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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."
With spring around the corner — despite the recent snowfall — thoughts turn to yard care. Fertilizers should contain zero phosphorus, reminds Julie Kingsley, Hubbard County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) manager. If hiring a company to perform lawn maintenance, "make sure they are not using it." The Hubbard County SWCD provides technical assistance for a wide range of improvement projects — all with the goal of protecting water quality and natural resources.
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.