Bus assistant charged with molesting six elementary students

Two children were assaulted both days, the complaint indicates.All of the parents were notified and three of the students were interviewed and examined by a physician at Midwest Children’s Resource Center. 3 ride also shows him assaulting a total of five students the same way.Video obtained from the bus during a Jan. The district statement did not name Kneifl, but court, police and jail records identify him and describe allegations against him.According to the criminal complaint:The father of a 4-year-old girl told police Saturday, Feb. The Feb. 4, that Kneifl sat next to her on the bus Friday, Feb. 3, and first rubbed her leg and then rubbed her genitals over her clothes in a rough manner. They also received video from the bus and other information. Harvey Theodore Kneifl, 70, of Woodbury was charged Thursday, Feb. Harvey KneiflWOODBURY, Minn. He denied rubbing their genital area and said he makes the girls feel good because “they come from a hard life and likely do not get any sort of affection at home.”Kneifl also told police he became closer to the children than their parents are. — A school bus assistant is accused of molesting six young students who rode a bus serving preschool and special needs children. Five students are 4 years old, the sixth alleged victim is 5.Kneifl was arrested at his Woodbury home Wednesday and booked at the Washington County jail.South Washington County Schools immediately placed Kneifl on paid administrative leave and launched its own investigation when it received a complaint against him Monday, Feb. He said he sits by girls because they are “more fun,” the complaint says.In the email to district parents before Kneifl was charged, Jacobus said that “while it is frustrating to many,” the district is prohibited by law from providing additional information about the complaint it received and other related information.”Within the bounds of these constraints, we will do our best to honor our obligations to our students, their families and our employees,” Jacobus wrote.Jacobus said the district takes seriously the situation and that there is not an ongoing risk to students.”The safety and security of our students, employees and all who visit our facilities remains our highest priority and is a necessary precursor for providing a high-quality education to our students in an environment that is safe and welcoming for all,” Jacobus wrote, adding that the district will communicate as openly as it can within the law.Kneifl was hired by the district July 20, 2012. 9, with six counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct for allegedly groping children over their clothes during rides to or from school. 27 route showed Kneifl molesting three children over their clothing. The route serves preschool children and students with special needs.Police reported that bus video shows Kneifl touching the genital area of multiple students over their clothing. All three said Kneifl touched and rubbed their genital area.When interviewed by police Wednesday, Kneifl said he likes to “tickle, poke and hug the children” and that he rubs girls’ thighs with his hands, the complaint says. Kneifl was not the usual bus attendant on that route.Police contacted the school district’s bus department, which provided information on all children who were on that bus route. She told her parents she was scared of his actions. 6, according to a statement Superintendent Keith Jacobus sent to parents Thursday.

20-year-old charged with arson for burning parents’ house

He lived in the home with his parents and two 3-year-old children.His story changed. 3, authorities say — but not before he had moved his DVDs, books, computer and other personal items out of the way. When that didn’t work, he went down two flights of stairs, filled another pail and tried again unsuccessfully.Fire alarms blaring, he woke the rest of his family, who had been asleep in the home. 8 in Renville County District Court with three felonies for first-degree arson and negligent fire.Originally, Renville County deputies believed the fire — reported around 6:45 a.m. from the 79000 block of 350th Street in rural Olivia — was caused by a rag with lighter fluid on it that had spontaneously combusted overnight, a news release stated.That was also the explanation Blackhawk initially told the sheriff’s office immediately after the fire, according to the criminal complaint on the charges. All escaped safely.The Olivia Fire Department arrived 15 minutes later to flames through the roof of the home. — A 20-year-old man lit his parents’ Olivia home on fire early Dec. The residence sustained between $50,000 and $75,000 worth of damage, displacing all five residents.Blackhawk is currently in custody at the Renville County Jail. They believe the fire was actually ignited after 16 ounces of lighter fluid from three separate bottles was poured upstairs in the home, then lit on fire with a Zippo-style lighter.Blackhawk moved DVDs, books, his computer and a blanket into a different room before allegedly igniting the fire.According to the criminal complaint, Blackhawk watched the fire for a while, then tried to extinguish it with a pail of water. Wahkan Otahta Blackhawk was charged Feb. When he did that, he said, he accidentally dropped the lighter into the lighter fluid, igniting the fire.Authorities came to a slightly different explanation, court documents say. According to the criminal complaint, Blackhawk told investigators in a subsequent interview he had actually decided to test his lighter after accidentally spilling some lighter fluid. Wahkan Otahta BlackhawkOLIVIA, Minn.

Downwind killer gets 35 years

He asked Judge John Melbye to hand down the most severe punishment allowed.Downwind’s sister Kristy White spoke to Melbye as well, saying she tried to keep Downwind away from Cimmarusti.”I did everything in my power for Rose,” White said. 7, 2015.Davis pleaded guilty to aiding an offender and was sentenced to 10 years and three months in prison in August. “For her to be buried in the woods and burned, this is horrible. “I pray that one day you can find it in your hearts to forgive me.”Those gathered in the courtroom responded with a smattering of “no ways.”Despite the harsher sentence, Darla Banks said she was not satisfied.”It’s not over, it’s just beginning,” Banks said. “Me knowing that Marchello’s biggest fear was the cops and to go to jail and that now he’s going to be sitting in jail, I’m not sure if that’s enough. Banks said that had he been younger, he would have considered taking the law into his own hands.”That monster who still breathes air and hears news of his children… — As Marchello Cimmarusti was led from a courtroom to the Beltrami County Jail on Thursday, members of Rose Downwind’s family shouted after him. All three men kept Downwind’s death and her body’s whereabouts a secret until Cimmarusti turned himself in on Dec. Everything about it is horrible.”Cimmarusti, 41, killed the 31-year-old mother of five, of Redby, at a south Bemidji home on Oct. Six of Downwind’s family members gave victim impact statements, describing the hole Downwind’s death has left in their lives.”It’s a mother’s nightmare, a mother’s horror,” said Darla Banks, Downwind’s mother. “I hope you die,” a member of the crowd yelled, before Cimmarusti returned to the jail.Cimmarusti, who killed Downwind in October 2015 and pleaded guilty April 18 to second-degree intentional murder, was sentenced to 35 years in prison during the tense and tearful hearing. Rossbach pleaded not guilty to the same crime, but was found guilty by a jury in October and received a sentence of 16 years and nine months.Cimmarusti was given a longer sentence than Minnesota guidelines call for due to the mutilation of Downwind’s body and the emotional distress he caused her family.Downwind’s grandfather Dennis Banks, a founder of the American Indian Movement, also spoke before Cimmarusti was sentenced. He said he tried his best to keep the family together, but said that in the end he was to blame.”There’s no greater consequence than the grief and shame,” he said. He and two other men — Christopher Davis and Brandon Rossbach — then transported her body to an area northwest of Bemidji, where they burned and buried her. It’s not enough.” “But Rose is gone.”Banks added that he was saddened that Cimmarusti was able to make a plea deal. his life goes on,” Banks said of Cimmarusti. “I was there for my sister every step of the way.”Cimmarusti tearfully apologized to Downwind’s family before the hearing came to a close. Marchello Anthony Cimmarusti1 / 2Rose Downwind2 / 2BEMIDJI, Minn. 20, 2015 during an argument over utility money.

Suspect in 5-year-old’s kidnapping, murder wants grand jury testimony for defense prep

8, in Cass County District Court, where public defender Corey Allen Harbott requested release of the documents.Cass County Attorney Christopher Strandlie, who is prosecuting the case, said the request is common in cases in which a grand jury is convened.In October, the grand jury indicted Anderson on 19 criminal charges, including first-degree murder, kidnapping and criminal sexual conduct.”The defense has a right to have the transcripts, but since the grand jury is confidential, they need to ask the court to have them released,” Strandlie said in response to the request for transcripts.Judge Jana M. — The defense attorney for a Coon Rapids man accused in the murder and sexual assault of 5-year-old Alayna Jeanne Ertl last summer wants transcripts from a grand jury’s indictment released for review. Zachary Todd Anderson, 25, appeared Wednesday, Feb. Zachary Todd AndersonWALKER, Minn. When the girl’s parents woke up Alayna and Anderson were gone, as well as the family’s GMC Sierra truck.Later that day, authorities tracked down Anderson and Alayna at Anderson’s family’s cabin in rural Cass County, where deputies and other law enforcement officers swept the area and found Anderson, who was in knee-deep water in a swampy area.The complaint states Anderson eventually told investigators where Alayna was hidden and officers found the girl’s deceased, naked body completely submerged in the water and hidden under some brush and other debris.The initial findings of Alayna’s autopsy indicated the cause of death was homicidal violence due to strangulation with other evidence of blunt force trauma to the victim’s head. Austad scheduled an April 12 hearing to address the admissibility of evidence in the case.On Aug. 20, the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a missing child.According to the criminal complaint, Anderson was at Alayna’s house the night before and stayed overnight. The forensic examination of the victim also revealed evidence of a sexual assault.If convicted, Anderson could be sentenced to life in prison.

Great Indoors: Love pancakes? Try a stack cake

Roll out a small rope, long enough to go around the cake. Instead of making it rainbow colors, I chose pink and blue boxed cake mixes. (The ropes were about 24 inches long.) Brush the rope with a mixture of brown, yellow and white food coloring and water. She’s a trained pastry chef, but she does her best to show us home bakers how to do what she does.After watching her tutorial on the pancake stack cake, I tweaked it a bit by making it just four layers instead of six. Of course, it was also fun when they’d come home from school and share the cards they received (and maybe even let me have some candy). (Depending upon how heavy the bottle is, you might need to further support it by placing a bamboo skewer near the balloon stick and molding caramel around both the balloon stick and the bamboo skewer.) Pour enough caramel sauce over the cake so it drips over the side.Finally, top with 2 yellow Starburst candies to represent the butter.Recipe adapted from Elise Strachan, My Cupcake Addiction/Sweet Smarts I miss the days when we’d go out and buy cards for every kid in their class. It should be the color of a pancake. Mold the caramel around the exposed stick to make it look like dripping syrup.Attach an empty caramel sauce bottle on top of the stick. So I asked myself, “What is it that they really love and I could make part of our day?”After considering all of the things they love — and realizing that I probably can’t get Lin-Manuel Miranda to come over and perform “Hamilton” for them — I settled on something having to do with pancakes.My husband or I make pancakes for our daughters every Saturday. So I thought it might be fun to go all-out by making a pancake stack cake.I had seen the pancake stack cake last fall while catching a show on The Food Network called “Sweet Smarts.” It was hosted by Elise Strachan, the woman behind the website and YouTube channel, “My Cupcake Addiction.”Her elaborate cupcake and cake creations are out-of-this-world cool and many have gone viral. 1 / 2Pancake stack cake for Valentjne's Day withFondant and caramel. (These fondant layers are what make your cake look like a stack of pancakes.)Remove the bamboo skewers and set aside. (Let’s be honest: I’m only a home baker, shortcuts are sometimes necessary.) Make sure to check out the video we put together to see how we made it. Place one layer of cake over the stick and frost. Let cool completely. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor2 / 2FARGO — Valentine’s Day changes as your children grow up. Make the frosting. It’s one of our longest-standing family traditions and the cause of our excessive Bisquick and Log Cabin syrup budget. In fact, I think I’ll save a piece for Lin-Manuel Miranda in case he reconsiders.Pancake Stack CakeServes: 24Ingredients:2 boxed cake mixes (any kind, but I chose Duncan Hines Pink Velvet and Blue Velvet)2 pouches of Pillsbury Simply Pure Buttercream Frosting or 2 tubs of ready-made vanilla frosting(Ingredients for cake and frosting which depending upon brand might include: oil, butter, eggs and water)1 box Wilton white fondantBrown, yellow and white food coloring1 bag of caramels (I used Kraft caramel bits)Caramel sauce (about ½ cup)2 yellow Starburst candies2 or 3 Bamboo skewersMini balloon stickTapeDirections:Make cakes according to package directions. I think it turned out pretty great. We’d spend time carefully Scotch-taping a Dum Dums lollipop or Tootsie Roll to each little Disney Princess or Power Ranger card. Tape the base of the balloon stick to a cake plate. My girls might be too old for that, but I would still like to do something special for them this Valentine’s Day. Roll out a large circle of fondant to place on top of the cake. (I chose to stabilize the cake by putting a couple of bamboo skewers into it.) Refrigerate.While cake is in the refrigerator, prepare your fondant. Brush with the food coloring mixture. Wrap rope around the cake. Melt caramels for a few seconds in the microwave until they have the consistency of clay. Repeat with the remaining layers. Remove the mini balloon from the stick. Repeat until the entire outside of the cake is covered.

University of St. Thomas names area students to Dean’s List

Students must post grade-point averages of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale to be named to the dean’s list. More than 2,000 of the university’s undergraduates were named to the fall semester dean’s list.Area students named to the list:AitkinMoriarty, Molly J.BaxterLeland, Nicole K.Wyatt, Brienna L.BrainerdCollins, Christian J.Davidge, Mackenzie C.Johnson, Keara S.Johnson, Natasha J.Kalenberg, Brandon C.Rud, Lauren M.East Gull LakeFitterer, Ashley K.MerrifieldBrine-Doyle, Erin M.Pequot LakesDotty, Sydney J.Ryan, Caitlin M.Ryan, Michael J. PAUL – Students from your area have been named to the University of St. ST. Thomas 2016 fall semester dean’s list.

Minnesota outlasts Iowa in 2OT

Iowa was leading 24-22 following a 3-pointer by Moss with just over six minutes to play in the opening period, but a jumper by Mason sparked an 18-5 run for Minnesota over the final 5:56. Nate Mason had 25 points and seven assists for Minnesota (17-7, 5-6 Big Ten). The Gophers went up 33-24 on a layup by Mason and carried a 40-29 advantage into the break after Murphy made a jumper as time expired.Minnesota shot 43.9 percent from the field for the game. Iowa shot 40 percent. Akeem Springs had 17 points, Amir Coffey added 13 and Reggie Lynch recorded six of his team’s 14 blocked shots.Peter Jok had 28 points and nine rebounds for Iowa (14-11, 6-6). The Gophers went up by 13 on a layup by Murphy, but the Hawkeyes stormed back.Iowa mounted a 14-0 run to take a 57-56 lead on a layup by Jok, who scored 10 points over a span of 2:33 to lead the comeback. Minnesota Gophers guard Dupree McBrayer (1) drives up court for a layup against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Williams Arena in Minneapolis on Feb. 8, 2017. Isaiah Moss scored 19 points, and Jordan Bohannon had 12 points and eight assists.Minnesota led by 11 points at the half and extended its lead to 14 early in the second period. Iowa tied the game on a jumper by Bohannon, which led to a second overtime.The Hawkeyes went ahead 87-86 on a 3-pointer by Bohannon, but the Gophers responded with an 8-0 run to take a 94-87 lead.The Gophers used a late surge to take an 11-point lead at halftime. The game went into overtime after Mason made a layup with nine seconds to play in regulation.Minnesota went up 82-77 following a basket by Murphy and a three-point play by Mason. Harrison Barden / USA TODAY SportsMINNEAPOLIS — Jordan Murphy posted a career-high 25 points and 19 rebounds to help Minnesota beat Iowa 101-89 in double overtime in a Big Ten Conference game Wednesday night at Williams Arena.

Dayton appoints Hermerding as district court judge

Submitted photo
Hermerding to serve as district court judge in Minnesota’s ninth district and wish him well as he takes on this important new role.”Hermerding is the chief deputy Crow Wing County attorney, where he prosecutes felony and gross misdemeanor drug cases. Hermerding has dedicated his career to pursuing justice for Minnesotans as a public attorney and in private practice,” Dayton said in a news release. John’s University and his Juris Doctor degree from Mitchell Hamline School of Law.Hermerding is the past president of the Aitkin-Crow Wing County Bar Association and is also a member of the Mercy Task Force and the Violent Crimes Coordinating Council.Minnesota’s Ninth Judicial District consists of Aitkin, Beltrami, Cass, Clearwater, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Itasca, Kittson, Koochiching, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake and Roseau counties. Mark Dayton announced last week the appointment of David Hermerding as district court judge in Minnesota’s Ninth Judicial District, succeeding Judge John Solien. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from St. “I am pleased to appoint Mr. He was previously an assistant Crow Wing County attorney, a managing and staff attorney in the Ninth Judicial District Public Defender’s Office, a partner at Mitchell & Hermerding, and an associate at Ryan, Ruttger & Drake and Erickson law offices. David HermerdingGov. Hermerding will be chambered in Aitkin.”Mr. David F.

Card games: Feb. 9, 2016

Les Dupont won the door prize.Bridge scoresMonday, Jan. 2Whitefish Golf Course, 12:30 p.m.DuplicateJim Thompson and Lane Weber, 31.5; Sandy and Bob Crozier, 29.5; Ruthann Gottwaldt and Barb Bretz, 25.5; Bruce Peck and Joe Heal, 22.Friday, Feb. Anyone interested in joining the bridge game at the Crosslake Community Center can call the center at 218-692-4271. 30Jenkins VFW, 11 a.m.No scores.Tuesday, Jan. 31Whitefish Golf Course, 12:30 p.m.DuplicateLorraine Northagen and Florence DeLong, 30; Ginny Hersey and Carolyn Thompson, 29; Jim Thompson and Scott Krupke, 28.5; Al and Rose Ann Stans, 23.5.Wednesday, Feb. 1Maucieri’s, 11 a.m.No scores.Thursday, Feb. TuesdaysTuesday, Jan. 3Crosslake Community Center, 1 p.m.No scores.Anyone interested in joining any of the bridge games can contact Jim Thompson at 218-543-4688. 500Pine River American Legion1 p.m. 31Bud Johnson, 4860; Jerry Diederich, 3180; Joanne Cloutier, 3070.

CRMC restricts visitors because of flu

Visitors under age 16 are being limited to compassionate care visits only, on case-by-case basis. Staff may request that a protective mask be worn. Because seasonal flu activity has reached a widespread level in the state, Cuyuna Regional Medical Center Clinic in Crosby is restricting visitors to protect patients and residents. Those visiting are also encouraged to limit visitation to one room and wash or clean their hands before and after entering patient rooms. Easy access to sinks and waterless hand sanitizer are available throughout the facility.People can still get a flu shot at CRMC. Call 218-545-7000 for an appointment. It takes about two weeks for protection to develop after vaccination and protection lasts throughout the flu season.Additional flu information is available from the Minnesota Department of Health at ” target=”_blank”>www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/diseases/flu/basics/flufacts.pdf. CRMC is also asking people not to visit patients if they have flu-like symptoms or have been around someone in the past seven days with fever, muscle aches or extreme fatigue, congestion, cough, sore throat or chills.Visitors should cover coughs and sneezes with tissues.

Pages from the Past-Feb. 9, 2017

Holstein bull of serviceable size and age, from hi-grade herd. 8, 1957(Classified) WANTED! Weiss, Pine River. 8, 2007(Headline) Backus will host antenna for two-way radios(Photo) Chet “Chad” Nelson, of Pequot Lakes, poses with Lee Johnson’s 1948 Aeronca Sedan in Johnson’s double hangar at the airport.- Compiled by Travis Grimler, Staff Writer Phone JU 7-6032

50 years ago, Feb. 13, 1992(Headline) Human services to make cuts, Ah-Gwah-Ching may be on chopping block(Headline) City will annex land in Barclay; P.R., township agree to Good Sam plans10 years ago, Feb. 4, at the Green Lake Snowmobile Races held at Spicer.(Headline) New prisoner feeding system saves money for Cass County25 years ago, Feb. Wm. 60 years ago, Feb. 10, 1967(Photo) Admiring the first-place trophy is Pete Tulenchik, well known in this area, who led the field Saturday, Feb.

Calendar of events: Feb. 9, 2017

FEBRUARY11 Back to Basics, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Pine River-Backus School11 Author Lisa Sellman, 10:30 a.m., Pequot Lakes Library

11 Benefit for Shelley Bartella, 4-9 p.m., Nisswa American Legion17 Illusion Theater presents “Thurgood,” 2 and 7:30 p.m., Chalberg Theatre, Central Lakes College, Brainerd18 Nisswa Winter Jubilee: Events all day19 Nisswa Winter Jubilee Ice Fishing Derby, noon-2 p.m., Nisswa Lake

Golden Horizons takes steps to protect its staff, residents

“I want you to call me; that’s my job … “I’m trying to educate you and give you information that you can use. No response should be given, and the person receiving the call should hang up immediately.Golden Horizons Administrator Pam Elling said in-person scams are also prevalent among the elderly, especially in assisted living facilities. Hopefully you never have to use it.”Swanson said the best thing staff members can do is be situationally aware, which includes identifying all visitors and taking action if they see an unfamiliar face on the premises. “And also we want to make sure that the people that are in our care don’t become victims of a crime.”Lane said he simply wants his employees and residents to be aware of the situation and be able to feel safe and secure at the facility. Image from Golden Horizons Crosslake facebook pageAfter recent news of an incident at an area assisted living facility where an employee was charged with sexual assault of a resident, at least one other area facility is taking more precautionary measures to make sure staff and residents are safe. The facility already does have annual internal training. It’s not a bother.”Swanson also addressed various phone and online scams that have been going on recently, as elderly people tend to be the biggest targets. The facility already does have annual internal training.”We are stepping forward to proactively offer education above and beyond state and federal requirements to ensure the safety and enhance awareness for our residents, resident families and staff within our Golden Horizons family,” Lane said.”We are taking a very proactive approach to a tragic situation that occurred in our area,” he said, noting the incident that occurred at another facility opened his eyes to the need to further educate.Officer Eric Swanson spoke to Golden Horizons employees Wednesday, Feb. She stressed to employees the importance of not letting an unannounced visitor see a resident without a family or staff member present.Swanson echoed that importance.”We want to make sure that we don’t allow ourselves to become victims of a crime,” Swanson said. Phone calls that begin with “Can you hear me?” on the other line are usually scams. He urged workers to call the police department or 911 if they see anything or anyone out of the ordinary, even if it ends up being a false alarm.”I’d much rather go to (a false alarm) than a call that somebody assaulted you on your way into work or on your way out of work,” Swanson said. Chuck Lane, owner of Golden Horizons Assisted Living in Crosslake, decided to partner with the Crosslake Police Department and offer a training seminar to his employees. Chuck Lane, owner of Golden Horizons Assisted Living in Crosslake, decided to partner with the Crosslake Police Department and offer a training seminar to his employees. 1, about ways to make sure an incident similar to the one at Heritage House Assisted Living in Pequot Lakes doesn’t occur.”I’m not trying to make you afraid,” Swanson said. She said scammers will pose as insurance agents and get residents to write them a check for life insurance or some other form of insurance, and then disappear.

Crosslake’s WinterFest draws record crowd

Finland Kumpala, 6, shows off the prize he won at Cabin Fever Carnival Friday, Feb. 3, at Crosslake Community School. Kumpala was visiting his grandparents, who live on Dream Island, for this year's WinterFest activities.6 / 7Theresa Bourke/Echo Journal
1 / 7Chris Boyd (left), of Crosslake, and Jane Erickson, of Rochester, share a laugh while trying Barstock Liquor's three cheese tortellini soup Saturday, Feb. 4, during SoupFest in Crosslake. Theresa Bourke/Echo Journal
2, with the first clue for the lost medallion. 3, at the Crosslake Area Historical Society and took home the $1,500 prize basket. 4, during Crosslake's annual WinterFest.7 / 7Crosslake’s 14th annual WinterFest is in the books, and attendees came from near and far to enjoy various winter activities.The event kicked off Thursday, Feb. The did their 5 and 6 p.m. Nisswa’s Keri Wooden and her four children – Leif, Kale, Reid and Macy – found the medallion Friday, Feb. WCCO TV’s Frank Vascellaro and Chris Schaffer came to Crosslake on Wednesday through Friday, Feb. 1-3. Amy Carlson, of Crosslake, takes a turn at frozen ravioli hockey, one of the Italian Outdoor Olympic games at Maucieri's Italian Bistro Saturday, Feb. Army Corps of Engineers, first place; Barstock Liquors, second place; Judy’s House of Gifts, third place.The weekend also featured fireworks, sledding, luge runs, horse-drawn sleigh rides and Richard Eide’s giant ice carousel on Cross Lake’s Moonlite Bay, which gained national attention. broadcasts Friday from Crosslake Community School during the Cabin Fever Carnival, which featured games for children.Saturday brought a firefighters’ pancake breakfast; various activities at Crosslake establishments, including kids games at Moonlite Bay Family Restaurant & Bar and Italian Outdoor Olympics at Maucieri’s; and, of course, SoupFest, which had a record 1,020 votes cast.Twenty businesses participated in SoupFest, and three winners were named in three categories:• Judges’ Choice: Crosslake-Fifty Lakes American Legion, first place; Judy’s House of Gifts and Manhattan Beach Lodge, tied for second place; Moonlite Bay Family Restaurant, third place.• People’s Choice Culinary: Manhattan Beach Lodge, first place; Riverside, second place; Zorbaz, third place.• People’s Choice Amatuer: U.S.
2 / 7Theresa Bourke/Echo Journal
A unique feature at this year's WinterFest was the giant ice carousel carved into Cross Lake near Moonlite Bay Family Restaurant and Bar.3 / 7Theresa Bourke/Echo Journal
3, at Crosslake Community School as a part of Crosslake's annual WinterFest.5 / 7Theresa Bourke/Echo Journal Bobber the Safety Dog shoots some hoops at the Cabin Fever carnival Friday, Feb.
4, at Crosslake's SoupFest. Katie Fergerson (left) and Nicole Starry, of Crosslake Veterinary Hospital, add to their florentine chicken soup during a break in tasters Saturday, Feb. Theresa Bourke/Echo Journal
Quinn Griebenow, 3, of Crosslake, plays a cup stacking game at the Cabin Fever carnival Friday, Feb. 3, at Crosslake Community School as a part of Crosslake's WinterFest.4 / 7Theresa Bourke/Echo Journal

Heartland Poets to meet Friday in Brainerd

Heartland Poets, an area chapter of the League of Minnesota Poets, will meet from 6-9 p.m. Visit www.nfsps.org for more details. Refreshments will be served. Friday, Feb. 10, in the large room of the Brainerd Public Library. Monthly meetings open with a poetry reading by those present. Poets will review their poems-in-progress with copies of present work for discussion and comments.Newcomers are always welcome. During the business portion of the meeting, members and colleagues will discuss upcoming literary events and opportunities for poets. This meeting is free and open to the public. Interested in submitting to poetry contests?

As I See It: The pendulum and the pit

The public education system has become an end unto itself and can’t seem to keep at-risk students through to meaningful graduation, often focusing on “feel good” topics instead of the subjects that develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.The party of the “Democrats” lost control of Congress after one Obama term and have now lost it all. I believe most women want respect, recognition and fair treatment. In order to ensure the time is accurate, the pendulum requires periodic adjustments – more often around the summer and winter solstices. It keeps time using a pendulum and weights. In fact, she said it needed some more nails to keep the pendulum firmly stuck on the left.The clock repairman wasn’t a smooth-talking snake oil salesman like the mechanic and most politicians; he was a successful businessman who was boisterous, somewhat profane and way too wealthy. I am also convinced most women do not believe in killing their unborn children.But so many ultra-feminists and ultra-liberal interest groups want to keep the pendulum riveted to the far left that most radical liberals appear to be racing to the bottom of the pit.Why do I say that? He knew what people felt, and he told them how he would fix all the things that had been bothering them and would clean and oil the clock.Nearly everyone thought the second mechanic would win the job; but that was not to be.So even before the clock repairman started working, the mechanic’s supporters threw a hissy fit on a scale never before seen in this country. I don’t understand all the physics involved, but understanding the physics of a pendulum is a lot easier than understanding the swings of our political pendulum.The clock pendulum swings left and right, stopping for the briefest part of a second before reversing direction. Another mechanic claimed the clock didn’t need any fixing. The pendulum of politics doesn’t appear to spend much time in the middle of its swing either, but certainly has been stuck between the center and the left for 16 out of the last 24 years.And last year, it appeared it would stop swinging entirely and just be nailed at the farthest left point of its travel.But then, a clock repairman appeared who claimed he could break the pendulum loose and fix all the reasons it was stuck so far left. And then the repairman took over and started pulling the largest nails out of the pendulum to free it and the hissy fits became even bigger and louder.There have been riots, property destruction, mass hysteria, predictions of doom and gloom, but the stock market kept climbing anyway.There were women’s marches in many cities that left mountains of trash behind. It seems to be the trademark of many liberals to rely on others to clean up their messes. And now they appear to be ready to build more roadblocks against the new president than the pipeline and BLM protestors combined. The party also championed bathroom “rights” – issues that went totally against mainstream logical and moral sensibilities.Former President Obama created one of the biggest rises in gun sales anyone has witnessed. A “native” of Chicago, a city with more gun deaths than many countries, he has implemented policies regarding guns and illegal/undocumented immigrants that made many Americans feel unsafe, rather than more secure.We do have problem police; but police are not as great a problem as the (too often liberal-protected) criminals – period.Liberal secular progressives are going to continue into that pit of self-destruction until they figure out they actually own their problems.Well, that’s the way I see it. I’ve never understood how we can have poor politicians who become rich politicians who then decry rich business persons – reinforcing my point about how it’s easier to understand physics.As I said, the businessman wasn’t smooth, but he was smart in a rough-and-tumble, confrontational sort of way. Some minority and union members realized the party that has supposedly championed their causes for years hasn’t succeeded in making any real changes in their situations. I have a clock that I bought in Germany in 1974.

Browser column: February filled with library events

I love surprises.I hope you find this chilly month filled with good reading and good friends.Browser, the library cat Very fitting for myself, since I live at a library. Stuffed into this seemingly non-descript month is Valentine’s Day and President’s Day, the latter of which is a closed day for your library, the Pine River Public Library. How fun is that? Rate your date with a book! Friends and neighbors,It is February, the short month. You will have no idea what is in this package until you open it at home. Do you have your signup sheet yet? I look forward to that.February is also “I Love to Read” month. We are calling it “Blind Date with a Book.” We have several books wrapped in red, which we will be checking out to you. It is also the second month of our adult reading program. Fifteen books and you get a great mug.During Valentine’s week we have a special feature at our library. Read the book and return it with a review. Chances are good that I will be taking a short vacation at my country home.