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The Ben and Kerri Dirkes family of Sartell has faced many terrifying moments – life-and-death moments – in recent years. Fortunately, they have many moments now to be thankful and happy about. From left to right are father Ben, Elijah, Dakota, Zoey and mother Kerri.

A monster almost killed a husband and daddy

by Dennis Dalman For many harrowing days and nights, Ben Dirkes faced imminent death from a threatening monster, and every dreadful minute his wife, Kerri, faced that monster with him. And now, thankfully, the monster has been destroyed and Ben is still alive. There will be a benefit breakfast for the Dirkes family from […]


Poet Marwitz respects cold weather

by Cori Hilsgen St. Joseph resident and poet Will Marwitz has a great deal of respect for cold weather — the kind we have been experiencing this week. Both Marwitz’s father and brother died in cold weather. His father was 85 and had been out walking when he tripped and fell on ice. His […]


Hammer-Cofell to perform originals at ‘Local Roots’ concert

by Dennis Dalman When Adam Hammer of Sartell was challenged in a “Songwriters’ Contest” to write a song about “skinny-dipping,” he accepted the challenge. In 20 minutes, seemingly without any effort, the song just came to him, and it remains a favorite of his listeners. “Underwater Love Song” Hammer describes as a “tongue-in-cheek sweet […]

photo by Kathi Hammer
Well known local duo Adam Hammer of Sartell (left) and Dave Cofell of St. Joseph were voted "Best Original Music" in the "Best of Central Minnesota" poll for three consecutive years – 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Cofell-Hammer to perform originals at ‘Local Roots’ concert

by Dennis Dalman It’s a rare writer who would pen a song that includes a chorus sung by rotten-food items, but Dave Cofell of St. Joseph is just such a writer. Almost anything can spark a song in his head, including the time a friend had to leave New Orleans in a heckuva hurry […]

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The Central Minnesota Housing Partnership helps first-time homebuyers prepare for the challenging but exciting adventure in purchasing a home.

‘Home Stretch’ takes guesswork out of first-time homebuying

by Dennis Dalman Many people thinking of buying their first home have no idea what a thicket of challenges and glitches the process can become. That is why the “Home Stretch” workshop was developed – to guide first-time buyers through the exciting but challenging steps that lead to home ownership. A “Home Stretch” one-day […]


My Cold Footsteps Speak, a poem by Will Marwitz

My Cold Footsteps Speak by Will Marwitz from his book “Turning the Cup.” I have world-of-work to enjoin As I awaken from my alarm and body clock jarring my head. Oh, to stay in bed! No, I must tug into layers of cloth, Shove white feet into hide-bound boots. Outside, my cold footsteps speak while […]


Sartell 2013 Year in Review: Good omens for future popped up all over

by Dennis Dalman The year 2013 in Sartell might well be described as “onward and upward,” because so many positive trends set in earlier years were either growing by leaps and bounds or coming to fruition during the year. The year was filled with academic and athletic achievements by Sartell-St. Stephen students, with several […]

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Sister Kara Hennes hands a box up the steps to Sister Dorothy Manuel when moving boxes from the one-day storage area to temporary storage spaces.

Monastery archives getting back to routine after flood restoration

by Cori Hilsgen This past June, the St. Benedict’s Monastery oratory and archives flooded. Prioress Sister Michaela Hedican noticed the problem when she went to the oratory to pray at about 4:30 a.m. on June 21. She notified physical plant assistant director, Chris Eisenbacher, who came with his crew to help. The monastery maintenance […]