2016: Summer Fun, Planning And Tragedies

There were tragedies as well — a fatal crash on I-94, a missing man found dead in his crashed vehicle and the ending of a murder trial.

This is the conclusion of a two-part recap about the stories that made headlines in the Osakis Review in 2016:

July

A request to have the city of Osakis participate in a new program, "Osakis Backpack Attack," was made to the Osakis City Council. It helps provide food for students in both public and Catholic schools.

The Roddin' Round the Lakes Car Show drew a big crowd. The 25th annual event featured more than 120 vehicles.

The Douglas County Board unanimously voted to keep the Douglas County Hospital as county-owned instead of changing it to a private, nonprofit organization.

The Ferrett Drive Pontoon Boat Parade on Lake Osakis had creative entries. The winner was "Christmas in July," designed by Ken and Linda Hayes.

Music teachers Randy Resley and Carmen Silbernick reported to the Osakis School Board that the band and choir students' trip to Disney World was a fabulous success.

Osakis' 15-year-old Brody Uhlenkamp talked about his experiences auditioning for The Voice TV singing show.

Stan Schultz officially retired from serving on the Osakis First Responders after 34 years of service.

The Osakis Public Schools Food Service is in the black. Revenue was nearly $5,000 more than expenses.

August

Two 3/4-inch adult zebra mussels were found in Lake Osakis.

A public meeting to talk about next year's street and utility project in downtown Osakis drew some worries about cost and easements.

Delays are bogging down the downtown construction project. Heavy rains was cited as one of the problems.

Shane Massmann of Osakis was among 28 4-H youth selected as Minnesota 4-H State Ambassadors for 2016-2017.

Douglas County commissioners voted to give themselves a salary increase of about 3 percent. They also called for referendums on whether the auditor/treasurer and recorder positions should be appointed instead of elected.

The Todd County Sheriff's Office asked for the public's help in finding 47-year-old Alan Thomas of Osakis after he was reported missing for more than a week. His body was found Aug. 22 in a vehicle that landed upside down in a deep ravine off Interstate 94 near West Union.

The Osakis School Board agreed to begin an organic recycling program in the school cafeteria. St. Agnes School also joined the program.

The Douglas County Fair was a success, with better than average attendance, new activities and cooperative weather.

Transportation cost the Osakis School District $471,405 in the past school year. Buses logged 213,674 miles.

Races are on for open positions for Osakis City Council and Osakis School Board.

The Douglas County Princess Pageant included three contestants from Osakis — twin sisters Kiley and Kendra Wruck, and Kaitlyn Kern.

September

Little Free Libraries are popping up in Osakis. The latest one is located near the entrance to the First Presbyterian Church.

The old wastewater plant in Osakis was demolished. It hasn't been used since the mid-1960s.

The third annual Moonshine Madness was well-attended. The celebration centers around Panther Distillery and has a gangster and Prohibition theme.

Xcel Energy installed new LED lights in and around Osakis. They use less energy and are brighter.

School began Sept. 7. The calendar includes 172 student days.

Antiques Osakis celebrated its 30th year of business. Barb Tilbury is the owner of the store.

The Osakis City Council approved a preliminary levy increase of 4 percent for 2017.

Sheila Fultz of Osakis was inside the Crossroads Center Mall in St. Cloud when a man attacked and stabbed people. She wasn't hurt.

The Osakis Silverstreaks celebrated homecoming. Gage Larson and Jena Backes were crowned king and queen.

The Corral Saloon and Eatery's Country Ribfest fundraiser supported Jaz Martinson, whose mother, Amber Martinson, died from injuries in a car crash on July 17.

October

A three-vehicle crash left two people dead and closed down I-94 between Osakis and Alexandria. The crash involved a semitrailer, a GMC pickup and a Volvo semitrailer. Both people in the pickup died — Calvin Hess of Kenmare, North Dakota and Myron Bishop of Thompson Falls, Montana.

Golden Oldies in Osakis continues to renovate. Owners Tim and Cheryl Oehlert even restored the original 1901 tin ceiling.

Colette Bishop, national president of the VFW Auxiliary, visited Osakis. She met with local VFW Auxiliary members, saw the Armed Forces Memorial and enjoyed lunch at the VFW club.

The Osakis City Council voted 5-0 to keep the Visitor Center. At a public hearing, several residents urged the council to not sell the building, saying it was a big asset to the community.

Paige Gulbranson, Madisen Johanson and Madison Floden shined at the Minnesota State 4-H show.

In one day, the Osakis Fire Department hosted an open house, offered safety tips and joined three other departments in fighting a house fire in Alexandria at the home of Dr. Fred and Sarah Townsend.

Erickson's Petting Zoo had a busy season with many families stopping in to pick through the pumpkin patch, take horse-drawn trolley rides and enjoy other fall fun.

November

Osakis drama students kept the audience laughing with the two-act play, "No Body Like Jimmy."

Bev Bales, the Douglas County commissioner who represents the Osakis area, was chosen by AARP as one of the "50 over 50" Minnesotans for Community Building.

The Osakis Halloween Party drew more than 300 kids to the high school for a scary good time.

The 2016 election produced big victories for Republicans. Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen and Rep. Mary Franson — both Republican legislators representing District 8 and 8B — were returned to office. On the local level, Jerry Olson and Justin Dahlheimer were elected to the Osakis City Council, along with Mayor Keith Emerson, who was running unopposed. Also, Michael Collins, Tom Grundman and Genny LeBrun were elected to the Osakis School Board. Jerry Rapp was elected as the District 3 Douglas County commissioner. Incumbent Randy Neumann of Osakis was re-elected as Todd County commissioner.

The first snowfall of the season packed a punch, dumping more than 8 inches of snow on Nov. 18.

The First Presbyterian Church served more than 100 meals at its 20th annual Thanksgiving Dinner.

A shed on the Morrison farm on Hope Road caught fire, damaging farm machinery stored inside.

December

The Douglas County Board set the 2017 tax levy at just under 2 percent.

Children visited with Santa and enjoyed other holiday fun at Osakis Santa Day, sponsored by the Osakis Women's Association, Wayne's Auto Repair, the VFW, Central Lakes Cruzers Car Club, Osakis Lions and Blast From the Past.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is accepting public comments about a water quality improvement report for Smith Lake, Faille Lake and Lake Osakis. The report focuses on pollution caused by excess nutrients, mainly phosphorus.

The Osakis City Council approved an overall levy increase of 11 percent. The levy increase in the general budget, which more directly impacts property taxes, was increased 4 percent.

The Osakis School Board approved a tax levy decrease of 1.28 percent.

Students at St. Agnes School brought the Bible story of the birth of Jesus to the public at their "Signs of Christmas" play.

A Todd County jury took about two hours to find Craig Lamont Williams of Long Prairie guilty of first degree manslaughter for fatally striking his wife, Nancy Williams, with a shoe hammer back on Aug. 22, 2013.

Douglas County Commissioner Bev Bales, who represents the Osakis area in District 3, was presented with a plaque from the county board, thanking her for her years of service.

A wreath-laying ceremony took place at the Armed Forces Memorial to pay tribute to the local soldiers who gave their lives for their country. It was part of the Wreaths Across America effort.

Enrollment numbers for the Osakis School District leveled off a bit for the elementary school while the high school numbers increased for the third straight year.

Source : http://www.theosakisreview.com/news/4195916-2016-summer-fun-planning-and-tragedies

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