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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."
Isolation can be a problem for adults diagnosed with mental illness. An informal drop-in center, dubbed "The Cottage," now offers a sorely needed place of solace and companionship. "It's a comfortable place to sit. You feel more at home," says Paul, a Cottage member. "You probably don't feel quite as bad when you're in here, talking to each other." There is no admission charge and activities are member-driven.
Katie Howard, Bob Smith and Anna Faye Skaro have filed an affidavit of candidacy to fill a Menahga School Board member vacancy. The Menahga School Board has called for a special election to elect the new board member and to seek voter approval for building bonds. Howard's appointment to the school board expires in January 2018. The board is required to hold a special election to fill the remaining year of the term. The candidate elected on Tuesday, Nov. 7 will serve from Jan. 2018 through Jan. 2019.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed Hubbard County's first case of Eurasian watermilfoil, an invasive aquatic plant, in Bad Axe Lake. DNR invasive species specialists confirmed Eurasian watermilfoil around the resort access to the lake. They reported it did not appear to be widespread into other areas of the lake.
The Menahga School Board revisited a debate about a school weapons policy violation two years ago. Board Chair Andrea Haverinen said she was allowing the presence of former Board Chair Ernst Huhta, former Superintendent Allen Stoeckman and former board member Curtis Hasbargen at the board's Aug. 21 meeting for a public discussion about the matter. "I want it to be productive and polite from everybody," Haverinen said. "This will be a board question-and-answer and I'd request that everybody else observe."
A small task force hopes to connect community service volunteers with organizations that need their help. They are considering a centralized website to list volunteer opportunities in Hubbard County. "We've got a lot of volunteers in Park Rapids. We've got a lot of organizations that want volunteers. Sometimes they connect, sometimes they don't," said Carolyn White, one of the task force members. "Where do you go if you've got time to volunteer?"
Grey clouds thinned just enough for local sky gazers to watch the most anticipated celestial event of the year. The Park Rapids Area Library hosted an "eclipse extravaganza" in its parking lot, drawing about 40 people. Prior to Aug. 21, library staff distributed 1,100 solar viewing glasses. They set aside another 50 for those who arrived for Monday's phenomenon.
A win at a national competition is the latest in a string of plaudits for woodworker Joe Morgan. His "Labyrinth Table" earned praise at the 2017 Veneer Tech Craftsman's Challenge, the 13th annual competition recognizing excellence in veneer woodwork design. The panel of judges involved experts from the fields of woodworking, education and manufacturing.