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The Park Rapids Economic Development Authority (EDA) passed two resolutions on Nov. 27 furthering the process of purchasing part of the Armory Square complex. The project involves portions of the historic National Guard Armory building and annex at Park Avenue South and Second Street West. It does not include the Vallarta's Mexican Grill portion of the structure, which will continue to be owned by Alan Zemek and the Armory Square Management Corporation.
A blue spruce that stood for some 50 years off State Highway 34, a few blocks east of Main Avenue, has moved downtown to become a holiday centerpiece for Park Rapids. After hours of work by personnel with Kimball Logging Co. on Sunday and by linemen from Itasca-Mantrap Electric Co-op and Minnesota Power on Monday, the community Christmas tree is upright, strung with lights and festive decorations, and ready to light up on Friday, Nov. 23.
Marc Moir, Josie Skobik and Matt Lichter salute the funeral flag of Vietnam War veteran Jan Hubertus Bastian after performing a solemn flag folding ceremony on Nov. 12 at Century Middle School in Park Rapids.
The Park Rapids City Council voted on Tuesday to appoint Andrew Mack as the full-time city planner. Previous planner Ryan Mathisrud had resigned, effective Oct. 26, to take other employment. City Administrator John McKinney said city staff received two applications in response to the listed position, and the personnel committee interviewed Mack on Nov. 13. "He did an outstanding job of responding to questions, and made a very impressive presentation of his background and intentions," McKinney said about Mack. "We recommend that the council approve his hiring."
The Park Rapids City Council's agenda packet on Tuesday included a report from Jonathan Olson with Apex Engineering Group about this year's inspections of the city's two water towers by Suez Water Technologies. According to Olson's report, the 500,000-gallon Huntsinger Avenue tower showed heavy corrosion on the interior wet sidewalls and thick sediment at the base of the bowl. Suez recommended immediate tank cleaning and rehabilitating the coating systems, especially the interior wet area.
Kim Donahue of Park Rapids is a recipient of this year's 3Mgives Volunteer Award. Donahue, customer service supervisor at the company's Wonewok Conference Center in Lake Emma Township, is one of 29 recipients of the 2018 award. The award has been given annually for 32 years, celebrating 3M personnel whose volunteerism "improved lives in the areas of education, community or the environment."
A middle-school presentation about the U.S. Army's most decorated medic was a highlight of the Veterans Day honors Monday at Century School. Born in 1911 in Sherburne County and buried in 1953 in Park Rapids, Lloyd Cortez Hawks was the first medic in the military to receive the Medal of Honor. Students Nadia Yliniemi and Levi Trygstad described Hawks' heroism in World War II and Korea, including one incident in which he continued treating a fallen soldier and dragged him to safety after having his own hip and arm shattered by machine gun fire.
At a time when computer data was stored on punch cards, a local man managed the U.S. Air Force's war plans database and witnessed the birth of the internet. Brought up on a German-speaking family farm in Two Inlets, Herman "Pete" Kueber earned advanced degrees in psychology, learned to speak multiple languages, published a manual on computer programming and earned the nickname "Iron-Ass" for his untiring ability to "ride herd" on military data, day and night, during his service from 1951 to 1974.
The Park Rapids City Council approved a resolution on Oct. 23 to transfer ownership to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) of .48 acres of city property needed to build a roundabout at CSAH 15 and U.S. Highway 71. Recommended by city staff, the resolution waives the city's right to have the property appraised and be fairly compensated for the property, effectively donating it to MnDOT.
Representatives of the Park Rapids Fire Department raised more than $1,300 in tips on Oct. 13, serving as "celebrity bartenders" at Foxy's Bar and Grill. They donated it on Thursday to CHI St. Joseph's Hospice Care. The bar invites a different group each month to earn tips for charity. A money order for the amount they earn is then presented to the organization of their choice. Fire Chief Donn Hoffman said he instigated the fund drive to recognize the care hospice gave his father, Don Hoffman, at the end of his life.