Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
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The following stories received the most page views on www.parkrapidsenterprise.com in 2011. n Murder suicide claims two lives in Park Rapids, March 23, 2011. n Teenager dies when snowmobile plunges through ice; second teen rescued, Dec.
The past year has been filled with ups and downs and the Enterprise has been there to cover the good and bad, the triumphs and tragedies. The Park Rapids lakes area is showing promise for growth in 2012. Here's a few of 2011's highlights. We saw growth despite an economy that continues to struggle. The Main Avenue reconstruction and revitalization project, which started in 2010, was completed this fall. It's been a tough couple years for downtown business owners but the result is a stunning shopping district in the heart of Park Rapids.
Calling all students! M State is gearing up for its second semester in Park Rapids with several classes available. The first semester ended last week and students had good things to say about their experience. Kayla Dahn, of Park Rapids, said she had a great first semester at M State and is signing up for spring semester classes in Park Rapids and Detroit Lakes. "M State is a really good college," she said.
Century School fourth-graders took time to assemble meals for those in need before Christmas break. Students in Val Burton's class packaged meals for the Park Rapids area Kids Against Hunger satellite group. Malcolm Maxwell is on the Kids Against Hunger board of directors and helped students with an assembly line to package the meals. He is passionate about the mission to help feed those who are hungry. The meal includes a fortified rice-soy mixture with dehydrated vegetables and 21 essential vitamins and minerals.
U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken announced Monday that $3.5 billion in critical heating assistance funding was included in the Omnibus Bill that passed the U.S. Senate by a vote of 89-10. The amount is over $900 million more than the president requested in his 2012 budget. In the last few years, spiking energy costs have led to a significant increase in demand for the Low Income Home Energy Assistant (LIHEAP) Program, which Minnesota seniors and families rely on to help keep their heat on during the winter months. The program helps low-income households pay home heating bills.
The Park Rapids Area School Board approved the 2012 levy at $4,855,159, a .98 percent increase from 2011. "We have been holding the line," said Business Manager Carol Hutchinson. The breakdown of the levy is 63.26 percent debt service ($3,071,431) and 36.74 percent for other levies including general and Community Service ($1,783,728). Looking at the past year's budget Hutchinson noted great improvement to the Community Service budget, which includes Community Education and early childhood programs.
Looking for a last minute stocking stuffer? Tickets are available for the 14th annual Park Rapids American Legion Community Fishing Contest. The event is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 4 on Fish Hook Lake.
Hundreds of kids headed to the Park Rapids Eagles Club kids Christmas party with their parents Sunday.
The results are in! The ninth annual Jingle Bells ticket drawing Thursday night brought hundreds out for an evening of food, socializing and holiday fun. No one stepped forward with a winning ticket, however. The first ticket drawn for the $5,000 prize was 9031740 and the five $1,000 prize numbers were one - 8766439, two - 9025159, three - 9025292, four - 7958173 and five - 8015818. Ten tickets were drawn for each cash prize. Click on the pdf titled "Jingle Bells Winners" for a complete list of numbers. Prizes must be claimed by noon Friday, Jan. 6 at the Park Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce.
The city of Park Rapids is bringing business to town with its revolving loan fund. Black Swan Cooperage, LLC, plans to relocate to the Park Rapids industrial park with a $93,000 loan from the city to help bridge a gap in lending. Black Swan Cooperage, currently in Osage, is a wooden barrel manufacturer. It has a national market, selling to craft distilleries primarily for whiskey production. The cooperage has applied for financing from Citizens National Bank and the bank requested assistance from the city's revolving loan fund to help the manufacturer.