2020 - 2021
STRIKE UP THE
FOR LITCHFIELDâ€™S PARADE OF BANDS
Ripley Cemetery HONORING THE DEPARTED
HISTORIC HOMES LITCHFIELD
HOLD STORIES OF OUR CITY
Litchfield, the county seat of Meeker County, is a medium size community of almost 7000 residents located at the intersections of highway 12 and 22 in central Minnesota that has much to offer people who work, live, or visit this city. Litchfield has many small, medium, and large businesses, manufacturing, and industries that offer a wide variety of employment to many of its residents in and around this community. Litchfield also has many options for motels, Bed and Breakfast accommodations, and VRBO opportunities with great dining and shopping. Our city has a wonderful school system, both public and parochial, along with their public education have an excellent community education program that provides recreation, art, theatre, music, and education possibilities for young and old. Meeker Memorial Hospital and the two medical clinics nearby provide wonderful health care whether you are young or old. Our state-of-the art critical access hospital offers a full medical menu for inpatient and outpatient care. We have a large nursing home campus that is available to all levels of care for the elderly, disabled, and surgical recovering citizens in our area. We also boast many other health related businesses. Recreation provides a wide variety of sporting opportunities and relaxation activities you may desire. We have an abundance of lakes in our area along with our own Lake Ripley which is an esthetic attraction for our community. The city has many groomed parks with family shelters, tennis courts, softball fields, a huge childrenâ€™s playground, splash park, and two beautiful campgrounds on or near our Lake Ripley that individuals and families can use for pleasure. Litchfield has a beautiful 18-hole golf course with an adjoining clubhouse/supper club for dining both casual and formal. While spending time in our city, visit our historic buildings downtown, our historic Opera House, and the Grand Army of the Republic building. We love our Central Park, Memorial Park, and Anderson Gardens by Lake Ripley. Come see our Lake Ripley Cemetery with a Civil War Monument and 50 American flags adorning the entrance to this beautiful sanctuary. We have many churches of various dominations if you are looking for a church to worship and attend. The residents and business people of Litchfield are welcoming and living or working in this community offers many opportunities for the best quality of life. When you visit our community, we hope you enjoy your time and someday consider leasing, building, or owning a business. Another option would be to rent, build, or buy a home and become a part of us. As Mayor of Litchfield, Litchfield is our home, and for those who live and work here, thanks for making this community a wonderful place on earth. Keith Johnson Mayor, City of Litchfield, MN
independentreview.net | 2020
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Neew signs were installed in 2019 at three entrances to the city of Litchfield. Above is the sign on the south entrance to town, on Minnesota Highway 22 near Lake Ripley.
Attractions Parks Recreation Festivals Inaugural Parade of Bands Litchfield Historic Homes
10 11 13 14 15 16-19
Government City of Litchfield Litchfield City Council Meetings Public Utilities Library Ordinances Meeker County State and Federal Leaders Meeker County Board Other Elected Officials Courthouse Offices U.S. Postal Service Transportation Airport Conservation District Agriculture Economic Development
22 23 23 23 23 24 25 26 26 26 26 26 27 27 27 27 29 29
Public Health Services Licenses Family Services
29 31 30
HEALTH Health Health and Wellness Collaborating on Care
33 34 36
LEISURE Leisure Athletic Organizations Clubs and Organizations
39 40 40
LIVING Living Education Senior Citizens Support Services Worship Directory Honoring The Departed
45 46 47 47 48 49
MARKETPLACE Marketplace Local Media Map Business Directory
53 57 58-59 60-63
2020 - 2020 Litchfield Discover Guide General Manager: Brent Schacherer Photography: Litchfield Independent Review \ Advertising: Kevin True Special thanks to the city of Litchfi eld, Litchfi eld Chamber of Commerce, Meeker County and Litchfi eld School District for their contributions. Every effort has been made to provide an accurate directory, but if errors have occurred please let us know about them. Published by Litchfield Independent Review, 170 Shady Ridge Road, Hutchinson, 55350. Copyright 2020 MediaNews Group. Printed in the U.S.A. To submit additional information call 320-593-4802 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cover photo by: Brent Schacherer Litchfield High Schoolâ€™s marching band members Neyda Camacho and Greta Hulterstrum perform during a parade in summer of 2019.
PHOTO BY JULIANA THILL
The sun sets on a peaceful Lake Ripley, as summer comes to an end.
elcome to Discover Litchfield 2020, a special annual publication of the Litchfield Independent Review. This publication offers a director of information and resources for use by Litchfield area residents and businesses, as well as visitors to our city. Discover Litchfield is a compilation of important information â€” a single source for lists of services, names, telephone numbers and email addresses. Keep it handy; use it often. And please support the businesses whose advertisements you find inside this guide. Without their support, Discover Litchfield isnâ€™t possible. We appreciate them for supporting us, as well as for making Litchfield the wonderful community that it is. Our apologies for any omissions or for changes that occur after publication. Please notify us of information that needs to be updated so we can ensure accuracy of future editions of the guide. If you would like additional copies of this publication, call the Independent Review office at 320-693-3266. Sending information to email@example.com.
A monarch butterfly took flight in Anderson Gardens in Litchfield.
A photo from the archives of the Meeker County Historical Society reveals Litchfield’s main street circa 1930. In his new collection of narrative poems, Litchfield author Joe Paddock revisits historical Litchfield sites, including the grandiose Lenhardt Hotel pictured on the corner.
Railroad altered Litchfield’s trajectory as a city
BY JULIANA THILL
and Edwin Clark Litchfield – helped finance the construction of the railroad through Minnesota, Meeker County and, of course, the town that now bears their name, Litchfield. This new form of transportation changed the dynamics of Meeker County, which was still in its infancy at the time.
ith age comes a number of things – wisdom, wrinkles and even
wonderment. Litchfield’s sesquicentennial celebration in 2019, offered an opportunity for reflection on the city’s past, appreciating the present and looking forward to the future. Litchfield has seen its share of changes during the past 150 years, from its founding fathers staking claims along new railroad tracks to a flourishing city that is home to more than 6,000 residents and prospering businesses. The city, which early on was named Ripley and later was known as Ness, was eventually surveyed, platted and recorded as Litchfield in July 1869.
independentreview.net | 2020
ESTABLISHING MEEKER COUNTY
PHOTO BY LYNN DIETZ
One of the first drive-in customers teller Marleen Bolman had at the New Northwestern National Bank was Dr. Harold Wilmot, who wheeled up in his 1925 vintage Model T Ford coupe. The photo ran in the Nov. 28, 1968 edition of the Litchfield Independent Review. The city’s name and prosperity is tied in part to one monumental event that was influenced by three
brothers from England. These men – Electus Darwin Litchfield, Egbert E. Litchfield
T h e s e v e n t h Te r r i t o r i a l Legislature of Minnesota ordered the organization of Meeker County on Feb. 23, 1856. In March 1856, John Huy and Thomas Skinner had Forest City surveyed and platted. The area, while inhabited by the Dakota, was still new to white settlers, and it would be two more years before Minnesota would even become a state.
The county was named in honor of Judge Bradley Meeker of St. Anthony, who was one of the first associate justices of the Territory of Minnesota. He served on the Minnesota Territorial Supreme Court, was a charter member of the Minnesota Historical Society, and was one of the first board of regents of the University of Minnesota. Gov. Willis Gorman appointed Huy, Skinner, D.M. Hanson and Dr. Frederick Ripley as commissioners of Meeker County to complete its organization, with Forest City named as the county seat. The first county commissioner meeting was set for May 5, 1856, at Skinner’s home in Forest City. However, Ripley died before the first meeting. He froze to death in a blizzard in March 1856 near a lake that now bears his name on the south end of Litchfield, Lake Ripley. For 13 years, Forest City was one of several thriving villages in Meeker County. It was an exciting time in the county, as pioneers embraced the area as home, established businesses and made plans for their new homeland. From 1856 to 1869, the trading centers of the county in order of importance were Forest City, Kingston, Greenleaf, Manannah, a n d Collinwo o d . T h ey we re home to flour and feed mills that not only served local settlers but a considerable area outside the county, as well, according to “Condensed History Meeker County, “ by Frank B. Lamson.
RIPLEY, NESS, THEN LITCHFIELD Meanwhile, south of Forest City, a group of men — Ole Halverson Ness , Henr y Halverson , Ole Halverson Thoen, Amos Nelson Fosen, Nels Hanson, and Colberg and Gunder Olson — settled in Ripley Township in 1856. Two or three years later, the township’s name was changed from Ripley to Ness, in honor of Ole H. Ness. Ness Township was beginning to prosper, with John Blackwell teaching the first school in 1858. Also that year, the first religious service was held at the Ole H. Ness home by the Rev. William Frederickson , and Heindrick
Interested in the American Civil War? Visit the Meeker County Museum at the Grand Army of the Republic Hall in Litchfield. In this photo, members of Litchfield’s Frank Daggett Post and Drum Corps stood at attention in front of the G.A.R. Hall on Memorial Day, May 31, 1886, one year after it was built. Halverson built the first house, a log cabin. In 1861, the first school district was organized, and a school house was built. In addition, Ness Church was organized. By 1862, construction of the first school house began in the summer on the farm of Ole H. Ness. However, it was not completed until after the U.S.-Dakota Conflict ended. The small town of Ness was growing.
SUMMER OF ‘69 By the late 1860s, the St. Paul and Pacific Railway (Great Northern)
established its right-of-way through Minnesota, including Meeker County. The railway decided to lay tracks south of Forest City and through the town of Ness. A railroad station was erected and named in honor Electus, Egber t and Edwin Litchfield. T h e y w e r e c o n t r a c to r s a n d heavy stockholders in the railway company at the time. The three men helped finance the construction of the railroad through Minnesota, with Electus Darwin being the main contributor. George B . Waller was the
owner of what became the original townsite. He deeded a one-half interest of the selected tract to the railway company and joined the company in platting the portion as the first unit of the county’s present city. The plat was filed July 16, 1869, establishing the town of Litchfield. The coming of the railroad brought new opportunities for some and changed the course of history for many. Thus, the paramount issue on the Nov. 2 election ballot in 1869 was which city should be the county seat. Forest City had served the role for 13 years. Yet, now people were debating whether to keep it in Forest City, or change the county seat to Litchfield or Darwin. The three cities competed for the right, and left the decision to the voters. The total vote of the county was about 900, and Litchfield won by a majority of about 80 votes. The change of Meeker’s county seat from Forest City to Litchfield caused a rapid influx of residents and businesses to Litchfield. Many Forest City residents put their businesses and homes on skids and had horses haul them to Litchfield. Among the enterprising businesses that contributed to the early growth and development of the village during 1869, included a general merchandise store, hardware store, photo studio, livery, hotel, railway land office, physician, law yers, flour mill, newspaper, and the U. S. Post Office. L itc h f i e l d w a s eve nt ua ll y incorporated in 1872, and through the years, the population has grown from 353 residents in 1870 to more than 6,500 in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In these past 150 years, much has changed in Litchfield. Yet, a common thread that was woven in the fabric of this city remains today — a strong sense of community. The residents, businesses and government are appreciative of their past, are committed to the present day, and — like the city’s founding fathers — are looking ahead and making plans for the future. Sources: “Meeker Count y Memories,” Independent Review May 1976 2020 | independentreview.net
ATTRACTIONS City of Litchfield
Center National Bank
FOOD American Legion Post #104
Peter’s Ribs & Catering
GOVERNMENT Litchfield Community Education & Recreation 28 Litchfield Early Childhood Programs
Litchfield Opera House
Meeker Council on Aging
Farm Bureau - Kevin Christoffers
SafeBasements of Minnesota
Today’s Driving School
HEALTH TTouch Dog Training
Natural Food Co-op
Meeker Development Corp
Primary Eye Care
Drum major Ruby Radunz and the Litchfield High School marching band stood at attention at the opening of the band’s annual indoor concert in November.
Litchfield Golf Course
The Litchfield Chamber
Dassel Area Historical Society
LEISURE Litchfield Building Center
Stockman’s Greenhouse & Landscaping
Litchfield Visitors Bureau
Xtream by Mediacom
Household Hazardous Waste Dropoff
RE/MAX Today’s Properties
AE Mechanical Services
Central Insurance Agency
Ed Olson Agnecy, Inc.
Patten Chiropractic Center
Gentz Financial Services
First Evangelical Lutheran Church
KMG & Company Hair & Nails
Zion Lutheran Church
Immanuel Lutheran Church
Valley Electric, Inc.
Litchfield Public Schools
Central Community Transit
Meeker Memorial Hospital & Clinics
Home ownership rate, 2014-2018
$800-1.5k Property taxes 2014-2016
5 years and under = 600
increase from 2016
Increase from 2016
Foreign born Between 2014 and 2018
WORK TRAVEL TIME
Mean travel time to work
Bachelorâ€™s Degree or higher, 25+
Between 19 and 64 years 50.7%
High School Graduate or higher, 25+
Median value of owneroccupied homes, 2013-2018
Median household income,
18 years and under
65 years and older
Persons per household
workers age 16+ 2014 - 2018
Hispanic or Latino
Two or more races
Black or African American 1.6% American Indian and Alaska Native
2014 - 2018
Source: http://quickfacts.census.gov/ 2020 | independentreview.net
PHOTOS BY CAM BONELLI
Above — People hurry to complete their masterpiece during Litchfield Watercade’s sand sculpture contest in July on Lake Ripley beach. Inset — Dozens of children and their parents played on the new Memorial Park playground in 2015.
OPTIONS FOR FUN Adventures and getaways close to home
n Litchfield, residents and visitors don’t have to look far to find an opportunity for fun. The city has 20 parks of all different shapes and sizes, as well as facilities such as an archery range, basketball and tennis courts, hockey rinks and a golf course. Memorial Park and Lake Ripley in Litchfield are the site of many events during Watercade, the city’s summer celebration, including a fishing contest, beach party, sandcastle building contest, a 4-mile run around the lake and a fireworks display. The area also includes an archery range and dog park. The south shore of Lake Ripley is also the location of a
Litchfield has 20 parks of all different shapes and sizes, as well as facilities such as an archery range, basketball and tennis courts, hockey rinks and a golf course.
popular RV campground, which lures both residents and non-residents throughout the spring, summer and fall to enjoy life on the lake. Litchfield is also home to many historic houses that reflect various architectural styles.
walking/bike path and large picnic shelter that may be reser ved through Litchfield Community Education.
Anderson Gardens North of Memorial Park on Lake Ripley, just off Highway 22 Anderson Gardens is a miniarboretum park located on the northeastern corner of Lake Ripley with a picturesque gazebo. Archery Range and Pie Shape/ Dog Park Across Lake Ripley Drive from Memorial Park Litchfield’s Archery Range and Pie Shape/Dog Park located across from Memorial Park on Lake Ripley — has eight acres for dogs to run free as well as picnic tables and garbage cans. Next to the dog park is an archery range, which features targets at 10-yard intervals up to 80 yards. Becker Park One block south of East St. Paul Street, between Gilman and Chandler avenues Located on South Chandler Avenue, Becker Park is an openplay area with a swing set and a small hill perfect for sliding and sledding in the winter.
A new sundial in Anderson Gardens honors the legacy of longtime Litchfield resident Ardella Solbrack. The instrument uses the position of the sun to indicate the time.
Central Park Off Sibley Avenue, between 3rd and 4th streets The heart of Litchfield, Central Park and its bandshell are home to activities throughout the year, in cluding outdo or music , an Easter egg hunt, a farmers market and community meals. It is in downtown Litchfield along Sibley Avenue.
Sisters Elloise, 5, and Fiona, 4, laughed as they ran under a parachute, held by Meeker County 4-H ambassadors Ruby Radunz, left, and Cora Huhn, right, at a block party in Memorial Park.
Crescent Park Off N. Crescent Lane, near Litchfield Sports Complex This playground is located in the Crescent Lane development and has a swing set and playground equipment.
Park and the L ake Ripley Campground along Lake Ripley, this park is ideal for a day on the lake or packing a picnic: Jaycees Park has a picnic shelter, playground equipment, dock, boat launch and ice fishing access.
Disc Golf The disc golf course at Litchfield High School has eight holes.
Lake Ripley Campground Off Lake Ripley Drive between Lake Ripley and East Lake Ripley The municipal trailer campground has 32 sites, 12 with sewer, water and electric, 20 with water and electric, as well as permanent restrooms
Jaycee’s Park Between Memorial Park and Lake Ripley Campground on Lake Ripley Situated between Memorial
STAFF PHOTO BY ELLARRY PRENTICE
Litchfield Sports Complex Between the armory and the high school on Gilman Avenue Located near Litchfield High School on Gilman Avenue, the Litchfield Sports Complex features a variety of athletic facilities, including four sof tball fields, four tennis courts, a horseshoe court, two outdoor hockey rinks, basketball court, soccer area, skateboard park, two Little League fields and Optimist Park – home of the Litchfield Blues amateur baseball team. The complex is also home to Litchfield Public Schools’ athletic facilities. Memorial Park East edge of Lake Ripley, just off South Sibley Avenue The location for many Litchfield Watercade activities, Memorial Park lies along the east edge of Lake Ripley. A new playground and restrooms were constructed at the park in 2013. The park has 175 feet of beach, swimming docks, lake overlook, bike/walking path, an Army tank and field cross memorial, sand volleyball court, lake access and a large picnic area. Ness Park On North Miller Avenue between 6th and 7th streets A large park located off North Miller Avenue between Sixth and Seventh streets, Ness Park has a swing set, picnic tables and volleyball court.
Legion Memorial Park Near 551-593 Lake Ripley Drive B uilt in 1994 this park is dedicated in memory of all veterans of all wars.
North Casey Park Near Shell and Davis Motors off North Sibley Avenue This park is an open play area with a swing set located on North Miller Avenue between Ninth and 11th streets, with Jewett Creek along the east edge. In the winter there is a small hill for sledding.
Lion’s Park Off West Pleasure Drive west of Hwy 22 Located on the north shore of Lake Ripley, Lions Park has a playgroun d , f ishing do ck s ,
Optimist Baseball Park Near 710 E and 10th Street On the corner of 710 E. and 10th Street, this ballpark has a full-sized baseball field with seating and two smaller fields.
and showers. All sites are available on a first-come, firstserved basis.
2020 | independentreview.net
ATTRACTIONS North Fork Crow River, Finnish Memorial Park sits just west of Kingston on County Road 27. The 17-acre park has a canoe landing, tennis court, shelter and playground equipment.
STAFF PHOTO BY MIKE RANDLEMAN
A mix of rain and sun in the early innings of a matchup between the Forest Lake Brewers and the Shakopee Indians on Aug. 20 allowed a rainbow to form over Optimist Park in Litchfield. Pleasant View Park Off Willmar Avenue, near West 5th Street Of f Willmar Avenue in the northwest section of the city, Pleasant View has playground equipment and play area. Prairie Park Between East Butler Street and East Quail Drive, northwest of the cemetery Along Butler Street, Prairie Park is a 40-acre nature park, featuring 2.5 miles of walking and crosscountry skiing trails, playground equipment and a picnic shelter provided by the Rotary Club. South Park West Ripley Street and South Swift Avenue This square-block park on the 300 block of Miller Avenue S. is home to two tennis courts, play equipment and a volleyball court. South Street Playground North Davis and East South Street South Street Playground is an open lot at the corner of North Davis and East South Street with playground equipment.
An open play area and swing set mark Thompson Park, located on South Chandler between East Ripley and East St. Paul streets. Meeker County Parks Clear Lake Park Off Clear Lake, south of Watkins on County Road 2 Located three miles south of Watkins on County Road 2, the 34.4-acre park includes a picnic area and shelter, boat landing and a short hiking trail. Darwin-Dassel Park Between Darwin and Dassel on Highway 12 Meeker countyâ€™s largest park features 160 acres of activities. There are 6.5 miles of hiking, crosscountry skiing and horseback riding trails. Shelters and picnic tables are on the lookout hill â€“ a popular sliding hill in the winter. The park extends south of U.S. Highway 12 with additional trails and picnic area.
Sunrise Terrace Park Off East 2nd Street, near North Gorman Avenue The park, located along Sunrise Drive in eastern Litchfield, has updated playground equipment and a small, man-made sliding hill.
Greenleaf Lake State Recreation Area 17980 640th Ave., Litchfield This new, 365-acre recreation area has water access to two lakes, a fishing pier, trails for hiking and cross-country skiing and special season archery hunting. Visitors can see portions of Greenleaf and Sioux lakes, along with several wetlands. For more information call 320-796-2161 or visit www. mndnr.gov/greenleaf.
Thompson Park South Chandler between East Ripley and East St. Paul streets
Finnish Memorial Park Just west of Kingston on Highway 27 Ideal for canoeing down the
independentreview.net | 2020
Koronis Regional Park 14076 Bluefield Road, Paynesville On the southwest shore of Lake Koronis, this 62-acre park, which is jointly owned by Meeker and Stearns counties, offers overnight camping with electricity and water hookup, bathrooms and showers. It also has a swimming beach, playground equipment, boat landing, lookout tower, picnic shelters with kitchen facilities and several recreational facilities. A walking/biking trail encircles the lake. To make shelter or camping reservations, call 320276-8843. Lake Manuella Park 21239 County Highway 9, Darwin Known for its swimming beach, the park has picnic facilities, bathrooms and a changing house. It is located on County Highway 9, five miles south of U.S. Highway 12. Shaw Memorial Park 31577 County Highway 1, Litchfield Located in Forest City along Crow River, the 10-acre park has picnic shelters, playground equipment, a softball field, basketball court and ice skating rink in the winter.
Spring Lake Park 72599 240th St., Dassel Situated between Spring Lake and Long Lake one mile north of Dassel, the 13-acre park offers fishing opportunities with a boat landing and fishing dock, as well as picnic shelters, playground equipment and a popular Little League field. A new trail connects the park to Dassel. Thompson Park 13099 525th Ave., Cosmos Located on 525th Avenue one mile west of Cosmos, 22-acre Thompson Park has picnic shelters, playground equipment, ball field, volleyball court and fishing dock. West Ripley Park 25288 County Highway 1, Litchfield Located just south of Litchfield on County Highway 1, West Ripley Park has a boat landing, fishing pier, playground equipment, sand volleyball court, bike path and large picnic shelter. The 5.6-acre park lies is located on the western shore of Lake Ripley. Woodland Park 27299 MN Highway 15, Dassel Woodland Park boasts a total of 80 acres for hiking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing and bird watching. It is located between Kingston and Dassel on Minnesota Highway 22.
PHOTO BY BRENT SCHACHERER
The fishing pier, which at one time was in close proximity to the parking area at Greenleaf Lake State Recreation Area, was moved to the east, a change aimed at improving fishing and accessibility, according to Erika Rivers, director of State Parks and Trails at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
STAFF PHOTOS BY RYAN KASTENSCHMIDT
Litchfield’s Matt Spreiter slides safely into home plate during the first inning Saturday. Spreiter and the Blues lost 7-2 to the Loretto Larks in the Region 12C play-in tournament to end its season.
RECREATION Grand Army of the Republic Hall & Meeker County Museum 304 N. Marshall Ave., Litchfield Built in 1885, the Litchfield G rand A rmy of the Republic Hall is one of very few left in the nation and is the only authentic one remaining in Minnesota . Designed by one of the members to look like a military fort, the GAR Hall is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The brick is local from the Henr y Ames brick yard which was just north of Litchfield. The GAR Hall was almost immediately given to the city of Litchfield with the understanding that it would be kept in its original condition. This hall also served as the first public library in Meeker County and was one of the main gathering places for community events. Civil War roundtables, featuring speakers who have expertise in war history, are at 1:30 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month. The Meeker County Historical Museum is attached to the rear of the GAR Hall. Several photos and information about Civil War veterans can be found here. This historical attraction is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and from noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $3. Litchfield Civic Arena 900 N. Gilman Ave., Litchfield The Litchfield Civic Arena hosts
Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato boys and girls hockey games and also offers open skating every Sunday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. for $3. The arena also features skate sharpening, community room rental, meeting rooms, table and chair rental and dry floor activities — business expos, auctions, banquets, family reunions, physical-education and dance classes — through March until the end of September. For more info, call 320-693-2679. Litchfield Golf Club 405 West Pleasure Dr., Litchfield The Litchfield Golf Course is located on the beautiful shores of Lake Ripley. With four sets of tee boxes, ranging from 6,400 yards to 5,000 yards, Litchfield Golf Club has 18 uniquely challenging holes. The Par 70,
STAFF PHOTO BY CAM BONELLI
Terry Shaw, dressed as Albert Van Spence, tells about Spence’s life during the Lake Ripley Cemetery tour in July 2019. Championship layout will be sure to give the most accomplished golfers a true test of golf, yet allow for the novice to enjoy their round and have fun. For more info, call 320-693-6059. Litchfield Bowling Center 1227 S. Sibley Ave., Litchfield The Litchfield Bowling Center offers numerous leagues for all ages and open bowling on Friday from 5:30 p.m. to close, Saturday from noon to close and Sunday from 1-6 p.m. Lanes at the bowling center are available for rent events, and a “pizza and pop party” package is also available. The kitchen offers a variety of food, including freshmade pizza, chicken dinners, appetizers and nachos, and a full bar is also available. For more information, call 320-693-9077.
Optimist Park is home to the Litchfield Blues amateur baseball team, but also plays host to high school American Legion and VFW baseball games. Litchfield Baseball Association hopes to bring a state amateur baseball tournament to the park in the near future.
Meeker County Off-Highway Vehicle Park South of Darwin, north of Hutchinson, at 18738 County Road 9 Meeker County’s only OHV Park opened to the public in 2015 and welcomes OHV riders of all ages. The 40-acre Meeker County OHV Park features fives miles of ATV trails, six miles of off-highway motorcycle trails, a picnic shelter and a youth ATV training area. The park is open seven days a week from dusk ‘til dawn, depending on weather conditions. For information about the condition of the park, visit www.mndr.gov and click “Current Conditions.” Driving from Darwin the park can be found by going west on Hwy. 12, turning south on to Co. Rd. 9 and continuing for approximately six miles; the entrance is on the east side of the road. For more information, visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/ohv/ trail or call Alvin Bertram at 320587-9505. Darwin Rod and Gun Club 27902 668th Avenue, Darwin The Darwin Rod and Gun Club is a sportsmen’s club that offers yearround range shooting to members (membership is $20) and trap shooting on Wednesdays between late May and August. The club’s clubhouse — complete with full commercial kitchen and beer on tap — is also available for rental for weddings, birthday parties or other events. For more information, call Ken Porth at 320-693-8722. 2020 | independentreview.net
ATTRACTIONS FESTIVALS Manannah Daze To be announced The small village of Manannah kicks off their annual summer celebration with a variety of activities, including volleyball and horseshoe tournaments, tractor pulls and a street dance. The parade Saturday is followed by a pageant, where Manannah men dress in drag to compete for the title of Miss Manannah. Eden Valley’s Valley Daze June 25-28 Eden Valley celebrates every June with a parade, carnival, live music, food stands, a tug-a-war tournament and an annual youth fishing contest. This year’s event will feature new attractions, which will be announced via its website. Litchfield Watercade July 9-12 Litchfield hosts a weekend of fun, food and festivities. Activities planned each year include a fireworks display, golf tournament, Grand Day parade, Art in the Park, medallion hunt, 4-mile run, fishing contest, kiddie parade and a Little Crow water ski show. Watercade’s finale is the annual queen coronation and includes the crowning of the new Miss Litchfield and princesses. Cosmos Space Festival July 17-19 The annual get-together features a Little Miss Universe and a Man
threshing and corn shredding demonstrations. A tractor parade also is a favorite annual event. Forest City Stockade Rendezvous Aug. 15-16 Step back in time for the annual Rendezvous. The Forest City Stockade, a replica of a fort built by Forest City residents during the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, is home to a variety of old fashioned activities, demonstrations and food. From left, Anita Runik of Vero Beach, Florida, and Julie, Sydney and Steve Garcia of the San Pablo, California (San Francisco Bay area) posed for a photo Saturday afternoon in front of Darwin’s own World Record Twine Ball. in the Moon coronation, softball tournament, meals in the park, a Space Festival parade, fireworks, pancake breakfast, pork chop dinner, church in the park, music entertainment, crafters, pedal tractor pull, volleyball and more. Meeker County Fair July 31-Aug. 2 It’s the annual “Fairest Days of Summer” for Meeker County residents. It features traditional county fair activities, such as exhibits and the showing of livestock, carnival rides, live music and demolition derbies. Watkins’ Kraut ‘N’ Wurst Day First Saturday in August This event consists of a parade, Little Miss Watkins Pageant, Cow Drop Raffle and an evening street dance with beverage/food stands located in McCarthy Park.
Darwin Twine Ball Celebration Scheduled annually second Saturday of August It’s one of Minnesota’s unique landmarks — Darwin’s big ball of twine. Dubbed the World’s Largest Twine Ball Collected by One Person, the spherical collection is celebrated with a parade, mini-rod races, craft fair and pork chop dinner. Grove City Windmill Days (formerly AugustFest) Grove City is planning to celebrate summer with the a tractor pull, mud volleyball, horseshoe, trap shooting and softball tournaments, a kiddie parade, talent show and parade. Forest City Thresher Days Aug. 15-16 Thresher Days include displays of antique tractors and other farm equipment , along with
Dassel Red Rooster Days Labor Day weekend is time to celebrate, with an ambassadors coronation, parade, Minnesota’s Largest Chicken Barbecue, and other activities. Harvest Madness October Shop Litchfield! Enjoy shops, re s t a ura nt s a n d co m m unit y market. Enjoy a hayride, scarecrow contest and more fun activities for families. Forest City Pioneer Christmas First Saturday in December annually T h e Fore s t Cit y Sto cka d e switches gears after its Summer Rendezvous to a winter holiday theme during its annual Pioneer Christmas. Ac tivities include horse-drawn sleigh rides, a visit with Santa, Christmas caroling and old-fashioned ornaments.
Fireworks erupted over Lake Ripley, lighting up the night sky during the 61st annual Watercade celebration.
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STAFF PHOTOS BY SARV MITHAQIYAN
Children visit with Santa Claus during Pioneer Christmas event.
Litchfield Marching Band performed its 1930 Chicago show during the Parade of Bands in 2019.
And the bands play on Inaugural Parade of Bands drew thousands of spectators to city; even more expected in 2020
itchfield has been known for its outstanding high school marching band for decades. But while the Marching Dragons competed in parades and festivals throughout the state, the city never drew many visiting marching bands outside of a handful who performed during the Watercade parade. A ll that change d in 2019. Spawned by the creation of the Litchfield Visitors Bureau, which was looking for a project that could jump start its efforts to promote the city as a tourist destination, the inaugural Litchfield Parade of Bands took place in June. And it was the hit that one might expect in a city known for marching band success. The first Litchfield Parade of Bands drew more than 4,0 0 0 spectators, who lined streets of the approximately 10-block route.
In addition, the competition drew 10 bands, in addition to the LHS Marching Dragons. “We felt it was a great success and look forward to next year’s e v e n t ,” J u d y H u l t e r s t r u m , chairwoman of the event and executive director of the Litchfield Visitors Bureau, said after the 2019 event. “It was very fun to see the whole process as we now begin the evaluation and take
ideas shared with us and improve for next year. Its great success was due to the wonderful audience and community support.” Each of the bands that appeared in 2019 received a $500 stipend, in addition to a $250 prizes awarded to the grand champion and first-place bands in each of three classes. With the hit that the inaugural Parade of Bands was, you had to
know it would be back again. And bigger than before. The 2020 Parade of Bands will step off at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 16, and follow the same route as last year. Bands will warm up in the civic arena/high school area, then begin lining up on East 10th Street just west of the high school. The parade route will begin at the corner of 10th Street and Nor th Armstrong Avenue, proceeding south on Armstrong to Fifth Street, then east to Gilman Avenue and north to 10th Street. Three performance areas are marked along the route, with the third performance on North Gilman being judged. This year’s festival has grown by t wo bands for 2020, with a tot al of 1 2 co m p etin g fo r awards, in addition to Litchfield per forming in exhibition, the committed bands include Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg, Benson, Lake City, Milaca, Foley, St. Peter, Dassel-Cokato, SartellSt. Stephen, Bemidji, Owatonna, Solar Sound and 728 Cadets. 2020 | independentreview.net
Take a walking or driving tour to see the many historic homes in Litchfield that reflect various architectural styles
alk down a Litchfield street and you’re likely to find countless monuments to the city’s early history. Following is a list featuring some of the town’s most impressive historic homes. Most of the homes are located along four avenues: Armstrong, Holcombe, Marshall and Sibley. The first sec tion includes homes on the cit y ’s north side, and the second section highlights the south side. Litchfield was founded in 1869. It was established as the county seat of Meeker County due to the railroad built by E. Darwin Litchfield and his brothers in the 1860s. Prior to that time, Forest City, a town about five miles north, had been designated the county seat, but citizens decided a city next to the railroad would be more convenient and have a better economic base. The homes we will see on this tour are from the 18691920 Victorian Era. This was a time of great change and growth out here on the Northern Plains.
NORTH SIDE 518 Armstrong Ave. N. This home was built in the late 1800s by Erhardt Lenhardt. This family built the Litchfield Brewery
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and owned Lenhardt Hotel and many of the first lots surveyed in Litchfield after the town was laid out. 506 Armstrong Ave. N. A two-story house with a large porch, this home was built in 1908. It is an excellent example of Victorian architecture featuring a dignified home with a wrap-around veranda porch, artistic windows and a large, quiet yard. 413 Armstrong Ave. N. This large red brick house was built by Peter Hanson as a wedding gift to his daughter, Nellie, when she married Mr. March in 1905. It has a ballroom on the third floor and the light oak woodwork throughout remains in impeccable condition. There is a servants’ staircase, a fireplace in the master bedroom and a large beautiful dining room with 10foot ceilings. 405 Armstrong Ave. N. Completed in 1904, local folks call this home “the Red Castle.” Peter E. Hanson, the original owner, had the home built while he served in the Minnesota Senate from 1895-1898 and as secretary of state from 19011907. It is interesting that the state Capitol in St. Paul was being built at the same time as this home. The
518 Armstrong Ave. N. original tile roof of this home (some of which you can see on the turret) was the same color and design as the tile used on the roof of the Capitol building. The house has five fireplaces, a grand stairway, an oak dining room, and cherry woodwork throughout. The outside walls are quadruple-brick for insulation. It was the original owner of this home, Mr. Hanson, who built the home we just saw next door for his daughter, Nellie. 406 Armstrong Ave. N. This home was built about 1888 and is where John T. Mullen, a wellknown Litchfield merchant, lived.
326 Armstrong Ave. N. B uilt a b o u t 1910 , t h e architec ture of this home is untouched since construction. 320 Armstrong Ave. N. This home was constructed between 1910-1915. Its turret is an example of the Victorian Era. The home was once owned by Fred Richter, a former Litchfield mayor. 307 Holcombe Ave. N. Built about 1895 by a prominent banker named O.H. Campbell, this house was once known as the “Raven’s Nest.” From 1920 to the late 1940s, it was used as a nuns’
413 Armstrong Ave. N. 405 Armstrong Ave. N. conservatory, and many people in Litchfield remember taking piano lessons there. It remains unchanged and a stark example of the fortress style of Victorian homes of the 1890s. It is built of yellow brick produced in Litchfield during that time. 503 Holcombe Ave. N. A distinctly Victorian home, originally the Morrison House, this home is an excellent example of a style referred to as the “Painted Lady,” or Queen Anne. 421 Marshall Ave. N. Built about 1915, this modest house has strong connections to a remarkable person and the origins of a locally significant industr y. Creamer y operator Alfred Anderson used the basement to begin his business, Anderson Chemical. The firm p ro d u ce d a ba c te rial f lavo r enhancer to the dairy industry, and eventually moved into cleaning and sanitizing produc ts. The Anderson Chemical Company grew into a major corporation with a national market and business in international locations. Alfred Anderson himself has an intriguing Swedish immigrant story and made important civic contributions to Litchfield, including a term as mayor. 425 Marshall Ave. N. This house is a rare example of the Art Moderne style in Litchfield. Art Moderne and other related
modernistic styles, such as Art Deco, were commonly used for public and commercial buildings between 1920 and 1940. Art Moderne emerged as the most prevalent form in the 1930s. Never a commonly used residential style, scattered examples can be found throughout the country. Constructed after 1941, this house is a particularly late example of the style. 611 Marshall Ave. N. Mary Jo Smith has turned this early 1920s Tudor-style home into a beautiful bed and breakfast called The Marshall Estate. It features four bedrooms, hardwood floors, built-in china cabinets with leaded/beveled glass, a charming fireplace, and indoor and outdoor porches.
406 Armstrong Ave. N.
705 N. Miller Ave. The house is one of the few houses in Litchfield that displays the character-defining features of the Italianate style. The Italianate style was a popular domestic style in the United States from about 1840 to 1885, and it was particularly common in the towns of the Midwest experiencing large growth during this period. The house was also the home of Ole Ness, an early pioneer and a founding father of Litchfield. 215 Sibley Ave. S. “Guide to the Architecture of Minnesota” (1977) describes this home as an “Eastlake style frame clapboard house with extensive
326 Armstrong Ave. N. 2020 | independentreview.net
705 Miller Ave. N. 320 Armstrong Ave. N.
turned work on the Queen Anne porch.” It was built in 1890 by Mr. McClure, a Litchfield banker. It remains close to its original condition with the original oil cloth wallpaper still on the dining room walls and tin ceilings in the kitchen and bath. 700 Sibley Ave. S. This lovely home was built in the late 1920s and is a perfect example of what is known as Craftsman Architecture. We have several homes in our town of this style from the early 1920s era.
307 Holcombe Ave. N.
421 Marshall Ave. N.
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304 Sibley Ave. S. This two-story red brick office building was once a lovely home built in the late 1880s. It was the home of Erhardt Lenhardt, a well-known, successful brewer who operated a brewery on the north shore of our Lake Ripley. Not to be outdone, his brother founded St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Litchfield. 310 Sibley Ave. S. This lovely Victorian home was built in 1899. This house cost $2,000 to build. There have been few changes to the original floor plan. In the dining room of this home is one of the most beautiful fireplaces. It is artistic from floor to ceiling with several dif ferent t ypes of woodwork combined with copper inlay for a spectacular mantle. The house has five original ornate windows, and a maplewood mosaic on the entryway floor.
316 Sibley Ave. S. This historic home has been the location for Johnson-Hagglund Funeral Home for several years. (The business will move to a new facility along U.S. Highway 12 this year.) Built by B.P. Nelson in 1903 as a family residence, the residence had a tennis court on the south side of the home and a three-stall carriage house on the north. The third floor was a ballroom with dance parties still being held there in the 1930s and ’40s. 724 Sibley Ave. S. The Rosemary Home. This was the home of Dorothea Kopplin and her family. Mrs. Kopplin lived from 1898-1970. She was a mother, teacher, homemaker and author. She was Minnesota Mother of the Year in 1949. In accordance with her will, her home became a home for nursing students, nurses and business women. This was done in memory of her daughter who died of leukemia at age 6. Her daughter’s bedroom is a small room at the front of the second floor and is still furnished as it was when the child lived there. Mrs. Kopplin’s daughter’s name was, of course, Rosemary. Mrs. Kopplin wrote “Something to Live By” in 1945 with all royalties being donated to the Minnesota Federation of Women’s Clubs for nursing scholarships. The home was built in the late 1890s and has a permanent caretaker living on the grounds. 805 Sibley Ave. S. T h i s l a r g e E n g l i s h Tu d o r style home was built in 1910
215 Sibley Ave. S. and was once the home of Dr. Karl Danielson. Dr. Danielson is remembered for swimming in Lake Ripley nearly every day of his life, even in winter. He lived to be 90 years old. 806 Sibley Ave. S. This lovely home was built in 1906. The garage replaces what was once a livery barn which had room for two horses and one carriage. 910 Sibley Ave. S. This Victorian home was built in the late 1800s, and was the first house in Litchfield to have running water. It was built by Mr. Sweetman who had an oil business. The property includes a windmill, which was used to pump water into a storage tank in the attic and provided running water to the house. The interesting garage behind this house was built in 1940 to replace the large, old barn which had to be torn down. This property once extended back five blocks to Swift Avenue. The house retains its distinctive Victorian appearance. 403 Armstrong Ave. S. Built in 1889 by C.W. Wagner, then owner of the Litchfield newspaper and the man for whom Wagner Elementary School is named, his wife Emma Chandler Wagner, and their only daughter, Harriet. Following the deaths of her parents, Harriet lived in the house for part of each year, spending the rest of her time traveling abroad. The house remains close to its
original state. Some of the changes are the addition of a fireplace in the front parlor, partial enclosing of the front porch, and an upstairs enclosed back porch. The interior has been restored to much of its Victorian glory. 326 Donnelly Ave. S. This house has been the home of two famous Meeker County residents. It was built in 1893 and stood on the corners of Swift and Ripley avenues. Many years later it was moved here to Donnelly Avenue. One well-known resident was Gale Sondergaard. Sondergaard was an Academy Award winning actress and starred in many movies including: “Maid of Salem,” “The Letter,” “The Cat and The Canary,” “Anna a n d T h e K in g of S ia m ,” a n d “Anthony Adverse,” for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1936. She also starred on Broadway. She lived in this home with her family during early childhood. Later, this was the home of Bernie Bierman, famous football coach of the University of Minnesota Gophers. He played football for the Litchfield High School team and went on to play lef t end for Minnesota. He coached at Tulane University and in 1932 took his team to the Rose Bowl. He returned to Minnesota to coach the Gophers and brought on what was to be known as the “Golden Era” of Minnesota football. This home is an example of the Victorian design.
403 Armstrong Ave. S.
326 Donnelly Ave. S. 2020 | independentreview.net
FOOD Above — Joanna Mackereth shows one of Muddy Cow’s Wednesday rib specials. Muddy Cow opened in the former VFW/Heroes building on East Highway 12 in 2018. Inset — “Not bad for just bread and bourbon,” is a description given by owner Bethany Lee of Tavern on Main’s tasty bread pudding treat.
WHAT’S FOR DINNER From restaurants to special events, Litchfield has something for every taste bud Litchfield has a variety of local cuisine, everything from Chinese and Mexican to classic American comfort food with a couple of new eateries opening in the last year or two. Area residents also enjoy eating at special events in Central Park throughout the summer months, whether it is brat feeds, pancake breakfasts or ice cream socials. Downtown features Parkview Grille and the Tavern on Main. If you’re in the mood for classic bar food, head on over to the Tavern. Daily specials and soups plus breakfast all day is served at the Tavern. Parkview Grille features a bar, breakfast, soups and salad and paninis, sandwiches and burgers, as well as special dinner fare. The Muddy Cow combines a sports bar and family environment, with a wide and sometimes eclectic variety of burgers, ribs and salads. Meanwhile, Sonora’s and Herradura both offer
family dining with a Mexican flare. And then, of course, there are the food-related events. A Litchfield favorite, Pie In The Park, features many types of delicious homemade pies — and all proceeds go toward supporting local nonprofit organizations. Another popular attraction is the ice cream social during the Watercade Festival. Farmer markets are also popular from May through October. Litchfield has two markets featuring local produce and baked goods. One market operates at Central Park, and another one sets up at the VFW Post 2818 on East U.S. Highway 12, near Econofoods. And don’t forget about the Meeker County Fair at the fairgrounds on North Armstrong Avenue in Litchfield in early August. There are all sorts of treats, such as cotton candy, and deep-fried foods to enjoy, along with beer at the fair’s beer garden.
STAFF PHOTO BY ELLARRY PRENTICE
STAFF PHOTOS BY MOLLY O’CONNOR
For almost two decades, Paul Foley has cooked made-from-scratch meals for a free lunch served at Trinity Episcopal Church in Litchfield. Open to the public, the meal is served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the last Friday of each month.
FUN IS AT! Music every Saturday starting at 8:30 pm. 2-4-1’s ALL DAY, Every Day! Plus BOGO Pizza.
Peter’s Ribs & Catering
• Mon. - $6 Burgers • Tues. - Kids Eat FREE w/paid Adult 75¢ Wings • Wed. - $9.99 BBQ Ribs • Thurs. - 3/$6 Tacos • Fri. - Beer Battered Fish $9.99 • Sat. - Steak & Shrimp $11.99 • Sun. - Select Appetizers $6
Also Home of
Full Service Catering • Banquet & Meeting Facility Take Out & Delivery • Off Site Liquor Available 61620 Hwy 12 West, Litchfield, MN
Stop in today! (320) 373-5505 915 Hwy. 12, Litchfield
320-693-6425 2020 | independentreview.net
Above — City Council meets on the first and third Monday of the month at City Hall at 126 N. Marshall Ave. Inset — Allen Knutson is hosting Veterans Day at Litchfield High School. He served in the army and national guard for 21 years.
A FULL-SERVICE COMMUNITY Litchfield has state-of-the-art facilities to serve residents
itchfield serves as the hub for Meeker County government. Home to both the Meeker County Courthouse and Law Enforcement Center, Litchfield is the place to go for many licensing and motor vehicle needs, building permits and birth, death and marriage certificates. Litchfield’s approximately 6,700 residents can bring cityrelated questions to City Hall at 126 N. Marshall Ave. City government includes elected positions for mayor and city council, which are responsible for adopting and enforcing ordinances, establishing public and administrative policies, appointing staff positions, boards and commissions. The city provides numerous services to residents, such as providing a secure, clean water supply. The city has invested in stateof-the-art facilities, including a fire and rescue station, upgraded electric generation plant and upgraded sewage treatment plant. Litchfield’s historic downtown was designated as a Commercial Historic District by the National Park Service and placed on the National Register of Historical Places in 1996. The district encompasses 48 properties, including 36 “contributing” buildings. The Historic Preservation Commission assists in
Litchfield’s downtown is considered historic and was added to the National Register of Historical Places in 1996.
overseeing development within the district to ensure exterior construction meets historical guidelines. The downtown area is slated to go through a significant reconstruction during the spring and summer of 2020, as city infrastructure such as water and sewer lines is replaced as part of the U.S. Highway 12 rebuild. Litchfield is also home to a National Guard unit, the 849th Mobility Augmentation Company. The unit spent a year deployed in Afghanistan carrying out Operation Enduring Freedom in 2014.
LITCHFIELD CITY HALL 126 N. Marshall Ave., Litchfi eld, Minnesota 55355
LITCHFIELD CITY COUNCIL The city of Litchfield is governed by six council members and a mayor. City Administrator Dave Cziok is responsible for day-to-day operations of the city. The mayor and council members serve four-year terms. Staggered elections take place every two years in November.
KEITH JOHNSON Mayor Term ends Dec. 31, 2022
VERN LOCH JR.
At-large Term ends Dec. 31, 2020
Ward 1 Term ends Dec. 31, 2022
Ward 2 Term ends Dec. 31, 2020
Ward 3 Term ends Dec. 31, 2020
Ward 4 Term ends Dec. 31, 2020
Ward 5 Term ends Dec. 31, 2022
FREQUENTLY CALLED NUMBERS
Police and fire emergency Police (non-emergency) Crime TIPS line Fire (non-emergency) Library Litchfield Chamber of Commerce
911 320-693-5425 320-693-5430 320-693-3111 320-693-2483 320-693-8184
PUBLIC UTILITIES ELECTRICITY City of Litchfield 320-693-7201 Report an outage after hours 866-639-6108 Energy Star rebates www.saveenergyinlitchfield. com
MEETINGS Litchfield City Council and other municipal commissions meet in Council Chambers at City Hall, 126 N. Marshall Ave. For information, call 320-6937201. FIRST AND THIRD MONDAYS Litchfield City Council, 5:30 p.m. Council meetings are open to the public unless it is in a closed session. Meetings are televised Mondays at 7 p.m., Thursdays at 1 p.m. and Saturdays at 10 a.m. on
Cable Channels 8 or 13. SECOND MONDAY Litchfield Planning Commission, 5:30 p.m. FIRST TUESDAY OF EACH QUARTER Airport Commission, 6:30 p.m. FOURTH MONDAY Heritage Preservation Commission, 6:30 p.m. LAST TUESDAY OF EACH QUARTER Library Board, 5:30 p.m.
Meeker Cooperative Light & Power 320-693-3231 NATURAL GAS CenterPoint Energy 800-245-2377 Report a leak 800-296-9815 WATER AND SEWER City of Litchfield 320-693-7201 TELEPHONE, CABLE, INTERNET Nuvera 320-593-2323 or 844-3544111 Mediacom 800-332-0245
CenturyLink 800-244-1111 BEFORE YOU DIG Gopher State One Call 800-252-1166 www.gopherstateonecall.org WASTE DISPOSAL Waste Management-Twin Cities West provides residential garbage pick-up in Litchfield. Garbage is collected once a week. Recyclables are collected every other week, and Waste Management uses a single-sort recycling container. All recyclable items — paper, plastic and aluminum — can be mixed in the container. Payment drop box for garbage bills is at 5 E. Second St. For more information, call 800-4509378. Business hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The mailing address is 490 Industrial Blvd., Winsted, MN 55395. West Central Sanitation of Willmar provides commercial garbage and recyclable pick-up in Litchfield and the surrounding area. For information, call 800246-7630.
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Some book collections have been moved to new locations at the Litchfield Library.
LIBRARY Litchfield Public Library 216 N. Marshall Ave., Litchfield 320-693-2483 www.litchlibrary.blogspot.com Litchfield Public Library is home to 45,000 books, 1,200 audios and 2,100 videos. Twelve staff members serve more than 10,000 registered borrowers. In 2015, library users checked out almost 70,000 items, not including downloadable e-books or audios. Litchfield Library is a member of Pioneerland Library System. It is one of the largest of the 31 libraries in the regional library system. Any borrower can order books and other items from any library in the system and even from libraries throughout the state. Deliveries of requested materials arrive three times per week. The library catalog is available at iii.pioneerland.lib.mn.us. Pioneerland offers down-
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The Litchfield Public Library hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. loadable e-books, audiobooks, and digital magazines for loan through its Overdrive service at pioneerland.lib.overdrive.com. The library has a collection of almost 4000 downloadable books plus 41 magazine and newspaper titles available to Pioneerland cardholders, with new books added all the time.
The Litchfield Library offers 17 public desktop computers, two laptops, an iPad, and a computer-based microfilm reader to use with historical newspaper microfilm. The library has Wi-Fi, a copier/printer, a wireless printer and a scanner available for public use. A large public meeting room and two study rooms are avail-
able for groups to use. Storytimes are offered twice a week, plus one Saturday a month. Book clubs and other activities are offered throughout the year for people of all ages. A summer reading program for children and teens and a winter reading program for adults are offered every year.
GOVERNMENT ORDINANCES Detailed information about City of Litchfield ordinances is available by visiting the city’s website at www.ci.litchfield. mn.us. Some common issues affecting residents are addressed in this list. Direct any questions about ordinances or permits to City Hall at 320-693-7201. General Residential Setbacks All residential structures and accessory structures, which include sheds, outbuildings, play structures and gazebos, are subject to specific setbacks from a lot line based on the zoning district. All structure setbacks are taken from the property line. The setback from a front, rear or side yard may vary based on the zoning district. To find out what a property is zoned for and what the required setbacks are, call City Hall. Building Permits Building permits are required for many types of projects. A permit application is available on the city’s website under the Code Enforcement department page. City Hall staff can assist and complete permits for small utility sheds, fences, reroofing, siding, central air/furnace installation or replacement and other such maintenance permits. Rental Property Registration All rental properties are to be registered with the City of Litchfield by June 30, 2016, to avoid registration fees. The city intends to use the information collected to quantify the amount of rental housing available in the city, and to track the needs and availability of rental housing. This information is also intended to be used to enforce city ordinances that relate to the safety and condition of the rental units. Lawn Maintenance All grounds in a residential zoning district not covered by a building, patio or driveway must be covered in grass or ornamental landscaping includ-
Marland Meyer and Dave Higgins stand at attention during a Veterans Day service at Litchfield High School. ing rock material. Ground cover may grow to a height of 6 inches. Once growth exceeds 6 inches, city code requires cutting. Should you identify a property in which grass is over 6 inches in height, contact the city’s code enforcement officer at 6937201, ext. 1012. Snow Removal There are no hourly restrictions on the operation of snow removal equipment. Property owners are required to keep all snow and ice on their property. City code prohibits placing snow or ice in any right-of-way, roadway, street, sidewalk, walkway, bike or trail way, easement, park or other public property. The city of Litchfield is responsible for the removal of snow and/or ice from sidewalks or trails abutting some streets, but the majority of owners or occupants of one- or two-family dwellings that are abutting a sidewalk or trail are responsible for removing the snow and ice. This removal must be accomplished within the first 24 hours after the cessation of the precipitation.
Yard Waste All yard waste must be disposed of within one week unless it is being composted in an approved composting area/container. Yard waste is solid waste generated from landscaping and lawn care activities, such as mowing, trimming, gardening or raking. Yard waste materials consist of grass clippings, twigs, tree and brush clippings, straw, pine needles, tree branches, soft vegetative garden waste and leaves. City residents may take yard waste to the city’s compost site on 615th Avenue. Hours of operation during the spring, summer and fall are Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. — 4 p.m. It is closed on Sundays and holidays. The site closes Dec. 1. Acceptable materials include leaves, grass clippings, brush, trees, dirt (small amounts only, must be clean with no sod). Household Garbage Waste Management, a commercial hauler, provides garbage pick-up services for Litchfield residents. Garbage must be
stored in durable containers with with close-fitting, flytight covers. Garbage cannot be stored on public or private property for more than 2 weeks without written approval from the city of Litchfield. Waste that is suitable and sorted for recycling may be stored for up to 30 days, so long as recyclables are stored in an appropriate manner. Parking At Residences No more than four vehicles per dwelling unit may be parked or stored anywhere outside on residential property, except otherwise permitted or required by the city because of nonresidential characteristics of the property. The maximum number does not include vehicles of occasional guests who do not reside at the property. It is illegal to keep any vehicle not in operating condition or partly dismantled, except if that vehicle is enclosed in a building and/or kept from view and does not foster complaints from neighbors.
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MEEKER COUNTY GOVERNMENT CENTER
325 Sibley Ave. N., Litchfi eld, Minnesota 55355
MEEKER COUNTY BOARD Meeker Countyâ€™s governing body consists of five commissioners, each representing a district within the county. Elections for these seats occur every two years in November. The Meeker County Administrator is responsible for day-to-day operations of the county. The County Board meets at 8:30 a.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of the month at the Meeker County Courthouse, 325 N. Sibley Ave. For information, call 320-693-5200.
BETH OBERG 1st District Term ends Dec. 31, 2022
JOE TACHENY 2nd District Term ends Dec. 31, 2020
BRYAN L ARSON 3rd District Term ends Dec. 31, 2020
OTHER ELECTED COUNTY OFFICIALS
BRIAN CRUZE Sheriff Term ends Dec. 31, 2022
BRANDI SCHIEFELBEIN County Attorney Term ends Dec. 31, 2022
MIKE HOUSMAN 4th District Term ends Dec. 31, 2020
STEVE SCHMITT 5th District Term ends Dec. 31, 2022
COURTHOUSE OFFICES Administrator 320-693-5200
Planning and Zoning 320-693-5290
Detention Center 320-693-5415
Treasurer (property tax payments) 320-693-5345
STATE AND FEDERAL LEADERS The city of Litchfield and Litchfield Township are within Minnesota Senate District 18 and House District 18A. Sen. Scott Newman (District 18), 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Capitol Building, Room 301, St. Paul, MN 55155-1606; phone: 651-296-4131; email: sen.scott. firstname.lastname@example.org Rep. Dean Urdahl (District 18A), 571 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155; phone: 651-296-4344 or toll-free 800-920-5861; email: email@example.com Meeker County is part of the 7th Congressional District, which is served by U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson (District 7), 2211 Rayburn HOB, Washington, DC 20515; phone: 202-225-2165; Regional office: 324 3rd Street, SW, Suite 4, Willmar, MN 56201; phone: 320-235-1061
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GOVERNMENT U.S. POSTAL SERVICE Litchfield Post Office The Litchfield office is at 35 E. Second St. Th e win dow is op en from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Residents can access their postal boxes from 5:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 5:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. The post of fice also of fers passport services; call to make an appointment. The phone number is 320-693-6252.
TRANSPORTATION Central Community Transit Central Community Transit offerS affordable transportation to the citizens of Meeker County. The bus transports people of all ages and abilities — from young children going to preschool, to senior citizens going to doctor and hair appointments. A U.S. Highway 12 route from Litchfield to Willmar operates in partnership with Kandiyohi Area Transit and Renville County Heartland Express. Riders can purchase a one-way ticket, roundtrip ticket or a bus pass. Buses are handicap accessible and equipped with a wheelchair lift. They are airconditioned and have seat belts for passengers. The bus will pick up riders up to 15 minutes before the pick-up time and up to 15 minutes after the designated pick-up time. T h e b us is available from 6:15 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays; from 6:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturdays; and from 8 a.m. to noon Sundays. To make an appointment for a ride call 693-7794 or 800-5137433. ROADS AND BRIDGES Meeker County Highway Department and MN Department of Transportation Facility 320-693-5360
VISITORS WATCH ANOTHER PLANE ARRIVE FOR THE LIONS FLY-IN BREAKFAST SUNDAY.
Visitors watch another plane arrive for the Lions Fly-in Breakfast Sunday.
Litchfield Post Offie is located at 35 E. Second St.
AIRPORT Open to the public, the Litchfield Municipal Airport is located 2 miles south of Litchfield on Highway 22 S. The runway is 4,002 feet long and 100 feet wide asphalt construction. The elevation of the airport is 1,140 feet. Fuel is available 24 hours a day by self service. A courtesy car is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Airport lounge has internet ac-
cess, food vending and bathroom facilities. Call 320-693-6832 for more information.
CONSERVATION DISTRICT The Meeker SWCD assists landowners in implementing a wide range of conservation practices, flood prevention measures, farm forestry, wetland, wildlife improvement, recreation and rural area de-
velopment within the 17 townships of Meeker County. The Minnesota Soil Conservation Districts law was enacted at the 1937 legislative session. The first district in the state was organized in Winona County in 1938. The Meeker County Soil Conservation District was formed 11 years later, on Oct. 28, 1949. At that time it included the townships of Kingston, Darwin, Dassel and Collinwood. Elwood Edling and Evert Pousi, both of Dassel, were appointed as the District’s first Supervisors. In 1950 Ray Haapala and Albert Swanson, both of Dassel, and Henry Hagen of Darwin filled out the Board of Supervisors. Ellsworth Township was added in 1951, and the District was expanded to include the balance of Meeker County townships in 1953. All cities in the county were added in 1972. The name was changed in 1958 to the current Meeker Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). The mission outlined in the program established in March of 1950 stated, “The Meeker County Soil Conservation District has been organized for the purpose of dealing with problems of soil erosion, land
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Community Education & Recreation (320) 693-2354 • ( 320 ) 593-6528 FAX Ofﬁce Located in the Wagner Building 307 E 6th Street Suite 110
Enrichment and recreational activitie offered year-round Trips Special Events
District 465 Litchﬁeld Community Education and Recreation offers opportunities for all age groups....from early childhood to senior citizens. Registrations for classes and activities are taken ﬁrst come-ﬁrst served with some classes having limited enrollment
ichment A variety of recreational and enr other people that activities. Opportunity to meet new hobby! share your interests or learn a
Dragon Kids Club nd care Dragon Spitﬁre Wee Dragon Kids Club-preschool wrap arou ympics Special Ol
School Age Childcare Program adults and youth with & Summer Programming for ties Before & After-school, Non school Days developmental and physical disabili Come and be a part of the FUN!
Adult Basic Education English as a Second Language High School Equivalency Program • Life Skills • Citizenship ess • Driver's License • Work Readin • Keyboarding Skills • Basic Computer Classes
tre Litchﬁeld Community Thea tion
Annual summer musical produc Holiday Showcase in December duction held Community Youth Theatre pro in the spring t the year Special performances throughou and ge sta on ties Unlimited opportuni behind the scenes
Red Cross Swim Lessons Open Swim Private Swim Lessons
Early Childhood Programs Early Childhood Screening School Readiness Preschool ECFE Birth-5 Census
Getting Together: Sharing, Growing, Learning.
Litchﬁeld Public Schools Early Childhood Program
Awarded a 4 Star Rating from the MN Dept. of Ed. For the Parent Aware Program Early Childhood Family Education School Readiness Early Childhood Special Education Early Childhood Screening Kindergarten Round-Up • Kindergarten Readiness
Litchﬁeld Public Schools Early Childhood Programs for children birth to pre-kindergarten Early Childhood Family Education - ECFE (Sept. - July) Early Childhood Special Education - ECSE (Sept. - May) School Readiness (Sept. - May) • Litchfield Preschool Early Childhood Screening (Offered throughout the year) Kindergarten Round-Up (April) • Kindergarten Readiness (August) Parents: Register your child(ren) on the school census upon birth and/or moving into the Litchﬁeld School District and you will automatically be included in early childhood mailings, scheduled for Early Childhood Screening and Kindergarten Round-up when the child is age appropriate. To register on the school district census call Community Education at 320-693-2354. ECFE classes are offered throughout the school year and you can register through Litchﬁeld Community Education. Special events are planned such as Come and Play Dates, Holiday Happenings and many others. You can ﬁnd information on classes and special events in the Community Education program guides that are published and distributed in early August, December, and mid-May. These program guides are available on the website www.litchﬁeldcommunityed.com Call or email Early Childhood Programs Coordinator, Rebecca Warpula at 320-693-2354, firstname.lastname@example.org for further information, questions or concerns about early education opportunities for your child!
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Meeker County Family Services Building, located at 114 N. Holcombe Ave., is home to many Meeker County agencies, including Public Health. use and agriculture in general, as they pertain to soil and water conservation. The District is an organization through which farmers may cooperate with each other or with any local, state or federal agency in solving their problems.” Five supervisors represent different parts of the district, and these elected officials set overall p olic y and long-term objectives for their district and work with the district staff to ensure that policies and plans are implemented. The board of supervisors for the Meeker Count y S oil and Water Conser vation Distric t sets policy, hires employees, and is responsible to see that the
operations of the District are run effectively and according to law and rule. Supervisors meet the first Tuesday of each month at 8 a.m. in at 522 S. Johnson Dr. in Litchfield. Contact the office at 320-693-7287.
DISTRICT 1 Greg Jans Grove City DISTRICT 2 Robert Schiefelbein Kimball
DISTRICT 4 Fred Behnke Grove City DISTRICT 5 Dan Barka LitchfieldAgriculture U of M Extension Farm Information Line 1-800-232-9077 email@example.com Meeker County Extension educator 320-693-5275 firstname.lastname@example.org
DISTRICT 3 John Haffley Dassel
Meeker County 4-H coordinator Cassidy Martin, county 4-H program coordinator 320-693-5275 email@example.com Meeker County USDA Farm Services Agency 320-693-2854
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Meeker County Economic Development Authority 320-693-5272 meekercodevcorp.com
Meeker Council on Aging Chore Corps • Information and Referral Advocacy for Seniors 218 North Holcombe Ave. - Litchﬁeld, MN 55355 320-693-2718
Are you planning a wedding, shower, birthday, graduation, funeral, anniversary, quinceañera, confirmation or other event? We encourage you to consider renting the Historic Litchfield Opera House, an affordable venue at $35/hour (3 hour minimum). We can hold 300people and have 40 tables and 250 chairs, a servingkitchen, table cloths etc in a unique, historic setting.
E mail Litchopera@yahoo.com
RSVP Lead With Experience Ecumen RSVP 218 North Holcombe Ave. - Litchﬁeld, MN 55355 • 1-800-669-6714 2020 | independentreview.net
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GOVERNMENT als pay for services so they can continue to live independently in their community.
Litchfield Area Chamber of Commerce 320-693-8184 litch.com
PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICES Information and assistance regarding the list of programs below can be obtained by calling Meeker County Public Health at 320-6935370. Public Health is located at Family Services Building, 114 North Holcombe Ave., Suite 250, Litchfield. Adult/Disabled/Senior Health Adult Health nurses assist individuals over 65 to live safely and independently within the community. Adult Health works with other departments and providers to help meet goal of independence, safety and overall well-being. Assessments completed for waiver programs to help individu-
Breastfeeding/Lactation Consultation Any mom encountering problems at any time while she is breastfeeding can get help from an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant. Family Planning Family Planning Services are for anyone who wishes to plan, postpone or prevent pregnancy. Services include counseling, referral to resources, physical exam, provision of contraceptive methods, testing and treatment for curative sexually transmitted diseases. Eligibility for services is income based. Pregnancy Testing Meeker County Public Health offers free pregnancy testing services on a walk-in basis during office hours, Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Child and Teen Checkups Child and Teen Checkups is the name for Minnesota’s Early and Periodic Screening Diagnosis and Treatment Program. The program assists children and teens from newborn through the age 20 who are enrolled in Medical Assistance or Minnesota Care. Family Home Visiting A nurse will visit to help support the family by providing information on topics such as growth and development, discipline, nutrition, safety and community resources. Maternal Child Health Visits from a nurse to help a mom reach her goal of having a healthy pregnancy, a safe delivery and a happy baby. Follow Along Program A free program to determine if a baby or child is playing, talking, growing, moving and acting like other children the same age.
Project Harmony This program serves pregnant women and women parenting a child under 8 years of age who have been struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. Using a case management model, women and their families are assisted to find a path of recovery to be able to live a life free of chemicals to become self-sufficient and to reach their highest potential. Lead Program Meeker County Public Health collaborates with Minnesota Department of Health for follow-up of elevated blood lead levels in children. Families receive information about sources of lead, assessment of homes to find lead source problems and education on how to remove lead sources Radon Meeker County Public Health offers information on radon testing, along with radon test kits for a small fee. Access radon informa-
It’s your future. Let’s protect it.
Together we’ll create a plan to protect what matters most to you.
Kevin Christoffers 301 N Sibley Ave | Litchﬁeld Ofﬁce (320) 593-0601, Cell (320) 894-7939 Kevin.Christoffers@fbfs.com http://www.kevinchristoffers.com/
Auto | Home | Life | Annuities | Business | Farm Farm Bureau Property & Casualty Insurance Company,* Western Agricultural Insurance Company,* Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company*/West Des Moines, IA. *Company providers of Farm Bureau Financial Services. M198 (10-19) 2020 | independentreview.net
tion online at www.radon.com or www.radon.org. Water Quality Meeker County Public Health offers water test kits and instructions for well water testing. Free well water tests are available to pregnant women and families with children one year of age or younger. Contact Public Health at 320-693-5370 for more information. Vaccinations/Immunizations Immunizations/vaccinations for individuals that need to start or complete their vaccine schedule to provide protection against diseases. Contact Public Health at 320-693-5370 with any questions. Who is eligible for immunizations? Infants, children and students if they have no insurance or their health insurance does not cover the vaccine Infants, children and students
under the age of 18 years must be accompanied by parent or guardian or have proper written consent. Post-secondary and adults if they have no insurance or their health insurance does not cover the vaccine
Litchfield Area Rural Partners in Prevention Group focuses on preventing alcohol use among youth through community partnerships. The group meets the third Tuesday monthly from noon until 1:15 pm.
No appointment needed Shots are provided at a reduced fee and no one is turned away due to inability to pay.
WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Supplemental nutrition program to provide families with nutrition education and food vouchers. Eligible individuals include pregnant, postpartum or breast feeding moms, and children from newborns to age 5. Call 320 693-5370 to apply. Office hours are 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays of the first and third week of the month.
BEHIND THE WHEEL & DRIVER’S EDUCATION CLASSES Driver’s Education for Teens Classroom and Behind the Wheel Instruction Pick-up & Drop-off for Behind the Wheel Instruction Register Online or Call Todaysdrivingschool.com
(844) 374-8315 100 Century Ave SE, Hutchinson
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Motor vehicle licensing became a private service in 2016, with the Litchfield License Center opening at 702 N. Sibley Ave. The center can be reached by phone at 320593-5932.
EMERGENCY FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE Meeker County Social Services Department 320-693-5300
FOOD SAFETY U of M Extension AnswerLine 800-854-1678
JOBS SERVICE AND TRAINING Litchfield Workforce Center 320-593-1056
SOCIAL SERVICES Child care assistance 320-693-5300
CHEMICAL DEPENDENCY New Beginnings at Litchfield 320-693-2461
EMERGENCY SERVICES Meeker County Emergency Food Shelf
Child support 320-693-5334 Food assistance 320-693-5300
Basement Waterprooﬁng | Foundation Repair Basement Wall Straightening | Radon Concerns
Delivering peace of mind to your neighbors for the past 30-years? HOME TO YOUR LIFETIME TRANSFERABLE WARRANTY
Above — Jose Burgos holds his daughter Danna, along with his wife, Mayra, and daughters Abbygail, 9, and Dannyela, 3.
STAFF PHOTOS BY SARV MITHAQIYAN
Inset — Danna Burgos earned the title of first baby of the New Year when she was born at 1:42 p.m. Jan. 1 at the Meeker Memorial Hospital.
VIBRANT COMMUNITY Wellness a goal throughout community, residents
itchfield offers many initiatives focusing on healthy living, including the annual One Vegetable, One Community campaign that seeks to improve overall community health by healthier eating. The initiative, sponsored by Meeker County Public Health, features a new vegetable each year — which previous years have included tomatoes, squash and kale — as part of its healthy-eating promotional campaign. Each spring, community members can pick up free plants and attend events with local master gardeners, dietitians and other wellness experts throughout the year. Litchfield was ranked as one of the 10 best places to retire in
Minnesota by SmartAsset in 2019, due in part to its strong health-care, especially to older adults. The SmartAsset survey found the city’s seniorbased health care services and recreation and the total seniors in the population to be a strong indicator of good retirement living. The community is served by a hospital and clinics, as well as a number of chiropractic, dental, eye care, hearing care and mental health care providers.
HEALTH HEALTH AND WELLNESS HOSPITAL Meeker Memorial Hospital 612 S. Sibley Ave., Litchfield 320-693-4500 Website: www.meekermemorial.org MEDICAL CLINICS Carris Health East Clinic 611 South Sibley Ave., Litchfield 320-693-3233 Carris Health West Clinic 520 S. Sibley Ave., Litchfield 320-693-3233 Meeker Memorial Clinic 740 Parker Ave., Dassel 320-275-4330 Website: www.meekermemorial.org/ meeker-clinics/ ADULT DAY SERVICES Ecumen of Litchfield 200 N. Holcombe Ave., Litchfield 320-693-2430 Website: www.ecumenoflitchfield. org ASSISTED LIVING/SKILLED NURSING FACILITIES Ecumen of Litchfield 200 N. Holcombe Ave., Litchfield 320-693-2430 Website: www.ecumenoflitchfield. org Bethany Assisted Living 203 N. Armstrong Ave., Litchfield 320-693-2430 Website: www.ecumenoflitchfield. org
Welcome! EVERYONE IS
STORE HOURS: MON-FRI, 9AM-7PM SAT, 9AM-3PM
(320) 693 693-7539 7539 230 Sibley Ave. N Litchﬁeld, MN 55355
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The collaborative agreement that created Meeker Memorial Hospital & Clinics includes the Carris HealthLitchfield East Clinic, located at 611 S. Sibley Ave. Bethany Memory Care 203 N. Armstrong Ave., Litchfield 320-693-2430 Website: www.ecumenoflitchfield. org Meeker Manor Long Term Care / Rehabilitation
MEMBER OWNED, COMMUNITY SUPPORTED. • Fresh Organic Produce • Fresh Spices, Teas and Bulk Items • Grassfed Meats and Pasture Raised Eggs • Grab and Go Deli Items • Allergen Food Friendly • Supplements, Herbal Remedies • Medicinal Monday EVERY Monday 10% off! • Membership Benefits include: 5% off everytime you shop Member Only Specials monthly • Community Classes Monthly
600 S. Davis Ave., Litchfield 320-693-2472 Website: https://monarchmn.com/ meeker-manor-rehabilitation-center CHIROPRACTIC CLINICS Kinsella Chiropractic Clinic 407 S. Sibley Ave., Litchfield
320-593-4494 Website: kinsellachiropractic.com Litchfield Chiropractic Center 126 N. Sibley Ave., Litchfield 320-693-3655 Website: www. litchfieldchiropracticcenter.com
GENTLE TTOUCH DOG TRAINING A GENTLE, POSITIVE METHOD. AKC C Good Citizen & Therapy Dog Training
Anxiety • Fear • Leash Pulling Thunderstorms • Shy Hyperactive • Obedience New Puppy/Rescue Dog Help choosing the right dog & breed. Improve performance in working & therapy dogs.
Pat Cram firstname.lastname@example.org 320-693-6994 (leave message)
HEALTH Patten Chiropractic Center 1455 E. U.S. Highway 12, Litchfield 320-693-3612 Website: pattenchiropracticcenter.com
Litchfield Hearing Aid Center 517 N. Sibley Ave., Litchfield 320-434-1285 www.hutchhearing.com
DENTISTS Litchfield Family Dental 715 N. Sibley Ave. No. 101, Litchfield 320-693-2228 Website: litchfieldfamilydental.com
HOME CARE AND HOSPICE Divine Home Care 201 S. Sibley Ave., Litchfield 320-693-2580 Website: www.divinehomecare.com
Lorenz Richard G. DDS 329 E. U.S. Highway 12, Litchfield 320-693-8939
Ecumen of Litchfield Hospice 218 N Holmcombe Ave., Litchfield 320-693-7367 Website: EcumenHospice.org
Sibley Dental Suite 623 S. Sibley Ave., Litchfield 320-693-8131 Website: www.sibleydentalmn.com EYE CARE Fischer Laser Eye Center 517 N. Sibley Ave., Litchfield 320-593-2020 www.fischerlaser.com Litchfield Eye Center 135 N. Sibley Ave., Litchfield 320-593-3100 Website: www.litchfieldeyecenter. com Primary Eye Care 520 E. Highway 12, Suite 106 320-693-9333 Website: primaryeyecare2020.com HEARING CARE Connect Hearing 338 E. U.S. Highway 12, Litchfield 320-593-0885 Harmony Center For Hearing 32 E. Second St., Litchfield 320-693-4210
Ecumen of Litchfield Home Care 218 N Holmcombe Ave., Litchfield 320-693-7367 Website: EcumenHomeCare.org MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES Litchfield Family & Psychological Services 236 N. Sibley Ave. Litchfield 320-693-7708 Woodland Centers 114 N. Holcombe Ave., Litchfield 320-693-7221 Website: www.woodlandcenters. com PHARMACIES Family Fare Pharmacy 951 E. Frontage Rd., Litchfield 320-693-3261 Website: www.econofoods.com/ departments/pharmacy Walmart Pharmacy 2301 E. Frontage Rd., Litchfield 320-693-2004 www.walmart.com
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975 East Frontage Road • Litchfield, MN 320-593-0009 • www.runnings.com 2020 | independentreview.net
COLLABORATING ON CARE Meeker Memorial, CentraCare deal ‘blends the best’ to ensure continuity of care
eeker Memorial Hospital & Clinics and CentraCare a n n o u n c e d in Januar y they entered a collaboration and ser vices agreement. Meeker Memorial Hospital, w h i c h i s o w n e d b y M e e ke r County, remains independent of CentraCare, but the two Carris Health-Litchfield Clinics and hospital work much more closely together by sharing electronic m e dic al re co rd s ys tem , a n d coordinated registration and billing for patients. The agreement reflects a desire by both organizations to collaborate to deliver and lead effective, efficient,
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Kurt Waldbillig convenient and coordinated health care services throughout Meeker County, according to a news release from MMHC. “This opportunity allows us to remain independent while leveraging the expertise, resources and experience of CentraCare,” said Beth Oberg, chairwoman of MMHC’s board of directors and
a Meeker County commissioner. “ To g e t h e r w e ’ l l b e b e t t e r positioned to enhance the quality of care, improve outcomes and deliver an even better patient experience.” A significant aspect of the agreement was the transition of Carris Health-Litchfield Clincis to a provider-based clinic model allowing physicians, clinic services and hospital to integrate the delivery of health care services under one operation. “Forming a provider-based clinic allows for better continuity of care between the hospital and clinic,” said Kurt Waldbillig, chief executive officer of Meeker Memorial. “It will make it easier for our staff and providers to w o r k to g e t h e r a n d h ave a n immeasurable impact on the lives of the patients we serve.” The clinics will be operated by the hospital through a lease
with Carris Health, a subsidiary of CentraCare. The changing world of health c a r e h a s c re a te d n u m e r o u s challenges for providers, including rising costs and declining reimbursement, hospital officials said, and the collaboration between Meeker Memorial and CentraCare aims to ensure that health care services in the region remain viable and better positioned to serve the needs of the residents of Meeker County and surrounding area. “This collaboration blends the best of Meeker Memorial and CentraCare,” Dr. Ken Holmen, CEO of Centra Care said. “It delivers on the promise of Meeker Memorial’s mission by leveraging CentraCare’s exaperience in primary and specialty care and will provide patients with reliable and consistent access to a full range of health care services close to home.”
3D MAMMOGRAPHY COMES TO MEEKER, MCLEOD COUNTIES
dvances in medical science brought routine mammography screening into the 21st centur y at Meeker Memorial Hospital. The county-owned hospital purchased a 3D mammography ma chin e to b et ter ser ve it s patients in 2018. Mammography, traditionally performed with 2-D digital technology, is a technique that uses X-rays to locate tumors or irregularities in breast tissue. The new 3D technology, also called tomosynthesis, allows for technicians to get more accurate and detailed images. In some cases, the new technology has provided a more cost-effective scan than the traditional 2-D mammography. “We’ve seen 40 percent less callbacks,” said Meeker Memorial Ra diol o g y Ma na ge r M eliss a Freeman. “Callbacks are when a radiologist can’t see an image.” Freeman, who uses both the 2-D and 3-D technology daily, said patients can still have a choice between the two technologies. The difference between 2-D and 3-D is in the data. Freeman said so much more data is supplied from a 3-D mammography scan. Tomosynthesis takes multiple images in slices that are combined to create a three-dimensional image of the entire breast. Traditional mammography takes two images of each breast, a side-to-side and topto-bottom view. Freeman said this technology provides a beneficial service for patients who may have denser breast tissue. “Breast tissue can be really dense and obscure cancer,” Freeman said. “This leads to us offering more thorough care for our patients.” Freeman said the technology has been out for years, it’s just taken some time to acquire it. 3-D mammography was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2011. According
STAFF PHOTO BY CAM BONELLI
A Meeker Memorial Hospital technologist positions a silicon test block on the 3D mammography machine. The test block has deposits that mimic tumors or irregular tissue so patients can see how the 3D technology works.
Meeker Memorial Hospital technologist Alex Carlen shows the result from the scan of the test block. The 3D mammography machine takes photos in slices and compiles the images together to create a 3D image. to a study at Lund University, 3-D mammography detected cancerous tissue at a rate of 34 percent more over a period of five years. The study screened more than 15,000 women and found a majority of the infected tumors were invasive cancers.
The practice has grown more popular through its past eight years of existence. In January of 2017, about 3,011 facilities offered tomosynthesis. As of Oct. 1, 2018, there are more than 8,704 facilities of fering these ser vices, with Meeker Memorial as one. The total
number of annual mammography procedures given as of Dec. 1 have equalled more than 39.2 million. To accommo date the new technology, the hospital had to make upgrades to its internet net works within it s facilit y. Freeman said the hospital had to make these improvements to facilitate the data created by the machine and the speed at which it could be transferred. Fo r M e e ke r M e m o r ia l to acquire the technology, more than $105,0 0 0 was given by donors to the Meeker Memorial Foundation. Marc Vaillancourt said these donors came from across the hospital’s service area. “We started this campaign in Aug. 2017,” Vaillancourt said. “Within excess of $106,851 was given to purchase this machine. That speaks to the generousity of the people in this area.
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Above — Anglers lined a pier at Lake Ripley June 15 for the annual Litchfield Police Department fishing tournament.. Inset — The sun sets on a partially frozen Lake Ripley.
ALL ABOARD Recreational opportunities on land and lake
itchfield — the city “On Lake Ripley” as the water tower proclaims — lures residents and visitors to area lakes for fishing, swimming and boating. Whether it’s paddleboarding or simply soaking up the sun, the beach is just one of several places available to residents to enjoy recreation activities. Newest to Lake Ripley is the addition of a splash pad for summer fun, open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. during summer until fall. In addition to active recreational opportunities, Litchfield has a bustling library, a revamped opera house that hosts
plays and open mic nights, and the only authentic Grand Army of the Republic Hall still standing in Minnesota. The G.A.R. Hall, built in 1885, is listed on the National Register of Historical Places and has been preserved as near as possible to its original condition and now houses the Meeker County Historical Society. Residents can also take part in numerous organizations, including many civic groups, lake associations and athletic organizations.
LEISURE ATHLETIC ORGANIZATIONS
Donald Kelm Jr. 920-248-8342 Email: email@example.com Minnesota Gopher State Horseshoe Pitchers Association, Litchfield www.minnesotahorseshoes.com
American Legion Post 104 Baseball 222 N. Sibley Ave., Litchfield 320-693-9074 www.litchfieldblues.com Darwin Drifters Snowmobile Club Katie Riehle 320-224-1720 firstname.lastname@example.org www.facebook.com/darwindrifters Litchfield Baseball Association, Inc. 426 Brown Ave., Litchfield 320-593-8654 www.litchfieldblues.com
VFW Post 2818 Baseball 915 E. U.S. Highway 12, Litchfield 320-593-9064 www.litchfieldblues.com
CLUBS & ORGANIZATIONS American Legion 222 N. Sibley Ave., Litchfield 320-693-9074
Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato Youth Hockey Association www.ldchockey.org Manannah Sno-Blazers Snowmobile Club
STAFF PHOTO BY LOUIE OPATZ
Boy Scouts www.trailblazer.nsbsa.org
The Litchfield Sports Complex, located between the Armory and the high school on Gilman Avenue, features a variety of athletic facilities to play softball, tennis, hockey, basketball, soccer or throw a few horseshoes.
Eastern Star 18 E. Third St., Litchfield 320-693-8213
Eagles Club 3424 389 S. County Highway 34, Litchfield
320-693-9008 www.facebook.com/eagles 3424
FOR PROJECTS OF ANY SIZE CALL LITCHFIELD BUILDING CENTER WE SPECIALIZE IN NEW HOME CONSTRUCTION, REMODELING, DECKS AND OUTDOOR BUILDINGS, COMMERCIAL, AGRICULTURE, CABINETRY, AND MORE!
LITCHFIELD BUILDING CENTER 124 East Commercial Street, Litchﬁeld MN
www.litchfieldbuildingcenter.com • email@example.com
We Have All Sizes, Custom Designed For Your Needs! 40
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LEISURE Friends of the Litchfield Public Library 216 N. Marshall Ave., Litchfield 320-693-7201
Knights of Columbus PJ Casey Council 2029 Website: www.thechurchofstphilip. org/kc
Litchfield Public School Foundation P.O. Box 71, Litchfield www.litchfieldschoolfoundation.org
Girl Scouts www.girlscoutslp.org
Litchfield Area Community Foundation P.O. Box 123, Litchfield
Litchfield Watercade Board P.O. Box 217, Litchfield firstname.lastname@example.org www.watercade.com
Golden Fleece No. 89 Masonic Lodge 18 E. Third St., Litchfield www.mastermason.com/ goldenfleece89 GFWC Women’s Study Club of Litchfield www.gfwcofmn.org Greater Litchfield Opera House Association Inc. N. Marshall Ave., Litchfield 320-535-0829 Email: email@example.com Website: www.litchfieldoperahouse. com Kiwanis 420 N. Gorman Ave., Litchfield Facebook: Kiwanis Club of Litchfield
Litchfield Area Mentorship Program 1000 S. Sibley Ave., P.O. Box 82, Litchfield 320-699-1616 www.lampkinship.org Litchfield Community Theatre 320-693-2354 www.litchfieldcommunitytheatre. org Litchfield Christian Women’s Club Barb Werner 320-693-2504 Litchfield Lions Club 426 N. Sibley Ave., Litchfield 320-693-8735
Litchfield Women’s CommUnity Club Teresa Hankins 320-593-8284 Meeker County Chapter of MN Citizens Concerned for Life Teri Buschette 320-593-2982 Meeker County Dairy Association 33266 700th Ave., Kimball 320-398-6091 Website: www.meekercountyada. yolasite.com Meeker County Fair Board P.O. Box 214, Litchfield
firstname.lastname@example.org www.meekerfair.com Meeker County 4-H 114 N. Holcombe Ave., Litchfield 320-693-5275 Meeker County Historical Society G.A.R. Hall 308 N. Marshall Ave., Litchfield 320-693-8911 email@example.com www.garminnesota.org Meeker County Master Gardeners 114 N. Holcombe Ave., Litchfield 320-693-5275 Ness Church Preservation Foundation 60079 230th St., Litchfield Peanut Butter and Milk Festival P.O. Box 277, Litchfield 320-693-8184 Relay for Life of Meeker County American Cancer Society www.relayforlife.org
320.693.7787 | 60973 Hwy 12 • LitcHfieLd, MN www.stockmensgreenhouse.com
Photo By Robyn Richardson
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Above — Industrial technology teacher John Spanos, right, explains to Minnesota Commissioner of Education Mary Ricker how students in his class at Litchfield High School learn hands-on experiences such as building a house. Inset — Litchfield Community Theatre presents a musical every summer, enlisting the theatrical and musical talents of young and old from throughout the Litchfield area and beyond. Litchfield Community Youth Theatre, a branch of LCT Inc., also presents a musical each spring.
QUALITY OF LIFE A focus on lifelong learning
itchfield offers many educational opportunities that promote lifelong learning. In fact, part of Litchfield School Board’s motto is “to promote a passion for lifelong learning in an open and safe environment.” Litchfield School District, along with School of St. Philip, Early Childhood Family Education and Litchfield Community Education and Recreation, provides students of all ages with a strong academic environment and a variety of opportunities for growth. The Litchfield community shows strong support for school programs and events, such as band and choir concerts, local plays and musicals and athletic events. A source of local pride is the Litchfield High School marching band, which performs a sneak peek of its summer show each spring and a Pie in the Park event every June in Litchfield Central Park. Litchfield also has strong support systems for senior citizens and community members, including senior dining services and other support groups.
‘Litchfield School District, along with School of St. Philip, Early Childhood Family Education and Litchfield Community Education and Recreation, provides students of all ages with a strong academic environment and a variety of opportunities for growth.’
LIVING EDUCATION SCHOOL OF ST. PHILIP Litchfield is served by School of St. Philip, a parochial school for students in preschool through fifth-grade. St. Philipâ€™s School emphasizes a strong academic curriculum in a faith-filled environment and is open to families from all faith traditions. Principal Michelle Kramer can be contacted by phone at 320-693-6283 or email at mkramer@ thechurchofstphilip.org. For more information visit www.thechurchofstphilip.org/school.
LITCHFIELD ISD 465 Litchfield residents are served by Independent School District 465. Litchfield School District is comprised of three schools and a community education program that includes early childhood programs. Litchfield also offers an alternative learning program for students who struggle in the typical high school environment. The district serves about 1,680 students at Lake Ripley Elementary (grades K-4), Litchfield Middle School (grades 5-8), and Litchfield High School (grades 9-12). After serving as interim superintendent as well as principal for Litchfield Middle School, Beckie Simenson was named permanent su-
perintendent halfway through the 2017-18 school year. For more information, visit www.litchfield. k12.mn.us.
DISTRICT OFFICE 3 07 E a s t 6 t h S t r e e t , Litchfield 320-693-2444 Superintendent Beckie Simenson email@example.com Beckie Simenson
LITCHFIELD SCHOOL BOARD Litchfield School District is governed by a six-member board. Three board members are elected to four-year terms every two years during the November general election. The board meets at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Mondays of the month in room 200 of Wagner Education Building, 114 N. Holcombe Ave., Litchfield.
Darrin Anderson Chair
Julie Pennertz Vice Chair
Greg Mathews Clerk 320-693-8642
Marcia Provencher Treasurer
Jesse Johnson Business Manager
320-693-2444, ext. 8105
Chelsea Brown Litchfield Middle School Principal cbrown@Isd465.org 320-693-2441
Craig McKechney Dean of Students cmckechney@ isd465.org
Litchfield High School Principal Jason Michels 901 N. Gilman Ave., Litchfield 320-693-2424
Early Childhood Family Education 307 East 6th Street, Litchfield 320-693-2354
Litchfield Alternative Learning Program Coordinator Tim Mackey 26 West 3rd St. 320-693-0633 firstname.lastname@example.org
COMMUNITY EDUCATION Litchfield Community Education and Recreation Director Rebecca Warpula 307 East 6th Street, Litchfield 320-693-2354
Stephanie Hansen Dean of Students shansen@Isd465.org
FREQUENTLY CALLED NUMBERS Adult Basic Education Instructor Jen Carl 320-535-0395 Business Manager Jesse Johnson 320-693-2444, ext. 8105 Dragons Kids Club 320-699-0041
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Justin Brown High School Activities Director 320-693-2424, ext. 4313 email@example.com Special Education Coordinator Jean Wirz 320-693-2441, ext. 3229 Technology Director Jennifer Ridgeway 320-693-2441, ext. 3164
LIVING SENIOR CITIZENS Throughout this guide there are many programs and activities open to all area residents, including senior citizens. This list, however, is a reminder of some specific programs senior citizens may need or use. AARP 1-800-OUR-AARP (667-2277) Website: www.aarp.org ACC Midwest Transportation — service in Midwestern Minnesota 409 California St. N.W., Hutchinson 320-455-9200 Website: www.accmidwest.com Ecumen of Litchfield 200-218 N. Holcombe Ave., Litchfield 320-693-2430 Website: www.EcumenOfLitchfield. org Emmaus Place Senior Community 200 N. Holcombe Ave., Litchfield 320-693-2430 Website: www.EcumenOfLitchfield. org Gloria Dei Senior Community 218 N. Holcome Ave., Litchfield 320-693-2430 Website: www.EcumenOfLitchfield. org Central Community Transit 812 East Ripley, Litchfield 320-693-7794 Website: http://www.cctbus.org/ Lincoln Apartments for seniors 122 W. Fourth St., Litchfield 320-693-2104 Lutheran Social Services MidMinnesota Senior Dining 11:30 a.m. Monday-Friday Litchfield Civic Arena, 900 N. Gilman Ave., Litchfield 320-693-6318 Website: www.lssmn.org Meeker County Council on Aging 218 N. Holcombe Ave., Litchfield 320-693-2718
Senior LinkAge Line 1-800-333-2433 Care Cab 2600 7th St., St. Cloud, 56303 320-253-7729 Website: www.caretransportation. com Social Security Administration 1-800-772-1213
SUPPORT SERVICES AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) Meets 7:30 p.m. Thursdays Zion Lutheran Church 504 N. Gilman Ave., Litchfield Contact: Scott D 320-693-6787 ARC Arlene Groskreutz 320-693-6967 Gamblers Anonymous Meets 7 p.m. Sundays Meeker Memorial Hospital 612 Sibley Ave., Litchfield Minnesota WorkForce Center — Litchfield 114 N. Holcombe Ave., Litchfield 320-593-1056 Narcotics Anonymous Meets at 7:30 Wednesdays at First Lutheran Church, Litchfield; Meets 7:30 p.m. Fridays at Litchfield Christian Church, Litchfield; Meets 7 p.m. Sundays at First Presbyterian Church, Litchfield United Community Action Partnership 120 N. Sibley Ave., Litchfield 320-693-7911 Litchfield Area Rural Partners in Prevention 114 N. Holcome Ave., Suite 250, Litchfield 320-693-5380
STAFF PHOTO BY SARV MITHAQIYAN
Students hug Ellery Jones after she read “Snowmen at Night” to them. As Litchfield princess, Jones made reading to preschool students part of her volunteer platform for the Miss Litchfield competition. Lutheran Social Services 930 Capwood Ave., Litchfield 320-693-2677 Meeker County Community Homes 504 S. Marshall Ave., Litchfield 320-693-8836 Meeker County Public Health 114 N. Holcombe Ave., Suite 250, Litchfield 320-693-5370
Meeker County Social Services 114 N. Holcombe Ave., Suite 180, Litchfield 320-693-5300 Meeker County Emergency Food Shelf 118 N. Sibley Ave., Litchfield 320-693-7661 New Beginnings 114 N. Holcome Ave., Litchfield 320-693-2461
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Worship Services Sunday Services 8:30 10:15 am am 8:30 and and 10:45 Wednesday 7:00 pm Summer Sunday Service 8:30 and 10:15 am
703 S. Sibley Avenue, Litchfield, MN 55355 320.693.2487
First Evangelical Lutheran Church 48
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504 N. Gilman Ave., Litchﬁeld MN 55355 320-693-3207 www.zionchurch.net ••Like www.ZionLitchfield.org Likeususon onFacebook Facebook
Sunday Worship Services: Sunday Services: 8:30 a.m. a.m. and and 10:45 10:45 a.m. a.m. Education 9:45(For a.m. Education Hour: Hour: 9:45 a.m. All Ages) Wednesday Afternoon Afternoon and Evening Wednesday Evening Activities Activities
Kidsof of the the Kingdom Kids Kingdom Faith Based Preschool Preschool And And Care Child Center Care Child 320-693-7806
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HONORING THE DEPARTED Lake Ripley Cemetery has seen many changes since its inception in 1869 BY DARLENE KOTELNICKI
Ripley Cemetery, also known as Lake Ripley Cemetery, got its start in 1869, when members of the communit y purchased 20 acres east of Lake Ripley for the purposes of a cemetery and organized the “Trustees of the Litchfield Cemetery.” Plots were $3 each. In June 1877, Dr. Noah Ripley’s body was moved to its current location in the Masonic Lodge part of the cemetery. The Ripley Cemeter y was mentioned in a reservation for Brightwood Beach Resort during the 1890s. The city’s famous Octagon Cottage was part of the resort on the south side of Lake Ripley. The unique structure survived and today is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For several summers, people from all parts of Minnesota and as far away as Chicago came to enjoy the outdoors. During this age of culture, several visitors included poems with their reservations. One verse read: THERE WERE NO POWER TOOLS In 1918, part of the cemetery was used for grazing sheep. It was a good arrangement. There was no need to mow the grass, and the wool was sold for an income of $34. In 1918, the Cemetery Association paid H. C. Cropp $1,250 for 5 acres of land. There were no power tools in the 1920s. Mowing the lawn was done with a horse-drawn mowing blade. The Cemetery Association paid Emil Erickson $1 a day, for a 10-hour work day, to mow, and he provided the horse. The Cemetery Association would provide and maintain the mowing blades. It
This view of the Avenue of Flags at Ripley Cemetery was taken by Hazel Sitz of Hutchinson. cost them $21.15 at the Litchfield Machine Shop in June 1928. The cemetery was enlarged again with the purchase of an additional 5 acres of land from L.E. Davis for $1,250 and $3,045 for 12.18 acres of land from Emil Erickson in June 1929. Then the cemetery purchased 56 pounds of flax seed to plant, and the profits from the sale went to the association. From the 1930 receipts, John Esbjornsson was paid 85 cents to repair the monument’s cement work. That year, the going rate for labor or “work on the grounds” was 30 cents an hour. In May 1930, six men put in 709 hours to ready the cemetery for Memorial Day. Mowing followed, and in June, the association paid for 100 hours of mowing. In July, there were 85 hours of mowing. The plots at this time were $15, with $1 for annual care, and $25-$30 for perpetual care. During the Great Depression, the association was almost bankrupt, and the bank was about to foreclose. Shares were sold for $100, and the association was saved. The cemetery association planned well with property acquisitions. Trees were planted along future roads. In 1941, seeds and shrubbery cost the association $65.80. In 1941, an additional 22.18 acres of land was purchased for $5,545.
I’ll come to your community And my wife I will take. If we can walk in your graveyard, And swim in the lake. I n 195 8 , t h e C e m e te r y Association decided to build a crypt on the south side of the cemetery. This building was the first structure in the state to be built using the uni-frame construction method. The building has pre-cast concrete arches, which were made at the Thulin Brothers plant in Litchfield. The arches were cast in sections and joined together. Plans for the all-cement structure were designed by the Portland Cement Company, which had spent several years researching this type of building. The firm hoped this type of construction would be competitive to the steel type of construction buildings that were quite popular. The roof of the structure was also made of precast cement slabs made by the Thulin Brothers. AVENUE OF FLAGS In May 1985, the Avenue of Flags flew for the first time. This avenue included 50 United States flags that lined the road to the center of the cemetery and the Civil War monument. The flags, flying in a light breeze, on a summer day with a blue sky have been the object of many photos.
I n 19 94 , t h e C e m e te r y Association disbanded, and the city of Litchfield took over the cemetery. Lots were $300 each. In 1995 there were 171 cremations, or about 11 percent and by 2000 the number had grown to 201, or about 18 percent. In 1909 a statue to honor “all of the loyal soldiers and sailors of 1861 to 1865” was erected in the cemeter y. Funds were raised by the communit y. In 2007, the Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic decided to renovate it. The refurbished statue was rededicated on Memorial Day 2009. Comments at the rededication were “that his statute is a visual reminder of honor due our veterans of all wars” and that “100 years later we’re here and we’re par t of history.” — Darlene Kotelnicki is a Litchfield City Council member and active with numerous community o r ganizatio n , e sp e cia lly th e Litchfield Downtown Council and Litchfield Heritage Preservation Commission. Staff at the Meeker County Historical Society assisted with research for this article. 2020 | independentreview.net
PUBLIC SCHOOLS Learn, Lead, Succeed
Litchﬁeld Public Schools serve 1575 students on grades E -12. We have four buildings including: Wagner- Early Childhood programs, Community Education and our District Ofﬁces. Lake Ripley Elementary School - serves Kindergarten through grade 4 students. Litchﬁeld Middle School - serves students in grades 5 - 8. Litchﬁeld High School - serves students on grades 9 - 12 as well as our ALP (Area Learning Program). Litchﬁeld Public Schools is a 1:1 district providing students in grades K - 4 iPads and students in grades 6 - 12 macbook airs. We are an A.L.I.C.E. certiﬁed district. ALICE is a researched based approach to reacting to an active intruder situation. LPS has over 27 different athletic and activities for our students including Robotics, FFA, FCCLA, Band, Choir and a host of athletic opportunities. We have a full time SRO (School Resource Ofﬁcer) who teaches DARE and serves as a proactive resource for students, staff and parents. LHS has 10 college in the schools classes that provide students the opportunity to earn 34 college credits while attending High School. We provide 31 C.T.E. (career and technology education) classes for our High Schools students to prepare them for careers in manufacturing and technical ﬁelds. Our Middle School has a comprehensive STEM lab for students. Lake Ripley Elementary School offers a LEO Program (Litchﬁeld Enhanced Opportunities). Lake Ripley Elementary School offers Title 1 service to students in the area of Reading, has a Minnesota Reading Corp instructor and offers a Cribbage Club and Chess Club after school during the school year
“Improving our District, Improving our Community” Alternative Learning Program 340 E. 10th St., Litchfield • 320-693-2424
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Scott Park, president and chief executive officer of Doosan Bobcat, talked about the expansion phase of the Litchfield facility during a commemoration ceremony.
AN EXPANDING BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT Litchfield, area see expansion of workforce and technology
ig thin g s a re ha p p e nin g on the Litchfield business scene, with significant expansions begun in 2019 and continuing in 2020 by several manufacturers, the biggest being First District Association and Doosan Bobcat. And not all business growth had to do with buildings or workforce. Meeker Cooperative made an impressive investment in 2019 when it began to build out its Vibrant Broadband internet service, which aims to provide faster, more reliable access to Meeker County’s rural residents. First Distric t broke ground in September on its massive expansion, which will within two years boost the plant’s processing capability to 7.5 million pounds of milk per day. “This is a monumental deal for First
District,” the cooperative’s CEO Bob Huffman said. “I can tell you it’s a big deal not only for First District, but the dairy industry and the U.S. dairy industry as a whole, especially the Upper Midwest.” Cons truc tion on an expan ded cheese plant, lactose plant and milk intake facility at the Litchfield campus are expected to be completed by spring of 2021, by which time the plant’s intake will rise from about 5 million pounds of milk per day to the targeted 7.5 million pounds. “I can’t say enough of what this means for what our board and our farmer owners have done and the v isi o n t h e y ’ v e h a d f o r u s ,” s a i d Huffman, who was hired in July 2019 as the new CEO, replacing longtime leader Clint Fall, who retired. First District started “when there was a vision by a guy in 1920 that wanted to bring some small creameries together,” Huffman said. Through the next several decades that small cooperative grew to processing 2 million pounds of milk
each day, then to 5 million. And in less than two years, with completion of the latest expansion, the plant will be taking in 7.5 million pounds of milk each day and “turning that into one of the highest quality cheese and protein (products) that come out of this country and go to many other countries …” “ We are making a signif ic ant investment in our future, and this plant shows how our cooperative and our staff are leaders in the industry,” Josh Barka, a rural Litchfield dairy farmer and chairman of the FDA Board of Directors, said. “We have a long tradition of providing a sustainable market for our producers and our members. We have quality products for our growing customers, and a state of the art plant for our future in the industry. Upgrading the infrastructure and replacing aging equipment is critical to maintaining our cooperative.” Litchfield Mayor Keith Johnson praised FDA. “I know the town embraces that this
Business to 57
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MORE HHW DISPOSAL OPTIONS FOR MEEKER Meeker County residents have two options for disposing of Household Hazardous Waste: McLeod County HHW Dropoff & Reuse Center in Hutchinson, AND Kandiyohi County HHW Facility in Willmar. This is a FREE service to Meeker County residents. Contact the facility nearest you for complete list of services, or call the Meeker County Administrator Ofﬁce at 320-693-5200 with any questions.
McLeod County HHW Dropoff & Reuse Center: 1-800-335-0575 or www.co.mcleod.mn.us
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BUSINESS continued from 53
facility is here,” Johnson said. “I am very grateful, and I speak for the constituents of our town, that we have First District Association here and I know that with the ramping up of this wonderful addition … you’re going to be here for a long, long time. I can’t tell you how proud I am.” Doosan Bobcat’s announcement in November of a $26 million expansion is expected to lead to what easily will be the single-largest job creation project in the city’s history. The expansion plan, which is expected to create another 200 jobs at the Litchfield plant, follows an increasing demand for Bobcat to grow its line of compact equipment and attachments, the company said. Bobcat officials boasted during a commemorative event to announce the expansion that significant economic advantage will emerge once the project is complete and operational. “This facility is going to be the largest attachment facility that we have in all of Doosan Bobcat,” said Scott Park, president and chief executive officer of Doosan Bobcat. “So we’ll have a lot of new attachments coming out of here. We’re going to be developing — actually creating more attachments to be able to make our products even more productive, and having this facility will enable us to expand that portfolio.” The Litchfield Bobcat facility pro duces b ucket s , augers , snowplows and other attachments that go on Bobcat excavators and loaders sold throughout North America. “It’s really, really important that Litchfield is a town that’s been picked by a global leader like Bobcat,” Mayor Johnson said, “to come out here and expand in a huge way. And to bring so many new employees to our community. Not only does our town benefit, but Meeker County, McLeod County, Kandiyohi County and Stearns County benefit.” Construction is expected to be completed by September 2020. The project will modernize the production facility — adding new
paint lines, a climate-controlled e nv iro n m e nt , a s s e m b l y lin e upgrades and other features. The project will triple the size of the facility from 60,000 to 200,000 square feet. Meeker Cooperative CEO Tim Mergen said the cooperative began looking at its Vibrant Broadband project back in 2016, and credited the board of directors for backing it. “They’re the ones that took the big risk to go ahead and say, ‘yeah, let’s go ahead and move this project forward,’” Mergen said. “They did what the board of directors did 84 years ago when the co-op was formed to bring electricity out to the area we now serve electricity to. it was a great big leap of faith then, it was a leap of faith now.” The lack of high-speed internet is an issue in many areas of the state, with some surveys indicating that one in five rural homes lack access to the service. Meeker Cooperative looks to change that in its service area, which includes Meeker and parts of McLeod, Kandiyohi, Stearns, Wright and Renville counties, with its plan to install a fiber optic backbone, connecting its 14 substations throughout the county to provide Vibrant Broadband. Darwin and Dassel were the first towns in the service area to receive the new technology on July 1, 2019. It is expected to take about two years to complete countywide connections. But it’s the start that many have been looking for – not just in Meeker County, but throughout the state, and even the nation. State Rep. Dean Urdahl, in an interview after the dedication, said the Legislature has been working on broadband connectivity for a few years. But Meeker Cooperative’s decision not to wait for the Legislature to lead the way, and to begin building out the internet infrastruc ture on it s own is impressive — but perhaps not all that unusual given the co-op’s history. “They are pioneers in this type of development,” Urdahl said. “The first all-electric farm in the country was here. This again plays up the forward-thinking people here and people connected with Meeker Co-op.”
LOCAL MEDIA Litchfield Independent Review Published every Wednesday and available online at w w w. i n d e p e n d e n t r e v i e w. n e t . To subscribe to the newspaper or to advertise in it, call 320-6933266, stop at the office at 217 N. Sibley Ave. or e-mail news@ independentreview.net. KLFD-AM 1410/FM 95.9 The local radio station, KLFDAM 1410/FM 95.9, offers local news, as well as state and national headlines. The office is at 234 N. Sibley Ave. For information, call 320-693-3281 or go online to www.klfd1410.com.
STAFF PHOTO BY BRENT SCHACHERER
Gov. Tim Walz “high-fives” former Rural Utilities Service administrator Ken Johnson during Meeker Cooperative’s “ribbon cutting” ceremony for its Vibrant Broadband service. The ceremony had the two dignitaries lifted skyward in buckets to light a Vibrant Broadband logo positioned on a telecommunications tower just outside the co-op’s headquarters. 2020 | independentreview.net
34 Cottonwood Ave. Terrace View Dr. Ames Ave. Maplewood Ave.
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BUSINESS DIRECTORY AGRICULTURAL SERVICE & SUPPLIES
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Schlauderaff Implement Co. 60240 U.S. Highway 12 Litchfield, MN 55355 320- 693-7277 schlauderaffimplement.com
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CHURCHES/WORSHIP First Evangelical Lutheran Church 703 South Sibley Ave Litchfield, MN 55355 320-693-2487 firstlitchfield.org
Immanuel Lutheran Church 175 W 11th St Litchfield, MN 55355 320-693-6155
United Methodist Church 1000 S Sibley Ave Litchfield, MN 55355 320-693-3409 umclitchfield.org
Office Located in the Wagner Building 307 E 6th Street Suite 110 320-693-2354 320-593-6528 FAX litchfieldcommunityed.com
Zion Lutheran Church
Litchfield Area Mentorship Program
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Dassel Area Historical Society
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901 1st St. N. Dassel, MN 55325 320-275-3077 dasselhistorycenter.org
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MARKETPLACE FUEL/ PROPANE Dooley’s Litchfield Oil & Propane 61448 US-12 Litchfield, MN 55355 320-693-2411
GOVERNMENT & CIVIC GROUPS City of Litchfield
126 Marshall Ave. N. Litchfield, MN 55355 320-693-7201 ci.litchfield.mn.us
Litchfield Chamber of Commerce 219 N Sibley Ave Litchfield, MN 55355 320-693-8184 litch.com
Litchfield Visitors Bureau 219 N. Sibley Ave. Litchfield, MN 55355 320-693-8184
Meeker County Council On Aging 218 N Holcombe Ave Litchfield, MN 55355 320-693-2718 care.com
Meeker County Administrator Office 325 North Sibley Avenue Litchfield, MN 55355 320-693-5200 co.meeker.mn.us
Meeker County EDA 325 N Sibley Ave Litchfield, MN 55355 320-693-5272 meekercodevcorp.com
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Meeker Memorial Hospital 612 South Sibley Avenue Litchfield, MN 55355 320-693-4500 meekermemorial.org
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Farm Bureau- Kevin Christoffers 112 North Sibley Avenue Litchfield, MN 55355 320-593-0601 kevinchristoffers.com
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REAL ESTATE Ed Olson Agency
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RE/MAX Today’s Properties 309 N Sibley Ave Litchfield, MN 55355 320-693-8007 MaxTodaysProperties.com
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KMG & Co. Hair & Nail Salon
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