Tricounty News

2012: Year in Review Oct.-Dec. 2012

Here we are at the end of our look back at 2012. What a year it was! The highs and lows, and all the every-day things in-between kept everyone busy for sure.

We’re now well into 2013, the Year of the Snake. We hope it’s starting off well for you. We’re hoping for even bigger and better things for everyone this year!


Eden Valley-Watkins Homecoming Week was Oct. 1-5. King Zach Blonigen and Queen Kaylee Forcier were crowned Sunday evening to kick off the week’s celebrations. The week held events like an ugly-sweater contest, cookie break, parade, and a number of competitions from “Minute To Win It.” EV-W won the volleyball game Thursday, and also won (52-14) the football game Friday, both against Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted.

Although no one knows the exact date that Kimball’s famed Knaus Sausage House opened in 1912, they celebrated their 100th anniversary Oct. 4-6 this year. They had drawings, entertainment, specials during the celebration, and free brats.

EV-W Special Olympics bowlers competed Oct. 5 at Zimmerman and brought home second- and fourth-place ribbons for eighth grade, a first-place for the elementary school, and fourth-place for a 2010 alumna.

The Kimball Lions held their annual fish fry Oct. 5 at the Willow Creek Lions Shelter in Kimball.

The Oktoberfest and Grape Stomp was held at Millner Heritage Winery near Kimball Oct. 6-7.

The annual beef dinner at Assumption Church in Eden Valley was Oct. 7.

Kimball’s Homecoming Week was Oct. 7-12; “Hit the Lights” was the theme. The week’s activities included Pajama Day, Ugly-Sweater Day, and Western Wednesday. King Austin Roerick and Queen Tiffany Kuechle were crowned Sunday night. Kimball hosted Eden Valley-Watkins for volleyball and football games. The Cubs won the varsity volleyball game. The 2013 “Rooster Bowl” trophy went to EV-W, winners of the football game with Ronald “Rooster” Arnold’s grandson Ron presenting the trophy. Donations were collected at the football game for Tackle Cancer (the Randy Shaver Cancer Research and Community Fund), in memory of Shawn Laudenbach and Tyler Baker.

Eileen Hennen of Watkins was honored as the last remaining Gold Star Mother in the Wat-Kim-Valley V.F.W. Auxiliary at their meeting Oct. 10.

Girl Scout Troop 68 planted a tree in front of the Eden Valley-Watkins Elementary School
Oct. 12 in honor of Sarah Grunewald, the young EV-W student who died in 2010 after battling cancer.

GREAT Children’s Theatre opened “The Hobbit” Oct. 12 at Paramount Theatre in St. Cloud. South Haven resident Marlowe Lexvold was part of the local cast of 34.

Ostmark Lutheran Church in rural Watkins held their fall bazaar Oct. 13.

St. John’s Lutheran Church in Kimball held their annual FUN-draiser Oct. 14 in Willow Creek Park in Kimball. The pork chop dinner and silent auction is always a big hit.

The Red Cross Bloodmobile came to the Kingston Community Center Oct. 17. 

Watkins Senior Dining celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Older Americans Act Nutrition Program Oct. 17 with a special lunch menu and birthday cake. The Eden Valley Senior Dining site celebrated Oct. 30. (Watkins is provided by Lutheran Social Services at St. Anthony Manor, and Eden Valley is provided by Lutheran Social Services at the Eden Valley Civic Center. Kimball’s Senior Dining is provided by Catholic Charities at St. Anne’s Catholic Church.)

The Eagles’ Cry, school newspaper at Eden Valley-Watkins, received awards from the National Student Press Association and Journalism Educators of Minnesota in 2012.

As of mid-October, the Tri-County News had an office in Eden Valley, in addition to the main office in Kimball. At 378 N. State Street, in the Bradshaw & Bryant law office and sharing space with Steve Schmitt Insurance Agency. An Eden Valley phone line was added: (320) 453-6397 (which is 453-NEWS).

The Eden Valley Fire & Rescue Department came to EV-W Elementary School to demonstrate some of their equipment for grades K-4.

The City of South Haven held a special meeting Oct. 18 to approve plans for the new City Hall/Community Center. Construction commenced soon thereafter, and was nearly completed by the end of 2012.

The Watkins Legion fish fry was Oct. 19.

St. Matthew’s fall bazaar in Forest City was Oct. 20. St. Paul’s Lutheran in Eden Valley held their fall bazaar on the same day.

Kimball Lions and Kimball Area Firemen’s Relief Association held their first-ever Oktoberfest Oct. 20, at the Willow Creek Lions Shelter in Kimball; it was a great hit.

Kingston Lions and Legion held their annual turkey dinner Oct. 21.

The Eden Valley Fire & Rescue Department visited the EV-W Elementary School. Students in grades K-4 got to see different pieces of equipment, and even got to shoot the fire hose.

The Kimball Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a “Meet the Candidate” night at KAHS cafetorium Oct. 22.

JB Liquor in Kimball celebrated their 25th anniversary Oct. 22-27.

Duane Stanley presented “Moccasins on Maine Prairie” at the Oct. 23 meeting of the Kimball Area Historical Society.

The Eden Valley-Watkins football season came to an end with an Oct. 23 defeat to Paynesville in the first playoff game.  They were 2-7 for the year. 

Oct. 23-27 was the 84th National FFA convention in Indianapolis. Representatives from both EV-W and Kimball attended. Andrew Kieke, Kimball grad, received his American Degree at the convention.

Kimball football ended Oct. 27, falling to Maple Lake in the second game of playoffs. The Cubs ended the season 5-5. 

The 24th annual Pre-Holiday Craft Sale was hosted by the Watkins Lioness Oct. 24 at the Watkins Elementary School.

Oct. 24 was the Leaders in Educational Excellence Awards ceremony in St. Cloud. EV-W teachers honored were Peggy Plath and Carolyn Becher. EV-W staff honored were Vicki Meyer, Gwen Asfeld, and Jeanne Geislinger. Kimball teachers honored were Ann Palm and Cathy Grant; staff honored were Lori Miller, Laurie Hunt, and Patty Schiefelbein.

Holy Cross Parish in Pearl Lake/Marty held their 49th annual fish fry Oct. 26.

Oct. 27, Ostmark Lutheran Church in rural Watkins hosted the fall ELCA Crow River Conference women’s gathering, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Women of the ELCA.

EV-W choir members Heidi Geislinger and Anne Benson performed at St. John’s  University in the 23rd annual Minnesota ACDA Treble/Male Choral Festival. Geislinger also was named to the ACDA Honors Choir.

A “Harvesting Hope” fundraiser was held Oct. 27 in St. Cloud for Kimball native Jessica Hasslen who is working in Kenya, Africa.

Eight new members of the KAHS National Honor Society were inducted Oct. 28 at the school.

St. Anthony Manor celebrated Halloween with a pot-luck dinner and costume party Oct. 31.

Eden Valley-Watkins Elementary School held their annual Hallowee Parade in the halls of the school Oct. 31. Ghouls and princesses, goblins and star athletes filled the halls as dozens of spectators watched.


Oct. 12, Mason Charles Wuollet to Sara and Charles of South Haven.

Oct. 26, Von Marshall Blomquist, to Jessica and Matthew Blomquist of South Haven.

Oct. 26, Violet Kay Voight to Rachael and Clint Voight of Darwin.


Oct. 1, David Gothier, 51, at his South Haven home.

Oct. 4, Edward Pramann, 79, of Clearwater.

Oct. 5, Gloria (Brooks) Zoller, 75, of Kimball.

Oct. 7, Dora (Fitzwater) Eaton, 88, in Braymer, Mo.

Oct. 8, Marie (Adolph) Alberg, 87, at her North Carolina home.

Oct. 8, Deegan Johnson-
Pramann, 22 mos., at St. Paul Children’s Hospital (of complications following brain mass surgery).

Oct. 14, Elveria “Toots” (Berthiaume) Capes, 87, of Kimball.

Oct. 14, Adeline (Walters) Johnson, 90, of Annandale.

Oct. 16, Robert “Bob” Nistler, 90, in Anchorage, Alaska.

Oct. 27, Orland Kreitlow, 88, at The Wellstead of Rogers.

Oct. 29, William “Bill” Blair, 68.


Oct. 27, Carla Henneman and Adam Sieben were married.


Lake Union Covenant Church in rural South Haven held their annual Blaze Orange Harvest Festival Nov. 1.

Nov. 2 was grandparents’ day at Kimball Elementary School. The afternoon was an open house of sorts, with lots of treats and show-and-tell.

Raelynn Callander represented EV-W-K cross-country team at State competition Nov. 3 at
St. Olaf; she placed 105th from among 175 participants.

With donations from a number of community organizations, including the Kimball chamber, Lions, All-Sports Boosters, Fire Department, Legion, and Rod & Gun Club, as well as local businesses and churches, a community billboard sign was purchased. It was installed on the corner of Hwy. 15 and 55, the corner where Gohmann’s Foods is. Kelsey Theisen, a KAHS art student, created the design that was selected for the sign. (The sign is administered by the City of Kimball.)

The St. Cloud Municipal Band wrapped up their 125th anniversary season with a special concert Nov. 5 at Paramount Theatre. 

Election Day 2012 (Nov. 6) was a busy one. Not only was it a presidential election, but there were several local elections that were hotly contended. 

In Eden Valley, incumbent mayor Pete Korman ran unopposed and won;  incumbent councilman Eric Reetz won while incumbent Peggy Bethel did not, challenger Cheryl Thielen won a seat on the council.

In Kimball, incumbents won re-election: mayor Tammy Konz, and council members Eric Loewen and Paula Capes. Contenders Duwayne Orbeck, Jody Orbeck and Dustin Orbeck did not win seats.

In Watkins, four people filed for the mayor’s seat vacated by long-time mayor Jim Loch; Dennis Loch won more votes than Scott “Jersey” Piccerillo, Kathleen “Tootz” Tschumperlin, or Lynn Hokanson. Both Sue Unterberger and Melody Gertken won election to the Watkins council over Leroy Holthaus and incumbent Jerre Hesse. Dennis Loch would need to vacate his council seat in 2013 to serve as mayor, and at their first council meeting in January the Watkins council appointed Jerry Hesse to fill that vacated council seat.

In the Eden Valley-Watkins School District, six individuals filed for four open seats on the board. Bob Stenger, Sarah Kuechle, Robert Flaschenriem and Shelly Kern won; Dan Weiss and Troy Thielen did not. Stenger, Kuechle and Kern were incumbents.

In the Kimball School District, four people filed for three seats: newcomer Troy Hilsgen and incumbents Tim Zipoy and Bob Stein won; incumbent and board chair Kurt Helgeson did not.

A public meeting was held Nov. 7 in Eden Valley to discuss the future of the Eden Valley Post Office. As a cost-cutting measure, the hours of the post office will be reduced (rather than closing the post office).

Nov. 8, Eden Valley resident Lawrence Huschle received a package that contained a Purple Heart he had earned in 1943 but never received. It was formally presented to him at the St. Cloud Armory Jan. 13.

There was a Veterans Day program at KAHS Nov. 9. MSgt Darrel Nelson and Gary Caauwe were speakers.

EV-W Special Olympics bowler Quin Amundson took gold Nov. 9 in Brooklyn Park.

St. Anthony Church held their sloppy joe dinner and turkey bingo Nov. 10 at the school social hall.

Hilltop Health Care Center held a Veterans Day service for their resident veterans Nov. 11. 

Eden Valley-Watkins High School hosted a Veterans Day program Nov. 12. Captain Dan Price of the Minnesota Army National Guard was the featured speaker. The EV-W senior and junior bands performed, as did the 5th-6th, 7th-8th, and high school concert choirs. 

Steve Gohmann retired from the Kimball Area Fire and Rescue Department after 30 years.

Nov. 13 was the annual Kimball Area Historical Society pot-luck dinner and social at Kimball’s historic city hall.

The Kimball Legion Auxiliary hosted a “Teachers’ Tea” at the Legion Club Nov. 14.

Kingston Apostolic Lutheran Church held their annual chili supper fundraiser Nov. 16.

EV-W band and choir students boarded busses Nov. 19 for a 26-hour drive to Florida. They visited Disney World and a number of other attractions, and both groups performed before returning to Minnesota.

Nov. 21 first-graders held their annual Thanksgiving feast at Kimball Elementary. They spent the morning making applesauce, part of their feast.

Kimball D.A.R.E. graduation was held Nov. 21 at the elementary school gym.

Former Watkins and Kimball police officer Tom Decker was shot and killed on duty in Cold Spring late evening Nov. 29. Thousands of active and retired law enforcement officers attended his funeral Dec. 5 at St. John’s Abbey; a procession delivered him to St. Nicholas Cemetery where he was laid to rest. As 2013 began, the case has not yet been solved. 


Nov. 6, McKenzie Renee Capes to Paula and Chris Capes of Kimball.

Nov. 19, Levi Aydin Smith, to Amanda and Michael Smith of Kimball.

Nov. 23, Lincoln William Baker to Brent and Mickie (Weisman) Baker of Kimball.


Nov. 1, Jeanette (Kurtz) DeRose, 58, at her Richmond home.

Nov. 5, Robert McCarney, 91, at Meeker Memorial Hospital.

Nov. 8, Carlos “Carly” Hoeft, 84, at Hutchinson Community Hospital.

Nov. 11, Candace (Patchin) Vossen, 59, of Kimball.

Nov. 26, Jordan Buisman, 25, of Clear Lake (complications of epilepsy).

Nov. 26, Tamara Voight, 46, at her South Haven home.

Nov. 28, Roger “Hotsie” Kramer, 79, of Watkins, at St. Cloud Hospital.

Nov. 29, police officer Thomas “Tommy” Decker, 31, shot down while on duty in Cold Spring.

Nov. 30, Johanna (Beck) Muehring, 88, of Tempe, Ariz.


Nov. 17, Christina Unterberger and Kevin Tschumperlin were married.

Nov. 17, Lauren Skarbonkiewicz and Dennis McCann were married.


Santa Day was Dec. 1 in Eden Valley, at the high school.

Heritage House of Kimball held a Christmas gathering for residents, family and friends Dec. 1.

St. John’s Lutheran Church in Kimball held their Christmas Bazaar Dec. 1.

The Kingery Family performed at the Kingston Community Center Dec. 1, hosted by the Kingston Lions.

It was a busy day Dec. 1, as this also was the 17th annual Pioneer Christmas at Forest City Stockade, and Immigrant Christmas at Minnesota Pioneer Park.

The Eden Valley-Watkins Elementary School Winter Music Program was Dec. 3 in the high school gym.

Watkins Senior Citizens had their Christmas party Dec. 5.

The Kimball Youth Choir performed Dec. 5 at the high school.

Dec. 5 was the last Eden Valley Council meeting for Peggy Bethel, after serving 22 years on the council. She was not re-elected this year.

Dec. 8 was Santa Day at Watkins Village Hall. “The Pirates’ Christmas Ransom” was the play performed before Santa came to visit.

Kimball’s Santa Day also was Dec. 8, at Kimball City Hall.

The Kimball band and choir concert was Dec. 10. The Eden
Valley-Watkins choir held their concert Dec. 10 in St. Anthony Church in Watkins.

The Red Cross Blodmobile visited Watkins Village Hall Dec. 12.

Holy Cross Catholic School performed their Christmas program, “Miracle at Midnight” Dec. 13.

The Dec. 13 city council meeting was the last for retiring Watkins mayor Jim Loch.

The Canadian Pacific Railway Holiday Train stopped briefly in Kimball before making its scheduled stop in Eden Valley Dec. 13. Before the train arrived, Eden Valley Community Center hosted a community party, including a concert by the Kingery Family.

Ertl Hardware’s customer appreciation days were Dec. 14 and 15 in Watkins.

Eden Valley Post Office acting postmaster LaRae Asfeld was one of four in the nation invited to Washington, D.C., to attend a sales meeting. The trip was a reward for her extra efforts, and included having lunch with the Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe.

It was announced in December that Matthew Brown has joined the law firm of Young & Brown in Annandale.

The Fairhaven Lions Santa Day was rescheduled to Dec. 16 because of weather; it was at the Schindele Elk Ranch in Clearwater.

Dec. 17 was the last regular EV-W school board meeting for board chair Frank Eder and business manager Nick Thielen. Both men retired after many years of dedicated service to the district.

The EV-W band winter concert was Dec. 17.

Eden Valley Senior Citizens Christmas party was Dec. 18 at the Eden Valley Event Center.

The Kimball Elementary K-3 Holiday program was Dec. 18, “An Old-Fashioned  Holiday Program.”

Isaac’s Foundation raised $35,000 to fight childhood cancer, and presented a check to the University of Minnesota for cancer research. The foundation team includes local childhood cancer survivors.

The EV-W Elementary staff variety show was Dec. 21, just before Christmas break.

Dec. 26, a new memorial was unveiled to the Dakota 38, the 38 Dakota Indians who were hung in 1862 in the largest mass execution in U.S. history, in Mankato.

St. Anthony Manor and
Watkins Area Homes residents collected gifts for a family in


Jack David Grunewald to Mike and Jill (Marple) of Watkins.


Dec. 2, David Nething, 84, at his Darwin home.

Dec. 4, Alida (Johnson) Gehrke, 88, at Good Shepherd Lutheran Home in Sauk Rapids.

Dec. 4, Andrew Moeller, 71, at Quiet Oaks Hospice House.

Dec. 10, John Reagan, 95, at the St. Cloud VA Medical Center.

Dec. 11, Dale Kleist, 64, in Glencoe.

Dec. 29, Melvin “Mel” Kackman, 84, at Hilltop Health Care Center in Watkins


Dec. 1, Cassandra Nelson and Alexandra Hirman were married in Litchfield.

Dec. 12, Kristine Dahnke and Jim Frick were married in Las Vegas.