Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.
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Inside Hafner’s Greenhouse in Park Rapids, a sea of red, pink, salmon, cream and mottled poinsettias blankets the floor, 7,500 plants in all. They begin their trips around Minnesota and North Dakota this week – actually last week for early buyers. They’ll continue shipping out of the greenhouse through Christmas Eve. The frozen lawn outside is covered with miniature trees, wreaths and swags all decked out – heck, there’s even a mailbox swag you can buy! The plants indigenous to Mexico and Central America fill U.S.
When the Eagles Club shuttered its doors and sold its Park Rapids building off to settle tax arrearages, lots of folks wrote them off as dead. Now ensconced in a new social club, the Park Rapids Eagles are soaring once again with a mission of “People Helping People.” Aerie 870 is now operating out of leased space in Lori Lea Lanes on Highway 34 East. The club will have a grand opening Dec. 12 to celebrate its rebirth, or rejuvenation. It is also open to new memberships.
Like buried treasure, a gem of a factoid was tucked into the Minnesota Town Finances report issued this week by State Auditor Rebecca Otto. On the bottom of Page 6, a Local Government Aid (LGA) program increased intergovernmental revenues 40.3 percent. Those intergovernmental revenues increased from $40.4 million to $56.6 million from 2013 to 2014. It primarily reflects increases in federal disaster assistance and state distributions. That means more money flowing to burgs like Akeley, Nevis, Menahga, Laporte and Park Rapids and is good news for taxpayers.
As Baby Boomers reach retirement age, the field of geriatric care is booming. Professional care to help seniors age and provide the services they are not able to do themselves takes the stress off families and the senior. Aging comfortably and safely are the goals of eldercare. Living at Home in Park Rapids provides eldercare services to help seniors remain independent. “It’s a great service with great volunteers,” said Chrys Mortensen Friday night during the barbecued ribs fundraiser at the Park Rapids American Legion.
Two monster bucks were harvested opening weekend. An 11-year-old boy shot a 13-point buck opening day in Area 241 in Hubbard County. Eli Loktu of Zimmerman shot the buck about 4:30 p.m. Saturday while hunting with relatives. Joel Lundquist (below) took down a 12-point, 200- plus pound buck near Long Lost Lake the same day. Minnesota firearms hunters registered 68,401 deer during the first three days of firearms deer season, according to a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) release that was issued on Tuesday.
In the Park Rapids American Legion Club, a congenial group of woman sit around a table. They could be quilters, crafters or any service club – and many probably are. They are the American Legion 212 Auxiliary, the world’s largest nonprofit patriotic service organization reaching the century milestone. They serve the needs of the Legion, of veterans, relatives of vets or deceased vets. Their philosophy is “Service above Self” or “Service Not Self” and they are seeking 1 million new members nationally to carry on their work.
“We’ve been coming up here since Moses parted the Red Sea,” proclaimed hunter Mike Vangstad Sr., speaking of his spot southeast of Lake George called Camp Vangstad. Five Vangstads were there over the weekend deer hunting. Plus a man named John Tesch. “We picked him up on the side of the road,” one of the Vangstads offered to uproarious laughter. Tesch, for his part, apologized twice for his kids not being there to even the numbers out. The hunting party from various towns in Minnesota has stayed at the same Hubbard County site for 51 years.
Thanks to some random acts of kindness, Rick and Mary Meier are toasty warm tonight in their home, just as winter sets in. The Hubbard County couple, both partially disabled, was the recipient of a new furnace Wednesday as part of the Heat Up Minnesota 2015 program. They were selected from a group of nominees, said Justin Isaacson, owner of Ike’s Heating & Cooling/Ike’s Fireplace in Nevis. Isaacson’s principal supplier, Lennox, initiated the program and donated the furnace – the second one Ike, as he goes by, has installed this fall.
The 5 a.m. breakfast rush at the Great Northern Café just isn’t what it used to be, said owner Lance Pritchett. “We’d open at 4:30 and it would be packed in here until nearly 7:00,” he said. Then in the good old days when the craft shows ran the same weekend as opening deer rifle season, the café on Highway 34 in Park Rapids would fill up all over again, said waiter Laureen Gitchel.
Dr. Andrew Hafs, assistant professor of biology at Bemidji State University, has traveled the country researching interactions between animal populations and aquatic environments.