Beth Rickers is the veteran in the newspaper staff with 25 years as the Daily Globe's Features Editor. Interests include cooking, traveling and beer tasting and making with her home-brewing husband, Bryan. She writes an Area Voices blog called Lagniappe, which is a Creole term that means "a little something extra." It can be found at http://lagniappe.areavoices.com/.
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WORTHINGTON -- How does a person go about packing for an anticipated yearlong stay abroad? Such is the dilemma that faced Toni Ingenthron this week as she prepared to depart for Worthington's sister city, Crailsheim, Germany. Toni will spend the next year in Crailsheim -- staying with host families, attending school, soaking up the culture, learning to speak the language and further strengthening the bonds that connect the two communities. By the time this is read, Toni will already have arrived in Germany.
LISMORE -- The roar of motorcycle engines pierced the small-town tranquility in Lismore on Saturday. But the revving engines were welcomed by local residents and organizers of the third annual Steve Lenz Memorial Fund Run because they indicated a good turnout for the event. In 2005, more than 100 people participated in the ride, and more were expected to take part in 2006.
WORTHINGTON -- This Independence Day -- commonly referred to as the Fourth of July -- marks the 230th birthday of the United States and the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and area residents have planned a variety of events to mark the occasion. In Worthington, it's the 19th year for the Old-Fashioned Independence Day Celebration at Pioneer Village, the historical attraction located adjacent to the Nobles County Fairgrounds in Worthington. Special events are planned from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
OKABENA -- Although there's some dispute over who robbed the First State Bank of Okabena on May 19, 1933, many people believe it was the famous duo of Bonnie and Clyde -- Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, glamorized robbers who traveled the central U.S. during the Great Depression. And they'll do it once again on Tuesday, during Okabena's Fourth of July celebration.
WORTHINGTON -- John Widboom -- temporarily -- hung up his cloak and mustache this year. The local farmer and veteran villain of the annual melodrama production during the Pioneer Village Old-Fashioned Independence Day celebration relinquished the role this year, instead diving into assignments as the show's recruiter and producer. But he shall return. Widboom is not ready to retire from his dastardly deeds quite yet. "This is the 18th play," he said of Tuesday's upcoming production, "She Was Only a Farmer's Daughter." "I've seen every one.
OKABENA -- There was a time when Lloyd Ruthenbeck knew everybody in Okabena, and everybody in Okabena, in turn, knew him. After all, he was mayor of this small southwest Minnesota burg for 34 years. But times change, towns change -- some residents leave, and others die. People have moved into town that Ruthenbeck doesn't know, and he's not as active as he once was. "I'm the only old duffer left," he said. "I'm the oldest guy in town." Still, whether they know his name or not, Ruthenbeck is a familiar sight as he traverses the streets of Okabena on his motorized scooter.
SLAYTON -- The annual quilt auction is the biggest fund-raiser of the year at Shetek Lutheran Ministries, a camping ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Last year, the event raised about $28,000, and, of course, organizers hope to exceed that amount at this weekend's event, marking the 20th year of the quilt auction. A quilt preview will allow potential bidders a sneak peek at the items available for bidding from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday and 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the camp, which is located eight miles north of Slayton on U.S.
WORTHINGTON -- Will Haken and son Lonnie Haken stood on the sidelines Tuesday morning, watching as men and machinery carefully carved out what will eventually be a firmer footing under their home at 1400 Third Ave. The front of the house was supported by jacks as the former foundation and basement area was torn away and bucketfuls of dirt were hauled out of the site.
WORTHINGTON -- Inpatient volume continued its seasonal slump in May, but the financial picture at Worthington Regional Hospital was bolstered by outpatient activity. "Outpatient volume increased, and that's what ran our revenue," explained WRH chief financial officer Bruce Viessman at Monday's finance committee meeting of the WRH Board of Trustees. "Outpatient numbers have pretty much propped up the inpatient, and that's the way it's probably going to be for the rest of the summer." Inpatient revenue was under budget by $162,066 in May, but outpatient volume was over budget by $354,060.
WORTHINGTON -- Procrastination. Denial. Fear. All three were motivating factors for Becky Rutzen when she initially chose to ignore the lump she found in her breast in 2002. "I actually found a lump four months before I went to a doctor," she admitted. "I had other health problems at the time, and I could only deal with one crisis at a time. ... I procrastinated, and it didn't go away. I kept it to myself. I didn't tell my husband, I didn't tell my kids, I didn't tell anyone I worked with. I didn't want to tell anyone until I knew what it was.