Glad to Meet Ya Abe -- 

A lot of fourth-graders don’t get a chance to shake the hand of a president, certainly not Abraham Lincoln’s. But Belle Plaine fourth-grader Jeff Witt got the chance via Bruce Hanks, a distantly-related descendent of the 16th president. Hanks came to talk at Belle Plaine Elementary School in March of 1987. For Jeff, it was an extra special occasion since he had been working on a school project about Hank’s famous relative.
Glad to Meet Ya Abe -- A lot of fourth-graders don’t get a chance to shake the hand of a president, certainly not Abraham Lincoln’s. But Belle Plaine fourth-grader Jeff Witt got the chance via Bruce Hanks, a distantly-related descendent of the 16th president. Hanks came to talk at Belle Plaine Elementary School in March of 1987. For Jeff, it was an extra special occasion since he had been working on a school project about Hank’s famous relative.
Spring wasn’t supposed to arrive until the vernal equinox on March 21, but a mild winter nearly turned into an early, balmy spring the first week of March and temperatures climbed well into the 70s on Saturday (March 7). Record highs were recorded around the state, including Belle Plaine where the mercury hit 74. Mankato recorded 80. Many farmers were getting ready for early seeding of small grains.
The Belle Plaine School Board announced members of the new superintendent search committee. Serving on the committee were Joanne Johnson, Pat Schwartz and Roger Delgehausen representing the school board; Earl Gransee representing school administration; Gerry Schmidt representing non-licensed school employees; and Jeff Hiltz and Mary Moriarty representing high school and elementary school faculty, respectively. Also selected to serve were Mayor John Ploetz, Annalee Balk and Jenny Russell. Current School Superintendent Dr. John Bartholow would be retiring at the end of the 1986-87 school year.
Incumbents Pat Murphy and John Nagel were reelected to three-year terms and newcomer Einard Karnitz was elected to a two-year term on the board of directors of the Belle Plaine Cooperative. Close to 500 people attended the 69th annual meeting of the cooperative at the elementary school cafeteria. Gross sales for 1986 totalled $5.5 million, down from $6.4 million in 1985.
The Blakeley Cooperative held its annual meeting and reported sales of $1.5 million in 1986. Ewald Gruetzmacher, Pat Anderly and Matt Mellgren were elected to the board of directors. The other directors were Manly Vinkemeier, Ralph Malz, Harlan Vinkemeier and Lyle Muehlenhardt. Retiring that year were Robert Kahle and Lee Muehlenhardt.
Belle Plaine High School’s Jim Buesgens capped his high school wrestling career with a second place showing at the state high school tournament. Jim dropped a close 6-5 decision to Pat Lorenson of Greenbush in the finals, the latter of whom overcame a 4-1 deficit after two periods.
The BPHS boys’ basketball team was upset by Faribault Bethlehem Academy 49-47 in the first round of the District 13 Tournament in Montgomery. The loss gave the Tigers a final overall record of 13-7.