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She arrived as a mom, babe in arms, a toddler at her side, for story time. She leaves as branch manager, children and adults enriched by her penchant for the entertainment and information a library holds. "I've loved every minute here. It will be hard to say goodbye," said Becky Walpole, who, after 12 years as a volunteer and employee, will bid farewell to the Park Rapids Area Library in August. Husband Gary, former pastor of Hubbard United Methodist, now serves the Peace United Methodist congregation in North Oaks, a Twin Cities suburb.
Four Seas on Main is satisfying an appetite for Chinese food, the opening day earlier this summer an indication of the area's craving for oriental. "We thank people for their patience and understanding," Heidi Gonzalez-Quevedo said. "Especially the first day," when customer numbers far exceeded expectations. Owners Sunny Li, wife Heidi Gonzalez-Quevedo (her step-father's surname) and Yan Lin, all born in China, opened their fourth restaurant this summer in Park Rapids. Sunny and Heidi's restaurants in Montana (opening in 2005) and Missouri (2006) were sold.
The Nevis School District will be asking voters to approve a referendum of $475 per resident pupil unit over a 10-year period, replacing the $126 per pupil operating levy, which expires in 2012. The levy, if approved in November, will generate approximately $146,500 each year (based on 308.47 resident pupil units), compared with the existing levy, which adds $39,000. The decision, school board chair Ed Becker said, is based on anticipated reductions in state aid to schools. "The reality is, the state is broke," he said. "And it won't be repaired next year.
Park Rapids Schools have received unofficial approval to hire a "student success coordinator," whose role will be to increase graduation rates by focusing on at-risk middle school students, superintendent Glenn Chiodo reported at this week's board meeting. The anticipated two grants from Blandin Foundation ($50,000) and Northwest Minnesota Foundation ($25,000) will fund the two-year, part-time position.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Matt Entenza's wife, Lois Quam, was on the campaign trail this week, making a stop in Park Rapids to promote her husband's political aspiration. "I expect Matt to win," she said candidly and confidently. "I find him to be the right candidate at the right time." The attorney who's logged six terms in the state House is facing a three-way primary race, Mark Dayton and Margaret Anderson Kelliher also vying for the spot on the ballot. Primary elections will be Tuesday, Aug.
John Strom has been chosen to assume the position of Nevis School K-12 principal. "I'm excited," Strom said. "It's an honor and a privilege. This is a great school." His wife, Alice, a notable wood carver, and daughter Meghan, an attorney, are Nevis alumna. The former Park Rapids middle school counselor has been in the education profession since 1974, "except for the year we moved" to the family home he designed on 2nd Crow Wing Lake.
Gabor Nemeth, who now resides near San Francisco, returned to Park Rapids Saturday to honor his protégé, the late Ross Zirkle, whose artwork is featured at the North Country Museum of Arts in July. Zirkle's father, Clyde, credits Nemeth's influence for his son's career as a notable printmaker. Zirkle was in his first year of college when he became acquainted with the art restorer, researcher and curator who'd emigrated from Europe after World War II. The pair became friends, Clyde Zirkle recalled.
The condition of Akeley's Crow Wing Lake Drive continues to surface at council meetings, Donald Sabinske arriving Wednesday to elaborate on a four-page complaint he'd filed with the city. "All concerns are in the process of being addressed, mayor Jennifer Mitchell assured him. (The council approved spending $6,314 for roadwork on Crow Wing Lake Drive in June.) Sabinske acknowledged work had begun, "therefore I will be withholding most of those concerns until a later date." But he voiced aggravation with the road's washouts after heavy rains. "There will be lawsuits," he predicted.
Nevis summertime festivities - the pig races, this weekend's Muskie Days and the upcoming Uffda Days, are proving, and anticipated, to boost liquor store revenues. The liquor store reported a net income of $4,051 in June, $3,797 in May. But profits remain in negative territory, by approximately, $4,000. "This is a pivotal year," mayor Dave McCurnin said of the liquor store.