Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
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Here are the Fourth of July festivities in and around Park Rapids Firecracker Foot Race Online pre-registration has begun for the Firecracker Footrace July 4 at Heartland Park. Registration begins at 6:30 a.m. for the 9 a.m. race on July 4. Registrants receive a race T-shirt. The event includes a 5K or 10K run/walk. Divisions are 18 and under, 19-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59 ad 60 and better. Those interested in participating in the run are encouraged to pre-register for a lesser fee at www.parkrapidsrunning.com .
If planning to use fireworks this weekend, be careful and make sure the conditions aren't unfavorable. Park Rapids Fire Chief Donn Hoffman said people should make sure not to light fireworks if it's windy because it could be a fire hazard. "If it's dry and unfavorable, it could start a fire," he said. "We've had fire calls that were a result of fireworks." There have been cases of fires in ditches that came from someone throwing fireworks out a car window. According to the State Fire Marshal, 57 people were injured from fireworks in June and July last year.
A one-vehicle rollover happened at around 3 p.m. Friday, July 2 on Highway 34 west of Park Rapids. "It sounded like the driver of the vehicle drifted into the oncoming traffic lane and over corrected," said Hubbard County Sheriff Frank Homer. The vehicle landed on the northern side of the ditch. "There were no serious injuries as far as we know," Homer said. "One of the passengers had a cut on her head." He said traffic started to pick up Friday afternoon for the Fourth of July weekend and people need to drive carefully. "We cross our fingers that nothing worse happens," he said.
Fan favorite Cord McCoy will participate in this week's Professional Bull Riders Challenger Tour starting Thursday. McCoy, of Tupulo, Okla., is well known among the bull riding scene but is also known for participating in the TV reality show "The Amazing Race" last fall with his brother, Jet. Cord started riding when he was 5 years old. "I started out with calves, then moved on to bigger bulls," he said.
The Park Rapids Park Board is looking for members. Sue Cutler, chair of the Park Rapids Park Board, presented a 2010 annual report to the city council last week. She said there are several new people on the board but there is room for two more people. The board can have up to seven people. Anyone interested in joining the parks board can contact Cutler at 652-4833. There is no residency requirement.
The 2010 Hubbard County Relay for Life teams raised $52,511.21 as of Monday. Additional money will filter in and the total number could be higher. Although Friday's forecast called for thunderstorms, they didn't show up. Instead, there was warm, sunny weather for the lighting ceremony. Torchbearers Lou Eischens and Lorna Boyd led the survivor lap this year. They invited family to walk the track with them.
The Department of Natural Resources Fisheries shoreland near Rice Park will begin to see improvements in the next few weeks. The Hubbard County Master Gardeners received funding from a $5,000 ConAgra grant from Lamb Weston/RDO to help them get the project rolling. Brian Flynn, energy and environmental manager at Lamb Weston/RDO, said the plant won an award for energy efficiency and climate change.
The city of Park Rapids has maintained a healthy fund balance despite a tough recession. The 2009 auditor's report was presented Tuesday at the City Council meeting. Beth Bertram, an associate with Kern, DeWenter, Viere, Ltd., said the audit turned out well, with revenues above projections and expenditures under projections. The financial analysis compared 2009 general fund revenues and expenditures compared to the previous four years.
Bids came in lower than estimates for the 2010 Main Avenue utility and street reconstruction project in Park Rapids. "Very good news," said city engineer Jon Olson at Tuesday's Park Rapids City Council meeting. "Eight bids were received last Thursday and definitely came in very favorably. We were expecting good bids as we saw the bidding climate was very favorable for the southwest project." The design estimate for the base bid was just under $4.4 million. That included Main Avenue south to 8th Street, side streets and streetscaping.
This year's Fourth of July fireworks show will be bigger and better than ever, according to organizers. With a bigger and better show, however, comes the need for more funding. The fireworks show is held at Red Bridge Park overlooking Fish Hook River. "We're a little bit less than halfway on fundraising," said Rotary fireworks chairman Alan Zemek. "The broader base of donors we have, that means everyone has to contribute less. The farther we reach and the more people we reach, it makes it that much more of a community event." The fireworks show is costly and no tax dollars are spent.