by Dennis Dalman
(This is Part 2 of a three-part series. Part 1 was published Jan. 2.)
Kaylee Condon, an 8-year-old Sartell resident, gets to go on a Bahamas cruise, thanks to the Make-a-Wish Foundation. She suffers from an immune-deficiency disease.
Some metal parts from the Verso paper mill will be refashioned by local artists/sculptors into bicycle racks to be installed in city parks. The project is a way to memorialize the century-long importance of the mill to the economy of the area. The mill has been under demolition since it closed after a tragic fire and the death of an employee in 2012.
Sartell mayor Joe Perske wins the DFL endorsement for the race for the Sixth Congressional District.
The annual Sartell Bike Rodeo, sponsored by Sartell police, boasts a record turn-out for its 10-year history. Many children learn bicycle safety skills at the fun and educational event.
St. Francis Xavier Elementary School hosts a tuneful, colorful festival of dance, art works and other performances for Grandparents’ Day.
Council member Sarah Jane Nicoll files to run for mayor of Sartell in the Nov. 4 general election. The current mayor, Joe Perske, will not file for re-election as he is running for the Sixth Congressional District seat.
Several Sartell city officials attend a ribbon-cutting at the Metro Bus Operations Center in St. Cloud. The celebration announces the beginning of a fleet of buses that will run on compressed natural gas. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar is guest of honor at the event.
The State of Minnesota gives Sartell a grant for $500,000 to acquire more land for the development of Sauk River Regional Park. The money is part of the nearly $1 billion bonding bill approved by the legislature.
Tom Emmer wins the Republican nomination to run for the Sixth Congressional District seat in the U.S. Congress. He will face off against DFL candidate Joe Perske of Sartell and Independent candidate John Denney.
All veterans are memorialized with song and speeches during the annual Memorial Day ceremony on a beautiful sunny morning at Veterans Park in Sartell. The keynote speaker is Sgt. First Class Timothy Milo, a trainer for the Minnesota National Guard.
Edmonton Trailer, a Canadian manufacturer of specialty heavy-duty truck trailers, announces it plans to set up business on the property once owned by the Verso paper mill in Sartell. That site is currently under demolition for recycling purposes.
David Thompson of St. Paul is the winner of the Sartell Apple Duathlon. It is the seventh time he won the annual race. His time was 1:31:33. Ruth Brennan Morrey of Rochester is the top female winner.
Pinecone Central Park hosts a grand opening featuring ball games, food and refreshments and many speeches. Residents and out-of-town visitors praise the park’s recreational amenities and its overall green spacious beauty.
Pat Forte, a coach and cancer survivor, gives an inspirational talk about beating the odds through faith in God and human connections during a meeting of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Sartell High School.
Ashley Anderson of Sartell is chosen as the Daycare Provider of the Year by the Stearns-Benton County Daycare Providers’ Association. Anderson’s business, called Boys and Curls Day Care (also ABC Daycare) accommodates 10 children, including four of her own.
Sartell Police Chief Jim Hughes receives a Meritorious Service medal from the Sartell City Council for his expertise in providing public safety, in particular during the aftermath of the Verso paper-mill disaster in 2012, when that plant exploded, killing one worker and posing dangers to the immediate area for nearly one week. In accepting the award, Hughes focused attention on his staff and reserve officers. “Without them,” he said, “I couldn’t have done it.”
The city council passes an ordinance allowing mobile-food vendors to do business on Sartell streets, with some restrictions.
Rain almost drowns the annual Sartell SummerFest, but not quite. The Grand Parade was cancelled, only the second time in the 23-year history of the festival. The fireworks show was also cancelled. However, the Libertyville Family Fun Extravaganza Friday night was a huge success, with thousands of people having fun in Pinecone Regional Park.
Patty Schuneman of St. Stephen retires after serving for 45 years as a bus driver for the Sartell-St. Stephen School District. She is also recently honored with a “Transportation Specialist Award” from the Minnesota School Bus Operators’ Association. In all her years of driving her precious cargo to and from schools, Schuneman never had a traffic accident.
Many neighborhoods in Sartell celebrate “National Night Out” with block parties, cookouts and other fun festivities. Sartell police officers visit each gathering and share safety tips with residents.
Big crowds have a ball during the weekend of July 18-20 when the St. Stephen Centennial is celebrated. The activities included a long parade, a classic-car show, baseball games, three musical shows, a polka Mass, a tractor show and more.
Eddie Peternell, age 92 and St. Stephen’s oldest living resident, receives an honorary plaque from Dr. H.E. Bozo Cerar, the Republic of Slovenia’s ambassador to the United States. Cerar and Peternell were both guests of honor during St. Stephen’s Centennial celebration July 18-20. Peternell farmed all of his life and won plowing contests when he was in his 80s and 90s. Cerar was invited to the St. Stephen Centennial because it is the oldest Slovenian city in the United States.
In a speech to an audience in the St. Stephen ballpark, Slovenian ambassador Dr. H.E. Bozo Cerar praises St. Stephen residents for keeping the traditions and culture of Slovenia alive.
Brittany Allyn (nee Patty Trobec) performs with her sister, Pam Trobec and Pam’s husband, Sherwin Linton and his band during a rocking country-western show at St. Stephen’s Centennial celebration. Allyn, who grew up in St. Stephen, was a backup singer for years for the legendary Nashville singer George Jones. She has also recorded well-received CDs of her own.
For more Year in Review, please see next week’s issue.