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Decade saw a building boom; tragic deaths; survival

Editor's note: As the past decade comes to an end, we take a trip down memory lane as we reflect on the top headlines that filled Park Rapids Enterprise pages since 2000.

The Sept. 11 attacks hit home when sons and daughter of local residents lived through the horrific event.

Former Calvary Lutheran Church reverend Jerry Protexter and his wife Elizabeth got the phone call that every parent feared.

Elizabeth's son Robert Rasmussen was in a meeting at the World Trade Center when it was attacked. He was one of the many victims who died during the attacks.

Sarah Spangler, daughter of Carolyn and Maurice Spangler of Park Rapids, e-mailed her parents as she watched the second tower collapse from her office building in Manhattan. She was one of the lucky ones who survived.

Park Rapids lost longtime area game manager for the Department of Natural Resources, Lorentz "Larry" Olson, in January 2003.

The 90-year-old was killed in his Park Rapids home by Anthony J. Palubicki, who was found guilty by a Cass County jury in April 2004. Olson died from a blunt force head trauma when Palubicki reportedly hit him on the head with a hammer after breaking into his home in a robbery attempt.

The trial was originally planned to take place in Park Rapids, but due to Olson's popularity in the area, the defense attorneys requested a change of venue.

Judge John Smith sentenced Palubicki to a life sentence on each of the three counts of first degree murder.

Other top headlines of the early 2000s included a woman who was also sentenced to life in prison for the death of her two young daughters and attempted murder of her third child.

Stacey Matheson, who was living in Nevis at the time of the incidents in 1992, killed her 7-month-old and 2-year-old daughters by suffocating them, putting her hand on their noses and mouths to make them stop breathing. She attempted to do the same to her third daughter but she survived.

She was sentenced to life in prison in 2002.

The past decade can't only be remembered with tragedies, murders and horrific accidents.

Park Rapids Century School celebrated its eighth birthday this year. It was built in 2001.

And after years of trying to get voter approval for an operating levy, Park Rapids School District voters finally passed an operating referendum of more than $1 million in 2006.

In 2003, Glenn Chiodo became superintendent of the Park Rapids School District.

In 2005, the Hubbard County Board of Commissioners approved a 1,100-mile countywide ATV trail plan. The plan designated a northern route called West Gulch Trail and a southern route along Refuge Road, running through the Paul Bunyan State Forest.

In 2007, construction began on the Highway 34 project and was completed in 2008.

Also in 2007, construction began on the new St. Joseph's Area Health Services facility along with Innovis Health Clinic. It opened in 2008.

Construction on the new Hubbard County Law Enforcement Center was completed in the spring of 2006.

The Hubbard County Board approved a special $200,000 levy for the Hubbard County Housing and Redevelopment Authority. The levy qualified HRA to receive a matching grant from the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund.