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Highway 12 detour to begin Tuesday, May 18

MAPLE PLAIN, MN – The Minnesota Department of Transportation is scheduled to start work on Highway 12 between Orono and Independence Tuesday, May 18.

Crews will close the road between Hennepin County Road 6 and County Road 92 to reconstruct a stretch of road between County Road 6 and Baker Park Road, and add a concrete median barrier.

Crews are also building a roundabout at County Road 90. Both of these projects are part of an effort to improve safety on Highway 12.

The project is expected to be complete in mid-September.

Highway 12 will be closed to through traffic between County Road 6 and County Road 92, and those two roads will serve as the detour. County Road 90 will be open only to local traffic, as will Highway 12 stretching from Baker Park Road to about 1.5 miles to the east.

Hennepin County is working with MnDOT on a third project that will build a roundabout and bridge over Highway 12 at County Road 92. That work is scheduled to start in September, with road closures planned in 2022.

Delano High School to present ‘The Theory of Relativity’

The cast of Delano High School's 'The Theory of Relativity.'

The cast of Delano High School’s ‘The Theory of Relativity.’

DELANO, MN – After being unable to perform a musical in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Delano High School students are back with a new show, “The Theory of Relativity,” beginning Friday, May 14.

The show will take place at 7 p.m. May 14, 15, 20, and 21; and at 1 p.m. May 22 in the DHS Performing Arts Center. Tickets are available at .

It will look different than previous DHS musicals for a number of reasons.

Unlike “Elf” and “High School Musical,” this show features a variety of musical styles, and is not geared toward kids.

“It’s got different styles of music: musical theatre style, ballads, blues, jazz, and vaudeville,” Director Joe Lawrence said. “It’s different than anything anyone here has probably seen at a high school. … It’s appropriate for high school and middle school audiences. It’s not like the last two. It gives kids an opportunity to do a really challenging show.”

“It’s definitely different from what Delano has done before,” senior Mari Olson added. “There are really deep conversations. It’s a mature show. Come to see something different.”

It’s shorter than other performances: a one-act play that runs one hour and 15 minutes.

It will also look different for those attending due to COVID-19 requirements. There will be 250 general admission tickets sold for each performance. Ushers will seat audience members in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines. Audience members will not be allowed in the first two rows, to separate the audience from the actors.

“They can perform without masks because I picked a show where they can distance,” Lawrence said.

He also picked a musical in which it appears characters are distanced from each other, when in reality they are all connected.

The show description states, “Through a seemingly unrelated collection of songs, scenes and monologues, ‘The Theory of Relativity’ introduces a compelling array of characters experiencing the joys and heartbreaks, the lessons and losses, the inevitability, and the wonder of human connection.”

“All of these little stories are told in each song,” Lawrence said. “They seem disconnected, but they come together. The main message is everything is relative, the idea that the universe is ever-expanding, but everyone needs everyone else. At the end, you see disparate characters and stories that seem disconnected that are actually connected. I tried to pick a show in a time of separation, and division, and isolation, and anger, that would try to point out that none of those things are needed.”

Lawrence points to the lyrics of one of the songs as an example: “You’re a reflection of me; I reverberate, you reply. If I have a purpose, if I count at all, you are why. You measure, compare, you make me aware that I’m neither small nor obscure. I’m alive; you make sure. I am nothing without you.”

Senior Sophie Stevens said, “It’s definitely relatable for anyone. You can take something away and apply it to your own life.”

Several people are working to bring the performance to the stage.

The cast includes Sydney Wuerger, Emma Sorenson, Kalie Stewart, Stevens, Olson, Hunter Elwood, Gigi Slavec, Sean Wissbroecker, Presley Pawelk, Kyra Machakaire, Iain Lee, John Lahlum, Clara Lawrence, Autumn Langdon, Ariana Langdon, Faith Tellers, Samantha Paul, Logan Johnson, Kam Krause, Abby Hohenstein, Sydney Hintermeister, Katie Harder, Lila Ford, LuziAnna Feldman, Isaac Dahle, and Grace Becklin.

Joining Lawrence is choreographer Kerri Olson, musical director Eric Conway, orchestra conductor Jason Koets, and scenic and lighting designer Jack Neveaux.

The orchestra is made up of keyboardists Thomas Kenison and Liliana Schroedl, lead guitarist Jake Stoudt, acoustic guitarist Ian McCullough, and bassist Kiersten Koets.

Emily Barron leads the technical crew as stage manager, along with assistant stage manager Mallory Musta, soundboard operator Jace Betlach, light board operator Jamison Quast, and lighting assistant Mike Simons.

Jackson Groskreutz is the publicity and PAC manager, Mike Stoudt is the construction lead, John McClelland is a master carpenter, Kelli Carroll is the lead scenic painter, Tim Strandquist is the assistant lighting designer, and Simons is the student lead carpenter.

“We’re working really hard to pull it together,” senior Emma Sorenson said. “We’re excited to show it.”

A scene from "The Theory of Relativity."

A scene from “The Theory of Relativity.”

The Highlands Church breaks ground

DELANO, MN – There were shovels and hard hats, but in many ways, Sunday’s groundbreaking for The Highlands Church at 680 Woodland Road was not a traditional groundbreaking.

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Thompson accepts intermediate school principal position

DELANO, MN – Katie Thompson has accepted the principal position at Delano Intermediate School.

Thompson is currently the assistant principal at Independence Elementary School in Big Lake, and previously served as dean of students at Watertown-Mayer Elementary School. She also has 10 years of experience as a language arts teacher.

“With this development, we would also like to thank Joe Vieau for his leadership as the interim DIS principal this school year,” Delano Public Schools Communications Coordinator Paul Downer wrote in an email to district families and staff. “His service during these difficult times has been greatly appreciated.”

During a virtual special meeting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 12, the Delano School Board will take official action on the hiring of Thompson and new Delano Elementary School Principal Rachel Schultz.

The board will also discuss a potential operating levy referendum and address a number of other items.

The agenda for this meeting will be available here as it is finalized. The meeting will be livestreamed on the Delano Public Schools PR Youtube channel.

Delano man arrested in fatal hit-and-run

PLYMOUTH, MN – A 19-year-old Delano man has been arrested and identified as a suspect in a fatal hit-and-run crash that occurred Wednesday, April 28, in Plymouth.

According to the Plymouth Police Department, Jack Henry Blaschke has been booked at the Hennepin County Jail on suspicion of criminal vehicular homicide, pending formal charges by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.

The hit-and-run occurred at about 8:55 p.m. at Hennepin County Road and 32nd Avenue North in Plymouth, and the Golden Valley Police Department located the vehicle that was involved, according to police.

The Plymouth Police Department is handling the investigation with assistance from the Minnesota State Patrol and Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office.

City council considering compensation plan changes

DELANO, MN – In comparing city employee salaries with similar positions in 11 comparable cities, Delano city staff has found disparities between the average wages in those cities and Delano city employee wages.

The Delano City Council discussed those differences during a workshop Tuesday, and will consider formal action at a future meeting.

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