JANUARY• Susan Mathison-Young of Lake Shore is the 2015 Pequot Lakes-Breezy Point-Crosslake Citizen of the Year for her work with area youth, particularly 4-H members. Paul, where Harrison finishes fourth and Adkins fifth.MARCH• The Pequot Lakes High School mock trial team competes at the state tournament in St. Reid Pierzinski is eighth and Chase Blaeser ninth in the 110 hurdles. In Breezy Point, a tie for the second open council seat means a coin flip was held. Work will resume in spring 2017.• The Pequot Lakes boys cross country team finishes 11th at the Class 1A state meet. Their escorts are Kelsi Martini, Isabel Larson and Kallie Carlson, respectively.• Hannah Gatton is crowned Miss Nisswa, while Taylor Leas is Miss Nisswa Princess and Tori Senica is Miss Congeniality. 20. Megan Morgan1 / 12Rachel Burns2 / 12In keeping with the spirit of Pequot Lakes, the County Road 11 bridge over the four-lane Highway 371 bypass has bobbers.3 / 12Pat Kvale4 / 12As seen from Tree Farm Road, construction crews work on the new alignment of Highway 371 east of downtown Pequot Lakes in April.5 / 12Lynn Fairbanks6 / 12Quinn Swanson7 / 12Hannah Gatton8 / 12Trees cleared along the Highway 371 expansion route were turned to wood chips to use as erosion control berms on the project and for a platform on Cullen Brook.9 / 12Tom Demars10 / 12The white flags on the east side of Highway 371 at Cullen Brook just north of Nisswa marked the spots where 30-foot PVC wick drains were to be installed as part of an environmentally friendly, geotechnical platform project.11 / 12Susan Mathison-Young12 / 12Following is a month-by-month look at the highlights of 2016 and the people who made the news throughout the year as published in the Echo Journal. Technologies, LLC, for $6,372,000.• Central Lakes Rotarian Lynn Hunt, of Pine River, was named the 2015-16 Rotarian of the Year at the Rotary District 5580 Conference.• The Kuschel family, owners and operators of Rocking K Ranch southwest of Pine River, is the Cass County Farm Family of the Year.June• Pequot Lakes School District retirements include 30-year high school art teacher Dave Guenther; 26-year district media specialist Pat Kvale.• Pine River-Backus School District retirements include superintendent Cathy Bettino, who spent 24 years with the district.• Mary Pfeiffer, owner and operator of Pfeiffer Pharmacy in Pequot Lakes and Pfeiffer Drug in Pine River, and former Sibley Township clerk and Pequot Lakes City Council member, dies June 2 at age 79.• The Pequot Lakes softball team finishes second in the Class 2A state tournament.• The Pine River-Backus softball team finishes sixth in the Class 1A state tournament.• Chloe Bermel, of Pequot Lakes, sets a state meet record in winning the 400-meter dash, and the girls’ 4×800 relay of Jannah Hall, Grace McGuire, Kristin Skog and Olivia Lane win that event at the Class A state track meet. 6.• Pequot Lakes High School senior Haley Wiebolt scores her 1,000th point with the girls’ basketball team.• Jim Oraskovich – better known to many in the Pequot Lakes area as Mr. Instead, a new committee formed and took over the pageant, which will be held in mid-April each year at the Gull Lake Center at Grand View Lodge in Nisswa.• The Minnesota Department of Education names Crosslake Community School one of the top 35 charter schools in the state, awarding it “high quality” status.• Tree clearing starts in Nisswa and Pequot Lakes for the Highway 371 four-lane expansion project.• Brainerd Warrior gymnast Hannah Dahlberg, of Pequot Lakes High School, competes at the Class 2A individual state meet in Minneapolis on bars, finishing 25th.• Road Crew wrestlers Spencer Richards, Nate Adkins and Joe Harrison compete in the Class 2A state individual wrestling tournament in St. Reid Pierzinski is the top Patriot boy finisher by placing 26th. Gary Mitchell joins the council over Jeff Helland.• Pine River-Backus High School teacher and coach Tom Demars is honored as Teacher of the Year.December• Clarice Blaeser of Breezy Point is named the 2016 Pequot Lakes-Breezy Point-Crosslake Citizen of the Year, an award sponsored by Echo Publishing. Tiana Herron is Little Miss Nisswa.• An official groundbreaking is held for the long anticipated Highway 371 four-lane expansion project from Nisswa to Jenkins.• Pequot Lakes High School students Allie Dischinger and Mikayla Horgan, and Pine River-Backus High School students Jennifer Holm and Angela Pederson are among area high school students the National Joint Powers Alliance recognizes as Region 5 Rising Stars.• Joe Haeg, of Lake Shore, is a fifth-round selection of the Indianapolis Colts in the National Football League college draft.May• Dave Endicott, former Eagle View Elementary School principal, is hired to succeed Cathy Bettino as Pine River-Backus Schools superintendent after Bettino retires at the end of the 2015-16 school year.• Quinn Swanson receives the 2016 Pine River Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Service Award.• Shawn Hansen, Nisswa Chamber of Commerce president/CEO, receives the American Red Cross Community Hero Award in Minnesota for her work in disaster relief efforts after the July 2015 windstorm that swept through the lakes area.• Pat Kvale, Pequot Lakes School District media specialist, is named Pequot Lakes Teacher of the Year.• Crosslake votes to sell Crosslake Communications to Tri-Co. Bouchonville received 144 votes to fellow candidate Jerry Peterson’s 44 votes.FEBRUARY• The Miss Nisswa Scholarship Pageant and Little Miss Program will no longer be part of the Nisswa Winter Jubilee weekend in February each year. Paul, taking 11th place. She is founder and leader of the Pequot Lakes Eagles 4-H Club.• The Brainerd Jaycees $150,000 Ice Fishing Extravaganza is postponed for the third time in its 26-year history because of ice conditions. The contest is postponed two weeks to Feb. 6 for safety reasons because of inconsistent ice conditions.• Grace United Methodist Church makes its 1,000th pasty – a hearty meat pie – since the fundraising program began in 1998.• Voters return Leslie Bouchonville to the Pine River-Backus School Board in a special election Jan. New city council members are elected, as well as new legislators from the area. O – dies at age 73 from cancer. The 4×400 relay of Lane, Mirjana Ganley, Skog and McGuire places seventh. The former Pequot Lakes Schools superintendent was active in the community.• The 26th annual Brainerd Jaycees $150,000 Ice Fishing Extravaganza is postponed from Jan. Sunshine Langworthy finishes 66th in the girls’ state meet.• The 2016 general election brings new mayors to Crosslake in Patty Norgaard and Nisswa in Fred Heidmann. Pierzinski finishes eighth in triple jump.• Pequot Lakes golfer Alex Stone finishes fourth, and Amanda Nies is 22nd at the Class 2A state tournament.• Pine River-Backus golfer Brady Raph is 39th and Nate Brasel ties for 59th at the Class A state tournament.• The Pequot Lakes trap shooting team places 22nd at the Class 4A state tournament.• Crosslake Community School trap shooter Jake Johnson finishes 93rd at the state tournament.• Fire destroys the Bungalow Tap House in Emily. Arson is suspected.July• The Bye family property in Loon Lake Township is recognized as a 2016 Century Farm.• The Department of Natural Resources announces muskellunge will be released this fall in the Gull Lake chain of lakes to establish new muskie angling opportunities in the state.• A July 21 storm with high winds hits the city of Backus particularly hard, knocking down trees on and near many private homes and businesses, as well as on historic properties, including the Bailey House and the Backus State Bank building.August• Yet another storm strikes the lakes area, knocking down trees and power lines in the Nisswa and Lake Shore areas.September• Foothills Christian Academy in Backus gears up for its first school year with 35 students enrolled in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade and five teachers.• Lynn Fairbanks is named the 2016 Nisswa Citizen of the Year.October• After 45 years of natural resources conservation work, the Thirty Lakes Watershed District was formally terminated.November• The Pequot Lakes/Breezy Point area hosts the annual Minnesota Governor’s Deer Hunting Opener with events at Breezy Point Resort.• Work to expand Highway 371 to four lanes from Nisswa to Jenkins wraps up for the season. 23 to Feb. Seniors Catie Murray and Dominic Cheek receive all-state honors.• The Pequot Lakes girls basketball team wins the Section 7AA championship to advance to the Class 2A state tournament, where the team loses to Esko in the quarterfinal round.APRIL• Five Pequot Lakes speech team members advance to the state tournament: Allie Dischinger, discussion; Mac Nagy, extemporaneous speaking; Addie Pierson, drama; Emily Espeseth, extemporaneous reading; and Courtney Rock, prose.• Tim Biscoe and Cody Walton of Pequot Lakes Boy Scout Troop 102 attain the rank of Eagle Scout.• Rachel Burns is crowned Miss Pine River and Miss Congeniality, while Shelby Adkins is First Princess and Sam Mauer is Second Princess.• Megan Morgan is crowned Miss Pequot Lakes, while Quinn Kratochvil is Miss Pequot Lakes Princess and Lark Luchka is Miss Congeniality. Nancy Adams returns to that post in Pequot Lakes.