Christmas program at Historic Salem Community Church near Paynesville includes sleigh rides

Everyone is invited to “Bethlehem Revisited” held at the Historic Salem Church on Saturday, Dec. 22. Sleigh rides with real reindeer will be available from 3 to 4:15 p.m. The program begins at 4:30 p.m.
Coffee, cider and Christmas cookies will be served after the program and everyone will receive a goody bag filled with fruit, candy and nuts to take home. Gifts of toys and non-perishable food items are welcome and can be placed under the brightly decorated tree for delivery to the Paynesville Community Center. A free-will offering will go for the restoration and preservation of the church and grounds.
This year marks the 15th Christmas program held at Salem after a 29-year absence. Salem Church was closed for regular Sunday worship in 1968. The church has been a historic site for many generations.
Directions to church: Hwy 23 to Paynesville, look for Stearns County Road #33, just east of Paynesville, north on #33 about 4 miles to 220 Street, left or west on 220 Street to church; or call (320)-243-4005 or (320)-259-9556 or email at In case of inclement weather, check with the Albany Radio Station.

LEAF announces grant awards

The District 742 Local Education and Activities Foundation announced the awarding of $13,740 during its special fall academic-fund granting cycle. These grants are in addition to the $20,918 in activities-fund grants already given in October and were made possible through the LEAF Learning Renaissance Fundraiser and an anonymous matching fund-the-need donor.

Each year LEAF provides supplemental funding to academic, activities, arts and athletic programming through several granting opportunities. Teachers, coaches and advisers submit grant applications for special projects to LEAF twice during the academic year. Grants awarded in the special fall academic-fund grants included projects as diverse as the following: Talahi: Math and Reading Interventions, Junior Achievement BizTown Participation, SmartBoard for EL JumpStart Program; Madison: IPod Touches for Kindergarten math/reading interventions; Lincoln: Technology to reduce the Achievement Gap; Clearview: Amity Cultural Exchange Program and IPods for Daily 5 Literacy activities; and Apollo: Classroom response remotes and books for EL student mentoring.

About LEAF

The District 742 Local Education and Activities Foundation was founded in 1993 as a fully independent, non-profit organization for the purpose of promoting and enhancing school-based, extra-curricular activities and academic opportunities in District 742 Public Schools. LEAF’s endowment fund provides supplemental funding for academic, activities, arts and athletic programming in the district’s schools. Since 1996, LEAF has been able to contribute nearly $795,000 to projects in District 742. Check out the LEAF Grant History at

Remembrance ceremony Dec. 15; volunteers, public to lay wreaths

Due to a last minute wave of contributions and sponsorships, all indications are a giant sea of green balsam wreaths with big red bows will spread over the entire Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery in Little Falls, Minn. to honor every one of our countries fallen veterans buried there. The laying of wreaths will take place shortly after the National Rememberance Ceremony, traditionally the third Saturday of December, which will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 15 this year. Next year and thereafter, the event will be held the second Saturday in December.

“At the last count there were 3,798 gravesites at the cemetery,” said John Thomas, president of Wreaths for the Fallen. “And more will be added by Dec. 15. All indications at this time show we will be able to honor all the veterans buried there this year with a large natural handmade balsam bough wreath with a big red bow.  It’s a miracle about to happen. Wreath requests to honor our countries fallen veterans have been substantially higher than last year. and their many volunteers have been working hard during the past few years to obtain this goal and recent large contributions from various organizations have made this possible.”

For a number of years now the annual ceremony has been conducted at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery honoring those veterans who have served honorably for our country. After the ceremony consisting of representatives from each branch of the military, several thousand wreaths will be placed on various markers of our fallen veterans. Many volunteers from the Minnesota Civil Air Patrol and the Minnesota Patriot Guard perform the honor of placing the wreaths on the grave sites. The public is invited to the ceremony and wreath placement. It’s suggested to arrive before 10 a.m. The ceremony starts at 11 a.m. sharp. Wreath placement begins at about 11:20 a.m.

A group from Eagle Bend will provide lots of hot coffee, hot cider and other refreshments for all attending.

For those who would like to make a general donation to this worthy cause, please feel free to contribute to the wreath general fund for the 2013 event. For additional information, contact John Thomas at 218-829-6622 or visit