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Waseca celebrates with Sleigh and Cutter's 70th consecutive annual parade

The 70th annual Sleigh and Cutter parade worked through the cold on Saturday, Feb. 8.

Not once has the parade been cancelled, even due to weather, making it the longest consecutive running parade of its kind in the nation, according to the Sleigh and Cutter organizers. The 2020 parade was announced by Scott Roemhildt of the Sleigh & Cutter Committee.

Bailey Grubish / By BAILEY GRUBISH bgrubish@wasecacountynews.com 

Scott Roemhildt of the Sleigh & Cutter Committee announcing the parade to the crowd.

Starting from the Waseca County Fairgrounds the parade of sleds and carriages pulled by horses headed toward State St. where a crowd awaited.

Larry Hall, parade wrangler, kept the units on track and moving throughout. This year’s parade had about 29 units with 12 different breeds of horses on display along with royalty. These units came from all over the state with most from Southern Minnesota.

The Carver County Sheriff’s Mounted Posse were a part of it, along with the Waseca County Sheriff’s Posse.

Bailey Grubish / By BAILEY GRUBISH bgrubish@wasecacountynews.com 

The Carver County Sheriff’s Posse at the 70th annual Sleigh and Cutter Parade in Waseca. (Bailey Grubish/Waseca County News)

The Law Enforcement Memorial Association, LEMA, was the Grand Marshalls of the parade. This group followed the Sheriff Posse’s.

On some of the units, local businesses were represented as sponsors, some were avid riders and some of the units were also antique carriages.

One of the antique carriages displayed in the parade was an old bus that demonstrated how students got to school and stayed warm. The announcer of the parade shared that some of the buses would have stoves to keep the passengers warm.

Bailey Grubish / By BAILEY GRUBISH bgrubish@wasecacountynews.com 

The antique school bus that kids used to take to school to show how they would stay warm and get there.

Also in the procession were two carriages filled with royalty. In the first carriage was the newly crowned Miss Waseca County Sleigh and Cutter Teen Caylie Blowers accompanied by Miss Waseca County Sleigh and Cutter Sally O’Brien, Miss South Central’s Outstanding Teen Whitni Minton and other title holders from around the area.

Bailey Grubish / By BAILEY GRUBISH bgrubish@wasecacountynews.com 

Miss Waseca County Sleigh and Cutter Teen Caylie Blowers 2020 (left) and Miss Waseca County Sleigh and Cutter 2019 Sally O’Brien (right).

The second carriage held Miss Irish Rose 2019 Emilie Adamek and her attendants along with other title holders.

Following the carriages filled with royalty was Miss Teen Rodeo Minnesota, Samantha Sansevere, on her own horse. This is the first time this title has appeared in the Sleigh and Cutter parade.

Bailey Grubish / By BAILEY GRUBISH bgrubish@wasecacountynews.com 

Miss Teen Rodeo Minnesota, Samantha Sansevere.

The parade finished with the units looping back to give the crowd a second look at the sleighs and carriages before heading back to the fairgrounds.

Later that day snowmobile races took place on Clear Lake near the Boat House Grill and Bar with the curling Bonspiel still happening after beginning at 8 a.m. that morning.

In the coming weeks, there are more events taking place for Sleigh and Cutter.

On Saturday, Feb. 15, there will be cross country skiing at the Waseca Court House park, starting at 1 p.m. The annual vintage snowmobile show/ride/radar run will take off at 11 a.m. from the front of the Boat House Grill and Bar. At the Mill there will be a bean bag tournament starting at 11 a.m.

New this year to finish the day at 7 p.m. there will be fireworks over Clear Lake with the Explore MN sign #Only in MN on the ice for people to get photos with. This is the first time the sign has been on the ice and with fireworks.

The Waseca Sno-Secas club ride will be on Sunday, Feb. 16 starting at 11 a.m. from the Boat House Grill and Bar.

For more information on the remaining Sleigh and Cutter events that run through February 29 and the final event on March 28 check out the Sleigh and Cutter Facebook page or Sleighandcutterfeastifal.org.

Linda Grant honored with the 2020 Don Eustice Community Service award

Linda Grant was surprised at the Waseca Area Chamber of Commerce Community Awards banquet when she was named the Don Eustice Community Service recipient.

Each year, the Waseca Area Chamber of Commerce recognizes someone with this award, which is one of seven given at the banquet and is the only one kept a secret until that night.

“If there is a task that needs action, she will see that it gets done; with nary a thought otherwise,” previous winner Gloria Butler said of Grant.

On the night of the Community Awards, Grant was unaware she would be receiving the honor. She recalls Duane Rathmann, the previous 2019 winner, was speaking about the new winner of the award. He shared this person had lived in Waseca most of their life but was not born here. This didn’t alert Grant, as she knows many people have moved here.

Rathmann continued on about Farmamerica and the History Center, and as she was looking around the room, wondering who it could be, he mentioned this mystery person was a hospice director. This comment is what clued her in on being the 2020 recipient.

“Jane (Dunn) had asked me a couple years ago ‘do you think you will ever win that award’ and I said ‘no I have not done nearly enough,’” Grant said. “I still don’t feel that way. It was a huge surprise. It’s a great honor. I was just very touched and I’ll just keep doing what I do.”

Grant has lived in the Wasea area for many years, having grown-up in Janesville, spending her time working and volunteering. Once she was back in Waseca, after moving away to Florida for 10 years, the first thing she got involved in was training to be a hospice volunteer before becoming the hospice director later on.

“The hospice volunteering and administration was 13 years of the best education anybody could have asked for,” Grant said. “I learned so much about families and relationships and how death should be as celebrated as a birth. It was just an incredible experience for me and the massage peice it kind of piggybacks on that because the part about hospice that I enjoyed the most was the bereavement…”

Through Healing Hands Grant has been able to continue to help with stress issues and grieving through massage.

“I wish everyone could have that hospice experience…,” Grant said. “There’s no right or wrong thing to say it’s just about your presence.”

Along with volunteering with hospice and being the director, fundraising and training the volunteers, she also started a respite program and a lifeline program through the Waseca Mayo Clinic Health System. The respite program is for chronically ill people with training for volunteers who would give caregivers breaks to run errands or for personal matters.

Through the lifeline program Grant would install lifelines for people. She did this for a few years before she became the hospice director.

When she retired from being the hospice director she left without an idea of what to do with her life. This was when, her now business partner, Jane Dunn approached Grant about going to massage school. When Grant finished they opened Healing Hands in Waseca in 2002.

“I’m a Reiki practitioner and Reiki master and the precepts of Rieke begin with just for today,” Grant said. “From working in hospice I know that we don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring so just for today, living in the present moment is so important. There really is no reason to be so stressed.”

Along with her volunteering and work in the health field she was on the Waseca Area Foundation Board when it was first starting, fundraising consultation at Farmamerica as well as recently retiring from the Waseca Historical Society board. She is currently the Friends of the Library chair on the board and a Waseca Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassador.

Waseca Public School District Superintendent Tom Lee to retire

The Waseca School Board accepted Waseca Public School District Superintendent Tom Lee’s letter of resignation at the Thursday, Jan. 23 meeting.

Lee will be retiring as of June 30, 2020.

“I have had a 40 year career in education,” Lee said. “Serving as Waseca’s superintendent has been the greatest honor of my career. It just feels like a good time to retire. The district has made great progress and is positioned for even greater things. I will miss all the people in Waseca Schools and in this community, but our granddaughters are Bluejays. So my wife and I plan to spend great amounts of time watching them grow up in this wonderfully supportive community.”

With the announcement of his retirement, the board has hired (Harold Remme and Ed Waltman with South Central Service Coop) to run the new superintendent search process. The first step in the search process will be to develop a profile of the next leader, according to a press release from the school district.

To do so, the consultants will hold meetings with individual Board members and staff. The community is invited to a Community Input Meeting next Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 6:30 p.m. in the School Board Room (2nd floor Central Building).

The district is also inviting interested individuals to complete a google survey. Interviews of candidates will occur the week of March 16. Finalist interviews, including a community interview, will occur the week of March 23.

You can find more specific information on the district website.

Waseca High School Mock Trial teaches students the legal system

The Waseca High School Mock Trial season came to an end with changes coming for next season.

Mock Trial, often referred to as Law Team, receives the case for each season in November with competitions starting in January and running through February with state and nationals running later. This team allows students the opportunity to work on a case that is based on real facts.

For competitions, the students compete against other schools portraying lawyers and witnesses and try an entire case from beginning to end. All law teams across the nation work on the same case all season.

“Law Team season provides our students with a great opportunity to experience the details of a specific case and the many aspects of how a case is presented in court,” Social Studies teacher and Law Team coach John Hanson said.

“Our kids do a great job of learning and growing throughout the season. That is due in large part to the volunteer efforts of our three Attorney Coaches. We are especially grateful for the nine plus years that Karie Anderson has devoted to WHS Mock Trial and wish her well as she moves to her new position as Rice County Judge.”

Throughout the competition season, students learn how to question witnesses, cross examine witnesses, present evidence and proper objections.

“Mock trial kids are amazing,” Coach Karie Anderson said. “They essentially become lawyers and witnesses and try an entire case from beginning to end.”

Anderson continued to say they learn more in the short time period of their season than most attorneys do in law school. Mock Trial is an official Minnesota State Bar Association sponsored activity.

For competition season, each school has the same materials, but their presentation of the case can be quite different, with differing themes of the case, questions for the witnesses and a particular focus for each side, according to Anderson.

Each competition is a unique experience.

This year was a criminal case — a murder case involving opioids. Each year, the MSBA provides the teams with case materials. They alternate between criminal cases and civil cases. The materials are generally just vague enough that there is no clear cut winner on either side.

This makes for some interesting arguments all around.

They could be arguing for the defendant one competition and as the prosecutor at the next. This allows the students to really know the case and to present and argue it differently each time. While it is a competition students are able to learn the legal process as well as learn from other teams on how they approached the case.

Each competition there are typically three judges with one acting as the presiding judge just like the judge would in an actual trial.

For Waseca’s last home competition, Waseca County Attorney Rachel Cornelius was the presiding judge.

“I have enjoyed being a Mock Trial judge for most of 13 years now,” Cornelius said. “It always impresses me how these high school kids can master a case and present from both the prosecution and defense standpoints to the level of competition that they do. I am amazed by the level of professionalism by the students in their demeanor, questions, aptitude and ability to think quickly on their feet for arguments.”

Senior Law Team member Isaiah Perrizo spoke of how much he enjoyed being a part of the Law Team all four years of his high school career.

“I joined Law Team because my mom recommended it to me and I’ve always thought lawyers were cool,” Perrizo said. “I watched a lot of cop shows growing up...so I always found it interesting. I just stuck with it every year because I’ve enjoyed listening so much. It’s definitely a blast, I would always choose law team. I love this stuff too much.”

His final season, he was able to be a lawyer for the prosecution.

The coaches for the team are Hanson, Rusty Hardeman, Associate Attorney at Patton Hoversten and Berg, Jesse Jennings an Assistant Waseca County Attorney and Karie Anderson, a Partner at PHB.

These coaches help guide the students with the case for competition as well as answer questions about their futures. After about nine years, Anderson will be leaving the team. She has been appointed as a Rice County District Court Judge.

“Unfortunately this was my last season as a mock trial coach,” Anderson said. “I believe this marks nine years, although it’s been so much fun I have a hard time keeping track. I have loved working with the mock trial team over the years. They have helped me keep current on my own trial skills and I learn so much from them. I know I am leaving the returning students in good hands with the returning coaches Rusty Hardeman and Jesse Jennings. My time in Waseca is ending in March when I will become a Rice County District Court Judge.”

Though Anderson is departing, she feels she is leaving the team in the capable hands of the other coaches.