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A 4-year-old boy from Iowa drowned with his father on May 19 on Hart Lake when their kayak overturned. That is only the closest to home of a recent spate of child drownings and near-drownings in Minnesota.
The City of Park Rapids annexed 300 acres of property in Henrietta Township on Tuesday. The city council approved the action in accordance with the city's 2006 orderly annexation agreement with the township. City Planner Ryan Mathisrud told the council this is part of a multi-phase annexation plan, under which specific properties would be brought into city limits at designated times. The 300 acres became eligible for annexation in 2017.
Members of a local dance program plan to perform pre-game and during halftime at the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1, 2019 in Tampa, Fla. According to dance director Katilin Popanda, approximately 12 to 14 members of the Just for Kix dance team of Park Rapids, ranging between seventh and 12th grade, are expected to travel between Dec. 27 and Jan. 3. Including adult chaperones, she said there are about 21 people interested in taking the trip.
Nevis Sites 'n' Bites attracted a good-sized crowd Sunday, but one of the event's planners said they some aspects could have gone better. "I think the event went over very well," said Committee Chair Tracey Ganley. "The music was well attended. There were a lot of people in town, walking around, and that's very good for the businesses."
The Wadena County Board's conditional use permit (CUP) for a clay target shooting range in Shell River Township is being challenged in the state Court of Appeals. Randy and Tami Wenthold, owners of Went North Bed & Corral, are asking the court to overturn the board's April 3 decision granting a CUP to the Park Rapids Clay Dusters club to allow the shooting range off County Road 18, near Huntersville.
Century Elementary School has been awarded a $603,000 grant for two years to improve literacy, the Park Rapids Area School Board learned Monday. Principal Joleen De La Hunt told the board about the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant from the Minnesota Department of Education, which was awarded from $20 million in federal funds available statewide. The grant will allow the school to hire two full-time instructional coaches, who will spend 80 percent of their time in classrooms working with teachers to improve how reading is taught.
The Park Rapids Police Department's police canine (K9) is ready for duty. The dog, a 2-year-old Belgian Malinois named Jet, will be joining handler Sgt. Rob Gilmore on patrol as soon as detailing of their specially equipped K9 patrol vehicle is complete. The city's K9 officer program was reinstated with the aid of a fundraising drive by the Hubbard County Regional Economic Development Commission's Leadership Council, which raised $70,000 between May 2017 and January 2018 to cover initial costs and the first year's operating costs.
Nearly 90 students made up the graduating class for the 120th annual commencement Sunday afternoon at Park Rapids Area High School. Approximately 84 graduating seniors marched in the ceremony. Due to the threat of rain, the ceremony was moved indoors to the gymnasium, where bottled water was provided to relieve the heat. Senior class president Kennedy Carlson gave the first graduation speech. She challenged graduates to imagine how they would feel looking back on their lives on their last day on earth.
Memorial Day services Monday at Park Rapids Area High School, Red Bridge Park and the All Veterans Memorial in Park Rapids honored members, veterans and loved ones of all branches of the U.S. uniformed service, especially those fallen in defense of the country. A contingent of Gold Star Families were on hand to bear witness to the cost of preserving American freedoms. Gold Star Parents who were honored included Erland and Joyce Alto, Alfred and Erna Kable and Robert and Christina Longfors.
The Park Rapids school board hired Kent Fritze Monday as the district's business manager, effective June 4. Fritze's employment was approved along with a slate of consent agenda items. Previous business manager Dawn Duevel resigned in April to accept employment elsewhere. Carol Hutchinson has been serving as interim business manager. Fritze has previously worked as an accountant with Northwoods Tax Professionals of Park Rapids.