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The Pine River-Backus student body had a once-in-a-lifetime event Monday, Sept. 18, when 20 students got the opportunity to ask questions to a real-life astronaut aboard the International Space Station via video downlink. Astronaut Mark Vande Hei, who launched to the space station Sept. 12, spoke with students for 20 minutes while sometimes performing gravity-free acrobatics.
Recently, Jacque Ide of the Pine Ridge Cemetery Board asked if we would run a story seeking help finding information about deceased veterans Arnold Oller, Ernest Hopper and Kenneth Degroot. (This is further explained in a page A1 story in this issue.) The whole story starts out a little tragically, but it can end positively.
What began with funding to clean and maintain veterans' graves at Pine Ridge Cemetery in Pine River turned into a search to get three veterans buried there properly remembered. Jacque Ide, head of the Pine Ridge Cemetery Board, was marking veterans' graves in the cemetery for maintenance when she located three graves in the veterans memorial section without headstones. "I put 50 hours in walking the cemeteries and identifying the veterans," Ide said.
Pine River's annual Heritage Days events Sept. 7-10 brought an influx of visitors for tea, pioneer living and quilt displays. Kicking off Heritage Days events, Tea at the Station opened the doors of the Pine River Depot for the annual and ever-popular tea ceremony and historical presentation Thursday, Sept. 7. The event featured a doll theme. Decorations and prize drawings included dolls. The event featured popular tea flavors from past years, as well as finger sandwiches and desserts.
For years now I've tried to grow prickly pear cactuses in my house. At one point I gave away several in pots, and a friend of mine seemed to have a talent for making it flower and grow bigger. I don't think she ever saw it fruit, though that was ultimately my goal. Who would have thought a local restaurant would employ this treat from down South in some of its drinks?
With curly loosestrife and zebra mussels present locally, Cass County and Crow Wing County are working to prevent the spread of all aquatic invasive species (AIS) in area lakes. Both counties employ a search or destroy strategy to prevent the spread of these prolific creatures. At many popular lake landings, trained inspectors will help lake users to search their boats for attached weeds or standing water.
In July, the congregation at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Hackensack said a somber farewell to Father Francis Kabiru and gave a hearty welcome to Father Timothy Lange. Since it is not uncommon for priests to arrive in the lakes area from far away (Kabiru was from Kenya), it may be surprising that Lange isn't far from home in Hackensack. He grew up in Brainerd, and some parishioners may know his name because his grandfather lives on Woman Lake, where Lange visited while growing up.
Though he is only getting started as high school principal at Pine River-Backus, Chris Halverson already likes what he sees. "I've been fascinated by the way they move fast and accomplish stuff here," Halverson said. "I think the resources are here. I don't think anything is broken. I am here to try to bring some more focus and make things even better. That's a great spot. My leadership style is built through relationships, built through communication and to have integrity for the job. I see an awful lot of that with the staff. I'm very impressed with what I see."
In 1947, a group of boat-loving people got together on Gull Lake with the promotion of sailing in mind, and to that end they created the Gull Lake Yacht Club and the Gull Lake Sailing School. "The purpose of the yacht club in the beginning was to perpetuate sailing on this lake and to provide friendships surrounding water sports, specifically sailing at that point," said Cheryl Cote, former commodore and former head of the sailing school board.
I've begun flirting with the idea of make-ahead meals. Working two jobs, volunteering for the fire department and finding time to spend with friends, family and my dogs is ... problematic. Add to that the fact that I have to stop at some time to cook food and eat. The alternative, of course, is buying food from stores or restaurants, but who has the money to do that for long? For my own experiments in premade foods, let's look at some of the staples of the busy family that can be found at any grocer. We'll separate this out by meal.