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Menahga School's strategic planning community task force, called Voice of the Braves, offered its proposed solution to the district's space shortage. Their preliminary plan calls for a mix of new construction, remodeling and repurposing. The task force comprises local residents, staff, administration and two school board members.
Jack Pearson, a beloved children's musician, has forever laid his banjo down. Pearson was diagnosed with aggressive lymphoma on Dec. 27 and died on Jan. 5, according to a GoFundMe page set up by his children. He was only 63. Since 1979, Pearson performed full-time for kids and families in the Upper Midwest and around the country. He wrote original songs and poetry, playing them at school assemblies, churches, libraries and festivals.
The Nevis Tech-No-Tigers welcomed 17 robotics teams from Minnesota and North Dakota on Saturday to a 2017 season kickoff. With an estimated 320 people from 16 schools in attendance, the third annual Northern Minnesota FIRST Robotics Competition event was the second largest kickoff in the state. Teams learned the details of this year's robotics challenge and viewed one of the only official game fields in northern Minnesota. A donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, gave the Nevis team the $22,000 needed to construct the game field.
A local snowmobile club will soon host a charity ride — whether the weather cooperates or not. The third annual Forest Riders Snowmobile Club Ride for Hospice is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 14 through Sunday, Jan. 15. Last year's event raised more than $3,000 to benefit the CHI St. Joseph's Health Hospice Care Program. Each rider is responsible for raising at least $20 in pledges. Prizes are available for those who obtain more than $100 and more than $200 in donations.
Lynn Spilman, co-chair of the Community Christmas Dinner, arrived at the Park Rapids American Legion a little after 6 a.m. Sunday to put potatoes and dressing in the oven. She and co-chair Denny Anderson were joined by a host of helpers, many of whom were first-time volunteers at the 28th annual feast. They served almost 400 guests and delivered 320 hot meals within a 30-mile radius of Park Rapids on Christmas Day. Spilman said Sunday's ice storm warning likely caused an increase in home-delivered meal requests. Last year, they distributed 250 hot meals.
The Menahga School Board selected Katie (Aho) Howard to fill an open seat. The position was left vacant by Ernest Huhta Jr.'s resignation last month. He had two years left in his term. The school board held its organizational meeting Monday to appoint a new member, welcome newly elected members, designate officers and set the 2017 monthly meeting schedule. Katie Howard, Curtis Hasbargen and Pastor Robert Smith were the three candidates to apply for the opening. Each candidate answered five questions that were selected by board members.
Park Rapids Librarian Jodi Schultz is launching a series of "casual conversations" to engage diverse community members. She calls it "Chatting in Real Time." "The idea is to bring together a group of people that might not otherwise be assembled together, include an audience, and facilitate conversation in order to expand the boundaries of the community," explained Schultz. "I picture them being relaxed and entertaining — like a grown-up playdate. We don't have to talk about serious things — we just have to talk."
The next volume of "The Talking Stick" will celebrate the short form. The local literary journal seeks short poetry, fiction or creative nonfiction. "Focus on short forms, cutting all unnecessary words. Create an elegant moment that hints of a longer, more complex story. Think of these as compressed creations," advises "The Talking Stick" editorial board. Writers must be from Minnesota or have some connection to this area. The deadline is March 1, 2017.
The Hubbard County Food Shelf is phasing out its old registration system, making it easier for people to access food. Currently, those needing food assistance must head to the Mahube-Otwa office or Hubbard County Social Services to receive a voucher. Effective Jan. 1, clients will go directly to the food shelf. "It's going to be better for the clients. It's one-stop shop," explained Hubbard County Food Shelf Director Bob Hansen.
Tom Ritter turned 90 years old at full throttle, hitting snowmobile trails on his Ski-doo two times that same week. He's been a member of the Nevis Trailblazers Snowmobile Club since 1989. After celebrating his birthday on Dec. 19, Ritter joined fellow club members on round-trip rides to Backus one day and Laporte on another. "I don't even feel like I'm 90 years old," he said. The snow was more than a foot deep on the ride south. "That was fun," Tom said.