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According to a new study, the annual economic impact of non-profit arts and culture organizations in north-central Minnesota is nearly $11 million. "Creative Minnesota 2017" is the second in a series of biennial reports. The project is "a long-term endeavor to collect and report data on the creative sector every two years for analysis, education and advocacy." The report will be officially released by Creative Minnesota, Minnesota Citizens for the Arts and the Region 2 Arts Council on Saturday, April 29 during an arts expo in Bemidji.
Nearly 40 people gathered for a satellite March for Science in Park Rapids. Saturday's march coincided with Earth Day and similar events across Minnesota and nationwide. The peaceful demonstration aimed to acknowledge and voice the critical role that science plays in everyone's lives. "Our purpose is to draw attention to the value of science, the need for research on climate change, environmental concerns and the importance of protecting our waterways," organizer Lyn Pinnick wrote to the City of Park Rapids to notify them of the event and request written permission.
Budding gardeners got a hand from local green thumbs. Hubbard County Master Gardeners assisted second graders Thursday with planting heirloom tomatoes. In previous years, the organization has helped Century School students grow native prairie plants to rejuvenate the neighboring prairie. This year was the first time they offered tomato minibels, a sweet and flavorsome bite-sized fruit. The seeds will germinate in about three to 10 days, flourishing under the light of the "Grow Lab" that has been set up in the second grade pod.
Some Menahga residents have a groundless beef with Herman the Bull — a 12-foot, poly-resin fiberglass sculpture who's been appearing in and around town. The Hereford's message board urges locals to vote in favor of a $29.7 general obligation school building bond and an additional $5 million bond for stormwater management, road relocation and equipment purchases for robotics, milling, welding and medical office tech labs at Menahga High School. The statue's presence is not at the expense of the Menahga School District.
When they were sent to the Vietnam War, three local servicemen were young men, only slightly older than the high school juniors in Kerry Johnson's English class. After her Park Rapids students read "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien, Johnson invited Dave Free, Roger Boyce and Jeff Siebert to share their personal accounts. First impressions Free served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1969 to 1971.
Park Rapids Just for Kix's dance group, the Junior Kix, placed first at the Together We Dance Competition in Brainerd on March 26 and in Alexandria on April 2. The Junior Hip Hop also placed first in Alexandria. "These dancers are 7th-12th graders. Four of the teammates will graduate from high school this year.
Ellery Overmyer's oil painting of a redhead duck captured second place at the 2017 Minnesota Junior Duck Stamp Contest, sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Park Rapids Area High School senior submitted her entry last month after taking an elective art class. A Minnesota Junior Duck Stamp awards ceremony will be held for all first, second and third place winners at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday, April 29. Winning artists will receive ribbons and prizes donated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and MN Ducks Unlimited.
Park Rapids Area High School took 18 students to participate in the Section Speech contest in Underwood on April 8. Six teammates received first or second place medals, qualifying them for the state speech tournament, which will be held April 22 in Apple Valley. Myah Schultz and Coral Johnson received first place in Duo Interpretation. The following people received second place in their categories: Madison Malzahn in Dramatic Interpretation, Katelynn Warmbold in Extemporaneous speaking, Amber Schroeder in Great Speeches, Emily Kjenaas in Storytelling.
About a mile-and-a-half south of Laporte, on "Lake Floatapoochie" (it's a long story), sits Lyle Robinson's maple syrup empire. It's something of a technical marvel. Robinson, who served as a District 4's Hubbard County Commissioner for 25 years (1987-2012), has not been idle since he left politics. Roughly five years ago, he learned about tapping sugar maple trees through a University of Minnesota Extension program. The longtime beekeeper then developed an impressive sap-processing apparatus.
Three shiny medals hang in Taylor Becker's bedroom. The 16-year-old swimmer returned from Minnesota Special Olympics with a gold, silver and bronze. This was her first year qualifying for the state competition. Taylor is a sophomore at Park Rapids Area High School, but she trains with a Bemidji community team. From January through March, Taylor travels 100 miles round-trip weekly to practice with her Bemidji teammates. They use Bemidji High School's pool.