Saturday was all about bikes – and a benefit

MLPD hosts bicycle education, community bike ride; MLAF holds fundraising benefit dinner at Jubilee Market and Peacemeals



mountain lake area foundation




Saturday, April 9 in Mountain Lake was filled with bikes – and a benefit.

In the morning, the Mountain Lake Police Department (MLPD) hosted a bicycle education program in the Mountain Lake Public School cafeteria. MLPD Officer Emily Mathiowetz and MLPD Chief of Police Doug Bristol conducted the classroom session. The duo had on display the department’s new bicycle that will hit the streets beat this summer.

In addition, bike helmets were distributed to all the kids attending, along with numbered City of Mountain Lake bicycle identification stickers.

Following the training, a total of 18 bikes were readied to be handed out through a drawing. Three of the bicycles are refurbished two-wheelers courtesy of the City of Mountain Lake, while 15 were distributed through the Free Bikes 4 Kidz program. Free Bikes 4 Kidz originated as the brainchild of Terry Esau of Minneapolis, a native of Mountain Lake, and were made available through the Mountain Lake Area Foundation (MLAF). Free Bikes 4 Kidz is a nonprofit organization geared toward helping all kids ride into a happier, healthier childhood by providing bikes to those most in need. The public donates gently used bikes, we organize thousands of volunteers to clean and refurbish them, and then we give them away to kids in need. Free Bike 4 Kidz began in 2008 giving away 300 bikes, last year – 5,000 bikes, this year – who knows. In the last seven years,over 25,000 bikes have rolled through their giveaways – and they are not done yet. The idea behind the organization is currently beginning to spread to other locations across the United States – and even the world, setting up “shop” in Bogota, Colombia. The distribution in Mountain Lake is its first in Minnesota outside the Twin Cities metro area.  As Esau explains, ” Every year, 25 million bikes are sold in the United States. One-third of those bikes are 20” wheel-size, or smaller. Since kids grow like weeds, over 8 million bikes are virtually outgrown each year. Endless supply. Sustainability.”

Bikes 4 Kidz sponsors include Allina Health, Mall of America, Periscope, Metro Transit, Nice Ride Minnesota, Park Tool, Penn Cycle & Fitness, QBP, Quantum Graphics and Snow Communications Inc.

Twelve bikes were dispersed, with six more set to be awarded at an in-school bicycle safety lyceum next week.

In the afternoon, a Community Bike Ride was held. Mountain Lake Mayor Mike Nelson led one group of bikers around the Mountain Lake Bike Route, while Esau and Chief Bristol set the pace for another group to pedal around Mountain Lake on the Mountain Lake Trail. On the bicyclists return to the starting point – Mountain Lake City Park – participants received some lemonade, a banana and a bag of Pop’d Kerns.

This summer, the MLPD will be continuing its focus on bicycle safety and safe bicycling. The department has a number of free ice cream coupons to Sweet Field with which they will “ticket” bikers following safety rules.

They also have additional events lined up for June.

The first is a Bike Rodeo for grade school children on Saturday, June 4, in the parking lot of the Cornerstone Bible Church, located at the corner of Prince Street and 11th Street North. The Okoboji Expedition Company will be on hand to do safety inspections and make minor adjustments to bicycles. Inspections will begin at 9 a.m., and the rodeo will follow at 10 a.m. Bike helmets will be given away to all participants of the rodeo while the supply lasts.

On the following Thursday, June 9, the MLPD will host its inaugural Group Bike Ride around the lake. All interested riders (of any age) should meet at the Mountain Lake City Park gazebo at 10 a.m. Bicycle helmets must be worn in order to be able to participate.

These programs of the MLPD have been made possible through a grant from the MLAF.

Saturday evening, the MLAF held a fundraising benefit fine dining experience at Jubilee Market and Peacemeals. The group is working to raise $3,000 to match funds to be received from the Southwest Initiative Foundation’s (SWIF) Challenge Grant. They have until June 30 to acquire the monies. SWIF is a single connection created to process many gifts and grants, organize and support community leaders, invest in business and provide business lending, help businesses grow and improve and share southwest Minnesota stories and promote the region. The MLAF is organized as an affiliate of SWIF. The funds from this grant will be added to the MLAF Endowment Fund.

Jubilee Market and Peacemeals is an addition to Steve and Judy Harder’s original Jubilee Fruits and Vegetables. Jubilee Fruits and Vegetables LLC began five years ago as a small CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) farm. Peacemeals is located in the new Jubilee Market building.

Speaking at the event will be Esau, along with Judy Harder. Josh Raabe of Mountain Lake, a senior at Mountain Lake Christian (MLC) presented his sub-section and Section 2A championship Humorous speech, a cutting from The 25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee by Rachel Sheinkin. Raabe will bring his entry to the Minnesota State Class A Speech Meet to be held this coming Friday at Lakeville North Public High School. Three vocal selections from Senior High Choir members from Mountain Lake Public High School (MLHS) were shared. Lily Kauffman and Jareya Harder presented a duet, followed by a solo from Kauffman. A second duet was sung by Signey Stoesz and Carmen Syverson, with Stoesz accompanying the selection on guitar.

A silent auction kickoff will be held in conjunction with the meal, with bids accepted on remaining auction items that will be on display in Mountain Lake City Hall beginning on Monday, April 11. The auction will run until 4 p.m. on Friday, April 29, at which time the winning bidders will be notified.

Following is a listing of the silent auction items:

Silent Auction Items

Bike the Mountain Lake Bike Route with Minnesota State District 22B Representative Rod Hamilton.

+ Bike or run the Mountain Lake Trail with Mountain Lake Mayor Mike Nelson.

+ Minnesota Wild – gift pack. ($50 value).

+ Everyone has a story to tell; tell your story on Cross-Counties Connect.

+ Five hours of science and/or math tutoring with Wade Nelson.

+ St. Paul Saints – two reserved tickets to be used during May or June.

+ Autographed book by Amy Klobuchar, “The Senator Next Door.”

Autographed 8 x 10 photograph of the Minnesota Vikings’ Cordarrelle Patterson.

+ Mountain Lake Early Childhood Initiative (ECI) – gift basket for kids.

+ Mankato Moondogs – four tickets to be used during the 2016 season and two baseball caps. ($51 value).

+ City of Mountain Lake/Island View Campground – one (1) two-night stay and one (1) three-night stay.

Peterson Thrifty White Drug and Gifts – gift basket.

Our Hometown Cafe – four (4) free Sunday buffets.

+ Red Brick Inn – one-night stay ($150 value), based on availability (expires 12-31-16)

+ Lisa’s Sweet Treats (Lisa Larson) – each month for 12 months, receive a box of treats, cookies, cupcakes or candies. (Approximately $150 value.)

+ Progressive Chiropractic – gift basket.

+ The Good Samaritan Society of Mountain Lake – gift basket.

+ Mountain Lake Antiques (Tammy Engstrom) – consultation and appraisal for an estate sale within a 20-mile radius. ($100 value) The $100 that saves you $100s.

Pop’d Kerns –  variety box of product flavors.

Jubilee Market & Peacemeals – 10 loaves of bread.

+ Maynard’s Foods – two (2) $25 gift certificates.

+ Mountain Lake Floral – a carnation a month for 12 months.

Sweet Fields – 30 ice cream cone coupons.

+ Pow Wow Grande Parade Committee – recognized raffle winner eligible to ride through Pow Wow Grande Parade.

Salon 310 – 2 haircuts ($21 each) and one (1), 30-minute massage ($35 value).

John Oeltjenbruns – ride around Mountain Lake on his blue motorized vehicle. (passenger can’t be in excess of 250 pounds.)

Country Pride Cooperative Services (True Value Hardware) – $25 gift certificate.

10,000 Villages – gift card.

+ Town’s Edge Auto -gift basket.

+ Paradise Cove/Marny Carrison – one (1) haircut ($17 value).

+ Minnesota Twins/Tony Oliva – 8 x 10 photo of a print of artwork by artist, Karl Jaeger that features some of the most celebrated players in Twin history, and is autographed by retired Twins player and coach, Tony Oliva.

About the MLAF

The MLAF is a 501 (c) (3), and was established in 1996 to attract and administer charitable funds for the benefit of the Mountain Lake Community. It is a permanent resource for the community and provides leadership and financial resources in the form of grants, to meet the needs and economic and social growth of the community.

Over the past 10 years, the MLAF has disbursed more than $300,000 in funds to various entities, including the Mountain Lake Ambulance Squad, the Mountain Lake Public School track and field, the public school marching band, Heritage Village, Early Childhood Family Education, Mountain Lake Public School indoor swimming pool, Mountain Lake Community Loaves and Fishes Food Shelf, the local medical clinic, the Mountain Lake Police Department, etc.)

The MLAF sports five funds:

+ Project Fund – A non-endowed fund used to raise money for capital projecs withing hte community, as directed by the MLAF Board of Directors.

+ Brad Behrends Memorial Fund – A non-endowed fund established to support the community through scholarships and other grant distributions.

+ Foundation for Education Fund – A non-endowed fund that benefits both the public and private school systems in the area.

+ Harder Family Fund – Advised by family members, an endowed and non-endowsed fund created to benefit southwest Minnesota (including Mountain Lake).

+ Healthcare Fund – A fund established to support healthcare in the community from infants to the elderly, often in proactive forms.

The MLAF Board of Directors includes:

+ Chair Wade Nelson.

+ Treasurer Tim Swoboda.

+ Secretary Misty Karschnik.

+ Sharron Hanson.

+ Vern Peterson.

+ Brian Harder.

+ Joyce Bucklin.

+ Pat Weir.

+ Kris Langland.

Below is a photo gallery from the day’s activities:



bikes 1
AT THE BICYCLE education program on Saturday morning, April 9, in the Mountain Lake Public School cafeteria, Mountain Lake Police Department Officer Emily Mathiowetz, left, presented the powerpoint educational lesson. She was later joined by Mountain Lake Chief of Police Doug Bristol, right, who shared about the department’s newest addition, a bicycle that will hit the streets beat soon.



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A LINE-UP of the refurbished bikes given away to young Mountain Lake bicyclists courtesy of Free Bikes 4 Kidz.



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TERRY ESAU, RIGHT, a Mountain Lake native, currently of Mountain Lake, an Free Bikes 4 Kidz originator, assists Aayla Radtke, left, in fitting a bike just to her size.



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FORTY-EIGHT BICYCLE helmets are available for the protection of young bike riders, courtesy of the Mountain Lake Police Department, courtesy of a grant from the Mountain Lake Area Foundation. Additional helmets will be handed out a the police department’s June 4 Bike Rodeo. Above, Terry Esau, left, checks to make sure that Reiha Eiynk’s helmet fits just right.



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MOUNTAIN LAKE POLICE Department Officer Emily Mathiowetz, kneeling right, adds the name of Jordan Siharath, left, to the City of Mountain Lake’s bike registration.



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THAVIEN “TIDO” SAYACHAK was the recipient of the #001 – the first – bicycle registration sticker, purchased and distributed by the Mountain Lake Police Department. The stickers were purchased as part of grant monies from the Mountain Lake Area Foundation. The hope is that, with the bicycle sticker registration, “lost” bikes that are found can be returned to their owners. According to Chief Bristol, each year approximately 10 “orphan” bikes are discovered around the city.



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DESPITE THE STRONG, gusty winds and cool temps, the Community Bike Ride rolled on Saturday afternoon. Above, Mountain Lake Mayor Mike Nelson, right, leads the charge as the bikers head out on the Mountain Lake Bike Route.



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TAKING A LONGER route – around the lake on the Mountain Lake Trail – was the goal of these bicyclists, with Mountain Lake Chief of Police Doug Bristol, left and Terry Esau, center right, in the front.



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WHEN THE BIKERS returned to Mountain Lake City Park’s shelter house, they were greeted with a snack of Pop’d Kerns, a banana and lemonade. Serving up the lunch were Mountain Lake Area Foundation Chair Wade Nelson, left and Mountain Lake Area Foundation Secretary Misty Karschnik, right.



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EVENTS OF THE day then turned to Jubilee Market and Peacemeals for a fine dining experience. Mountain Lake Public High School vocalists, under the lead of the school’s Director of Choirs, Andrea Brinkman, provided a slice of the entertainment. Above, Lily Kauffman, left and Jareya Harder, right, share a vocal duet. Kauffman also presented a solo.



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MOUNTAIN LAKE CHRISTIAN (MLC) senior Josh Raabe, who just yesterday (Friday, April 8), took the Section 2A Speech Meet title in Humorous, and is headed to the state contest next Friday, presented his seven- (or is it eight-) character interpretation of a cutting from The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee by Rachel Sheinkin.



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SIGNEY STOESZ, LEFT, on guitar, and Carmen Syverson, right, closed the entertainment portion of the evening’s program with a vocal duet.



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EVENT HOSTESS JUDY Harder explained to the crowd about Jubilee Market and Peacemeals, as well as Jubilee Fruits & Vegetables, the entrepreneurship that began the experience. (And yes, nettle or itchweed or burnweed can be used to make a soup that is delish.)



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TERRY ESAU ALSO spoke at the evening fundraiser. In addition to being a part of Bikes 4 Kidz, Esau is well-known as a songwriter (check out the KARE 11 News theme song – or the Kemps talking cows or Mall of America commercial – to hear just a smidgen of his talent), as an author of three books and as a motivational speaker.
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