Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
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Thousands of dollars go toward field trips and other educational programs for Park Rapids area students through Minnesota's School Forest Program. "I think a lot of people don't even know the School Forest Program exists, let alone what we do," said Tom Stursa, wildlife technician for the Department of Natural Resources and chairman of the School Forest Committee. The program, which began in 1949, allows for tax-forfeited, donated or school owned land to be a designated a school forest.
Services will be held at area communities Monday to observe Memorial Day. In Park Rapids, a Memorial Day service will start at 9:30 a.m. Monday at the Park Rapids Area High School auditorium with speaker Master Sergeant Michael Cave. Cave was born in St. Paul in 1967. In February 1989, he enlisted the Marine Corps from New Haven, Conn. During his training as a mortarman, then Private First Class Cave was selected to undergo training for the prestigious United States Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon. On May 1, 1990 he was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal.
This year's Envirothon topic - nitrate contamination in water - hit home for the Park Rapids students involved in the competition this spring. The city of Park Rapids has been dealing with high nitrate levels in water for several years, having to shut down some shallow wells recently. The Envirothon is a competition that tests teams from different schools on four core subjects of forestry, soils and land use, aquatic ecology and wildlife, along with a current issue on an environmental subject, which changes every year.
Voters will once again head to the polls to vote for a Menahga School District bond issue. After several meetings with members of the community the Menahga School Board decided to call for a special election Aug. 10 to coincide with the primary. This will be the third time within the last year voters have been asked to vote on a building bond issue. The bond request has been scaled back again, this time to $4.35 million. The latest referendum in April failed with 549 yes votes and 586 no votes. It was scaled back to $4.95 million for that election.
While the lakes were busy in Park Rapids last weekend, some traveled to Lake Kabetogama to get a taste of the 62nd annual Governor's Fishing Opener. Several Park Rapids area representatives made the trip to Kabetogama, including Dennis Mackedanz, Blake Johnson, Katie Magozzi, Butch DeLaHunt and Jason Durham. This group, along with other volunteers, stepped up this spring to work on having Park Rapids host the Governor's Fishing Opener in 2012. The application is due Oct.
Bears have been out and about this spring looking for food, often finding it in bird feeders. Fred and Clara Whiteside, who live off County Road 4 about 10 miles out of Park Rapids, have seen a mother bear and her three cubs in their yard several times in the last few weeks. "She was there last fall and now she's back," Clara said.
Grass has been growing quickly after warm weather and rain and Park Rapids city officials are asking citizens to take care of their lawn before it becomes a nuisance. Park Rapids has an ordinance referring to public nuisances. According to the ordinance, "a nuisance is public if it annoys, injures or endangers the safety, health, comfort or repose of any considerable number of people.
The Park Rapids City Council is advertising for bids for the Main Avenue reconstruction project. "We incurred difficulties in proceeding with the project because we're waiting on federal dollars but MnDOT is making some provisions," said city administrator Bill Smith. The city was allotted $730,500 in federal money for Main Avenue but a hold up occurred when the money hadn't reached the state. "We finally did receive word to go ahead and advertise the project so that's a big step," said city engineer Jon Olson.