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Minnesota Woman’s spirit rises

A Gathering of community, culture revives legacy of our ‘Lady of the Lake’ Nimuué  
By Louis Hoglund

She roamed the ancient Glacial Lake Pelican, drowned in frigid waters, and thousands of years of silt washed over her.  
The “Lady of the Lake,” now given the name Nimuué,  was reintroduced to her “hometown” in fitting fashion–during a torrential downpour.
“The  essence of Nimuué is here...it’s raining,” said Phletus Williams, the man who spearheaded the revival of interest in “Minnesota Woman,”  perhaps the state’s most significant archaeological discovery.  
She truly is a lake girl.
Only moments after artist Marcella Rose’s spectacular bronze sculpture was unveiled to the crowd at Sherin Park, the rains came shortly after noon–virtually ending the festivities that were scheduled for the afternoon June 18.
But the program and related archaeological activities were well attended in the morning.
Descendents of Minnesota’s other first citizens were well-represented at “The Gathering Day” to honor Nimuué.  The sounds of Native American drums and song launched the morning, with the White Earth Nation’s Smokey Hills Drum Group performing.
Presenting the colors were the White Earth Honor Guard
leading the way, followed by the VFW and American Legion color guard of Pelican Rapids.  read entire story. . . .

Uncovering Nimuué

Glacial Lake Pelican Woman.  Does the science conclude that our hometown girl is the oldest human being discovered in Western Hemisphere?

By Joan Ellison
Special Correspondent

Minnesota Woman, the skeleton of the young woman unearthed in 1931, has caught the imagination of the people of Pelican Rapids and beyond in the 15 months since a small group of interested folks first met at City Hall to form the Glacial Minnesota Woman Organization.
That was very apparent this last weekend, and especially in the talk Phletus Williams gave on Friday evening at Trinity Church. An audience of 130 attended the evening program.
For the last six years, Phletus has immersed himself in the history of Minnesota Woman. He studied the meager accounts of her discovery and the archaeological digs that followed it, trying to meld the woman of his imagination, Nimuué, with the real flesh and blood woman who died thousands and thousands of years ago.
Phletus drew most his facts from the research done by Albert E. Jenks PhD., the chairman of the University of Minnesota’s Department of Anthropology in the 1930s. He read and reread field reports from the digs.  read entire story. . . .

A journey to  the Korean ‘Twilight Zone’

The line of demarcation between communist North and free South was a surreal, dismal reminder of the Cold War for Pelican’s Rogelstad brothers  

By Louis Hoglund

So desolate and unreal is the brick and mortar landscape at the border of North and South Korea–it resembles the set of a strange post-apocalypse movie.
In a sense, the DMZ is precisely that–stark, dismal, other-worldly.
Pelican Rapids native Wayne Rogelstad had a first hand experience of the infamous Demilitarized Zone–which separates communist North Korea from the capitalist South.  The 1969 Pelican Rapids High School graduate and his wife Carol visited his brother Jon, a Navy veteran with a computer science background who has worked in a civilian security position for more than ten years in South Korea.
The brothers together shared a rare glimpse of one of the last remnants of the Cold War–one a visitor, the other as a resident.
Across the DMZ there sits a recently constructed three story building and surrounding structures, which the tour guide called a “propaganda” village.  read entire story. . . .

Despite lack of staff to fill shifts, Pelican pool to open with limited schedule

By Louis Hoglund

The  sounds of splashing, laughing and screaming of kids having fun in the water was expected to return to the Pelican Rapids city swimming pool this week.
The city pool was scheduled to finally open June 20, with a limited staff and limited hours.  Staffing has been the main stumbling block this year, as there have been few young people with Red Cross certification.
At the June 14 Pelican Rapids City Council meeting, park and streets superintendent Brian Olson reported that he had at least five lifeguards lined up.  Ideally, the city pool needs a dozen to fill schedules.
“It’s unfortunate, but the pool hours may be inconsistent,” said Olson. Typically, the summer schedule is seven days a week, from noon to 8 p.m.  read entire story. . . .

65 years of hauling

Milestone marked by one of greater Pelican area’s longest operating family businesses; open house set June 25

By Louis Hoglund

From coal to garbage–and other stuff in between–Ballard Sanitation has probably hauled just about anything over the past 65 years.
As one of the longest operating, family-owned businesses in the Pelican area; Ballard has good reason to celebrate on June 25.  For the 65th anniversary of Ballard Sanitation, an open house will be held at its Pelican Rapids offices–at 30 – 2nd Ave. NW, Pelican Rapids, from 3-7 p.m. on June 25.
The earliest roots of Ballard Sanitation date to 1951, when founder, the late Ralph Ballard, delivered coal to residents in the Pelican area.
The introduction of gas-fired furnaces began to erode the coal business–but instead of hurting Ballard’s hauling business, he found a new niche.
When everyone started taking out their coal furnaces, that meant they wouldn’t be able to burn all their garbage–a common practice 60-70 years ago. Consequently, somebody needed to haul their garbage away–and Ballard was set up to do the job.
The sanitation business has grown ever since. Maxine Ballard, who married Ralph Ballard in 1957 recalls a time when there were about 150 customers. Today, Ballard Sanitation serves nearly 4,000 customers in the greater Pelican Rapids area–including the townships and lake areas.
Ralph Ballard died in 1996, but the mother-sons operation has continued the family business–which now includes grandsons.  read entire story. . . .

City may remove  two businesses from industrial park sign for non-payment

By Louis Hoglund

Frustrated Pelican Rapids city officials are prepared to remove two signs from the larger, multi-business industrial park sign.
The council voted June 14 to remove two individual business signs if the city does not receive payment from previous invoices by the June 28 city council meeting. The businesses are Attachments International and Henry Building Systems.  
City officials, including Council members Steve Strand and CJ Holl, tried to reach an agreement–which included some price reduction as a concession.  
But the alternative proposal was voted down by the council when it came to a vote.  Mayor Brent Frazier questioned whether it was fair to all the other businesses in the industrial park, who have paid for their sign placements. Also, the owner of the businesses, Gerry Henry, asked for a concession that the cost of his sign would be “locked in forever” at the price. He also requested that the bill for the previous 12 months be forgiven.  read entire story. . . .

Minnesota Woman’s spirit rises

Minnesota Woman has been visual, literary, musical inspiration

By Louis Hoglund

“Be  careful...or you’ll become hooked, like we did.”
That was the warning about “Nimuué...The Minnesota Woman,” delivered with a smile by Sally Williams at the June 17 program at Trinity Lutheran Church.
The famous archaeological discovery was long ago–1931 during a road project–but the evening of art, history, poetry, science and music firmly revived the legacy of the Glacial Lake Pelican Woman for modern times.
Challenging the audience, Williams encouraged people to learn more about the greater Pelican Rapids area; “to start a dialogue with friends and neighbors; and explore the history of the area.”
“We’re passionate about Minnesota Woman,” said Williams, who with her husband Phletus Williams, were the driving force behind the revitalization of interest in the historic discovery. “And we’re passionate about Pelican Rapids and the land surrounding the city and Otter Tail County.”  read entire story. . . .

Highly decorated Vietnam  veteran presented colors in Pelican Rapids June 18

A highly-decorted Vietnam war veteran, Peter Thompson, was among the special guests at the “Gathering Day.” He is pictured second from foreground, with the full headdress. A Bagley area native and member of the Whtie Earth Honor Guard, Thompson was awarded six Purple Hearts for wounds sustained in six seperate combat incidents over an 18 month tour in Vietnam. Machine gun fire, land mine explosion and two seperate hand grenade explosions were sustained by Thompson, a platoon leader who enlisted in the Army in 1960, at the age of 17. With six Purple Hearts, all in direct combat, he is believed to have a national record. According to Thompson, there is a soldier with nine Purple Hearts–but not all were under enemy fire.


Nimuué unveiled Sculpture presented  to awestruck audience

The unveiling moment.  Artist Marcella Rose, right, lifts the cover from the Minnesota Woman sculpture June 18 , as the crowd presses in for view and photos. Complete with a pelican, a seashell, feathered headwear, and other items she was discovered with, the sculpture is Rose’s interpretation of what she might have looked like.
At left, Phletus and Sally Williams, who led the revival of interest in the 85-year-old discovery, react to their first viewing of the sculpture. Note Phletus, hands on head–astonished by the colorful bronze work–which is now on display at the Rose Gallery on Main Street, downtown Pelican Rapids. When a final display site is selected, it will be come the property of the city of Pelican Rapids.

‘Gathering’ re-established Minnesota  Woman’s place in state’s history

Artifact Road Show

Pelican Lake fisheries survey data released

Information on DNR Fisheries surveys conducted on Pelican Lake and other connected lakes (Pelican chain of lakes) in 2015 and 2016 has been released by the Department of Natural Resources.
DNR Fisheries has dedicated much effort to sampling the fish populations in the Pelican chain of lakes in 2015 and 2016, including expanded effort directed specifically for muskie, according to Jim Wolters, Area Fisheries Supervis,or, DNR-Fish & Wildlife Division.
These surveys found that Pelican Lake supports a very diverse fish community, comprising 28 individual fish species including 16 game/rough fish species and 12 non-game species (i.e. minnow species).  
Walleye, Northern Pike, Bluegill and Crappie populations are doing very well and are providing quality fishing opportunities.  read entire story. . . .

Star Lake Casino Q and A

A jackpot of questions posed at Otter Tail County open house  

By Louis Hoglund

Long lines formed around the Dent Community Center at the Star Lake Comprehensive Plan Open House June 9.  
Information about the Star Lake Resort and Casino was presented, on graphic posters and in person.  Officials from Otter Tail County, White Earth Nation, and other agencies–as well as architects and planners–engaged in question-answer sessions.
Curiosity, as well as concern, is widespread in the Star Lake area.  
At the same time, there is a sense of excitement in some circles. In fact, the facility already has its first wedding booking–even though ground isn’t expected to be broken until fall of 2016.
Otter Tail County Commissioner Wayne Johnson said that among the questions he was asked included taxation of the White Earth casino property–and also about law enforcement demands with the influx of thousands of visitors, substantial traffic increases and a 500-employee operation.
The 14 acres that are specifically Native American Trust Land, where the casino itself will be built, is not taxable.  However, said Johnson, more than 250 acres of nearby land which was purchased will be fully taxable.  read entire story. . . .

Digging it...Kids will get fingers dirty at ‘Gathering’

By Joan Ellison
Special Correspondent

Have you ever wanted to go on an archaeological dig?
Have you picked up rocks that look like arrowheads or that might have been worked to make arrowheads. Have you found unusual bones buried in your field or your garden?
You can experience the thrill of finding pottery, botanical materials (that’s wood if you’re not an archeologist), points (arrowheads to the novice) and bones and learn the identity of your finds at the Day of Gathering in Sherin Park on Saturday, June 18 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Emily Evenson, daughter of Deb and Chuck Evenson,  participated in her first archaeological dig when she was 23 years old. “It’s addictive,” she said, smiling. She hopes that the “dig” she’ll be running on the Day of Gathering will inspire some future archeologists. Emily attended Mankato State – in Applied Anthropology with a focus on Archaeology. She is back working in Pelican Rapids ten years after she graduated from Pelican Rapids High School. “I’m glad to be back now,” she said. “I can see how special this community is; I feel privileged to be able to contribute something.”  read entire story. . . .

Ancient Artifact Road Show

Bring your arrowheads, pottery pieces, fossils to  Pelican Rapids June 18; archaeologists’ will analyze

By Louis Hoglund

Lake property owners, farmers, backwoods hikers and outdoorspeople–if you ever unearthed an arrowhead, pottery shard or some other artifact–bring it to Pelican Rapids June 18.
Experts will be on hand to evaluate the object, as a special “Ancient Artifact Road Show.”
Hardly a farmer in the region hasn’t uncovered some form of historic relic while plowing the fields.
Similar to the popular TV program “Antique Road Show,” the Pelican event is aimed at archaeology items.
Experienced archaeology professionals, with affiliations at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and Mankato State University will be on hand at Sherin  Park from about 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Pelican Rapids native Emily Evenson is helping coordinate the “Artifact Road Show” with the Glacial Minnesota Woman Organization. This activity is part of the day-long  “Gathering” festivities–commemorating the 1931 discovery of “Minnesota Woman” north of Pelican Rapids.
The list of items suggested by Evenson include: Bones and fossils, metal work, beads, copper items, pottery pieces, arrowheads, tomahawk heads.  read entire story. . . .

Lady Viking  relay teams  represesent Pelican area at  Minnesota state track-field meet

Pictured with girls track coach John  Peter, the Pelican Rapids High School 400 meter relay team, which placed fourth at the Minnesta State High School League track meet, held at Hamline University June 10-11.
From left, Maddie Guler, Abby Syverson, Kaylie Isaman and Jessica Weinrich.  
Relays are strong events for Pelican, as the girls 800m relay team also traveled to the state meet.

Pelican Sunday soccer ‘biggest show in town’

Family-friendly competition,  concessions, fellowship draws large crowds weekly

“Bringing the community together to support one another and help each other out.”  
That is how the director of the Sunday Night Adult Soccer League, Salvador Diaz, describes the purpose behind what transpires each and every Sunday night at Carr Field.
While soccer is the main purpose for the gathering each week, what Diaz describes is not hard to find upon arrival.  A weekly community-carnival atmosphere is how another attendee described the activities each Sunday night.
Children playing in open spaces, families watching matches together in lawn chairs and blankets and people of multiple nationalities, religions and skin color all together, supporting the sport they love.
Food stands selling Mexican treats is also a common sight as fans grab a quick snack or meal on their way to or from a match or at a half-time pause in the action.
Soccer events also
serve as benefit fundraisers
However, these on-field stands are not there to put money in someone's pocket, but rather as Diaz points out, to support one another.  
“We try to do fundraisers here every week to help people out.”
The money raised at the stands has benefited a number of people ranging from community members in bad health to funding for the newly expanded youth soccer program in Pelican Rapids.  read entire story. . . .

County board supports new public works building

By Tom Hintgen
Otter Tail County Correspondent

County commissioners Wayne Johnson of Pelican Rapids and Lee Rogness of Fergus Falls, as members of the county’s public works committee, see the need for a new building for the county Highway Department.
The new facility, expected to receive support from the entire five-person county board of commissioners, would address safety concerns, according to county Highway Maintenance Supervisor Rick Hoium.
Construction, when approved, would take place at the Highway Department complex northeast of Fergus Falls, just off County Highway 1.
A new 8,640-square-foot building would include a wash bay, two truck stalls and cold storage.
The Otter Tail County Highway Department, headed by County Engineer Rick West, is responsible for 1,069 miles of highway, all of which are bituminous. The county is also responsible for the upkeep of 142 bridges.
The maintenance section of the County Highway Department includes 30 individuals and provides routine maintenance services to the highways and bridges in Otter Tail County.  read entire story. . . .