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2011 Year In Review ���� ��� ������ ������ ����� ���������� ������� �� ����

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March 9-Nov. 15: 2nd Ave. Bridge project completed in Cambridge Crews worked over much of 2011 to replace the 90 year-old 2nd Ave. SW bridge in Cambridge, opening the new bridge in mid-November after completing the $1.3 million project. The new bridge will be a key detour when the Hwy. 95 bridge in Cambridge gets an overhaul in 2013.

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Dive team leads recovery of stolen car from Rum River Isanti Sheriff Dept. diver Nate Putbrese teamed with IC Safety & Rescue and other emergency personnel to fish a stolen car out of the swollen Rum River in Cambridge. No bodies were discovered in the car after it was successfully towed to shore.

May 23: CFD member Chip Imker killed at training session

A shocking and sad story occurred in late spring when Cambridge Firefighter Chip Imker was killed participating in a rope rescue exercise at the fire hall. A long procession of fire trucks from departments around the state accompanied the funeral. • One June 25, Braham had a special funeral and procession for SGT Ralph Carlson after his remains returned from the Korean War 60 years after his death in a prisoner camp.

March 19: Braham Girls win State championship The Braham girls basketball team gets its own State championship banner for the BHS gym after the Bombers paid back Minnehaha Academy in the Class AA title game. The Bombers finished the season 31-2 after also defeating Pequot Lakes and Providence Academy at State.

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June 15: Five-month old thrives after heart transplant

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Easten “Monster” Engstrom, son of Derri and Nick Engstrom of rural Isanti County, was one of the youngest children ever to undergo heart transplant surgery when he was five months-old. Easten’s transplant took place at Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis. “He’s a very strong-willed little guy,” described mother Derri.

January - June 2011 Jan. 10: New members join District 911 School Board The Cambridge-Isanti School Board had a fresh batch of members begin their terms when newly-elected Lynn Wedlund, Tim Hitchings, Jenni Caulk and Mark Becker took their oaths of office. • In March, Mike Warring was elected the new Isanti County Board District 4 Commissioner, taking the seat held by Kurt Daudt who was elected to the MN House of Representatives the prior November. Jan. 26: Isanti Fire Dept. completes Station No. 3 The newest fire station for the Isanti Fire District is standing tall in the southeast corner of Isanti County, thanks to donations raised from the annual Isanti Firefighters Rodeos. The Isanti Firefighters Rodeo Association donated over $146,000 in proceeds to Fire Station No. 3, located at the corner of Co. Rd. 9 and Co. Rd. 45 in Athens Township. Feb. 5: Successful Candlelight Ski hosted at college A perfect night for cross country skiing or snowshoeing fell into place for the 11th annual ARCC Cambridge Campus Candlelight Ski. A large throng of outdoorsy people attended the event, stopping into the college for hot chocolate and bluegrass music afterward. Feb. 23: National Legion Commander visits Cambridge National Commander of the American Legion Jimmie Foster made Cambridge one of his stops, bringing his enthusiastic leadership to town. Foster is a 30-year American Legion member, serving in both the Marines and Army. The Anchorage, Alaska resident felt right at home among the snowdrifts and icy roads when he was the Cambridge Post 290’s guest for a breakfast stop. Feb. 25-March 5: Great winter for Bluejacket athletes Cambridge-Isanti athletics enjoyed a memorable finish to the winter season when the Bluejacket Gymnasts placed 4th at the State meet. C-I Wrestlers had eight members

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reach the State tournament with six medals won– both team records. The Bluejacket boys swim & dive team added glory by having entrants reach State in five events. • CIHS grad Marie Hanson helped lead the Anoka-Ramsey Golden Ram women’s basketball team to the National community college title. CIHS grad Zach Molitor won a Div. III National wrestling championship for Augsburg College. February-March: Tragedy hits county natives abroad In mid-February, CIHS grad Barrie Shortell was brutally attacked during a mugging in Brooklyn NY, requiring 10 hours of surgery to reconstruct portions of his face after getting out of the ICU. In mid-March, life-long Cambridge resident John Larson was killed by a drunk driver while walking across a street in Tempe, AZ. Also in mid-March, the 9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami which hit Japan caught the world’s attention. Among those affected was Braham graduate Kenneth Johnson and his family. Johnson’s wife, Akiko, is a native of Kamakura, Japan. April 18: Clausen returns to CIHS principal position An arbitrator process ruled in favor of Mitch Clausen who regained his principal’s position at Cambridge-Isanti High School after the District 911 School Board attempted to terminate him back in August 2010. April 21: Sen. Franken visits Ever Cat Fuels U.S. Senator Al Franken visited Ever Cat Fuels in Isanti on Thursday, April 21, to hear a presentation on the company’s innovations in the manufacture of biodiesel. The visit came as part of a statewide research tour of renewable energy businesses for Franken, who was named to the Senate Energy and National Resources Committee in January. June 18: Rainy but successful Patriot Ride hosted The 2011 Patriot Ride worked its way around a couple of downpours as motorcyclists held another successful fundraiser supporting military personnel. The ride began and ended at the Ham Lake Lions Park, with a midway stop full of events at the Armed Forces Readiness Center in Cambridge. Over $100,000 was raised.

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July 1 and Aug. 2: Storms ravage Cambridge and Isanti

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Hundreds of trees and utility poles scattered the streets and yards of Cambridge on July 1 and Isanti on Aug. 2 following storms that blew through the area, leaving thousands without power.

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July 8: Isanti County Historical Society building destroyed by arson

The Isanti amateur baseball team captured its first State title by defeating Waconia 4-3 in the Labor Day championship. The Redbirds went 6-0 during the State tourney and finished the season with a 34-7 record.

All of us at the Isanti County News have enjoyed covering the past year’s news, features and sports stories. We look forward to another great year, and appreciate all the community support we’ve been given the past year.

When the Isanti County Historical Society Heritage Center went up in flames around 6 a.m. on Friday, July 8, so did 150 years of Isanti County history. The center was built specifically to house the ICHS collections and historical records. It is estimated that 70 percent of the collections were destroyed, either by the fire or water damage.

July 19: After 20 years in the making, the Cambridge-Isanti Bike/ Walk Trail opens

Sept. 5: Isanti Redbirds win first State championship

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Fugitive captured after manhunt through local cornfield

A 26-year-old fugitive is behind bars after prompting a U.S. Marshalled manhunt that started with a high speed chase in North Branch and continued with an extensive search through local cornfields. Shawn Michael Olthoff, from Duluth, was apprehended at a residence just north of Pine City.

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Tuesday, July 19, marked the grand opening of the long-awaited Cambridge-Isanti Bike/Walk Trail. Representatives from the two cities and Isanti County gathered to celebrate the opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Among them was former Congressman Jim Oberstar, who played a key role in securing federal funds for the trail.

Events are listed in chronological order. July - December 2011 August 14: Lowe’s of Cambridge closes its doors Lowe’s of Cambridge closed its doors after nearly two years of serving the community. After opening in September 2009, the home improvement store closed for business at the end of the day on Sunday, Aug. 14. Sept. 1: Fairbanks found guilty of first-degree murder in shooting of Deputy Dewey The gunman in the shooting of Mahnomen County Sheriff’s Deputy Christopher Dewey will spend the rest of his life in prison. On Thursday, Sept. 1, Thomas Lee Fairbanks, 34, was found guilty of first degree murder in the shooting of Deputy Dewey. Sept. 2: Holm pleads guilty to felony criminal sexual conduct Mark Steven Holm, 54, of Stanchfield, pled guilty Sept. 2 to felony, 3rd degree criminal sexual conduct in 10th Judicial Court in Cambridge. Holm pled guilty to the charge that states the conduct occurred where the victim is at least 16 but less than 18 years of age, and the actor is more than 48 months older than the victim and in a position of authority. Holm is the former area director of East Central Minnesota Young life, and was charged Oct. 29, 2010, with three counts of felony 3rd degree criminal sexual conduct. He was sentenced Nov. 17 to 11 months in prison. Sept. 14: Cambridge Medical Center to build $10 million emergency room Cambridge Medical Center broke ground for a new $10 million emergency room expansion and chemotherapy remodel. Expected to open November 2012,the construction will include 15,000 square feet of new space added to the medical center, an adjacent to the ER, and 1,000 square feet of existing space will be remodeled. Sept. 29: Shots fired during encounter with suicidal male Gunshots were fired during an exchange with a suicidal male late Thursday, Sept. 29. Ricky Alan Geving, 49, was charged Oct. 3 in Isanti County District Court with felony for use of deadly force against a peace officer and felony for second degree assault with a dangerous weapon. A judge found him guilty Dec. 15 to the charge of use of deadly force

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against a peace officer, and sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 23. Sept. 30: Pine City woman is charged in drowning death at area group home Devra Cheyrle Stiles, 62, was charged with second degree manslaughter in the Aug. 28 death of 56-year-old Gerald Edward Hyska, a man in her care at a Braham group home who died after drowning in a bathtub. An omnibus hearing is scheduled for Feb. 16 before Judge James Dehn. Oct. 17 and 18: Eight people face 18 felony drug charges Eight people face 18 felony drug charges after search warrants executed at properties in Cambridge and Isanti on Oct. 17 and Oct. 18 found evidence of items associated with drug possession and manufacturing of methamphetamine. Nov. 28: Teacher charged with sexual conduct Physical education and health teacher at Braham High School Christopher Calvin Vavra, 25, of Isanti, was charged with second degree criminal sexual conduct and fourth degree criminal sexual conduct for incidents that allegedly took place Nov. 21 and Nov. 22. Vavra made his initial appearance in court Dec. 29, and an omnibus hearing is scheduled for March 1. December: City and county budgets approved City of Isanti approves 11 percent property tax decrease for 2012, Cambridge approves a 0 percent levy increase, and Isanti County, after hearing residents’ complaints of the initial 2 percent increase proposed, changed the levy increase to 0 percent. Dec. 6 and 7: Traffic stops lead to drug, burglary arrests Isanti County deputies made two motor vehicle stops that led to several warrant arrests, along with drug arrests and recovery of stolen property. A total of six individuals were charged in connection with the incidents, and $6,000 in stolen goods were recovered. Dec. 21: Isanti man sentenced to 15 years for criminal sexual conduct Isanti County Judge P. Hunter Anderson sentenced Douglas Neil Raasch, 35, Isanti, to 15 years in prison for felony, 1st degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor—in a position of authority.

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ICN_Year In Review 2011  

Looking back at 2011 in Isanti County

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