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Three people were injured Thursday in a two-vehicle accident near the Park Rapids airport Thursday on U.S. Highway 71.
The Park Rapids Arts and Culture Advisory Commission voted Monday to support an Eagle Scout project proposed by a member of Boy Scout Troop 56 of Nevis. Parker Harmon, who attends Park Rapids High School, told the commission that he hopes to build three musical sculptures, similar to xylophones or marimbas, in the grassy area at Pioneer Park. Helping him with the design are middle school/high school band director John Cook and Paul Peterson, who has metal-working experience.
A proposal to replace a highly visible downtown mural was brought before the Park Rapids City Council on Tuesday. City Planner Andrew Mack showed the city council several letters from local business leaders, including one co-signed by himself and one signed by Mayor Ryan Leckner, supporting the Park Rapids Lakes Area Arts Council's (PRLAAC) application for a Region 2 Arts Council grant. The grant is desired to replace the wall mural on the north side of Aunt Belle's Confectionary on Main Ave. Ray and Karen Carlson recently became the owners of Aunt Belle's.
The four members of country-western/classic rock band Incredibly Real will take a break from their college studies to perform, but they all came up through the Park Rapids public school system. In fact, one of them hasn't graduated yet. Bass guitarist Dan Walsh, 16, is a junior at Park Rapids Area High School. Thanks to Post-Secondary Enrollment Options, he is also taking general-education classes at Minnesota State University Moorhead.
Scott Freitag was sworn in Friday as the postmaster at the U.S. Post Office in Park Rapids. The oath was administered by Eric Brademan, manager of post office operations for the Northland District, in the basement of the post office. Following the ceremony, guests, including previous postmaster Angel Peterson and relatives from as far away as Green Bay, Wis., celebrated the event with snacks, cake and soft drinks.
A community art project promoting tolerance, inclusion, teamwork, unity and peace is now underway in Park Rapids. Starting Wednesday with students at Century Elementary School, but open to groups of all ages throughout the community, Peace by Piece invites participants to use colored markers, gel pens and four-by-four-inch craft paper tiles to draw what peace means, looks like or feels like to them. Kits with the art materials are available at the Community Education office in the Frank White Education Center and at the Park Rapids Public Library.
The Park Rapids Planning Commission learned Monday that the loon sculpture, proposed by developer Arch Simonson to be placed at the corner of U.S. Hwy. 71 and State Hwy. 34, is now off the table. City Planner Andrew Mack noted with regret that Simonson found that the large loon sculpture, originally planned for the site slated for highway business and retail development, will not have room for safe installation and proper viewing.
The Park Rapids Area Schools were the target of a computer network virus attack this week. Superintendent Lance Bagstad said school staff noticed the problem Monday, and staff were warned not to log into their computers. Bagstad said that Todd Kumpula, the school district's network administrator, has been working to rebuild their server files from backed up data. "Todd has confirmed that our system was infiltrated with a ransomware virus," said Bagstad, meaning a hostile program that encrypts a computer's files and demands payment in exchange for the encryption key.
The Park Rapids Area School Board, meeting Feb. 19, discussed alternatives to canceling school due to weather. Teachers Dan Etter (high school math), Eric Pilgrim (sixth grade) and Ky Deblieck (kindergarten) shared how e-days and distance learning days can enable students to work on class assignments at home. High School Principal Jeff Johnson distinguished between the two, noting that e-days are for a "non-planned out," such as a snow day, while distance learning is for a "planned out," such as when a teacher goes on a trip or the school shuts down to host a competition.
The quarterly ACTION Park Rapids meeting Thursday drew 35 to 40 people to discuss ways to improve the community in a variety of areas, including housing, education, volunteering, business, seniors, youth and the arts. Meeting chair Carolynne "CC" White stressed the importance of creating and following up on a written 90-day plan for each project, both as a strategy to move things forward quickly and as documentation to help apply for grant aid.