Folks traveling the dusty and bumpy County State Aid Highway 4 in Wadena will continue to do so through spring as work on that project has ceased until cold and snow is gone. This project, which will stretch from Harry Rich Drive to Hwy 10, was divided into two projects, an east and west, divided by 4th Street NE. According to Wadena County Highway Engineer Ryan Odden, no work has been completed on the west half, but the current project is about 42 percent complete.
While there's plenty to look at upon entering the All Around Divas Boutique in Wadena, what might first catch your eye is a rack of shirts with the words "Be Kind" written on them. Those shirts are part of an important passion in the lives of the owners Chasity and Randy Peterson as well as manager Sarah Hanna. Looking further, the store is bursting with flannels, MN branded shirts and hats, tights, sweats, flowing tops, jewelry and shoes. As store owner Chasity Peterson describes it, "our goal is it would be a one stop girly shop."
Paulette Ohm, feels an energy building in downtown Wadena, and she's glad to be a part of it. Ohm is the new owner of 1776 Clothing Company in downtown Wadena, after buying the business from its creator Cheryl Helms as of Sept. 24. Ohm said operating a retail clothing business is an exciting venture for her as she is an avid shopper herself. "It was a good challenge for me," Ohm said. "I love shopping and I want what I love about shopping to carry over into this business."
A group of five concerned citizens were part of a planned peaceful protest in front of the Wadena County Courthouse Thursday night. The group had a bit of a shiver in their step as they held signs along Jefferson Street in the 14 degree weather. Some of the signs read "Protect the Investigation Now," and "No One is Above the Law."
The 21 precincts voting for three Wadena-Deer Creek School Board members all voted for new members to join the board in the new year. Those include Melissa Seelhammer, Ryan Damlo and Peter Hayes. Melissa Seelhammer shared that she was honored and excited to be elected to serve in this capacity. "I was glad to see so many candidates running," Seelhammer said. "I'm excited to work with the rest of the school board members." Seelhammer shared how she is looking forward to getting all children and parents involved in all that the school district offers.
Verndale resident, Heather Olson is the new auditor/treasurer for Wadena County in 2019. Voters showed their support for Olson, as she came out ahead of Brian Hagen by about 15 percent (2,980 to 2,253.) Olson expressed excitement Wednesday morning despite only running on a couple hours of sleep. "I'm very excited," Olson said. "Wadena County is in need of change badly and I'm going to be that change."
Dealing with issues arising from absentee ballots, no Wadena County election results were made available Tuesday night, as Wadena was one of the last three counties in the state of Minnesota to report results heading into Wednesday morning. Based on results from the Wadena-Deer Creek School District voters, not including Wadena County, Melissa Seelhammer, Peter Hayes and Ryan Damlo were leading the pack of eight for the three spots on the board.
A friendly competition between two precincts stationed in the lower level of the Wadena County Courthouse grew even more exciting as voter turnout was strong in this midterm election. Wadena and Leaf River townships both have their polling place in the large meeting room, just a few feet from one another. In front of them were tables and voting booths that at many times were filled with voters.
Few residents outside of law enforcement and elected officials attended a public notification meeting regarding two Level 3 sex offenders returning to Wadena in November. The city has not had a public notification meeting of this kind since 2012, and Wadena Chief of Police Naomi Plautz said, that meeting also had limited participation.
For 63 years, people in need of shoes have stopped at Lyle's Shoes in Wadena, and the new owners hope that tradition continues, under the same name. Bob Tubandt handed over the business to new owners Lisa Baymler and Brian Koons Friday, Oct. 25 after owning the business 40 years. Tubandts history in the shoe business goes back 58 years, when he drove off the family farm at age 17 and started as a trainee at Lyle's Ready-to-Wear, working for Lyle Goodrich. He said milking cows by hand was not his cup of tea, he prefered not to be tied down by such a profession.