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Minnesota's minimum-wage increases Aug. 1, first time in nearly a decade

Minnesota's minimum-wage rates rise up to $8 an hour beginning Aug. 1, 2014. It's the state's first wage increase in nearly a decade.
In the coming two years, the new law will move wage rates higher in August 2015 and again in August 2016 when the top rate goes to $9.50 an hour. In January 2018, the rate will be indexed to inflation based on economic conditions.
 read entire story. . . .

Bill and Richard’s excellent adventure...

Childhood friends with big city roots search for spot on the map to celebrate 75th birthdays...They landed at the midway point between Oregon and Boston–in Pelican Rapids

The Pelican Rapids Pool Hall Gang had company last week, and thankfully, the bunch was pretty well-behaved.  Better than usual, anyway.
Childhood friends from Portland, Oregon, and Arlington, Massachusetts, spent about 48 hours in the Pelican Rapids area–and loved it...Even the motley crew down at the pool hall.
“What a great bunch of characters over at the pool hall,” said Richard Hammerschlag, who flew from Portland to Minneapolis-St. Paul to connect with his old friend and pool-shooting buddy, Bill Berkowitz. Both have New York City roots, but a fondness for small towns and the rural lifestyle, and Pelican Rapids hit the spot.
 read entire story. . . .

COLUMN:What’s right with the  Greater Pelican Rapids Area?

Just ask Bill Berkowitz and Richard Hammerschlag, a pair of statisfied tourists who experienced ‘Minnesota Nice’ in West Otter Tail County

By Louis Hoglund
Who woulda thunk it?
The Pelican Rapids Pool Hall Gang: Righteous Goodwill Ambassadors to the Greater Pelican Rapids area of West Otter Tail County.
These are just a few words Bill Berkowitz and Richard Hammerschlag used to describe their visit to the area last week. These apply not only to the Pool Hall Gang, but in virtually every encounter they had–up and down Main Street; over at Maplewood State Park; and up in Dunvilla.
These were  remarkable endorsements from out-of-towners who spent three hours at the pool hall.  For those of us in the know, “considerate” and “pleasant” aren’t necessarily the first words that come to mind in describing the motley Pool Hall crew.  read entire story. . . .

School items needed to  ‘Stuff the Bus’ for students

“Stuffing the Bus”  with school supplies for deserving students will be more convenient than ever in Pelican Rapids.
Four donation bins will be situated around the community, where contributors can place pencils, folders, paper, pens, tape and other school supplies for Pelican students.  
Bins will be located at Larry’s Super Market, Pelican Drug, Family Dollar, and Do It Best Strand Hardware. Monetary donations to the “Stuff the Bus” program can be made at Bell State Bank, Minnesota National Bank and Wells Fargo Bank.
The donation period will be from August 5 to August 12.
 read entire story. . . .

Unfinished ‘Alley Art’

The “Alley Art” on the north side of Pelican Drug looks like a jigsaw puzzle with a couple pieces gone–thanks to the theft of two of the panels.
But coordinator of the mural project Laura Moe proceeded with installation last week.  The splash of blue, roughly the size of a billboard, was visible for the mass crowds that enjoyed Art in the Park July 26–even though it was an unfinished work, thanks to the thieves.
Designer of the unique mural–with its global and local imagry, including pelicans–was Pelican Rapids native Paul Johnson.  
“Depending on how you look at it, you’ll see the world,  people, pelicans and a multi-cultural theme,” said Johnson, a 1978 Pelican high school graduate. An art instructor in Alexandria  and Pelican resident, Johnson is experienced with murals–as the designer of the immense backdrops for the Concordia College Christmas Concert for the past six years.  read entire story. . . .

60,000 gallons in propane storage  planned by co-op

Storage facility represents nearly $275,000 Park Region investment
The message from Park Region Cooperative is simple and straight forward: “Got Propane.”
The Pelican Rapids co-op is positioning itself for the future–including a 60,000 gallon storage tank that will double its capacity.
The new facility, at an undisclosed site near Pelican Rapids, represents an investment of nearly $275,000 for the co-op, according to Greg Larson, Park Region general manager.
As of July 23, Larson’s cash price for propane was $1.55 a gallon.  Not as low as $1.30 a year ago–or 55 cents 30 years ago–but a real deal compared to the $4.25 per gallon peak price during the so-called “propane crisis” of last winter.
“We’re looking pretty good,” said Larson.  “A lot of people are taking advantage of our summer fill program.  We’ve already locked in 330,000 gallons through contracts, and we expect to do a little more in the coming weeks.”
Park Region has around 1,200 propane customers.  They’ll no doubt be pleased to know that the new tank should be installed, filled and operational by about September.
Combined with land acquisition, the new 60,000 gallon storage facility will be approximately a $275,000 project.  read entire story. . . .

Conservative deer season set; licenses go on sale Aug. 1

Hunters can expect a conservative 2014 deer season designed to rebuild deer numbers across much of the state, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said.
“Hunters should check the 2014 hunting regulations closely because only one deer can be harvested in 95 percent of the state,” said Leslie McInenly, big game program leader for the DNR. “To shoot a doe, hunters may have to apply for a permit in areas where they haven’t in the past and, in some places, no antlerless harvest will be allowed.”
In 69 of Minnesota’s 128 deer permit areas, hunters must be chosen in a lottery to shoot an antlerless deer. Only bucks can be hunted in 14 areas. In 38 areas, hunters have the choice of shooting a doe or a buck. Bonus permits allowing hunters to shoot more than one deer may only be used in seven permit areas and for some special hunts.  read entire story. . . .

Wolf season announced, survey shows stable population

Hunters and trappers can apply for the 2014 wolf season beginning Friday, Aug. 1, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced.
A total of 3,800 hunting and trapping licenses will be available, 500 more licenses than last year’s seasons. The statewide target harvest of wolves is 250, 30 more than last year.
The latest population survey results estimate that 470 wolf packs and 2,423 wolves lived in Minnesota’s wolf range this past winter, 212 more wolves than estimated on the survey conducted in winter 2013.
“Estimates show a stable population with no significant change from the 2013 estimate of 2,211 wolves,” said Dan Stark, DNR large carnivore specialist. “We will continue to evaluate the wolf population annually to ensure the wolf population remains well established across northern and central Minnesota.”
 read entire story. . . .

Backstreet thieves steal  ‘Alley Art’ from drug store: mural partly assembled for July 26 art fest

Immense mural was about to be installed–in time for Art in the Park

Dark, back alleys are a prime location for crime–but nobody would expect criminals to target “Alley Art” on the back streets of the downtown Pelican Rapids business district.
Pelican Rapids school art teacher Laura Moe, who has been spearheading mural projects to beautify
downtown, was heartbroken last week when two mural panels were evidently stolen from the north deck of Pelican Drug.
The heist is a big disappointment for not only Moe, but Pelican Drug owner Don Perrin, the Pelican Rapids Chamber of Commerce, and a bunch of kids and volunteers who painted the works of art. The immense 12 x 40 foot panels were created in individual 4 x 8 foot panels, and installation was scheduled to be completed July 21–in time for one of Pelican’s biggest days of the year: Art in the Park.  The mural would have been a visual highlight for the thousands who stroll the community and its parks.  read entire story. . . .

HIGHWAY 10 CORRIDOR CLASH: Hawley, DGF battle under the lights in Pelican; DGF wins 8-3

Two Highway 10 rivals met in the final round of the winners bracket July 25, as the District 9 American Legion baseball tournament continues in Pelican Rapids––under the lights.
DGF won the Friday night game 8-3, sealed by a home run off the bat of Chad Johnson, pictured here as teammates gather around home plate
Hawley beat Red Lake County 9-5 Thursday, and Dilworth Glyndon Felton shut out Parkers Prairie 2-0 to advance.  

The winner of the "loser's bracket" will returned to action on Saturday, July 26 at 1 p.m., with Hawley to play Red Lake County.  The winner will take on DGF at 3:30 p.m.  A final game will be Sunday,  1 p.m., if necessary in the double elmination tournament.

New principal  returns to hometown to lead Pelican elementary

It was old home week for  Edwin Richardson as he explored the halls of his old school and encountered  faces from the past.
“I bumped into Harold Holt, my wrestling coach,” said Edwin Richardson, newly appointed principal of the Pelican Rapids Viking Elementary School. “We also coached Little League baseball together.”
A 1986 graduate of Pelican Rapids High School, Richardson is reacquainting himself with the town and the people.
He also ran into Pelican’s Mayor, Ben Woessner, who was a neighbor when he was a youth here. At the Muddy Moose, he was greeted by Christie (Larson) Shulstad, another classmate.
“We’re really excited to be back here, and be part of the community,” said Richardson.  He and his wife Kim have a seven-year-old daughter, Kayla,  who will be entering the second grade.  read entire story. . . .

New gym, sports center named after Pelican’s  beloved Al Siegle

Longtime Pelican Rapids educator, coach and administrator Al Siegle will be remembered–essentially forever–following the Pelican Rapids School Board’s decision to name the expanded athletics complex after him.
When Siegle was approached about the idea, his answer was customary:  “Why me?”
The “Al Siegle Activity Center” will be basically everything south of the existing gym.  It will include the new gym, which will be constructed as part of the school’s current expansion renovation project. The new wrestling and dance rooms, as well as lockers and related facilities, will be part of the complex.
“It really means a lot to me,” said school board member Mike Forsgren in an interview, a 1986 Pelican graduate who played football one year under Siegle–who was an assistant principal and athletic director in Pelican.  read entire story. . . .