Dorr: It’s national Drinking Water Week, a good time to renew efforts to practice water conservation

National Drinking Water Week starts today (May 7) and runs throughout the week, a fact reminded to those of us who are customers of Princeton Public Utilities by its monthly newsletter.

The people at the Public Utilities office want you stop in during the week for refreshments, prize drawings and guided tours of the city’s water treatment facilities. If nothing else – and it’s an important “nothing else” – the trip there can serve as a reminder about conservation of water.

About 7o percent of the surface of our planet Earth is covered with water. And about 97 percent of that water is salt water, water that can’t be used for drinking in its untreated state. (You’ve all heard the line “Water, water everywhere, not a drop to drink” – it comes from a marooned sailor surrounded by salt water.)

About two percent of the water on Earth is glacier ice derived from fresh water. But it’s too far away to be useable. And less than 1 percent of all the water on Earth is fresh water that can be used for drinking, transportation, heating and cooling, industry, etc.

The PUC’s newsletter tells us that there are two basic water sources – surface water and groundwater. The majority of households in our country receive their water from a local water system or provider such as Princeton Public Utilities, of which there are about 54,000 in the U.S.

The city of Princeton has three wells that pump water from a glacial aquifer and the water is treated at one of the city’s two water treatment facilities. There are three water towers in town that combine for a storage capacity of 800,000 gallons.

There, now you have some stats, some of which may be surprising. What’s more important is conservation of water. For example, a slow drip from a faucet can amount to almost three gallons of water a day, 90 per month and 1,080 per year. Multiply that by a lot of households where there is a leak and it’s mind-boggling how much water can be wasted each year that way.

Lawns should be watered in the evening or early morning to avoid evaporation. And, please, don’t water the streets or sidewalks. That’s such a common sight around town, especially during dry summers. So much water goes to waste that way.

You can make your showers shorter than you have in the past. You can put water in a bottle or pitcher in your refrigerator so you don’t have to run water in the summer to make it colder. You can used a broom or blower to clear your driveway and sidewalk instead of using water. The ways to conserve water are endless, even a simple one like not running the water while brushing your teeth.

Water pollution is also an important issue and the PUC’s newsletter lists ways to help in that regard – simple things like picking up after your dog, using detergents that are phosphate-free, and properly disposing of prescription medicines instead of flushing them down the toilet.

One of the greatest frauds ever perpetrated upon the American public is bottled water. One source tells us that about 55 percent of bottled water is spring water, the other 45 percent tap water from municipal water supplies. That water simply is poured from the tap to the bottle. And there’s been a huge increase the last couple decades in the use, and abuse, of bottled water.

Have you ever had to clean up after a youth sports event and/or seen all the partial bottles of water that were tossed? Or, worse, bottles that Mom and Dad sprung for and went unopened? I’ve picked up many bottles of water that were never opened. Yes, staying hydrated in very hot weather is probably a good thing. But there is an unbelievable amount of water wasted and it would be so simple to end that kind of waste.

Anyway, thanks to Princeton Public Utilities for listing some of the ways to conserve water. It’s likely all of us could do a better job of not wasting water. Just think how much water could be conserved if we all did a better job. I’ve made a late New Year’s resolution in May to do that and I hope you’ll also make that resolution.

News events from in and around Princeton in 1979

Building permits for Princeton in 1978 totaled $5.87 million, the largest ever.

Holiday Village (grocery store), with 20,000 square feet – about 3,00 more than other similar Holiday stores around the state – opened in early January. The same week it was reported that thte City Council had approved a gambling permit submitted by the VFW post to conduct a raffle to raise money for its general fund. It was the first ever such permit in Princeton. There was much discussion the previous year  when the gambling ordinance was approved.

Mike Botzek of Princeton completed the I-500 snowmobile race from Winnipeg to St. Paul for the second straight year.

Carol Bowden was named Teacher of the Year in the Princeton district.

Princeton firefighters Lance Stanley and John Wiedewitsch were chosen Firemen of the Year for their efforts in rescuing an unconscious man from a silo the previous July.

As the contentious school board meetings continued, board chairman Roger Angstman asked local teachers to sign a contract with no raise for the coming year. And, in another school district issue, it was determined that grade school students would be moved out of the armory for the next school year, with only high school students having classes there.

In April the school board tabled a decision until May whether or not to start high school hockey. The Princeton Youth Hockey Association had made a request, saying it had 28 players who could try out for a team the next school year. The board later approved starting a boys hockey program.

Jean Hoffman and Ruby Rogde were elected to the school board in May in the largest turnout ever in the Princeton district, 2,327, nearly 600 more than the record two years earlier. They ran as a team and defeated incumbents Spencer Angstman and Eldon Johnson, who also ran as a team. Rogde was elected board chairperson in July.

There was flooding in both Santiago (St. Francis River) and Princeton (Rum River). It was the first time in Santiago in 20 years. The Princeton Fire Department had to pump water out of the basement at the General Store in Santiago.

The graduating class at Princeton High School was 204, the largest ever.

A national strike of truck drivers caused a layoff of most of the 200 employees at Crystal Cabinet Works. It also caused problems for the town’s grocery stores.

Arnold Dahle retired as superintendent of Princeton schools after 25 years on the job. Assistant Superintendent Ray Peterson was chosen as Dahle’s replacement.

The Princeton Marching Tigers won the state Americcan Legion marching band competition at Rochester and earned the right to compete nationally in Houston, Texas. The band competed in Houston, the funds for the trip coming mainly from the local American Legion post.

The school board approved a budget of $6.3 million for 1979-80, higher than the $5.9 million for the past year.

By a margin of 2-1 a school district discretionary levy of $86,000 was passed in September with only 914 voting. The school board had approved the levy earlier but a petition signed by at least 200 district voters forced a vote. Princeton was only one of three districts in the state where a discretionary levy vote was forced by a petition.

A school board motion that passed by a 4-3 vote concerning statutory operating debt was rescinded because it was illegal. Voting for the motion were Roger Angstman, Stan Leger, Roland Christian and Tony Damer, with Ruby Rogde, Jean Hoffman and Gary Anderson voting against.

The city’s budget for 1980 was set at $649,000, an increase of $72,300 (about 11 percent) over 1979, with salaries increased 10 percent.

Highway patrolman Myron Lofgren of Princeton was named national Officer of the Year. He had been a state trooper for 18 years.

The relocation of Crystal Cabinet Works from a site on Old Highway 18 in Princeton to the new industrial park was given the OK by the City Council. Crystal was to sell its land to the city for $784,000,purchase 20 acres of land from Princeton Opportunities for $800,000 in the new industrial park, and create up to 100 jobs.

It was reported in November that arbitration was likely in a salary dispute between the school board and teachers in the Princeton district. Later in November the board filed for arbitration.

Princeton’s relatively new municipal liquor store reported an 11.4 percent net profit, compared to the state average of 8.1 percent among the state’s 89 municipal off-sale stores and 299 on- and off-sale stores.

With the Princeton Youth Hockey Association sponsoring as a fundraiser, nationally-known country singer Tom T. Hall performed two concerts in one night at the junior high.

The first-ever high school hockey game for a Princeton team came on Dec. 4 at the Elk River arena as the Tigers lost 7-3 to Willmar. Jay Davidson scored the first Princeton goal.

Approval of a sex education course at the junior high was delayed after a protest by a parent in early December. Then, at the final meeting of the year by the school board, the decision not to have the class was made.


May 16, 1957 – Loyal Skuza set a track record of 21 seconds at Princeton Speedway before a Sunday afternoon crowd of about 300.

May 17, 1962 – Ladies of the Rum River Golf Club started the season with a Saturday luncheon. Whist and bridge were played and tickets cost $1. Margaret Stark was the president.

May 18, 1967 – Winning pitcher Tom Enger also hit a home run as the PHS baseball team beat St. Francis 13-1 . . . Santiago beat Clearwater 18-0 in town team baseball as Brian Walker broke up a no-hitter by Luther Dorr with one out to go. Dorr struck out 18 and had four hits, including a two-run homer.

May 24, 1972 – The PHS baseball team (6-10 overall) got its fourth RRC title in five years (a tie this time) as Dan Kne struck out 13 in a win over Mora . . . Winning pitcher Mike Barg, Jerry Bergeron and Luther Dorr each drove in two runs in a 10-3 win over Milaca for the Princeton town team.

May 19, 1977 – PHS won the boys Rim River track title as Steve Sampson won the 200 and 100, Jim Bowden the high jump and Greg Trunk the high hurdles . . . Curt Jenson had two hits and pitched a one-hitters in a 6-0 PHS win over Braham . . . The girls track team placed fourth in the Rum River track meet, freshman Nancy Hansen winning the high jump and setting a school record.

May 20, 1982 – The PHS softball team had nonconference wins over Pierz and Anoka. Barb Blomberg had four hits and Kelley Talberg, Jackie Berndt and Ann Sheehan each had three . . . Constant rainy days caused changes in golf, track, softball and baseball schedules over a 10-day period and affected baseball pitching plans the most.

May 21, 1987 – Both boys and girls golf teams won conference titles. Judy Bornholdt was medalist for the girls and made all-conference along with Karen Bromberg and Linette Damer. Troy Anderson, Greg Remus, Chris Williams and Rob Beer were all-conference for the boys . . . ReNee Zeroth (both hurdles events) and Karry Schimming (discus, long jump) broke school records in the Rum River Conference meet and each won an event.

May 21, 1992 – Alison Ringaman was medalist in the Rum River golf meet and made all-conferencce with Sheless Davis and Nicole Koskey . . . A two-hit 12-0 shutout over Chisago Lakes by Corrine Lundell gave the PHS softball team the Rum River title . . . Matt Sahlstrom (tennis) and Paul Anderson (golf) made all-conference.

May 22, 1997 – The boys track team won the Rum River Conference meet with depth the key as there were only two individual winners . . . Jami Sternquist, Erin Young and Andrea Sternquist were all-conference as the girls golf team won its fifth straight Rum River title.

May 16, 2002 – The PHS baseball team stayed in the Rum River race at 6-1 with a 10-5 win over North Branch as Travis Stay got the win and Luke Bakken drove in three runs . . . Jade Warpeha made honorable mention on the all-conference tennis team.

May 17, 2007 – Sophomore Katie Loberg set a school record in the high jump at 5’6″ at the True Team section meet . . . Tie PHS baseball team lost to St. Michael-Albertville and Cambridge  to take them out of conference title contention . . . The Princeton Panthers split a pair of games in their opening week. Jesse Donner, Jesse Zimmer and Eric Deglmann scored multiple runs in a win over Braham and Brian Dorr pounded out two doubles.

May 17, 2012 – Isaiah Mayerchak won the No. 1 singles title at the Granite Ridge Conference tennis meet and Josh Norman won at No. 4 singles . . . Mikayla Brooks shot a 92 to place second in the Princeton Invitational at Princeton Golf Club.

May 19, 2016 – Eighth-grader Jack Southard shot a 74 to tie for second in a M8 meet at the Princeton course . . . Freshman Kennedy Johnson hit a three-run homer as Princeton rallied to beat St. Francis 5-4 in PHS softball. It was her fifth.

Minnesota Twins, for now, shocking the MLB world

It’s the morning of Thursday, May 4, and the Minnesota Twins are atop the American League’s Central Division with a 14-11 (.560) record. There are 23 teams among the 30 in the two leagues that have worse records than the Twins. Of course, by the time I update this on Sunday . . .

And now, after being lucky enough to witness the six-homer barrage by the Twins last Tuesday at Target Field in a win over Oakland, today (Sunday) I was unlucky enough to be on hand for the 17-6 loss to Boston a day after an 11-1 loss to the Red Sox that followed by a day the 4-3 win over the Bosox on Friday night when Joe Mauer hit a walk-off homer.

The 14-11 record has slipped to 15-14 not quite a fifth of the way through the season. And things have looked a little more like 2016 after Boston scored 28 runs the last two games. And the team has slipped a little in the standings. But, hey, if someone had told us the Twins would be one game over .500 on May 7, we’d have taken it. And if someone had told us the team would hit 10 homers in the three-game Oakland series, against a team that had given up the FEWEST homers in the majors, we’d have taken it.

Baseball is a great game because it’s so hard to figure out. When Boston’s Chris Sale and Minnesota’s Ervin Santana faced each other Sunday, it was only the third time in 35 years in Major League Baseball that two pitchers with earned-run averages under 1.40 had faced each other – only 3 times in 35 years! So what happened? It was a 7-6 game in the eighth inning, with neither pitcher around, and turned into a 17-6 blowout. You could make the case that the law of averages caught up with the Twins because Sale, perhaps the most dominating pitcher in the league at times, was 1-5 in his last six starts against the Twins, with an ERA of 7.62. That’s unbelievable. And they scored four runs in six innings to tie at 4-4, without the injured Brian Dozer who has dominated Sale (11 RBIs, 3 homers, in only 38 at-bats), before Santana gave up his fourth homer of the game.

Where do we go from here? I haven’t liked some of the moves by the new brains of the operation but they deserve a longer look before criticism. We’ll know a lot more by the All-Star break in July.