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Election 2016: House race pits veteran state lawmaker against Pelican councilman

Nornes says experience a key campaign component

By Tom Hintgen
Otter Tail County Corresponden

Bud Nornes was first elected to the Minnesota State Legislature in 1996.
The native of Fertile, Minnesota, and former radio station owner is running for reelection in 2016 as a Republican in Minnesota House District 8A. His district includes a large portion of Otter Tail County, including the communities of Perham, Pelican Rapids, Battle Lake and Fergus Falls.
His DFL opponent is C.J. Holl of Pelican Rapids.
“I strongly believe that legislative experience really does matter,” said Nornes, “Knowing how the state legislature works and how state government works is a big benefit when I’m working for the people of Otter Tail County.”
Nornes also says that experience from being a school board member earlier in his career also bodes him well when working with the legislative process.
Nornes is among four House Republicans with the most seniority. The others are Bob Gunther of  read entire story. . . .

Pelican Homecoming candidates

Rockin’ theme selected for Pelican Homecoming week

The Pelican Rapids High School student council has announced the Homecoming Court and the events for this year’s celebration.
Homecoming is the week of September 26 through September 30.  
The council chose to go with a 1950s theme for this year's events.  An old fashion Sock Hop will end the festivities after the Homecoming football game on Friday night.
The following students were chosen to represent their class and be on the Homecoming Court:
Freshmen: Matthew Ziebell, Matthew Osborne, Rylie Paulson, Riley Berg
Sophomores: James Furey, Tucker Maus, Kristen Haiby, Sarah Willits
Juniors:  Jacob Gottenborg, Nick Schermerhorn, Celeste Stoll, Rachel Gottenborg
Homecoming King Candidates:  Preston Hart, Matt Hanson & Kevin Nemec
Homecoming Queen Candidates:  Lorena Diaz, Abby Johnson and Emily Monson
Following is a run down of events that will take place the week of Homecoming:
Monday - September 30 - Coronation in the Fine Arts Auditorium at 7:00 P.M.   * An after-coronation gathering will be hosted by Zorbaz on Pelican Lake.  read entire story. . . .

Winter ‘no parking’ law likely to be abandoned

City snowplow crews loved the law; but public was confused by ‘odd-even’ parking law

By Louis Hoglund

The winter parking ordinance that everybody loved to hate–except for the Pelican Rapids city snow plowing crew–will be eliminated following action by the city council Sept. 13.
“It’s  too complicated,” said Councilman Steve Strand, of the parking law implemented two years ago. The parking law, with its no parking restrictions on odd and even numbered addresses, was frustrating for many–including Councilman Strand, who ran for the city post partly because of the parking ordinance he never liked.
The parking law was implemented,  in large part, to aid the city works crews.  Prior to the ordinance, plow truck drivers found themselves returning to some streets two or three times in order to clear the snow–because of parked cars.
The parking ordinance was  from October to May, and was aimed at consolidating parked  cars on one side–clearing the way for the plows.  read entire story. . . .

Dealing with loss of a loved one

Suicide ‘survivors’ face range of emotions–shock to guilt to anger

Editor’s Note: This is the second of two parts on the painful subject of suicide. There have been several suicides in the Pelican Rapids area over the past couple years, and writer Daniel Motz has been directly affected–when his uncle, longtime local ambulance EMT Hank VanCleef, committed suicide
earlier this year.

By  Daniel Motz  
Special Correspondent

Dealing with death is never easy, there is no way that the loss of a loved one can be considered a simple act. But in cases of something like suicide, it is harder.  
There are so many questions that come up One of the most common questions is how could someone do it?  According to most mental health experts the answer isn't the typical, which is questioning how someone could be so lost. The truth is, most people see suicide as the only escape from an unbearable pain. The pain that they were suffering is usually something that the rest of us see as short lived, but for some reason, to them it seems like a forever prospect. No one can ever fully understand why people choose  read entire story. . . .


Pelican Rapids High School Homecoming 2016 candidates were announced Sept. 16.
Holding 45 rpm records, promoting the "Back to the 1950's" theme for Homecoming, are senior royalty candidates from left, front, Lorena Diaz. Emily Monson, Abby Johnson. Back from left, Matt Hanson, Preston Hart and Kevin Nemec.  
( Details in the Sept. 21 print edition of the Pelican Rapids Press )

Pelican Rapids: Gateway to Star Lake Casino

30 percent of new traffic generated by proposed resort-casino expected to travel Highway 108– most through Pelican Rapids

By Louis Hoglund

All roads leading to the proposed Star Lake Resort and Casino will be well traveled–especially State Highway 108.
Pelican Rapids will be the “gateway city”to the gambling operation.  Based on projections, 30 percent of the increased traffic will come from the west–most of it directly through Pelican Rapids.
Fargo-Moorhead and Red River Valley gamblers appear to be the largest audience for the proposed Star Lake Casino.  For most of those travelers, Pelican Rapids will be the entryway.
Long known as the “Gateway to Maplewood State Park,” Pelican Rapids will gain a new label–as the gateway to the largest travel-tourism business venture in the history of Otter Tail County.  
Highway 108 average daily vehicle count between Pelican and Maplewood State Park is 1,200 today.  By 2020, when the casino is in full operation, the average daily count will be 1,680.  By year 2040, the count is predicted at 2,160 cars a day, averaged over a year.  read entire story. . . .

Hank’s Flight: Raising suicide prevention awareness

Longtime Pelican ambulance EMT Hank VanCleef saved countless lives–but his tragic April suicide has inspired family to encourage others to come ‘Out of the Darkness’

By Daniel Motz
Special Correspondent

Ernest Hemingway once said, “There is nothing to writing, all you have to do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”  
And, as I start this particular article I can understand that statement, perhaps better than ever before. At this point, I am not going to mix words. On April 11 of this year Hank VanCleef, one of the best people I have ever had the honor of knowing, committed suicide.  
Hank worked for Pelican Rapids ambulance service for 15 years and is responsible for saving countless lives in the area.  Perhaps, it is best just to say that Hank was the kind of man I have since thrived to raise my son to be like.  He had his demons, but we all have those. What he did with the life he was given, despite those demons, is a goal deserving of respect.
Recently his wife, Angela VanCleef, or simply  read entire story. . . .

Rise in adult suicides reflects need to connect Minnesotans to hope, help

From Minnesota Department of Health
State officials are releasing the most recent suicide data and are highlighting opportunities for prevention, including raising awareness of suicide warning signs and the fact that mental illness is treatable.
In 2015 there were 726 suicide deaths reported in Minnesota, up from 686, or an increase of 6 percent, from 2014. The 2015 rate was 13.1 per year per 100,000 Minnesotans up from 12.2 in 2014. Previously, the highest rate was 13 per 100,000 in 1986 (541 deaths). Firearms continue to be the leading method of suicide.
“Today's news clarifies that we must do more to support and connect with those who are suffering and contemplating suicide,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Ed Ehlinger. “We know suicides are preventable. We have seen progress in preventing youth suicide. We must focus on helping adult men and others find hope and help.”
Factors such as meaningful relationships, coping skills, and safe and supportive communities can decrease the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
Suicides among men drove Minnesota’s increase from 2014 to 2015. The rate among men increased to 20.5 per 100,000. The rate among women stayed stable at 5.9 per 100,000.
 read entire story. . . .

Trip planning tools reveal top fall color

It happens at about this time every year. The cause: Chlorophyll production in tree leaves slows down and stops and the leaves lose their green color. The effect: Minnesotans flock outside to behold the magnificent red, gold and orange color transformation.
Whether searching for activities weeks in advance or an hour in advance, make use of the Fall Color Finder, a trip-planning tool on the Department of Natural Resources webpage (www.mndnr.gov/fallcolor) that shows the progression of fall color across Minnesota.
Each Thursday beginning on Sept. 8, staff from Minnesota state parks and trails will update the trip-planning tool to help people find the finest color displays as well as fall color programs and special events. The website includes a slideshow and photo uploader so people can share their favorite images from the northernmost tip of Minnesota to the southernmost plains.
“The DNR’s forest health specialists say we’ve had enough rain around the state this summer to keep things green and healthy, which is the first building block for great fall color,” said Erika Rivers, director of Minnesota state parks and trails. “To increase the chances of having a flashy fall, we need warm, sunny days and cool nights to bring out those vivid colors.”  read entire story. . . .

‘Symphony of color’ Maplewood Park gets feature placement in  statewide magazine

The changing season and bursts of autumn color are like a symphony.  That’s how Maplewood Sate Park manager Don DelGreco describes it.
“There is this big crescendo...A full orchestra comes into play,” said  DelGreco, in the September-October edition of the “Minnesota Conservation Volunteer” magazine, published by the Minneosta Department of Natural Resources.
Maplewood State Park, just a short distance east of Pelican Rapids, was profiled in the autumn edition of the statewide magazine. In addition to comments from DelGreco, the feature includes vivid color photographs by Pelican outdoor photographer Roland “Jordy” Jordahl.
“Many parks wind down after Labor Day, but that’s just our warm-up,” DelGreco commented in the “Volunteer” article.