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At a time when computer data was stored on punch cards, a local man managed the U.S. Air Force's war plans database and witnessed the birth of the internet. Brought up on a German-speaking family farm in Two Inlets, Herman "Pete" Kueber earned advanced degrees in psychology, learned to speak multiple languages, published a manual on computer programming and earned the nickname "Iron-Ass" for his untiring ability to "ride herd" on military data, day and night, during his service from 1951 to 1974.
The Park Rapids City Council approved a resolution on Oct. 23 to transfer ownership to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) of .48 acres of city property needed to build a roundabout at CSAH 15 and U.S. Highway 71. Recommended by city staff, the resolution waives the city's right to have the property appraised and be fairly compensated for the property, effectively donating it to MnDOT.
Representatives of the Park Rapids Fire Department raised more than $1,300 in tips on Oct. 13, serving as "celebrity bartenders" at Foxy's Bar and Grill. They donated it on Thursday to CHI St. Joseph's Hospice Care. The bar invites a different group each month to earn tips for charity. A money order for the amount they earn is then presented to the organization of their choice. Fire Chief Donn Hoffman said he instigated the fund drive to recognize the care hospice gave his father, Don Hoffman, at the end of his life.
The 12th grade American government class held a mock election Tuesday in the Park Rapids Area High School commons. The students' choice for governor of Minnesota was Republican nominee Jeff Johnson, not to be confused with the PRAHS principal by the same name. Student Kinley Nordin said the purpose of the project was "to let us experience the vote before we get to vote in the real world."
The Park Rapids Planning Commission has requested a 60-day extension to study the impact of a proposed propane sales and distribution location in the city's U.S. Hwy. 71 highway business corridor. Ferrellgas L.P. of Liberty, Mo. had requested a conditional use permit (CUP) to build and operate a retail propane sales and distribution location at 1003 Park Ave. S.
The Park Rapids Airport Commission voted Oct. 22 to recommend that the city council approve a five-year contract with TKDA of St. Paul for on-call engineering services at the airport. John DeCoster of Trillion Aviation, advising the city regarding airport business services, told the commission that TKDA's current contract does not expire until the end of 2019. However, with the prospect of a multi-year capital project starting next year, TKDA recommended accelerating the selection process, "so that you've got one engineer through the entire process."
The Headwaters Center for Lifelong Learning program on Oct. 16 gave participants 19 things to think about over the winter. That, according to speaker Adam Regn Arvidson, is the number of endangered species in Minnesota. A Chicagoland native, brought up in central Indiana, Arvidson is a landscape architect who works for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. On the side, he does freelance writing for environmental journals. His interest in nature led him this year to publish the book "Wild and Rare: Tracking Endangered Species in the Upper Midwest."
Fire Chief Donn Hoffman is retiring after 30 years with the Park Rapids Fire Department. On Oct. 4, Hoffman submitted a letter of intent to city staff, announcing that he will step down both as chief and as a firefighter effective Jan. 2, 2019. A vote to accept his resignation is slated for the Park Rapids City Council's Tuesday, Oct. 23 meeting. In his letter, Hoffman said, "This decision was based on the fact I no longer feel I have the energy, dedication and commitment" to fulfill the responsibilities of fire chief.
Both candidates on the Nov. 6 ballot for mayor of Park Rapids were present at a League of Women Voters candidate forum Thursday in the new city hall council chambers. However, incumbent Pat Mikesh sat it out, watching challenger Pam Hauber field pre-screened questions alongside official write-in candidate Ryan Leckner.
The Park Rapids City Council on Tuesday approved Ryan Mathisrud's resignation as city planner, effective Oct. 26, in order to accept another position. Mathisrud told the Enterprise he is moving to Thunder Bay, Ont. City Administrator John McKinney voiced appreciation for Mathisrud's work. "We wish him well on his new venture," said McKinney, quipping that Mathisrud "had to leave the country to find a better place." Fire Chief Donn Hoffman said that Mathisrud was "really good to work with," adding, "I hope we fill his shoes with somebody who can get done what Ryan did."