Tricounty News

2013, the year that was - January


Perhaps the biggest story of January 2013 was the merger and renaming of four branches of two banks into the new Harvest Bank to be based in Kimball. The former State Bank of Kimball and Atwater State Bank were merged in 2013, and reorganized under the name Harvest Bank. Keith Markwardt was named president of the new entity, with headquarters at the Kimball office. The change became official Feb. 11.

It can be noted that 2013 started out much as it’s predicted that 2014 will begin, weather-wise: C-O-L-D, with wind chills in the -25 to -35 degree range.

There were sufficient numbers of people infected with influenza in early January that St. Cloud Hospital, Meeker Memorial Hospital, St. Cloud VA Medical Center,  and other area hospitals issued a warning for sick visitors to stay away.

January 2013 saw the retirement of Cindy Stelten, a long-time volunteer fire department member. Steve Gohman also retired that month.

A long-time business, Hendrickson Plumbing & Heating, was turned over to John Hendrickson as owners Wayne and Sandra Hendrickson retired and moved to South Dakota to be closer to some of their children.

The Eden Valley Area Library started out the year with a $1,000 Meeker Cooperative grant through its “Roundup” program.

Blain Saukkola and Jeff Brutger of Mies Outland achieved advanced-level recognition in the John Deere service technician program.

In January 2013, Fr. Virgil Braun resigned as pastor of Assumption Catholic Church in Eden Valley. Fr. Jerome Naduvathaniyil from St. John’s took over as pastor. Braun died soon thereafter,
Feb. 22, at the St. Cloud Hospital.

Each of the three third-grade classrooms at KES received an iPad provided by the Kimball Lions and Fairhaven Lions. KES is entering 2014 in the midst of a campaign to raise funds for more iPads for KES classrooms, and several more have already been donated.

Minnesota Rep. Jeff Howe, R-Rockville, was sworn into office as the 88th Legislature began its 2013 session.

EV-W fourth- and fifth-grade book club received money from the Watkins Lions and Lioness to buy more books.

Jan. 2 kicked off the winter reading program at the Kimball Library and other libraries in the GRRL system; it ran through
Feb. 23. “Escape Into Reading” was the theme in 2013.

Jan. 3 the South Haven city council held their first meeting in their brand-new community center/city hall building.

Jan. 4 was a dairy day at Kimball Elementary as two Stearns County Dairy Princess (Kirsten Meier and Kimball’s own Maria Donnay) and Dairy Ambassador Natausha Simon visited the school. Students got to carve butter, and saw a demonstration of milking machines.

Jan. 4, Kimball Elementary fifth- and sixth-graders held their annual fish fry fundraiser at Generations Ballroom. The funds help pay for their field trips later in the school year.

Jan. 8, the Kimball police department was awarded two high-tech light bars for their police cars, for their participation in the Toward Zero Deaths program (formerly called Safe and Sober).

At the same meeting, both Cindy Stelten and Steve Gohman were recognized for their many years of service as volunteer firefighters in Kimball after their retirement from the department.

Jan. 9 the Eden Valley city council swore in newly-elected mayor Pete Korman, and council members Eric Reetz and Cheryl Thielen. Both Reetz and Thielen would resign from the council later in the year as each moved out of town. The city of Eden Valley was awarded a $10,500 Healthy Communities Partnership grant.

Jan. 9 was the first 2013 meeting of the EV-W school board. The district was nearly finished with a major construction project, and the high school offices were nearly ready for move-in day Jan. 21. The new gym was nearly finished.

Jan. 10 the Watkins city council recognized Tootz Tschumperln for her many years of service on the city council. Sue Unterberger, Melody Gertken, and Jerry Hesse were officially appointed council members, and Dennis Loch was officially appointed mayor at this meeting. 

Jan. 12 the Kimball FFA sponsored “Pig Day” at the Kimball Library.

Jan. 12, a benefit dinner and silent auction was held for Emily Sieben at St. Anthony Church in Watkins; the auction was so big it was held across the street in the Watkins Village Hall. “Kickin’ Cancer with Emily” was the theme. Emily was diagnosed with optic glioma, a rare cancer of the optic nerve.

Jan. 12, Lake Union Covenant Church held their annual Wild Game Dinner at the new church social hall in rural South Haven.

Jan. 13 St. Wendelin’s held a fundraising breakfast at Mary Hall at the school.

In a ceremony Jan. 13 at the St. Cloud Armory, Lawrence Huschle of Eden Valley was officially presented with the Purple Heart he earned 69 years earlier when he broke his spine after being shot down over Germany. Huschle spent just short of two years as a German POW with no medical treatment.

Jan 14-18 Kimball Elementary hosted John Heckman of Sauk Rapids as Artist in Residence. He worked with students in each grade level on art projects, and his specialty is depictions of Native Americans.

Jan. 14, Eden Valley American Legion Post 381 and Auxiliary held a game feed along with their regular meeting, at the Legion Post.

Jan. 15 the Red Cross Bloodmobile was at St. Anne’s Church in Kimball during National Blood Donor Month (January); 60 units were collected.

Jan. 17 started the Eden Valley Sportsmen’s Club snowmobile safety training three-day class.

Jan. 17 was the 4th annual spaghetti dinner fundraiser sponsored by the KAHS National Honor Society.

Jan. 19 was the DECA DJ Ball for EV-W students in grades 7-9.

The Kimball Area Chamber of Commerce held their 11th annual Vegas Night Social at Generations Ballroom Jan. 19.

Jan. 20 the St. Anthony Foresters of Watkins held a Bouja/Chicken Noodle Soup sale.

Jan. 20 the home of Dianna, Jake and Abby Ertl burned, with fire departments from Litchfield, Dassel and Watkins fighting the fire that cold night.

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, third-grade students at KES spent two weeks working on a mosaic portrait of Martin Luther King Jr.

Jan. 24 the Tri-County News did a story about EV-W basketball star Hannah Linz. Named three times to the Summit League All-Academic Team representing NDSU, Linz is still fighting Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and winning.

Also in the Jan. 24 Tri-County News was a photo and brief story about Eden Valley native Justin Bruno, Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class, on the job aboard the U.S.S. John C. Stennis aircraft carrier.

The Civil Air Patrol awarded Kimball student Weston Hine the Wright Brothers Award; he made the transition from cadet to non-commissioned officer having completed Phase I of the CAP cadet program. The CAP is the civilian arm of the United States Air Force.

Jan. 24-25 was the annual Minnesota Newspaper Association convention. The Tri-County News took home a record six awards.

Early morning Jan. 25 Ronald Molitor’s barn in Watkins was severely damaged by fire; five calves died in the fire.

Jan. 25 the Eden Valley-
Watkins one-act play performed for the EV-W high school; the public performance was Sunday,
Jan. 27. The play was “Selkie.”

Jan. 25 St. Anthony Manor in Watkins hosted its first Royal Ice Festival. Princess Patricia Robertson and Prince Arthur Asfeld were crowned.

Jan. 26 was the annual Highway 55 game, at EV-W high school.

Jan. 26, Holy Cross School held their “Crock and Roll” chili cook-off fundraiser.

Jan. 26 the Watkins Sportsman’s Club held their fishing contest on Clear Lake. Raffle winners won a snowmobile, cash, gun safe, camera, and many more prizes. Fourteen cash prizes were given for fish caught.

*** Jan. 27 was the broadcast on ESPN of the Winter XGames from Aspen, Colo.. Kimball native “Monster” Mike Schultz competed again, and won gold again, in the adaptive SnoCross. This win marked his third Winter XGames gold

Jan. 27 Holy Family Catholic United Financial hosted a breakfast fundraiser (for religious ed.) at St. Anthony Church in Watkins.

Snow Daze Week was Jan. 28 - Feb. 1 at EV-W. Coronation was Jan. 28 with juniors Nick Pauly and Kayla Kipf being crowned king and queen that afternoon. Candidates for prince and princess were Kayla Kipf, Madison Field, Jordan Geislinger, Shawny Hennen, Christina Salzl, Nick Pauly, Alex Nesenson, Cody Asfeld, Hunter Mathies, and Jordan Elliott. Attendant candidates were Tyler Neu, Trisha Nistler, Hunter Smith, Greta Stommes, Cory Necknor, Heidi Geislinger, Andrew Schlangen, and Rachael Neu.

Sno-Daze Week was Jan. 28 - Feb. 1 at KAHS. Coronation was Feb. 1 with seniors Logan Bartholomew and Kenzie Traurig being crowned king and queen. Other candidates were Torey Rohloff and Kaylee Petty, Colton Denn and Alissa Jones, Lane Blanchard and Kaylyn Mancini, Austyn Schlueter and Raelynn Callander, Bradley Mies and Hannah Zipoy, Ben Serbus and Stacy Hurrle, Caleb Anderson and Olivia Straley, Jonathan Massmann and Erin Wicker, and Brandon Loch and Shelby Schiefelbein.

Jan. 28 was the Kimball Area High School District Spelling Bee.

Jan. 29 was the EV-W Choir’s fundraising chili feed at the high school.

The Red Cross Bloodmobile was at EV-W high school Jan. 30. 90 donors participated, of whom 7 were first-time donors.

Jan. 31 U.S. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann met with the Kimball Area Chamber of Commerce at their January meeting, part of her listening sessions in the district.


Jan. 1, Holly Kay Helgeson was born to Eric and Jaclyn (Messer) Helgeson.


Jan. 8, Esther Loch, 87, of Eden Valley.

Jan. 9, Henry Sullivan, 85, of Eden Valley.

Jan. 11, Monte White, 61, of Cottage Grove.

Jan. 22, Kelly Dalton, 48, of Watkins.

Jan. 22, Lois Haag, 78, of Cold Spring.

Jan. 25, Larry Nystrom, 54, of Kimball.

Jan. 25, Roger Robinson, 77, of Blaine (formerly of Kimball).

Jan. 28, Susan (Lund) Cigar, 52, of San Pedro, Calif.