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Eight counties, including Hubbard, are submitting a joint letter to Minnesota State Auditor Rebecca Otto, encouraging her to work with them to find "a mutually agreeable solution." In April, Otto deemed fiscal year 2015 audit results by Hoffman, Philipp & Knutson "substandard" and grounds for her office to re-audit the eight counties that hired the Thief River Falls-based, private auditing firm. Otto notified counties she intends to re-audit their fiscal year 2016 audits as well — even though those haven't been completed yet.
Community members have an opportunity to vote for their favorite vegetable. The winning edible plant will become the featured produce for Park Rapids' 2018 "One Vegetable, One Community" (OVOC) initiative. OVOC is a community-wide, gardening campaign that encourages gardeners of all levels to grow and prepare a single vegetable. Other towns in Minnesota have launched OVOC, but this summer was the first time for the Park Rapids area. The free, family-friendly OVOC event is from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 11 at Century Elementary School.
Fewer lock-downs. Fewer fights. Fewer incidences of disrespect or behavioral issues. "There's a whole paradigm shift here in the environment," said Christina Day, Hubbard County Jail Programs Coordinator. "Our inmates behave better. They don't want to lose their program privileges."
About four years ago, Minnesota Statute required school boards and teacher representatives to develop a teacher evaluation and peer review for probationary and contract teachers through a joint, cooperative agreement. The Park Rapids School Board approved an updated teacher evaluation plan at its Sept. 5 meeting. The current Park Rapids planning committee comprises Jeremy Anderson, Laurie Anderson, Val Burton, Josh Cook and Marion Goeden from Education Minnesota and administrators Shawn Andress, Lance Bagstad, Joleen DeLaHunt, Jeff Johnson and John Schumacher.
The Bad Axe Lake Association and Hubbard County will share the costs of treating for an aquatic invasive species (AIS). On Aug. 22, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) confirmed Hubbard County's first case of Eurasian watermilfoil in the lake.
A local couple has taken the reigns of Beds Plus. Crystal and Kasey Krautkremer officially took over the business on July 17. Crystal was born and raised in Park Rapids. Both graduated from PRAHS. After Kasey served in the U.S. Air Force, the Krautkremers moved back to Park Rapids to start their family. The couple has two small children, Kaitlyn,3, and Caleb,1. Kasey is a member of the Park Rapids Fire Department. Prior to owning Bed's Plus, he owned his own floor installing business.
The ancient craft of barrel making is about to experience an evolution. A master cooper in Park Rapids has engineered a reusable, customizable, square-shaped barrel for beer, wine and spirits. Bringing nearly 30 years' experience to the artform, Russ Karasch is founder, CEO and creative mastermind of the Squarrel. In 2009, he cofounded Black Swan Cooperage with daughter Heidi Korb. His latest venture — Squarrel Cooperage — uses one-third the wood of a traditional barrel and improves other key aspects of the vessel.
Last spring, Park Rapids Lakes Area Arts Council (PRLAAC) issued a call to Minnesota storytellers to submit a 10-minute, recorded story for competition. Storytellers responded, judges selected the top four, and those finalists will travel to Park Rapids to determine who wears the Great American Storyteller crown. And who walks away with $1,000. The live performance is scheduled at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23 at Calvary Lutheran Church.
A hand-held, portable device is helping parents of local preschoolers accurately detect vision problems. The Detroit Lakes Lions Club purchased the Spot Vision Screener last fall. They are sharing it with the Park Rapids Lions. In recent weeks, Lions have conducted vision screenings on Head Start children with the new, camera-like technology. "It's non-invasive," explained Peter Granger, a Detroit Lakes Lion. "It looks at the back of the eye and determines the level of eyesight. It can be pointed at anyone from 6 months to 100 years old."
Forty-four county fairs sent their talent contest winners to the Minnesota State Fair. Hubbard County's Adeline Bjorklund, 9, was among them. Semifinals are held the first nine evenings of the state fair on the Family Fair Stage at Baldwin Park. Nightly first place winners progress to the County Fair Talent Contest finals, which is held on the tenth night of the fair, Saturday, Sept. 2. Bjorklund won first place in the pre-teen division during the Aug. 25 semifinals, singing "Never Alone."