A group of 17 word whizzes competed for the top speller spot at Wadena-Deer Creek School Monday night with Jordin Van Ouerkirk coming out on top. After going 26 rounds, 12 of which were between two sixth-graders, Jordin and Amara Neuerberg, the competition came to a close with Jordin spelling "formula" and "granite" correctly.
After a two-hour late start Monday due to a fresh layer of snow, many area schools made the decision to close school and cease all activities Tuesday and Wednesday as the polar vortex bears down on the region. Wadena-Deer Creek Superintendent Lee Westrum said when temperatures are forecast at 40 below windchill, that's when he considers closing school due to dangerously cold temperatures. And it just so happens, that's where we are headed.
Wadena County Commissioners approved withdrawing from their county-based health plan, South Country Health Alliance (SCHA), Friday night, noting unsustainable costs and unknowns about the program's future.
Two area internet providers plan to hit the ground running this spring with expansion projects that will get folks in Todd and Wadena counties within reach of high-speed internet. They're able to lay fiber optic technology in these unserved and under-served areas thanks to millions of dollars in grant funding. The projects are a cooperative effort involving regional telecommunications companies Consolidated Telephone Company (CTC) and West Central Telephone Association (WCTA), with assistance from the Region Five Development Commission (R5DC) and Sourcewell.
There are many requirements of a teacher these days to make sure that students walk away from their class better prepared for the next step in their lives. On Tuesday, Wadena-Deer Creek kindergarten teacher Mandy Gallant demonstrated that sometimes well-laid out plans need to be interrupted in order to deal with more important issues. During the the morning news report in Gallant's class, which allows all students to share any news with the class, one student rather sadly mentioned his dog just died.
If you've got $100 you could walk away with your own piece of property in one of several cities in Wadena County. Commissioners were willing to make a deal Tuesday during the regular Wadena County Commission meeting, slashing values of tax forfeited properties in an effort to get land back on the tax rolls and hopefully get some new homes built along the way.
After another successful year of fundraising and entertaining, the "Christmas In Wadena" light display hit another milestone worthy of shedding some light on. One website has listed the "Christmas In Wadena" light show under the excellent rating for residential Christmas light shows synchronized to music. The site mnholidaylights.com shows all known light displays in the state, active or not. Those that get the most clicks earn a top rating. Along with Wadena are shows in Willmar, Clearwater, Eden Prairie, Minnetrista and New Hope.
The Wadena County Commissioners heard recommendations of changes to facilities, staff interactions, job descriptions and how the public views the board during a reorganization study presentation Tuesday at the Wadena County Courthouse. The study, started after board approval in August 2018, was presented by Gary Weiers, Management Consultant with DDA Human Resources, Inc. In his presentation, Weiers shared his observations and recommendations, which in some cases involved drastic changes, change that would not come easy, he said. Observations
Wadena State Bank recently completed a $30,000 pledge towards the nursing facility at M State's Wadena campus. This pledge of money helped M State complete renovation of current classroom, lab and simulation equipment for the nursing program. Kip Browne with Wadena State Bank said the pledge was important to the bank because he is well aware of the need for nurses in the region. Having a college in Wadena that can help train those nurses not only helps fulfill the need for qualified applicants, it brings in money to Wadena's economy, Browne said.
The Wadena City Council welcomed in Mark Lunde as the newest council member during the last regular council meeting Tuesday, Jan. 8. Lunde is the owner of Lunde Auto Sales in Wadena, which has been operating since 2016. He said he chose to file for Deb Wiese's open seat because of his desire to help grow Wadena as a pro-business community. He considers himself the only businessman on the council and said he's financially conservative. "It's an exciting time to be in Wadena, with all the different business projects," Lunde said.