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Ole and Lena jokes are seemingly endless in creativity and imagination. And the generosity of Nevis' Uff Da Days committee appears endless as well. The Nevis-based organization hosts a weekend-long family event each summer feting Scandinavian heritage. The 8th annual Ole and Lena celebration is slated for Aug. 26-27. Proceeds are donated to a variety of charitable concerns, which last year earned the organization a local Touchstone Energy Award.
Akeley's Answer to Cancer, Audrey's Purple Dream, drew a record number of fisherfolk - 239 dropped lines - and the highest total donations to date for the Purple Plunge - the daring sea creatures raising $7,605. A grand total of $14,275 was raised at the 6th annual event held Saturday on 11th Crow Wing Lake. Proceeds are disbursed to area residents battling cancer, "so they can live out a dream." Twenty-five took the plunge, balmy weather contributing to the turnout.
The Akeley Council learned plans are complete for the Highway 34 construction project that will extend from the east side of Park Rapids to Akeley, with bid letting to be April 22 and construction expected to begin in mid-June. Phil Bergem, a design engineer with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, said the bulk of the work will be from July 4 to Labor Day. He indicated MnDOT is attempting to coordinate the schedule based on community events.
While 2010's summer will be a season not to remember by Park Rapids Main Avenue business owners, the street and infrastructure project has infused an energy in the merchants. This summer's arrival will herald a new chapter in the city's "economic vitality," with the Park Rapids Downtown Business Association planning to welcome visitors and residents with signature flower baskets and banners. This will augment the benches, bike racks, trash receptacles and granite inlays that will debut this summer. An Arts Commission has formed to develop a schematic for Main's banners and flower baskets
The Century School principal's position has been posted, superintendent Glenn Chiodo told the board Monday, with the phone ringing shortly thereafter. The district will seek applications for the position vacated by Bruce Gravalin through March 1.
Park Rapids Area High School theatrical performers have once again "starred" at state, earning the designation from a panel of judges Thursday at the 2011 State One-Act Play Festival in St. Paul. This is the 13th star rating in the school's 26th appearance at the festival. Representing Section 6 in Class A, Park Rapids students performed "Property Rites." The play was written by Alan Haehnel and directed by Juliann Kjenaas and Jonathan Harrison.
When Becci Leonard came on board last fall as executive director of the Headwaters Intervention Center she found a "strong basis" of programs. "It was so exciting. I saw so much potential. Audrey (Iverson) laid an amazing foundation," she said of the advocacy program founded in Park Rapids in 1978.
Baby boomers are coming of age; 2011 is the first year the generation will reach 65. And Living at Home is gearing up for the "tsunami." February has been declared National Senior Independence Month. The Living at Home program augments what, for most, is an innate desire to maintain an independent lifestyle. "The program is a lifesaver," said Lisa Hayes, who cares for her mother on a 24-7 basis. Betty Hayes is in a latter stage of Alzheimer's disease.
Park Rapids Area High School's one-act play cast, performing "Property Rites" by Alan Haehnel, took first place out of eight schools competing at the section contest in Perham Saturday. The cast and crew will leave Wednesday after school to go on to perform at the state festival. They will take the stage at 10 a.m. Thursday in the O'Shaughnessy Auditorium at St. Catherine University, St. Paul. The public may view the production at an open rehearsal to be held at 6 p.m.