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 teams going all the way to state tournaments. School test scores once again exceeded state standards, putting the school system among the best of all schools in the state.

Businesses continued to grow, building permits increased from previous years, infrastructure was improved and the Sartell Senior Connection sponsored a string of successes.

SummerFest 2013 and the Sartell Apple Duathlon again attracted thousands of people to Sartell for lots of family fun.

Pinecone Central Park, which was once just a dream on paper, began to become a reality with its fourplex baseball fields and other amenities that are in the works, promising to make the summer of 2014 a banner year for fun and recreation as a regional park.

Land was acquired for another regional park in South Sartell – Sauk River Regional Park, and plans are being made for its development. The city is also moving closer to a Sartell Community Center, which is likely to be constructed on the city-hall property.

The defunct Verso paper-mill site is now undergoing demolition by American Iron and Metal Development, which is selling its thousands of tons of metal to recyclers.

The year closed on a positive note when the city council approved a budget that will keep taxes flat or in many cases cause taxes to decrease. The city’s insurance rating from Standard and Poor’s was also increased to virtually the highest possible rating – double A.

The year 2013 was brimming with optimistic indications that the long-time recession that plagued the nation is almost certainly lifting, like a springtime thaw after a mean, cold winter.

The following are some of the highlights of 2013 in Sartell as reported in the Sartell Newsleader:


A citywide survey indicates Sartell residents very much want a library and a senior center as amenities in a proposed community center. Among other items on survey respondents’ wish lists for the city are a swimming pool, a dog park, a downtown area and development of property along the Sauk River for a regional park. Another part of the survey asked residents to rate city services. Eighty-seven percent rated services as “good” or “excellent.” Eight percent indicated “fair,” “poor” or “don’t know.”

Michelle Meyer is elected the chair of the Sartell-St. Stephen School Board by her fellow board members. Meyer is among the newly elected board members chosen by voters in the November 2012 election. The others who took their seats in the first board meeting of the year are Jason Nies, Krista Laurich Durrwachter and Pam Raden. They joined incumbents Mary McCabe and Dan Riordan.

Christian athletes meet every Wednesday morning for “huddles” in the choir room of Sartell High School. The 25 students, all members of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, reach out to other students and participate in activities designed to strengthen their faith.

Rep. Tim O’Driscoll, newly re-elected congressman from Sartell, takes the oath of office in St. Paul to represent House District 13B. It’s his second four-year term in the House.

The Sartell seventh-grade boys basketball team nabs first place at the Anoka Winter Classic by defeating North St. Paul, 50-42.

The Sartell Sabre Swim team tallies an impressive 106-80 victory over St. Cloud Tech in the Central Lakes Conference meet. In 12 categories, the Sabres take eight first-place honors.


The Verso paper plant in Sartell has been sold to AIM Development, a Montreal-based company that specializes in recycling scrap metals. The Verso plant was shut down permanently in 2012 after an explosion and fire on Labor Day 2012 killed one employee and ruined the plant beyond repair. The traumatic news was devastating to so many residents whose family members or relatives had worked at the paper mill, under various ownerships, for more than 100 years.

Meantime, Verso paper-mill employees who lost their jobs after the plant was shut down are still seeking work. Some have found other jobs, some enrolled in classes or specialized training and some are still looking for work.

First-grade students at Pine Meadow Elementary School have a lot of fun while learning about the huge continent of Africa. In the media center, they get to walk, crawl and stand on a giant 25- by 35-foot portable plastic map of Africa. The map was provided courtesy of the St. Cloud State University geography department and the National Geographic Society. The students learned about border lines, lakes, rivers, mountains, savannah grasslands and deserts – all notable features of the African landscapes.

Rich Welch of Sartell takes the “Polar Plunge” to help raise money for the Minnesota Special Olympics. The event, which involves plunging into ice-cold lake water, took place in Maple Grove where more than 1,000 people dared to “take the plunge.” Welch’s team raised $1,700.

The Sartell-St. Stephen Community Education Danceline celebrates its 25th birthday with a big bash at Sartell High School. Its founder and dance coach, Shelly Teff, is just as enthusiastic about the danceline as when she started it. Her students, too, show unbounded enthusiasm, not to mention talent, when they entertain cheering packed crowds for their dance shows.

Erich Martens of Sartell is named “Minnesota Principal of the Year” by 1,300 of his peers in the Association of Secondary School Principals. Martens is principal of Sauk Rapids-Rice High School. Martens was lauded for his emphasis on student achievements, for promoting volunteerism and for big increases in test results at the school.

Sartell approves the purchase of 44 acres of land for what will eventually become the city’s Sauk River Regional Park. The cost of the land parcel is estimated at $948,000. The land is located in south Sartell along the Sauk River and south of CR 120. The city hopes to pay for the land mainly through state bonding money, but the state legislature must first renew that bonding amount of $500,000. There was a deadline to use that bonding money.

The Pinecone Park Association announces it intends to raise $150,000 by April 1 to pay for more improvements at the baseball fourplex site in Pinecone Central Park. The association has been raising funds for several years to develop the park, which used to be land belonging to the privately owned Sartell Golf Course, until the city bought the site for park and recreational development.

Sartell Middle School students perform the famed musical “Guys and Dolls.”

The Sartell Sabre dancers take second- and fourth-place awards at the Class AA state dance meet. They won second in high-kick competition and fourth in jazz-dance competition. It’s the second year in a row the dancers won second at state in high-kick.

Jen Richason, Sartell Middle School teacher, is named “Minnesota Social Studies Teacher of the Year” by the Minnesota Council for Social Studies. Richason said she developed a love of learning and teaching from her parents. Her father is a geography teacher at St. Cloud State University, her mother has been a paraprofessional in the St. Cloud School District. Her love of learning and teaching, she added, has been intensified by her students, their parents and support from the entire Sartell-St. Stephen School District.


The nine department heads at Sartell City Hall will get salary increases in 2013, as approved by three of the five city council members. Those approving the increases noted department heads’ salaries had been virtually stagnant since 2008. The new salaries range from $59,800 for the deputy clerk to $115,000 for the city administrator. The increases range from 2 percent to 6.3 percent, depending on various factors and step adjustments.

Kris Roberts-Cornett, a Sartell resident, starts a local 4-H club dubbed “Sartell Superstars.” Her son, Josh, is a member of 4-H and raises chickens and goats, among many other projects.

Sartell Middle School gets top honors at the Central Minnesota Regional Science Fair and Research Paper Competition at St. Cloud State University. Nine of the SMS students won purple ribbons, and many others won ribbons of other colors for their projects and papers.

The Sartell Sabre boys swimming team takes fifth-place at the state swim meet.

Students at Sartell High School complete a stairwell mural as part of the “Art in Motion” program at the school, which is led by visiting artists.

It’s official: The American Iron and Metal Co. has agreed to purchase the defunct Verso paper mill in Sartell. AIM, whose company headquarters are in Montreal, Canada, plans to demolish most of the paper-mill site and salvage for recycling almost all of its metals. The process will take up to 18 months. AIM officials take a tour of the plant in early March.

Adam Johnson, Sartell Middle School eighth-grader, spells the word “Schnauzer” to win first place at the Region 5 Spelling Bee.

Blackberry Ridge Golf Course hires a new executive chef, Charles Gibbons, and a new golf pro, Brock Swanson. An early spring party allows the public to meet the two new employees.

Bill Morgan, Sartell resident and long-time historian, publishes “Earth, Wood, Stone: Volume II,” a second book-length exploration of the people and places in central Minnesota.

Lydia Anderson, fifth-grader at Sartell Middle School, wins first place in the national “Image Maker Photo Contest.” Her intriguing photo is of her own shadow as reflected onto the summer ground while she was up in a tree at her grandparents’ yard.

Doug Krebs of Sartell is named “Volunteer Coach of the Year” by the USA Archery organization, based in Colorado Springs, Colo. Krebs is a member and active volunteer archer with Junior Olympic Archery Development, based in Sauk Rapids. Krebs’ daughter, Hannah, is also a dedicated archer.

The City of Sartell wants to form a Dog Park Committee because a group of people wants to install a dog park in Pinecone Central Park. The park would include walk-and-play areas for the dogs and their owners, as well as other amenities.

Three students (Brady Anderson, Sienna Schneider and Hannah Tilstra) take turns serving as student representatives on the Sartell-St. Stephen School Board. It is the first time the board has invited students to serve on the board as an effort to open communications.

Seven Sartell public employees, including Mayor Joe Perske, visit Atlanta, Ga. and later Anniston, Ala. to take part in a disaster preparedness course paid for by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. What they learned was an eerie deja vu of what they had previously seen in their own city when the Verso paper mill explosion and fire on Labor Day 2012 caused a massive emergency requiring a week-long series of emergency responses and cleanup.

Fr. Tim Baltes of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church and its parishioners hail the election of a new pope in the Vatican in Rome. Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, is a Jesuit cardinal from Buenos Aries, Argentina. He is the first non-European pope to be appointed in 1,200 years. Baltes and parishioners say they have high hopes that Bergoglio, who chose the name Francis after St. Francis of Assisi, will be a powerful force for good in the worldwide Catholic Church.

Bill Riner of Sartell is recognized for his outstanding role as a mentor in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. Riner has been matched with Little Brother Skyler Figallo of St. Joseph for five years.

Even though the Sartell Sabres’ boys basketball team did not win at the 3A State Championship competition, they are all extremely proud for the chance they had to compete. It was the first time the basketball team made it to state, the first in 43 years. Sabres Head Coach David Angell called the chance “a dream come true.”

Meetings of the Sartell-St. Stephen School Board can now be viewed online. The taped meetings are uploaded within 48 hours after each meeting. The board decided televising the meetings would increase communications between the board and the public it serves.


Members of the First United Methodist Church are excited about their new church in Sartell – a brand-new building on Pinecone Road S. “We’re thrilled to see the quality of the building and what it will provide for our ministry,” said the Rev. William Meier. The church was located in St. Cloud for more than 100 years at four sites. It had been on a site at 5th Avenue S. for 50 years when the congregation decided the quarters were far too cramped for its services and programs.

Four Sartell residents intend to run in the Boston Marathon April 15. They are Jereme Fimrite, Shane Johnson, Curt Karolus and Laura Nordby.

Ron Hurd is named “Senior Volunteer of the Year” by the Sartell Area Chamber of Commerce at its annual awards banquet. Pastor Doug Vagle of The Waters church is named “Sartell Citizen of the Year.” Hurd has done countless volunteer projects for friends, family and complete strangers. Vagle is known for leading his congregation toward many forms of social and spiritual outreach programs throughout the Sartell area.

The Sartell High School Student Council wins a National Gold “Council of Excellence Award” from the National Association of Student Councils.

The Sartell Knowledge Bowl heads to Cragun’s Resort at Brainerd to compete in the statewide competition. Later, it’s learned the team took sixth place at the meet.

The four Sartell runners who competed in the Boston Marathon return home, thankfully all safe and sound. Two brothers, domestic terrorists, set off bombs at the event that killed three people, including a 10-year-old boy, and severely injured many others, some of whom had to have their limbs amputated. One terrorist was killed later at a police barricade. His brother was found hiding inside a boat in a yard and arrested.

The Sartell-St. Stephen School Board reinstates an annual tradition – spring break. In 2012, the board decided to end spring break in favor of vacation weekends staggered throughout the year. That action caused outrage among many residents and led to other accusations against the board for not being open and transparent with those the board serves. A newly elected board in fall 2012 was determined to revisit the spring-break issue. They determined a spring break would be in the best interests of students and parents alike.

Mayor Joe Perske gives a very upbeat “State of the Union” address at a meeting of the Sartell Area Chamber of Commerce. Sartell, he said, still has the lowest property-tax rate of the five area cities. He also praised new developments that put Sartell on the cusp of an even brighter future.

A Sartell Community-Resource Facility Task Force has been busy working to get designs for a potential building. The group strongly agrees on one point: the center should be built on the city-hall property.


Sartell Administrator Patti Gartland stuns everyone when she announces she will take a new job as president of the Greater St. Cloud Development Corp. Gartland served as Sartell administrator for 12 years. After her announcement, bouquets of praise were showered on Gartland, who was credited with helping Sartell weather recessionary forces and attracting many new businesses and other opportunities to the city.

Liquid Assets, a long-time Sartell coffee shop, was named “Business of the Year” by the Sartell Area Chamber of Commerce. The shop, which had gone through several ownerships, is now owned by Bob and Linda Feuling. Those who chose it for top business noted it is a popular meeting place with a down-home ambience.

Sartell Middle School students compete in Envirothon competition in Spicer.

Dr. Joe Hill, superintendent of the Sartell-St. Stephen School District, announces he will resign. The school board unanimously accepted his letter of resignation. Hill was hired by the district in 2010. In his letter, Hill wrote, “Through candid conversations with board leadership, I believe it’s in the best interest of my convictions and the direction of the district that I step down . . . at the end of June.”

Meantime, the search for a new superintendent begins. A committee was formed to find the best way to do just that. Mike Spanier is named interim superintendent.

Brittany Allyn of St. Stephen mourns the loss of her boss and friend, country singer George Jones, who died April 26. Allyn (who was born Patty Trobec in St. Stephen) was a long-time backup singer for Jones’ road shows. She sang with Jones and his band for seven years. Allyn walked along with the pallbearers at Jones’ funeral in Nashville May 2.

Jessie Kovall and Bonnie Schraut resign after 10 years with the Sartell Volunteer Garden Club, which has beautified the city every spring and summer. Both have served as officers and decided it’s time for some “new blood” leadership for the club.

Audrey Olson-Drake of Sartell sells 1,500 boxes of Girl Scout cookies and receives the “Top Seller” award from the Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin Lakes Pine Region. She is a member of Troop 458.

World War II veteran Rollie Weis, who was raised in Sartell and still lives there, is the keynote speaker at the Memorial Day service in Veterans Park. At the ceremony, Weis shares the remarkable story of his brother, Phillip, who was missing in action for years until someone walking through a forest found Phillip’s body. He had been killed during the Battle of the Bulge in Luxembourg. Rollie Weis served with distinction in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific Theater.

Mary Degiovanni, Sartell’s financial director, is appointed to serve as interim city administrator following the resignation of previous administrator Patti Gartland.

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Stillwater), who represents District 6, including the Sartell area, announces she will not file for re-election in 2014.

BriAnna Kruzel of Sartell is named Big Sister of the Year for her work for the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. Kruzel is a high school student.

The Sartell boys track team wins the Central Lakes Conference championship by a mere two points, beating Brainerd by 129-127 for top honors.


Sartell resident Steve Reetz helps build earthquake-proof homes for people in El Salvador in Central America. He is a member of “Thrivent Builds,” a partnership with “Habitat for Humanity.” While the homes are basic and humble, to the El Salvadorans they are a dream come true.

Sartell DogPAC members are simmering with good ideas for a proposed dog park within Pinecone Central Park. The group is trying to raise $150,000 to start the fenced-in park on a seven-acre site. The City of Sartell has committed to pitching in $10,000 for the project.

Sartell’s new fourplex baseball facility is a hit with locals and visitors alike. From June 7-9, Sartell hosted the Pinecone Park Inaugural Baseball Invitational Tournament, which attracted 14 teams from cities throughout central and western Minnesota.

Trystan Bommersbach was more stunned than anyone when he got a hole-in-one and a baseball homer in the same week. Bommersbach, 13, was the first player to hit a homerun in the newly opened baseball complex in Pinecone Central Park. Days later, while golfing at Oak Hills Golf Course near Rice, he hit a hole-in-one. His friends now think he is charmed by luck.

Marcus Oistad is named the new head basketball coach for the Sartell Sabres. He will replace long-time coach David Angell, who retired after 31 years of coaching in Sartell.

The Sartell City Council gives a fond “adieu” to Patti Gartland, city administrator who served the city for 12 years. She resigned to become president of the Greater St. Cloud Development Corp. Council member Steven Hennes, who presented her with a plaque, said, “You’ve done a great job leading our city.”

Melissa Nelson of Sartell pens a novel about a bullied girl. The book, entitled “Seasons of Raina,” is the product of 25 years of pondering and writing. The story traces the development of a young girl from humiliation to triumph after suffering traumatic bullying at her school.

Sartell SummerFest 2013 is once again a hit with participants, who enjoyed the Grand Parade and lots of family fun at the “Libertyville” event on the grounds of Pinecone Regional Park. SummerFest also featured an evening street dance and a fireworks display.

Sartell Pediatrics, owned by Dr. David Smith and his wife, Jill, is honored as one of eight architecturally superb buildings in the state by “Minnesota Physicians” magazine. The clinic on 2nd Street S. was created uniquely from a building that had been at that site for many years, first as a bank, then as a series of bars.

Bernie Seykora, 80, of Sartell, is one of three women ordained as Catholic women priests in a ceremony at St. John’s Episcopal Church in St. Cloud. More than 250 people attend the ceremony. The ordinations, which are not recognized as official by the Vatican in Rome, were conducted by Corene Besetzny of Red Wing. Seykora said she had always wanted to be a priest, ever since she was a little girl.


Joe Perske, the Sartell girls’ soccer coach, retired after 10 years of coaching. The new coach is Carrie Raehsler, who was coached by Perske during his second year of coaching. Perske has taught physical education at Sartell Middle School since 1990. He is now serving his second term as mayor of Sartell.

The city council approves, on a 3-2 vote, plans for a seven-acre dog park to be installed in Pinecone Central Park.

Cindy Fitzhum of Sartell publishes a novel entitled “How Do You Choose the One?” It is a “young-adult” novel about a young woman facing a crisis as she is torn between two boyfriends.

The city council approves allowing some non-city residents to use the Sartell Compost Site. For a $61 annual fee, up to 200 permits will be issued to residents of LeSauk Township or other area cities to use the site. Sartell residents pay $31 to use the site.

Sartell Mayor Joe Perske and 20 other mayors from cities along the Mississippi River vow to protect the quality of the big river. The mayors, from as far away as Mississippi, attend a three-day conference in St. Cloud. It is the second annual gathering of mayors in the ongoing “Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative.” Although only 21 mayors attended the conference, there are at least 55 mayors along the length of the Mississippi who are dedicated to protecting the river in conjunction with many groups and agencies, such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.


The family of a boy suffering from cancer all cut their hair in tribute to his struggle and his own hair loss. Nathanial Gray of Sartell was diagnosed with Stage 3 anaplastic large-cell lymphoma. His parents, Tano and Julie, and Nathaniel’s brother all cut their hair off in a spirit of solidarity. Nathaniel continues to receive treatments for the disease, and his prognosis is very good, his mother noted.

Kathy Horner and Wanda Carlson are pronounced “wife and wife” during a same-sex wedding ceremony at the Spiritual Unity Center in Sartell. The Rev. Barbara Winter officiated at the ceremony, which was a landmark happening – one of the first same-sex weddings in Minnesota following the state’s legalization of same-sex marriage, which went into effect Aug. 1 throughout the state. “We are very excited, very happy,” said Carlson after the vows were exchanged.

Brett Weaver of Sartell is named “Coach of the Year” by the Midwest Premier Football League. He is head coach for the Granite City Renegades, which is owned by him and his wife, Danelle.

Hundreds of families and individuals enjoy the annual “Take a Day Off on the Mississippi River” in Stearns County Mississippi River Park north of Sartell. Dozens of activities, including fishing, pontoon tours and arts activities were available for people to enjoy.

Millie Moran, who suffers from memory loss, writes a memoir entitled “Socially Challenged,” which features highlights from her interesting life as a worker, wife, mother and volunteer.

The Sartell-LeSauk Fire Department is honored as “Fire Department of the Year” by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The department was cited in particular for its weeklong efforts following the explosion and fire at the Verso paper mill, which killed an employee and caused the permanent shut-down of the historic plant.

After winning first place at the regionals in Hinckley, the Sartell Muskies baseball team heads for the state tournament in Delano.

Anita Rasmussen, Sartell’s city planner and developer, is appointed to the Greater Minnesota Parks and Trails Commission by Gov. Mark Dayton. She is one of 13 people appointed to that commission by the governor. Rasmussen, who has served Sartell for 13 years, has vast experience with the development of Sartell’s superb parks and extensive network of hiking-biking trails.

The annual “Cookout with Cops” breaks all attendance records. Hundreds of senior citizens enjoy a free lunch and guest speakers at the event in St. Francis Xavier Church’s Gathering Place. The cookout is sponsored by the Sartell Police Department.


The Sartell Muskies triumph by winning the Class C Amateur Baseball Tournament in Delano. They won four games in a two-day tournament in Maple Lake’s Irish Stadium. In the final game, a real stunner, the Muskies won 10-0 over the Belle Plaine Tigers. Veteran pitcher Dave Schlangen became the third Muskie in the Muskies’ history to throw a shut-out at state competition.

Gopi Ramanathan is a member of a three-person American team who won the international Geography Bee, which took place in St. Petersburg, Russia. His teammates were Neelam Sadhu of Bedford, N.H. and Asha Jain of Menocqua, Wis. Ramanathan, during his years in Sartell Middle School, excelled in many geography bees and spelling bees.

Four Girl Scouts spent a lot of time and work to improve Huntington Park in Sartell. They planted trees and made other improvements to earn their “Silver Award.” The Scouts are Kali Enstad, Emily Hoppe, Ally Haas and Jessica Mergen.

An extremely brutal hot spell caused Sartell residents and businesses to use a record amount of water on Aug. 28. On that day, an astonishing 5.8 billion gallons of water was pumped at the city’s two water plants.

Claire Miller of Sartell, a ninth-grader, wins five ribbons at the Minnesota State Fair for her artworks, which include paintings in oils, acrylics, watercolors, as well as pastel drawings.

The Karki family of Sartell is elated to finally be able to adopt a baby from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Carrie and Allen Karki went through many trials and tribulations, disappointments, several long trips and a mountain of paperwork in an effort to adopt Talia Lee. The toddler is now a happy part of the Karki family, along with her new siblings: Chandler, Avah and Keegan.

The Sartell Rotary Club raises funds for a water-well project at an orphanage in Cameroon, Africa. Rotary members were inspired by a talk from Jan Hanson of Sartell, who is a Rotary member and director of “200 Orphanages Worldwide.”

The Sartell-St. Stephen School Board approves a teaching contract, with salaries to increase by 2 percent the first year and 3 percent the next year.

A St. Scholastica campus opens in Sartell after being located in St. Cloud for many years. It’s a branch of College of St. Scholastica in Duluth and is one of four outstate CCS campuses in the state.

Brenda Braulick, the Sartell school system’s food-services director, is named president of the Minnesota School Nutrition Associaton. Braulick is well known for her exciting and innovative approaches to nutrition and getting students to try foods they thought they wouldn’t like.


Capt. Bob Heins retires after 32 years with the Sartell-LeSauk Fire Department. Heins said he loved the teamwork and camaraderie he found at the department. He also gave a huge bouquet of thanks to his family, which supported him 100 percent and made many sacrifices so Heins could help keep their city safe.

Sartell and St. Stephen celebrate National Firefighters Week when both cities host open-house sessions for the public.

The game of mahjong catches on with some women in the Sartell Senior Connection group. The complex game, of Oriental origins, is played with ceramic tiles.

Skaters and many other residents and special guests celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Bernick’s Arena. Part of the celebration involves the “unveiling” of the new Zamboni machine, which cost $100,000.

Sartell schools exceed proficiency targets as mandated under the state’s Multiple Measurement Ratings accountability system. The system measures such things as performance targets, student growth and progress, closing the achievement gaps and graduation rates.

A witch’s brew of fears and accusations erupts when Sartell High School students perform Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible,” a classic play based on the Salem witchcraft trials.

Determination and faith in God helped Tony and Lisa Schneider during their long and arduous journey to adopt a boy from Kyrgystan, a country in Central Asia. The Schneiders, longtime advocates for adoption, were presented an “Angels of Adoption” award in Washington, D.C. by Rep. Michele Bachmann.

The school district is intensifying its search for a new superintendent to replace Dr. Joe Hill, who announced his resignation earlier in the year. The search includes surveys, many meetings and a public-input meeting at Sartell High School.

Sartell sixth-graders perform a whimsical play entitled “The Twelve Dancing Princesses of Metaphasia.”

Sartell boys’ and girls’ soccer teams both advance to state competition.

A Sartell girl, Emily Dauw, raises $1,440 for breast-cancer research. The 9-year-old girl and her mother had taken part in “Making Strides,” an annual fundraiser to fight breast cancer.

Sartell ranks high on a list of “Livable Cities for Young People.” The list was compiled by The rating lauds Sartell for its schools, affordability and dynamic growth factors.


The body of a missing woman from Eden Prairie was found by a hiker in Mississippi River County Park five miles north of Sartell. Marie Matula, 24, had been missing since May 2, causing widespread searches by volunteers. Matula had been a student at St. Cloud State University. Officials believe she was shot to death by her former boyfriend, David Marshall Roe of Victoria, who then buried her body in a shallow grave in the park. Roe shot himself to death in the parking lot of the Eden Prairie Police Department when he arrived there for a request for questioning.

Sartell is showing a growth in building permits, a good sign the recession – at least in the Sartell area – is diminishing.

The diverging-diamond interchange near Sartell’s Epic Center opens after months of work. The multi-million-dollar interchange, the first of its kind in the state, makes many people happy because motorists seem to have had no trouble at all adapting to it.

The Sartell Sabre boys soccer team ties for third place in the Class A state tournament, which took place in the Twin Cities Metrodome.

The Sartell Sabre football team clobbers Moorhead to advance to state competition.

Minnesota Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jessen pays a visit to “Panda Playhouse,” a daycare home in Sartell owned and operated by Amanda Rupar. Jessen, on a tour to promote quality daycare options, enjoyed talking with the children and taking part in a finger-painting session.

Military veterans and students at Sartell Middle School enjoy lunch together during the annual “Lunch with a Veteran” event. After lunch, the students hear a talk given by David Peterson, an attorney and Sartell City Council member, who served tours of duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan as a member of the Minnesota National Guard.

The Sartell Sabre football team’s efforts to advance to competition in the Twin Cities Metrodome came to an end when the St. Michael-Albertville team defeated them 52-28 at Husky Stadium on the St. Cloud State University campus.

Children at Pine Meadow Elementary School create a waxworks museum, with students dressed up as famous inventors, each one giving a short talk about his or her life to visitors in the gymnasium.

The Sartell City Council accedes to a request from American Iron and Metal Development to be allowed to sell the hydroelectric dam once owned by the Verso paper mill. AIM purchased the Verso plant’s property in order to demolish it and sell the metals to recycling companies. AIM hopes to sell the site for another use and wants to sell the hydroelectric facility separately from the site sale.

“Should chickens be allowed in backyards in Sartell?” That was the topic of the first community debate Nov. 20 in Sartell City Hall. A distinguished panel of professionals debated that topic very professionally and courteously in front of an audience of 70 people. A vote was taken, and most agreed chickens should not be allowed in residential yards. More debates, which are not city-sponsored are planned – perhaps one every two months. Those who attended the “chicken” debate showed tremendous enthusiasm and support for the civil, intelligent, thoughtful debate.

The Sabre swim team places third in the state Class A competition.


Twelve-year-old Ayleigh Hammond of Sartell will be one of the youngest ever ambassadors to Paris and London. A sixth-grader at Sartell Middle School, Hammond is raising funds to go to those foreign cities as part of the “People to People” program, a cultural exchange program to foster understanding. The program was started by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 1950s.

Children at Pine Meadow and Oak Ridge elementary schools have a blast at “Winter Wonderland,” a festive holiday fitness course in the gymnasiums of the two schools. Children hopped, skipped and jumped their way through the course that included Christmas trees, paper stars and other colorful, fun holiday paraphernalia. The object was to combine a good workout with fun, and it worked.

Little Caesar’s opens at its new location on 2nd Street S. in Sartell. Owner Marty Malinen designed the business. It had previously been located near the corner of 2nd Street. S. and Pinecone Road.

The Sartell city levy for 2014 is good news for almost everybody. Taxes will remain the same or decrease because the city staff and council worked very hard to keep the budget in check. The total budget is $5,774,233. The tax levy will be $4,703,608. The final levy amount approved by the council is $160,000 less than the preliminary amount the council previously approved. Council member David Peterson thanked city staff for their hard work to keep the levy down. They did a “wonderful job,” he said. Sartell’s city tax levy is still the lowest of the five area cities in the greater St. Cloud region.

The staff of Country Manor noted marvelous positive changes in elderly residents when they hold life-like babies – works of art made by a St. Joseph couple. The two baby dolls, Jack and Ruby, are so lifelike those who hold them instantly recall happy times when their own children were babies. The resulting positive emotions can help unlock a flood of memories from the past, especially among patients who suffer memory loss.

[/media-credit] With true razz-ma-tazz and bursts of energy, the Sartell Sabre Dance Team performs its high-kick number based on tunes expressive of the “Roaring 20s.” From left to right are Lauren Lauermann, Ashley Bartlett, Miranda Garmen and Jessica Meischsner.

[/media-credit] On April 22, Allison Marker and her Little Tykes Daycare children had a fun morning outside checking out the nature around and creating a fun chalk drawing to celebrate Earth Day 2013. The children learned about recycling and caring for our Earth. Little Tykes is a small local in-home daycare in Sartell. Children in the photo (left to right) are Keagan Voigt, Benjamin Hiltner, Emma Voigt and Laila Marker, all from Sartell.

[/media-credit] Holding hands and gritting their teeth, Rick Welch of Sartell and MaryBeth Munden of St. Joseph prepare to take the plunge Feb. 2 at a lake in Maple Grove. The couple and their teammate, Jill Vonfeldt of Colorado, raised nearly $1,700 for the Minnesota Special Olympics for their brave participation in the “Polar Bear Plunge.” The Maple Grove plunge is one of 16 scheduled for this winter throughout the state. It’s sponsored by law-enforcement agenices throughout Minnesota.

contributed photo
Soccer coach Joe Perske huddles with his players during a game.


photo by Dennis Dalman
While her mother, Brenda, gives pointers, Sydney Frieler of Sartell prepares to cast her line into the Mississippi River during “Take a Day Off at the River.”

photo by Greg Kremer
Nick Jenson gets introduced during the “tunnel” ritual at the sectional final game against Moorhead Nov. 2 at Husky Stadium on the campus of St. Cloud State University.





Dennis Dalman

Dennis Dalman

Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.
Dennis Dalman
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