Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts.
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Vicki Nelson has been around horses nearly all her life. "My first horse was a coal black welsh stallion with white blaze and blue eyes," the lifelong Ellsworth resident explained. "I learned to ride on that little guy and have been riding and showing ever since." While the fondness for that first horse is still evident in Nelson's voice, years later, another one of Nelson's horses almost brings her to tears. "I've been around a lot of horses and a lot of foals, but there's only been one Candy," Nelson said, referring to her Appaloosa Mare, who turned 35 years old in May.
Leah Lundgaard and Janell Armstrong never knew each other before this summer. The pair, both artists, found themselves at similar galleries, displaying their works, when the connection started. "We found out we had a lot in common," Leah explained. For example, they were only three days apart in age (Leah is older), they lived less than a mile apart from each other in Ellsworth, shared similar taste in music and a love of the color green. What they also found was that each one was looking for something different in terms of their studio.
SPRING VALLEY -- The Spring Valley School District welcomed three new teachers, two aides and a volunteer coordinator at the start of this school year. The Herald sent out questionnaires to each, asking them about their interests and hobbies. Their responses are as follows. Donna Dawson Dawson was hired as the band director. She will also teach fourth and fifth grade music. The Twin Cities native graduated from Southwest Minnesota State University. She comes from Lake Benton School in Minnesota, where she spent four years as its band director. Dawson now resides in Spring Valley.
ELMWOOD -- Rick Stohr was seeking a stress reliever, something he could do when his day as a salesman is done. The Elmwood native, thanks to friends and family, found growing pumpkins, especially big ones, to his liking. "I grew up on a farm and the trials and tribulations of farming are the same things you experience with pumpkins," he said. It's safe to say the 2008 season was a good one for Stohr in his three years of competitively growing pumpkins. Stohr grew his biggest pumpkin ever, a 642-pounder named "Big Al" (his previous high was 606).
PLUM CITY -- Bonnie Frickson has lived in Michigan, Florida and Minnesota, but for her, nothing compares to her current home -- Plum City. "I love this small town," she said. "Being able to smile or wave at the people you know. Plus, this is a great place to raise your kids and it's a very good school system." Frickson was hired in August as the village's new clerk/treasurer, succeeding Jean McDonough, who retired after 20 years. Frickson came to Plum City five years ago after previously living in Lake City, Minn., for 15 years.
As I was interviewing Bob Rhiel earlier this year as he was leaving the Pierce County Sheriff's Department after 24 years, he first made an unexpected offer. He told me that when the time comes, let him know, and I could do a ride-along with Life Link III. Rhiel was leaving the sheriff's department to work full-time with Life Link III, a company specializing in ground and air medical transportation. He would become the flight supervisor for its Rice Lake location. I initially thought he was joking, but he wasn't. So, after setting the date, I wondered what I was getting myself into.
A fund has been set up for 17-year-old Gabrielle Ryan, who was seriously injured in a car accident earlier this month. The Beldenville teenager was driving southbound on CTH J around 7:30 a.m. Oct. 2 when she failed to negotiate a curve. The car then entered the ditch on the north side of the road, struck a driveway embankment and vaulted into a guardrail. The vehicle rolled and came to rest in a farmyard on J. Ryan is currently at Gillette Children's Hospital in St. Paul, where she is recovering from head injuries suffered in the accident.
MAIDEN ROCK -- The Maiden Rock Village Board heard the latest plans last week from the Department of Transportation about replacing the retaining walls along Hwy. 35. The project consists of replacing three retaining walls between the southern limits of the village and 385th Street. The proposed project will be split into two construction phrases: the first will replace the wall on the east side and the second will replace the wall on the west side.
PRESCOTT -- It's an adage that has been uttered through time, "It's not what you know; it's who you know." For a local Prescott business, that connection turned into a lifetime opportunity. The ABC-TV show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" helped build a new home for a rural Albert Lea, Minn., family earlier this month.
A Minnesota man pled guilty Friday in Pierce County Circuit Court to burglary-related charges for his involvement in the attempted Hiawatha National Bank (HNB) break-in last May. Michael K. Schumann, 42, pled guilty to felony criminal damage to property and possession of burglarious tools. He will be sentenced on those charges at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 2. As part of the plea agreement, the other two charges, burglary and criminal damage to ATM, were dismissed. Around 1 a.m. May 13, Pierce County Dispatch received an alarm call from HNB.