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A survivor of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi people in Rwanda shared her testimony about prayer, forgiveness and hope Wednesday in Park Rapids. Immaculée Ilibagiza, the author of "Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust" and six other books, gave a nearly two-hour presentation in the high school gymnasium that brought her large audience tears and laughter.
The Park Rapids Area School Board on Monday recognized recent high-level achievements by the high school's gymnastics coach and members of its speech team. Cyrus Gust was unanimously elected Class A state gymnastics coach of the year by his peers. He was also coach of the year for Section 8. Activities Director Jeremy Nordick said that in Gust's first year as head coach, "for him to get state coach of the year says a lot about what he brings to the table."
Andy Trudeau received the Fireman of the Year award during the Park Rapids Fire Department appreciation and awards banquet Saturday at American Legion Post 212. Guests filled all the seats in the room, including spouses and children of the firefighters, city and county officials, law enforcement, dispatchers, power company staff and other citizens the firefighters wished to honor for helping them do their jobs last year. "This is always fun for us," said Fire Chief Terry Long. "This is us saying 'thank you' to everybody in the community that helps us."
Century Elementary and Middle School students started to learn a new way to clean their breakfast and lunch trays this week. Instead of throwing all their waste in the same receptacle, beginning at lunchtime Monday, they have been following hints from local volunteers about how to separate organic material — such as food and paper napkins — from the other garbage, such as plastic packaging and milk cartons.
"I know that Remer is attempting to do this," said Sharon Nordrum, a teacher at the Laporte School. "But as far as I know, I'm the only school that actually is considered inclusive." Nordrum is talking about the American Indian Education program, supported by the Minnesota Department of Education's Office of Indian Education (OIE). Before she was hired in December 2016, the school received OIE funding but didn't have a program. Instead, she said, the funds were spent on appropriate books, videos and similar material.
Park Rapids City Administrator John McKinney is resigning, pending city council approval. McKinney's letter of resignation, dated March 27, is on the agenda for the council's April 9 meeting. In it, he requested Aug. 30 to be his last day of employment.
The Park Rapids Area School Board voted Monday to partner with ICS Consulting, Inc. to study how changes to the district's facilities could help meet current educational goals. As part of a professional services agreement that will be presented for approval at the school board's next meeting, ICS presenters Dave Bergeron and Jason Splett said that upon delivery of the study's findings, the school board will decide whether to move forward with facility improvements in partnership with ICS or end the process at that point.
Members of the Class of 2032 experienced an advance taste of kindergarten Thursday and Friday during KinderCamp at Century School. Teachers Zac Erickson, Ky Deblieck and Rebecca Penning entertained a different group of kindergarten-ready children each day, supported by a number of classroom aides. Dannon Kietzman, an elementary special education teacher at the school, floated between the classrooms in case the teachers needed help.
Beer, pretzels, popcorn, pizza by the slice and live music were among the attractions at the third annual Firemen’s Ball on Saturday at the Park Rapids fire hall. According to Fire Chief Terry Long, the ball drew a paying audience of about 300 people in support of the Park Rapids Fire Department’s equipment needs. The dollar amount raised was not available at press time.
Honor the Earth sponsored a traditional spring powwow for the second year in a row Saturday at Pine Point School under the theme "Water Is Life." "It's to welcome spring here," explained Winona LaDuke, executive director and co-founder of Honor the Earth. The non-profit organization is based on the White Earth reservation and advocates for environmental causes, such as opposing the Enbridge Line 3 oil pipeline.