The second half of 2019 in the Osakis area will be remembered for fun festivals, new businesses, Eagle Scout accomplishments and a football team that advanced all the way to the state tournament.

Politics also came to the fore – an expensive ditch project involving the Sauk River Watershed District drew heated questions, and local governments proposed modest property tax increases for 2020.

Here’s a look back at what made news in the last six months of the year. (The first six months were featured in last week’s Osakis Review.)


Summer School will be held at Osakis Public Schools July 22-Aug. 8 for an expected 71 students in grades 1-8. Casey Reis is the director of the program.

Saturday, July 6 was a beautiful day for the 12th annual Lake Osakis Pontoon/Boat Parade. The 2019 winner of the coveted traveling trophy was the Larson family with a “Wild West” theme.

Pat Kalpin will hold a new position of half-time teacher, half-time activities director in the coming school year, following School Board action on June 10.

The streets of downtown Osakis were a hot rod heaven on July 12. People near and far checked out more than 120 vintage vehicles at the 28th annual Roddin’ Round the Lake Show-n-Shine car show sponsored by the Central Lakes Cruzers.

Administrative salaries were approved by the Osakis School Board. A three-year contract was approved for Superintendent Randy Bergquist and salaries were also approved for principals Brad Hoffarth and Shad Schmidt.

New bleachers will be in place for the 2019 Osakis football season, following action by the School Board. Two sections of bleachers at the baseball and softball fields will be replaced, and two sections will be added on the visitor football side. The cost was $34,000.

With temperatures near 90 degrees, a good-sized crowd still had a cool time at Galeon’s Community Picnic on July 18. Between 175 and 200 people attended.

Fourteen children from throughout the area combined science with fun at Park Osagi on July 24. The “Superhero Science Day Camp” was the second of four hosted by the Douglas County 4-H.


A group of Osakis friends completed a six-day bike ride across the state of Iowa last month and raised $8,927 for Ivy’s Legacy Foundation, a Sauk Centre-based nonprofit that provides comfort and support to infants and families. The team included Jim Pfankuch, Cody DeWenter, Kenzie Schmiesing, Dacotah Stanek, Kasondra Collins, Adam Saltmarsh and Shane Massmann.

Hundreds of hot dogs were consumed at Osakis’ first-ever National Night Out in Park Osagi on Aug. 6. It was hosted by the Osakis Fire Department, Police and Emergency Medical Responders.

Lakeview Lanes in Osakis has a new name — The Bowling Barn & Grill — and new own-

ers, Bryan and Tonya Danielson. The couple spent months refurbishing the building. (It plans to open today, Jan. 8, from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.)

The Douglas County Fair was a good one, drawing about 48,000 people for all four days, Wednesday through Saturday.

Over the last 30 years, the total number of miles driven by Osakis school bus drivers increased from 167,210 to 233,536.

Osakis Boy Scout Jacob Uhl completed his Eagle Scout project with the help of his fellow scouts. He erected a Smokey the Bear fire indicator sign in Bill Sliper Lions Park.

Douglas County Commissioner Jerry Rapp made the motion to keep salaries and per diems the same for county commissioners in 2020.

An Osakis couple, Colette and Brad Vandergon, have a passion for ballooning — and for creating special moments for adults with special needs. They set up their hot air

balloon in a Lake Geneva Christian Center field to give tethered rides to those attending Minnesota Camp.


Logan Lipke, 15, of Osakis, is finding solace in music. He writes music, plays instruments, sings and will be putting out a Christian music CD soon.

The weather didn’t stop those attending Moonshine Madness on Sept. 7-8. Organizers said that despite the rainy conditions, those attending made the best of it.

Osakis Public School was buzzing with excitement as it began a new school year. First-day enrollment figures from the district showed a total of 847 students, the highest total in six years.

Twin sisters Jenni George and Jacqui Schmittbauer, plus their niece, Johnelle Wiener, opened J Decor 54. The boutique sells refurbished furniture, home decor and clothing.

A new cell phone policy was enacted in Osakis Public Schools. Cell phones and other electronic devices are restricted from all academic settings unless prior permission is given by the instructor for direct instruction, presentations, or projects.

Daniel Savageau and Camryn Hoffarth were crowned homecoming king and Queen. They reigned over the week, which led up to the football game against Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City.

Osakis Public Schools performed well in the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments, scoring above the state average in science, math and reading. Osakis also had excellent attendance at 95.8%.


The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is trying to spread the word about climate change and used Lake Osakis as an example. The lake now has “ice out” more than a week earlier now than it did in the 1940s.

Sixth-grade students at Osakis Public Schools and St. Agnes School learned about natural resources, wildlife and more at the Todd County Soil and Water Conservation District EnviroFest.

A total of 27 tractors participated in the first-ever Osakis FFA Tractor Drive. The event raised more than $3,300 for students to attend the FFA National Convention in Indianapolis.

Todd County Solid Waste leaders are proposing a $9.5 million project to upgrade and expand the transfer station in Browerville.

As part of National Fire Prevention Week, the Osakis Fire Department visited Osakis Public Schools, St. Agnes School and Galeon Senior Living. They also held an open house at the fire hall.

The new owners of O-Town Tavern in Osakis are Kathie and Dave Darrington. They bought the bar-restaurant from brothers Pat and Jeff Kalpin, who opened the place in August 2013.

About 80 people gathered at the Osakis City Council meeting at the Community Center to express concerns about the costs of Judicial Ditch 2 maintenance that will take place over the next decade. In 2018, the Sauk River Watershed District passed a motion to assess the clean-out of the sedimentation ponds at $650,000.

The Osakis School District will receive new secured entrances, new chairs in the high school gym, two new water fountains, a new baseball scoreboard and a new score table for the high school gymnasium.

The Osakis High School presented its fall play, “Arsenic and Old Lace.”

Osakis child care provider Ann Sadlemyer, who has cared for children in her home for 28 years, was one of seven providers recognized as the 2019 In Home Family Child Care Providers of the Year.


The Osakis football team won the Section 6AA championship at the Fargodome, defeating the

Pillager Huskies 29-6 to advance to the state tournament for the first time since 2005. They were later defeated in the quarterfinals by Barnsville, 28-6.

The streets of Osakis were filled with all sorts of costumed characters for Halloween. Children went trick-or-treating and visited First Presbyterian Church.

Those in the Armed Forces, along with law enforcement officers and emergency workers deserve appreciation and respect, not just on Veterans Day, but every day. That’s the message Todd County Sheriff’s Office Chaplain Dave Greaver shared at the Osakis Veterans Day Program.

The Osakis Chamber of Commerce is organizing a “Shopping Local for the Holidays” event

in downtown Osakis on Dec. 5, offering later shopping hours, a chili cook-off, bonfire, discounts at local store and more.

Aidan Gulbranson, 15, of Osakis shot a huge buck, scored at 188 inches, during the youth firearms season.

The Osakis School District received a clean audit from CliftonLarsonAllen, the highest level of assurance auditors can give.

A costly ditch project near Osakis continues to draw heat. About 150 attended a public forum at the Community Center by the Sauk River Watershed District Board of Directors. State Rep. Mary Franson called the directors “unelected bureaucrats” who were not addressing taxpayers’ concerns.

As part of their “Take Action” project, the Osakis Girl Scout Troop 475 made tie blankets for cancer patients.


Runners didn’t let 20-degree temperatures and an icy wind stop them from completing the seventh annual Turkey Dash for Diabetes on Thanksgiving in downtown Osakis. About $3,000 was raised.

The Osakis Women’s Association is brightening the holidays for children and families through its Mitten Tree effort. A paper “mitten” is made for each child in need and placed on the Christmas tree at City Hall. Residents pick a mitten and shop for presents.

Santa Day was a hit in Osakis. Children had their photos taken with Santa, decorated cookies and stockings, made ornaments and created “magic reindeer food.”

Roberta Olson, former Osakis Review editor and Echo Press reporter, published her latest book, “The Hermit Murder — Whodunit?”

A Dec. 2 crash on Interstate 94 near Osakis sent both drivers to the hospital and closed down a portion of the freeway for under two hours.

The Osakis City Council approved a 6% increase in the 2020 overall budget. The city also plans to collect 3% more in property taxes in 2020.

Students at St. Agnes School put on their Christmas play, “Special Delivery,” based on God’s special delivery, the newborn savior.

The Osakis School Board approved a tax levy increase of 1.88% for 2020. The increase is below the 5.11% maximum levy certification allowed by the state.

Austin Arias, 21, opened a coffee shop in Osakis – Abundant Life Coffee. He grinds his own beans and serves up an array of specialty drinks.

The Osakis High School Music Department presented its annual Winter Band Concert, which included a few Christmas selections.