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"I guess the most unusual time was when the elephants were loose." Bob Crotty, 63, has seen quite a few changes while employed with the Village of Somerset, including the aforementioned time when some visiting circus animals got frightened during a thunderstorm in the 1980s. He has worked part-time with the police department back in the 1970s and is currently the public works director. Crotty will be retiring on April 29. He was born and raised on the homestead just north of the village that his great-grandfather settled back in 1859.
What to do with unwanted animals? That was a prominent question on the minds of Village of Roberts board members at their meeting Monday, April 11. The issue was first brought up by a resident during the public concerns portion of the meeting. The resident said that in the space of 30 minutes, he had seven stray cats on his property.
Once again, the excitement of Vegas is coming to Somerset. On Saturday, April 16, the Somerset Memorial Scholarship Fund is hosting its fifth annual Vegas Night Out at the Somerset American Legion at 7 p.m. The event has been a big draw to help supplement donations toward the SMSF. Last year's event raised $3,100 which enabled the organization to award 26 scholarships to Somerset High School seniors for a total worth of $18,150. Attendees pay $20 at the door and receive $10,000 in play money to use at the blackjack, craps and roulette tables.
There was a lot of "hot stuff" in the New Richmond Fire Hall on Saturday, April 2. The second annual Chili Feed and Cook-Off attracted quite a crowd Saturday night. Eighteen participants entered their chili concoctions in three categories: mild, medium and hot. A panel of judges critiqued the anonymous samples of chili based on appearance, aroma and taste. The panel consisted of New Richmond Mayor Fred Horne, Becky Miller, Joyce Melby, Karen Peterson and Brian Everson. "There are a lot of good chili cooks here -- it will be fairly close," said Horne.
It's been a year since the Van Weiderhoft family doubled in size overnight. On Feb. 21, 2010, Melissa, then 27, gave birth to male triplets: Cayden Robert at 2 lbs. 9 oz., Brayden Lewis at 3 lbs. 11 oz., and Preston James at 4 lbs. 2 oz. Since then, both Melissa and her husband Josh have said that the boys have very definite personalities. "I would say Preston is the troublemaker," said Melissa with a grin. "He's the most active in crawling along, trying to climb. "Cayden is the snugglebug, he will smile at whoever is in the house. Brayden is the most focused, very curious.
The Somerset Village Board has given the go-ahead to the Somerset Amphitheater concert site. At the March 15 board meeting, they approved the conditional use permit for the event camping and parking and the interim conditional use permit for events and parking. "This is a brand new permit," began Jeff Johnson, village president. "The previous interim conditional use permit was used as a template." The previous permit had drawn criticism from the Somerset Fire & Rescue Department when it was left out of the planning stages after Chief Travis Belisle had campaigned for inclusion.
April would have marked his 20-year anniversary of being ordained as a deacon, but that was only one facet of Maurice Baillargeon. Baillargeon, a longtime Somerset resident, died March 16 at the age of 91. Although he lived at The Deerfield in New Richmond since March 2008, he left a big impression on the Somerset community. "He was a lifelong member at St. Anne's Church," said Deacon Dick Peterson. "He served this parish in every way he could. He will be missed by a lot of people." Baillargeon was born in Somerset on Nov.
There will be another reason to party in the Village of Roberts this summer. In addition to its Good Neighbor Days event in June, the Village of Roberts board approved a barn dance/threshing machine show at its monthly meeting on Monday, March 14. Don Greenfield, member of the St. Croix Valley Collectors Association, addressed the board members about the event. He said that a couple of farming enthusiasts had started a threshing show 25 years ago. Participation increased so much that they formed a club and one of the founders held the two-day event on his private land.
Somerset may be getting some new concerts this summer. The planning commission for the Village of Somerset spent most of its Thursday, March 3, meeting discussing the proposed plans for the Float-Rite concert venue. Matt Mithun, new owner of the concert site, attended the meeting as well as the proceeding pubic hearing regarding the conditional use permit application. His proposals include adding additional camping sites and parking lots, as well as creating a new festival area to the west of the the existing amphitheater.
When the one of the Village of Somerset's two servers crashed the other weekend, it reinforced the idea that the Somerset police department made a good decision in signing with CORE. CORE Technology is based in Lansing, Mich. and provides software solutions for police departments and law enforcement agencies. According to Somerset Police Chief Doug Briggs, CORE will store all their files at their facility in Michigan, with a triple redundant backup. "This will save the village in not having to maintain a separate server here for the police department," Briggs explained.