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Sixteen-year-old Charles Edwins' exceptional interest in government and public service landed him — briefly — in the Minnesota House of Representatives. A Nevis High School junior, he was one of only 80 students selected statewide to serve as a page in a week-long immersion program. For over 40 years, the Minnesota House of Representatives High School Page Program has provided students "with hands-on access to state government in action." Modeled after the U.S. Congress Page Program, Minnesota's equivalent was established in 1975.
Preventing exposure to blacklegged ticks (also known as "deer ticks" or "bear ticks") requires diligence. Campers, hikers, hunters, farmers and people in outdoor occupations are at risk in counties known to have blacklegged ticks, like Hubbard County and neighboring counties. Some people have been exposed to blacklegged ticks in their yard, especially when the yard has a lot of brush and leaf litter and is adjacent to the woods. To minimize your risk, the Minnesota Department of Health recommends the following:
Powassan virus, a rare tick-borne neuroinvasive disease, made headlines recently when a 5-month-old baby became the first person diagnosed in Connecticut. Over the past decade, about 75 cases of Powassan virus in the United States were reported to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Twenty of those cases were in Minnesota. Sixteen were in Wisconsin, 16 in New York State, eight in Massachusetts and a smattering in New Jersey, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
Menahga School District residents voted against a proposed $29.8 million bond referendum. Polls closed at 8 p.m. on May 9. According to unofficial results, there were 906 “no” votes and 730 in favor.
Badoura State Tree Nursery is abuzz. Founded in 1931 and located 10 miles south of Akeley, the nursery is home to roughly 50 million deciduous and conifer seedlings and shrubs. Each spring, seasonal workers are hired to sow and harvest the seedlings at Minnesota's only state tree nursery. "Generally, throughout the year, we'll lift, sort, count and grade four to six million trees based on tree sales and seedling availability," said officer manager Wendy Hine. Many area residents work during the peak season, roughly April through mid-May.
A grandfather's tale, drawn from memory and re-imagined by author Will Weaver, became a short story entitled "A Gravestone Made of Wheat." That story has been adapted into a musical, "Sweet Land." Weaver, a 1968 Park Rapids High School graduate, attended the show's premiere April 29 in St. Paul at the History Theater. The musical opened with full houses, Weaver taking a bow with cast and crew. He also participated in a Q & A with audience members. Weaver's original short story is set on a Hubbard County farm a century ago.
After some modest debate, the Hubbard County Board decided to continue a transit sales and use tax. The money is dedicated exclusively to improving county roads. The board originally authorized the county sales tax in March 2015. "We did selectively and collectively pick out projects for three years, through 2018," County Engineer David Olsonawski reminded county commissioners.
What's going down the drain? Sadie Wunder discussed the impacts of phosphorus, nitrogren and chemicals that homeowners may be introducing into their septic systems. She is a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) subsurface sewage treatment system compliance and enforcement inspector. At a recent Hubbard County Coalition of Lake Associations (COLA) meeting, Wunder explained the basic components of septic systems — and how compliant systems help prevent pollution in lakes, rivers and watersheds.
A long-kept family secret turned Wanita Nosbush's life upside down. Wanita and her seven sisters were at a family baby shower in January 2013, a few months after the death of their father. The will was going through probate, waiting for signatures from their brothers. That's when they discovered that six of the eight had been sexually abused as children by one or more family members. "To me, it felt like a 1,000-piece puzzle dumped on the floor and I had to put it back together again, put my life back together," recalled Wanita, teary at the painful memories.
A brainstorming session led three Park Rapids Girl Scouts to focus their community service efforts on the local women's shelter. Working together, Autumn Kietzman, Julia Harmon and Halle Sosa carried out the project and earned the Bronze Award, the highest honor a Junior Scout can achieve. "These girls have huge hearts and they're going to set the world on fire," said co-leader Dannon Kietzman at Saturday's awards ceremony. "I'm just incredibly honored and privileged to be a part of this."