The Morrison County Record Covering community news, sports, current events and provides advertising and information for the Morrison County, Minnesota. Thu, 20 Nov 2014 22:30:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Commissioners approve adding ‘permit to carry’ amendment to county trails ordinance Thu, 20 Nov 2014 22:30:11 +0000 By Jim Wright, Correspondent

Amid the varied business at Tuesday’s meeting, the Morrison County Board of Commissioners were asked to approve updates and changes to the county’s ordinance regarding county- owned recreational trail use. Most changes were outlined in the Nov. 1 edition of the Morrison County Record.

That approval was put on hold after a request to allow “permit to carry” sidearms on the trails was made by county resident Ron Nypan. He has a permit.

“As written now, it is prohibited except for law enforcement,” County Attorney Brian Middendorf said.

“I see no problem with an exception (allowing trail users, with a permit to carry, to have their sidearms with them on the trails),” said Sheriff Michel Wetzel.

The commissioners, in agreement, asked Middendorf to rewrite that part of the Morrison County ordinance. The complete ordinance will then be submitted again for County Board approval.

Nypan also spoke about fat bikes (fat-tired bicycles) being allowed to use the trails without helping to pay for trail maintenance.

“I’m a little tired that snowmobilers are paying for all the maintenance (of the multi-use trails),” Nypan said. He is also an active member of the Morrison County Recreational Trails Association (MCRTA) — responsible for the maintenance of large parts of the county owned, multi-use trails.

“Anyone who uses those trails should have to pay for it,” said Commissioner Don Meyer.

Concern was also expressed about slow-moving fat bikes sharing the trails with snowmobiles going 50 miles per hour, in a letter from county resident Al Doree, read by County Administrator Deb Gruber.

“The MCRTA has liability insurance covering snowmobilers on the trails, but no other trail users,” Nypan said.

Fat bike enthusiast Russ Frey, also a county resident, was there just to clarify that fat bikes are year-around trail bikes, because he saw the Record article that they would be included in the amended ordinance allowing them on the county’s trails during the winter. He wanted to be sure they are allowed year-around. “They are very much a summer trail bike also,” he said.

As for the trail maintenance concern, Frey said, “They are low impact. But some state funding has been provided for bicycle trail maintenance in the Brainerd area,” he said.

“Fat bikes are a growing sport,” said Frey, who owns a bicycle shop in Brainerd. When he recently posted an announcement on Facebook about a “Fat Turkey” ride for those bikes, just for the fun of it in Brainerd, Nov. 22, “It got more than 200 likes,” he said.

Morrison County Board Briefs

In other business Tuesday, the County Board:

•Commended County Commissioner-elect Mike Wilson for his position with the National Joint Powers Alliance (NJPA). The commissioners expressed hope that he would remain with the NJPA, while also on the County Board. Wilson said he intends to and noted NJPA’s purpose is to provide funds to benefit Region 5 (including Morrison County). The NJPA distributes millions of dollars each year;

•Were informed by Sheriff Michel Wetzel that the orientation for Sheriff-elected Shawn Larsen was going well. “The beauty of a fresh set of ideas is that it can bring improvements,” Wetzel said;

•Approved Wetzel’s request to fill the patrol sergeant and investigator positions to be vacated by Larsen and his choice for chief deputy, Sergeant Jason Worlie;

•Approved filling two upcoming jail sergeant vacancies at the county jail, to keep staffing up to the minimum requirement from the Department of Corrections;

• Approved filling a Public Health nurse vacancy caused by a resignation;

•Approved the Interim Public Health director signing the addendum to the county’s Medicare contract, so the county will be reimbursed for care coordination with Medica members;

• Approved the Fish Trap Lake Improvement District budget for 2015 remaining the same as in 2014, $25,322. Commissioner Don Meyer said, “I think lakeshore people should get more recognition than they do. They keep lakes usable for everyone;”

•Approved a permit for St. Joseph Church of Morrill to hold bingo, Dec. 13 and Jan. 31, 2015, and bingo and a raffle, March 1, 2015, at the parish hall; and

•Approved waiving the clean-up assessment for cost incurred by the county for removal of a burned building containing asbestos, from property located at 516 Fourth St. NE, Little Falls. The assessment was waived in order to get the forfeited property back on the tax rolls.

The County Board will meet for a planning session, Tuesday, at 8:30 a.m.

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Schubert’s collection is delicious and refreshing Thu, 20 Nov 2014 22:29:04 +0000 Coca-Cola memorabilia required a storage unit all its own

By Tina Snell, Staff Writer

About eight years ago, John Schubert came across a small Coca-Cola radio at a garage sale. The guy wanted $4 for it. Schubert asked him if he had any more and he came out with a case full, all still in the original packaging.

“I bought the entire case,” said Schubert, who lives in Little Falls. “When I got home, I looked up the radio on the Internet and discovered they were worth more than $100 each.”

John Schubert, Little Falls, has amassed a Coca-Cola collection in eight years that would rival many others. He said he is looking for a set of golf clubs to go with the Coca-Cola balls and tees he already has.

John Schubert, Little Falls, has amassed a Coca-Cola collection in eight years that would rival many others. He said he is looking for a set of golf clubs to go with the Coca-Cola balls and tees he already has.

From that point on, he and his wife, Sharon, searched for Coca-Cola memorabilia at garage sales  and auctions across the country, in Mexico and in Canada. He now has thousands of items with the Coca-Cola insignia.

Schubert’s collection has items too numerous to list, but it includes glassware, toys and clothing. He has at least 100 Coca-Cola bears and thermometers, puzzles and dishes. There are old wooden cases with metal straps, some large enough for the old “family” sized bottles, fishing rods, golf balls and tees. What Schubert would like to find are the golf clubs to go along with them. He even has swing sets, banks and hundreds of glasses.

“Ninety-nine percent of the time I would buy what I found. When starting this collection, I walked away from some items I thought were too high-priced, but regretted it later. From then on, I bought it all.”

Schubert began by storing his Coca-Cola collection in his heated garage. It included original pop machines and cases of old pop bottles with the liquid still intact.

John Schubert shows off a small part of his Coca-Cola collection he has worked on for eight years.

John Schubert shows off a small part of his Coca-Cola collection he has worked on for eight years.

“I even have ice cream-style table and chair sets,” said Schubert.

When the garage started bulging as his collection grew, Schubert built a 12-foot by 40-foot addition onto the 12-foot by 40-foot building that housed his motor home. That same year, 2009, he also sold the motor home so he had lots more room for his collection.

“I moved most of it out of the garage to the addition. All except the Coke-filled bottles because my garage is heated and the storage building is not,” said Schubert.

In 2011, he added another 12-foot by 40-foot addition to the building, making it 36-feet by 40 feet. And it’s full.

The original building was 40 feet high, so Schubert added a loft which he uses as storage for many of his Coca-Cola collectibles.

“I sided the building and added an overhead door this year,” he said.

This photo is of one of John Schubert’s prized possessions, a Coca-Cola picture of an old general store. What he would like is to have his storage unit which houses his collection look just like that.

This photo is of one of John Schubert’s prized possessions, a Coca-Cola picture of an old general store. What he would like is to have his storage unit which houses his collection look just like that.

Schubert said one way to tell if a Coke bottle is old is to look on the bottom. It will show the city in which it was made.

Schubert didn’t find all of his collection one piece at a time. In many cases, he bought out other people’s collections.

“I’m still collecting. While Sharon and I don’t travel anymore, friends find items for me,” said Schubert. “In the future, I would love to explore Missouri looking for Coca-Cola collectibles.”

Schubert’s future includes cataloguing his collection.

“I really need to sort through everything and organize it all into categories such as toys, kitchen items, clothing, glassware, etc.,” he said. “I’ve got a start, but have a long way to go.”

Sharon doesn’t want him to part with any of it. She loves the collection. But John said that when he goes, it’s all being left to the kids.

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Trash day to change in Randall Thu, 20 Nov 2014 22:17:46 +0000 By Tina Snell

Staff Writer


The Randall City Council voted to change pickup days for trash and recyclables from Friday to Monday, at the request of Terry Lanoue, owner of Long Prairie Sanitation. This change in schedule will begin Monday, Dec. 15.

Currently, residents in the city of Randall have their trash picked up on Fridays, but Lanoue said his Fridays are very busy while his Mondays not so much. He doesn’t want to add a Saturday route.

That would mean pickup  of recyclables would also change to Mondays. Lanoue would like to have the schedule change take effect before the end of the year.

In addition, since rates did not increase for 2015, Lanoue would like to have his contract with the city extended by five years. He would then supply the residents of Randall with 64-gallon recycle canisters, which would cost his company about $20,000.

If residents want to keep the old hand-held containers, they may.

Council Member Dan Noss wanted to know if the cans could be delivered by Monday, Dec. 1, but Lanoue did not think so.

Trash and recyclables will be picked up Friday, Dec. 12, then again Monday, Dec. 15, putting the city on its new schedule.

Lanoue said he would send out notices to the residents of Randall, while the city administration would remind them again in their December billing.

Randall City Council Briefs

Other business brought before the Randall City Council Wednesday night included:

•Voting to accept $700 from the Randall Area Business Group to use on city signs and annual contract fees;

•Voting to have the city accept the liability hosting Holly Day, a special event in the city scheduled for Dec. 4;

•Officially approving Matthew Pantzke as the Randall city manager;

•Scheduling the Truth and Taxation meeting for 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 17, at the Randall Fire Hall. The final levy for 2015 will be voted on at the regular meeting to follow;

•Voting to allow Widseth Smith Nolting (WSN) to survey the area around the Randall State Bank where there have been water drainage issues recently. David Reese of WSN said it needed to be done before the spring bidding process commences for work on Pacific Avenue. The survey will cost the city $1,700;

•Permitting Robert Meachan to erect an 8-foot by 10-foot storage shed; Darrell Bostrom to install a door and a  6-foot by 6-foot deck; and Robert Helmerick to install siding and new windows;

•Hearing that Pantzke will be looking into erecting “Quiet” signs on major thoroughfares in the city;

•Learning that the Randall Liquor Store will be getting a storage area update;

•Voting to pay for Police Chief Chuck Strack’s time off to attend training;

•Discussing the future purchase of a different squad car since the current one is 10 years old; and

•Hearing that Strack may start “Coffee with a Cop” again in the city.

The next City Council meeting will be held at the Randall Fire Hall at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 17.

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Randall Council votes to save the city thousands Thu, 20 Nov 2014 22:15:41 +0000 By Tina SnellStaff Writer


David Drown, Randall’s financial adviser, presented information to the Randall City Council Wednesday on refinancing the city’s outstanding debt obligations. It voted to combine the bonds at a lower interest rate, thus saving the city money.

The 2007B bond funded utility improvements on County Road 104 and to date, has $490,000 in principal remaining at 4.05 percent interest. It can be refinanced March 1, 2015. Drown said by refunding this bond using Minnesota Rural Water Association’s loan program, he expects the rate could be reduced to 2.65 percent which would reduce future payments by approximately $25,621 over the remaining eight years.

The 2009A bond funded improvements on County Road 14, County Road 1 and Superior Avenue. When that bond is callable Feb. 1, 2015, there will be $220,000 in outstanding principal at 4.9 percent interest.

Drown said that if the city refinances both bonds now before the ability to call the old bond, the city will incur around $7,000 of extra interest expense. But if the city combines and refinances both bonds together, Randall would be able to save about $7,000 in duplicate issuance expenses.

With both bonds at 2.65 percent, and after expenses, future payments would be lowered by $12,917, said Drown.

He suggested the city make an application to the Minnesota Rural Water Association at no risk to Randall, saying he doubted that rates would go lower. If the program cannot produce acceptable savings, the city is under no obligation to proceed.

An additional plus to the transaction, Drown said that the National Joint Powers Alliance in Staples, which services Region 5 communities, will pay 50 percent of the loan fees for the city.

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August Hanson Thu, 20 Nov 2014 19:19:56 +0000 August Hanson

August Stephen Hanson was born to Laura and Stephen Hanson of Long Prairie, Nov. 12, 2014, at CentraCare Health – Long Prairie, at 4:38 a.m. He weighed 8 pounds, 1 ounce.
He was welcomed home by his brother, Lars.
Grandparents are Harley and Sally Hanson of Long Prairie and Luanne Cluka of Upsala.

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Leonard M. Brausen Thu, 20 Nov 2014 19:19:43 +0000 Raised in Pierz and Retired in Garrison

Leonard Brausen, age 88, was surrounded by family when he passed away on Nov. 19, 2014.
U.S. Army Veteran. Retired from Adolphson and Peterson. Member VFW Post 6316, Blaine.
Preceded in death by wife, Patricia; son, Kevin; grandson, Jack; four brothers, Cliff, Ernie, Bobby and Donny; and sister, Helen Bednar.
Survived by daughter, Patty Seiler (Jeff); sons, Tim and Tom; 10 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren; sister, Delores Zyvoloski; sisters-in-law, Shelby Brausen and Annie Brausen; special friend, Muriel; and many nieces, nephews, extended family and friends.
Mass of Christian Burial 10 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 25 at Church of St. Timothy, 707 89th Ave. NE, Blaine. Visitations one hour prior to Mass at church and Monday, Nov. 24, 4-7 p.m. at Gearhart Funeral Home, 11275 Foley Blvd. NW, Coon Rapids. Interment at Ft. Snelling Natl Cemetery.
Gearhart Funeral Home, 763-755-6300

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Carl R. Medin Thu, 20 Nov 2014 19:19:27 +0000 Carl R.    Medin

Carl R. Medin, 88, Detroit Lakes, formerly of Moorhead, died Sunday, Nov. 9, 2014, at Ecumen-Emmanuel Nursing Home.
There will be a memorial gathering for Carl, Saturday, Nov. 29 from 11 a.m. 2 p.m. at the Congregational Church in Detroit Lakes.
Carl Robert Medin was born March 17, 1926, in Stockholm, Wis. to Carl W. and Lena (Aase) Medin. He served with the U.S. Army in Korea and later, donated a flag to be used for Veterans during the Walk of Honor at Emmanuel Community. Carl worked as a pipefitter and belonged to the Pipefitters Union for 56 years.
Survivors include his children: Carl R. Medin Jr. and his wife Beth, Laurel Medin, Donna Aase, Julie Shelley and her husband, Scott; nine grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren; his sisters, Leona Bulmer and family, Alice Winfrey and family, Mildred Lilleskov and family, Della Works and family, and longtime friend, Pat Baumhart and family.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Carl Walter and Lena Jane Medin. David-Donehower Funeral Home is serving the family.

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Foley man creates innovative fishing shelter Thu, 20 Nov 2014 19:04:35 +0000 Dave Novak has made hundreds of shacks in his lifetime

By Tina SnellStaff Writer

Dave Novak of Foley came up with an idea for a fishing shelter to end all fishing shelters. It’s not elaborate, there are no beds or cooking facilities and it will never be featured in House Beautiful. But what it will do is revolutionize fishing shelters as anglers now know them.

Novak’s shack is small, only 5-feet by 8-feet. It’s available for spearing, angling or both, depending on the desires of his customers. But what is unique is that it comes with its own detachable trailer.

Dave Novak, Foley, shows off his newest creation, a fishing shelter with a detachable trailer.  Novak has been making houses in his spare time, many custom-made, for about 40 years. Now that he’s retired, he has lots of spare time.

Dave Novak, Foley, shows off his newest creation, a fishing shelter with a detachable trailer. Novak has been making houses in his spare time, many custom-made, for about 40 years. Now that he’s retired, he has lots of spare time.

Novak, who has been making various fish houses for 40 years, said he looks for ways to improve them. This one may be his last invention, he said.

He calls this house the “Five by Eight Rock and Roll.”

“All it needs is a four-wheeler to haul it out onto the ice,” said Novak, who originally drew up the specs on a bar napkin for his brother-in-law, Jim Heinen, who helps with his prototypes.

The shack is attached adjacent to a two-wheeled flatbed trailer by hinges. A winch tips the house onto the trailer. The same winch lifts the house off the trailer back onto the ground.

“It’s easy to cut a hole for spearing with this house,” he said. “Drop the house onto the ice, mark the spot for the hole, then lift the house off the ice. It’s much easier to cut a spear hole outside a house. When the hole is ready, drop the house back onto the ice. It’s on the correct spot and you are ready to fish.”

Novak’s first Rock and Roll house was finished for last year’s ice fishing season, but he didn’t advertise it until he tried it out first. So far, he has made five and sold two.

There were some mistakes made in the original design.

“The axle was too far forward,” said Novak. Because of that, when unhooked, the house would tip backward.

Dave Novak’s newest fishing shelter is tipped onto the detachable trailer for easy hauling. It includes hookups to give electricity to the building when needed.

Dave Novak’s newest fishing shelter is tipped onto the detachable trailer for easy hauling. It includes hookups to give electricity to the building when needed.

“I cut the axle, ground the weld off, move the axle further back and then rewelded it,” he said.

Noval also had to figure out the correct height for the winch so the house tips on and off the trailer with ease.

With all the kinks ironed out now, Novak will have his trailers created by welder Josh Roske of Oak Park, east of Foley.

Novak began this hobby by making a fishing shelter for himself. A friend wanted one just like it, so he sold him the one he made and made himself another.

More and more people were asking him to make houses for them. Then they wanted spear houses.

“You cannot find a decent spear house on the market,” said Novak. “They don’t seem to be dark enough.”

Novak is now retired, but during his working life, he would build his shelters in the evenings. Today, he has lots of time.

In 2000, Novak created a house on a frame trailer with wheels. It had two crank jacks which lowered and raised the house.

One of Novak’s first houses was called a Sneak Shack. It was a portable and involved lots of hinges.

“It only had a partial floor and was very light.  If the fishing was poor in one spot, all I had to do was stand up, pick up the house from the inside by holding onto handles connected to opposite walls and walk to a new location,” he said. “There were windows on each end so I could see where I was going.”

The next house he created was a collapsible with two sides made of plywood and two sides of canvas.

Over the years, Novak said he has made hundreds of fishing shelters. All by trial and error until he got it right.

Besides fishing shelters, Novak also makes wood yard swings, double gliders, picnic tables, dog houses, planters, deer stands, benches and more. He also sells lawn ornaments.

For more information, contact Novak by calling (320) 968-7425. Also visit his websites at, or at

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The ACA makes health insurance confusing at best Thu, 20 Nov 2014 17:30:03 +0000 By Tina SnellStaff Writer

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has made insurance even more convoluted than it was before. It has changed the health care insurance business forever, said John Holthaus, owner of Primary Benefit Services in Little Falls, along with his wife, Deb.

The ACA now dictates how insurance companies do business, forcing them to look at how they manage that business. Hence, said Holthaus, clients have to change how they do business.

John Holthaus

John Holthaus

“Businesses with 50 employees or less have experienced insurance premium increases from 30 – 70 percent,” he said. “That affects both employer and employee costs. In order for an employer to keep health insurance for his/her employees, they have needed to change plan designs by going to a lower benefit and/or higher out-of-pocket maximums.”

He said that about 25 percent of his business clients have terminated their group policies and had their employees go with individual plans.

“People are more confused and frustrated than we anticipated. We are frustrated, too,” said Holthaus.

First of all, said Holthaus, the ACA dictates that everyone must have health insurance.  This year, fines were implemented for not complying. A person without insurance was fined 1 percent of their gross income or $95 per adult, whichever was greater. In 2015, the fine is 2 percent of the household income or $325 per adult for the year, whichever is greater. That amount will increase in 2016 to 2.5 percent or $695 for each adult not having health insurance. The amounts are less for children under 18.

Open enrollment for 2015 is between Nov. 15 and Dec. 15. But, Holthaus wants those who need health insurance to know five things before buying:

•Know the premium amount. Ascertain if it’s affordable;

•Know the deductible, which is the amount first paid out of pocket and is a one-time annual event;

•Know the out-of-pocket maximum for one’s policy. The out-of-pocket is what one will spend on medical expenses in one year and includes the deductible, copays and coinsurances;

•Know the network the policy covers. Know what groups of clinics, hospitals and doctors that have accepted a contract with the insurance company are in one’s network; and

•Remember that a low deductible does not necessarily mean a low out-of-pocket expense.

“Clients need to look at the entire package,” said Holthaus. “But, it’s confusing, so speak with a health insurance specialist before purchasing a policy.”

Holthaus is one of 34 insurance brokers in Minnesota who completed the National Association of Health Underwriters Health Care Reform certification course. He is now accredited as a Certified Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Professional.

While insurance brokers are extremely busy during the open enrollment period, he recommended not waiting until the last minute to purchase health insurance. What is purchased between Nov. 15 – Dec. 15 will go into effect Jan. 1, 2015, and cannot be changed unless there is a qualifying event in the client’s life such as a new baby, marriage or divorce, losing or gaining a job and others.

Primary Benefit Services is hosting free 2015 open enrollment health insurance seminars a the Initiative Foundation in Little Falls for those who need assistance navigating the health care insurance world. The seminars will be held at 9 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 22 and 29. They will also be held at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 3; 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 6; 6:15 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 10; 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 12, 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 13; and 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 15.

Preregistration is not required, but appreciated. Go to www.primarybenefitser to register. For more information on the seminar, contact Holthaus at (320) 632-1972.

For insurance questions, contact an insurance specialist.

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Sense of adventure takes Shannon Kempenich on the trip of a lifetime Thu, 20 Nov 2014 14:59:41 +0000 By Jennie Zeitler, Correspondent


Shannon Kempenich is shown at the start of his Appalachian Trail hike at Springer Mountain, Ga., March 19. Although he started with a 60-pound pack, he soon discovered what he didn’t need and sent about one-third of the weight of the pack home.

Shannon Kempenich, Little Falls 2003 graduate, spent six months of this year doing something very few people experience – hiking the entire Appalachian Trail, from Georgia to Maine. After considering it for the past few years, he decided that this was the year to do it and made the arrangements.

“I needed to do this – to go on a long adventure, something that challenged me,” he said.

Kempenich had attended the University of Minnesota-Duluth after graduating from high school and then was deployed to Iraq. After returning from deployment, he resumed his college education at North Dakota State University in Fargo, graduating with a degree in finance.

While still in college, he started a video production company, working on television commercials and website videos. After transitioning to working with only website development, which usually meant 80-hour work weeks, he started pondering ways to take a break.

“I started to prioritize things in my life; to do the things I really wanted to do in life,” he said. “The business allows me to let my employees take care of the technical things while I’m gone.”

The views all along the Appalachian Trail were spectacular for Shannon Kempenich. He is pictured here hiking during one of the beautiful sunrises.

The views all along the Appalachian Trail were spectacular for Shannon Kempenich. He is pictured here hiking during one of the beautiful sunrises.

When he returned from deployment, Kempenich had taken a trip to Glacier National Park in Montana and met a young man who had hiked the whole Appalachian Trail with his father. During the long, cold winter last year, he got to thinking about that and decided to do it.

“There will always be excuses not to do something, but I made the decision to go after it,” he said.

Ideally, Appalachian Trail hikers who intend to cover the whole trail — more than 2,100 miles — start in Georgia in early spring and hike north through the summer, ending in Maine just as autumn sets in. Kempenich left himself about a month to put his plans in place before he needed to be at the starting point.

“I had some camping gear and bought more hiking clothes and other gear like a hammock. I found the ‘Cadillac’ of hammocks which lays a lot flatter. It was probably my favorite piece of gear,” he said.

The hammock had a rain fly and weighed about as much as a one-person tent.

Kempenich began his hike March 19, at Springer Mountain, Georgia.

“I did it alone, but met plenty of people on the trail,” he said. “There were day-hikers, section-hikers and through-hikers like me. Every night when I stopped I would see people I had met. Some I became really close friends with.”

His backpack weighed 60 pounds when he started, but very soon he removed what he didn’t need and sent it home, decreasing the weight by one-third.

“You soon realize what you need and what you don’t need,” he said. “I sent home a stove and fuel that was too heavy and too large. There was a large cooking pot and some clothing.”

There are “hiker boxes” all along the trail where hikers leave things they didn’t need for hikers to take.

Hikers burn 6,000 to 8,000 calories every day and need to keep stocking up on food.

“Hikers are constantly eating all we can,” Kempenich said. “Every four to six days, you go into a town to a grocery store to resupply. I always looked forward to resupply days, when I would eat at a restaurant and usually take a shower.”

He found himself eating peanut butter with every breakfast and lunch and is now so sick of granola bars that “unless I’m starving, I can’t eat one.” What he really craved in town were salads, fruit and vegetables.

Shannon Kempenich stands at the end of his Appalachian Trail hike at Mount Katahdin, Maine, Sept. 27. The journey of a lifetime took him through more than 2,100 miles of peaceful wilderness and many adventures.

Shannon Kempenich stands at the end of his Appalachian Trail hike at Mount Katahdin, Maine, Sept. 27. The journey of a lifetime took him through more than 2,100 miles of peaceful wilderness and many adventures.

He carried a guide book which showed where to find water sources, shelter and the next town. He described beautiful views along the entire trail.

“In the White Mountains in New Hampshire, I felt like I was in ‘Lord of the Rings’ – it was absolutely gorgeous,” he said. “I played the movie soundtrack while going through there.”

There were also scary moments on the trail.

In about early April, while hiking in North Carolina, Kempenich was hiking in the cold rain. He realized the weather was getting worse and wanted to stop, but the first shelter he came to was full. He pushed on through the sleet, which turned to tiny hail and then into an all-out Minnesota-type blizzard. He started running to get his blood flowing, while his fingers were so cold he could hardly move them.

“The next shelter was packed, probably 13-15 people in a shelter for six, so I set up the hammock out in the snow.”

Although he didn’t sleep much that night, he got going again the next day – one foot in front of the other.

“I hiked in torrential downpours and every kind of weather,” he said.

Just north of Daleville, Va. he encountered a wild animal-kind of adventure. While sitting in his hammock reading a book at night, he heard noise in the brush behind him. After shining a light, throwing rocks and yelling, whatever it was left.

“The next morning I found out that a girl on the other side of the shelter had been throwing up in the woods,” he said.

Kempenich acknowledged that he likely scared away two mountain lions that had been stalking the girl.

The best part of the adventure was the people he met.

“That’s what makes the trail so special,” he said. “There were so many people from different backgrounds and walks of life. People are on the trail for different reasons.”

Appalachian Trail hikers usually look quite different at the end of the trek due to the physical rigors of the hike. Changes often happen internally as well.

“After living in the woods for six months with a completely different lifestyle, it’s hard to come back and get reintegrated,” he said. “There is all this stuff screaming, ‘Buy buy, buy.’”

Having experienced the return from a deployment, Kempenich compared the two.

“In some respects it’s like coming back from a deployment, but with no battle buddies near for support,” he said. “I don’t know if I’ll ever see most of my friends from the trail again.”

Kempenich has been back just more than a month and is still figuring out what he should be doing every day.

“After every day in a peaceful wilderness, it’s a change,” he said. “The guide book ends with the trail. It doesn’t tell you what to do the day after you’re done.”

For the rest of his life, there will be the memories of the adventure of a lifetime – the awe-inspiring sights and the good trail friends.

Kempenich described hiking up to Mount Katahdin, the end-point of the trail, Sept. 27.

“It’s such an amazing mountain,” he said. “There were some of the most beautiful views of the whole trip. The trees had started turning. To finish there was absolutely breathtaking.”

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Mary Jane Wolters Thu, 20 Nov 2014 12:15:15 +0000 Mary Jane   Wolters

Mary Jane Wolters, 89- year-old resident of Little Falls, passed away Monday, Nov. 17, 2014, at St. Ottos Care Center in Little Falls.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 25, at Bethel Lutheran Church in Little Falls. Rev. Jean Megorden will officiate and burial will be at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery north of Little Falls. Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Tuesday at the church.
Mary Jane Harrison was born, Sep. 8, 1925, at her familys home in Little Falls, to the late Arthur and Minnie (Anderson) Harrison. She was baptized at First Baptist Church in Little Falls on April 14, 1939, and later confirmed at Bethel Lutheran Church in Little Falls. Mary Jane attended the Little Falls school district where she enjoyed playing clarinet in the high school band. She graduated from Little Falls High School in 1943 and then served as a switchboard operator at Northwestern Bell Telephone in Little Falls until 1951. Mary Jane was united in marriage to Noah E. Wolters, Nov. 5, 1949, at First Methodist Church in Little Falls and together they made their home and raised their three children in Little Falls. In 1964, Mary Jane and Noah purchased a neighborhood grocery store. They owned and operated Wolters Grocery where they worked side by side until their retirement, 17 years later. Mary Jane was a long-time member of Bethel Lutheran Church where she was a member of the bell choir for many years. She loved visiting with others and was a volunteer with the Senior Companion program at St. Gabriels Hospital for 10 years. Mary Jane resided at St. Ottos Care Center in Little Falls since 2011. She enjoyed working jigsaw and crossword puzzles, watching Wheel of Fortune, organizing garage sales, playing cards and spending time with her family, especially her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Mary Jane was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother and will be greatly missed by her family and friends.
Mary Jane is survived by her sons, Roger Wolters of St. Cloud and Gary (Judy) Wolters of Sartell; daughter, Janet (Steven) Beseman of Little Falls; grandchildren, Sara (Matt) Nelson of Roseville, Kristen (Trent) Hannack of Minneapolis, Nathan Wolters of Milwaukee, Wis., Kara and Brent Wolters of Sartell, Jennifer Beseman of Little Falls, Sarah (Jonathan) Larson of Sartell; great- grandchildren, Caden and Mari Larson of Sartell; sister-in-law, Erna Harrison of Wadena; also many nieces and nephews.
Mary Jane was preceded in death by her loving husband, Noah; parents, Arthur and Minnie Harrison; five brothers, Donald, Darrow, Kenneth, Henry and Edward Harrison; two sisters, Olive Givens and Margaret Swolley; and a very special sister-in-law and friend, Doris Harrison.
Blessed be the Memories of Mary Jane Wolters.

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Simon Brixius Wed, 19 Nov 2014 23:04:51 +0000 Simon Robert Brixius was born to Mark & Sharon Brixius of Rice on October 26, 2014 at 7:41am at the St. Cloud Hospital. He weighed 6 pounds, 5 ounces and was 18.5 inches long. Grandparents are Marvin & Ann Kimman of Pierz and Gordon & Sandy Brixius of Buckman. Great Grandmother is Rita Sobiech of Sobieski.

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Lucas Forcier Wed, 19 Nov 2014 23:04:45 +0000 Lucas Maurice Forcier was born to Natasha and Christopher Forcier of Little Falls, Nov. 13, 2014, at 5:01 p.m. at St. Gabriels Hospital. He weighed 7 pounds, 10 ounces and was 20 inches long.
Grandparents are Mary Flahave, Gerald Forcier, Rodney Harnack and Kittie Estes, all of Little Falls.

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Kathryn “Kathy” Chapman Wed, 19 Nov 2014 23:04:39 +0000 Kathryn

Kathryn Kathy Chapman, 64-year-old resident of Swanville, passed away Monday, Nov. 10, at her home in Swanville.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 24, at the Shelley Funeral Chapel in Little Falls, with Chaplain David Greaver officiating. A visitation will be held from 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. Sunday and from 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. Monday at the Shelley Funeral Chapel in Little Falls.
Kathryn Amelia Chapman was born, Nov. 27, 1949, in Oak Ridge, Tenn., to the late William W.T. Bill and Thelma (Womble) Chapman. She was raised in Crystal and graduated from Robbinsdale High School. Kathy earned her bachelors degree in elementary education at St. Cloud State University. She was united in marriage to the love of her life Gregory Greg Billig, Nov. 1, 1979. She worked as an elementary school teacher for 35 years for the Little Falls School District at Dr. S.G. Knight School in Randall and also at Lindbergh and Lincoln Elementary Schools in Little Falls. Kathy enjoyed traveling with her husband Greg, reading, camping and fishing. She was also a very talented gardener and loved creating and tending to her beautiful perennial gardens at the home she and Greg built and shared together. Kathy loved Christmas and will be remembered for her famous pound cake, cookies and peanut brittle that she always made during the holidays. She was also a animal lover that cared so dearly for the many hunting dogs they had over the years always making sure they were well cared for and loved on everyday.
Kathy is survived by her husband of 35 years, Greg Billig of Swanville; brother, William Ken Chapman of Freeport, Ill.; sisters-in-law, Denise (Lloyd) Kressin of Glencoe, Mary (David) Van Thomme of Fairbault and Rebecca Billig of St. Cloud; brothers-in-law, Douglas Billig of Fremont, Neb., Michael (Robbie) Billig, Jay Billig, Eric (Marcela) Billig, all of Austin, Texas, John (Eu Han Lee) Billig, Ryan (Sarah Murphy) Billig all of Minneapolis, Patrick (Kimberly) Billig of Roseville, Daniel (Cheryl) Billig of St. Paul and Noah (Staci Petrich) Billig of Fayetteville, Ark.; father-in-law, Roger Billig of Little Falls; and many nieces and nephews.
Kathy was preceded in death by her parents, Thelma and William Chapman.

Memorials preferred to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness):

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PeggyLou Holmen Wed, 19 Nov 2014 23:04:24 +0000 PeggyLou   Holmen

Peggylou Holmen, 89- year-old resident of Upsala, died Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014, at the Assumption Home in Cold Spring. Visitation will take place at the Upsala Community Covenant Church, Wednesday, Nov. 19 from 12 p.m. until 2 p.m. A Memorial Service will be held following the visitation at 2 p.m. with Rev. Craig Johnson officiating. Burial will take place at the Community Covenant Cemetery in Upsala.
Peggylou Miller was born June 16, 1925, in Spokane, Wash. to George and Mabel (Pederson) Miller. After graduating High School, she enrolled in Business College and shortly after graduating; she worked for Peerless Dental Office in Spokane, Wash., as well as Upsala Community Covenant Church. She married Dennis G. Holmen, May 14, 1955, at the Community Covenant Church in Upsala. The new couple made their home in Minneapolis and lived there for 26 years, attending First Evangelical Free Church in Minneapolis. The couple then moved to Upsala in 1981 and resided on their property until they moved into the town of Upsala in 2002. Some of Peggylous hobbies and interests included reading, crocheting, baking, bird watching and participating in numerous activities at church.
Left to cherish her memory is her son, Gary (Tammy) Holmen, of Broomfield, Colo.; daughter, Karen (Carl) Deck of Fayetteville, Ga.; half-sister, Karyn Miller-Crossman; grandchildren, Anne Holmen, Jeff Holmen, Kyle (Amanda) Kalstabakken and Kristy Kalstabakken and three great- grandchildren, Rayna Holmen, Riley Holmen-Klos and Ryan Holmen-Klos.
Peggylou was preceded in death by her father, George Miller and mother, Mabel Woodworth; husband, Dennis Holmen; half-sister, Jeanette Miller and brother-in-law, Leonard Holmen.

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Westrich / Klaphake Wed, 19 Nov 2014 19:04:50 +0000 Eng-Westrich-formatted

Mike and Alice Westrich of Burtrum are happy to announce the engagement of their daughter, Bethanie, to Chris, son of Leon and Mary Klaphake of Melrose.
Bethanie is a graduate of Upsala High School. She received her degree in Family Science at NDSU and a social work degree at Minot State. Bethanie is employed at Centra Care in St. Cloud.
Chris is a graduate of Melrose High School. Chris is currently attending SCSU for business. Chris is employed at Klaphake Feed Mill in Melrose.
A January 17, 2015, wedding is being planned.

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Levi Blesener Wed, 19 Nov 2014 19:04:36 +0000 Levi Anthony Blesener was born to Amanda Kedrowski and Cory Blesener of Burnsville, Nov. 6, 2014 at 1:05 a.m. at United Hospital in St. Paul. He weighed 7 pounds, 1 ounce and was 19 1/2 inches long.
Grandparents are Gerald and Jeannette Kedrowski of Burnsville. Great-grandparents are Tony and Maxine Bartkowitz of Little Falls. Great-great-grandmother is Agnes Hegna of Little Falls.

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Okerman goes to trial in April Wed, 19 Nov 2014 16:19:16 +0000 By Tina Snell, Staff Writer

The Morrison County District Court scheduled Warren John Okerman’s trial date for Monday, April 20, 2015. It’s expected to last five days.

Warren John Okerman

Warren John Okerman

Okerman has been charged with third degree murder in the death of Leslie Ellyn Peterson June 2, 2012. He is accused of giving Peterson a lethal dose of methamphetamine.

Dr. Kelly Mills, a Ramsey County medical examiner, concluded Peterson’s immediate cause of death was methamphetamine toxicity.

Dr. John Plunkett, a witness for the defense, said at a June 20 hearing that a microscopic investigation of Peterson’s organs was not done. Also, that portions of her organs were not saved for further investigation.

Plunkett said that Peterson, who had heart disease, could have died from heart failure and not the methamphetamine.

“I cannot determine if it (methamphetamine) caused or contributed to the death,” he said.

Prosecutor Todd Kosovich told Judge Conrad Freeberg he had six witnesses testifying for the state during the trial. Defense Attorney Scott Wunderlich said he may have five.

The dates for the trial were accepted by both attorneys as long as they could coordinate those dates with the witnesses.

A motion for discovery was filed Tuesday. The defense was asking for all notes and/or recordings of a conversation between Mills and Kosovich when she was in Little Falls on another matter. This was the third request for this information, the first two were on Oct. 14 and Nov. 13.

The prosecution is looking for information about Mills’ decision to forego a microscopic exam of Peterson’s tissues, an issue, which Wonderlich wrote in his motion, is critical to the defense’s case.

“It’s relevant to the issue whether Mills gave false testimony under oath during the omnibus hearing,” wrote Wonderlich.

That motion will be heard in Freeberg’s courtroom at 1 p.m., Friday, Dec. 12.

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Judge Anderson orders Smith to pay Brady, Kifer families more than $21,000 in restitution Wed, 19 Nov 2014 11:34:11 +0000 Byron Smith

Byron Smith

Morrison County Judge Douglas Anderson ordered Byron Smith to pay $21,421.84 in restitution to the families of Nicholas Brady ($9,577.80) and Haile Kifer ($11,844.04).

Smith was convicted by a jury in April of two counts of first-degree premeditated murder in the shooting death of the cousins during a break-in at his Little Falls home, Thanksgiving Day, 2012.

Smith was sentenced to two concurrent life sentences without possibility of parole, but the court reserved the issue of restitution.

The families had submitted restitution claims of $20,242 (Brady) and $21,859 (Kifer), for out-of-pocket expenses resulting from the crime, including funeral expenses.

Nick Brady

Nick Brady

In May, the court ordered Smith to pay the $21,589 to the Kifer family, reserving a decision on whether to pay restitution to Brady’s family. The order noted the reason as being that Brady had been involved in at least three burglaries of Smith’s home prior to the 2012 shootings.

“If the defendant would have been able to seek restitution against Brady as a result (his crimes against defendant), then it seems appropriate that the amount of restitution would potentially been offset against restitution owed by defendant in this present action,” the order stated. The May order informed Smith of his right to challenge the restitution claims.

In June, Smith’s attorneys filed a written notice challenging the restitution awarded to the Kifer family and the amount sought by the Brady family. A hearing was set for August.

Haile Kifer

Haile Kifer

Smith’s challenges to the restitution included the fact that Brady had burglarized his home on several occasions in 2012, claiming the total loss sustained as a result of those burglaries was about $53,359, $7,374 of which was recouped through insurance.

Cody Kasper, a friend to Nicholas Brady, testified at the hearing he had been the lookout for Brady during each of the three burglaries.

Smith also noted a memorial fund had been set up to help the families of Brady and Kifer with funeral costs. The amount in the fund at the end of June was $1,231.

The judge ruled that the August hearing did not provide evidence that the Brady family received financial benefit from Nicholas Brady’s burglaries of the Smith home.

Each of the families’ restitution requests included an estimate for a headstone — $10,049.46 from the Bradys and $9,400.16 from the Kifers. However, the judge noted, that unlike the other expenses for which restitution was sought, the forms for the headstone costs did not indicate that the headstones were purchased or ordered, but were estimates only, and that no evidence at the hearing was presented to show the expenses for the headstones was incurred by either family, and excluded those expenses from restitution.

In addition to deducting the cost of the headstones from the requested restitution, the judge deducted the amount held in the memorial fund — $615.50 from each of the claims.

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Marjorie Marge (Miller) Berg Tue, 18 Nov 2014 21:32:34 +0000

Obit-Berg-Marjorie-formattedMarjorie Marge (Miller) Berg, age 81, of Brook Park, passed away Nov. 15, 2014, at Edgewater Assisted Living in Pine City.
Marge was born Oct. 16, 1933, in Buckman, to Hubert and Mary Miller. She attended country school until eighth grade, then attended and graduated from Royalton High School. Marge worked in Minneapolis at a grocery store for a short time until returning to the Royalton-Little Falls area, where she worked several different jobs. Marge married Edward Berg who was a career soldier. They lived many places, and two beautiful daughters were born, Linda in 1956 and Mary in 1960. Marge returned to Royalton and worked for Larrys Grocery. In 1984 she moved to Brook Park, where she owned and operated Marges Bar. She sold the bar in 2010 and moved to Hinckley where she lived until 2014 when she moved to Edgewater Assisted Living in Pine City. The family would like to thank Edgewater Assisted Living for their wonderful care.
Marge was preceded in death by her parents, brothers, Robert and Herbert; and special friend, Bev Seegel.
She is survived by her daughters, Linda (Will) Biermaier and Mary (Marty) Kelm; brother, Galen (Bonnie) Miller; sister, Bonnie (Wayne) Kelly; grandchildren, Travis, Sarah, Lance, Brittany and Eric; stepgrandchildren, Clayton, Jazmine and Jennifer, eight great-grandchildren; four nephews and many great-nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 19, at St. Patricks Catholic Church, Hinckley, with visitation one hour prior to services.

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