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A last look at 2018; highlights from final half of year

Johnny Lara and Elli Clasemann, the 2018 Osakis High School Homecoming king and queen, take a walk around the gym after receiving their crowns. (Lowell Anderson / Osakis Review)1 / 12
Osakis FCCLA students Anna Woidyla (left) and Adam Petrich (right) and their FCCLA chapter advisor, Kelsey McKim, attended the FCCLA National Leadership Conference in Atlanta, Georgia last summer. (Contributed)2 / 12
Students at St. Agnes were excited to test out the new slides at the playground. (Al Edenloff / Osakis Review) 3 / 12
Kindergarteners Brielle Lusty left) and Sophia Kramer play with a robot controlled by seventh-graders Gabe Connell (middle) and Jack Boch during Hour of Code on Dec. 7, 2018. (Al Edenloff / Osakis Review)4 / 12
Brothers Damian Maus (left, dressed as Baymax from the Big Hero 6 movie) and Justin Maus (wearing a Dead Pirate costume from the movie, Pirates of the Caribbean) played a lollipop game at the Osakis Halloween Party last year. Volunteer Sue Sibell helped the boys. (Al Edenloff / Osakis Review)5 / 12
Caleb Miller, 5, of Osakis shows his foot power with a pull-through run at Schmidt's Pedal Pull at the 2018 Douglas County Fair last August. (Al Edenloff / Osakis Review)6 / 12
Skyler Just, 8, of Westport follows through on a throw during a bean bag game at Moonshine Madness in downtown Osakis last September. (Micah Friez / Osakis Review)7 / 12
Osakis sixth-grade students Destiney Jones (left) and Rylee Humble check out the bubbleology station at Enviro-Fest last September. (Contributed)8 / 12
Jasmine Buffington (left) and Amanda Berry act out a scene in the Osakis Theater Department's 2018 fall play. (Al Edenloff / Osakis Review)9 / 12
The Osakis High School Concert Band performs at the 2018 Veterans Day program. An empty table (pictured in the foreground) was displayed in honor of POW/MIA veterans. (Al Edenloff / Osakis Review)10 / 12
Mason Grove and Larissa Hoffarth, both of Osakis, put packages of instant oatmeal into bags during a Backpack Attack packing event at the Osakis High School on Sept. 19, 2018. (Al Edenloff / Osakis Review)11 / 12
Sunny skies made for sparkly cars at the Roddin’ Round the Lake Show-n-Shine car show in Osakis last July. More than 100 cars were displayed at the show, organized by the Central Lakes Cruzers of Osakis. (Celeste Edenloff / Osakis Review) 12 / 12

As the calendar turns to 2019, the Osakis Review decided to take a last look back at what made headlines in 2018.

Last week's Review recapped January through June. Here are the top stories for July through December.

July

The Osakis School Board approved a projected budget for the 2018-19 school year. Total revenue, a rough estimate based on student numbers, was projected at $10,388,187, and the projected total expenditures are $10,449,595.

A new organics recycling program is available through Pope/Douglas Solid Waste Management.

Two pilot programs for curbside organic recycling have begun in the cities of Osakis and Glenwood. Residents are encouraged to use either a paper bag or certified compostable bag to put materials in, to help reduce odor and mess.

A house explosion June 30 in Leslie Township left one person with severe burns to most of

her body. The explosion happened around 3:30 p.m. at 22832 161st Ave., Osakis in Leslie Township, just northeast of the Head of the Lakes Resort.

Britta Alverson of Osakis overcame a medical diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis to fulfill a dream of running Grandma's Marathon in Duluth. Britta, along with her brother-in-law, 17-year-old Will Alverson of Osakis, and his cousin, 19-year-old Brady Tongen of Annandale, completed the 26.2 mile race June 26.

Concerns about whether the city should regulate property owners who rent out their lake homes was a prime topic at the Osakis City Council meeting July 2. The council voted in favor of getting more information about a rental ordinance and how to approach vacation rental by owners (VRBOs) in the future.

The 27th annual Roddin' Round the Lake Show-n-Shine car show, organized by the Central Lakes Cruzers of Osakis, drew an estimated 120 vintage vehicles, some dating as far back as the 1930s.

Minor changes in the elementary and high school Student Handbooks for the Osakis Public Schools for the 2018-19 school year were approved. A dress code for the high school was redrawn.

The 11th annual Ferret Drive Floaters Pontoon/Boat Parade on Lake Osakis drew 15 watercraft.

The winner of the traveling trophy for the best decorated float was "The Wizard of Ozakis" by the

Hanf Family.

A 10-year, long-term facilities maintenance plan and revenue projection was approved by the Osakis School Board. The plan is a state requirement.

A group of children with curious minds and boundless energy giggled through a day of fun and learning at Park Osagi for "Rock the Park" — a Douglas County 4-H Day Camp.

August

Emily Wolf of Osakis turned her her passion for making pottery into a stoneware business, Wolf Run Pottery. She was among more than 100 artists displaying their works at Art in the Park in Alexandria.

Two Osakis High School students brought home awards from the Family Career and Community Leaders of America national leadership conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Anna Woidyla finished first in the nation in the Advocacy Junior category and Adam Petrick was 39th in the Illustrated Talk division.

The Douglas County Library has a new director — Dawn Dailey, a 1985 Osakis High School graduate.

Another Douglas County Fair is in the history books and Osakis residents were part of it — entering 4-H categories, going on rides, munching on a corndog or just taking in the sights and

sounds of the annual get-together.

A new board-approved referendum authority was passed by the Osakis School Board. The district has no current voter-approved referendum authority, and operated under a $300 per pupil board-approved referendum in 2017-18. The new referendum was set at $600, which is $124 less than the state maximum.

The family of Peter Achermann, who once farmed near Osakis and went missing in 2009, held a funeral service for him in Motley. Family and friends later celebrated his life at the family farm near Leader.

Fifteen-year-old Matt Ramey of Osakis and his fellow Scouts installed a flagpole in Park Osagi to complete Ramey's Eagle Scout project.

Residents or visitors can now take a free spin on one of the bicycles that are parked on the trail behind the Osakis Visitor's Center on Main Street.

September

A state-required public hearing to discuss the fate of the city-owned Osakis Liquor Store drew

many questions about its profitability but most of those who commented want to keep the store going. About 75 people attended the hour-long meeting on Aug. 30 and more than 20 spoke.

Downtown Osakis was buzzing with activity for the fifth annual Moonshine Madness Day. The weather was beautiful and the turnout was great, said organizers.

At its Sept. 4 meeting, the Osakis City Council set its 2019 preliminary general levy at $594,500

— a 3 percent increase from this year's levy of $573,000.

The Osakis School District received overall high marks on a new Minnesota Department of Education "report card" on all public schools that was released Aug. 30.

Osakis High School is all fired for homecoming week. Festivities began with a "powder puff" football game and "power volleyball." Elli Clasemann was crowned homecoming queen and

Johnny Lara was selected as king.

An incident that started in Osakis and ended in Sauk Centre Sept. 13, left a Stearns County

deputy with an arrow wound to his forearm and the suspect was shot in the left shoulder, buttocks and hand. The suspect, Ramey James Olson, 31, of Alexandria, was booked into

the Stearns County Jail on probable cause felony assault. The deputy, Paul Orvis, underwent surgery and was making a good recovery.

The Osakis School District is taking a hard look into the future needs of its facilities. During a work session on Sept. 10, the School Board reviewed a list of deficiencies including interior, mechanical, electrical, site, exterior and educational adequacy issues.

Fifty-five students in Osakis will be a little less hungry on the weekends, thanks to the United

Way of Douglas and Pope Counties "Backpack Attack" effort. About 60 volunteers packed the food on Sept. 19.

Eric Mueller, 30, of Bismarck, N.D. was charged with felony possession of burglary tools after he was arrested near the Heritage Apartments in Osakis Sept. 17. He also faces four outstanding

warrants in North Dakota for failing to appear in court on charges involving theft, possession

of meth and parole violations.

Douglas County commissioners approved a 2019 preliminary tax levy of $27,240,300, which is

a 2.99 percent increase from 2018.

October

Nearly 400 sixth-grade students in Todd County — including those from Osakis — learned about natural resources and the environment at the 24th annual Todd County Soil and Water Conservation District Enviro-Fest at the Dale and Marie Katterhagen farm east of Browerville.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources confirmed reports of zebra mussels in Sauk

Lake, near Sauk Centre in Todd County. Sauk Lake is downstream from Lake Osakis.

Michelle Renee Manders, 40, a former manager of the Osakis VFW Post was sentenced to 10 days in jail and ordered to pay $8,000 in restitution for theft. She had been charged with two counts of felony theft for allegedly taking money from the post's ATM machine over the course of three years for her own personal use.

At the Oct. 1 Osakis City Council meeting, Police Chief Chad Gulbranson said a vacant home on Eighth Avenue, known as the "rat house," is in the process of being sold, which should soon be followed by its demolition. The house has been overrun with rats and are running around the neighborhood.

Anna Woidyla of Osakis, along with her mother, Nancy, and several other family members, participated in the Walk to End Alzheimer's at Big Ole Central Park. They were inspired by Anna's grandmother, Doris Curtis, who died from dementia-related causes in January 2017.

The Osakis School Board ratified the sale of General Obligation School Refunding Bonds at its Oct. 9 meeting at an interest rate of 2.6 percent. This will result in a savings to district taxpayers of nearly $400,000 over the next eight years.

St. Agnes School blessed its new playground on Oct. 16. It was dedicated in honor of Harlan Tenhoff, a playground volunteer at the school for 28 years.

Osakis Public Schools will have a new Media Center, thanks to a generous gift of $50,000 from Newman Olson, Jr., and Sonja Olson.

Osakis High School theater students cashed in on one-liners and zingers during their performance of "Money to Burn!" — a comedy written by Pat Cook.

Douglas County commissioners received an unmodified or "clean" audit opinion based on the financial statements, which is the highest assurance they can receive.

Thirty kits of new active-shooter protective gear were donated to officers and deputies in the Alexandria and Osakis police departments and Douglas County Sheriff's Office, as well as to medical personnel who respond with SWAT team members.

November

Roger Wagner, a 1964 graduate of Osakis High School, was featured in a PBS TV series, "We'll Meet Again." While serving in Vietnam, Wagner was wounded in the leg and a doctor saved his leg from being amputated. The TV show reunited him with the doctor, Mayer Katz.

Witches, princesses, video game characters, movie villains and more turned out for the annual Osakis Community Halloween Party on Oct. 31.

Dr. Jim Tuorilla, a clinical psychologist in St. Cloud who is the National VFW Surgeon, was the keynote speaker at the Veterans Day program in Osakis. He urged people to show their appreciation of all veterans who served their country.

Kip Emerson won another term as Osakis mayor and Laura Backes was voted onto the Osakis City Council along with incumbent, Randy Anderson. Three people were elected onto the Osakis School Board — Becky Hensley, Greg Faber and Chris George.

Roughly 30 firefighters from Osakis and Alexandria battled a house fire in Nelson Nov. 16. The home belongs to Tracy Oberg. The fire is believed to have started in the kitchen.

The Osakis Police Department handled its first "through the ice" incident on Nov. 14. A side-by-side fell through while it was trying to plow an ice rink on Lake Osakis.

About 80 runners participated in the sixth annual "Turkey Dash" in Osakis on Thanksgiving morning. The 3.1 mile race raised just over $3,000, which will go into a scholarship fund to send local children with Type 1 diabetes to a camp.

The Osakis School Board discussed the possibility of adding full-time preschool for the 2019-2020 school year at its Nov. 14 regular meeting.

A front-page story provided information about a new solar farm near Osakis. Next to the Osakis Creamery, thousands of solar panels face the sun, collecting energy for the adjacent electrical grid. It has been feeding power to Xcel Energy since September.

December

Sleigh bells were jingling, wish lists were given to Santa and stockings were decorated in Osakis on Dec. 1 for Santa Day.

Some Osakis residents have been waking up to flocks of plastic pink flamingos in their yards. It's a fundraiser that will help 10 local students fly to Washington, D.C. this spring.

The Osakis Mitten Tree is once again brightening the Christmas of children whose families are struggling financially. The Osakis Women's Association has conducted the service project for more than 20 years.

The Osakis City Council approved a property tax levy increase of 3 percent for 2019. The levy increased by $21,500 — from $716,000 to $737,500. And the budget, which was set at $3.4 million, went up from last year's $3.2 million — a 6.1 percent increase.

Younger students connected with older students over computer coding during an "Hour of Code"

event, held during Computer Science Week. Students learned how to control robots and drones, and enter computer codes to achieve a goal.

Students in St. Agnes School presented a gift to the Osakis community Dec. 13 — "A Piece of Christmas," the school's annual Christmas program.

The maximum allowable tax levy for the Osakis School District was certified to the county auditor at the School Board's Truth in Taxation meeting Dec. 10. The levy is $1,751,014, an increase of 3.28 percent for 2019, or an increase of $55,540 from last year's levy.

The Osakis High School Music Department's Winter Band Concert Dec. 17 offered a wide variety of music performed by Junior Band, Senior Band and Jazz Band under the direction of Randy Resley.

Osakis area residents of all ages and backgrounds placed wreaths on the graves of veterans as

a special remembrance of those who fought for America's freedoms. It was Wreaths Across America Day.

The official Osakis School District Census was received by the School Board Dec. 10. The total number of children, from birth through high school, is 871, which is the third-highest number in 30 years of record keeping. This includes 460 elementary students and 411 high schoolers.

Al Edenloff

Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  

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