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Now that the Aug. 12 filing deadline has passed, the ballots are set for the Nov. 4 mayor and city council elections in area small towns. Hewitt Mayor Juanita Mitchell faces two challengers in her bid for reelection. Fueled by incorrect information in the Independent News Herald, many in town speculated that Mitchell wouldn't run for a third term. But even though she's fighting cancer, Mitchell said, "I just don't feel I'm done yet." "I'm still here," she said, "so I still plan to run and give it my best.
It was supposed to be a lazy, stay-at-home kind of day. "That didn't happen," Ashley Schilling said. Instead, Schilling and her mother, Anne Menard, embarked on an impromptu road trip to try to save an injured great-horned owl. The mail carrier discovered the bird near the end of the driveway at their home northeast of Verndale last Tuesday morning. "We didn't know what to do with the thing," Schilling said. But they knew they weren't going to just watch the owl die. They called the Department of Natural Resources.
Thieves stole more than $3,000 worth of food from the Frito-Lay building in Wadena the evening of July 31. On Friday, Aug. 1, the Wadena Police Department was called to investigate a burglary at the building, which is located on Highway 10 west, according to a news release. The suspect - or suspects - pried a lock and entered the storage unit area, then took thousands of dollars worth of a variety of food items, the release said. An email message seeking comment from Frito-Lay media relations had not been returned as of press time. The crime remains under investigation.
Fire destroyed an unoccupied vehicle Monday morning northeast of Sebeka. The Wadena County Sheriff's Office responded to a report of a vehicle fully engulfed in flames on County Road 23 near 280th Street Northeast. The Sebeka Fire Department extinguished the fire, which caused no injuries and did not damage any other property, according to a sheriff's office news release. The vehicle was owned by Phil Jones of rural Sebeka, the release said. Jones' phone number is unlisted and he could not be reached for comment. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources assisted at the scene.
As construction continued on the Dollar Tree building near Wal Mart in northwest Wadena, the discount retailer announced last month it had reached an agreement to purchase rival Family Dollar in a cash-and-stock deal worth about $9.2 billion dollars. Dollar Tree is slated to open on Juniper Avenue Northwest in October, joining the downtown Family Dollar in competition for local bargain shoppers. So will the combined company close one of the Wadena locations? "It's a long ways from that happening," said Wadena Development Director Dean Uselman.
When Ivan Lorentz wakes up each morning in a garage just south of Wadena, he sees a message from his father posted on his door. "Wish it. Dream it. Do it." A one-time hog farmer and auto-body shop owner, Dan Lorentz invented a new type of fishing jig in the same garage three years ago. Unlike fixed, standard jigs, hooks are attached to the Danlure Jig using a ring. The resulting swivel motion increases bait movement, making it easier for anglers to snag that trophy catch. "You buy the bait and let the bait do the work," Ivan explained.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation is planning a major overhaul of Highway 10 in the heart of Wadena for 2018. At the Aug.
George Deiss thinks it's time for new blood in Wadena city government. So last week, the component technician at Timber Roots filed paperwork to become the lone challenger to long-time Mayor Wayne Wolden in the Nov. 4 election. Meanwhile, former Police Chief Bruce Uselman and Deb Wiese, a clinical systems analyst at Lakewood Health in Staples, joined the race for the two four-year council positions up for election on the same ballot.
The Wadena City Council filled a vacant position with a familiar face Aug. 5. At the beginning of the council meeting, members voted unanimously to appoint former Councilman Don Niles to the open seat created when Brian Hillesland resigned last month. Niles, an attorney who specializes in business law and intellectual property, previously served on the council from 2009 to 2013. Instead of running for reelection in 2012, he campaigned for state house, a race he lost to Rep. Mark Anderson. After the council voted, Niles immediately took the oath of office.
As construction winds down at the Maslowski Wellness and Research Center, Wadena's elected leaders and city staff donned hard hats last Wednesday night for a guided glimpse of the vast facility. "Welcome to your wellness center," said Ken Francois, project manager for Kraus-Anderson Construction Company, as he began the tour in the entryway of the $14.3 million, 52,500 square foot building in southwest Wadena. First officials scoped out the multi-purpose community rooms and gym.