Matthew Lambert joined the Red Wing Republican Eagle in March 2018 covering school board, public safety, and writing features. Lambert previously wrote for the Pierce County Herald and River Falls Journal. He is a graduate of Winona State University with a Bachelor's degree in Mass Communication: Journalism.
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Almost two months after one suspect was arrested in a home invasion robbery in Cannon Falls Township, authorities have arrested another suspect. Terrell Reese Schaeffer, 29, St. Paul, was arrested by Hennepin County and transferred to Goodhue County on Dec. 27. Schaeffer is charged with two counts of kidnapping, two counts first-degree aggravated robbery, two counts of burglary, two counts of simple robbery. Schaeffer, along with Aldray Devon Young, 33, of Minneapolis, allegedly broke into a Cannon Falls Township home on May 21, holding the owners at gunpoint.
After failing in their first attempts, the Red Wing and Goodhue school districts each passed their respective referendums on Nov. 6 during the midterm elections. Both districts credited improved communication with voters as a key to success. The Red Wing School District posed a two-question referendum to increase the operating levy, as the existing one was set to expire in 2019. Both questions passed, boosting the levy to $1,200 per pupil for five years, plus an additional $450 per student.
After repeated efforts by many, Goodhue County secured a four-year, $499,469 federal grant on Sept. 26 to establish a treatment court. During the March 29 public forum "Needles and Pills" at the Red Wing Public Library, the community was invited to hear experts discuss substance abuse issues in Goodhue County. Red Wing Police Chief Roger Pohlman said that narcotics arrests have increased dramatically over five years, with numbers ranging from 240, 274 and 220 from 2013-2015. In 2016 numbers skyrocketed to 469 arrests. In 2017 there were 532.
With heavy snowfalls coming in the first month of the year and strong winds and tornadoes closing out the summer, Goodhue County experienced a variety of weather-related extremes. On Jan, 22, a blizzard pummeled southern Minnesota and western Wisconsin all through the day and into the next morning. Goodhue County saw snowfalls totaling more than a foot in some areas. The following were notable snowfall totals in Goodhue County, according to the National Weather Service: • Goodhue: 14 inches • Cannon Falls: 13.5 inches • Red Wing: 12.7 inches
Toys for Tots was able to deliver gifts to 1,100 kids in Goodhue County and western Wisconsin this year. Tom Gade and Marc Gerken of the organization said they usually average about 500 families, giving three gifts and four stocking stuffers to each child. Gade and Gerken have been busy collecting, packaging and distributing toys so children can have a happy holiday season. The organization collects toys year round, but gets them organized from October and ends sometime in January. "It doesn't matter how many hours we do, it's all for the kids," Gade said.
Melissa Manning poured over a thousand-plus nominations to find this year's Best Christmas Ever recipient. When she came across an anonymous letter asking BCE to consider the Baune family, she just knew. Jasmyne Baune, 27, Red Wing, died in a rollover car crash which her young children survived, but perhaps only because of an observant stranger. Today the three children live with Jasmyne's parents, Jack and Kim Baune, and her sister, Heather, who graduated from Red Wing High School in 2008.
Chris Brown and Jesse Stewart remember their first shift on the job at the Red Wing Cinema 8. It was Jan. 1, 2010 .Brown, the movie theater owner, and Stewart, the general manager, felt like they had it under control. Not so much. "Boy were we surprised. .... I had never seen so many people in one businesses," Stewart said. "And that's the same with Christmas Day."
Steve Anderson and Bethany Borgschatz wanted to see a deal go through with the Jefferson School before their term on Red Wing School Board ended. The possible sale will have to wait for 2019, however, along with the seating of incoming members Jim Bryant and Holly Tauer when the board reconvenes in January. The board unanimously voted to table the discussion Dec. 17 after receiving more information from one of two potential buyers.
Brent Lexvold said he was just 200 meals short from what he predicted the summer food program would serve in 2018. For Lexvold and the Red Wing School District staff, the number is still incredible. At the Red Wing School Board meeting Dec. 17, the food service director reported that the district served 36,800 summer meals. This number has increased dramatically over the past two years. In 2016, the district served 8,910 meals. In 2017, the district served 16,037 meals.
A difficult year of weather plagued area farmers, dealing with late snow in April, an unusual dry period near the beginning of the summer, and strong winds disrupting the harvest. Rick Anderson, the grain merchandiser for Ag Partners, said this year's yields "were good, not great." Anderson said they won't know the final numbers until the state releases them sometime next month, but says it won't be a record-setting year.