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Reaching Everybody!

Presorted Standard U.S. Postage Paid St. Joseph Newsleader St. Joseph, MN 56374 Permit No. 21 ECRWSS Postal Customer

Newsleader Sartell

Friday, Oct. 11, 2013 Volume 18, Issue 40 Est. 1995

Town Crier

Market open through Oct. 21

Between 14-16 vendors gather to provide a wide variety of locally grown and produced products. Market Monday will conclude its outdoor season from 3-6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21 at City Hall. The Winter Market will be held from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. inside City Hall on the following dates: Nov. 9 and 23, Dec. 14, Jan. 11, Feb. 8, March 8, April 12 and May 3.

Library allows children, teens to read down fines

Due to a generous response to the Read Down Your Fines fundraising appeal and the positive responses from patrons who participated in June, a second Read Down Your Fines week has been scheduled as part of Teen Read Week Oct. 14-19. The idea is for minor cardholders ages 16 and younger to pay off any fines by reading at the library. For each 15 minutes of reading, $1 was waived from fines on their account for late return of materials. In the case of very young children with fines on their cards, parents could read down the child’s fines by reading to them in the library. A total of 173 cardholders took part. For more information, visit and click on Criers.

Postal Patron

Mahjong catches on at Senior Connection by Dennis Dalman

As the ceramic tiles click and clack, four women with intense faces choose and discard the tiles on the table, trying to achieve pongs, kongs and chows and even resorting at times to stealing in order to win the game. To an observer, it appears to be a mysterious, arcane ritual. But to the intense players, it’s the great game of mahjong. Pongs, kongs and chows are three combinations of tiles, which resemble dominos. A pong is three identical tiles; a kong is four identical tiles and a chow is a “meld” of three tiles in a specific numerical sequence. “Stealing” in mahjong is when a player takes a discarded tile from another player. Each Wednesday morning in Sartell, eight women gather to form two teams so they can play mahjong from 9 to 11:30 a.m. The games take place at the Senior Connection Center Mahjong • page 10

photo by Dennis Dalman

Five of the eight “Mahjong ladies” in the Sartell Senior Connection are (clockwise starting from woman in turquoise sweater) Rose Schulte, Gretchen Ross, Gerri Boser, Joy Chall and Lynne Willey. During this particular game, Boser was just sitting in as the other four ladies played.

Hockey clinched family’s decision to move here by Dennis Dalman

Sartell hockey – and a highly rated school system – were the clinchers when the Chris and Kristen Sigurdson family decided to move to the city five years ago. The Sigurdsons and their four sons attended the Oct.

5 celebration of the Bernick’s Arena’s 10th birthday. (See related story.) All of the Sigurdson boys play as members of the Youth Hockey Association. They are Colten, 13; Talon, 11; Quentin, 10; and Easton, 5. About six years ago, the Sigurdsons were with their sons at a hockey camp when someone there from Sartell mentioned

For additional criers, visit and click on Criers.

Iowa. Besides hockey, another clincher was when Kristen was putting out feelers for a job in another city, she discovered there was an opening for a footand-ankle surgeon at St. Cloud Orthopedics in Sartell’s Medical Campus. She applied and got the job. Chris is general manager for Hockey • page 3

Superintendent search intensifies for district

Nominations open for Teacher of Year

Everyone remembers a favorite teacher, someone who motivates and inspires students for a lifetime. Minnesotans have the opportunity again this fall to nominate that unique educator for Minnesota Teacher of the Year now through Nov. 15. The 2014 Teacher of the Year will be named at a ceremony May 4 and also becomes Minnesota’s candidate for National Teacher of the Year. For more information, visit and click on Criers.

they should think about moving to Sartell because of its thriving hockey program and its excellent school system. At that time, the Sigurdsons didn’t know really anything about Sartell. A year or so later, much to their delight, they found themselves living here, having moved from northwest

by Dennis Dalman

photo by Dennis Dalman

The Sigurdson family of Sartell gathers for a group photo with Nordy the Minnesota Wild mascot during the 10th birthday celebration of the Bernick’s Arena. The brand-new Zamboni is in the background of the photo. From left to right are Easton, Kristen, Colten, Talon, Quentin and Chris. The Sigurdsons are heavily involved in Sartell hockey, and all four boys are on teams of the Sartell Youth Hockey Association.

An intensely detailed and rigorous selection process for a new superintendent has begun in the Sartell-St. Stephen School District, with a publicinput meeting set for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15 at Sartell High School. The school board hopes to hire a new superintendent who would begin the job July 1, 2014. The entire day of Oct. 15 will be filled with all kinds of input-gathering – from board-of-education members, the formation of seven focus groups, the president of the

teachers union and the interim superintendent. All of the meetings that day will be conducted by Dr. Ken Dragseth and Dr. Greg Vandal, who are superintendent consultants from “School Exec Connect.” Vandal, former Sauk Rapids-Rice superintendent, and Dragseth, former Edina superintendent, will meet with board members, school staff, parents, students and Sartell residents individually and in focus groups throughout the next few weeks. All of the preparation work and input is to determine strengths, challenges and goals of the school district Search • page 5

Sartell Newsleader •


Blotter If any readers have tips concerning crimes, they should call the Sartell Police Department at 251-8186 or Tri-County Crime Stoppers at 255-1301 or access its tip site at Crime Stoppers offers rewards up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for crimes. Sept. 25 7:26 a.m. Traffic stop. Hwy. 15. While on patrol, an officer witnessed a driver slam his brakes at a red light and spin the vehicle. The driver stated his brakes locked up and that was the cause. The driver also admitted to not having a valid license. He was issued a citation and a valid driver came to retrieve the vehicle. 10:42 p.m. Suspicious person. 4th Avenue N. A complaint was made regarding a male who came to a residence and stated he was attempting to complete a background check on a neighbor. Officers checked the area and were unable to locate the male. Sept. 26 9:38 a.m. Drug paraphernalia. 7th Street N. A report was made a student was possibly under the influence of a substance. After speaking with the student, he admitted to smoking marijuana before school and gave the officer his paraphernalia and tobacco. He was issued a citation for both violations and his mother was contacted. 8:35 p.m. DWI. Connecticut Avenue. A driving complaint was made regarding a vehicle swerv-

ing into the oncoming lane and almost striking another vehicle. An officer was able to locate the vehicle. The officer detected the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the driver and he was unable to complete sobriety testing. He was placed under arrest and transported to Stearns County Jail. Sept. 27 10:01 p.m. Verbal. 2nd Street N. A complaint was made regarding four people yelling and seeming as though they were about to start fighting. Officers arrived and the males stated they were only joking and were not really angry. Sept. 28 12:25 a.m. DWI. Riverside Avenue. While on patrol, an officer witnessed a driver swerve and cross the center line several times. The driver was unable to pass any sobriety tests. He was placed under arrest and transported to Stearns County Jail. 8:31 a.m. Suspicious person. 5th Avenue N. A report was made of a male in the cemetery, possibly drinking with a firearm. Officers were able to locate the male who stated he was not there to harm himself, only to visit with an old friend. 10:51 p.m. Suspicious activity. 4th Street N. A report was made regarding a person attempting to gain entry to a residence. Officers arrived and the homeowner stated she heard banging at her back garage door. Officers checked the area and did not locate anyone. Sept. 29 11:30 a.m. Lost juvenile. 2nd

Street S. A report was made of a young male riding his tricycle across the road and going into a local store alone. Officers arrived and spoke with the young child, who was able to tell them his first name. The boy was able to direct the officer to his home. Officers spoke with the child’s parents who did not know he had left the home. 5:38 p.m. Domestic. 2-1/2 Street N. An emergency call was placed from a female stating her boyfriend was pushing her. Officers arrived and spoke with the female. She stated the male had left but she did not want to pursue any charges or give a statement. She had no visible injuries. Officers provided her with victim’s rights information. Sept. 30 7:16 a.m. Vandalism. 4th Street N. A report was made regarding a vehicle that was egged sometime during the overnight. 7:44 a.m. Vandalism. 9th Street N. A report was made regarding a vehicle that was egged sometime during the overnight. 2:37 p.m. Theft. Walmart. A male was witnessed attempting the leave the store with unpaid merchandise. The male admitted to the theft. He was issued a citation and released. Oct. 1 8:20 a.m. Traffic stop. 7th Street N. A vehicle was witnessed traveling 39 mph in a posted 20mph zone. The driver stated she was unaware of the speed limit. She was issued a citation and released.


C o n w a y, Deuth and Schmiesing PLLP, Sartell, announces staff accountant Debra Ritter has been awarded her Ritter Certified Payroll Professional designation. The CPP designation, awarded by the American Payroll Association, signifies Ritter has achieved a significant level of proficiency and detailed knowledge of payroll taxation, tax reporting, legislative and regulatory requirements, MIS, human resources, benefits and accounting as they relate to the payroll environment. She is awarded this designation based on the successful completion of a comprehensive four-hour exam. Recertification is required every five years. Ritter resides in Waite Park. Dr. Walker Brown of Pine Cone Pet Hospital in Sartell, has been selected by the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Associa- Dr. Brown tion as one of the Top 10 Emergent Leaders in the state’s organization. The “Power of 10 Leadership” ini-

The St. John’s Prep theater program in Collegeville has been named as one of the Hennepin Theatre Trust’s Spotlight Schools for 2014. This prestigious program supports Minnesota high school musical theater organizations. St. John’s Prep is the only school in Stearns, Sherburne or Benton counties to receive this recognition. It’s one of just eight Catholic schools recognized. Becoming a Spotlight School for the Hennepin Trust means St. John’s Prep will be given special access to professional workshops, mock auditions, backstage tours and technical training. The Hennepin Trust will also offer professional critiques of St. John’s Prep’s performances. The Hennepin Trust is the owner of the Minneapolis’ historic Orpheum, State, Pantages and New Century theaters. Its goal is to foster the arts and foster cultural development. St. John’s Prep has a strong performing arts curriculum. The school stages two large theater productions each year on its Collegeville campus as well as at the Paramount Theatre in St. Cloud. This year, it will perform Blithe Spirit Nov. 11-18. The school’s spring musical, Grease, is scheduled for March.

Friday, Oct. 11, 2013

tiative is organized by the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Foundation and is focused on the future leadership of the MVMA.

Dr. Nicholas Colatrella, owner and medical director of PineCone Vision Center, Sartell, was recently inducted as president of Dr. Colatrella the Illinois College of Optometry Alumni Council in Chicago. The council is the governing body of the alumni association. Colatrella, OD, FAAO, Dipl (ABO, ABCMO) is vice president of the Minnesota Optometric Association, and has twice been named Young Optometrist of the Year. He’s been active both in community and MOA outreach efforts, and has led the MOA Professional Education Committee. He is an honors graduate of the Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago, and completed a hospital residency in ocular disease. He is a nationally recognized lecturer and is a published author on the topics of LASIK surgery, cataracts, glaucoma, dry eye and corneal diseases. Dr. Colatrella and his wife, Dr. Stacy Hinkemeyer live in Sartell with their two children. “This honor showcases Prep’s commitment to theater and further strengthens our status as an advocate for theater arts,” says Assistant Principal Paul Menard. “It shows we have an established, reputable program not just in Central Minnesota, but also in the entire state. “Kids with all sorts of different talents and exposure to theater come together to perform at St. John’s Prep. I’m always impressed with the cooperative efforts of our students, parents and staff. I’m also proud of our ability to stage such large well-known productions with such a small student body. Our students like to get involved in our shows. Of our 315 students about 100 are involved in our productions each year.” Besides support from the Hennepin Theatre Trust, the Spotlight School honor also connects St. John’s Prep with other Spotlight schools and fosters relationships to share resources. Spotlight schools will often collaborate on buying or sharing costumes, props, set pieces and more. St. John’s Prep has already begun to reach out to schools to donate or rent out costumes, props and sets from previous productions.

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Little Dukes on Pinecone Sartell City Hall Sartell-St. Stephen School District Offices Walgreens

Publisher/Owner Janelle Von Pinnon

Contributing Writer Cori Hilsgen

Editor Dennis Dalman

Design/Layout Tara Wiese

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P.O. Box 324 • 32 1st Ave. N.W. • St. Joseph, Minn. 56374 Phone (320) 363-7741 • Fax (320) 363-4195 • E-mail address: POSTMASTER: Send address changes to ST. JOSEPH NEWSLEADER, P.O. Box 324, St. Joseph, MN 56374.

Sartell Newsleader •

Friday, Oct. 11, 2013


Skaters celebrate hockey arena’s 10th birthday by Dennis Dalman

It was a big, happy party on ice Oct. 5 as skaters young and old, pros and beginners, zipped and zig-zagged on the indoor rink of Bernick’s Arena to celebrate its 10th birthday. The many skaters and onlookers cheered loudly when a 10th-anniversary “gift” was brought out onto the ice – the new Zamboni whose price tag was about $100,000. Money for the ice-surfacing machine, which is Sartell Sabres’ blueand-white, was raised through several years of donations from sponsors, families, individuals and proceeds from a variety of events held at the arena. Sartell Mayor Joe Perske attended the celebration, as did team members of the Granite City Lumberjack hockey team from St. Cloud, some members of the St. John’s University hockey team and Sartell Sabres hockey players. Scores of younger hockey enthusiasts, members of the Sartell Youth Hockey Association, also showed up to skate. The Bernick’s Arena, named for one of its biggest sponsors,



was built largely through volunteer labor 10 years ago as part of a public-private partnership between the City of Sartell and the Sartell Youth Hockey Association. The city donated half-cent sales-tax revenue for the project, along with grants such as a substantial Mighty Ducks grant. The association raised a huge amount of money and secured in-kind donations as well as thousands of hours of volunteer labor to make the arena a reality. In its years of operation, the arena has not just been a focus for hockey, attracting players and revenue to the city and its businesses from far and wide, but it’s also served now and then as an events center, such as an annual rock concert that raised money for the Zamboni. Ongoing volunteerism, fees and donations by hockey association members – individuals and families – has also kept the arena thriving. The Sartell Youth Hockey Association owns the Bernick’s Arena and is its biggest user, but a separate board – the Youth Recreation Center Board – is responsible for the operation of the arena and scheduling ice

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time and non-skating events at the arena. It also serves as a liaison between the association, the city and the school district. Rowan McDonell is president of the recreation board; Pat Michaud is president of the hockey association; and Jon Er-

ickson is the arena’s manager. The construction of the arena has given a boost to hockey participation among Sartell children. At any given time, there are up to 250 young people active in hockey, about 50 of that number being girls.

The young players range in age from 5 years old to up to 15, at which time they can play high-school hockey. There are various age categories in youth hockey with several teams in each. The youngest players are


a bit to have their children play hockey, and sponsors both small and large are exceedingly generous, Chris added. “So much has been accomplished in the past 10 years,” he said. “What’s very unique is the Youth Hockey Association owns the arena, and that puts an additional burden on families for the costs to participate, but those families are willing to accept that for hockey and for all the other attributes in the city.” Sigurdson credits Michael Hornung, Sartell businessman, for spearheading the effort to get a new Zamboni. “We have tremendous sponsors and help from hockey players, their families and all the events that raised money for it (the Zamboni),” Chris said. “One doesn’t get a Zamboni or an arena without a

lot of people working together. Besides the sponsors, there was all the volunteering – people managing teams, coaches, all the hockey parents who work so hard. They even staff the events, like the annual rock concert at the arena. The kids always help out too.” Hockey, Chris said, is one way to teach children the value of hard work and teamwork. “We have to teach this generation of children how to work,” he said. “We live in town. I have four boys. Academics come first, and my boys have to learn to fail as well as succeed.” Chris said hockey and other sports, along with school and hard work, are what he believes are the excellent interrelated ways children can learn life skills.

from front page Minnesota Select Sires, a cattle genetics cooperative. He was born in Maple Grove and grew up on a farm near Isanti. For the past 20 years, he and his family had lived in many different states. They are relieved and happy to be settled down in Sartell. The education system and the hockey program are both “fantastic,” Chris said. For three years, Chris served on the Sartell Youth Hockey Association Board, as its president for one of those years. He said he has been amazed by the commitment and generosity to youth hockey in the Sartell and St. Cloud areas. Parents, he said, are willing to pay quite

Arena • page 7

Sartell Newsleader •


Our View

Give ACA a fair trial before death sentence

Most people – civilized ones anyway – would agree no person should be condemned to death without a fair trial. But that is exactly what so many otherwise fair-minded, civilized people are doing with the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare). They’re like a lynch mob in the old West. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas calls the law a “horror,” among other fearful names. Many letter-to-editor writers to newspapers, including this one, roundly condemn the ACA long before it’s had its “fair trial.” And, of course, the distortions, misconceptions and even outright lies against the law continue: It will skyrocket everyone’s insurance-premium costs. It will bankrupt the country. It will institute death panels. It will allow illegal aliens to be on the program. It will be a government takeover of the healthcare system. On Oct. 1, the ACA got off to a rocky start, to be sure, because of computer-site problems. Of course, the law’s close-minded critics took that as a sure omen the entire ACA is nothing but a biggovernment, bureaucratic boondoggle. Some critics of the ACA are sincere and reasonable, and many criticisms might prove to be accurate. Like any innovative program, there are bound to be problems along the way, just as there were when the Medicare program began in 1965. In the 1980s, Republican President Ronald Reagan and Democratic Rep. Tim O’Neill put their heads together to make Medicare more long-term solvent by increasing the qualifying retirement age, among other fixes. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if those Republicans, so scornful of the ACA, would get together with Democrats (including some skeptical Democrats) to improve the law? Of course, that kind of cooperation is not going to happen because those who made up their minds to hate the ACA from the get-go (three years ago) will continue to fume about it. What’s interesting is the sheer hand-rubbing glee some of these haters express when there is a glitch (such as the computer problems on start-up day). Again, some criticisms of ObamaCare may prove to be spot-on. Such sincere criticisms, no doubt, will lead to many improvements in the program. We should listen to and heed the constructive criticisms. Will it, for example, succeed in lowering overall health-care costs, as planned? But in the meantime, the most destructive critics should consider taking a more open-minded attitude, at least until they have positive proof about what a “horror” it is. In other words, good folks, let’s at least give the ACA a fair chance before condemning it to death.

Fairness and ethics

Newsleader staff members have the responsibility to report news fairly and accurately and are accountable to the public. Readers who feel we’ve fallen short of these standards are urged to call the Newsleader office at 363-7741. If matters cannot be resolved locally, readers are encouraged to take complaints to the Minnesota News Council, an independent agency designed to improve relationships between the public and the media and resolve conflicts. The council office may be reached at 612-341-9357.

Friday, Oct. 11, 2013

Opinion To be honest, let’s quit abusing English Every few months or so, a language-misusage fad comes down the pike. About six months ago, for some strange reason, many people were sprinkling semicolons incorrectly throughout their email messages, memos and press releases. It was like a measles epidemic with semicolons being the measles spots. Here’s just one example of that craze, during which semicolons began to take the place of just about any form of punctuation: “We went to Germany; and then Austria; before we boarded a plane to St. Petersburg; Russia.” Thankfully, the semicolon plague appears to have passed. However, we are now in the midst of a rampant “honesty” pestilence. Many people are preceding their comments with the words “Honestly . . . “ or “To be honest . . . “ You can hear it on talk shows all the time. They’ll say sentences like this: “To be honest, it’s supposed to warm up next weekend.” Or: “Honestly, the store doesn’t open until 9 a.m.” What does honesty have to do with stores opening or warming forecasts? I suppose it’s a way of people trying to “underline” what they’re saying, rather like putting an exclamation mark at the end of a sentence or typing a sentence in bold print. People who really want to get your attention will say something like this: “To be perfectly honest, people of all ages are invited to the concert.” There are times when “honesty” has its place in language, as in the following sentence: “OK, to be honest, father, I did chop down that cherry tree.” However, unless a person is ‘fessing up or down on his knees doing penance, it’s best to avoid those “honesty” intros.

Dennis Dalman Editor We can only hope a brisk winter wind blows away this new word flu. The following are other languagemisusage trends, some of which I fear may become permanent: More people are starting to say “conscious” for “conscience.” I can’t count the number of political leaders on TV who have said, “My conscious won’t allow me to vote for that bill.” This misusage popped up especially during the government shut-down when politicians were blaming one another for not having a “conscious.” I’m just waiting for one of them to say, “To be honest, he has no conscious.” “Conscious” for “conscience” is similar to the time politicians were saying “eminent” strike for “imminent” strike when the Syrian crisis was at its peak. Another apparent trend is to say something like this: “The students will tore France next month.” They say “tore” for “tour” and “torenament” for “tournament.” They’ll also say “shore” for “sure.” That pronunciation just might be an example of regionalism, probably indigenous to the New England area. An example of a regionalism is the way some people, including Bostonians like President John F. Kennedy, would say “Cuber” for “Cuba.” If it’s a regionalism, “tore” for “tour” is not incorrect. However, I don’t recall having heard that pronunciation at all before the last year or so. Besides, many people on TV are saying “tore” who are not

New Englanders or Easterners. Then, alas, there are the old misusage bugaboos that stubbornly persist, and I’m afraid there may never be a vaccine to prevent them. The worst is the widespread habit of using apostrophes to make singular words plural words. That mistake has become rampant these days. Here is an example I noticed recently on a fundraising poster: “We collect supply’s for the charity’s at the door also.” The writer of that sentence mistakenly thought the way to form a plural word is to add an apostrophe, then an “s” on a singular word: one supply, two supply’s. It’s doubly wrong because to make a plural word out of most singular words that end in “y,” the writer must drop the “y” and add “ies.” It should have been: “We collect supplies for the charities at the door also.” The other day I saw this sign: “Tenant’s must park in the back.” That’s an example of using a possessive apostrophe where it does not belong – in a non-possessive plural word (tenants). It should be: “Tenants must park in the back.” As a lifelong student of the magnificent English language, what most perturbs me is these misusages seem to be the new norm. Some people like to excuse the use of sloppy language by saying, “Oh, well, it’s no big deal. Everyone knows what it means.” That’s not necessarily so. Such inaccuracies can change the meaning of phrases and sentences. When it comes to language or anything else, none of us is perfect, but wouldn’t it be nice if more of us would learn to respect our language by learning to use it correctly?

Letter to editor

We cannot afford Affordable Care Act

Stuart Bailey Sartell Mr. Dalman, I was disappointed to see you jump on the bandwagon to categorically blame the Republicans for the government shutdown caused by the budget impasse over the Affordable Care Act. I am no more in favor of a government shutdown, or the impending lockup on the horizon over the debt ceiling, but I can see the point of view where the endless taxand-spend mentality has to change, and has to be challenged to change. Let’s talk about the Affordable Care Act for a moment. If we all understand the intent correctly, it is to provide affordable medical coverage to all Americans. That’s great, because we all know about the rapidly rising costs in medicine and the equally rapidly rising costs of insurance, pricing many low- and fixed-income Americans out of coverage, or making it very difficult at least. But, and I say but, what about American families that will receive no benefit? My family is one of these.

Combined, my wife and I make too much money to qualify for any help or subsidy in the plan. We have little choice but to purchase what our employers offer for coverage. In spite of taking advantage of flexible spending accounts, HSAs and the best features in the plans, during the past few years we have not only seen our premiums increase 30 percent, but our deductibles have risen a like amount. Because of medical conditions, we have reached our deductibles, but even after that, the outlay has been thousands of dollars in miscellaneous not-covered expenses. The Affordable Care Act will not do anything to alleviate this for us. We haven’t yet experienced the total cost to administrate the Affordable Care Act, but know this: Stearns County alone added 10 full-time positions to help administrate the program, with plans to add seven more. Multiply that by 87 Minnesota counties and that is an enormous personnel cost borne by the taxpayers of Minnesota, and that does not even take into account the expense to set up MnSure and admin-

istrate that. On top of the previously mentioned out-of-pocket costs above, I and all other Minnesotans are paying for the cost to administrate this. I just don’t feel this level of expenditure is sustainable at the government level, and this becomes even more apparent in the next five-10 years as the baby boomers move into retirement and tax revenues decrease as they will. Take a step back, Mr. Dalman, and look at the bigger picture. I and my family cannot afford the Affordable Care Act. You probably can’t either. It also has no competition. They can set prices as they wish knowing we, through our various insurances, will pay the cost. As much as I detest government involvement in private business, something has to be done. Clearly I don’t have all the answers. I do know this, however. If we keep allowing the medical industry to increase its costs by subsidizing those increases through insurance, they will have no incentive to lower them. That alone will doom Obamacare. We need a better answer.

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Friday, Oct. 11, 2013

Search from front page and then tying that together to make a perfect “fit” with a new superintendent. Another important part of the process is a written fivequestion survey residents can fill out via the school district’s website’s “Survey Monkey” feature. The school board is requesting people fill in that survey by Oct. 20. The surveys will play a key role in determining the desired skills and characteristics of the next superintendent. Currently, Mike Spanier is serving as interim superintendent. Spanier, director of learning services, was chosen for the job after Superintendent Dr. Joe Hill resigned last year. At that time, there were all sorts of contentious behavior and disagreements on the school board and with Hill. A new board, with mostly new members, was elected last November. This new superintendent process was designed by the board to result in complete transparency and optimal public involvement, something the former board was accused of ignoring.

Search and interviews

The superintendent position has been widely advertised, and candidates will be recruited from now until Jan. 20. On Jan. 27, the board,

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Sartell Newsleader • along with Dragseth and Vandal, will meet to review and select candidates that will be interviewed in depth Jan. 2829. The interview process will narrow the number of candidates to two or three. Then, they will be interviewed on Feb. 3-5. Each candidate will be interviewed through an allday process that will include open forums available for staff, students and residents to attend. They will be asked for input in the sessions. That will occur through a questionand-answer session with each candidate and filling in feedback sheets to be shared with the board. The board anticipates it will be able to finalize a superintendent contract sometime in February.

Focus groups

To ensure wide participation in developing criteria and the selection process, focus groups will be formed from the following participants: district office administration, building administration, certified staff, non-certified staff, high school students, community leaders and school leaders. Individual interviews will be conducted by board members, the interim superintendent and the teachers’ union president, with public input on the final interviews. Residents may also contact any school board member and the two consultants: Dragseth at 952-210-2790 and Vandal at 320-247-3739. For school board members’ phone numbers, see section below. The public is encouraged

to attend the open meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15 at Sartell High School. In addition, the public is urged to fill out the online survey before Oct. 20. To do so, go to the school district website at and look for the “Survey Monkey” form. All replies will be confidential. Here are the survey questions: 1. List the three most important goals for your school district to achieve in the next three years. 2. List your district’s three greatest strengths/attributes for achieving these goals. 3. List your district’s greatest challenges/barriers for achieving these goals. 4. Describe the three most important characteristics/

5 skills the next superintendent needs to possess to be successful. 5. What questions/areas would you like the Board to ask the candidates as they select the superintendent.

Board members

The Sartell-St. Stephen School District Board members and their phone numbers are as follows: Chair person: Michelle Meyer, 320-761-2000. Vice chair: Mary McCabe, 320-259-9000. Treasurer: Jason Nies, 612695-0782. Krista Durrwachter, 320333-9042. Pam Raden, 320-250-0500. Dan Riordan, 320-259-4104.


Sartell Newsleader •

Friday, Oct. 11, 2013

Schoen’s fitness passion becomes her ‘job’ by Dennis Dalman

Renee Schoen of Sartell never worked a day in her life. Whoa now! Schoen is not a lazy slacker. Far from it. She puts in very, very long days at her business, Forever Fit. It’s just that she loves her “job” so much that she doesn’t consider it a job and doesn’t consider it work. “I’m doing what I love,” she said. “This is my passion, and contributed photo

Renee Schoen works out with her favorite machine, the Pilates Reformer, in the studio of her business, Forever Fit.

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this is what I am supposed to do – help people.” Schoen is the owner and sole employee of Forever Fit, her personal training studio located on 3rd Street NE in Waite Park. She opened the business earlier this year after working as a certified personal trainer for Rejuv Medical in Sartell. She now has two dozen clients who are improving themselves daily with cardiopulmonary workouts, strength training, healthy eating habits, nutritional education and weight loss. Her clients include both women and men. Her 2,000-square-foot workout studio, she said, is a home away from home where people gather to make workouts “fun.” Schoen enjoys establishing a close one-on-one relationship to every client, focusing on their precise needs and wants. In the studio, a wide variety of activities takes place: pilates, body sculpting, yoga – to name just three. The machines include free weights, cable weights, kettlebell weights and the “Pilates Reformer,” which is Schoen’s personal favorite machine. A newer offering is “Tabata,” which is a fast, high-intensity cardio workout that can be completed in about four minutes rather than the typically much longer cardio workouts. Schoen also specializes in small-group training sessions. “I love helping people, teaching people how to live healthy for the rest of their lives,” she said. “And this is not just a temporary fix. It’s lifelong. Losing weight is one example of that. It’s not ef-

fective to lose weight quickly. For long-term health, it’s best to learn how to eat healthy and to learn to live that new lifestyle.” Schoen has been a fitness trainer for 10 years, but her dedication to fitness and health began about 20 years ago. As soon as she realized the multitude of benefits from living a healthy lifestyle, she was hooked and helping others do the same became her motivating passion. Schoen gets up very early in the morning, long before sunrise. She’s in her Waite Park studio by 5 a.m. and works with clients until 7:30 p.m. Because she is in such good shape and has plenty of stamina, the long days don’t faze her at all. They do, in fact, energize her, she said, especially because of the exhilarating pleasures of working with and helping her clients. “I just love my clients,” she said. “I feel so blessed. And I’m so grateful for the people I’ve met through this business.” Schoen has two daughters: Kayla, 23; and Danielle, 19. Both Sartell High School graduates, Kayla lives in Bemidji and works at a country club. Danielle recently started studies at St. Cloud State University. “They are in good shape, too,” Schoen said. “I taught them healthy living.” Schoen is proud of her new website, which just received a “facelift,” as Schoen puts it. She invites people to check it out: www.fitnessforevermn. com.

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Friday, Oct. 11, 2013

Sartell Newsleader •

Arena from page 3 known as Mites, next oldest is Squirts, then PeeWees and Bantams. Last year, many Sartell teams advanced to the state tournament, including the Bantam A team, the PeeWee A team and the PeeWee B team. For each category there are three types of teams: A, B, C. At the tournament in the metro area, the PeeWee B team came very close to defeating an Edi-

7 na hockey team, rated as one of the best in the state. With one minute remaining to play, Edina tied the game and then that team won in overtime. That kind of competitive success, say Sartell hockey enthusiasts, can be traced directly to players’ access to quality ice time, the presence of the arena and hundreds of hours of practice, sometimes on the many ponds in the Sartell area. As the 11th year of the arena begins, hockey players and fans predict even bigger successes in the coming years.

photos by Dennis Dalman

Above: A swirl of skaters enjoy the ice during the 10th birthday celebration of the Bernick’s Arena in Sartell. Left: Zayda Thalacker of Sartell and her brother, Judson, prepare to put their skates on for some ice-skating fun Oct. 5 at the Bernick’s Arena celebration. Judson is on a “Mite” team for the Sartell Youth Hockey Association.



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Sartell Newsleader •

Friday, Oct. 11, 2013

Low-income residents prevent heating shutoff, apply for heating assistance through EAP Low-income Minnesotans who may have trouble paying their heating bills this heating season can act now to ensure their heat stays on and apply for help to pay their heating bills. Minnesota has a Cold Weather Rule that takes effect Oct. 15 and protects residential utility customers from having their heat shut off through April 15. But to prevent heating disconnection, customers must contact their utility to set up a monthly payment plan. To help pay home heating costs, Minnesota offers

the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. EAP, federally funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, helps renters and homeowners earning less than 50 percent of the state’s median income ($43,642 for a family of four) obtain grant money to help pay their heating bills. The average annual EAP grant per household last year was $500. Households with seniors, disabled residents and children are especially encouraged to apply for EAP.

Kidstop volunteers sought for area schools Join the staff and kids at any KIDSTOP site in the Sartell, St. Joseph, Sauk Rapids, St. Cloud and Cold Spring school districts as a program volunteer. You can make a difference in a child’s life in as little as one hour a week. Set your own schedule with the volunteer coordinator to make your experience valuable. There are opportunities to get involved in the areas of education and career development, character and leadership development, the arts, health and life skills, and sports, fitness and recreation. Play board games with kids, read one-to-one with

a child, or share your love of arts and crafts. It’s as easy as just spending time with kids. We only ask volunteers be able to relate well with children in a group environment, participate as an active team member with staff and other volunteers, and abide by volunteer policies. All volunteers are asked to complete a criminal background check before their first volunteer experience. For information on this and other United Way volunteer opportunities, visit and click on Criers.

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Friday, Oct. 11, 2013

Sartell Newsleader •


School district introduces ‘Skylert’ messaging system An instant computerized contact service called “Skylert” was recently initiated in the Sartell-St. Stephen School District. It’s a way for the district to contact employees, parents, students and the community at large. Although it’s primarily done via computer (emails and text messages), it can also be done through home telephones and cell phones. Schools, by using Skylert, can notify families about emergency situations, weather-related delays or cancellations, low balances on lunch accounts, changes to scheduled events and general school-related information. Each individual or family in the district can decide who

they want to be notified via Skylert. Here are the steps to access the system. 1. Login to your Family Access account, which you can access from the district’s web page. 2. Click on the “Skylert” opening listed on the left-hand side. 3. Make changes to the information or change your preference-of-notification delivery. 4. Select the check-boxes in the columns to activate that mode of communication with the following headings: Non-school hours emergency. For events that happen when school is not in session, such as school closings due to overnight storms. School-hours emergency.

Sartell schools exceed proficiency targets by Dennis Dalman

Pine Meadow Elementary School in Sartell has earned a “Reward” designation from Minnesota’s Multiple Measurement Ratings accountability system. All of Sartell’s four schools exceeded proficiency targets in all subjects from the MMR, based on testing done in the 2012-13 school year. A “Reward” school is one that makes the top 15 percent of Title I-funded schools. MMR does not include high schools or middle schools in the “Reward” category. The MMR system is a replacement for the previous No Child Left Behind measurement methods. Minnesota had obtained a waiver from the No Child Left Behind law. The MMR gauges the following four areas: 1. Proficiency. Did the

school meet its performance target? 2. Individual student growth. Did individual students meet their growth target? Are they making expected progress? 3. Closing the achievement gap. Did the school make progress closing its overall achievement gaps? 4. Graduation rate. Did the high school increase its graduation rate? Kay Nelson is the director of learning services for the Sartell-St. Stephen School District. She said the MMR results help schools identify multiple aspects of teaching and learning so the needs of diverse students can be met. “Each school,” Nelson said, “will work with the data to find areas of strength and opportunity. The data will drive continued improvements in the classroom for student learning and growth.”

For events that happen during the school day, such as early closings due to snow storms or other emergencies. General. For informational purposes only for school events and other kinds of information. This will include regular school/program emails. Food service. This will include messages when foodservice balances are below $10 or if there is a negative bal-

ance. Survey. This is for when the district wants to gather feedback on matters important to the school or the district. This option will be used only occasionally. Even if you have checked phone numbers to receive text messages, you must also “opt in” to receive the text services for each number under the “Text Message Numbers” heading. You can also visit

the district website to watch a video describing the Skylert messaging system. If you do not know your Family Access login information, contact Marlyce Plante at 320-656-3701 ext. 1131 or contact her at plante@saretll. For more information or to ask questions, call Amy Trombley at 320-656-3701 ext. 1112 or contact her at trombley@


Sartell Newsleader •

photo by Dennis Dalman

Each Mahjong game begins with the players turning all of the tiles over and scrambling them up.

Mahjong from front page in the School District Services Building, and all the players are members of the Sartell Senior Connection. Gerri Boser, the woman who started the mahjong meetings last June, had never heard of the game until friends in Arizona introduced her to it two years ago. Boser and her husband, Dennis, rent a place each winter in Florence, Ariz., a town near Mesa. Many senior citizens in Florence enjoy playing mahjong, a game that originated in China that resembles dominos but is actually much more like the game of

rummy. Boser’s Arizona friends taught her how to play mahjong, but Boser admits it took her awhile to get hooked. “It’s a real challenging game,” she said. “It requires very intense thinking. At first, I asked myself quite a few times, ‘Why am I playing this? Is this really fun?’ “ But as she became more adept at the game and even started winning it, she decided mahjong is fun, indeed. Last June, there were just four women playing, but over time four more joined. One of the women, Sherry Grundman, had also learned the game in Arizona and helped teach it, along with Boser. “Most of us ladies did not even know one another before playing mahjong,” Boser said.

“Now we have so much fun playing, and we also have time to chit-chat. We’re gradually getting more members.” Mahjong is a great game for senior citizens because its intensity keeps the mind very alert. So much so that in China, mahjong is used in therapy sessions for people suffering dementia or other forms of cognitive impairment. There is also evidence that playing mahjong can delay the onset of mental difficulties. There are many worldwide variations of mahjong, each with its own rules. The kind Boser and her friends play is called “Modern American Mahjong.” No one is sure exactly when or how mahjong began, although it is certain it originated in China. The game, which is a

real brain twister, involves lots of skill, strategy, calculations and some elements of chance. The white ceramic tiles, typically 144 of them, are marked with Chinese word script, as well as designs such as stylized bamboo, flowers and dots. The tiles, faced down on the table, are scrambled up by all the players using their hands. Then, during the course of play, each player has 13 tiles in front of her, not counting some bonus tiles reserved at the side. The goal is to match up the tiles in certain combinations, which is a lot more difficult than it sounds. A winner will then say loudly, “Mahjong!” The game is replete with strange names. Simples, for example, are numbered tiles. There are “honor” categories of “winds” and “dragons,” and there are “bam” tiles, short for “bamboo” and “eyes” (two identical tiles). The game also involves the four directions, the four seasons and four flowers (plum, chrysanthemum, orchid, bamboo). Mahnong comes from the Mandarin Chinese word for “sparrow.” It was basically unheard of in the West, but starting in 1920 a mahjong craze began in the United States and lasted throughout that decade. One popular song of that era, sung by famed crooner Eddie Cantor, was called “Since Mah Is Playing Mahjong.” Although the craze faded somewhat, there have been diehard, dedicated mahjong players ever since. In the 1930s, the game was particularly popular among Jewish women, who are credited with inventing the American version of mahjong. Jewish players founded the National Mahjong League in 1937.

Friday, Oct. 11, 2013 In 1949, when the Communists took over rule in China, the game was banned as yet another example of “Western capitalist decadence and corruption,” mainly because the game often involved gambling for money. In 1985, Chinese authorities made the game perfectly legal again. In Japan, mahjong is extremely popular, with an estimated 7.6 million avid players. Boser said the game is also growing in popularity in North America. There is an American Mahjong Association, which hosts tournaments throughout North America, and its main event is a tournament each year at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort in Atlantic City, N.J. One interesting but morbid point about mahjong is that some studies indicate the sheer concentration and intensity of the game can trigger seizures in some players, although there are only 23 reported provable cases of that in English medical studies. The Sartell players, to be sure, have not suffered any mahjong-related seizures. Mahjong, like some other games like gambling and baseball, also seems to inspire superstitious or ritual behaviors. Some mahjong players wear only certain clothing while playing or must sit facing a certain direction. Others wear special trinkets or pieces of jewelry. And some even have an obsessive ritual of changing their underwear after a loss. The ladies in Sartell, we must hasten to add, have reported none of the above rituals. Anyone who would like to learn mahjong should call Boser at 320-260-4817 or just show up at the Senior Connection Center at 9 a.m. any Wednesday. Although so far, the eight players are women only, men are very welcome to join. Are you energetic with a positive attitude? Do you want to make a difference in the life of a senior? Home Instead Senior Care is looking for experienced Caregivers in St Cloud and surrounding areas including Annandale and Avon, We have a variety of shifts available. Must be experienced with Senior Care.

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Friday, Oct. 11, 2013

Sartell Newsleader •

Community Calendar Friday, Oct. 11 Blood drive, 8 a.m.-2 p.m., American Red Cross, 1301 W. St.. Germain St., St. Cloud. 1-800733-2767. Saturday, Oct. 12 Firefighters open house, sponsored by St. Stephen Firefighters, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Fire Hall, St. Stephen. Sunday, Oct. 13 Collegeville Colors, 1-5 p.m., St. John’s Prep School. Rain or shine. Hiking, art, music, games, theater, bouja. 320-363-3321. Sunday at the Abbey, 7 p.m. St. John’s Abbey Chapter House, Collegeville. Fr. Robert Koopmann, OSB, “The Art of Improvisation –Music and Spirituality.” Monday, Oct. 14 Blood drive, noon-6 p.m., American Red Cross, 1301 W. St.. Germain St., St. Cloud. 1-800733-2767. Market Monday, 3-6:30 p.m., Sartell City Hall, 125 Pine Cone Road N., Sartell. Sartell City Council, 7 p.m., City Hall. 320-253-2171. Tuesday, Oct. 15 Blood drive, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., American Red Cross, 1301 W. St.. Germain St., St. Cloud. 1-800733-2767. Walk-in flu vaccine clinic, (no appointment necessary) for Women and Children patients at CentraCare Health Plaza, 5-7 p.m., 1900 CentraCare Circle, Suite 1300; enter through Prairie east or west doors and register in the Pediatrics Clinic. 320-229-4917. 55+ driver improvement course (eight-hour first-time course), 5-9 p.m., tonight and Oct.


16, Apollo High School, 1000 44th Ave. N., St. Cloud. 1-888234-1294. Wednesday, Oct. 16 Job and Volunteer Fair, over 40 non-profits and employers. 1-3:30 p.m. Job seeker workshops 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. St. Cloud Library. Thursday, Oct. 17 55+ driver improvement course (eight-hour first time course), 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Life Assembly of God, 2409 Clearwater Road, St. Cloud. 1-888-234-1294. Coffee and Conversation, a senior discussion group, 9 a.m., Country Manor, Sartell. Blood drive, noon-6 p.m., American Red Cross, 1301 W. St.. Germain St., St. Cloud. 1-800733-2767. Blood drive, 1-7 p.m., Community Church, 204 Avon Avenue N., Avon, 1-800-733-2767. Friday, Oct. 18 Burger and brat sale, sponsored by the St. Joseph Knights of Columbus, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. St. Joseph Meat Market. Saturday, Oct. 19 Burger and brat sale, sponsored by the St. Joseph Knights of Columbus, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. St. Joseph Meat Market. 55+ driver improvement course (four-hour refresher), 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Miller Auto Plaza Community Room, 2930 Second St., St. Cloud. 1-888-234-1294. Senior housing tour, Legends at Heritage Place, noon-4 p.m., 677 Brianna Dr., Sartell; Sterling House, 1325 Summit Ave. N., Sauk Rapids; Cherrywood Advanced Living, 1036 Voyageur St., St. Cloud.


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Witch’s brew of fears, accusations erupts in ‘The Crucible’ Oct. 11, 12 by Dennis Dalman

In a Puritan village in 1692, fearful suspicions lead to pointing fingers, betrayals and charges of witchcraft in “The Crucible,” a play which opened Oct. 10 at Sartell High School. The two remaining performances are set for 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11 and 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12. Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for students and free for senior citizens. Directed by John Ronyak, English and theater teacher, “The Crucible” was written by famed playwright Arthur Miller and first performed on Broadway in 1953. It has since been widely performed in virtually every country in the world and was adapted to television and the movies. “The Crucible” features a cast of 21 students who have been rehearsing the play since mid-August. The tragic events in “The Crucible” begin when a group of young girls makes accusations of witchcraft after playing harmless ritual games in the forest. Soon, the village adults are caught up in the witchhunting frenzy, and ulterior motives are transformed into vengeance, lies and betrayals, leading to the hanging of some

villagers as witchcraft practitioners. The lead characters are farmers John and Elizabeth Proctor, husband and wife. Both must try to defend themselves against charges of witchcraft. From its opening scene “The Crucible” casts a grim and sinister spell, a witch’s brew of paranoia and dread. There are mysterious illnesses, hallucinations, hysteria, odd behaviors and spiteful schemes. Everyone in the village is touched one way or another by the rapidly spreading contagion. Miller based “The Crucible” on the witch trials that took place in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1692-93. Fourteen women and five men, convicted as witches or of practicing witchcraft, were hanged in a four-month period. One man was pressed to death under heavy rocks for refusing to plead guilty or not guilty to being a wizard (male form of a witch). Miller’s play is also a reaction to the hysteria whipped up in the midst of the Cold War by U.S. Sen. Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin, who made claims the U.S. State Department, other agencies and the entertainment industry had been infiltrated by communists and communist sympathizers. In the early to mid-1950s, McCarthy led the



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Sartell Newsleader •

Friday, Oct. 11, 2013

Humane society offers cat/kitten sale There is a cat-and-kitten sale at the Tri-County Humane Society now through Oct. 30. Adoption fees will be waived on all adult cats, and kittens under 6 months old will be adopted for 50 percent contributed photo

The cast of “The Crucible” gathers for a photo right after their last rehearsal. The world-famous Arthur Miller drama, which deals with witchcraft, will be performed at Sartell High School at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11 and at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12.

Crucible from page 11 noted. Ronyak and students decided to produce “The Crucible” while 11th-graders were reading the play in English class. “We thought what a great opportunity it would be to perform the play ourselves,” he said. Besides the play’s relevance to the McCarthy hearings of the 1950s, Ronyak said, it also offers many insights into the perversities of human behavior

in cult situations and in tyrannical governments. Syria and the cults of Jim Jones in Guyana and David Koresh in Waco, Texas are just three examples of such situations, Ronyak noted. The cast and crew of “The Crucible” are the following: Hannah Ronyak as Betty Parris; Austin Granzow as the Rev. Parris; Nicole Yang as Tituba; Jenna Sjogren as Abigail Williams; Tierra Pilles as Susanna Walcott; Katie Kulus as Mercy Lewis; Jillian Lawson as Mary Warren; Kayla Chisum as Mrs. Ann Putnam; Jack Verkuilen as Thomas Putnam; Elias Drake as John Proctor; Ryan Kororll

as Giles Corey; Nick Hill as the Rev. Hale; Claire Kurvers as Elizabeth Proctor; Kennedy Gratke as Rebecca Nurse; Reece Decker as Francis Nurse; Matthew Schnettler as Ezekial Cheever; Michael McCoy as Marshall Willard Herrick; Nate Miller as Deputy Gov. Danforth; Spencer Kight as Judge Hawthorne; Jordan Dockery as Ruth Putnam/Sarah Good; Aidan Nelson as Martha Corey; Stage manager: Bailey Mumm; Technical crew: Airianna Beitler, Megan McDermott, Mickey Czech and Josh Chisum; and Technical director: Jon Christianson.

off. To view cats, kittens – and other potential pets – for adoption, visit Or call 320-252-0896 after noon Monday-Sunday.

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