Tricounty News

2012: Year in Review April - June

Last week, we brought you a look at January through March 2012. It still surprises us just how many stories we covered last year! Here’s a look at April through June, with more to come next week.

Frank and Frosty Schiefelbein of Kimball were recognized by the Minnesota Angus Association as the 2012 Breeder of the Year at their March 30 banquet in Fergus Falls.

The Kimball Area Fire & Rescue Department held their 35th annual Pancake & Sausage Breakfast Palm Sunday, April 1. Again, a near-record crowd (1,189) came to be well fed for breakfast. Monies raised go to purchase equipment like the six AED (automated external defibrillators) purchased and installed in six local churches.

Michael Rose of Kimball received a first-place award for dairy specialist team at state competition for Ridgewater College-Willmar April 3. He also received a scholarship.

KES Student Government held a food drive for the Kimball Area Food Shelf.

Eden Valley-Watkins High School hosted the regional/state band solo and ensemble section competition April 5. “Best of Site” was earned by Shota Kuprava (solo guitar) and Chelsey Maus and Megan Jones (flute duet). Both Erin Wicker and Alexis Rose earned “State Excellent” rankings.  A number of other KAHS students received “State Superiors.”

The sixth annual Kimball Express beanbag tournament was held April 14 at Kimball Memorial Field.

Kimball area students in grades 3-6 performed in “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” a youth musical, April 14 and 15 on the KAHS stage.

A FUNdraiser was held
April 15 at the Kimball Legion Club for Candi Vossen; Candi succumbed to brain cancer in November.

April 16 was “Tractor Day” at KAHS. A number of FFA members drove their tractors to school.

Again & Again Thrift Store opened its doors April 17 in Dassel. Their grand opening was held June 28-29. 

April 18 was the last regular issue of the Eden Valley
. Three more issues would be printed before the 125-year-old newspaper dissolved and disappeared into history. By this time, the Tri-County News was already covering school and community news and announcements for Eden Valley and Watkins. In the following weeks and months, the TCN was named the official newspaper for the City of Watkins, the City of Eden Valley, the Eden Valley-Watkins School District, and Forest Prairie and Luxemburg Townships. 

April 20, three KAHS students headed to State competition in Chanhassen: Katelyn Lichte, Logan Bartholomew, and Camen Miles. Bartholomew placed sixth in Serious Drama.

Erin Dingmann of Kimball was named CMC Player of the Week in golf. The Kimball senior was medalist at Pierz and Maple Lake, and at the New London-Spicer Invitational.

April 20 also was the KAHS junior high dance, hosted by the National Honor Society.

Five members of the Eden
Valley-Watkins speech team
headed to State: Patrick Latchem, Meredith Gruenes, Anne Benson, Adrienne Gruenes, and Alex Theis. Patrick placed sixth in Humorous Interpretation, and Meredith placed seventh in Informative Speaking.

St. Anthony Church in Watkins celebrated a double-jubilee mass and dinner for Father Jack Brunner and Father Dick Gross, both of whom celebrated their 50th anniversaries of ordination in February 2012. The April 22 mass was quite the spectacle, complete with Bishop John LeVoir and the Catholic Order of Foresters honor guard. The event was featured in a full-page pictorial spread and on the front cover of the April 26 Tri-County News.

Andrew Kieke of Kimball earned first place in Grain Production Entrepreneurship at the Minnesota FFA Association Proficiency Awards luncheon April 23 during the 83rd Minnesota FFA convention at the U of M. Kieke graduated from Kimball in 2011 and is an Ag Systems Technology student at SDSU.

The “Old Coots,” alumni of Kimball High School from the early ’60s and earlier, met at
Triple R April 24. This was one of the largest gathering of the men, so large it took four photographs to get them all in. They meet twice a year.

Kimball eighth-graders in the Technology Class spent April 24 at the TEEMS (Technology Engineering Environmental Mathematic Science) challenge event at SCSU. There they participated in six different events, and the Kimball team placed in three of the six events: first in paper airplane, first in catapult, and third in bridge building.

Tom Symalla shared “Growing Up in the ’60s in Small-Town Minnesota” with the Kimball Area
Historical Society April 24.

April 25 was the annual Students of Excellence Banquet sponsored by Resource Training & Solutions. Kimball students honored were Cora Gohmann, Chelsey Maus, Erin Dingmann, and Maria Donnay. EV-W students honored were Travis Eisenbacher, Molly Hesse, Jennifer Notch, and Alex Theis. This was the 25th annual banquet, and more than 650 people attended including the 171 high school seniors being honored and their families and school administrators.

A mock crash was held between Eden Valley-Watkins Elementary and High School April 26 with a number of local emergency agencies participating. The drama played out that a drunk teenage driver struck a family van, killing or injuring the occupants. A double-page spread of photos was featured in the May 3 Tri-County News.

In the April 26 Maple Lake Relays track meet, four members of the EV-W-K relay team set the all-time meet record: Austin Pelkey, Joe James, Deshaun James, and Torey Rohloff. Overall, the combined team took second place in the meet.

April 27 was promotion day, in a way, for sixth-graders at EV-W schools. After weeks of preparation, EV-W sixth-graders moved up to the high school. They literally lined up and marched up to the high school. They had occupied temporary classrooms at Eden Valley Elementary; those classrooms were scheduled for demolition as part of the massive school construction projects going on this year at Eden Valley-Watkins. The sixth-graders would complete the school year at the high school, in three classrooms that had been cleared for them. (The school year would end early, too, May 24, because of the construction.)

Jane Pickle retired from the State Bank of Kimball April 27 after 52 years of devoted service. A dinner was held April 29 at Generations Ballroom in her honor.

Kingston held its annual clean-up day April 28.

The Watkins Lions held their second annual beanbag tournament April 28.

The Kimball National Honor Society cleaned ditches April 28 along the two-mile stretch of Highway 55 that they sponsor through Adopt-a-Highway, in Eden Valley.

Joyce Burgstaler of Kimball was re-elected to another two-year term as president of the ELCA Crow River Conference at their April 28 meeting. She represented Ostmark Lutheran Church of rural Watkins.

The Kimball Area Dollars for Scholars Gala was April 28. Tina & Lena were the featured performers. A total of 41 KAHS seniors received scholarships.

A number of local piano students participated in a recital at KAHS April 29.

Hilltop Health Care Center closed April 30 on the purchase of Hilltop Care Center from Paynesville Area Health Care. The nursing facility in Watkins has continued to provide needed services, with the same staff, but under private ownership. Fred Struzyk and Tom Opatz are the new owners.


April 12, Hudson James Wurm, to Kyle and Lindsay Wurm.

April 25, Bo Todd Meyer was born to Shawn and Laura (Evert) Meyer of rural Watkins.


April 7, Russell Huro, 84, at Foley Nursing Center.

April 10, Jerome “Jerry” McCann, 78, at Heritage House in Kimball.

April 13, Daniel Dalton, 53, at his St. Cloud home.

April 19, Andrew Bogatzki, 59, of South Haven, at St. Cloud Hospital.


Karen Kuechle and Daniel Johnson were married April 14 in Paynesville.


May 2 was the Minnesota State High School League art competition, at New London-Spicer. Liz Kastanek of Kimball received Crafts Best of Category; KAHS had five perfect scores. EV-W’s Morgan Meyer and Stephanea Roeser qualified for state competition in (respectively) computer graphic arts and ceramics.

May 4 a group of SAE Leadership students (Supervised Agricultural Experience) worked under the supervision of Ben Stockinger of Stockinger Lawnscape Solutions to tear out and replace the shrubs to the north of City Hall, along the fence line parallel with Main Street. Teacher Tracy Nelson was the project supervisor. All did the work to beautify that small bit of Kimball.

The Eden Valley-Watkins spring musical, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” was presented May 4-6 on the cafeteria stage.

Kimball held its annual clean-up day May 5.

South Haven Fire & Rescue held their annual smelt fry May 5 at the Fire Hall.

The KAHS Choir Spring Concert was held May 7.

At a May 8 track meet in Hutchinson, two school records were broken. The 4x800 relay record was broken by Cole Sanders, Danny Lochen, Donte Hirman and Brad Schlangen. The EV-W triple-jump record was broken by Joe James. The EV-W-K team would palce sixth at the meet.

The morning of May 10, ground was broken at both Eden Valley Elementary and Watkins Elementary for construction projects to expand both schools.

St. John’s Lutheran Church in Kimball held its annual plant sale May 12, the same day as the Kimball All-City Garage Sale.

The Church of Our Lady in Manannah held a springtime brunch and bake sale May 12.

Kimball Prom, “Enchanted Atlantis,” was held May 12 at KAHS.

The EV-W School Wellness 5K Run-Walk was held May 16 in Eden Valley. Students in grades 6-12 and staff started from the Eden Valley Elementary School and ended, 5K later, at Assumption Church in Eden Valley. Dave Dziengel, Kit Pennie, and Jess Lubbers placed first, second and third among the staff participating. Brad Schlangen, Moritz Leh, and Shadley Callahan placed first, second and third among students. About 525 in all participated in the walk-run May 16.

Forty-four KES students in grades 3-6 participated in the “All Aboard the Write Train” Young Authors-Young Artists Conference May 16 at the College of St. Benedict.

The EV-W Tri-M Honor Society presented a check for $3,200 to Tristan Stenger. The money was raised January-March with a “Treats for Tristan” ongoing popcorn sale. The Western Stearns County Thrivent For Lutherans Chapter matched the $1,600 that students raised. Tristan is a seventh-grader battling cancer.

The American Red Cross Bloodmobile was at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Eden Valley May 16.

Kimball Elementary put on its Spring Concert May 17. All students participated in a patriotic concert outdoors that included “Fifty Nifty United States.”

Janessa Dahle was selected by the Kimball American Legion Auxiliary to attend Girls’ State this summer.

EV-W fourth-grade student Jaylah Umana won a poster contest from among 54 central Minnesota students. The contest was part of the annual water festival held in Cold Spring for local fourth-graders.

Jacob Frank received the highest agricultural honor at EV-W, the DEKALB® Agricultural Accomplishment Award, sponsored by Monsanto.

The Kingston Lions held a pork chop dinner May 19 at the Kingston Community Center to benefit Foundation for Challenged Children, in conjunction with the 20th annual Dairy Queen Motorcycle and Classic Car Run.

A retirement party was held May 20 at the Eden Valley Sportsmen’s Club on Brown’s Lake for Larry Peterson (EV-W superintendent) and for Jay Johnson (athletic director and dean of students). Both men completed a long run at Eden Valley-Watkins schools.

The KAHS Band Spring Concert and Art Show was held May 21. 

Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Minnesota announced May 21 the appointment of Kimball alumnus Jamie Rice to the position of Chief Financial Officer.

May 22, Dean Urdahl was the guest speaker for the Kimball Area Historical Society. The author (and state representative) spoke about the Dakota War.

The evening of May 22, ten Kimball Lions members arrived at the home of Carl Hoffman to help weed and plant his gardens. Known for his green thumb, health issues made it difficult for Hoffman to do gardening work this year.

The EV-W-K girls’ track team finished third for the season. Molly Hesse was conference champion in 300-meter hurdles. All-Conference were Sam Stuve, Casey Schlangen, and Kaylee Forcier.

EV-W-K boys’ track finished second. Conference champs were Danny Lochen in pole vault, Austin Pelkey in 200-meter, Joe James in triple jump, and Nathan McCann in 110 hurdle. All-Conference were: Danny Lochen, Connor Wittenberg, Austyn Schlueter, Erik Mares, Austin Pelkey, Joe James, and Nathan McCann. The 4x800 relay team broke the school record again with Cole Sanders, Danny Lochen, Frankie Nistler, and Brad Schlangen; they did not qualify for the finals.

Both EV-W and Kimball softball teams made it into the playoffs. The Eagles would be subsection champs, and the Cubs would be subsection runners-up. Both teams advanced to Section playoffs where they faced each other for the Section championship which EV-W won. EV-W went on to compete at State, but lost their first two games, ending their season 16-9.

May 24 was Eden Valley-Watkins’ 110th commencement. Fifty-five students received their diplomas. Graduation and the end of the school year were moved up a week so that the $10-million school construction projects could begin and be completed in time for school in the fall. This was the last graduation for superintendent Larry Peterson, as he retired a month later.

Jolaine Schreifels worked with KAHS FACS (home ec.) classes to make quilts for the Home of the Brave Project and Quilts of Valor. Sixty students worked on a number of quilts for wounded veterans.

Awards were presented to KAHS students in a school assembly May 25. EV-W held their awards at an evening ceremony earlier in the month. Larry Peterson and Jay Johnson, both of whom retired after this school year, were awarded Teacher of the Year.

A fundraiser breakfast was held May 27 at Holy Cross School in Pearl Lake.

Memorial Day was Monday, May 28. Commemorative services were held in Kimball, Kingston, Watkins, St. Nicholas, and Eden Valley. The service in Eden Valley was moved to the afternoon to allow U.S. Sen. Al Franken to participate; he was instrumental in the town obtaining the naval anchor that adorns the Legion Park.

Watkins student Kennedy Schoenecker received a liver transplant, just four months after being diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer. Against the odds given by medical professionals, her tumors responded to chemotherapy, and she was able to have the liver transplant which left her cancer-free.

Jack’s of Watkins closed May 29 for a brief time. Aaron and Nathen Derichs had recently purchased the gas station and convenience store. They completely remodeled the interior of the convenience store, and installed new gas tanks and pumps outside. They re-opened June 22, and held a grand re-opening Sept. 13.

In a ceremony May 30, Maddison Moyer and Erin Salo received their Cadette Girl Scout Silver Awards in Eden Valley.

May 31 was KAHS graduation; 61 students received their diplomas. Three exchange students also participated in graduation: Mareike “Mary” Petermann from Germany, Shota Kuprava from Georgia, and Thanyaphorn “Mine” Phrensi from Thailand.

May Arrivals:

May 14, Timothy Robert Donnay, to Kevin and Erin Donnay of Kimball.


May 3, Frank Horwath, 93, of Litchfield, at the St. Cloud VAMC.

May 8, Kevin Knickerbocher, 59, of Maple Lake, at North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale.

May 14, Dorothy (Ackerman) Adolph, 85, at her South Haven home.

May 15, Duane “Sal” Becker, 70, of Kimball, at St. Cloud Hospital.

May 15, Fredrick “Fritz” Jacobs, 81, at his home in Kimball.

May 18, John Dietman, 54, of Watkins.

May 21, Donald Kjar, 70, of Paynesville, at the VA Medical Center in St. Cloud.

May 22, Peter Werner, 62, formerly of Eden Valley, at his St. Stephen home.

May 24, Faye (Thacker) Dahl, 64, of Kimball, at St. Cloud Hospital.

May 24, John Laakso, 97, of Fair Haven, at Country Manor Apartments in Sartell.

May 25, Vera (Gulso) Theisen, 85, of Kimball, at Annandale Care Center.

May 30, Susan Flaschenriem, 55, of Watkins, at Hilltop Health Care Center.

May 30, Raymond Geislinger, 94, of Waite Park, at St. Cloud Hospital.


May 26, Natasha Ertelt and Joshua Hilsgen wedding, in Fargo, N.D.

May 26, Erin Heath and Matt Tofte were married.


The Stearns County Breakfast on the Farm was held June 2 at Landwehr Dairy north of Watkins. The Kimball Lions cooked up breakfast for more than 2,000 people who also got to tour the modern dairy. There were lots of activities for all ages.

June 4, Girl Scout Troop leader Diane Thielen and Ambassador Girl Scout Erin Salo and Senior Gril Scout Maddison Moyer departed Eden Valley for Washington, D.C. They visited Philadelphia, Mount Vernon, Smithsonian museums, the White House, and other sites along the way. The trip culminated in a Rock the Mall event June 9 with 250,000 girls from around the country celebrating the 100th birthday of Girl Scouting.

St. Augusta resident and KAHS graduate Tara Matthiesen earned the Girl Scout Gold Award for her community service project, “Birthday Boxes for Kimball Food Shelf.” 

The EV-W Special Olympics had more than 30 participants in its second annual 5K walk/run/bike event.

The Meeker County Breakfast on the Farm was held June 8 on the Ken Bohn Family Farm, 10 miles south of Litchfield.

Eden Valley hosted Hairball in concert June 9. The first “Music in the Valley” concert was a success. The weather was perfect, crowds ample, and thousands of dollars were raised for the new Eden Valley Library and Event Center. Most of all, it was a great community effort to put on an event enjoyed by so many.

Concordia Evangelical Lutheran Church celebrated its 125th anniversary Sunday,
June 10. There were two services and a dinner plus an ice cream social. Past pastors were able to join in the celebration.

Jonathan Massmann attended Boys’ State, nominated by the Kimball Legion, held June 10-16 in Marshall.

The second annual Highway 55 baseball tournament took place June 14-17 among 16 teams. 

The St. Damien Council Knights of Columbus of Watkins received one of three state-wide awards for membership and programs at their annual convention in Rochester.

Brendan Ashton was named to the St. Cloud Times’ All-Area Baseball Team, and Brooke Scherer was named to the Times’ All-Area Softball Team. Both are EV-W athletes.

Valley Daze was a big hit June 21-23. The weekend kicked off with a Family Fun Night Thursday in Watertower Park. Friday’s events included the business expo, beer garden and food court, kiddie parade, and street dance with Whiskey Tango. Saturday’s events included the business expo, 5K walk-run, car and tractor show, sidewalk and craft sale, parade, pet show, and various entertainment. Mike and Mary Lou Arens were grand marshals. The weather couldn’t have been better for the annual celebration.

At the State Special Olympics June 22-23, Quin Amundson won gold in the 200-meter representing EV-W Special Olympics. She also competed in the 100-meter and placed fifth in both.

Eden Valley farmer Tom Haag visited China as part of a 50-member trade mission led by Gov. Mark Dayton June 8-17. Haag was vice president of the Minnesota Corn Growers.

The second annual Quilts & Wines was held June 23 at Millner Heritage Vineyard and Winery near Kimball.

June 26 the Kimball Area Historical Society hosted Bert Dibley and The Barn Quilt Project.

June 30 was the 86th annual Fair Haven Old Settlers’ Picnic. Queen candidates were Gracie Lantto, Chelsey Maus, Kimberly Fennema, Jenna Maus, and Kenzie Traurig. Jenna was crowned queen, Gracie princess, and Kenzie Miss Congeniality. 


June 13, Piper Marie Dragan, to Andrea and Travis Dragan of Corcoran.


June 3, Florentine (Gohman) Fladung, 92, at Tyler (Minn.) Health Care Center.

June 17, Stella Theis, 94, formerly of Watkins, at St. Benedict Senior Community.

June 23, John Lynch, 93, in Palatine, Ill.

June 25, Arlene (Booth) Johnson, 80, at Emmanuel Nursing Home in Litchfield.

June 25, Kim (Flanagan) O’Keefe, 52, at her Fairhaven home.

June 26, Natalie (Fink) Niewind, 86, at her Eden Valley home.

June 28, Terre (Hinrichs) Harff, 64, at her Maine Prairie home.

June 28, Harold Voss, 92, at his St. Cloud home.


June 23, Emily Konz and Kyle Joramo were married at St. Philip’s Catholic Church in Litchfield.

June 23, Emily Linn and Mitch Fischer were married in Litchfield.

June 30, Ashley Ballinger and Daniel Peters were married in Minneapolis.

June, Tabitha Capes and Patrick Porras were married in Rochester, Minn.