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Reflection of 2008


Despite the "economic" outlook of 2008, I'm looking forward (e.g. Minnesota Vikings football team going to their first playoffs in 4 years!) to the "New Year" because of my trust (see FAITH) in God! Please pray for wisdom and knowledge that I can share with giving "hope" for the community (Stevens County) I live in through Steven's Forward. I've faced some challenges in the past and gone this far-with God's help! Going to keep persevering! I've watched many movies (evil vs. Good), which it looks like "evil" was winning; however, Good comes overtop at the end. That's the way I see it in our daily life challenges or battles. We go through seasons (e.g. Winter, Spring, Summer, etc...) in life, but we know it's not going to last forever. Don't give-up no matter what circumstances you go through. The Heavenly Father- Creator has a plan and purpose in your life!

To "try" preparing myself for 2009's "poor economic" outlook, I decided to look for a possible "second" (backup) career in teaching ESL (see GoodnewsEverybody: Liberal Arts-English). In 2008, I took my first college course since I graduated from college back in 1999. It was also my first online course too, which I was somewhat "weary" when I first took it in the Summer quarter. I've been volunteering as the coordinator for the Morris Literacy Project-ESL Classes and GED classes with the local Morris Community Ed for over 4+ years now!

I had a great "bonding" time with my nephew (Stefan), who turned 1 years old in September! Also, spending time with my niece (Alysa), who turned 4 in August. Coming home (St. Paul) to family once a month (visited my "home" church-Woodland Hills Church) was something "extra" to look forward to when "hanging-out" with them! During part of the summer (1+ week of the 3 months), I had the opportunity to take my relatives visting from the Philippines to various parts (e.g. Duluth) of Minnesota-including my town of residence-Morris!.

Living in the college-town where I went to school (95'-99') gives me the opportunity to "keep-in-touch" with many alumns. I had a great time hanging out with friends (Shannon and Joey, Gina) that has been coming here the last 4+ years during UMM Homecoming. Also, meeting "new" people through alumns...

November 22nd of 2008 at Common Cup

I made "new" friends, kept in touch with "old" friends, and got "reacquainted" with "old" ones (h.s. and college alumns, former neighbors growing-up, etc...) via "facebook", "you tube", God, "myspace", "friendster", "orkut", etc... I'm looking forward to "keeping touch" with many of you!

As I was challenged in 2008, I was "layed" off from work (Stevens County D.A.C.-full-time job, which I worked some hours at Prairie Community Services-part-time job-thank God) for close to a month in May. During this time, I was able to work some hours at my part-time job (group home)-used to be my full-time job when I first started in 1999. Also, I worked on my "side-hobby" (e.g. multi-media projects, created new sites=> & I thought it was God's timing for me to go back to my job (community-setting) because of the circumstance (feel free to contact me for more details). Other challenges were: Window broke on my car at Sauk Centre before driving to the cities before Christmas (see story), etc...

I was just reading (Monday, December 29th of 2009) my "Reflection of 2007" to see what I can write about 2008. My "New Year's Resolution for 2008" is to continue to "slow down more" and take it day my day (grow with my "Heavenly Father") as was last year. Please feel free to remind me throughout 2008 of this to keep me accountable!

Like all past years, 2008 too had some personal challenges/disappointments (e.g. friend in prison)-lesser and also victories/accomplishments/blessings (e.g. going on my 3+ years with Special Touch Ministries, completed a "plumbing" project in my house, teacher once a month for Sunday School (a.k.a. "Children's Church) at my local church, playing for my local church softball team....

Record: 5-13

{Photo Gallery}

-American Eagle (see Morris Community Church Newsletter-Nov 08', Minnesota Twins went from "below" .500 record in 2007 to "almost" clinching the Division Championship) . Also, our very own Twin-Justin Morneau wins the "Homerun Derby" (followed by second place-Josh Hamilton's inspirational story.

I thanked Him for this blessing, which I asked Him how I can use it to bless others. I hope and pray that you too can ask God how you can bless/give to those who are "unfortunate". As I wrote this, the "war" in the Middle East (Gaza-Palestine) has erupted "again". Please keep the people here in your prayers. In 2009, I challenge you all to "Count Your Blessings" before going to bed; no matter what circumstances you faced during each day! Feel free to contact me (e-mail me your own reflections of the past year or keep me updated throughout this new year or even let me know of any particular prayer requests-I'm part of a weekly morning prayer group through my local church) when you are around the Morris area of Minnesota to visit because "me casa es tu casa"!

#1 of Top 8 Videos from God Tube
My Redeemer Lives - Team Hoyt
"Incredible video about the relationship between a father and son.... and God's relationship with us."
*see GoodnewsEverybody: Life Challenges-Physically



  • Morris in 2008: What happened around here? Morris Sun Tribune Published Wednesday, January 07, 2009

  • "January 2008
    � Because its mission has changed in the nearly 40 years since it was built, the Morris National Guard Armory�s renovation began.
    The armory needed more storage space and interior renovations to bring it up to code and make it a more inviting place for larger gatherings, such as weddings or community dinners.
    Morris Sun Tribune Talk About It Icon Add a comment The Morris Guard was an infantry unit when the armory opened. It�s an artillery unit now, which entails caring for considerably more equipment.
    �It used to be people and guns -- now it�s artillery,� Fuhrman said. �There�s so much more we needed to lock up. We outgrew the building.�
    � Sergio Ismael Valdes was charged with five crimes, including first-degree attempted murder, second-degree attempted murder, first degree assault, second-degree assault and a weapons charge in connection with a shooting in Morris last summer that seriously injured an acquaintance of his. Valdes later pled guilty and was sentenced to almost eight years in prison.
    Valdes, 18, faced the charges in connection with the early morning shooting of Reynaldo Sanchez Reyes, 21, at an apartment at about 1:20 a.m. on July 15, 2007. Valdes allegedly shot Reyes in the chest with a small-caliber weapon, then fled before law enforcement could apprehend him, the weapon allegedly used in the shooting, or get a description of the vehicle he fled in.
    Valdes was arrested by Phoenix, Arizona, law enforcement during a traffic stop on Dec. 7, and he is facing weapons charges in Phoenix.
    � Morris Area schools and the Morris Teachers Association reached a tentative two-year contract agreement that was later ratified and saved the district about $22,000. Morris Area School Board chairman Kurt Gartland and MTA lead negotiator Deb Swezey confirmed that the contract for the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 school years calls for salary increases of 2.45 percent in 2007-2008 and a 2.2 percent increase for 2008-2009.
    � Nancy Huot was presented the city�s Human Rights Award last month during a council meeting, honored for her work in bringing to fruition La Tienda, a grocery and services store geared to the area�s Hispanic community.
    � Minnesota U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar stopped in Morris briefly as part of her 2008 Main Street Tour of the state�s 87 counties. Klobuchar embarked on what University of Minnesota, Morris Chancellor Jacquie Johnson called the �Green Energy Tour,� then touched on a variety of subjects related to renewable energy and conservation during a talk with community members at UMM�s Imholte Hall. In Morris, because of time constraints, the senator was limited to drive-by tours of the North Central Soil Conservation Research Lab, the wind turbine at the West Central Research and Outreach Center and the biomass burner under construction at UMM.
    � The Morris City Council approved appointments to the new commission. The commission will be comprised of landlords, renters and citizen members, and is expected to review disputes and legal issues related to rental housing. The council approved appointments: Landlords -- John Anderson, Dan Johnson and Henry Fulda; Tenants -- Cheryl Brevig, Noah Clark and Melissa Sherod. Citizen members -- Hilda Parks and Carol Wilcox. Steven Rudney, a landlord and the city�s rental inspector, will serve on the commission as an ex-officio, non-voting member. Hill will work with the commission as an administrative assistant.
    � The Chokio-Alberta High School was named to the 2008 �U.S. News & World Report� list of America�s Best High Schools. Chokio was among the few schools singled out from among nearly 19,000 public high schools in the nation. For many years, �U.S. News & World Report� has compiled and published a list of the Best Colleges in America. This year is the first time the magazine has published a high school list.
    � A 28-year-old Morris man was sentenced after pleading guilty to having sexual contact with a person under the age of 13. Gerald Lee Thorstad Jr. was sentenced to 144 months in prison. As part of the plea agreement, other charges against Thorstad were dismissed. Thorstad must serve at least two-thirds of that sentence -- 96 months -- in prison. Once out of prison, Thorstad will have 10 years of conditional release and will have to register as a sex offender.
    February 2008
    A former Morris priest charged with 20 counts of possessing pornographic images of children on computers was released on his own recognizance and will be evaluated at a Maryland institute. John Lloyd Caskey, 53, was charged in Stevens County District Court. Caskey was priest at Assumption Church in Morris and Associate Pastor in Chokio and Herman. He was officially installed Sept. 16, 2007. He left Assumption in December 2007.
    � The Morris Agriculture Research Service is slated to be closed in the proposed budget President George Bush released. Known commonly as the Soils Lab, the Morris office employs seven scientists and 30 people in various support roles. ARS is the primary scientific research agency for the Department of Agriculture. ARS has more than 100 research stations and offices in the U.S. and abroad, and employs more than 8,100 scientists and support staff on a 2007 budget of $1.1 billion.
    � Morris Area agriculture teacher Natasha Mortenson was among the semifinalists for Minnesota Teacher of the Year honor. A selection panel of 25 community leaders meeting in St. Paul chose the semifinalists from an initial field of 114 candidates from across the state.
    � A new major degree program focusing on renewable energy is available for students who choose to attend the University of Minnesota, Morris. The new major in environmental studies will complement the renewable energy and sustainability initiatives that are already in place or in progress at UMM.
    � Morris Area National Guards soldiers received notification that they are among a number of state units told to prepare for a �future, possible mobiliztion,� according to the state Guard�s spokesman. The National Guard announced that Guard units receive mobilization orders about two to three months before the unit is scheduled to leave for active duty. Typically, a Guard unit has between six and 18 months from the time it is notifiied of possible service until receiving mobilization orders. The 1-151st Field Artillery C Company -- Charlie Company -- trained at Fort Dix, N.J., in fall 2004 and served in Iraq from December 2004 until December 2005.
    � Steven �Skip� Sherstad, a long-time Stevens County resident and public servant, died.
    Sherstad, 53, died Feb. 20, 2007. Sherstad served on the Morris City Council from 1982 to 1989, and on the Stevens County Board of Commissioners from 1989 to 2004.
    Sherstad was a Right of Way Coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Transportation in Willmar.
    � North Dakota State forward Brett Winkelman was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America University Division men�s basketball first team selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America
    March 2008
    � Morris Police Officer Anita Liebl was awarded the 2007 Police Officer of the Year for her continued commitment as the Morris Area School Resource Officer. Mark Anderson and Robert Ritzschke received the Citizens Valor Award for their bravery. In September 2007, Mark and Robert were traveling in a vehicle in Morris when they observed an individual with a rifle. It was apparent that the individual was preparing to harm himself, said Morris Chief of Police Jim Beauregard. �Robert and Mark, at great personal risk to themselves, intervened and were able to take the weapon away,� Beauregard said.
    � The City of Morris and property owners who appealed the city�s special assessments in Stevens County District Court reached an out-of-court settlement. Paul and Zoe Bankord for the past year have protested publicly assessments for improvements on West 6th Street, which is where their Dormer Apartment Building is located. The council opted to take the advice of the City Attorney�s office and City Manager Blaine Hill and reduced the Bankord�s total assessment by more than half.
    � Arnold Henjum, a Hoffman native and long-time University of Minnesota, Morris educator, died at West Wind Village in Morris. He was 82. The Henjum Creative Study Institute at UMM is named in his honor, and family, friends and colleagues will remember him as a big, athletic man whose desire to impart knowledge was as robust as his physical bearing.
    � Andrew Zimmern�s visit to Cyrus to taste the Cozy Cafe�s lutefisk was featured on the host of the Travel Channel program, �Bizarre Foods.� Zimmern was at the Cozy on Sept. 15, 2007, for his first taste of the Scandinavian fish dish and other Scandy foods. Zimmern and a production crew spent several hours in Cyrus filming at the Cozy Cafe.
    *see GoodnewsMinnesota-Pope: Cryus

    � Morris Area High School sophomore Mary Hu claimed first place in the state Poetry Out Loud recitation competition. The Minnesota State Arts Board judges selected Hu for the top prize in the Poetry Out Loud: 2008 Minnesota State Competition at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul. Hu was among 12 finalists who competed at the state level. Another Morris Area student, Annika Kildegaard, placed second at the Minnesota Poetry Out Loud competition in 2007.
    April 2008
    � University of Minnesota, Morris Chancellor Jacqueline Johnson was among three leading educators who described the way American colleges and their students are leading the fight against global climate change. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar called the hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to highlight the importance of college and university research on clean energy and to spotlight the leadership of college students in fighting greenhouse gas pollution. Testifying, in addition to Chancellor Johnson, were Dr. Richard C. Levin, president of Yale University, and Dr. Robert Birgeneau, chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley.
    � Although the Morris FIRST Robotics Team, the PLAID Pillagers, finished a disappointing 56 out of 60 at Milwaukee Regional Competition last month, team members have already begun their plans to improve next year. What�s in store? Public robot demonstrations, year-round fundraising, and a more well-organized building process for their next robot. Twenty five students attended the regional competition in Milwaukee.
    � Glen Menze, a Starbuck accountant and former farmer, announced he would try to knock off incumbent 7th District Congressman Collin Peterson in November.
    � Morris Area students and volunteers collected more than 40 tons of electronic waste as community flocks to dispose of computer and television components.
    � The Morris Senior Community Center celebrated its 20th anniversary.

    Morris in 2008, Part 2: What happened around here? Morris Sun Tribune Published Friday, January 09, 2009
    "May 2008
    • WestMor Industries announced that the company has been purchased by Superior Industries. WestMor's previous owners, Riley Brothers Properties and Warrenn Anderson, purchased the company in 2001. WestMor Industries produces fueling systems, transports, tanks and fuel trucks and also repairs, services and installs systems.
    Superior employs more than 300 people manufacturing portable and stationary conveying equipment. WestMor retained its name and operate as a subsidiary of Superior Industries.
    • When the new 35W bridge was completed, Hancock Concrete had a lot to with it. The company produced a precast concrete box culvert to serve as a walkway running parallel to the river and passing directly under the new freeway. Hancock Concrete's Cannon Falls plant was subcontracted to produce 63 sections of box concrete for the walkway.
    • Stevens Community Medical Center’s acquired the OxyVu-1, technology from HyperMed that allows physicians to gauge the healing potential of a wound. SCMC currently is just one of 13 medical centers in the U.S. employing the new equipment. SCMC podiatrist Alex Lebrija said the HyperMed tool represents existing technology “on steroids.
    • A Morris landlord recently prevailed in a Minnesota Supreme Court decision that could affect how cities throughout the state can regulate rental properties. Mike Sax, of Sax Investments, Inc., won his appeal in a case against the City of Morris. After having his arguments rejected in district court and the state court of appeals, the Supreme Court ruled in his favor in a decision.
    • The City of Morris did not pursue charges relating to the March 2008 stabbing of a man in Morris. Lucas Giese, 28, was stabbed during an altercation at a party in the early hours of March 15 on the 500 block of West 6th Street. Giese was hospitalized and later released. City Attorney Charles Glasrud stated that after a thorough investigation, “it appears the individual who stabbed Mr. Giese would be able to make out a plausible claim of self-defense under Minnesota law.”
    • The Service-Learning Student Energy Leadership Team from the Morris Area School District was awarded a 2008 Minnesota Student Service Award for Outstanding Service Learning by the Minnesota Department of Education.
    June 2008
    • Two prominent Morris residents passed away. Curt Wiese, who served as Chief of Police for the Morris and Hancock police departments, died June 18 at his home in Morris. He was 63 after a fight against Lou Gehrig’s Disease. And Leif Lie, for years a fixture as Agriculture Agent in Stevens County and wrestling coach at the high school level and at the University of Minnesota, Morris, died. He was 92.
    • Bruce Campbell was endorsed by the District 11 DFL to run against veteran Republican District 11A Rep. Torrey Westrom. Campbell was endorsed at the DFL District 11 convention in Alexandria.
    • Bethany Tickle, of Morris, and Kelsey Malecha, of Apple Valley, earned honors during the 2008 Miss Minnesota competition. Tickle, Miss Morris, was honored with the Spirit Award, which is voted on by the other contestants. Malecha, Miss Midwest, was second runnerup and was a co-winner in the interview category.
    • Stevens County Commissioner Neal Hofland announced that he would not seek reelection after serving for eight years. Hofland made the announcement that he would not seek a third term representing the rural Third District, which also includes Chokio and Hancock.
    • Pomme de Terre Golf Club celebrated its 85th anniversary. PDT is on the upswing again, with a second-to-none clubhouse for a small public course, improving course conditions and a new links-like 10 holes that make it a unique 18-hole track.
    July 2008
    • A brief program officially opened the newly completed and redesigned parking lot between the City Center Mall and Prairie Medical Associates and Otter Tail Power Co. The work included paving, new lighting, new trees and flowers, and newly created banners also were installed.
    • The Stevens County Board of Commissioners voted to move ahead on a $15 million project to construct a new jail and Law Enforcement Center and renovate the courthouse.
    The commissioners voted 3-2 for the project, with Don Munsterman, Larry Sayre and Paul Watzke voting for the project. Commissioners Herb Kloos and Neal Hofland voted against it.
    In addition to the 40-bed jail, a new LEC will be built above the jail, freeing up space in the courthouse to move Human Services to the courthouse from its current location along Highway 28. The plan also calls for moving Stevens Traverse Grant Public Health’s offices to the current Human Services location, then sell the STG offices on Pacific Avenue.
    • A Morris Area High School student was sentenced to 30 days in the Moorhead Juvenile Detention Facility after he was found delinquent for making a Feb. 6, 2007 bomb threat at the school.
    Stevens County Attorney Charles Glasrud said the boy, who was 14 at the time of the threat, was found delinquent for committing terroristic threats following a one-day trial.
    In addition to the detention time, the boy was placed on supervised probation for an indeterminate time, and was ordered to write a letter of apology by Stevens County District Court Judge Gerald Seibel.
    Seibel stated that it appears people are now aware that area judges are willing to send children to detention for acts they might perceive as a “prank.”
    • Two law enforcement students received $2,000 scholarships during the David F. Day Scholarship Fishing Tournament at Lake Minnewaska.
    The fourth-annual tournament marked the third time memorial scholarships were awarded to students. Thus far, the fund has awarded seven scholarships to students totalling $10,000.
    The 2008 scholars are Rachel Shiek, of Hibbing, a student at Hibbing Community College, and Joshua Fahey, of Hutchinson, a student at Minnesota State-Mankato.
    About 50 boats and more than 100 people were entered in this year’s contest.
    • Mike Kopel was cruising on his motorcycle on Highway 28 near the Pamida store when he noticed what he thought was some trash and leaves blowing around near the roadway.
    It was money and checks -- about $4,000 that came in the wedding cards for newlyweds Amber and Nate Samuelson, from Minot, N.D. Despite the wind, Kopel was able to retrieve almost all the money by the time Amber Samuelson realized she had left her wallet on the top of her car when leaving Pamida moments earlier.
    • Some trees and shrubs took a beating during a brief but violent wind storm in Morris in late July., but no injuries were reported and the storm apparently did little damage to buildings or vehicles.
    “We were pretty fortunate,” said Morris Chief of Police Jim Beauregard. “We had a few branches go down but we didn’t hear any reports of any major damage.”
    The storm kicked in just after midnight, with weather reports of high winds reaching almost 50 miles per hour.
    • Belinda Dokken of Cyrus bought a $500,000 Extravaganza ticket at Waters Edge in Starbuck. As Dokken was scratching the ticket, a patron sitting next to her said, “You never get big winners in these small towns.” Dokken proved him wrong by becoming the first person to win the $500,000 top prize.
    August 2008
    Christopher Hyden was charged with several criminal counts for allegedly stabbing a 28-year-old Graceville woman and a 6-year-old girl. Hyden, 28, is from Clinton,
    The adult victim, Dawn Boyle, and the child both were taken to a hospital and then transferred to another facility.
    A caller told the Big Stone County Sheriff’s Office that a woman had been stabbed in the throat and the suspect had fled the scene. Law enforcement found Boyle, 28, with stab wounds to her throat. They also found a 6-year old girl who had been stabbed in the neck. The suspect fled on a red four-wheel vehicle, and area law enforcement officers pursued. An officer saw the suspect enter a cornfield. Hyden later walked out of the field and surrendered.
    • Morris residents can ride golf carts and All Terrain Vehicles on city streets.
    The Morris City Council passed an ordinance allowing the use of the vehicles on some city streets.
    Access to many areas, especially high-traffic highways running through town, would be prohibited. Those wishing to use the vehicles would be required to buy permits and would be allowed on streets only from sunrise to sunset.
    Drivers must be at least 18 years old, and permits would be required for each driver; the vehicle itself will not be licensed. ATV drivers also would be required to have other licenses allowing them to use those vehicles.
    • For the past two decades, the University of Minnesota, Morris has produced Prairie Yard and Garden, a horticulture television series on Pioneer Public Television.
    For 15 of those years, Sue Gooch was the host and content developer. Last year was her last season as host, and the university hosted a “garden party” event in her honor at the West Central Research and Outreach Center Gardens.
    • A former Morris priest charged with possessing pornographic images of children on computers pleaded guilty as part of a plea agreement.
    John Lloyd Caskey, 53, was charged with 20 counts of possessing child pornography in Stevens County District Court earlier in 2008. He pled guilty to the first three counts and admitted possessing the images of minors, according to Stevens County Attorney Charles Glasrud.
    Based on sentencing guidelines, Caskey received a stayed sentence and was be placed on probation.
    Caskey was priest at Assumption Church in Morris and Associate Pastor in Chokio and Herman. He was officially installed Sept. 16, 2007. He left Assumption in December 2007.
    • Officials, administrators and legislators lauded the work the North Central Soil Conservation Research Laboratory in Morris has done in the 50 years since it was founded.
    The Soils Lab celebrated its many achievements with lab tours, a 90-minute program, lunch and a series of scientific research presentations.
    Numerous officials from ARS, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the University of Minnesota system and the City of Morris spoke highly of the Soils Lab’s accomplishments and contributions to agricultural science and food production.
    • After serving as interim director for a year, the Board of Directors of the Prairie Renaissance Cultural Alliance named Julia Conroy as its executive director.
    Conroy took over the helm from Athena Kildegaard, who wrote the original grant to the Blandin Foundation to start the PRCA in 2002."

    Morris in 2008, Part 3: What happened around here? Morris Sun Tribune Published Wednesday, January 14, 2009
    "September 2008
    More than 175 volunteers took part in the second year of a tree-planting project coordinated by Design Morris! and the Minnesota Department of Transportation. More than 150 trees were planted, bringing the two-year total to almost 300 trees. MnDOT paid for the trees, and local governments and donors contributed to keep the trees watered and maintained.
    The Morris Community Churchs negotiations to buy the former United Building Center complex as a home for its congregation fell through.
    MCC Pastor Pat Franey informed Morris City Manager Blaine Hill and the City Council that it would be suspending efforts to finalize a deal.
    Earlier in 2008, the church successfully petitioned the city to change zoning in the area of the UBC building at West 6th Street and Pacific Avenue to accommodate converting the building for use as a church.
    The 1.3-acre site became available when UBC closed its Morris facility in 2007.
    From the outside, the Morris National Guard Armory doesnt appear to be much different after a year-long renovation that cost more than $1 million.
    We already had a nice armory, said Brent Fuhrman, the Guards Readiness NCO. Now, its one of the best in the state. Were fortunate to have it.
    New bathroom and shower areas, a more efficient office area, more meeting space and a more flexible main hall are just the most obvious changes. The steam boiler was removed and replaced by a hot water heating system. A new storage area is being added to complement storage in the armorys main hall. New lighting throughout the building will make it brighter and more energy efficient. Reading from a ground-breaking new anthology, four Minnesota poets -- including two from Morris -- shared the stage. Argie Manolis and Athena Kildegaard, from Morris, LouAnn Muhm, from Park Rapids, and Francine Sterle, from the Gunflint region, are four of the almost 300 poets represented in the anthology Letters to the World, which represents work by women poets (and one man) who are members of the Women's Poetry List-serv.
    Josh Love and Fallon Meixel, seniors at Morris Area High School, were crowned homecoming king and queen.
    Gail Strickler, 68, and Ned Strickler, 60, were killed in a two-vehicle crash at the intersection north of Holloway in Swift County, one day before the Minnesota Department of Transportation began work to make the intersection a four-way stop.
    Sandy Tubbs, Director of Douglas County Public Health, was named interim director of the Stevens-Traverse-Grant Public Health department.
    The STG Public Health board appointed Tubbs to the position. She replaced Betty Windom-Kirsch, who resigned as STG director Aug. 27. Stevens County Coordinator Jim Thoreen said Windom-Kirsch resigned under duress. Windom-Kirsch had been STGs director since Sept. 2004.
    Cheryl Contant began her duties recently as the new vice chancellor for academic affairs and dean at UMM.
    Contant first visited the campus in April 2007 through an American Council on Education Fellowship hosted by Macalester College. Fellowship participants were encouraged to visit other campuses.
    I was (in Morris) four hours, said Contant, and fell in love.
    When she later learned of the deans position opening, she did not hesitate to respond.
    October 2008
    About 50 residents of Morris Highland Homes Addition received the initial details of proposed street, water and sewer work the city would like to undertake in 2009.
    Because of the nature of the neighborhoods, however, this wont be a run-of-the-mill community improvements project.
    Since Highland Homes has never had storm sewer service, drainage and the costs associated with it could pose headaches for planners and residents, even as work to mitigate water problems in the area moves ahead.
    Preliminary costs are estimated at $2.6 million and about 100 properties would be assessed for the work.
    Incumbent Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman stopped briefly in Morris, stood before a packed house, laid out his case for re-election and urged his supporters to help him get the job done.
    Coleman and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty spoke to about 120 people at DeToys Family Restaurant in Morris.
    U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken urged dozens of supporters in Morris to get up early and stay up late in the week ahead to push his candidacy before the Nov. 4 general election.
    Its going to be a close election, Franken told an audience at the University of Minnesota, Morris Oyate Hall. I dont want to wake up on Nov. 5 thinking there was something else I could have done, and I know you dont want that, either.
    The annual Stevens County 4-H Awards Program was held Saturday night in the Morris Area Concert Hall. Among the awards given out were the 4-H Family of the Year, which was given to the Jon and Lori Moser family. The Rendsville 4-H Club was named the 4-H Club of the Year as well as being named the Community Pride Club. The Swan Lake 4-H Club took first place in the club window contest, was runner-up for Club of the Year and placed second in the county fair apron contest. The Outstanding Youth Leader is Courtney Ehleringer. The Friend of 4-H Award was given to Pat Smith. The Extra Mile Award was given to Amy Blackwelder, Jean Lesmeister and Judy Johnston.
    With little discussion and only praise for the developers, the Kandiyohi County Commissioners unanimously approved a conditional use permit Tuesday for a 9,590-head dairy operation near Pennock that will be managed by Riverview Farms of rural Morris.
    The St. Johns Township farm will include 4,754 milking cows, 340 heifers and 3,590 calves. When it becomes operational next year it will be the largest dairy in the county.
    Extensive street work in Morris downtown area was completed. The project encompassed East 7th Street, and East 6th Street and Oregon Avenue. Work in the University of Minnesota, Morris area was completed earlier in the summer. The Destiny Drivers are ready, and the organizers of Stevens FORWARD! hope county residents are ready to embrace them. After 10 months of planning, Stevens FORWARD! stewards released a list of 14 projects that they believe will make the county a better place to live and do business in the future. Stevens FORWARD! launched the initiative into the action stage by releasing the 14 initiatives, called Destiny Drivers.
    Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said elections involve more than entering a polling place and marking a ballot. The true test of a democracy is how it gets people working together and trusting the system, and voting is a key element in that effort.
    Free and fair elections are a way of stabilizing a country, ridding it of cynicism and getting people involved in making it better, Ritchie told a group of about 50 people at the Stevens County DFL's annual Fundraiser and Bean Feed at the Morris American Legion.
    Ritchie spent the day in Morris, first at the University of Minnesota, Morris as part of a campaign to increase student voter registration.
    A man faces attempted murder and assault charges in connection with the stabbing of a Morris man. John Lewis Longcrow, 25, was charged Monday for allegedly stabbing Ronnie White Mountain, 40, multiple times during an argument at the Lamplighter Apartment on West 5th Street in Morris.
    Dean Barkley, a U.S. Senate candidate, made a campaign stop at the University of Minnesota, Morris Turtle Mountain Caf. Barkley talked to the students frankly about the war in Iraq, his days as former Gov. Jesse Venturas chief aide, and the sorry state of the race he is in against Republican incumbent Norm Coleman and DFL challenger Al Franken.
    About 200 people attended the dedication of the University of Minnesota, Morris biomass facility on the UMM campus.
    A number of community and UMM leaders and area lawmakers spoke during the outdoor ceremony near the plant adjacent to the campus heating and cooling plant.
    The biomass plant is a model for community-based energy systems. The gasification system will use about 9,000 tons of biomass per year to offset roughly 80 percent of UMMs fossil fuel usage.
    November 2008
    Collin Peterson, the U.S. House Agriculture Committee chairman, said he wont be the Obama administrations agriculture secretary. Several media outlets reported he was in the running. However, Peterson has been telling anyone who would listen including Obama's transition team that he is not interested and would not accept the job. He has said he has more power as committee chairman.
    Morris Areas Mary Holmberg was selected as Section 6A Athletic Director of the Year.
    Holmberg has been with the district since 1977. Along with her athletic director duties, she also teaches Drivers Education and Special Ed. Holmberg is the Tigers varsity softball coach, as well. The State Athletic Director of the Year in Class A will be announced at the State Athletic Director Conference on April 2 in St. Cloud. There are eight competing sections in Class A.
    Swift County grand jury issued indictments for first- and second-degree murder against Andrew Gordon Lemcke, 34, in the shooting of his wife Nichole Riley-Lemcke in their Appleton home on Sept. 12, 2004. The court file lists charges of first-degree murder premeditated and second-degree murder with intent not premeditated for an offense alleged to have been committed.
    Shelley Messner was honored by the Morris Teachers Association as Teacher of the Year, and Jill VanKempen was honored as Support Staff Person of the Year for 2008-2009. Messner and VanKempen received the awards at the Morris Area School Districts 3rd Annual Staff Recognition Program and breakfast. VanKempen also was recognized for 35 years service in the district.
    The University of Minnesota, Morris mens soccer team won the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference title with a 1-0 win over St. Scholastica Saturday in Duluth. It was the second straight title win for Christian DeVries three-year-old soccer team. Last year, UMM defeated the Saints in the tournament championship game 2-1.
    December 2008
    Stevens County Attorney Charles Glasrud will be president of the Minnesota County Attorneys Association in 2010. Glasrud was elected President-Elect of the association for 2009, meaning he will assume the presidency a year later.
    Stearns County Attorney Janelle Kendall was elected President of the MCAA for 2009.
    The Morris City Council approved its 2009 budget and tax levy, but it might not be too long before significant changes are made to it. The council adopted a 2009 budget of $8,418,760, and a levy to be collected in 2009 of $1,098,501.
    But the current and projected budget deficit facing the State of Minnesota had City Manager Blaine Hill saying that current budgets may not mean much.
    The city is losing about $128,000 in Local Government Aid it was due in December.
    Morris Area School Board member and National Guard Sgt. Brent Fuhrman took a leave of absence related to an expected mobilization for active duty of the Morris-area National Guard unit in early 2009. The board accepted Fuhrmans request.
    Stevens County lost about $90,000 from a state aid check that was mailed in late December. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced a package of cuts to erase a $426 million deficit in the states current budget. Pawlenty used a budgetary tool known as unallotment to balance the states budget. Unallotments of aid to cities, counties and other agencies are allowed after the governor has expended state budget reserves.
    The City of Morris learned it would lose about $128,000 in Local Government Aid under Pawlentys plan.
    The county will see its County Program Aid reduced by $90,423. The city was expecting a check totaling $448,652, but received $358,229, according to County Coordinator Jim Thoreen.
    The Morris Planning Commission and the Morris City Council approved a conditional-use permit that will allow Stevens County to move ahead on its $15 million building project.
    The Planning Commission reviewed county plans for the project, which includes a courthouse renovation and the construction of a 40-bed jail and a law enforcement center. The county expects to begin construction this spring.
    About 90 people gathered to hear Stevens County Commissioners explain their vote to move ahead with a $15 million building project, and to ask that the board consider postponing plans because of the poor economic situation gripping the entire country.
    The board convened its regular session at the courthouse, but moved the building discussions to the Morris Area Concert Hall so that enough seating was available.
    Following the hour-long discussion on the building project, the board took no action to postpone plans or to schedule further public hearings on the issue.
    The board in July voted 3-2 to move ahead with building a 40-bed jail, a new law enforcement center and remodel the courthouse. The county wants to begin construction this spring. In early 2009, at a third meeting with the opposition group, the board voted down a motion to delay the project by a 3-2 vote.
    A burst sprinkler pipe flooded a large portion of the University of Minnesota, Morris John Q. Imholte Hall, a three-story classroom and office building.
    The cleanup went exceptionally well, UMM officials said.
    The offices, seminar rooms and classrooms on the south end of the building were most affected by the flooding.
    Bill Eckersen was named the recipient of the 2008 Morris Human Rights Award.
    Eckersen was nominated by Morris resident Liz Hinds for furthering human rights in the city by working to integrate people with mental illness into the community.
    Eckersen is Program Director at KKOK/KMRS radio in Morris, and is morning show host on KKOK.
    Two men from the Douglas County area died after their truck hit a bridge guardrail and plunged into a creek in northwest Wisconsin.
    Richard "Rick" Klimek, 38, of Lowry and his nephew, Matthew Baumann, 27, of Alexandria were pronounced dead at the scene.
    According to the Polk County Sheriffs Office, Klimek was driving a 2001 GMC truck registered to Klimek Brothers Well Drilling of Alexandria when he failed to negotiate a curve and struck the bridge guardrail, causing the truck to overturn and land upside down in Fox Creek, north of Amery, Wisconsin.
    A man with several aliases was charged with three domestic assault crimes -- including an allegation of strangling his wife -- in Stevens County District Court.
    The man, originally referred to in the complaint as John Doe, was later identified as Onofre Sanchez Marquez."

    December 2008
    The Best Christian Albums of 2008, from Christianity
    "#12 Children 18:3 Children 18:3 Tooth & Nail Records ListenBuy CD
    Christian music has played a part in reducing punk rock to a stale and whiny shadow of its former self, so it's truly refreshing to discover a new faith-based band that has helped reinvigorate the genre. Though there are traces of blink-182 and Sum 41 in their hook-filled sing-along choruses, Children 18:3 also echoes classic acts like The Ramones and The Clash by way of modern bands like Green Day and Panic! at the Disco. Moreover, the Hostetter siblings add their own creative stamp by varying their style from song to song and creating interplay between vocalists David and LeeMarie. But even better is the way Children 18:3 reaches deeper than the usual themes of romantic longing and heartache, cleverly joining punk's rebel attitude with messages of fighting spiritual complacency and standing up against the non-biblical standards of our changing culture. All spoken�and yelled�with passion, attitude, and hope by a tight-sounding trio that's off to a terrific start with this debut. "

    Children 18:3 at LifeLight 2008!

    "Clint from Godtube chats with Children 18:3."
    *see GoodnewsEverybody: Music-Rock


  • 2007: A Minnesota Year In Review, Dec 31, 2007 6:43 am US/Centra

  • "The collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge into the Mississippi River killed 13 people, injured more than 100 and drew visits from President Bush and journalists from around the world. It was the biggest story in Minnesota in 2007.
    Elsewhere, flooding killed seven people in southeastern Minnesota and pushed dozens out of their homes on the western border with North Dakota. Along the Gunflint Trail in northeastern Minnesota, the worst wildfire in nearly a century burned for weeks and destroyed scores of homes and other buildings.
    On the political front, a U.S. senator's career imploded after an incident in a Minnesota bathroom. Sen. Larry Craig, an Idaho Republican, pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct stemming from his arrest at the Twin Cities airport for allegedly soliciting sex from an undercover officer. Craig's attempts to undo his plea failed.
    There was some good news, too, including the return of about 2,800 National Guard soldiers who spent nearly two years in Iraq; a Nobel Prize for a retired University of Minnesota professor; and the arrival of Minnesota Vikings rookie sensation Adrian Peterson.
    Earlier, in March, the Little Minnesota River overflowed, causing damage to more than 140 structures in Browns Valley, a city of 700 people near the South Dakota border. A few weeks later, flooding in the Red River Valley left Browns Valley residents homeless.
    No one was seriously injured in the fire in the Arrowhead region, but it was the most destructive since 1918. The blaze, which started May 5, apparently from a campfire on Ham Lake, burned almost 119 square miles in Minnesota and Ontario. About 140 structures in Minnesota and 15 in Canada were lost, but fire crews and local residents were credited with saving dozens of other structures....

    -- Tiffany Johnson, 26, who grew up in Chisholm and graduated from Hibbing High School, was killed along with another person Dec. 9 when a man began shooting at a missionary training center in Arvada, Colo.
    *see Colorado
    -- Minnesota lost a distinctive voice and some well-known names: Herb Carneal, the Hall of Fame broadcaster and voice of the Twins since 1962; activist Vernon Bellecourt, who co-founded the American Indian Movement in Minneapolis in 1968; and Charles W. Lindberg, one of the U.S. marines who raised the first American flag on Iwo Jima -- before a similar flag-raising was staged for the famous AP photograph.

    Apartment Fire in "Burns"-ville..more...GoodnewsEverybody: Apartment Accidents


  • Top 10 Searches for 2008,
  • 2008: Crises and change, scandals and triumphs, from

  • Year In Review 2008 Defining moments, not all in black and white by Warren Cole Smith � EP (Minnesota Christian Chronicle January 2009)

  • "Many year-end lists are putting the election of the first African-American president of the United States as the news story of the year. And, indeed, the election of Barack Obama as president was a defining moment for the United States, and the world.
    But what, precisely, did his election define? A closer look at his election�and, for that matter, most of the �defining moments� of 2008, reveal that life is not just a question of black or white.... "

  • What made headlines this year?, from CNN updated 12:40 p.m. EST, Mon December 3, 2007

  • "# Story Highlights
    # Unrest in Pakistan, Myanmar and Iranian nuclear standoff among top stories
    # Other major news included the Virginia Tech massacre, California wildfires
    # Your Picks: Rank the top stories of 2007

  • 10 best sports stories of 2007, Updated: December 26, 2007, 4:04 PM EST (

  • "This sports year bummed us out on many fronts. Steroid controversies spoiled some of the fun, forcing us to wonder which athletes were natural successes and which represented scientific breakthroughs.
    Gambling, game-fixing, cheating, criminal activity, untimely death � 2007 brought all the bad stuff. But there were some amazing moments, too, which thrilled, uplifted and inspired us.
    Here were the 10 best:
    Fairy-tale victory
    As Dalton Carriker came up to bat in the Little League World Series title game, he gathered himself. His Warner Robins, Ga., team was tied with Tokyo 2-2 in extra innings.
    "God, please give me the strength to get a hit and help my team out," Carriker told himself.
    "I felt like I was flying," said Dalton Carriker after hitting his winning home run. (Jim McIsaac / Getty Images)
    The prayer worked. Carriker blasted the game-winning homer over the right-field wall and triggered a joyous celebration. "I felt like I was flying, like Peter Pan," Carriker said. "I didn't know what I was doing."
    Upset of the year
    America loves underdogs. And there was none bigger than little Appalachian State playing football at the University of Michigan.
    The Wolverines were ranked fifth in the country at the time. They had 110,000 fans in the "Big House." Although Appalachian State was the defending champion of the Football Championship Subdivision, the Mountaineers from Boone, N.C., were way out of their element.
    "It was David versus Goliath," Appalachian State receiver Dexter Jackson said.
    But the Mountaineers outlasted the Wolverines 34-32 by blocking a field-goal attempt on the last play of the game. "Someone said it might be one of the biggest victories in college football," Appalachian State coach Jerry Moore said. "It may be the biggest."

  • Brands that Made Headlines in 2008 December 19, 2008

  • "1. Apple
    Apple could do no wrong in 2008. The iPhone, iPod, iTunes, new Macbooks, a laptop that fits in a manilla envelope - you name it, Apple has been hot in recent years, and 2008 was not an exception...
    2. GM, Chrysler, Dodge
    U.S. auto manufacturers are desperately seeking a bailout to make all the faulty decisions made at the executive level in the past decade go away.
    8. Nintendo
    Guitar Hero, Wii, Nintendo DS, the list goes on and on of hot products with the Nintendo brand name on them that consumers were talking about in 2008.

  • Top 10: Sports Moments Of 2008, from

  • "No.10 - 2008 NBA Finals
    Boston Celtics defeat Los Angeles Lakers With Phil Jackson�s guidance, home-court advantage and a different seven-foot forward not-named Shaquille O�Neal, this was supposed to be Kobe Bryant�s first NBA Championship without The Diesel...
    No.8 - The Redeem Team
    U.S. Men�s Basketball team wins Olympic gold...
    No.6 - Tampa Bay Rays make the World Series
    Not to take anything away from the city of Philadelphia and the Phillies, who ended a 25-year Championship drought for the City of Brotherly Love, but the Tampa Bay Rays� journey to the World Series was an amazing story in 2008.
    The Rays, who had never finished higher than fourth in the five-team American League East, who had never posted a winning record, who had never won more than 70 games in a season and lost 96 games in 2007, managed a one-season turnaround of epic proportions...
    No.4 - Super Bowl XLII
    New York Giants defeat New England Patriots, 17-14 It was supposed to be a date with destiny and it turned out that way, but it wasn�t the result everyone expected.
    The New England Patriots, who had completed the first perfect 16-0 regular season in NFL history, were looking to cap their run with a Super Bowl win. However, the team that was never expected to be there, the New York Giants, did exactly what they weren�t expected to do.
    The Giants produced a gutsy, gritty performance and managed to rattle Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and pressure him out of his comfort zone. After they slowed the potent Patriots offense, Eli Manning, along with the help of a magical catch by David Tyree, orchestrated a classic game-winning drive to pull off one of the most surprising Super Bowl results ever.
    No.3 - Yankee Stadium closes
    As we say farewell to 2008, we�ll wave goodbye to old Yankee Stadium, which closed up shop this year.
    No.2 - Michael Phelps Medals
    No.1 - Usain Bolt's 100-meter dash
    Usain Bolt�s 100-meter dash in the 2008 Olympics easily makes this list among the top 10 moments of 2008, but it will also rank among the best Olympic moments ever.
    Bolt set a new world record with his blistering time of 9.69 seconds in the race, but it was the fashion in which he did it that will forever be remembered.
    He let up about halfway after leaving his competition in the dust. Bolt eased up as he crossed the finish line pounding his chest and smiling at the cameras. The scary thought was the time he could have finished with had he focused the entire race. "

    Floods in Cedar, Iowa...more=> GoodnewsUSA: Iowa
    Hurricane Ike hits Galveston, Texas..more....GoodnewsUSA: Texas


  • TOP TEN NEWS STORIES: Most Viewed of 2008 December 15, 2008

  • " 3. Portal to Maya Underworld Found in Mexico? A newfound underground labyrinth filled with stone temples and pyramids�some underwater�likely relates to Maya myths of the afterlife, archaeologists said in August...
    *see GoodnewsEverybody: Latino
  • Two thousand and strange: offbeat stories of the year Dec 29 02:30 PM US/Eastern from

  • "..- A British woman who celebrated her 105th birthday said the secret to long life was celibacy. Sex was a "lot of hassle," she opined. .."
  • The Top 10 Everything of 2008, from Time

  • Top 10 Underreported News Stories, from
    "2. Civil war displaces a million Congolese
    3. Sri Lankan conflict deadlier this year than Afghanistan
    9. U. S. ships sand from Kuwait to Idaho
    10. Venezuela's potty-mouth President

  • Top News Stories of 2008, from Christianity Today posted December 29, 2008

  • 1. Election 2008: Democrats woo evangelical vote, making only slight gains from Bush era.
    Meanwhile, Religious Right leaders waited until the GOP convention to support McCain (or was it Palin they supported?). Institutions like Saddleback Church, Messiah College, and Belmont University played host to both sides.
    *GoodnewsUSA: Politics
    2. Voters turn back California Supreme Court's same-sex marriage decision.
    More than $70 million was spent in the battle over Proposition 8 before Election Day. Then came the lawsuits�along with demonstrations and attacks against Mormons, who were seen as key to passing the proposition.
    3. Christians in Orissa, India, again become scapegoats for Hindu extremists Reports say scores of people were killed in months of pogroms, with tens of thousands displaced and 117 churches destroyed. With elections in the spring, more violence is likely.
    *see GoodnewsEverybody: Asian-Indian
    4. Anglican Communion continues to implode in slow motion.
    Yes, this makes the list almost every year. But this time whole dioceses split from the Episcopal Church, as half of Anglicanism's bishops boycotted the Lambeth Conference and met on their own in Jerusalem. As the year closed, former Episcopalians were formalizing the creation of a new province.
    5. Christians flee Iraq and Gaza.
    About 13,000 Christians�or one in two�left Mosul in October. In Gaza, churches where hundreds worshiped until recently are attended by less than a dozen. Historic Christian communities are becoming history.
    6. Candidates' religious associations come under scrutiny.
    Jeremiah Wright and John Hagee got more airtime than some presidential candidates. Remember when clergy endorsements and church affiliation helped campaigns?
    7. Ministries hold their breath as financial crisis threatens the global economy.
    A downturn in donations is likely to meet a surge in need domestically and abroad.
    8. Muslim and Christian interfaith dialogues get serious.
    Evangelicals took part in (and debated about) Yale's "Common Word" meetings, among others. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia hosted an interfaith conference at the United Nations.
    9. Todd Bentley's Florida Outpouring divides charismatic movement.
    Charisma's Lee Grady warned of a "charismatic civil war" between those critical of Bentley's often-violent healing ministry and those who saw it as launching a global revival. After more than four months of consecutive meetings, Bentley announced he and his wife were separating and stepped down.
    *see GoodnewsUSA: Florida
    10. Texas authorities raid FLDS ranch.
    While Christians were stunned at the stories of child marriage, polygamy, and abuse, some Christian legal experts and others said the case raised long-lasting questions about balancing the need to protect children with religious freedom.

    Home Run Derby King Josh Hamilton: From Addiction to Salvation

    "Before he was a Home Run Derby Champ, Josh Hamilton was a minor league baseball player with a major drug league problem. Then, his wife got a message from God. Josh tells The 700 Club how salvation through Jesus Christ changed his life. The Christian Broadcasting Network. To see more from The 700 Club, go to"
    *more Sports-Baseball
    Summer Olympics in Asian-China

    2008 Headlines News around the globe Review 1/4

    "2008 Headlines News around the globe Review 1/4"
    2008 Headlines News around the globe Review 2/4, from
    2008 Headlines News around the globe Review 3/4, from
    2008 Headlines News around the globe Review 4/4, from

    E-mail Forward from Tom W. (Canada)


    1. The Bible will still have the answers.
    2. Prayer will still work.
    3. The Holy Spirit will still move.
    4. God will still inhabit the praises of His people.
    5. There will still be God-anointed preaching.
    6. There will still be singing of praise.
    7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people.
    8. There will still be room at the Cross.
    9. Jesus will still love you.
    10. Jesus will still save the lost.

    --Author Unknown

    I am truly thankful that God is Faithful even when we are not.

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