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‘Make good choices, work hard, be nice...’

Inspiration for thousands of students, colleagues; longtime Pelican educator, coach Al Siegle dies

One of the Pelican Rapids area’s most beloved citizens died Monday morning, August 24. Al Siegle, football coach, educator and administrator at the Pelican schools from 1964 to 1994, was diagnosed with cancer in his thyroid and multiple lymph nodes less than two weeks ago.  
He was moved into the Pelican Valley Nursing Home August 22, and died within two days, according to his son Tim Siegle.
“I’m so grateful for the community, which has so embraced the family,” said Tim Siegle, who said that the entire Siegle family was in town with Al over the weekend.
Always the optimist who strived to look at the bright side, Al Siegle’s outlook was similar to the very end. “It was a tough week for us,” said Tim, but surrounded by family and a supportive community, “my dad said ‘this has been one of the best weeks of my life.’  He had such a strong faith in God.”  read entire story. . . .

New school for Rothsay

Open house opened doors to new, high tech facilities

A steady stream of visitors–numbering into the hundreds–strolled through the newest school in the region August 17.
It was a “show and tell” evening, as Rothsay opened the doors of its 91,000 square foot, two level school for an open house. High school student council members led tours while Superintendent Warren Schmidt and Principal Staci Allmaras were on hand to answer questions and point out the features of the new facility.
“Now, it is a source of pride,” said Superintendent Schmidt, who with the school board and parents struggled through two referendum votes before the building project was finally passed. “You always have some naysayers, but a majority of the people are very pleased with what they see.”
Rothsay is poised to gain about 20 students over last spring, withs preliminary enrollment at about 280, said Schmidt. The new facilities are likely a factor in the increase.
New playground equipment accompanies the new building on two sides. Landscaping continues, and pots of shrubs and tress awaiting to be planted were on site during the open house.  read entire story. . . .

Nursing home addition OK’d

Pelican Valley board votes to move ahead with modernization

A new nursing home addition was approved by the Pelican Valley Hospital District board August 17.
The approximate $3.6 million project has been in the works for several years, and the project is viewed by board members as a necessity to offer modern, private rooms that will enable PelicanValley to compete.
“It’s been a marathon,” said board member Sue Bruggeman, referring to the long process toward modernization of the nursing home.
“This has been a long, long time brewing,” said board chairman Richard  Bratlien, who commended administrator Barbara Garrity, her staff and the management company, for their work in assembling the financing package and coordinating the design and construction details.
Fargo-based Olaf Anderson is the general contractor, and groundbreaking could occur as early as September.
The board approved the preliminary contract with Olaf Anderson, pending a final legal review.
Also approved was a letter of intent from Bremer Bank to finance the project.  read entire story. . . .

With school start near,  renovation in high gear

Pelican Rapids School Board members walked the school buildings and grounds Aug. 17, inspecting the progress of the construction project.
With the 200 ton crane in the front of the school, the exterior aspects of the project have moved into high gear to the passerby.  But on the interior, progress has been steady through the summer.
Contractors and sub-contractors have had workers on site most Saturdays during the summer, said project consultant Curt Kluznik–though most of the work has been beyond public view.  
The exterior will be a spectacle for onlookers in coming weeks, as more than 70 truckloads of wall panels will be shipped to Pelican Rapids. The trucks will be lining up and backing in to the construction site in a steady stream, according to Kluznik. The immense crane will be hoisting the approximate 50,000 pound panels into place–almost as soon as the trucks arrive.  read entire story. . . .

Boys soccer to become full  PRHS Viking varsity sport

The Pelican Rapids Vikings will field its own soccer team–probably by the fall of 2016.
The current pairing program, with Pelican soccer athletes playing with Hillcrest Lutheran Academy, will end after the fall 2015 season.
“You get a soccer team...Good luck!” exclaimed Pelican Rapids School Board member Dena Johnson, after the board voted unanimously to launch its own program next year.
Pelican athletes have been, to a large degree, key to the successs of the Hillcrest soccer program–with as many as 11 Pelican youth on the roster in recent years.
For the upcoming 2015 soccer season, there are 19 Pelican Rapids boys registered for the Hillcrest varsity and junior varsity program.  That is up two from last year.
With those numbers, activities director Derrick Nelson and other school officials are confident that Pelican will have enough local participation to field a competitive team well into the future.  read entire story. . . .

Heavy metal 200-ton crane  deployed for school project

Heavy metal by the ton landed in the Pelican Rapids schoolyard Monday, August 17–transforming an already bustling construction site into a sight resembling a downtown Manhattan skyscraper project.  
A 200-ton crane arrived in immense bits and pieces this week. So massive is the equipment that a second crane is required to assemble the mothership crane.
Each track on the main crane weighs 50,000 pounds, said Curt Kluznik, project  manager for the Pelican school, ICS Consulting. The  counterweights for the crane are a couple hundred thousand pounds alone, noted Kluznik
The 200-ton crane will be a tracked type/crawler crane with approximately 200-feet of lattice boom. With the  100-ton truck-mounted “assist crane” that will help assemble the 200-ton crane, this is probably the most construction tonnage ever in the history of Pelican Rapids.
“It is huge. It will take six trucks to bring it here,” added Deb Wanek, superintendent, Pelican school district. “It’s a big deal....they have been talking about this crane for two months.”
Delivery of the cranes has been the subject of discussions with the Pelican public works department and he police department. 5th. Avenue Southwest was closed to traffic while the cranes arrive on site. The Pelican police department  provided traffic control, noted Kluznik.  read entire story. . . .

Fly-In at Pelican airport revived

Homebuilt ‘Woody’ an airborn highlight

The last time a fly-in was held at Lyon’s Field in Pelican Rapids was in 1982. Back then, the local airstrip had just been christened in honor of Bill Lyon.  Lyon was a plumbing and heating contractor and also owned the Sears store in Pelican.
History was revived this year as the Chamber of Commerce hosted a Fly-In/Drive-In at the air field and the Lions provided a pancake and sausage breakfast. Considering the last event was 33 years ago, many were impressed with the turnout.  
Over a dozen planes were on display and the Lake Country Cruisers of Pelican Rapids provided more grounded iron for spectators to also view.  read entire story. . . .

Downtown Pelican bridge  demolition likely in 2016

Removal of the old culvert bridge on the west side of the downtown business district will probably occur in 2016.
The Pelican River crossing, next to the Veterans Memorial Park, no longer met state bridge standards.
Initially, the city considered replacing the bridge, but the costs were high and the council later determined that a modern bridge was unnecessary. The back sides of those downtown businesses can be serviced by delivery trucks with the acess to the west of the old bridge.
Instead, a pedestrian bridge for foot and bike traffic will replace the motor vehicle bridge–at a cost that could be less than $100,000.  
Bridge removal qualifies for Minnesota Department of Transportation funding, but the money is not likely to be available until the 2016 fiscal year funding cycle.
The city placed concrete barricades in front of the bridge crossing earlier this summer, to halt traffic.

Nominations sought  for PRIDE honors

‘Barn at Dunvilla’ will be site for Chamber annual banquet, awards program

Nominations  for the Pelican Rapids “PRIDE” award and the “Chamber Member of the Year” are open until August 28.
Winners of these honors will be announced at the annual Pelican Rapids Chamber of Commerce dinner in September. The Chamber has selected a new venue, “The Barn at Dunvilla,” for its annual banquet and awards program. “The Barn” event center is a new Chamber member, and the event is an opportunity to showcase the facility, which has been modernized while retaining the rustic charm and historical background of the building–which dates to the Dunn’s Lodge and Dunvilla era on the north end of Lake Lizzie.
Based on the info submitted for each nomination, the board then makes a decision for each award.  
Nominees can be anyone from the Pelican Rapids area who has demonstrated and promoted Pelican Rapids in a positive way.  read entire story. . . .

1907-built Elizabeth school to be torn down this month

The stately brick schoolhouse in Elizabeth, dating to 1907, is in the process of being demolished.
Brick by brick, the building is being dismantled.
“It breaks my heart,” said Chip Cooper, who has a front row seat to the gradual process–as manager of the Elizabeth Liquor Store, next door to the old school.
The building has been in private hands, owned by Ryan Kilde. His parents operated an antique store in the building.
The buidling had been on the market for sale for several years, but there were no buyers.
“I’m sure there are some mixed emotions in the community,” said Elizabeth Mayor Tom Wedll. The school operated through most of its history as a grade 1-8 buidling.  The last students in the building date back to about 1971, said Weddll. It also operated as a Development Achievement Center for a period, he noted.
“It was definitely a feature of Elizabeth,” said Wedll.  
Wood, interior fixtures and brick are being salvaged from the building.  read entire story. . . .

Preserving water quality; preventing zebra mussels are goals of project

Reconstruction of the public landing on the west corner of Pelican Lake is expected to be completed by Labor Day–depending on Mother Nature.
The approximate $426,000 project is extensive, possibly one of the most complete transformations of a public boat access on record, in this region.  
“It is a substantial re-design of the site,” said Shawn Donais, Acting District 1 Parks and Trails Supervisor, Fergus Falls.  “Boats and trailers have gotten a whole lot bigger since the site was built.”
Larger boat-trailer rigs, combined with concerns over zebra mussels and run-off into the lake, were among the reasons for the re-design of the access.
With no additional land acquisition, the new landing was designed entirely within the present state landboundaries. Capacity will only increase by a couple of boat-trailer stalls.
The weather will be the main determining factor as to whether or not the landing is completed by Labor Day, noted Donais. The absolute deadline is Sept. 30.  read entire story. . . .