Tuesday, August, 21, 2012 www.bloomingprairieonline.com • $1
The Vol. 120, No. 9
Protecting our children Steele County News/Page B1 Serving
Blooming Prairie and the
Four-County Area since 1893
Steele County’s Only Community Weekly Newspaper
New emergency notification system for Steele Co.
Record crowd attends 2012 fair
By DENNIS OTTOSEN County Writer A new emergency alert system called Everbridge went into effect for Steele and Rice counties on Friday. Compared to the old system, Everbridge can alert more people, faster, in the case of an emergency. Mike Johnson, Owatonna fire chief, said during times of emergency citizens are looking for information and with this system it will be readily available. “We feel that it’s going to be more efficient in putting out emergency notifications faster in our community,” Johnson said. “Our mission is to save lives and property,” Johnson said. “With this system that’s our goal.” The system is easier to use as well, giving officials the ability to activate the system remotely from handheld device like a cell phone or iPads. “You don’t have to be in the 911 center to send out an immediate message if there’s a threat to a person or property within Rice and Steele counties,” Boyer said. To receive alerts residents of Steele and Rice counties must go online and submit their cell phone, landline, email, work phone, or school phone to be contacted during an alert. Tim Boyer, administrator of the Rice – Steele 911 Center, encouraged everyone to sign up for the new alert system. He said the system allows a person to register to get alerts for up to five locations. “The system is only as good as the data that’s put in,” Boyer said. “The hope is that majority of constituents in both counties provide data for the system.” The new system involves five entities: the sheriff ‘s offices in Steele and Rice counties as well as Faribault, Northfield and Owatonna police.
EMERGENCY Continued on Page A4
By RICK BUSSLER Publisher
Times photo by Rick Bussler Current Steele County Fair president Corky Ebeling, left, is consoled by a fair concession worker during a memorial service for longtime fair manager Elmer Reseland. Reselend passed away just hours after making sure the 2012 Steele County Fair was in good hands for another successful season.
Well-respected legend passes away during Steele County Fair By RICK BUSSLER Publisher Sadness filled the air midway through last week’s Steele County Free Fair in Owatonna as one of the fair’s greatest icons ever passed away just hours after making sure the fair was in good hands for another successful season. Elmer Reseland, 76, who was the manager of the fair for 18 years until last October, died at his home in Owatonna. Even though he had retired, Reseland was still active in this year’s fair as he ran the carnival operations for the fair board.
The fair observed a moment of silence in Reseland’s honor Saturday afternoon. The midway shut down rides and concessionaires were asked to stand in front of their stands while an announcement boomed across the public address system at 3:30 p.m. The concessionaires placed a wreath on the flag pole in Fair Square in his memory. On Friday, Reseland had just taken a photograph with the fair board around 2:30 p.m. He had left for home to take a nap and died just hours later in his sleep. “It is a sad day for all of us. It’s unbelievable,” said Todd Hale, publicity director for the fair and longtime friend of Reseland’s. “He put his life into this fair. He is just a
legend statewide,” he said. Darrell Hansen, who is the general manager of Frontier Communications and one of the fair’s many vendors, was shocked to find out about the passing of Reseland during the fair. “It just broke my heart,” Hansen said. “He is a legend and pillar of this fair.” Hansen said Reseland went to great lengths to make sure all vendors were satisfied and well taken care of. “He had such a caring personality and a concern to make sure everyone was happy.”
Bikers and Buddy Bears in Blooming Prairie
RESELAND Continued on Page 3A
United Way kick-off event announced The 2012 United Way campaign kick-off will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 28 in Blooming Prairie. The event will take place at the Pizza Cellar from 6 to 8 p.m. US Bank in Blooming Prairie and Owatonna is this year’s corporate campaign leader. Bank president Corey Mensink and branch manager Katie Smith have been tapped from US Bank to lead the campaign. Locally, the United Way supports approximately 20 programs through funding provided in part by the annual campaign. The Boys & Girls Club of Blooming Prairie is a United Way recipient, as are Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Southern Minnesota, the Steele
Times photo by Troy Thompson Members of the Flatlanders motorcycle club presented the Blooming Prairie Fire Department, Police and Ambulance with teddy bears as part of the ‘Buddy Bears’ program. The program provides the bears to injured children during emergency responses to assist in helping them through an incident. A.B.A.T.E. Minnesota and the Flatlanders have been providing the bears for more than 20 years. The presentation was held after the club’s Buddy Bear run on Saturday, Aug. 18. Representing Blooming Prairie’s emergency services, with the teddy bears, from left: David Wradislavsky, Rick Hansen, Nola Wradislavsky and Jake Peterson. Dan Bye and Michele Legried presented the bears on behalf of the Flatlanders.
Home of the Awesome Blossoms!
The biggest reunion in the state of the union just a little bigger. This year’s Steele County Free Fair set yet another all-time record attendance. The six-day fair attracted an estimated crowd of 321,926, according to fair manager Jim Gleason. The attendance was up about 5 percent from the previous year, clipping a record of 306,000 set in 2011. Gleason attributed this year’s record to ideal weather and the fair’s new midway. “We had perfect weather for the entire fair,” he said. “It was picture perfect.” Even though Mega Ride ticket sales were down slightly, the overall carnival sales were up by more than 20 percent. The midway finished with an increase of $18,000 in revenue over 2011. Gleason said many people commented about how good the carnival was this year. Fair officials hired Gold Star Amusements of Minneapolis for the first time and expanded the size of the midway by 20 percent. The increased carnival sales “pointed out the fact that we did our homework and picked the right carnival,” Gleason said. Because of the success achieved with Gold Star, the fair has extended its contract with the carnival through 2014, Gleason said. Fairgoers, he said, enjoyed the new look of the beer garden.“The outside canopy was a big hit,” Gleason said. “People liked it because they could visit more.”
County Crisis Resource Center and Food Shelf. This is United Way’s 125th year of their annual fund-raising campaign. The leadership and support organization currently boasts approximately 1,800 community-based chapters in 45 countries and territories. United Way is celebrating 125 years with a LIVE UNITED campaign. This year’s United Way goal is to raise $750,00 in support of programs like those mentioned, and many more. The public is invited to attend the kick-off event and enjoy free pizza and live entertainment by the Tuition Daddies. The Steele County Block Party kick-off event is free.