A last look at 2018
With a bright, shiny year ahead, the Osakis Review decided to take a last look back at what made headlines in 2018.
This first part recaps January through June. Next week's Review will highlight the last half of the year.
Teacher salaries for the Osakis School District have been settled for the next two years, 2017-18 and 2018-19, at an increase of 3.39 percent for the first year, and 2.02 percent for the second year.
The Osakis VFW Post 7902 is seeking new members. Commander Mike Kral said a big reason why people should become members traces back to the beginning of the organization when a small but determined group of veterans came together to help all veterans who put their lives on the line while defending their country's freedom.
Tempers flared and accusations flew at the Jan. 8 Osakis City Council meeting over snowy sidewalks. The city's sidewalk ordinance delegating snow removal responsibilities to homeowners and residents has been a topic of conversation at city council meetings for months.
Craig Williams' appeal of his manslaughter conviction appears to be over. According to documents filed with the Minnesota Court of Appeals, Williams has voluntarily dismissed his own appeals case. Williams was convicted early in 2017 of manslaughter in the death of his ex-wife, Nancy Williams of rural Long Prairie.
The Osakis Hunger Coalition hosted a "Soup and Sandwich Meal" at the Osakis Community Center on Jan. 21. Donations supported the United Way's Backpack Attack program.
Randy Neumann was named chair of the Todd County Board of Commissioners at its first meeting of the year. He served as vice chair in 2017.
A 2017 report given by Police Chief Chad Gulbranson to the city council detailed a 17 percent increase in the number of service calls the police responded to from 2016.
A donkey basketball game in Osakis on Jan. 27 provided fun entertainment for a good cause — the Osakis First Responders. About 600 people came out to the Osakis High School for Dairyland Donkey Ball.
Seventh grader Scott Ellefson had a memorable "endeavor" at the annual Osakis Spelling Bee on Tuesday, Jan. 23. That was the word he spelled to win the event. It took 15 rounds to determine the champion. Isaac Maddock placed second and Stephy Marthaler was third.
Construction is under way on a new 15-unit apartment building in Osakis near the lake public access. Roach Development, owned by Matt Roach, is building the three-story apartment complex at 101 Central Avenue.
The Catholic Schools Raffle returns this winter to St. Agnes School in Osakis, giving residents the opportunity to turn $5 into a brand new car or $20,000 in cash while supporting their local Catholic school.
A controversial snow removal ordinance was abolished by the Osakis City Council. Prior to its abolishment, the ordinance stated that community members who live on certain streets are required to remove the snow and ice from their sidewalks within 72 hours. If they failed to do so,
the city would bill the resident for the cost.
Despite the country's recent political turmoil, one third grader at St. Agnes School in Osakis was
very happy by the White House this year. Robert Lee received a personal letter from President Donald Trump after sending him a Flat Stanley cutout as part of a class assignment.
The Alexandria Industries annual "Fishing for the Cure" ice fishing tournament on Smith Lake was a success. The event raised more than $50,000. More than 1,400 participants took to the ice, including several anglers from Osakis.
The Osakis Trailblazers Saddle Club rode through another fun, successful year, taking home many awards in the process. The club held its annual banquet on Jan. 27.
On Feb. 24, eighth-grade students from nine area schools, including Osakis, gathered at Alexandria Technical and Community College for the Fluid Power Action Challenge. Students learned about using fluids under pressure to generate, control and transmit power.
Help is on the way to improve water and sewer systems in Osakis. The city will receive $1.13
million in loans from the Minnesota Public Facility Authority for sanitary sewer rehabilitation work and to make improvements to the city's water distribution system.
Sunshine and 40 degrees paved the way for an enjoyable afternoon at the 14th annual Ice Golf Tournament on Lake Osakis. Twenty-one teams competed in the event, which raised money for the Osakis Fire Department and is sponsored by the Osakis VFW.
Osakis area families enjoyed food, prizes and fun at the annual St. Agnes School Carnival. About 500 people attended the event and the school raised roughly $8,000.
Stricter rules are now in place for private vacation home rentals. On March 6, Douglas County commissioners unanimously approved amendments to the zoning and lodging ordinances that
will now require all private vacation home rentals to be licensed through Horizon Public Health.
Everyone was at least a wee bit Irish in Nelson on March 17. The Corral Saloon and Eatery held
its annual St. Patty's Day Bash that included activities both inside and outdoors.
The Osakis School Board approved the calendar for the 2018-19 school year. The biggest change is for when the graduation ceremony will be taking place, which was set for Friday, May 24, 2019 at 7 p.m. Traditionally, graduation has taken place the Saturday after Memorial Day.
Osakis City Council members have been discussing the need for a new City Hall space for nearly a year. The current City Hall building functions as the police department, the city's
administrative offices and includes the water treatment facilities and municipal wells. Council members said the current City Hall isn't big enough to adequately house all of the various city departments and host the city council meeting every month.
Children clapped and strutted to the Chicken Dance, rocked to Macarena and learned how low they could go doing the limbo. They were moving to the beat of the Early Childhood Dance sponsored by Osakis Early Childhood Family Education on March 19.
Famous figures who helped shape history came to life at the Osakis Public School for the annual "Wax Museum" — a chance for fourth-grade students to present their homework
on historical leaders.
More than 100 kids enjoyed Osakis Easter Day at Pollard Community Center. The Osakis Fire
Department Auxiliary sponsored it.
Brad and Kristie Kirckof of Sauk Centre are the new owners of the Tip Top Dairy Bar in Osakis. They purchased it from Bernice Kostrzewski and her son, Kyle. The Kirckofs plan to keep everything the same and continue the tradition that was started back in 1955 by Norman Hansen.
The former manager of the Osakis VFW Post faces two felony theft charges for allegedly taking money from the post's ATM machine for her own personal use. Michelle Renee Manders, 39, was charged with theft of more than $5,000 and theft of more than $1,000.
Jessica Jean Wagner, 28, of Osakis was sentenced for leaving methamphetamine paraphernalia, including needles, a pipe and syringes, near her children. Wagner, who entered a
guilty plea, was ordered to serve 60 days in jail and placed on supervised probation for five years.
Small met big at the parking lot of the Osakis Early Childhood Family Education April 12. It was Big Vehicle Night — a chance for young children to get a close look at a wide range of big
Osakis students in sixth through eighth grade entered drawings of a bald eagle into the VFW Auxiliary's "Patriotic Art Explorers" Middle School Art Contest. Eighth-grade winners were first place — Emily Kallstrom, second place — MacKenzie Holmquist and third place — Zander Redning. The sixth grade winner was Victoria Hoeper.
The Osakis High School Music Department presented its Spring Band Concert in the Osakis
Fine Arts Auditorium.
Dan Wessel, the new president of the Osakis Area Chamber of Commerce, wants to give businesses more reasons to join the organization. Wessel wants to build off of successful events, such as the chamber's "12 Days of Christmas" celebration.
Herberger's stores throughout the country will be closing their doors soon. Bon-Ton Inc., the parent company of Herberger's, announced April 18 that the sale of its inventory and assets to liquidators was approved by a bankruptcy court. Herberger's was founded in Minnesota, with its first store opening in Osakis in 1890.
More than 50 couples attended this year's prom at the Osakis High School. The theme for the evening was "Enchanted Garden."
Morgan Herzog, a student at Osakis Public School, has been selected as the winner of Arvig's essay contest. She will attend the Foundation for Rural Services Youth Tour this June.
A night of plays, beautiful artwork, music, and dramatic and comedic performances took center
stage at the Osakis High School for Starry Starry Night.
Dustin Kalo Wagner, 30, of Osakis was sentenced for leaving methamphetamine paraphernalia, including needles, a pipe and syringes, near his children. Wagner, who entered a guilty plea, was ordered to serve 165 days in jail but he received credit for the 165 days he spent behind bars while the case proceeded. He was also placed on five years of supervised probation.
Cassie Walsh, a 2002 Osakis High School graduate, took over the role of Osakis VFW quartermaster from her uncle, Jim Tenhoff, after he passed away from pancreatic cancer last
December. She is also the first female officer at the Osakis VFW.
City of Osakis department leaders agreed at a May 7 city council meeting that low wages have been a problem in Osakis for some time. The council voted to increase the pay of a part-time public works employee to $14 per hour.
The Osakis Elementary School 2018 Spring Choir Concert included a variety of performances, from patriotic tunes and a Nigerian boat song to songs about green, speckled frogs and Pete
Newton Earl, a retired pilot from Osakis, was inducted into the Enlisted Combat Aircrew Roll
of Honor last month for his role in rescuing 12 stranded sailors during the Vietnam War.
Audit Manager Michael Bosl presented the 2017 audit findings at the May 7 Osakis City Council meeting. The good news is that Bosl reported "really stable activity within the general fund" and suggested that the city was "really financially healthy."
State Sen. Bill ingebrigtsen was the keynote speaker at the Osakis Memorial Day service. He quoted General George S. Patton: "It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived."
Tim Roggenbuck, Osakis High School principal, "won" the Kiss the Goat contest. He gave a quick smooch to Mazie, a goat owned by the family of high school senior, Shane Massmann.
Two long-time Osakis Public Schools employees retired. Dallas Triebenbach was a bus driver with almost 20 years of service. Bonnie Schultz worked through three generations of children during her 42 years as secretary for the elementary school.
Fifty-seven graduates from the Osakis High School Class of 2018 received their diplomas. The student speakers at the ceremony were Derek Hetland, Lauren Savageau, Riley Mounsdon,
Karlee Hoffarth and Shane Massmann.
A fire that started in an attached garage moved quickly to Jeff and Mandy Lien's house at 502 6th Ave. W. in Osakis on May 31, as members of the Osakis Fire Department fought to keep the fire contained. The upstairs portion of the home was a total loss and the basement area sustained water and smoke damage.
Kids climbed, bounced, slid and ate pizza at the Osakis Early Childhood Family Education's Family Fun Night at the Osakis Elementary gym.
Jose Herrera-Torres was sentenced to 25½ years in prison for stabbing his girlfriend to death at
their Long Prairie home last July. Herrera-Torres, who was convicted of second-degree intentional murder last November, was credited for the 312 days he's spent in jail while the
The Osakis City Council discussed the possibility of the Osakis Public Works crew getting an extra helping hand in the future.
Robert Paul Radtke, 28, of Evansville, who was arrested in Osakis, was sentenced to 15 months in prison and 198 days in jail for felony possession of methamphetamine. He was charged with two other felonies — possessing stolen property and damaging property — but those were dismissed. His prison sentence was stayed for 10 years. The charges stem from an Aug. 11, 2017 incident after Osakis police investigated a report of a burglary at Andy's Customs LLC.
Torn and tattered flags were properly disposed of during an official flag burning ceremony at the Osakis VFW on June 14.
At its June 19 meeting, the Douglas County commissioners approved a conditional use permit for Virkus Properties LLC to allow a special event facility for up to 500 people. The property, Crooked Willow Wedding and Events, is in Osakis Township on County Road 82 between Nelson and Osakis
Good weather and historical tie-ins to the first Osakis Festival 50 years ago made for a memorable celebration in Osakis June 23-24. Lots of children showed up for kids'
activities in Park Osagi and families enjoyed the vendor displays. Big crowds also turned out for the grand parade and many other activities.