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Things to do, sights to see, festivals to enjoy...

"Lakes and Lifestyles" is your guide to summer recreation in the greater Pelican Rapids area

Look for your copy at area newsstands, and inserted in the May 25 edition
of the PELICAN RAPIDS PRESS

SALUTE TO PELICAN RAPIDS HIGH SCHOOL CLASS OF 2016

Look for this special souvenir edition, honoring the 2016 graduating Pelican Rapids Vikings, in the May 25 print edition of the PELICAN RAPIDS PRESS.
Also---complete listing of scholarship winners, honor students, special awards.

Barry Foundation awards first Pelican scholarship

Somali-American Suleeqo Nuur earns financial boost toward  health care career.

By Louis Hoglund

More than $66,000 in scholarships–including an award of $5,000 to a Somali student with ambitions of a medical career–were awarded to Pelican Rapids High School seniors.
For the first time ever, a Pelican student earned a “Philanthropy and Youth” grant from the Fargo-based Barry Foundation. The initial scholarship is $5,000, but is renewable annually to up to $20,000.
The daughter of refugees from Somalia, Suleeqo Nuur is planning to attend St. Paul College in the Nurse Practitioner program.  read entire story. . . .

Knorr last in long line of Pelican Valedictorians

Christenson, Evenson named Co-Salutatorians

The fourth–and last–of the Knorr family to graduate at the top of their class from Pelican Rapids High School, will walk the stage at commencement May 27.
Logan Knorr follows the footsteps of his older brother and two older sisters from 2011 to 2016.
The top three students of the 75-member class include Knorr as Valedictorian, and Erin Christenson and Hally Evenson as co-Salutatorians.  
The long line of Knorrs with perfect grades dates to 2011, when Maggie Knorr was one of three who tied for the top of the class–with Kristin Haugen and Brady Morgan.  read entire story. . . .

New foot bridge to connect Cormorant’s east, west side

Park improvements, pond renovations progressing well.

By Louis Hoglund

Year 2016 will bring major park improvements–including a “fishing hole” to Cormorant Village.
A pedestrian bridge, which will connect the community center to the store, retail stores and new “Kiddieland” amusement park on the other side, is one of the features of a park renovation in Cormorant Township.
With the arrival of summer, the village of Cormorant is will have additional features that give the “village” its distinctive qualities.
The walking bridge will be perhaps the most visual landmark when the “Old Mill Pond” restoration project is complete.  read entire story. . . .

A day of reflection

Memorial Day service 10 a.m. at Trinity church

Memorial Day will be observed in a fashion that has become a tradition in Pelican Rapids–with music, guest speakers and flagbearers.  
The annual Memorial Day program is Monday, May 30, 10 a.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Pelican Rapids.
Guest speaker for the program is a Guardsman with strong connections to the Pelican Rapids area: 2nd Lieutenant Mitchell Johnson, North Dakota National Guard.Johnson is a 2006 graduate of Pelican Rapids High School, who in enlisted in the North Dakota Army National Guard in 2007. he entered the ROTC program at North Dakota State University, and received a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Guard following his graduation from NDSU.  read entire story. . . .

Volunteers setting stage for  Minnesota Woman ‘Gathering’

A meeting of volunteers last week officially moved planning for “The Day of Gathering” into high gear, as the Minnesota Glacial Woman Organization prepares for the June 18 event.
The revival of interest and awareness in Minnesota Woman, the “most famous” citizen of the Pelican lakes area has inspired scientific and artistic interest.
Almost 85 years ago, a road crew unearthed the remains of a human skeleton underneath Highway 59. An assortment of artifacts, found with the skeleton, were uncovered beside it.  Among the artifacts were an elk horn dagger or scraping tool, clam shells, and part of a conch shell whose native habitat is along the coast of Florida.  Found during additional digs were a tooth (later identified as from an eastern timber wolf), a metatarsal from a juvenile loon, a Painted Turtle carapace (upper shell), numerous bird and animal bones and bone tool fragments.   read entire story. . . .

Memorial Day music provided by  Pelican-based ‘Band of Faith’

The Memorial Day program May 30 at Pelican Rapids Trinity Lutheran Church will feature guest speakers, readings, candle ceremony and music by the “Band of Faith.”
The program, hosted jointly by the Pelican Rapids American Legion and VFW posts, will begin at 10 a.m.
The Band of Faith is pictured here, at a recent appearance for a worship service at Central Lutheran Church in rural Pelican Rapids. Band director Mike Nettestad is pictured in background, far right, with Central Lutheran pastor, Rev. Phil Tobin.
The band is encouraging those with instrumental music background to consider joining the band, which includes players at all skill levels.  For information, contact director Nettestad at 218-863-5353.

St. Leonard’s Church Knights complete new Crucifix  installation at cemetery

A new crucifix was installed at the St. Leonard’s parish cemetery, replacing the existing one, which was showing signs of wear and age. Volunteers are pictured here completing the project, on May 19.
The Knights of Columbus Council #14736 were instrumental in the project. Volunteers Gary Kowalski, Steve Larson, Pete Waller, Orville Shannon and Steve Maresh completed the installation last week.
The cross itself, crafted by Knights council member Kowalski, is made of steel and stands 10 feet in height.
The Knights of Columbus is the world's largest Catholic fraternal organization, dating from its inception in Connecticut in 1882.  

Four-day school  week  survey  to be  conducted

Parents will again be asked to complete a survey on their family’s experience with the four-day school week.
The survey is required by the Minnesota Department of Education, under the terms of the agreement to operate  on the alternative four-day schedule.
The school has operated on the shorter week since the 2010-11 school year, and has been granted approval from the state since then.  
The board discussed aspects of the survey, and Superintendent Deb Wanek will be preparing the survey for completion online and paper copies will also be sent home with students to bring to their parents.
Graduation is May 27
In other reports at the school board meeting, Principal Brian Korf discussed high points of the upcoming Class of 2016 graduation.
The ceremony will be May 27 beginning at 7 p.m. in the high school gym.  At this point there are 75 students scheduled to receive their diplomas.
Enrollment up
At school year’s end, the Pelican Rapids schools showed enrollment gains in both the elementary and high school.
In the elementary school, the year started with 488 students in grades kindergarten to six.  May counts showed 491 students.
In the high school, the numbers rose from 408 in September to 413 at the end of the school year.

What's the healthy word for 2016 growing season in the greater Pelican Rapids area?

“One Vegetable, One Community” is again being promoted, as a fun way to promote both healthy diet and the joys of gardening.
For the second year, a group of sponsors–spearheaded by Otter Tail County Extension and PartnerSHIP 4 Health–have selected a vegetable for the spotlight this growing season. Growing kits which were assembled by Pelican Rapids area Girl Scouts, are now available starting May 6.
...And the Vegetable of the Year is:
Beans!  read entire story. . . .

Muskrat-busting engineers rescue city fountain from gnawing aquatic rodents

By Louis Hoglund

Aquatic vermin chewing up the electrical lines and fixtures of your decorative water fountain?...
...Who you gonna call?...
...The Muskrat  Busters.
The Pelican Rapids city fountain, a decorative feature in Mill Pond at the center of two scenic waterway parks, was in disrepair–thanks in large part to marauding muskrats.  
Thankfully, the community has a team of industrial engineers that was willing to tackle the problem.
Councilman Steve Strand stepped forward with an offer to repair the fountain–rather than send it off. With repairs estimated at more than $1,000, Strand told the council in April: “I think we can fix it.”  read entire story. . . .

Pelican Valley Nursing Home addition nearing completion

Thanks in part to a mild winter, the addition at Pelican Valley Health Center is on schedule, and on budget, for a September grand opening.
The approximately $3.6 million project is updating the majority of the nursing home’s mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, most of which were around 50 years old.
It is also adding some more common areas, a new tub room and most importantly, 20 new resident rooms. The new rooms will be larger with larger bathrooms that have showers in the rooms.  read entire story. . . .

‘Dormitory’ style apartment  debated by Pelican officials - Downtown location raises concerns over p

By Louis Hoglund

Downtown location raises concerns over parking, congestion, long range vision for business district.

Dormitory...
Extended-stay lodging...
Boarding house...
Military-style “barracks”...
“Man camp”...
Depending on your personal viewpoint, the plan to develop a multi-tenant apartment on the north end of the Pelican Rapids downtown business district––different versions of these descriptions may apply.
The issue has dominated discussion at the city’s planning commission and city council meetings.  Nearly ten hours of public discussion, as well as untold hours of behind the scenes debate, have been devoted to the issue.
Developer Bruce Fuhrman prefers to label his plans for the so-called “card brokers” building on broadway as an “extended-stay” residential apartment.
The city’s comprehensive plan and zoning ordinances essentially limit residential development in critical commercial  zones–such as the downtown district.  The objective is to retain as much commercial square footage  as possible in key business locations.  read entire story. . . .

Green light for skateboards-

By Louis Hoglund

With a quick,  unanimous vote– Pelican city ends  restrictions on  skateboarding

“Surf City, U.S.A.” could be an alternative sub-title for Pelican Rapids.
Sidewalk and street “surfing,” that is.
Skateboarders will now have free reign in the city of Pelican Rapids. With little fanfare and discussion, the Pelican Rapids city council wiped the entire  skateboard ordinance from the books.
It is an about-face reversal from positions city’s have taken over the past couple decades.
Marauding skateboarders, often viewed as unleashing a rolling “reign of terror” in metro areas, will now have free reign around Pelican.
“I want youth to feel welcome in this city,” said Councilman Steve Strand at the  May 10 city council meeting. He raised the skateboard issue at an April city meeting–when he realized his own sons were probably breaking the law.  read entire story. . . .

Lifeguard shortage  Pelican swim pool may not open due to lack of staff

By Louis Hoglund

The long-endangered Pelican Rapids city swimming pool may move from a threatened “species” to extinct.
Already at risk because of mysterious leaks, aging fixtures and mechanical problems; the pool may not open this summer because of a more simple problem:  
Employees and lifeguards.
“We’ve had nobody apply for lifeguard positions...Zero applicants,” said Brian Olson, city parks and public works superintendent, at the May 10 city council meeting.
Without staff, the pool may not even open.  Further, Olson questioned whether it made sense to begin preparation and filling–if there are no staff to operate the pool.  read entire story. . . .

Lions Club may form in Dunvilla

By Louis Hoglund

The village of Dunvilla has a general store, The Barn event center, and soon, a brand new hotel.
Now, the lakes area community may also have its own Lions Club.
Though not a city or even a village or berg–Dunvilla is more-or-less a “place,” within Dunn Township.
But the Dunvilla area has possessed a sense of community dating back more than a century, as a tourism and recreation center.
Because of that sense of community, a group of about a dozen are investigating the possibilities of a Dunvilla Lions Club.  read entire story. . . .