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National Night Out a farewell to drugs, crime in Menahga

A variety of activities attracted all ages, but a K-9 demonstration was especially popular. Here, Menahga's K-9 Zorro chases a "drug suspect" at the city park. (Riham Feshir / Enterprise)1 / 2
Visitors challenged Menahga Police Chief Scott Koennicke during the hula hoop contest. He did well once he got the hang of it. (Riham Feshir / Enterprise)2 / 2

When Judy Peterson heard about National Night Out from her sister who lives in Ramsey, she said she thought it would be a good idea to bring the festivities to Menahga Tuesday.

"We call it a farewell party to drugs and crime," said Peterson, who's the Menahga High School secretary.

Many area organizations and businesses donated to make the first annual event possible.

Representatives from Wadena County's Chemical Health Awareness and Meth Prevention - the CHAMP Coalition - were also present to help out.

"It's nice to see the interaction between families and the local law enforcement," said Heidi Happel, CHAMP coalition coordinator. "It's great to see the variety of ages here."

Menahga's police and fire departments made an appearance to answer questions or simply get to know the community.

Out of town campers who weren't aware the event was taking place Tuesday happened to be at the Menahga city park and also participated in the activities.

Activities varied from a barbecue dinner to a K-9 demonstration that drew about 100 people.

Menahga's National Night Out was organized by a group of citizens who plan to have it every year on Aug. 4.

"It's been a chore, but it's been a blast," said one of the organizers, Trish Hensel.

More than 130 Minnesota communities registered to participate in National Night Out this year, according to nationalnight

"NNO has proven to be an effective, inexpensive and enjoyable program to promote neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships in our fight for a safer nation," the Web site reports.