follow her on Twitter at @WCNjennifer

P.O. Box 182/14399 Highland Drive, Waseca Owner: Pat Kieffer Year started: 1993 Tell us about your business and how you have remained a vital part of the Waseca/ Waseca County Community for so long? Kieffer Communications services many large and small companies in the community by installing network cabling, fiber optic cabling, telephone/ voicemail system installation, and security access systems. Kieffer Communications has serviced most of the companies in the community for the 20 years we have been in business. How has your business changed over the years to meet your customer’s needs? Originally Kieffer Communications began by installing telephone/voicemail systems we have gradually moved in installing the network cabling, fiber optic cabling and security access systems as well as installation of audio visual equipment within conference rooms and offices. What is the best thing about operating a business in Waseca/Waseca County? The close relationships you develop with the customers. They are not only customers they are friends.


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• Wiste’s Meat Market 93 years of continuous service to Waseca County and beyond! • Thanks to our many kind customers who have enjoyed our many old and new smoked recipes and look forward to bringing many more treats in the future. • Completed Remodel but more ideas to grow, add and enhance Wiste’s for our customers!



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MILESTONES WASECA SECRETARIAL SERVICE — 30 YEARS 123 6th Ave SE Owner: Caryn D Wendt Year started: November 1982 Tell us about your business and how you have remained a vital part of the Waseca/Waseca County community for so long? When I purchased my business it was located where the Daily Grind is now and was part of an existing business. I changed the name to Waseca Secretarial Service. I feel that I remain a vital part of the Waseca/Waseca County Community because of my ability to offer quality and confidential services to any business or individual. How has your business changed over the years to meet your customer’s needs? When I started my business, I used an IBM Selectric Typewriter to type everything from letters, to thesis papers over 100 and 200 pages. Over the years, I took computer courses and purchased a computer to be able to stay on top of technology and the services I offered to my clients. This helped to expand my business significantly. As technology became more affordable for everyone, it was time to diversify and offer more services. So I have expanded to include payroll and accounting for local companies in addition to working with companies online to complete their desktop publishing and photo copy needs. What is the best thing about operating a business in Waseca/ Waseca County? Operating a business in the Waseca/Waseca County area offers a small business like mine many opportunities to be involved in the community. Becoming involved in your community helps small businesses like mine showcase our services and knowledge that we offer. I love making people’s visions become a reality whether creating a letter to enter a poem in a contest, typing a resume for that special job, making a wedding invitation/ program have that personal touch, or making a client’s accounting/ payroll needs a little simpler.


Friday, July 26, 2013

Work on human services A year of great progress at JWP schools collaboration, roads Guest View economic development in Waseca County Waseca County, in collaboration with Dodge and Steele counties, is in the process of creating a Human Services Service Delivery Area (SDA). The process began with a combination of 12 counties in southeast Minnesota and is currently down to three contiguous counties. The three counties are moving into the detailed design phase Guest which will explore View the transition to a SDA in regards to Laura employees, technolElevebak ogy, management, etc. The goal of the SDA creation is to offer more robust services while maintaining costs and access to service by residents of the three counties. Waseca County in in the middle of the 2013 road construction season. Current road construction projects are primarily in the southeast corner of the county (New Richland area). The projects are part of a $2.5 million ($1.5 million of state funded and $1 million of county funded) road construction budget to repair and maintain transportation routes to ensure a safe and reliable transportation system to citizens, businesses and visitors of Waseca County. In a continuing effort to maintain the road system, the Waseca County Board approved a wheelage tax which will provide an estimated $181,000 as a new revenue source specifically for the transportation system. Waseca County is working closely with communities along the Hwy. 14 bypass to address the challenges and opportunities in the future. Recognizing the need to capitalize on the bypass, the Board is stepping up efforts to market the county. Waseca County is working to create entry signs on both the east and west ends of the County. The intent is to promote available commercial and industrial land in the county. The county is in the final stages of formation of the Waseca County Economic Development Authority. This will provide additional economic development tools to help retain and attract economic development opportunities. The county has a purchase option for a parcel of land on U.S. Hwy. 14 near the Guardian ethanol plant with at-grade access. Although the parcel is zoned for industrial use, there are many commercial uses permitted in the zone. Waseca County Board of Commissioner meeting dates, agendas and minutes can be found on the Waseca County website at Laura Elvebak is the Waseca County administrator. Reach her at

The Janesville-WaldorfPemberton School District has experienced great progress this year. From strategic plans to staff development, progress has been realized. The following is a review of our year. 1. Creation and Implementation of Strategic Plan. Our District now has a mission, vision, core values and strategic directions. Our mission: Our District will empower learning, energize achievement, and enhance community. “Excellence without excuse!” 2. Professional Learning Community (PLC) Development. We put together a leadership team of 12 staff members that were charged with developing a process for PLC implementation. The team completed two books studies to prepare for the journey. In July, 35 staff members attended a two and a half day training in Minneapolis focused on PLCs. The training attended was conducted by some of the most respected researchers in the field of education. 3. Curriculum Review Process.

Bill Adams

group did a great job in developing a tool that will be highly effective in providing staff with professional improvement. We are looking forward to finalizing the tool and piloting it during the 2013-14 school year. 5. Technology Upgrades. As a district we committed to updating our technology infrastructure and tools. We implemented a new student information system, Infinite Campus, which is a robust system and provides families with many more options. The creation of a JWP School District phone app, is something of which we are proud. A timeline has also been created to implement iPads into instruction and eventually into individual students’ hands. The Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton School District is proud of our progress and we look forward to continued development!

The JWP School District has not adopted a new reading curriculum in well over a decade and its most recent math purchase was completed in 2007. With that said, the JWP curriculum was in need of change. A math team and reading team went through the curriculum selection process in the winter. In the end, the selections were made and curriculum was purchased. We are excited to provide our teachers with new tools for instruction and for our students to learn with the best materials available. 4. Teacher Evaluation Tool Created. A team of educators in the JWP District met in the fall and winter to develop a new teacher evaluation tool based on new state Bill Adams is superintendent statute. Creating an evaluation sys- at Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton tem is a tedious task as there are Schools. Reach him at adamsb@ so many variables involved. The

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Friday, July 26, 2013



MILESTONES STATE FARM INSURANCE — 30 YEARS 215 2nd Ave NE, Waseca Owner: Gloria Butler, Agent Year started: 1983 Tell us about your business and how you have remained a vital part of the Waseca/Waseca County Community for so long? State Farm has had a visible presence in Waseca since prior to 1952. I started as an agent in 1983 and officed with my predecessor, Archie Taxdahl. We will celebrate 30 years in the fall of 2013. My team and I truly enjoy providing good neighbor service to the folks in Waseca and the surrounding area. How has your business changed over the years to meet your customer’s needs?

State Farm started writing auto insurance in 1922, and has since added fire, life, health, small business insurance, and now provides additional financial services. In one visit to our office, you can get insurance and financial assistance as we ensure your family’s future. What is the best thing about operating a business in Waseca/Waseca County? Waseca County citizens provide a loyal policyholder base; where relationships are important when doing business. Industry is strong, employment opportunities are available. Agriculture continues to lend a stability to the entire picture. A fine place to work, a great place to do business.

Collaboration will help attract, retain and grow business in Waseca County B.E.S.T. (Business and Entrepreneurial Support Team) of Waseca County has been able to move our mission forward this past year with the dedication of our board members and their desire to foster and promote a stable economically driven community. The generous in-kind donation from Waseca County has allowed B.E.S.T. to open an office in the East Annex giving our clients and entrepreneurs a meeting space. The addition of an executive director allows B.E.S.T. to have a face for the organization and offers continued follow through and development of our objectives. The trust and confidence we have received from the city of Waseca and the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation through their financial support empowers B.E.S.T. to focus on business retention and expansion by developing a communication network through organizing community summits, facilitating major employer round table discussions and pursuing efforts to expand bio business opportunities throughout Waseca County.

Guest View Michel Sorenson

Formalizing our relationship with the Small Business Development Center has increased the number of opportunities within Waseca County as one of our board members, Chuck Brenner, is the consultant for Waseca County. Since August of 2012, Mr. Brenner has counseled 10 businesses with five being entrepreneurs starting new ventures. He has also assisted in obtaining financing for three business with grants, low-interest start up loans, and/or traditional financing. His dedication and energy to the growth of Waseca County through counseling entrepreneurs and business owners in financial and business matters is paramount to the development of a business friendly atmosphere in Waseca County. B.E.S.T. of Waseca County has also partnered with South Central Minnesota SCORE

Chapter 710 to become the link in Waseca County. The relationship that B.E.S.T. has fostered with other economic development groups consisting of the Waseca Development Corporation, the City of Waseca Economic Development Authority, the County of Waseca, and the Waseca Area Chamber of Commerce continues to be helpful in our efforts as we collaborate and partner on projects that foster economic development. The University of Minnesota Southern Research and Outreach Center together with Minnesota Agricultural Interpretive CenterFarmamerica are significant partners of our bio business efforts throughout the county. B.E.S.T. of Waseca County looks to the future as we continue to lead collaborative efforts by coordinating activities that link resources to attract, retain, and promote economically sound business and industry, thereby creating new job growth benefiting Waseca County and the communities of Waseca, Janesville, New Richland, and Waldorf.

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Friday, July 26, 2013

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Progress in our Community & Business