2010 Year in Review: FebruaryFeb. 1: Tahoe Sackett is not quite 2 years old, but has already been immortalized in art. Along with a couple hundred other people. Tahoe, from Okoboji, came out onto the ice with his grandparents, John and Frankie Barrow of Eden Prairie, formerly of England. They joined the others who had come to help with the ArtsLIVE 2010 People Project, the third annual event in which volunteers stand in a certain formation while aerial photos are taken.
Feb. 1: Tahoe Sackett is not quite 2 years old, but has already been immortalized in art. Along with a couple hundred other people.
Tahoe, from Okoboji, came out onto the ice with his grandparents, John and Frankie Barrow of Eden Prairie, formerly of England. They joined the others who had come to help with the ArtsLIVE 2010 People Project, the third annual event in which volunteers stand in a certain formation while aerial photos are taken.
Feb. 3: Most 18-year-old high school seniors would find it impossible to manage five daughters, a dairy operation and a bossy wife.
But Michael Benitez handed the classic and challenging role of Tevye in Worthington High School’s production of “Fiddler on the Roof” with grace and aplomb.
Feb. 4: The Worthington High School chapter of Business Professionals of America (BPA) had an even better than usual showing at this year’s Spring Region BPA Leadership Conference — 12 of the 14 students who competed Friday in Granite Falls will advance to the state competition in one or more categories.
Feb. 4: Since its formation four years ago, the Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force (BRDTF) had taken more than $2 million in drugs off the streets of southwest Minnesota, according to Commander Troy Apel.
Feb. 5: District 518 moved forward with a $3.9-million project at Worthington Middle School, and construction could begin as early as April if weather permits.
Feb. 6: Jenna Slater, daughter of Kent and Coreen Slater of rural Rushmore, was named the 2010 Rock-Nobles Cattlemen’s Association Beef Ambassador earlier this week at the association’s annual banquet in Luverne.
Slater, 15, was a freshman at Adrian High School, where she was active in volleyball, basketball and choir.
Feb. 8: Wintry weather may have hampered attendance to a small degree at Saturday’s Daily Globe Bridal Fair and Prom Extravaganza, but those who came to the annual event were nevertheless filled with enthusiasm.
More than 100 people passed through American Reformed Church to see two fashion shows and visit a variety of vendors, and those looking to drum up business expressed their pleasure with the goings-on.
Feb. 8: After three years of teaching students how to cut, style and treat hair, do manicures and pedicures and more, Avalon Beauty Academy was finally able to offer students a little something extra: financial aid.
Feb. 9: Winter weather worries would no longer mean an onslaught of phone calls for receptionists in District 518.
Thanks to an automated program called Shoutpoint Campus Messenger, students, staff and parents received an e-mail or phone call informing them of school closings or late starts.
Feb. 10: Nobles County commissioners spent more than nine hours Tuesday in a strategic planning session, meeting with all eight department heads before lunch and then spending the afternoon recapping the presentations and further discussing county issues.
Among the items reviewed was the Nobles County War Memorial Building in Worthington, which currently houses the public library, the Nobles County Art Center and the Nobles County Historical Society.
Feb. 11: Standing inside the former home of his great-grandfather Wednesday morning, DFL gubernatorial candidate Mark Dayton led a “listen and learn” session with about 15 Worthington business and community leaders.
Feb. 13: Rural Worthington farmer and Minnesota Soybean Growers Association board member Bill Gordon returned from a research mission trip to Santiago, Chile.
Feb. 13: Murray County Commissioners, the Shetek Area Water and Sewer (SAWS) Board, engineers and residents from the Lake Shetek area met Thursday afternoon to air their opinions over the stench around two sewer lift stations.
Lift stations No. 1 and No. 2, part of the highly debated sewer system around the lake, have been in place for several years. Residents close to the stations have been telling commissioners, SAWS board members and anyone else they can think to tell that the odor from the stations is unbearable. Some had been unable to stay in their homes at times because of the smell.
Feb. 13: After 12 rounds of intense competition and a showdown with second-place winner Jordan Jensen, Emily Shaffer took top honors at the Prairie Elementary Spelling Bee Friday, correctly spelling both “energetic” and “chocolate” for the win.
Feb. 15: Considering the theme of Saturday morning’s Healthy Heart Family Celebration was “Birds of a Feather Getting Healthy Together,” it was only fitting that one area at the event was devoted to better eating habits.
Lynn Dierks, a registered nurse at Sanford Regional Hospital Worthington (SRHW), and Michelle Poppen, a registered dietician with the facility, handed out information on personal diets at the celebration, which took place for the second time and was hosted at the Worthington Area YMCA/DeGroot Family Center and City of Worthington Aquatics Center.
Feb. 16: A roof collapse at Farley’s & Sathers in Round Lake over the weekend resulted in gas and water lines being severed inside one of the warehouses. No one was injured in the incident.
Feb. 16: After another round of extensive investigation into needs, costs and options, the Jackson County Board of Commissioners voted 4-0 last week to build a scaled-down $7 million dollar county services building on the site of the existing 1938 portion of the Jackson County Resource Center.
Feb. 17: Though it wasn’t in the budget for 2010, Nobles County commissioners on Tuesday approved a $10,000 payment to Southwestern Mental Health Center (SWMHC) to assist in the start-up of a new program.
Scott Johnson, executive director of the five-county agency, said he would be requesting a $10,000 contribution from each of the counties to help establish an intensive family-based therapy program that could significantly reduce the amount of money counties spend on out-of-home placement of children.
Feb. 18: The Southwest Minnesota Broadband Group (SWMBG), composed of nine rural communities in southwest Minnesota, had been awarded $12.7 million in grant and loan funds to expand broadband Internet access in the region.
In an announcement made by Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s office Wednesday afternoon, she said the group will receive a nearly $6.4 million loan and a $6.4 million grant to extend broadband service to Jackson, Lakefield, Windom, Round Lake, Bingham Lake, Brewster, Wilder, Heron Lake and Okabena. The funds were awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Feb. 18: Minnesota West Community and Technical College moved its massage therapy program, formerly housed on the Jackson and Pipestone campuses, to the Luverne Educational Center for Health Careers beginning this fall.
Feb. 19: The flight were booked, and the dates were soon to be announced for the Southwest Minnesota Honor Flight, which would take the area’s World War II veterans to see their memorial in Washington, D.C.
Sponsorships and donations continued to pour in, and numerous fundraisers were planned in the following weeks to help raise the $136,000 needed to take the veterans, free of charge, on a two-day journey to the nation’s capital city.
On Thursday, Southwest Minnesota Honor Flight executive committee member Jane Wildung Lanphere said more than $115,000 has been raised in Rock, Nobles, Pipestone and Murray counties for the flight.
Feb 19: Between the crisis in Haiti that has drawn the world’s attention and more local efforts to send veterans to the World War II Memorial, there was no shortage of people in need — and no shortage of St. Mary’s students willing to lend a hand.
The K-6-graders at St. Mary’s Catholic School are completing a number of service projects that Principal Barb Daly hoped would teach students the value of service. Brittany Larson’s second-grade class organized a competition between the K-2 grade students and the 3-6 grade students to see which group could gather the most donations for the Southwest Minnesota Honor Flight. In all, the school raised more than $1,000, which Larson’s class presented to the honor flight committee on Thursday. And donations were still coming in.
Feb. 20: One week after people gathered in Worthington to discuss the health of Lake Okabena, landowners and residents who live along the shores of Lake Ocheda met Thursday night to develop a consensus on how to best improve water clarity and water quality in the shallow prairie lake.
Feb. 23: Dist. 22 Sen. Jim Vickerman, who had represented southwest Minnesota in the Senate since 1986, announced Monday that he will not seek a new term this November.
“I have arrived at a decision I’ve known was going to happen at some point,” Vickerman, DFL-Tracy, said in a press release. “I’m stepping aside with the satisfaction that when it’s done right, our government can and does serve people.”
Feb. 24: Worthington native Paul Ten Haken was named as a finalist in Redbook’s America’s Hottest Husbands Contest.
Ten Haken’s wife, Jill, of Rock Valley, Iowa, nominated him for the competition about six months previous, but they were both surprised to learn he had made the cut for the top 22 in the nation.
Feb. 25: Safe drinking water would be provided to 125 connections, mostly residences, in Jackson, Cottonwood and Murray counties, thanks to a $819,000 grant and a $1,768,000 loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to Red Rock Rural Water System.
Feb. 26: Just two months after fundraising began, the Southwest Minnesota Honor Flight was set for April 30 and May 1 as the dates for 110 World War II veterans to travel to their memorial in Washington, D.C.
More than two dozen World War II veterans from Rock, Nobles, Murray and Pipestone counties traveled to St. Paul today, where the dates for the trip will officially be announced in an afternoon meeting with Secretary of State Mark Ritchie.
Feb. 26: After 19 days as Mahnomen’s city administrator, Patrick Christopherson submitted his resignation and contacted the mayor of Mahnomen in order to accept a job as Jackson’s city administrator.
Feb. 26: A pair of men with Jackson ties and backgrounds in agriculture worked together this summer — in Afghanistan.
Col. Craig Bargfrede, a Jackson native who now resides in Ankeny, Iowa, is the commander who will lead the Iowa National Guard Agribusiness Development Team based at Camp Dodge in Johnston, Iowa. Don Kuehl, who grew up in the northwest Iowa community of Mapleton, has lived in Jackson for seven years and is in the Air National Guard.
Feb. 27: A press release issued late Thursday by the Jackson County Attorney’s Office states the charges filed last week against Juan Humberto Castillo-Alvarez have been dismissed and new charges have been filed.
Castillo-Alvarez is accused of being involved in the murder of 15-year-old Gregory “Sky” Erickson in 1997. In Clay County, Iowa, he was tried and convicted of second-degree murder, seconddegree kidnapping and conspiracy to commit a felony in 2008, and sentenced to serve 50 years in prison, but the conviction was overturned by the Iowa Court of Appeals. The appellate court cited violations of Castillo-Alvarez’s right to a speedy trial.