Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
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M State has successfully launched classes in Park Rapids and is already gearing up for next semester. A celebration luncheon Friday afternoon brought stakeholders together to share accomplishments and look toward the future. M State is offering four classes in Park Rapids this fall and 33 students are enrolled. Steve Werner, chairman of the Park Rapids M State Task Force, emceed the event. He explained that in his family each generation has pushed their children to further their education more than the previous generation and it has worked. "We made education a priority and it worked
A "Be Kind" initiative is being launched in Park Rapids Area Schools. Drew Stevens, a father whose son, Josh, tragically lost his life in an accident at age 13, flew in from Las Vegas to speak with students and the community this week. Monday night he reached out to the community at Century School by telling his story. Allison Spahn, first grade teacher at Century, and her sister, Stephanie Carlson, school board and PTA member, brought Drew to Park Rapids.
A 1951 Cougar F9F-6 has been restored by Randy Schave and Dan Flath, painters with Northwoods Aircraft Painting/Park Rapids Aviation. The plane had been mounted on a post at the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport, Schave said. "This is probably one of the best planes we've worked on. It will be very impressive looking."
Hubbard County is continuing its discussion to change the way it delivers services to taxpayers. At Wednesday's board meeting, commissioners passed a resolution stating its goals in updating its organizational structure. "Our goal is to create an organization that will best serve the public and is efficient and cost effective for the taxpayers of the county. The goal is not to lay off employees to make cost cuts.
Patricia Henderson, teacher at First Baptist Christian School, has been named 2011 Minnesota Association of Christian Schools teacher of the year. "I was surprised," she said. "I actually wasn't able to go to the convention in September and found out later by e-mail." Henderson has taught at First Baptist Christian School since 1974 when the pastor of First Baptist Church felt God's leading to start a Christian school. Henderson volunteered to be the kindergarten teacher "just for a little while" that year. She stopped teaching in that class in 1988.
Cassidy Haggard is following in her father's footsteps and has taken the steering wheel of his 2001 Camaro SS for drag racing. The 16-year-old Park Rapids Area High School junior said it's her dad, Dave's, fault that she fell in love with speed and racing. "It all started when I went to the track with my dad when I was 12, 13," she said. Cassidy kept saying she was going to race her dad's car. All along she was asking questions and watching other racers and learning everything she could.
The old trestle bridge across the Fish Hook River is in poor condition and the Department of Natural Resources is considering options to repair the bridge or move the Heartland Trail route to the Red Bridge. Park Rapids, Hubbard County and DNR representatives met in October to discuss a report on the structural status of the old trestle bridge and to discuss possible options, said Park Rapids City Planner Dan Walker.
Pioneer Park will be further developed and public comment will be taken to make the space community-oriented. The Park Rapids City Council approved the Park Board recommendation to further develop the park while working with the Sanquist family, who want to see the space became a memorial for Dawn Anderson, who died in March. The Sanquist family has raised about $20,000 already in a memorial fund for Anderson, who owned a daycare in Park Rapids and loved working with children. Sue Cutler, Park Board chair, gave some background on Pioneer Park.
Downtown Park Rapids construction assessments were approved by the City Council after hearing feedback from the public Tuesday afternoon. Several people gave feedback on the project and said they thought the assessments were too high and would be difficult to pay. The majority were homeowners rather than business owners. City engineer Jon Olson gave a presentation followed by comments and questions from the public.
Northern Light Opera Company had "An Evening with our Stars," Thursday night at North Point Lodge. The soiree including music from several operas, hors d'oeuvres and socializing. The evening was also a kick off to the 2012 Northern Light Opera Company fundraising campaign. The mission of the non-profit organization is "To enrich musical life in Northern Minnesota through light opera, engaging the community as audience and participant." For more information about NLOC and donating go to www.northernlightopera.org .