The Morrison County Record Covering community news, sports, current events and provides advertising and information for the Morrison County, Minnesota. Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:57:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 House candidates for District 9B and District 15B Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:20:55 +0000 Ron Kresha • House District 9B • GOP Incumbent

Ron Kresha

Ron Kresha

Introduction: I’m married to my wife, Wendy, with one son and four daughters. We attend Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Little Falls and have been active volunteers in the community. I was in education for 10 years, later co-founded Atomic Learning and most recently I work in rural economic development. I know firsthand the value of rural economic development and job creation. Communities that grow have strong schools, strong businesses and strong families. I’ve sponsored legislation for veteran benefits, senior citizen funding and education funding equity. I am pro-life, endorsed by MCCL, I defend our 2nd Amendment rights and have been endorsed by the NRA.

Question 1: It is imperative that we find a solution to our long-term care funding that is equitable and sustainable. Our elderly relatives deserve to know they have the care they need ahead of them. To make sure our long-term care is sustainable, it is important that more jobs and families move into our area and support our existing tax base. This type of economic growth is reliant upon our sustained family values, excellent education and broadband infrastructure. It is a budgeting challenge that I look forward to solving.

Question 2: Before we adjust any taxes, we need to evaluate our expenses. The last legislative session significantly increase spending without any meaningful reductions in outdated programs or procedures. It is important that we actually prioritize our budget to the services needed. We cannot continue to build luxury office buildings, like the $89 million Senate Office Building, and then complain about other areas that are lacking. After prioritizing our budget and removing archaic programs, the property tax formula needs to be reformed and simplified.

Question 3: Higher education needs to rein in their administrative costs and remember that their first priority is to produce affordable education. Employers are looking for employees who are responsible and have technical skills. Technical colleges and universities are already offering opportunities for these students — now they need to make higher education affordable.

Question 4: MNsure’s launch has been a disaster. This was the single biggest issue I dealt with over the last 12 months. People were losing their insurance due to technical errors and long bureaucratic processes. Furthermore, because MNsure is highly political, rate hike predictions have been all over the board and there is an immense amount of uncertainty. That causes concern. In order to reduce the costs, the Affordable Care Act will need to reduce its mandates and MNsure will need to actually work. Therefore, I will be pushing for a reduction in mandated costs so that we can get to a basic care package.

Question 5: We need to prioritize our rural roads and bridges in the budget over the expensive metro light rail projects. We cannot do everything we are trying to do, and I will continue to push for the prioritization of our rural transportation. I am not interested in raising taxes to solve this problem. We cannot keep adding taxes without seriously looking at our budget expenses.

Al Doty • House District 9B • DFL Candidate

Al Doty

Al Doty

Introduction: I grew up on the family grain/beef farm near Campbell, MN until college graduation from the University of Minnesota. I earned a B.A. with

Distinction with majors in political science, history, and social studies. My work there earned me a full scholarship to do graduate studies at the University of Manitoba. 1968-1999: Pierz High School, teacher, wrestling coach and district technology coordinator; 2001-2006: Horizon Health senior advocate; 2007-2010: State representative, vice chair of Environment Finance Committee, vice chair of Ag Policy Committee; 2011-2012: Royalton City Council; 2013-2014: Congressional field representative for Cong. Rick Nolan.

Question 1: My top priority if elected to serve again as state representative would be to continue my earlier efforts to meet the needs of this area. Besides my successful bills for veterans and senior citizens, I was also able to gain enough support to bring large projects to Camp Ripley, improve the Army Compatible Use Buffer acquisition process, get funding for Pine Grove Zoo, establish the Camp Ripley/Veterans State Trail, double the funding for ATV trails and enforcement, and many other local bills.

Question 2: The misinformation that Minnesota is a high-tax state surfaces every election. The truth is, Minnesota was just rated the seventh “fairest” tax system among the 50 states, in a study by WalletHub, an online personal finance social network, and we’re now the third best state in which to make a living and eighth best for business, according to Forbes Magazine. Those great ratings came after the DFL legislature increased tax rates on the wealthiest Minnesotans. Previously, the top 1 percent paid about a 8.5 percent tax rate, while average Minnesotans paid about 12.5 percent. Our improved state rankings show that was the right thing to do.

Question 3: Ever since my first term, I’ve favored creating a program for Minnesota high school students who attend a Minnesota college or technical school to be trained for a job that Minnesota needs. The state would pay down part of their student loans every year they worked at that job. Students and their families gain affordable education, employers gain qualified workers and the state gains more productivity and more income tax. Let’s do it.

Question 4: MNsure had a rough start, to say the least. But Minnesota ended up with the lowest rates in the U.S. I have always favored creation of a “MN Medicare” model; a voluntary program with a sliding scale for premiums and for co-pays. Everyone would pay something for premiums and co-pays, which would make us all part of the program and lower unnecessary emergency room visits.

Question 5: Gov. Dayton says Minnesota needs $6 billion for transportation to make any real improvements. When the 2008 Legislature enacted the last funding increase, it was only after agreement was reached with dozens of labor, business and transportation groups. Those groups looked at all the options and agreed on a plan. I would insist on that same consensus before moving forward with any new sources of revenue. We rural Minnesota legislators were successful in ensuring the previous formula was beneficial to rural Minnesota road and bridge funding; in any new legislation, we’ll have to be very careful again to defend our needs.

Brian Johnson • House District 15B • DFL Candidate

Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson

Introduction: My wife, Jenny, and I reside in Clearwater Township and are expecting our first child this fall. I own my own law practice, focusing on Family Law and Criminal Defense. With the skills I use and have developed as an attorney, I am confident that I can and will provide a strong voice for the residents of District 15B. I ran for the Minnesota House two years ago and am running again because we need to continue to make progress and work together for a better Minnesota.

Question 1: Properly fund K-12 education, increase funding for higher education, decrease taxes for the majority of Minnesotans.

Question 2: We must continue to focus on job creation, as well as continue to provide tax relief for the majority of Minnesotans. By providing more discretionary income for the middle class (i.e. the majority of Minnesotans) through tax relief, individuals are able to purchase a greater amount of goods and services, which in turn results in business owners creating jobs to handle the increase in business. In addition, I support increasing taxes on the top 2 percent of wage earners in the state in the effort to increase revenue.

Question 3: I understand employers’ frustrations. Our post-secondary education institutions are vital to creating a prepared workforce and should be aware of the qualifications necessary to succeed in today’s job market. However, I do not believe that lack of qualified students should rest solely on our colleges and universities. Just as colleges and universities should seek the advice of employers for how to better prepare students for the future, employers must be proactive and work together with specific college programs to ensure that graduating students possess the necessary skills employers are seeking.

Question 4: From a technological standpoint, we need to do more work to fix the MNsure system and improve its basic functionality. Our counties and local healthcare communities continue to work hard to implement this new system. We are headed in the right direction with MNsure, but there is more work to be done. We need to do more to lower the cost of healthcare for all Minnesotans, as well as improve the quality of services. What we must not do is go back to the time when insurance companies could deny coverage to Minnesotans with pre-existing health conditions and charge women more for healthcare just because they are women.

Question 5: Yes. We must properly fund our state’s various transportation systems and provide Minnesotans with safe and efficient roads, bridges, etc. I am open to various ideas on how to increase funding for our transportation fund. The last time a state transportation package was passed, legislators from both sides of the aisle worked together to get things done, and we should again work toward a bipartisan solution.

Jim Newberger • House District 15B • GOP Incumbent

Jim Newberger

Jim Newberger

Introduction: My name is Jim Newberger. I live in Becker, and I am running for re-election for Minnesota House District Seat 15B. The district covers almost all of Benton County, the western side of Sherburne County, the northern tip of Wright County and Morrill and Lakin townships in Morrison County. I’m married with three kids. I have a degree in political science and mass communications. I have worked as a paramedic for 26 years. My experience includes: church leadership, kids ministries, missions team leader, local political party leadership, congressional district political leadership, Becker City Planning Commission and one term in the Minnesota House of Representatives. There, I serve on the Public Safety, Civil Law and Transportation Policy committees.

Question 1: The top priority for our state, in my opinion, is two-fold. 1. Stop taxpayer-funded abortions. 2. Stop Gov. Dayton’s attack on affordable energy. Gov. Dayton said he wants to “eliminate” coal. That means eliminating the Sherco power plant and the hundreds of jobs it provides and thousands of jobs indirectly. Dayton wants to pull the plug on the biggest economic “engine” in Central Minnesota, with no real plan to replace it. Solar and wind are good supplemental power supplies, but they cannot match the safety and affordability of coal. We do not have the pipeline infrastructure for gas and there is too much federal government red tape to build new nuclear plants.

Question 2: The state of Minnesota created over 1,400 bureaucratic government jobs. Meanwhile, our area of Minnesota has witnessed several large private employers close up shop and leave because Minnesota has such a hostile private business environment. We can’t live on the “credit card” and expect to do well in the future. I do not support additional tax increases. I am open to new taxes for critical issues, such as roads and bridges – if there is an equal reduction in an existing tax. Taxes and spending increased by over $5 billion since 2013. We did not need to do that.

Question 3: 1. Stop driving private employers out of Minnesota. 2. Bring back technical high schools. 3. Ask the University Board of Regents why their schools’ primary focus is on social engineering instead of preparing young people for good paying careers. I have three daughters in college. I am very familiar with the course work they are required to complete in order to graduate.

Question 4: MNsure is one of the biggest failures in Minnesota’s history. Spending millions of dollars on a website does not help the good people of Minnesota. I had to personally intervene on behalf of many folks from our district in order to get them basic health insurance. Minnesota needs a basic and affordable preventative and catastrophic health care plan for the uninsured. We then need to return the rest of our insurance system back to a market driven system.

Question 5: The Democrats spent more money on their new Senate office building than they did on fixing potholes – $90 million. They also give the Met Council a budget of almost $750 million. The Democrats also poured millions of dollars down the drain when they funded the light rail system in the metro. We have the money to fix our roads and bridges. We are wasting it on feel good projects in the metro. I am open to new taxes for roads and bridges only if there is a corresponding elimination or reduction in a pre-existing tax already in Minnesota’s budget.

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Brighton Goodrich named LFCHS September Boy of the Month Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:11:06 +0000 The Little Falls Exchange Club has selected Brighton Goodrich, son of Deb and Sherwin Goodrich, as the September Boy of the Month at Little Falls Community High School (LFCHS).

“Brighton Goodrich is an outstanding choice for the September Boy of the Month because of his maturity, his dedication and his potential for continued growth,” said Aaron Sinclair, human resources director and football coach at LFCHS. “Brighton’s organized and business-like approach indicates his maturity and commitment to school.”

Brighton Goodrich

Brighton Goodrich

Commitment to school and sports are very high on Goodrich’s list of accomplishments. While in school he has earned a grade point average of 3.65. He has been on the A honor roll all four years while attending the Little Falls Community High School. He is a member of the Student Council, Flyer Athletes Leadership Council (FALC), principal assistant, homecoming committee, Link and Target.

In addition to academics, Goodrich is also very involved in music and sports. He is a member of the high school band and a three-sport athlete. In his four years at the high school, he has been a member of the football, basketball, track and baseball teams. He has earned All-conference Honorable Mention for track, All Conference for football and the Brainerd Dispatch Player of the Week for football.

“I have witnessed Brighton in action in the classroom and on the athletic field, but where he truly shines, is on the field of life,” said teacher Randy Tabatt. “Brighton always has time for others. His compassionate heart and overall good humanitarianism is awesome to watch. He is not only an excellent student and class leader, he is a very good person.”

“Consistent with his dedication to being a well-rounded student and athlete is Brighton’s commitment to his community,” said Sinclair. “Brighton has been active in his church in a variety of ways including: playing bingo with the elderly, volunteering at church bazaars and collecting Toys for Tots. In addition, Brighton has volunteered to read to elementary students.”

In his free time, Goodrich can be found at home at Lake Alex relaxing on the lake and playing guitar. He plans to continue his education, but has not yet decided on a university. He plans to pursue a degree in computer science.

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LFCHS students to present fall comedy ‘Faith County’ Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:09:45 +0000 LF-musical-comedyStudents at Little Falls Community High School will present their fall comedy, “Faith County.” A group of good ol’ country folk have gathered somewhere in the middle of nowhere for this year’s county fair, and there is stiff competition in the arts and crafts competition. All are invited to see this hilarious production Friday, Oct. 31, or Saturday, Nov. 1, at 7:30 p.m. in the Charles D. Martin Auditorium at Little Falls Community High School. Tickets will be available at the door and are $3 for students and $5 for adults. Pictured are cast members front row (from left): Maria Kosovich, Kalli Kalpakoff, Austin Southers and Quinne Ingemansen. Back row: AnnMarie Jacobson, Rachael Buckallew, Cary Armagost, Alex Thoms-Warzecha and Abby Segler.

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Kendra Pohlman named as LFCHS Girl of the Month for September Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:09:19 +0000 Little Falls Community High School has chosen Kendra Pohlman, daughter of Robin and Sara Pohlman, as the September Girl of the Month.

Pohlman is active in the sports of volleyball, basketball and softball. She has won many awards for her sporting activities and has been chosen all conference for volleyball and has been named captain in volleyball and basketball. In volleyball she was chosen to the all-section team. Pohlman was chosen to the all area teams in Morrison County, Brainerd and honorable mention team for the St. Cloud area. She was chosen as the most improved in softball and the best all around player in volleyball.

Kendra Pohlman

Kendra Pohlman

Debra Yliniemi-Ahlin, science teacher and coach, said, “One could say I have known Kendra Helen forever and each day she continues to amaze me with her big heart. She has managed to achieve excellent academic performance along with phenomenal participation in many high school activities.

“As a student in my college anatomy class, Kendra Helen was outstanding. She is a diligent worker who strives for perfection,” said Yliniemi-Ahlin. “As her varsity basketball and softball coach these past three years I have witnessed her effective leadership characteristics to her teammates by setting goals and following through to reach them. She is honest and open with her teammates and leads with integrity while gaining the trust of team members. Kendra does what she says she will do and treats others the same way she wants to be treated. As an educator/coach, I have watched her grow, seen her talents and abilities not only in the classroom but also outside its walls. Kendra is also dedicated to giving back to our community through her faith and compassion by volunteering at church, Share-a-Meal and with Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Just this past week, Kendra Helen played the bass guitar in our praise and worship band at our FCA Fields of Faith that drew a crowd of over 300 youth. She had proven herself to be a gentle and selfless individual when it comes to her teammates and is an expert at efficiently managing her time so she can be a part of all of these various communities.

“As she graduates from high school, I and all of Little Falls will be sad to see Kendra Helen go, but realize that she is destined to affect great things far beyond the narrow confines of our small central Minnesota town,” said Yliniemi-Ahlin.

Music is another area Pohlman is active in. She is in the wind ensemble for band. She has also played in the spring musical orchestra, jazz band and the jazz combo.

Jonathan LaFlamme, band director, said, “Kendra is one of the most talented students I have enjoyed having the pleasure of working with. Kendra has a very unique set of qualities that make her stand out as a shining example of Flyer Pride and superior citizenship. She is extremely hardworking gifted in music, athletics and academia, intelligent, silently confident, very humble and is constantly searching for new challenges. I wish my band was comprised of 100 Kendra Pohlmans. I love how I can ask Kendra to learn any part on any instrument, and she does so independently with aplomb.

“I can specifically recall where a day out from a parade a percussionist of a different and difficult instrument was going to be suddenly absent. I asked Kendra to learn the part. By the next day she was in total command of that instrument and then after the parade she thanked me for allowing her the opportunity to experience this new instrument and role within the ensemble,” said LaFlamme.

Most recently Kendra learned a chime solo for homecoming. “The part is from a college-level arrangement and the music calls for a synthesizer set on chimes played like a piano. Kendra learned the part on chimes in two days. One would think that after four years of working with such a wonderful student being surprised would not come so easily, yet there I was again, wowed by the stellar work ethic of one of the finest students to come through the band program. I am truly excited with great anticipation to see the wonderful accomplishments and fantastic endeavors that Kendra will pursue after high school,” LaFlamme said.

Other activities Pohlman has participated in are Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Target, Flyer Athletes Leadership Council (FALC), Link crew and the Homecoming Committee.

Pohlman is active in her church with the Praise Band and Youth Group. She also does childcare in the nursery in her church.

In her free time, Pohlman enjoys watching sports, playing sports, spending time with her family, fishing and reading.

She plans to attend college to pursue a degree in athletic training, physical therapy or physician assistant. She is undecided where she will be going to college.

Alpha Delta Kappa, the Dandelions and PEO, chapters BB and EO sponsor the girl of the month.

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John Winscher’s acting dreams coming true while living successfully with bipolar diagnosis Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:07:15 +0000 By Jennie Zeitler, Correspondent

John Winscher has been a full-time actor for two-and-a-half years, giving up his day job to put all his focus on his career.  He is shown here in the role of Andrew Jackson.

John Winscher has been a full-time actor for two-and-a-half years, giving up his day job to put all his focus on his career. He is shown here in the role of Andrew Jackson.

Although John Winscher participated in drama during his years at Royalton High School – even winning a best actor award at a one-act play regional competition – he had no idea at the time that he wanted to be an actor. After graduating in 1999, he completed a one-year computer-aided drafting program at St. Cloud Technical College.

“At that point, I knew I wanted to do something more creative, so I switched to printing and imaging,” he said. “But I was just going on cruise control; I didn’t know what I was doing, didn’t know what I wanted to do.”

Winscher worked construction during the summers following high school. He also worked as a janitor at a resort during one winter ski season in Montana.

“I wanted an adventure,” he said. “It was my first time away from home. I got to snowboard around the slopes with toilet paper in my backpack.”

The pivotal moment happened when he ran into an old friend at a softball game in Morrill. When they talked about where life was taking them, the friend told Winscher that she “always thought I’d be an actor.” But that hadn’t been on Winscher’s radar at all.

“I’d never even thought that was an option,” he said. “The seed was planted.”

Not too long after that, Winscher was listening to the radio while building a barn. He was listening with half an ear to a Harrison Ford interview, with Ford describing how he’d been a carpenter when he got his break.

“That was another ‘aha’ moment,” Winscher said.

He signed up for the theater program at St. Cloud State University (SCSU) and met his first group of dedicated thespians.

One of John Winscher’s Hollywood acting credits includes a role as a living statue in a commercial for McDonald’s. He was costumed completely in gold.

One of John Winscher’s Hollywood acting credits includes a role as a living statue in a commercial for McDonald’s. He was costumed completely in gold.

“I related to them, loved them and shared a Dionysian way of living,” he said. “I received recognition of my acting talent and encouragement from classmates and everyone around me. People had more faith in me than I had.”

Winscher adds rather tongue-in-cheek that he has since caught up with their opinions. “There is no humility in Hollywood,” he said.

He realized that he wanted to be part of a program which focused on acting alone, and not spread out to include the other aspects of drama presentation such as set production and lighting, etc.

He searched online and found the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles (LA). He found an impressive website with a very impressive list of alumni. But that wasn’t what hooked him.

“I grew up loving ‘The Princess Bride’ and other sword-fighting movies,” he said. “There was a photo of two people fencing. That hooked me.”

Bruce Hyde at SCSU prepared him for an audition in Minneapolis. “He had a passion for acting and inspired me,” Winscher said.

The audition was successful and Winscher took the next big step and moved to LA in August of 2003. His roommates were lined up by the school.

He completed the two-year program and third year with the school’s production company.

“Coming out of there, I felt confident,” he said.

In the meantime, his dad back in Royalton had been diagnosed with cancer. Winscher came home in 2004 to help on the farm.

“He encouraged me to continue with the program,” Winscher said.

John Winscher is all suited up to be filmed for a motion capture role for a video game.

John Winscher is all suited up to be filmed for a motion capture role for a video game.

After his dad died in 2005, he again returned home to work the farm. “It saved me, actually. I was surrounded by trusted people in a nurturing environment,” he said.

He returned to L.A. to do a showcase at the end of that school year but was becoming aware of some patterns and symptoms in his behavior.

“Looking back, I see that I’d had childhood depression at least by age 11,” he said. “I remember having a suicidal thought in sixth grade. I saw that the time I came back from Montana, I had my first manic episode.”

Winscher became the class clown in school. “I got all my comedy experience there,” he said. “But we know that is a form of defense.”

These things were hidden from the people around him, and Winscher himself didn’t understand their significance.

“Bipolar manifestations are almost always brought on by tragic or stressful events,” he said.

He started therapy in Minnesota during the summer of 2007 with a three-week partial inpatient program. He started taking medications that “immediately worked and have worked ever since,” he said.

Winscher knows he is fortunate. “I’ve gone seven years now without any major incidents. There have been no manic episodes and only very shallow depression times.”

After returning to L.A. in 2008, he started hustling for acting jobs. It was a challenge to find an agent. Interestingly, it was while working at a French café, Figaro, that he made lasting friendships and found an agent.

“I recognized from friends that you have to take a leap for big things to happen,” he said.

In July 2012, he was given an ultimatum at work. He wanted to take a $150 acting job which required a day off. He had no money in savings. But he recognized that this was a “leap” moment.

“That is what got me into that ‘hustle’ mode,” he said. “Since then I’ve been without a day job, and have been going from acting gig to gig.”

Winscher found a mentor in Nikolai Guzov, someone he met through a friend at Figaro. Guzov is a personal coach, helping Winscher prepare for auditions with two-hour study and practice sessions.

“He said something to me that helped with the leap,” Winscher said. “‘In this business, you’re never going to be financially stable; you have to be comfortable with that.’”

Winscher has been calling himself a full-time actor for two-and-a-half years.

“It’s a big accomplishment,” he said with a modest grin.

His credits include a McDonald’s commercial where he played a living statue, painted all in gold. He appeared in a Toyota/Nickelodeon commercial. He has a role in a video game, 1886: The Order, being released in February 2015.

“I’ve also done what I call a lot of minor-league work, non-union things, mime,” he said. “But it paid me. It’s not real until the check is in the bank and you’re on the screen.”

A more recent leap was required when Winscher was evicted from his “amazing apartment in Glendale” at the same time as a friend had just moved to Atlanta, Ga.

“He told me about the auditions he was getting in Atlanta, with a new studio being built in Georgia because of tax incentives there,” he said.

Winscher took the leap and within two weeks was getting settled in Atlanta. He was amazed to find out that he had his pick of seven agencies before he even got there.

“There is a mutual respect that is missing in L.A. – a 180-degree change,” he said. “One agency was even pitching themselves to me.”

He is now represented by SOL Talent from Charleston, S.C. He is getting a lot of auditions, something that he can do on tape.

“In the southeast, they’ll book a role directly from tape,” he said. “Within two weeks I had my first job.”

From the farm in Morrison County to being an actor in Hollywood is some journey.

“Growing up and not having any concept of this life – to accomplish that is the same amount of distance to me as what Alicia Keyes said at the Grammies, that where she came from is very far from her ‘end point,’” Winscher said. “Living the dream and doing what you love is worth all the sacrifices.”

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Royalton School District joins city in Community Energy Challenge Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:06:14 +0000 By Jennie Zeitler


Participation in the Community Energy Challenge by the city of Royalton and the school district has begun. The “Learn and Earn” program started Oct. 20 and runs through the end of November. Elementary Principal Phil Gurbada updated the School Board at Tuesday’s meeting.

“Rusty Gwost and Marty Bratsch are coordinating the program in each school,” Gurbada said.

There are three aspects to this particular program, which includes a partnership with Royalton Lumber. City residents can purchase energy-efficient lighting products at Royalton Lumber, which benefit the buyer through a rebate and benefits the district with a donation. Residents can also participate in an online home energy report, which will provide $10 to the district for each one. The third step is to make an appointment for an in-the-home home energy analysis, which will give the district $20 for each one completed.

Flyers were sent home with students in the district. Residents with no students are also encouraged to participate. Visit and use the event code RYAL335. To schedule a home energy analysis, call (218) 355-2843.

“I’m excited to partner with the Royalton School District on the Community Energy Challenge,” said Mayor Andrea Lauer.

“This project is a great opportunity to connect our schools with the families and people of Royalton,” said Gwost. “Our children will be educated in the importance of energy conservation and in alternative energy sources that are gaining popularity in Minnesota. Collaborative projects provide a progressive teaching and learning environment and all participants can truly benefit from this type of relationship.”

Residents can look for further information in the Record and in the Royalton city newsletter.

Royalton School Board Briefs

Other information that came before the School Board Tuesday included:

•Accepting donations by the Wrestling Club of $544.61 for Community Education Youth Football and $1,000 for the purchase of scoreboards for the south gym;

•Accepting the resignations of: Rick Beam as assistant wrestling coach, Laell Welle as Middle School Knowledge Bowl coach, Rusty Gwost as junior high basketball coach, Abby Ellerbusch as MAP assistant and Krista Kessela as MAP assistant;

•Approved the hiring of Melanie Cimenski as high school three-act play adviser and Wade Cruzer as assistant wrestling coach;

•Welcoming Heather Britz and Auralia Behnke as special education paraprofessionals, both graduates of North Star Christian Academy in Little Falls;

•Approving the hiring of Greg Borders as community education director with the condition that the PTO offered in his contract be prorated;

•Approving the hiring of Heather Tideman as a long-term ELL substitute teacher per administrative recommendation by a 5-1 vote. Council Member Tom Justin voted no because the contract was not negotiated by the board;

•Approving the human resource-payroll contract for 2014-2016 as presented;\•Approving maternity leave requests for: April Lange, Sara Sobania and Amanda Hoheisel;

•Approving the post-secondary enrollment options (PSEO) contract with Central Lakes College;

•Approving the senior class trip to Cragun’s Resort and Hotel on Gull Lake;

•Approving the Review and Comment be sent to the Department of Education, a required step for the facility project vote to take place, Jan. 6 by a 5-1 vote with Justin dissenting;

•Approving a resolution for the issuance of school building bonds and calling for the election regarding the bonds, Jan. 6 by a 5-1 vote with Justin dissenting;

•Learning the policy committee will meet Thursday, Nov. 6 at 4:30 p.m.; and

•Learning there will be a spaghetti dinner at the American Legion Sunday, Nov. 23, at 5 p.m. as a fundraiser for the facility committee.

The next regular board meeting will be Monday, Nov. 17 at 6 p.m. at the high school. The Board will meet to conduct the superintendent evaluation Tuesday, Nov. 18, at 6 p.m. and will meet Thursday, Dec. 18, at 6 p.m. for a Board self-evaluation.


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Recipes from the past Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:05:44 +0000 Timeless-TastesFRIED VENISON STEAK


Rub venison steaks with salt and pepper, and roll in flour.  Fry in half butter and half lard until a golden brown. Lift from frying pan and place in oven or a warm place to keep sizzling hot while making gravy. To make gravy, add flour to fat, stir well. Add boiling water and currant jelly (1 Tbsp. jelly for each cup of water added) and stir until smooth. A glass of red wine may be used instead of the jelly. Serve hot from the oven, with gravy as a side or pour grave over steaks. Always keep them hot as that is the secret of good venison.


  • Venison (or pheasants), cleaned, dressed and cut up in frying size pieces.
  • 1/2 c. margarine or butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. cherry wine

Sauté meat in margarine or butter until brown. Put in large casserole dish and add salt and pepper. Mix mushroom soup with milk and sherry; pour over meat. Cover and bake at 375° until hot (Any mushrooms – fresh or canned, are good added to the gravy).


  •  1 gallon kidney beans
  • 3 lbs. bacon
  • 5 lbs. ground venison
  • 2 qts. onion
  • 2 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 gallon tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp. pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. salt

Cut bacon in small pieces, brown to a crisp. Add venison and brown. Combine rest of the ingredients in a large kettle, add browned meat and enough water to cover; simmer two hours. If if gets too thick, thin it with red wine.


  •  1 c. wild rice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 c. chopped onion
  • 3/4 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1/4 c. slivered almonds
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped parsley
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1/2 c. raisins
  • 1 can (4 oz. size) mushrooms drained, optional
  • 2 tsp. instant chicken bouillon
  • 2 c. water

Cook rice in water to cover for 20 minutes, drain and rinse. Sauté onion and almonds in butter. Combine with rice, raisins, bouillon, salt, garlic salt, parsley, mushrooms and water. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes in covered casserole. (Serves six).


  •  2 – 3 slices bacon, diced
  • 2/3 c. wild rice, rinsed
  • 1/2 c. onion, chopped
  • 1/2 c. carrots, diced
  • 1/2 c. celery, thinly sliced
  • 4 – 4 1/2 c. chicken stock or broth
  • 1 1/2 c. whipping cream
  • 1 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. minced parsley
  • Salt and pepper

Fry bacon, drain and reserve 2 Tbsp. fat. Sauté rice, onion, carrots and celery in bacon fat for five minutes. Return bacon to pan. Stir in four cups of chicken broth. Heat, stirring constantly to boiling. Reduce heat. Simmer covered 40 minutes. Mix butter and flour – stir in remaining stock and cream, 1/2 cup each.


  •  1 pkg. sugar free instant butterscotch pudding mixed with 1 1/2 c. skim milk as directed on package. Add to prepared mix:
  • 15 oz. can pumpkin
  • 1/3 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 packets of Equal
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves

(If you have a special combination of pumpkin pie spice you like use it). If you wish this to be pie, make a crust of eight graham crackers, 2 Tbsp. oleo, one package of Equal. Press in pan and bake eight minutes. Serve with Cool Whip.


  •  3 c. mashed, cooked, fresh sweet potatoes (about 2 lbs.)
  • 2 c. finely chopped cooked ham
  • 3 Tbsp. butter or margarine
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 3/4 c. crushed corn flakes
  • Shortening for frying

Combine mashed sweet potatoes with the above ingredients and one cup of the corn flakes. Shape in 12 3-inch patties. Coat on all sides with remaining corn flakes. Fry on both sides in a small amount of shortening over low heat. Serve at once.


  •  2 lbs. hamburger 1 onion
  • Brown, then add the following:
  • 1 (15 oz.) Ragu Spaghetti sauce 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 (8 oz.) tomato sauce 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 c. water 1 Tbsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder

Simmer above until thick for 45 minutes. Cook and drain: 1 (8 oz.) package wide egg noodles. Mix with: one can Cheddar Cheese soup. Line casserole with 1/2 meat mixture. Add all noodles next and the rest of the meat mixture. Sprinkle 1 (8 oz. size) package grated Mozzarella over top, bake at 350° oven for one- and one-half hours.


  •  6 uncooked bratwurst,
  • 2 Tbsp. margarine,
  • 1/2 c. finely chopped onion
  • 1 can beer (room temperature).

Place bratwurst in a an 8-inch round dish. Add the rest of the ingredients. Cover. MIcrowave seven – eight minutes or until done.


  •  1 pkg. yeast
  • 1/2 c. warm water
  • Mix and set aside:
  • 2 c. milk, scalded
  • 2 Tbsp. margarine
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. honey
  • 1/2 c. uncooked quick oats
  • 1/2 c. rye flour
  • 2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 4 c. white flour
  • 1 c. cooked wild rice

(Cook ahead). Wash rice well and cook 35-45 minutes and cool. Topping: 1 egg, 1 teaspoon cold water, mix or beat well. 1 package sunsflower seeds. Mix bread as all breads are done. Let rest 15 minutes. Knead and add flour as needed to make your dough the right consistency. Put in your pan and let rise until double in bulk. Grease three bread tins and put your loaves in pans. Let rise until right height. Preheat oven. Take pastry brush and put egg mixture and sunflower seeds on each loaf before baking.  Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes.

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Upsala to discuss all-girls sports pairing with Swanville; public invited to meeting Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:04:06 +0000 By KERRY DRAGER


The Upsala School Board discussed the possibility of pairing with Swanville for all-girls sports at Wednesday’s meeting. This has been an ongoing discussion between Upsala and Swanville, and the district is preparing to come to a conclusion.

“I felt that this was something that should be brought back to the Board. They have more boys than girls so their participation in girls’ sports is low,” said Board Member Karin Nelson.

No decision on the pairing was made during the meeting. The Board felt that the community needed to have an opportunity to present their thoughts to the Board.

The Board approved adding the discussion regarding the all-girls sports pairing with Swanville to the agenda of a special Board meeting set for Wednesday, Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m. Public input is welcome and expected at this meeting.

The Prairie Conference requires a prior year notice of any pairing for scheduling purposes.

The Board discussed the current pairing status with Swanville’s football team and the home playoff schedule. The recent agreement between the two schools was that Swanville would host the first game and Upsala the second. However, Upsala’s football field is not equipped with lights and games would need to be played sooner in the evening, due to the shortening hours of sunlight in the fall.

To keep the playoff game in Upsala, they requested that game be moved up to 3 p.m. The Minnesota State High School League requires that all schools must be in agreement for a time change. This was originally agreed upon by Swanville, Upsala and rival team New York Mills. However, a conflict with ACT testing at New York Mills caused the district not to agree with the schedule change.

“The Patriots don’t get to have the final say on this. If you want it at a different time, both Upsala and New York Mills have to agree,” said Nelson.

Any entrance fees charged to get into home games are split between the two schools, but concession profits belong to the hosting school. Upsala will also be missing out on the football tradition of hosting a playoff on their home field.

The Upsala School has accepted a bid from Aksamit Transportation Inc. during the Sept. 24 meeting in the amount of $43,743 to provide a bus and bus driver for the remaining duration of the school year. The district was in need of a new school bus due to one of their vehicles no longer being a reliable and safe. Purchasing a new bus was costly, and the district was in need of a licensed bus driver.

“We have been relying on substitute bus drivers. All of them are retired and are just helping us out. So we are asking private companies to help with this route,” said Superintendent Gery Arndt.

Aksamit Transportation is a family-owned business based in Browerville. The business has nearly 60 buses in their fleet and currently have contracts with Browerville, Long Prairie and for the Head Start program in Little Falls. The business will be responsible for all bus maintenance and the hiring of substitute bus drivers. The bus for the route will be stored in Grey Eagle and the route will begin there.

Upsala School Board Briefs

Other business before the Upsala School Board Wednesday, included:

•Learning that the elementary school received a Multiple Measurement Rating (MMR) of 77.48 percent. The MMR incorporates data from proficiency on the MCA tests, growth in proficiency scores and reduction of any achievement gaps over a two year period of time. Upsala Elementary scores are now in the top 15 percent of the state, which has earned the school a “Reward School” designation;

•Hearing that the high school received an MMR of 54.39 percent. This score incorporates the same three areas as the elementary, but also includes the graduation rate;

•Learning that the Dean of Students Vern Capelle, now has all the assessment scores and is compiling them for the World’s Best Workforce report. This will include the achievement goals for 2014-15;

•Hearing that the district hosted a “Kindness Retreat.” Swanville and Royalton fourth grade students joined Upsala for the event;

•Learning that the Upsala Fire Department held a presentation for the elementary in recognition of Fire Prevention Week. Students participated in a poster contest and the winners from each grade will be selected and announced during the annual Halloween costume parade;

•Approved the list of fundraisers. The district has decided to present this list annually to the Board so members are aware of all fundraisers and any changes to the list that may occur during the school year;

•Approved the hiring of Brittany Harren as an at-will paraprofessional;

•Approved the resignation of Paul Pelzer as the girls basketball head coach; and

•Hearing that the high school girls are interested in having a dance team. The district is still in need of a coach.

The next regular Upsala School Board meeting will be Wednesday, Nov. 26 at 7:30 p.m. in the high school media center.

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Nurses recognized by Royalton School District Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:01:30 +0000 By Jennie Zeitler, Correspondent

When the former Royalton School District nurse resigned in August, the district wondered how to fill that spot in the short time left prior to the start of school.

Royalton temporary co-nurses Pat Sowada and Shelley Gurbada were presented the Standing Ovation Award at Tuesday’s school board meeting for going above and beyond during the six weeks they filled in while the district hired a new full-time nurse. Pictured are (from left): Sowada, Gurbada and Supt. Jon Ellerbusch.

Royalton temporary co-nurses Pat Sowada and Shelley Gurbada were presented the Standing Ovation Award at Tuesday’s school board meeting for going above and beyond during the six weeks they filled in while the district hired a new full-time nurse. Pictured are (from left): Sowada, Gurbada and Supt. Jon Ellerbusch.

Two women stepped forward to help out the district, not only filling the position but going above and beyond.

Shelley Gurbada and Pat Sowada were recognized by Supt. Jon Ellerbusch and the Royalton School Board at Tuesday’s meeting.

“They were co-nurses for us for about six weeks and they did a fabulous job,” said Ellerbusch.

Ellerbusch presented the nurses with the district’s Standing Ovation Award for their efforts.

“It’s critical to have health-care professionals ready to go,” he said. “They really saved us. They got everything in order for the incoming nurse.”

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New greenhouse enables science to come to life for K-12 students in Pierz Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:52:45 +0000 America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education grants support math and science education 

A $25,000 grant from America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education was awarded to Pierz Public Schools to construct a greenhouse and bee apiary demonstration lab. Pictured during the presentation at the Oct. 15 football game are (from left): Pierz School District Superintendent George Weber, Michael Jackson Channel District Sales Manager (DSM), Ag Instructor Pat Tax, Grant Smude, Kendal Hermanson, Bree Gottwalt and nominating farmer, Nancy Lanners.

A $25,000 grant from America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education was awarded to Pierz Public Schools to construct a greenhouse and bee apiary demonstration lab. Pictured during the presentation at the Oct. 15 football game are (from left): Pierz School District Superintendent George Weber, Michael Jackson Channel District Sales Manager (DSM), Ag Instructor Pat Tax, Grant Smude, Kendal Hermanson, Bree Gottwalt and nominating farmer, Nancy Lanners.

Pierz Public Schools received a $25,000 grant from America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund. The district will use the money to construct a greenhouse and bee apiary demonstration lab to facilitate student learning through hands-on instruction.

The greenhouse will benefit the more than 1,200 students at all grade levels throughout the school district. High school agriculture classes will now be more geared toward college and career readiness, while elementary students will be engaged in demonstrations and assist with growing crops.

Aside from growing seeds and analyzing soil, a unique feature of the school’s greenhouse is the bee apiary and model hive. Students will see firsthand the life cycle of the bee, the creation of honey and the important role bee pollination plays in sustaining many familiar crops.

“The biggest benefit for the students is the opportunity to engage in authentic learning,” said Pat Tax, agriculture instructor at Pierz Public Schools. “They will see science come alive as they grow plants from seedlings, study how and why chemicals affect growth, grow food for the school cafeteria and engage in plant sales.”

This past spring, local farmers nominated the district for a chance to apply for the grant. School administrators then designed a science-based project for the grant application. Once all of the school district applications were submitted, a panel of math and science teachers reviewed each application and selected finalists. An advisory council, composed of farmer-leaders with an interest in agriculture and education, then selected the winning grant applications from a pool of finalists.

“Agriculture has become one of the most technologically advanced industries, so farmers are very aware of the need for superior math and science education, particularly in their own communities,” said Monsanto Customer Advocacy Lead Linda Arnold. “We are proud to partner with farmers to support the things that are most important to them—schools, youth, and their community.”

Pierz Public Schools celebrated receiving the grant Oct. 15, at halftime of the home football game. Nominating farmers, school representatives and local Monsanto representative Mike Jackson attended the event. Superintendent George Weber was also in attendance.

Grow Rural Education encourages farmers to nominate a local public school district, which can then compete for a grant of up to $25,000. Since 2011, Grow Rural Education has invested more than $7 million to support math and science education in rural school districts across the country.

This program is part of the America’s Farmers initiative, which partners with farmers to support education, service organizations and youth in rural America. Visit to see the full list of winners for this year. A sister program, America’s Farmers Grow Communities is currently in its enrollment period. To sign up, visit


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Flyers girls soccer season one of the best in program history Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:12:49 +0000 By Tyler Ohmann
Sports Editor

A season that ended with a heart-breaking 1-0 loss to Sauk Rapids-Rice was still one of the most successful in program history for Little Falls’ girls soccer program.
An emphasis on defense  that translated into 625 intercepts also led to an 11-3-3 record and a conference title.

(102614sportsgirlssoccer)   Staff photo by Tyler Ohmann Little Falls sophomore and leading scorer Kia Friel kicks it past St. John’s Prep’s Taylor Nydeen, Oct. 9.

(102614sportsgirlssoccer) Staff photo by Tyler Ohmann
Little Falls sophomore and leading scorer Kia Friel kicks it past St. John’s Prep’s Taylor Nydeen, Oct. 9.

“We definitely emphasized defense, but our defense starts with our forwards and works its way back,” said Flyers head coach Mark Fritz. “Everyone has to play hard, and they definitely did that.”
In both the conference and the section, the Flyers were ranked first in defense. Offensively they were not as successful, but they still ranked third in the conference and fourth in the section.
In the QRF rankings, the Flyers were a program-best 26th out of 118 teams.
Individually several Little Falls players had record-setting seasons.
Sophomore Kia Friel tied the goal scoring record as she netted 12 goals on the season. She also added a pair of assists for a tie for the team lead in points with 14.
She was tied with fellow sophomore Chelsea Moran, who scored seven goals and notched seven assists, despite missing a few games  during the season.
Another record for the team came from sophomore goaltender Lauren Thielman, who had 103 saves in 112 opportunities for a record 91.96 save percentage.
The Flyers graduate eight seniors in Katelyn Staab, Alicia Gapinski, Celka Buss, Marissa Virnig, Emily Marlette, Kristin Stewart, Jenna Primus and Scotti Jo Meyer.
The future is bright, according to Fritz, though.
“We’ve got a lot of young talent coming up,” Fritz said. “Sophomores and juniors are real strong, and a lot of our freshmen got some varsity time this year.”
To go along with Friel, Moran and Thielman, Fritz mentioned Jordan Schuett, Ellie Riiters, Melissa Geisenhoff and Sarah Gold as key starters for next season.
As for the team’s goals, Fritz said they won’t be much different than this year.
“Next year’s goals will be pretty similar to this year’s, and that’s to be competitive in conference and once again try to win it, try and advance to state, which is a fun thing to do,” Fritz said.

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Flyers, Huskers both drop duals before playoffs Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:10:56 +0000 Klever, Langerud and Mokhtary have strong individual days for their teams

By Tyler Ohmann
Sports Editor

Despite three first place finishes involving Makyla Klever, the Little Falls swimming and diving team dropped a dual 106-75 to Sauk Rapids Rice, Oct. 21.
Klever, a senior, won both the 50 and 100 freestyle races.
In the 50, Klever blew past the competition, finishing in 26.67. In the 100 free, Klever bested teammate and runner-up Alice Foote by a little more than a second at 58.63.
Klever was also part of the 400 free relay team that took first place with a time of 4:07.62.
Foote, and Kirsten and Kaitlyn Holtz were also part of that team.
Those were the only first-place finishes for the Flyers.
Runner-up finishes came from Gabby Lyter in diving, Abby Swanson in the 100 breaststroke, Foote in the 100 backstroke, Kirsten Holtz in the 200 individual medley, Katilyn Holtz in the 200 free and the 200 medley relay team of Foote, Swanson, Klever and Abby VanHeel.

Holdingford edged by Becker
Giving all they could, the Holdingford Huskers still fell to the Becker Bulldogs 97-88, Oct. 21.
The Huskers did record seven first place finishers in the contest though, that was close throughout.
The 200 medley relay earned a top spot thanks to the team of Maddie Christensen, Tessa Schwinghammer, Gabby Langerud and Meghan Mokhtary.
Langerud and Mokhtary dominated individually as well.
Langerud finished first in the 50 free and the 100 butterfly, while Mokhtary earned the top spot in the 20 free and the 100 breaststroke.
Schwinghammer delivered a first place finish in the 200 individual medley.

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Huskers shut out Wadena-Deer Creek in playoff opener Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:10:03 +0000 By Tyler Ohmann
Sports Editor

A quick start and a big first half from senior tailback Matt Messman led Holdingford to a 47-0 rout of Wadena-Deer Creek in the first round of the Section 6AA playoffs, Oct. 21.
The Huskers turned their home field into a scoring party in the first half as they notched 27 first-quarter points, thanks to three Messman touchdowns.
Quarterback Austin Gerads found Taylor Nitz twice in the first half as well, and Devin Motschke scored from 10 yards out to give the Huskers a 41-0 halftime lead.
Senior Nathan Brinker and the Huskers defense continued their shut out in the second half. Brinker finished with six tackles, and Holdingford’s defense held the Wolverines to six total yards, including negative yards on the ground.
The Huskers themselves finished with 364 total yards, 301 of which came through the rushing attack.
Messman finished with 126 yards, despite sitting most of the second half.
Griffin Olson added 77 yards and a touchdown in the third quarter.
Gerads was a perfect 4-for-4 passing for 60 yards.
Nolan Prokott and Jake Krettel each had fumble recoveries for the Huskers, who didn’t turn the ball over.
The second-seeded Huskers are now 6-3 on the season after the win.
Holdingford hosted No. 3 Osakis in the semi-finals of the section tournament.
If they won that game they would play in the section title game at 5:30 p.m. in the Fargo Dome.

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Cardinals volleyball takes second at home tournament Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:08:03 +0000 Royalton, Holdingford also take part in the annual tournament that is last action before playoffs begin

By Tyler Ohmann
Sports Editor

Before playoffs began on Oct. 24, there was one more test for area teams at the Upsala-hosted tournament.

(102614sportsCheney)   Staff photo by Tyler Ohmann Upsala senior Danica Cheney goes for a big swing against PACT, Oct. 16 at the Cardinals’ home tournament.

(102614sportsCheney) Staff photo by Tyler Ohmann
Upsala senior Danica Cheney goes for a big swing against PACT, Oct. 16 at the Cardinals’ home tournament.

The Cardinals, along with Royalton and Holdingford, participated with other teams from around the state.
Upsala played their way to a runner-up finish, losing only to champion Melrose along the way.
In pool play the Cardinals won both of their matches to put themselves into the hunt for a title.
Upsala topped St. Cloud Apollo 2-1, and PACT Charter School 2-0 to advance.
Once in the championship pool, the Cardinals beat Onamia 2-0, then fell to Melrose.
Senior Danica Cheney led the way for Upsala with 33 kills and 31 digs on the day.
Other strong performers were Cassie Smieja, who had seven blocks, 21 kills; Kristin Wuebkers with 81 set-assists and five aces and Brooke Westrich, who finished with 23 kills, 23 digs and five aces.
Holdingford performed well too as it prepared for its section match up against Little Falls.
The Huskers finished in sixth place, as they took down Maranatha and Walker-Hackensack 2-0 each.
They lost 0-2 to Onamia though, which dropped them into the fourth place pool.
In that pool, the Huskers were edged in both matches 2-1 by Apollo and Bertha-Hewitt.
Kaitlyn Hellman had 30 kills, four aces and three blocks in the tournament.
Courtney Thielen also played well with 31 kills and 38 digs. Emily Ruprecht added 43 digs and 20 kills.

(102614sportsGottwalt)   Staff photo by Tyler Ohmann Royalton senior Hayley Gottwalt earns a kill, Oct. 16, at the Upsala tournament during pool play.

(102614sportsGottwalt) Staff photo by Tyler Ohmann
Royalton senior Hayley Gottwalt earns a kill, Oct. 16, at the Upsala tournament during pool play.

Holdingford was without junior leader Summer Storm.
Royalton finished in seventh place as it came on late.
The Royals began strong with a 2-0 win over Milaca, 25-19, 25-16.
From there though, they lost to eventual-champion Melrose 1-1 via less points in the tiebreaker.
Bertha-Hewitt then topped them 25-12, 25-22 to force them into the seventh place pool.
In that pool, the Royals found success in both of their matches.
The Royals dominated Walker-Hackensack 25-13, 25-17 to move on to win.
Then they earned a narrow victory over PACT in three sets.
The scores were 25-23, 17-25 and 15-13.

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A look at the first half of fantasy football season Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:05:23 +0000 Sports column: Fantasy football edition

By Tyler Ohmann
Sports Editor

I surprisingly have an hour or two to kill here on Tuesday before I head off to cover some exciting central Minnesota playoff football action, so I decided I’d review the first half of the fantasy football season.
I’m going to take a look at how I’ve done in my leagues thus far, and how my predictions that I made in my fantasy previews have fared thus far (even though my preview series was in a different publication, the Mille Lacs County Times, which is also owned by ECM).
As far as my leagues are concerned, I’m a pretty happy camper.
I’m sitting on top or near the top at 5-2 in both leagues.
In what amounts to my main league, which is a 10-team, .5 PPR league, I have been in first place since week three, and have been enjoying the first-place run.
Most of my success is owed to NFL MVP candidate Philip Rivers at quarterback, who I nabbed in the 12th round in the draft.
He is having a whale of a season, and is currently ranked third in quarterbacks behind Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning. Not bad for the 11th quarterback taken in the draft.
Yes. You heard that right, there were people who took a second quarterback before I took Rivers. I’m shocked too, considering that Rivers was the fourth-best signal caller a year ago, and on a team filled with weapons and a potential-playoff team to boot.
I’ve also received significant production from another unexpected source this season, a position that hasn’t been producing much for anyone else­­­—tight end.
I drafted Austin Sefarian-Jenkins late in the draft, expecting his upside to blossom early this season, but after realizing that he most likely wouldn’t break out until the second half of the season, I quickly snatched up the best veteran option I could find from the waiver wire before the season began.
I wound up with Panthers tight end Greg Olsen.
In what can only be described as an heroic season, Olsen has scored the most points by a tight end through seven weeks this season (99.8).
That’s not what makes it heroic though; it’s that Olsen is doing all this while also living through his infant son’s heart condition. His son, Tate, has already had a pair of open heart surgeries, and has endured far more pain than Olsen has on the field.
Kind of makes this column about fantasy feel a little small, but I’ll plug on anyway.
Brandon Marshall has gotten me a few good weeks, and I’m having all this success despite my No. 2 running back Rashad Jennings and top pick Calvin Johnson spending several weeks on the shelf.
Thanks to some aggressive waiver-wire magic, and a great draft of depth at wide receiver, I’ve managed to make a season out of it.
I drafted Michael Floyd in round nine, and Emmanuel Sanders in the seventh. Both have brought some strong starts for me.
Branden Oliver and Matt Asiata have both provided a week or two of help off the waiver wire as well.
Shane Vereen appears to be back in form after scoring more than 26 points on Thursday Night Football a week ago, filling in for the injured Stevan Ridley.
All is well on this front, so far, but there are still many weeks to go, and a lot can change. For now, I’ll bask in the glow of my success.
As for my pre-season rankings, here are a few highlights of things that I got right, and some that I got horribly, horribly wrong, at least thus far.
At quarterback I projected Matt Ryan to be the fifth-best quarterback, and thus far I’ve been pretty close. He is currently ranked sixth, thanks to a couple of big weeks. I ranked Jay Cutler at seven, and he is currently fifth.
I more or less accurately projected three of the top six running backs. In my preview I had Matt Forte as the top dog, with Arian Foster and Le’Veon Bell at five and six respectively.
Thus far, the trio has exceeded even my lofty expectations. Forte is currently second behind what is a record-breaking Demarco Murray season. Bell and Foster are currently three and four respectively, and I’ll count that as close enough.
I did not have a lot of real accurate predictions at wide receiver. The closest is that I predicted Emmanuel Sanders to be at No. 21, and he is currently at 19.
The atrocities in my rankings are also found pretty equally.
I had Brandon Marshall and Pierre Garcon ranked at three and four in the preseason, and they are currently 23rd and 25th respectively.
I did not expect the ascent of DeMarco Murray, who is comfortably in first place, and I projected him at 16th.
Marshawn Lynch is currently sixth, and I projected a drop off. I had him at 19th.
Lastly, the man that I drafted in both leagues, Philip Rivers, is currently ranked third, and I had him at 12th in the preview. Another poor ranking was not ranking Joe Flacco in the top 20. He is currently in revival at seventh.
As is the case for all fantasy football writers, I had a few things right, and several things wrong. If I’m remotely close, in the ball park or within a shave of correct even 40 percent of the time, though, I’m pretty happy. I’m pretty happy.

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Royals, Patriots blow out opponents in quarterfinals Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:03:11 +0000 Royalton drubs Prairie Valley 43-7, Upsala-Swanville clobbers West Central Area 60-13

By Tyler Ohmann
Sports Editor

In a pair of rematches, revenge was not served in the Section 6A quarterfinals, Oct. 21.
In the opening game of the playoffs, both No. 2 Royalton and top-seeded USA cruised past opponents they had recent victories over.

(102614sportsGadacz)   Staff photo by Tyler Ohmann Royalton lineman Clinton Gadacz wraps up Prairie Valley back Thomas Leeseberg, Oct. 21 in Royalton.

(102614sportsGadacz) Staff photo by Tyler Ohmann
Royalton lineman Clinton Gadacz wraps up Prairie Valley back Thomas Leeseberg, Oct. 21 in Royalton.

For the Royals, they played the Prairie Valley Nighthawks just Oct. 15, and the game was even more lopsided this time around with a 43-7 Royals victory.
Though the teams were tied early in the second quarter, the Royals blew the game apart from there on.
Both Austin Popp and Kyle Billmeyer ran in touchdowns in the second quarter to make it 23-7 at halftime.
In the second half Billmeyer struck again, and Royalton quarterback Brady Moulzolf tossed an 18-yard score to Shane Vannurden.
Matt Daledain added another score at the end of the third to put the game far out of the Nighthawks’ reach.
In total, Royalton out rushed the Nighthawks 290-124, led by Billmeyer’s 119 yards on 16 carries.
Moulzolf added 105 yards rushing as well as a 4-for-8 day for 58 yards passing.
The Royals forced three turnovers thanks to a Parker Brezinka interception, and the team forcing a fumble as well.
Royalton improved to 8-1.
The Royals hosted Pine River-Backus on Saturday night. If they won, they would play at 3 p.m. on Oct. 31 in the Fargo Dome.
USA blew out a familiar opponent for the second time this season as well.
The Patriots and the Knights met up on Oct. 3, and USA came away victorious 40-7. This time around the score was even more lopsided as USA trounced West Central Area 60-13.
The game began quick for the Patriots as they scored 26 points in the opening quarter.
By halftime it would be 40-0, but the Knights would score twice in the third quarter. Fortunately the USA offense continued to roll on to 20 second-half points and a 47-point win.
Senior quarterback Tyler Evans had a strong game under center for USA. He finished 7-for-9 for 114 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Both came in the first quarter to junior Carter Loven and sophomore Myron Ripplinger.
The Patriots had 387 yards on the ground as well, as 10 different USA players got carries.
The most successful was junior Kyle Lange, who had 152 yards on eight carries and scored three touchdowns.
Timmy Valencia-Louden added 54 yards and a touchdown on three carries.
Defensively the Patriots were led by sophomore Dylan Graves, who had nine total tackles and a fumble recovery.
Sophomores Eric Koetter and Parker Barth each had interceptions in the game as well for USA.
Ripplinger, Matt Herzog and Bennett Westrich scored touchdowns rushing as well as the Patriots improved to 9-0 on the season.
The Patriots hosted No. 5 seed New York Mills on Saturday. If they won that game they would play at 3 p.m., Oct. 31 at the Fargo Dome.

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The comeback kids Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:59:40 +0000 Flyers win first home playoff game since 1985 in come-from-behind fashion

By Tyler Ohmann
Sports Editor

After falling behind 14-7 with a little more than nine minutes left on the clock, Little Falls football did what came naturally, go into comeback mode.

(102614sportsKabanuk)   Staff photo by Tyler Ohmann Little Falls senior Kyle Kabanuk leaps over a Prowler defender for a catch Oct. 21.

(102614sportsKabanuk) Staff photo by Tyler Ohmann
Little Falls senior Kyle Kabanuk leaps over a Prowler defender for a catch Oct. 21.

On their next drive the Flyers’ offense continued success in mixing the run and the pass, which led to a seven-yard Michael Orr touchdown run.
After the defense forced a fourth down, the Thief River Falls punter mishandled a snap, and a swarm of Flyers earned the turnover on downs in the Prowlers’ territory.
It took nearly all of the two minutes and change that was left to drive the rest of the field, but with nine seconds left, Thomas Miller ran in the winning score.             Little Falls 20, Thief River Falls 14.
“We just played as a team, worked our butts off, and we’ve been playing hard since August,” said senior Bryce Zawatzke. “It’s showing, and there was a lot of team effort, and we came out with a ‘W.’”
The game was quite a bit different than when the Flyers’ topped the Prowlers 43-40 in the opening game of the season.
In that win, Little Falls too fell behind, came back and won, but the game was a shootout between two explosive offenses.
That was not the case Tuesday. Neither team scored in the first quarter, and the Flyers’ trailed 7-0 at halftime.
“This game we just knew each other a little more, so there was less scoring,” Zawatzke said.
In the first game, the Flyers faced a 27-point halftime deficit, and came back to win. That meant they knew that Tuesday’s win, which was the first home playoff win since 1985 for Little Falls football, would be a piece of cake.
“He (coach) said we’re only down by seven, so keep working, keep coming  and we’ll be in the game,” Zawatzke said. “We just had a game plan, stuck with it all game, and it worked out.”
It worked out because the Flyers opened up the offense, but refused to abandon the run. The mix of run and pass allowed the Flyers to come back in the second half.
After the Flyers tied the game at seven in the third quarter on an Austin Fenske pass to Jeremy Klein, the Flyers’ nearly lost their comeback spirit.
That’s because late in the third quarter, as Little Falls was driving to take the lead, they ran a trick play.
That play ended in an interception. That turnover led to a more than 50 yard run by the Prowlers’ Nathanael Holecek, which set up a touchdown.
Good thing that Zawatzke and his teammates remembered the one thing that brought them back from the brink before.
“It’s just a lot of heart; we have a lot of heart on this team,” Zawatzke said.
Fenske finished 12-of-22 for 136 yards.
Most of those receptions came from senior Kyle Kabanuk, who finished with seven grabs for 101 yards.
Orr added 50 yards on the ground, and Miller had 40 yards on five carries.
Little Falls improved to 6-3 on the season with the historic win.
The Flyers played Detroit Lakes on Saturday.
If they won that game, the Flyers would play in the section final at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 31 in Alexandria.

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Pierz students get hands-on civics lesson Fri, 24 Oct 2014 12:56:08 +0000 By Terry LehrkeNews Editor

Dean Dahmen and Gwen Gruber, teachers at Pierz Healy High, liked the idea of a student-facilitated candidate forum. Pierz City Administrator Scott Saehr approached them with the idea to host a student-facilitated forum for City Council candidates.

Dahmen and Gruber each teach two sophomore civics classes.

“The whole class got involved in asking questions,” sai Dahmen. “All four classes had input.”

“Scott presented the idea to us and we’re in our local government chapter, so it fit right in and was perfect,” said Dahmen.

Gruber said several of her students attended in addition to the four students who posed the questions to the candidates.

Four sophomores at Pierz Healy High School in civics classes taught by Dean Dahmen and Gwen Gruber, volunteered to ask questions of Pierz City Council candidates during a televised forum Wednesday night. Pictured are the students (from left): Andrew Sopkowiak, Jeff Gross, Grant Smude and Molly Otremba.

Four sophomores at Pierz Healy High School in civics classes taught by Dean Dahmen and Gwen Gruber, volunteered to ask questions of Pierz City Council candidates during a televised forum Wednesday night. Pictured are the students (from left): Andrew Sopkowiak, Jeff Gross, Grant Smude and Molly Otremba.

Prep for the students included talking about what the process was like. The teachers had their students read the answers to the questions posed to the candidates in the Morrison County Record.

“We really evaluated the newspaper questions and answers,” said Gruber. “I kind of wrapped it up by asking the students if their opinions changed about the people (candidates) after seeing them in person.”

Gruber said she talked with the students about the value of meeting candidates, as opposed to just reading about them.

“The majority of the students felt it was different seeing the person and hearing what they had to say as opposed to reading about it,” said Gruber.

“Part of civics is about government, but also about citizenship — ‘How do I be a good citizen?’” said Gruber. Part of that is becoming involved in the process and in giving to the community.

“We usually try to put together a project in the community That’s a goal toward spring, to do something for the community, to get involved and get them (students) active and let them get excited in the community,” Gruber said.

“When you call it civics,  you’re adding more than just government to it,” Gruber said.

“It’s great that Scott came up with this plan and the opportunity for the students to see grassroots government in action,” said Gruber. “And to meet with people you know and talk to them.

“Overall, the kids learned things and I think they thought it was a pretty good experience,” she said.

Four questions were asked of the four candidates for Pierz City Council and four for the two mayoral candidates.

The students formulated some of the questions, with city residents being able to submit their own questions for the one-hour forum to City Hall.

Saehr recorded the event to be broadcast on local access Channel 10 in Pierz. He said it would begin airing Thursday afternoon.

Dahmen said the plan was for all four classes to come together to view the video and hold a discussion.

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Chamber cancels only public debate Fri, 24 Oct 2014 12:48:21 +0000 To the Editor:

I’m aware that I’ve been marginalized to “persona non grata” by many in my community, but that was crystalized when I realized the Chamber of Commerce decided to cancel long-standing candidate debates. Why did they do this? Well, in his Aug. 6 column, Record editor, and former Chamber officer, Tom West, beseeched the community to “ignore me.” Did the Chamber take his plea literally, pleasing many who hold the reins of power in town? Maybe.

While I realize I’m not always a candidate for Miss Congeniality, I am a serious candidate for mayor of this city. I’m creative and pragmatic, I’ve done my homework on the myriad of issues facing Little Falls, and I have a valid, fully fleshed-out mayoral platform.

If Mayor VanRisseghem and Councilman Zylka are proud of their positions on the issues, as I am, I ask them to appeal to the Chamber to change this format back to a debate. “Meet and Greet” formalities were three months ago; now is the time to debate our differences in a respectful manner. — Robin Hensel, Little Falls

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Zylka is the right choice for Little Falls Fri, 24 Oct 2014 12:38:57 +0000 To the Editor:

The citizens of Little Falls would be very fortunate to have Greg Zylka as their mayor.

Everyone who knows Greg knows he takes pride in this community. He serves on and is affiliated with countless committees, organizations and boards. His ambitions range from supporting our hometown hospital to the economic development of local business. Serving in this type of capacity proves Greg’s dedication in seeking ways for the city to flourish fiscally.

Although a trustworthy supporter of business, Greg’s philanthropic nature shows his concern about the welfare of those around him. His list of good deeds and awards such as The Book of Golden Deeds Award boasts Greg’s dedication to the improvement of human life.

He is always willing to help local residents and families succeed.

Greg’s friendly and welcoming personality will help influence and promote Little Falls, a great place to raise a family.

For nearly 40 years, Greg has held a leadership role in the Little Falls community. In the 15 years that I have known Greg, I have been witness to his friendly, positive, team-player personality.

He is a person who is willing to dedicate his time freely to the well being of the city. I am certain that he embodies every characteristic to make a great political leader for this city. — Amanda Rakow, Little Falls 

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