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2013 highlights-Pine River Journal

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• The Pine River-Backus School Board rescinded its December appointment of Jerry Peterson to fulfill the term of board member Jim Palmer, who had resigned. The appointment violated state statute because Peterson was still on the board when he was appointed to the vacant seat. The board agreed to accept letters of interest an appoint a new board member in February.

• Pine River-Backus senior basketball player Tatum Sheley scored her 2,000th career point against the Cass Lake-Bena Panthers.

• Drey Loge earned his 125th career win to help the Pine River-Backus/Pequot Lakes Road Crew capture the Mid-State Conference title.

• The Pine River Bakery celebrates five years of business under the ownership of Bob and Emily Fulton, and 92 years as a business in Pine River.

• Tim Sweet of Brainerd opens Sweet Cars in Pine River, in the former Pine Motors location on the corner of Barclay Avenue and Highway 371.


• Leslie Bouchonville is appointed to the Pine River-Backus School Board. The seat became vacant when former school board member John Palmer resigned his seat in early November.

• Lucette’s Pizza & Pub celebrates 10 years in business in Hackensack.

• Cody Mager and Codi Bumgarner were crowned Sno Daze king and queen. Gabe Frausto and Brittany Kelly were prince and princess.

• Pine River-Backus girls’ basketball player Autumn Ackerman scores her 1,000th career point with the Pine River-Backus Tigers on Feb. 14 against Park Rapids.

• Citing health reasons, Barb Beck resigns from the Pine River-Backus School Board. She was re-elected to a second term in 2012.

• The Warehouse celebrates 10 years of continuous operation.

• Wrestlers Anthony Philipson and Drey Loge advance to the state tournament with the Pine River-Backus/Pequot Lakes Road Crew.

• Pine River-Backus sixth-grader Torry Hirschey won the district spelling bee.


• Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus Road Crew senior Drey Loge finished fourth at the Class AA state individual tournament on Friday and Saturday, March 1-2, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

• Ron Derksen resigns from the Pine River City Council because he’s been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

• Jason Marcum is appointed to the Pine River-Backus School Board.

• Tatum Sheley is honored as the Brainerd Dispatch Player of the Year for area girls’ basketball teams.


• James Thomas resigns from the Backus City Council because he is moving out of state. He served on the council for two years and four months.

• Father Bruce Engen of Lake Country Parishes, primarily presiding over Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Pine River, dies April 9 at age 74 of complications from heart issues. He will be remembered for his quick wit and down-to-earth demeanor.

• Jamie Eastman is crowned Miss Pine River on April 6. Katrina Adkins is first princess; Kristle Peltier is second princess; and Amanda Fleming is Miss Congeniality.

• Winter just won’t quit with snowstorm after snowstorm, which is wreaking havoc with high school spring sports schedules. Cancelations and postponements are the name of the game.

• Richard Aulie, a Crosby-Ironton native, was hired as the Pine River-Backus Elementary School principal, succeeding Jackie Bruns in the 2013-14 school year.

• Charlotte Thaler and Helen Reeve were honored for their 60 years of service with the Backus American Legion Auxiliary.

• Glenn MacMillan, known around Pine River for his contributions to the business community, dies April 17.


• Ann Birge was appointed to the Backus City Council.

• Ice still covered area lakes for the 2013 walleye and northern pike fishing opener.

• Chuck Nelson, president, CEO and majority owner of Pine River State Bank, receives the Pine River Chamber of Commerce’s Distinguished Service Award.

• After working for 19 years at the Pine River-Backus Alternative Learning Center, Trudy Jurchen is retiring. She does plan to substitute teach.

• Jackie Bruns, longtime educator and Pine River-Backus Elementary School teacher, retires. Longtime teachers Lee and Nancy Aimers also retire.

• Randy Schwegel, Pine River-Backus activities/athletics director, retires from teaching, but will return as activities director and coach.

• The second annual Evan Lindquist 5K Run/Walk raises $20,823 to go toward scholarships for the class of 2022.

• Tammy Hamilton is appointed to the Pine River City Council.

• Drey Loge and Erin Fisker are valedicatorians of the Pine River-Backus High School class of 2013. Isabel Lawrence is salutatorian.


• Pine River area communities support a former Pine River couple whose daughter, Kathlynn Shepard, was abducted and killed in Iowa.

• Sophomore Megan Porta finished fifth in the discus competition at the Class A state track and and field meet.


• Deep Portage Conservation Reserve near Hackensack is celebrating its 40th anniversary as a nature education center.

• More than 130 dogs are seized from a Pine River business.

• Paul and Lynn Hunt receive the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation 2013 Award in Philanthropy.

• Marge Gardiner, who owned Gardiner’s Hardware with her husband, Paul, dies.

• The presence of zebra mussels is confirmed in the Whitefish Chain with sightings in Cross Lake and Lower Hay Lake.

• The Cass County Attorney’s Office filed a nine-count criminal complaint against Debra Beatrice Rowell of Pine River for violations of Minnesota animal cruelty laws for conditions at her kennels.

• Ron Derksen, a former Pine River City Council member, passes away July 29 from terminal cancer.


• The Kitchigami Regional Library System’s Mobile Library will end operations in December 2014 as the library explores new programs to reach outlying areas.


• Rick Aulie joins Pine River-Backus Elementary School as principal.

• The Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL) learns it will receive the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Mission Innovation Award.

• After being published for more than 78 years as the Pine River Journal, the weekly newspaper combined with its sister publication, the Lake Country Echo, to become the pineandlakes Echo Journal.


• Deb Rowell of Pine River pleads guilty to one misdemeanor count of failure to provide dogs with adequate shade. She had faced nine violations of state law for conditions at her kennel.


• Lynn Wangberg, Pine River-Backus English teacher, was named the 2013 Teacher of the Year for PR-B.

• After seven years of discussion, the city of Backus sewage treatment system was finally updated, and a ceremonial “first flush” with a golden bucket was held at the new lift station.

• Richie Bean announces he is resigning from the Backus City Council because he moved out of the city. He served on the council during multiple nonconsecutive terms.


• A Cass County jury convicted Dane Joseph Riley of Pine River of intentional murder in the death of Mark Andrew Huesmann in July 2012.

• Forum Communications Co. of Fargo, N.D., purchases Echo Publishing, which publishes the Pineandlakes Echo Journal and the Echoland Piper Shopper, and the Brainerd Dispatch from Morris Communications Co of Augusta, Ga.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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