REGIONAL ROUNDUP Area mayor honored for years of service

LAKE CITY -- When he was a dairy farmer, Willard Bremer never had time for golf or fishing.

He did have time for family and working with youth- and farm-related groups. Later, his interest in helping others expanded. The Lake City man was on the city council for nine years, has been mayor 10 years, helped found a coalition to improve U.S. 61 between Red Wing and Wabasha, helped start the Hiawatha Valley Transit System for the elderly and handicapped, was vice president of the Southeast Minnesota League of Municipalities and was Wabasha County Republican Party chairman for two years.

"I guess you really get dedicated to your work," said Bremer, 75.

But on Sunday, it was Bremer who was on the receiving end for a change.

He received the C.C. Ludwig Award from the League of Minnesota Cities for towns of fewer than 10,000 people. It's one of two such awards given out each year; the other is for a person from a larger city.


"Basically, it's for leadership and service to your community for a long period of years, being active in organizations beyond just your city council or mayor position," Bremer said.

He will step down as mayor at the end of the year, but Bremer isn't fading out of the picture. Bremer will be the acting city administrator while the city conducts a search for a new one. The former city administrator was asked to step down.

Bremer said he's then going to try retirement again "and see if it works this time."

He plans to fill his free time with jigsaw puzzles. He said he likes the challenge of finding the missing piece.

But then, Bremer said, he's hearing some whispers about positions on local boards and commissions. "I'm already getting threatened with different jobs when I retire in January," he said.

Truth or beauty is philosophical question

LANESBORO -- This year, young people are being asked to ponder: which is more important in your life, truth or beauty?

The fifth Kids Philosophy Slam, run by John Davis of Lanesboro, poses that question to get young people pondering life's problems and dilemmas.


Children worldwide will submit their answers of 500 words or less by Feb. 11. Judges will pick the top two answers from each side of the question, and those youngsters will come to Lanesboro to debate May 7, when the winner will be chosen.

For more information, go to or call (507) 467-0107.

Bridge in Wanamingo reopening

WANAMINGO -- The new Minnesota Highway 57 bridge over a branch of the Zumbro River in Wanamingo is expected to open this weekend or early next week. There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. Thursday.

Wanamingo Administrator Elmer Brocker said the 65-foot-long bridge was closed June 6. When the new one opens, it will be 195 feet long to give the river more room to flow during floods and not swamp a nearby park or threaten the bridge. A flood a few years ago threatened to knock down the bridge, he said.

Out and about

A drawing by a Kasson-Mantorville Elementary School student is one of 13 included in an Xcel Energy 2004-05 calendar that features electricity and natural gas safety. Erin Schlotthauer's artwork will be on 28,000 calendars given to teachers in 11 states. Her entry will be on the September page.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has given tentative approval for wastewater treatment systems in Brownsdale, Adams and Myre Big Island State Park to continue operating in the region.


The comment period for the Brownsdale system goes through Nov. 2, while the one for the park goes through Nov. 3 and Adams through Nov. 4. Copies of the draft permits are available at the Rochester and St. Paul MPCA offices. To comment on either proposal, write to Melanie Miland at the Rochester office, 18 Wood Lake Drive S.E., Rochester, 55904.

Arlin Patrick is accepting donations to move an old school house near Elgin to his Dis and Dat Museum on Minnesota Highway 247 just west of Plainview. He needs about $70,000 to restore and move it. When moved, the school will hold old school text and spelling books. Besides money, Patrick is looking for an old bell that can be hung in the school's ornate bell tower and pictures of Presidents Lincoln and Washington. Donors may call Patrick at (507) 581-0759.

Regional Roundup appears Friday. If you have comments or news items, call John Weiss, regional reporter, at 285-7749.

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