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A school investigation into the events surrounding the alleged appearance of a nude photo on health teacher Tom VanErp's school-issued iPad has concluded, said Dr. Virginia Dahlstrom, superintendent of Wadena-Deer Creek Schools. In a statement given to the Pioneer Journal on Wednesday, Dahlstrom said the forensic firm hired by the district to find evidence of the photo in question had not found it. Wadena Police Chief Bruce Uselman said his department conducted a review of the incident when concerned parents contacted them approximately two weeks after it occurred.
The following is the first part in a series of two articles on Don Hamilton's brush with death and his subsequent recovery, as told by his family and himself. When we think about them both, we tend to put Christmas and miracles in the same category. Both are fanciful and abstract, ideas rather than concrete objects. One can't touch Christmas, or measure a miracle.
Wadena is aflutter with Christmas activity as residents prepare for a treeful of upcoming holiday events. Some events are long-time traditions, while others are brand new to this season, but all can fill the weeks ahead with holiday cheer for people who live here. Perhaps the most apparent sign of the holiday season in Wadena are the Christmas carols being piped in from loudspeakers above the KWAD radio station on South Jefferson Street. Station manager Rick Youngbauer said the speakers have been at KWAD as long as he's been in charge - that is, around 20 years.
Construction finished Wednesday on an all-new water tower for the city of Bertha, said Joeb Oyster, project engineer for Moore Engineering, the firm that designed the new structure. With a price tag of nearly $400,000, the new tower is part of an approximately $8 million public works overhaul of the city, which city officials said is mostly funded by grant money.
Joan Hutson is 83, but she can still remember moments from when she was 5 years old in her family's Wadena home, back when the town was in the midst of the Great Depression. Although that memory spans the better part of a century, the image is still fresh in her mind - because that's when she first became an artist. "I started drawing little children, and I would draw a whole great big long line of them," she remembered. "I think I felt kind of like a lonely child, and this was some way to compensate. Every night, as soon as supper table was cleared, out would come the paper.
Part-time deputies of the Wadena County Sheriff's Department will be getting a raise to $17.15 an hour as of Jan. 1, said Sheriff Mike Carr. The raise means an approximate 60 percent jump in pay for the deputies, and Carr said it's long overdue. "It should probably have been one of the things we looked at three or four years ago," he said. "These guys put their lives on the line all the time for 10 bucks an hour." Carr also said he and his staff pride themselves on having balanced the department's budget throughout the past several years, and the new pay raise will not ruin their streak.
A rural Sebeka man is in custody after taking part in an hour-long standoff with law enforcement Nov. 26, according to a report from the Wadena County Sheriff's Office. It all began when deputies responded to an armed domestic disturbance call at around 11:45 p.m. The suspect, George Pajari, threatened them with a gun and refused to surrender, as his two family members remained in the house with him. One family member managed to escape, and the other hid in the house while the standoff took place.
The days immediately following Thanksgiving can typically be a time to put up traditional holiday trappings, like lights and tinsel. However, a deer in the Sunnybrook Park Zoo has been dealing with some unwanted decorations - a length of wire tangled around its antlers that has some in the community worried for the animal's safety.
District 2155 Superintendent Dr. Virginia Dahlstrom will leave Wadena/Deer Creek Schools at the end of this school year, she said Nov. 14. After five years of Dahlstrom serving as superintendent under two consecutive contracts, she declined a third stint as head of District 2155. Dahlstrom said although it may appear odd that she is leaving after such a brief term at WDC, shorter tenures for superintendents are actually quite common in the field. "Typically, what happens is that superintendents are hired to do certain things, and when your job is done, it's done," she explained.
'Tis the season for good food, holiday lights, presents and, unfortunately, hitting a deer with your car. The rutting season has the highest rate of deer-related automobile collisions, and although the worst of it has already happened, drivers should remain alert, said Rob Naplin, wildlife supervisor at the DNR's Wildlife Management Office in Park Rapids.