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Year in Review

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January 2011 Jan. 5:

Lora Walker

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Minnesota’s 2011 Legislative Session officially began January 4 with Bob Barrett (R-Shafer) and 133 other state Saying she was “very honored to have representatives being sworn into office during a ceremony been elected” and that she accepts the at the State Capitol. responsibility of the position, Dist. 1 County Commissioner Lora Walker A big moving truck was parked backward on Main took on the responsibility of county Street on Jan. 7 and its contents were unloaded at the new board chairwoman for the 2011 year. Main Street Center office of Congressman Chip Cravaack. The action was taken as the county Cravaack is the newly elected representative for U.S. Dist. board organizational meeting got un- 8. At the time, the North Branch office (6448 Main Street, derway Tuesday, Jan. 4. Suite 6) was the only office in the district. Jan. 19:

On Monday, Jan. 3, 2011, 10th Judicial District Judge Robert Rancourt swore in newly elected sheriff Rick Duncan.

One of the first items that the Harris City Council tackled Jan. 10, was the restructuring of the debt against the Water Treatment Plant (WTP) and the Waste Water Treatment Facility (WWTF). Under the restructuring plan, the rate will drop to 1.535 percent. The maturity of the debt has been pushed ahead to 2036.

Seventh and eighth grade students in Mr. Eric Telander’s science classes at Rush City Area High School are about to become the pioneers of a not-so-traditional garden project that’s catching on in the community. The plan involves constructing a high schoolbased rain garden, which was constructed in the fall to teach students how they can keep our waters clean from storm water runoff.

The Stacy City Council met for the first time under the leadership of Mark Utecht, who was sworn in as mayor last Tuesday, Jan. 11. Also sworn in was re-elected Councilor Michael Carlson. Councilor Chuck Lucia was sworn in previously.

New people seated at the table at the NB school board meeting included Randy Westby and Jay Falk, both elected last November. Kirby Ekstrom Judge Rancourt and was re-elected in sheriff Rick Duncan. that same fall election. One seat (Vicki was Randy Westby McDougall’s) Jan. 12: vacant as the organiRon Lindquist began serving his first zational meeting got underway. term on the North Branch City CounJay Falk Jan. 26: cil, having been elected the past fall. The evaluation report on the 2010 Hay Days event is The Rush City Council didn’t waste completed and in the half-inch document Environmental any time welcoming new Councilor Al Services Director Mary Darragh Schmitz points to the Hoffman on Jan. 10, the first meeting compliance report that lists 35 items that were not met by of the new year where he was sworn in the conditional use permit (CUP) holder, the Sno Barons. with incumbents Mayor Nancy Schro- The permit conditions, as many will attest to and have in Ron Lindquist eder and Councilor Bob Oscarson. letters and comments since the event, were not met in the following areas: attendance, traffic, parking and access to site.

February 2011 Feb. 2:

American Legion Riders, a family-oriented motorcycle group associated with the American Legion. The intent is to promote the American Legion’s goals of service to veterans and service to community.

Area lawmakers hope to change the Green Acres property tax program, a program that reportedly has some farmers clear cutting trees in order to fit parcels into certain program categories. North Branch City Council Member Ronald Lindquist, whose family has two farms, testified in favor of changing current Green Acres law before the A moment of silence was House agriculture committee on Feb. 1. observed in memory of Councilman Larry ErickFeb. 9: son as the Feb. 14 North North Branch Area Public Schools (NBAPS) superin- Branch City Council meettendent Dr. Deb Henton is one of 10 superintendents that ing got underway Monday will be recognized nationally for embracing and encourag- night. Councilman Ericking the use of technology in education. Henton received son passed away last Tuesthe Tech Savvy Superintendent award from eSchool News day from a liver disease. at a banquet on Feb. 17 in Denver, Colo. On Feb. 8, Stacy resident Results from the 2010 Minnesota Student Survey show Jim Ness was selected to fill chewing tobacco among boys is a concern and attitudes the council seat left vacant about school safety and post secondary education are a when Mark Utecht was few of the many brights spots at Rush City Area High elected mayor in the NoSchool. Principal Stuart Fuhs gave credit to improvements vember election. in school, like a boosted presence of teachers in the hallFeb. 23: ways, and the health curriculum for the mainly positive report. He did point out that name calling, pushing and On Monday, Feb. 14, the shoving and student interaction are areas of concern that Harris City Council apwill be addressed by the school. pointed Don Cardinal to fill a temporary position. Feb. 16:

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The 2011 Snow Days king and queen were crowned Ron Rollins, of North Branch, a motorcycle enthusiast, at North Branch Area High School. They are Brittany is ring-leading the organization of the NB Chapter of the Moore and Ben Besch.

Award honor at the Lions’ Governor’s Night dinner on The Rush City Council on Feb. 16 authorized engineer- Tuesday, March 8. Ekstrom is the ninth recipient of the ing firm SEH to prepare the utility reconstruction plans prestigious award. and specifications as part of the big turnback project. The The North Branch Lions held their annual Governor’s city is responsible for the utility (water and sewer) part of Night last Tuesday, March 8. Lion Chris Thoma was sethe plan, and the $125,000 cost will mainly compensate lected as Lion of the Year and, for his many years of serfor staff time. Construction is expected to last over two vice to the community,. seasons; completion is set for fall of 2012. March 23: March 9: With the student enrollment hike holding steady at Rush North Branch police is about to add search warrant City schools, the district is taking care of some staff and writing and certain sex crime investigations to its list of non-staff spending needs. Funding is tied with enrollment, job duties, due to a restructuring plan at the sheriff’s office. so the addition of about 30 students means the school sysChisago County Sheriff Rick Duncan came before the tem can finally replace some old textbooks, update techcounty commissioners last week for approval of his reor- nology and pursue a few facilities projects that have been ganization project. The benefits to the county, he pointed postponed.

out, are to provide more efficient services, reduce overMarch 30: time costs, decrease county liability by providing a more Chisago County Criminal Investigaefficient supervisory structure on each shift, and overall tor Cliff Sheppeck was chosen from providing better law enforcement coverage in the whole a dozen candidates to fill the vacant county. North Branch council seat left open The county still contracts with Rush City, Harris, Stacy upon the death of Larry Erickson. and Taylors Falls and has a K-9 unit. The Rush City Council on March 28 Chisago County administrator John Moosey submitted approved an on-sale liquor license rehis resignation and is heading to the Borough of Mata- quested by the owners of what will be nuska Susitna, Alaska to work as its manager. Moosey has called TTTriple T’z Pub and Grub at Cliff Sheppeck been Chisago County Administrator for eight years, prior 180 W. 5th St. to that he was the North Branch City Administrator. Ken Opatz has been selected as the 2010 recipient of the March 16: Rush City Chamber of Commerce Community Service Award and a dinner in his honor will be held May 21 at The Lions motto is “We Chucker’s Bowl and Lounge. Serve,” and though she’s not a Lion that passion to serve others fits Irma Ekstrom to a T. Some would say it’s written into her DNA. Ekstrom, who has lived her entire 79 years on two farms a short way south of North Branch, accepted the 2011 Community Service

Old man winter dumped another mass of snow in East Central Minnesota last Tuesday night and into Wednesday (March 22-23) causing school closings and treacherous road travel. School was closed Wednesday in Rush City where at least 9 inches was reported that morning to the National Weather Service. In North Branch, approximately 7 inches was reported just after 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Irma Ekstrom

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March 2011 March 2:

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Many brave souls took the “Polar Plunge” at Fish Lake as the NB Winter Fest got underway. The Chamber is already looking for those who want to take that frigid jump again in 2012.

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April 13:

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went down. Stacy was without water for several hours. A Harris City Public Works employee Jonathon Blom pre- computer failure had caused the pumps to fail. The system sented a display of the four worst roads in Harris, one be- was rebooted and manual pumps were started. ing 440th. The other roads which are bad are Evergreen, April 27: 475th and Grand Avenue. The Rush City Council and a group of local landlords On April 7, North Branch Police Chief Dan Meyer brought new information concerning changes to the investigation agreement with the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office. The department is about to embark on training so officers can write search warrants and interview child victims of criminal sexual conduct cases locally. April 20:

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April 2011

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reached a compromise on how to proceed with a proposed residential rental inspection ordinance. The rental owners offered a proposal of their own: to form a landlords group to address the health and safety issues that are of immediate concern to the city. Rush City schools’ Bob Schlagel was voted as this year’s Athletic Director of the Year Award for Region 5, Dist. 18.

At the April 12 Stacy City Council meeting City Maintenance Supervisor Jon Ehlert talked about the city wells

May 2011 May 4:

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Paul and Laura Rohn provided foster care services for 14 years, caring for over 70 children. At a work session last week, the North Branch school board hired Springsted to do a survey in anticipation of Four members of the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office holding a fall levy referendum. A phone survey is to be accepted promotions to the title of sergeant during a done some time early this summer. special ceremony Friday afternoon, May 6 at the county The news was promising, even encouraging, that alco- government center in Center City. Matt Beckman, Scott hol use among Chisago County youths has dropped once Sellman, Shane Carroll and Jeff Wessel were sworn in by again. On April 21, Room 142 at the Chisago County Sheriff Rick Duncan. Government Center was occupied by individuals interestMay 25: ed in learning the results of the latest youth survey of the The Rush City Council on May 23 approved a few more county’s 6th, 9th and 12th graders. The issues? Alcohol, measures in preparation of the 4th Street turnback projtobacco, marijuana, methamphetamine and unauthorized ect, which begins after the county fair in August. prescription drug use. The Rush City Women’s Club celebrated its 90th year A hometown girl, Amy Falk, who has Monday, May 23, at a luncheon at Rushseba Town Hall. been an inspiration to others throughRush City Mayor Nancy Schroeder read a proclamation out her life, and a public speaker for declaring Monday Rush City Women’s Club Day.The Rush United Cerebral Palsy (UCP), is now City Women’s Club members number 55 at the present. an author - make that “published auOver the years the women in the club established the first thor.” By the end of the year, her secpublic library, the first city park, raised funds for scholarond book had been published. ships for graduating RCHS seniors, and explored a variety May 11: of topics from dealing with teenagers, Beth Novak has been named Chisa- to cancer, to politics, and even opera. go County Child Care Provider of the While dark storm clouds snuck up on Year. She owns and operates Beth’s Rush City last Saturday night, inside Best Buddies, a licensed family child care home in Lind- Chucker’s Bowl the scene was bright strom. and jovial. Ken Opatz would soon reTwo foster couples were given appreciation by the Chis- ceive a plaque for being honored as the ago County commissioners as they retire: Donald and Chamber’s Community Service Award Wendy Steinbruckner dedicated 20 years to the children winner for 2010. Amy Falk

and adults of Chisago County.

Ken Opatz

June 2011 June 1: The former chief executive officer for the Community National Bank in North Branch, was sentenced on fraud charges in connection to the financing of Ramsey Town Center, a 320-acre, mixed-use development in Ramsey, Minnesota. United States District Court Judge Patrick J. Schiltz sentenced William Garfield Sandison, age 67, of Forest Lake, to four months in prison and ordered to pay a $30,000 fine on one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. He was indicted, along with two co-defendants, on April 21, 2009, and pleaded guilty on August 27, 2009.

The cost of the project is $9,431,425, with the city responsible for $2,148,290. The city has applied for a loan through the Minnesota Public Facilities Authority (MPFA) and will be notified by early September as to whether or not it has received it. The project is scheduled to begin August 15, 2011 and be completed July 2012.

June 15: The North Branch school board agreed to proceed with an operating levy referendum this fall. June 22: The clock is ticking as the Republican-controlled Legislature and DFL Governor Mark Dayton have yet to agree on a budget for the next biennium. A shutdown would take effect on Friday, July 1, if an agreement cannot be reached. However, a Minnesota judge may order to keep Midsummer Ambassadors are Meghan Wicklund, some of the more essential services intact. Kallie Grote and Abby Carlson. At the county board meeting last Wednesday, it was noted that Chisago County has plans in anticipation of the potential shutdown of the state on July 1. It was a most unique share-and-learn opportunity when North Branch City Council members and North Branch school board members sat around the table last week. June 29:

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The North Branch City Council on June 27 received a round of applause for putting closure to an issue that’s been causing members of the police department to wonder if they would be out of a job. The applause was given by a full house of police supporters who were pleased that councilors put to rest any further thought about contracting for police service. The Rush City Council on June 27 approved the plans WWII Vets were honored as the grand marshals of and specifications for the Trunk Hwy. 361 turnback im- the Midsummer parade on June 19. provement project.

July 2011 July 6:

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At a June 30 NB school board working session, board members agreed on a single question and a compromise on a dollar amount. The consensus was to seek a levy that would generate about $1.5 million annually for three years. The tax impact: $120 a year on an average home, equating to roughly $10 a month.

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For the second time in Minnesota state history a budget impasse at the State Capitol has shut down state government. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders on Thursday, June 30 failed to reach a state budget compromise and some 20,000 state employees Black smoke could be seen for miles when a Nessel now face layoffs. Township home exploded and burned, a barn also caught fire and was completely destroyed. July 13:

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The cause of a fire that leveled a home and barn in Nessel Township is under investigation. Around 2 p.m. Saturday, July 9, a neighbor heard a loud boom. According to the deputy’s report the house was blown off the foundation and the rear side of the house was blown about 40 feet away. No one was home at the time. The fire spread to a large barn which also burned to the ground. The Chisago County Highway Department was busy following the July 1 storm. A crew of eight spent about 50 hours cutting and clearing away trees to get the roads open and passable. The following day, July 2, a crew of nine spent about 70 hours continuing the effort. Hwy. Engineer Joe Triplett estimated that the Friday, Saturday work cost around $5,000 - $10,000 in labor, equipment, and materials.

World War II veterans were the grand marshals in the 2011 Midsummer Parade on Sunday, June 19. They included: Bob Edwardson, Michas (Mike) Ohnstad, Tom Warneke, Rodney Shogren, Maurice Meyer, John Broker, Kenneth Swanson, Lloyd Nelson, Roland Rooney, Joseph Johnson, Larry McKenzie, Clayton Anderson, and Glen Anderson. July 20: Bill Wolff of Rush City has been named the 2011 Chisago County Outstanding Senior Citizen of the Year. Recognized for his volunteerism and dedication to the community, Wolff received the honor during a special program Thursday, July 14 at the Rush City Community Center.


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July continued from page 12

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July 27:

The North Branch School District completed year one of a four-day week and the final review of the schedule, along with a second survey of parents, staff and students, shows that the impact on everyone and the district was pretty much the same as seen in all the research administration had conducted prior to implementation. At the top of the list, noted Superintendent Dr. Deb Henton, is that student achievement was not adversely impacted.

A Lake Elmo city administrator was chosen by the county board to be the next Chisago County administrator. Seventy-seven people applied for the oposition. Finalists were Albert Roder, Ron Moorse, Kristine Nelson Fuge, and Bruce Messelt. The board approved hiring Bruce Messelt, 4-1, with Commissioner Mike Robinson opposed.

A former county commissioner, Curtis Lendt, 88, was rescued from his burning home by Wyoming city police An operating levy proposal will be going before the resi- officer and the fire chief. The two forced open the locked dents of the NB school district this fall. It has the unani- door and found Lendt in a downstairs bedroom. mous blessing of the school board members. A group of area citizens protested on the sidewalk in The loss of parking spaces and its impact on downtown front of U.S. Congressman Chip Cravaack’s office Tuesbusinesses continues to be a main concern over the pro- day afternoon in North Branch. “We are protesting against posed CSAH 30/Trunk Hwy. 95 improvements in North the Republicans (federal legislators, such as Cravaack) for Branch. their unwillingness to compromise in the default of govStacy city councilors voted 3-1 to rescind support of ernment. both the 101st Airborne and the 34th Infantry Red Bulls.

August 2011

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Aug. 10:

Wardak Province, Afghanistan. Spehar grew up in ChisaDan Meyer was taken off interim status and sworn in go City and entered the Navy in March of 2007. as North Branch’s new police chief Monday night, Aug. On Tuesday, Aug. 9, at the North Branch American Le8, at the city council meeting. Councilor Cliff Sheppeck gion Post 85, Ron Rollins was named American Legion who was appointed earlier this year to fill Larry Erickson’s Post 85 member of the year. vacant council seat, resigned because his family had purAug. 31: chased a home about 1.5 miles outside the NB city limits. The State Hwy. 361 turnback, reconstruction and utiliVirgil Beecher, soon celebrating his 85th birthday, re- ties project in Rush City has begun with asphalt removal ceived an honorary diploma from the Rush City High on Co. Rd. 30, along with work from the Pine County/ School Class of 1946 during their reunion Aug. 13 at the Chisago County line to the 4th Street intersection. Grant House. North Branch Area High School welcomed Glen Stevens as its new assistant principal.

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On August 6, SO2 Nicholas Patrick Spehar, 24, was killed in action while conducting combat operations in

September 2011 ��

The County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved an employment contract with Bruce Messelt during its Sept. 21 meeting, completing a hiring process begun in July when Messelt was selected as the top candidate out of a field of 77 applicants.

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It didn’t take long for the student body at North Branch Area High School to get excited about Homecoming Week when Carl Neumann was crowned king and Autumn Ruddy, queen, on Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 27. Other homecoming candidates were Jared Houle, Travis Anderson, Brandon Kriz, Brett Klun, Maria Gozzi, Jenna Grabinski, Kassie Salo and Jenna Aho.

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Oct. 5:

way back to the Stacy City Council table last week but was Rush City welcomed back its Homecoming Parade, fol- again unsuccesful. The motion failed 3-2. lowed by pig roast and an exciting football game against Oct. 26: the Crosby-Ironton Rangers on Sept. 30. A nice-sized At a special school board meeting Thursday night, Sept. crowd gathered 29, it was decided to seek candidates for the school board for the celebraseat vacated by Jaye Kruckeberg. tion of the Rush Perry Humble, of North Branch, claimed perhaps one City Lions 40th of the largest black bears found in Chisago County just anniversary last 5 miles south of North Branch on Sept. 16. Humble, who Saturday night. plans to have the bear mounted, is also thinking about re- The group was tiring the arrow he used. Simply called, “The Arrow,” it welcomed by RC Lions president Al Hoffman. The evening moved forward has never missed in each of the four times it’s been shot. with 5th Dist. County Commissioner Mike Robinson preOct. 12: senting a certificate from the County Board in honor of A vacant seat on the NB council will now be filled by the clubs’ 40 years of service. Rush City Mayor Nancy Schroeder read a proclamation declaring Saturday, Oct. Joel McPherson. 22, 2011 as Rush City Lions Day. There are 50 some memOct. 19: bers in the current club. The current members have 756 A resolution to reinstate support for the troops made it’s combined years of service to the community.

November 2011

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in Nessel Township.

A 26-year-old fugitive is behind bars after prompting a Nov. 23: U.S. Marshal-led manhunt that started with a high speed Trent Jensen has been chosen by the North Branch chase in North Branch and continued with an extensive school board as the person to fill the seat vacated by Jay search through local cornfields on Friday, Oct. 28. With Kruckeberg. the search approaching the 24th hour, Shawn Michael Nov. 30: Olthoff, from Duluth, was apprehended shortly after 8 a.m. Saturday at a residence just north of Pine City, acNorth Branch Lions again set a new record by preparcording to the U.S. Marshals Service. ing from scratch and delivering 140 Thanksgiving dinners with turkey and all the trimmings for people who for whatNov. 9: ever reason wouldn’t have had one. The North Branch Area Public Schools 2011 operating levy has failed. The unofficial results are Yes - 1769 (45 percent) and No - 2156 (55 percent). An approved levy would have provided $1.5 million of the projected $2.5 million deficit anticipated to be addressed at the beginning of 2012 budget process.

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October 2011

Local fire departments on Nov. 12 responded to multiple fire calls including an impressive blaze that burned 30 acres of field near the intersection of county roads 1 and 2

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Sept. 28:

Nov. 16:

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At the Aug. 9 Stacy City Council meeting citizens expressed their disapproval of the council’s rescinding support for the troops.

RC school board incumbents Stefanie Folkema and Scott Tryon were victorious in receiving 170 and 165 votes, respectively. Brenda Nessel, who did not file for re-election, accepted the 120 write-in votes that secured her the third and final seat.

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Aug. 17:

Nov. 2:

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NB lost its oldest historian and businessman when Clayton Anderson, 101, passed away.

Bruce Messelt started as Chisago County Administrator in early November.

December 2011 Dec. 14:

ily since he won’t be home for Christmas. Having served For the fourth year in a row, Chisago County is pro- in the U.S. Marine Corps since June 2004, he is currently posing a zero percent property-tax levy increase. County nearing the half-way point of his second deployment in Administrator Bruce Messelt explained this year’s total Afghanistan. county levy is about $51.3 million, reflecting no increase Wanting to do their part in serving the community, the over the past three years. North Branch school’s lunch ladies, partnering with Taher Catering, will be serving their first ever community holiday Dec. 21: dinner on Christmas Day. The meal is free to all residents. Christmas arrived early for one little Rush City girl Since 1972, the Rush City community has honored an who received quite a surprise Monday morning in her individual or a couple who have given much to the compreschool classroom at Jacobson Elementary. Five-yearmunity with a community service award. Mike Carroll has old Cadence Morris and family were all smiles when they been chosen by the Rush City Area Chamber of Comlearned a special Christmas program was organized just merce as its 2011 Community Service Award recipient. A for them by sixth-grade teacher Paul Kirby. Cadence’s fabanquet is planned for Saturday, Jan. 28 at Chuckers Bowl ther, Sgt. Timothy Morris, a 2004 graduate of Rush City & Lounge in his honor. High School, wanted to do something special for his fam-

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The year in sports January The Rush City/Pine City/Hinckley-Finlayson gymnastics team remained undefeated with a win over North Branch and Kylee Berube set a new record high score on the uneven bars. On Jan. 8, the North Branch Red Traveling Boys Basketball team visited Melrose, Wis., to play in a tournament that turned out to be worth the drive. North Branch boys clinched the blue ribbon with a 55-25 win over Mauston, Wis. The team traveled to Siren, Wis., for another tournament Jan. 15. There they came away with two more wins and another blue ribbon. February Senior Kendra Norman became the sixth girl in the history of Viking girls basketball to score 1,000 points. She did so while setting a new North Branch school record for threepoint shots with a total 102 points thus far in her high school career. Feb. 5 welcomed racing enthusiasts of all ages, backgrounds and destinations to the Dennis Kirk Championship Speed Series. The Section 2AA Dance Senior Kendra Norman Team Championship was became the sixth girl in hosted by the North Branch the history of Viking girls Vikettes Feb. 12, and the the basketball to score 1000 high kick team finished just points in February. one place away from a trip to state. The Rush City/Pine City/Hinckley-Finlayson gymnastics team ended its season as a team, when it placed third in the Section 7A Championships at Becker High School Feb. 19. Coach Dianne Meier, from Rush City, was named Section 7A Coach of the Year.

April The Rush City girls basketball team’ Coach Mark Henrich wa named Great River Conference Girls Basketball Coach of the Year. Northern Flight Gymnastics in Rush City announced its team placed 13th in Level 7 competition at MN State competition. May John Buboltz of North Branch used a pitching wedge to shoot a hole-in-one May 16 on par 3 hole no. 5, spanning 130 yards at Falcon Ridge Golf Course in Stacy. North Branch adapted bowling team members Alana Stahley, Chelsea Knutson, Iman Omar and Tayler Dyrda totaled 1658 points to earn PI (physically impaired) Team Champion Runner-up at the Minnesota State High School League State Championships May 20. The Rush City girls track and field team took the Great River Conference Championship while the boys team claimed Champion Runners-up. June North Branch boys team cross-country members Ben Besch and David Leason were Champion runners up, while girl team members Kassie Salo and Sherahlynn Linkert took Section Champion at the Section 7AA Championships at Grand Rapids High School May 30 and June 4. Justin Sawyer resigned from his position as North Branch math teacher, head football coach and assistant track and field coach to take over as principal at Braham Area High School. The North Branch 14U AAA baseball team advanced to the USSSA World Series after placing third at the Gopher State Mid-Summer Classic Tournament June 18-19 in Forest Lake. July Over 1,400 athletes dove into the warm waters of Chisago Lake at Paradise Beach to begin the first leg of the Chisago Lakes Triathlon July 24. Area athlete Zach Good placed 66th overall, the highest ranking of local participant. August North Branch Golf Course congratulateed member Lee Cich on his hole-in-one. He aced the 168-yard Hole no. 6 Aug. 18 during the Senior Men’s League. Cich matched the feat back in the summer of 2008 on the very same hole.

September A severe winter followed by a wet spring contributed to a significant decline in Minnesota’s pheasant counts. According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the pheasant population index declined 64 percent from 2010 and is 71 percent below the 10-year average. North Branch girls soccer player Bayley Ertl was named the Star Tribune’s “Athlete of the Week,” as well as a “Four Star Performer” by Minnesota Sports Online, after she Katie Meier congratulated her mother, Rush City/ scored five goals in a Sept. 14 game against Two Harbors. Pine City/Hinckley-Finlayson head gymnastics October coach Dianne Meier, for being named Section 7A Coach of the Year at the Section Championships on The North Branch Vikings football team overcame the Feb. 19 at Becker High School. Columbia Heights Hylanders 34-20 and earned its first win of the season during homecoming. March The North Branch volleyball team ended the regular North Branch wrestler Jake Kostik battled it out at the season tied for second place with Fridley and St. Francis Minnesota Class AA Individual State Wrestling Champi- in the North Suburban Conference. onships the first week of March to earn 5th place on the The North Branch girls cross country team took third podium at Xcel Energy Center. place out of nine teams, while the boys placed eighth out After securing the fourth seed in Section 7AA to earn of 10 in the North Suburban Conference Championships the right to host the first round of section play, the Rush at Ponds Golf Course in St. Francis the week of Oct 16. City Tiger girls basketball team mangled the Gobblers to move on, but then were knocked out of the tournament by November the no. 1 state ranked Braham Bombers. The Viking girls cross-country team earned the Section Thirteen-year-old Morgan Rose Coleman and Brady Academic Gold Standard by averaging higher than 3.9 Brodin, 11, represented North Branch in state competition grade point averages. after competing in the Region 7 Knights of Columbus Rush City High School volleyball team coach Eric Free Throw Championship Feb. 27 at Aitkin High School. Telander was named Great River Conference Volleyball North Branch U13 girls traveling volleyball took first place Coach of the Year. The Tigers ended the season with a in the Gold division in its home tournament March 12. 21-5 overall record. Rush City High School Coach Kevin Smith was named Great River Conference Cross Coach of the year. At the 5A Section Championships the boys team placed fifth out of 21 teams. December The North Branch Vikings 6th grade boys basketball team earned first place in the year’s first tournament at Rice Lake, Wis./St. Joseph Dec. 3.

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North Branch U13 girls traveling volleyball took first place in the Gold division in its home tournament March 12. Pictured in the top row (from left): Coach Steve Dickhudt, Jaci Bossard, Courtney Selbitschka, Morgen Coleman, Kelsey Martinson and Coach Mike Selbitschka. Bottom row: Casey Snaza, Cassie Vaughn and Melissa Dubina. Not pictured is Organized by the Rush City Sno-Bugs, the annual Maddy Danks. Radar Run is held at Flickabird’s on East Rush Lake.

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Over 1,400 athletes dove into the warm waters of Chisago Lake at Paradise Beach to begin the first leg of the Chisago Lakes Triathlon July 24.

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