Anna Erickson is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
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Growing up near the airport in Minneapolis led to a life of aviation for Park Rapids resident Noel Allard. He was recently inducted into the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame for his contributions to the aviation field, although many people in the Park Rapids area know him for his involvement in the Park Rapids Antique Tractor & Engine Club. "Tractors are as much fun as airplanes," he said. But he has always had a soft spot for flying. Allard took his first airplane ride in 1949 at Wold-Chamberlain Field in a Piper Pacer from the Ray Hense Flight School.
Main Avenue streetscapes, including flower baskets, banners and granite inlays, should be in place by Memorial Day. Although construction work continues on downtown side streets, with heavy machinery digging up old infrastructure, Main Avenue is starting to look complete. The Park Rapids City Council gave its blessing for summer banners presented by the Downtown Business Association. The banners feature the slogan, "Positively Park Rapids," and include a simple flower design.
Young Park Rapids area children got a taste of kindergarten Friday at Century School's Round-up Day. Parents arrived with their future kindergartners during two sessions Friday. Teachers and administrators are looking at another large kindergarten class for the fall of 2011. The district usually has additional kids enroll throughout the summer. During Friday's introduction to kindergarten parents and children split up for separate orientations. Kindergarten teachers showed the future students the classrooms, read them a book and helped them work on a craft project.
Andrew Nyhus, a 1984 Park Rapids Area High School graduate, is receiving recognition for his photography. He won first place in three categories of the 2011 National Eagle Center Photo Contest. In the eagle category, he received first place for his Bald Eagle Soaring photo. In the flyway category, he received first place for his Heron on Ice photo. And in the river category, he received first place for his Rainbow Over River photo. Nyhus lives in Winona. He is an avid birder and a member of the Hiawatha Valley Audubon Society in Winona.
Green Park Rapids has an opportunity for homeowners to save money on energy improvements. The organization has been working to help Park Rapids residents save money by making "green" choices. The Housing and Redevelopment Authority of Park Rapids is taking applications for the energy audits and major appliance upgrades. The grant funding is directed toward those who typically would make too much money to qualify. Those who wish to apply for the Major Appliance Upgrade Grant Program must first complete the energy audit.
How does domestic violence affect our community? If someone comes to you and tells you, "I am a victim of domestic violence," how would you respond? How can you make a difference? The Park Rapids area community is invited to a community forum on domestic violence to hear answers to these questions. The forum begins at 5 p.m.
The SAFE Parks program is in need of more funding to continue serving kids throughout the summer. The SAFE Parks - Safe and Fun Environment - program offers a variety of activities for children of all ages. The Headwaters Intervention Center hosts the program each summer. Volunteers are on hand every day to provide a safe, chaperoned environment outdoors. The proposed SAFE Parks schedule is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at Heartland Park in Park Rapids, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at Akeley's Beach Park and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Construction is moving along on schedule in downtown Park Rapids. Work began on underground utilities and boardwalks are in place along side streets. Granite inlays are being installed on corners along Main Avenue.
Less than two weeks remain to cheer for Park Rapids in a national contest. Park Rapids has remained in seventh place for most votes in America for the "We Hear You America" contest sponsored by Reader's Digest but other towns are quickly gaining votes. The hope is to win financial and promotional support. By Tuesday morning, Park Rapids had 391,597 votes. Others aren't far behind. Edinburg, Va. is in eighth place with 375,079 votes, Concord, Mich. with 352,460 and Newberry, Mich.