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A group of friends spent the weekend winter camping at Itasca State Park and had a good time, even when night time temperature dipped to 20 below zero. Four members of the group have been winter camping for 10 years. Eileen LaFontaine (Minneapolis), Beth Kodluboy (Minneapolis), Dawn Voelker (Des Moines, Iowa) and Corey Davis (St. Louis Park) have winter camped in an impressive array of locations, including their first year when they visited Yellowstone National Park where they saw bison and elk along with the Trail of Tears.
The widespread, nationwide flu outbreak is impacting the Park Rapids area, and precautions are being taken to prevent its spread. According to Infection Prevention Specialist Wendy Gulliksrud at CHI St. Joseph's Health in Park Rapids, there have been 28 positive cases of influenza in the past month and eight of those (28.5 percent) have led to hospitalization. Most of the patients were first seen in the emergency room, with 10 of the 28 cases reported in just the past week.
Laporte teacher Amy Mastin has a passion for connecting her students with growing healthy food. She started a community garden at the school in the spring of 2015 when she was teaching fifth graders and now is exploring the concept of a school greenhouse. Her efforts have earned her the 2018 Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom Outstanding Teacher Award. She will now be in the running for the national award.
Akeley residents had the opportunity to share their ideas and concerns about the proposed 2022 Highway 34 reconstruction project at Wednesday night's council meeting. District Planning Engineer Darren Laesch and Project Manager Laura Hadrava from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) discussed various options to make the stretch of highway from Hill Street to Hwy. 64 safer for both drivers and pedestrians.
Being a Kinship mentor has been an adventure that has brought much joy to David Niemela's life over the past nine years. "Sometimes it's hard to tell who's impacting who more," he said. "It really goes both ways. I definitely totally recommend being a Kinship mentor. There's so much to learn and grow into. If you are sincere and put for the effort, you will undoubtedly enjoy multiple blessings! "I have had joy in my heart because of Brennen and watching him grow."
When it comes to making cookies, RoJean Cummins has lots of experience. "With a houseful of boys, it was hard to keep cookies in the house, so I taught my six sons how to bake," she said. Cummins was born in Halma, Minn., just 30 miles south of the Canadian border. After completing her nurse's training in Grand Forks, N. D., Cummins worked as a registered nurse at Altru Hospital for 33 years, retiring in 1999 and moving to Park Rapids where she owned property on Long Lake.
A total of 110 pairs of mittens and gloves were hung on the Enterprise mitten tree by community members to help children during these cold winter months.
The community fish house has been giving anglers the opportunity to enjoy ice fishing without the expense for more than 10 years. Located at the Fish Hook Lake public access, the fish house is operated through the local chapter of the Minnesota Darkhouse and Angling Association. Around 300 people a year use the heated facility at no charge.
Park Rapids made the national news Wednesday for having the lowest windchill temperature — 49 degrees below zero with an actual air temperature of minus 24 degrees — putting the area in a windchill warning. The National Weather Service is forecasting even colder temperatures for this weekend, with temperatures likely to remain below zero through at least Monday morning and lows dipping near 30 degrees below zero.
Itasca State Park's 22nd annual Winter Bird Count Monday was part of a much larger effort to help collect data about how climate change is threatening bird populations nationwide and how conservation groups can work together to protect their habitat.