The Isanti County News The Isanti County News covers community news, sports, current events and provides advertising and information for the cities of Cambridge, Isanti, and Braham, Minnesota and their surrounding areas. Fri, 22 Aug 2014 22:52:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Peggy Mitshulis Fri, 22 Aug 2014 22:52:26 +0000 Peggy Mitshulis

Peggy Mitshulis, age 61, of Isanti died at her home on August 21, 2014.
She is survived by three children, Chad, Andi, Lindsey; her Hage family siblings, Dennis (Barb), Herbert (Kathy), Roger (Suzi), Bruce (Carolyn), Phoebe (Bob), Kathleen, Barry (Marcia); many nieces, nephews and other relatives and friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Blanche and Harold Hage; grandparents, Alfred and Beatrice Hage, Ernest and Borghild Randall.
Donations are suggested to the Harbor Room at the Cambridge Medical Center. Private services will be held.
Arrangements were entrusted to the care of Strike Funeral Home Isanti Chapel,

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Tiger Scouts create Busy Books for families at CMC Wed, 20 Aug 2014 19:10:23 +0000 Tiger Cub Pack 235, Den 4, created Busy Books to help keep kids occupied when they are at Cambridge Medical Center. The 200 books will be used throughout the medical center. Pictured are Michelle Hartnett (left) and Lisa Gunderson, both with Cambridge Medical Center, along with Scouts Brayden Otier, Daryl Kram and Jacob Stilson.

Tiger Cub Pack 235, Den 4, created Busy Books to help keep kids occupied when they are at Cambridge Medical Center. The 200 books will be used throughout the medical center. Pictured are Michelle Hartnett (left) and Lisa Gunderson, both with Cambridge Medical Center, along with Scouts Brayden Otier, Daryl Kram and Jacob Stilson.

They may be little, but some 6-year-old boys are making a big difference for fellow kids at their local medical center.

The Tiger Scouts from Cambridge Cub Scout Pack 235 have found their skills are in demand at Cambridge Medical Center, where a special kind of service project is keeping younger patients and visitors occupied and their spirits up.

Calling it Busy Books, the Scouts assemble a variety of coloring pages and an assortment of crayons, and so far they have had the supplies to complete and deliver 200 of these activity trinkets to various CMC departments.

Tiger den leader Stacey Kram came up with the idea after realizing the lack of activities for kids during visits at various medical facilities with her young son, Daryl, who has muscular dystrophy.

“We needed a service project for the kids, and I always keep coloring books in my purse for kids to do,” Kram said.

She started her search for project ideas and hospitals on Google and found some youth groups will find coloring books and packs of crayons at home, friends’ homes and even garage sales. Then it’s a matter of stapling four pages per packet and equipping each with an assortment of about four different colored crayons.

The boys stuff crayons as part of the Busy Book project.

The boys stuff crayons as part of the Busy Book project.

The result is a Busy Book, a named coined by these Tiger Scouts, including Daryl Kram, Brayden Otier, Jacob Stilson and Xander Levitski. Co-leading the Tigers is Trisha Stilson.

Kram said CMC keeps the books on hand on the third and fourth floors of the hospital; short stay, same day surgery; the emergency department; and a few other departments that often have children waiting or visiting.

“The clinic also asked for the books after they saw it on the (CMC) website,” she noted. “It’s now on their Facebook page.”

While the project appears to be a successful endeavor for the Tiger Scouts and their ambition toward earning a community service badge, Kram wonders if it could turn into a Cub Scout Pack-wide project for many more youth to help a family out.

“We’ve received wonderful feedback,” she said. “Kids can get bored, especially in the ER. We’re hoping to help families in their different situations.”

For more information on or to donate to this project, contact Stacey Kram at

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Senior living facility brings reality to dementia Wed, 20 Aug 2014 19:09:12 +0000 A participant goes through a dementia simulation held at Prairie Senior Cottages in Isanti. Photo by Urmila Ramakrishnan

A participant goes through a dementia simulation held at Prairie Senior Cottages in Isanti. Photo by Urmila Ramakrishnan

Go into the bedroom. Find a pair of matching socks, and put them on. Make the bed, get dressed and comb your hair.

These all seem like easy enough tasks but are nearly impossible for a dementia patient if it’s done all at once.

Prairie Senior Cottages in Isanti gave caretakers the opportunity to walk in the shoes of a dementia patient through a simulation last Tuesday.

Participants looked a bit like Martians — sunglasses over their eyes, headphones covering their ears, strange gloves on their hands and studded insoles lining their shoes.

They were then instructed, over blaring incoherent noise, to walk into a dark room. Trying to decipher reality and fiction is extremely difficult. Once inside, participants were given a task. Many of them said they had the feeling they knew they had to do something but couldn’t remember. The frustration a dementia patient feels with this is everyday, but participants were able to feel that for six minutes.

Prairie Senior Cottages offered the simulation to help caretakers better understand their loved ones and patients.

Each piece had a specific purpose. The glasses simulated aging eyes that needed more light and had less peripheral vision. The gloves impaired fine motor ability, loss of manual dexterity and simulated arthritis. The shoe inserts were for arthritis and neuropathy.

“A lot of people with dementia, their feet hurt so bad from the neuropathy or the arthritis that they don’t realize that the pain is in their feet,” said Kim Stender, who runs dementia simulations. “They will take off their shoes and leave them wherever they happen to take them off.”

The headphones with random garbling simulated the pressure of knowing there was something to do, but having absolutely no idea what it was. It impaired the ability to understand the spoken word, which is something common with dementia patients.

“One of the last things they can still recognize is the sound of their own voice,” Stender said. “It’s one of the only sounds that they still recognize. It helps them stay grounded in their environment.”

She urges caretakers to be more understanding.

“You were garbed and in that room for six minutes, you came out, you can go back to your life the way it was 10 minutes ago,” Stender said. “These people are living that 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

She also encourages caretakers to give instructions one at a time and make sure patients feel independent enough to do their own tasks.

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Cambridge takes steps to make Second Avenue Southeast safer Wed, 20 Aug 2014 19:07:53 +0000 Due to concerns brought forth by members of the Willow Wood Homeowners Association, the Cambridge City Council is taking steps to make Second Avenue Southeast a safer street.

During the Cambridge City Council meeting Aug. 18, City Planner Marcia Westover explained the homeowners association submitted a letter requesting the city to consider closing the driveway access into the Shalom Shop property on Second Avenue Southeast and taking down the “access to Highway 95” sign also on the property.

Westover explained the association feels traffic speed causes safety concerns for the residents who live on Second Avenue Southeast.

She explained the driveway access was allowed by the city at some point in time, whether for the Blimpie sub shop drive thru as a one-way drive, or some other use prior to that.

Westover noted traffic heading east on First Avenue East (Highway 95) can easily turn right into the businesses in the area (Tractor Supply, Shalom Shop, Family Pathways and Northbound Liquor). Westbound traffic on Highway 95 cannot make a left turn into these businesses. Drivers need to use Second Avenue Southeast via Opportunity Boulevard South to gain access to the businesses.

Following discussion, the council approved a motion to install a temporary speed bump and extra “slow traffic” signage on Second Avenue Southeast.

City Administrator Lynda Woulfe said she would follow up with some other steps that were discussed, such as the relocation of neighborhood mailboxes, informing the association of the process to petition the city for installation of sidewalks, trimming the large blue spruce tree in the area, and looking into installing a “no parking” sign from the curb to stop sign.

Michelle Becker, homeowner association treasurer, explained the association’s concern is for the residents who live on Second Avenue Southeast due to the vast amount of traffic using the alley to access the businesses in the area.

Becker said, because of the speed of the traffic, no one is safe crossing the street to get their mail, walk their dogs, push a stroller or just go out walking. She added several of the residents are in their mid- to late 80s and residents have children and grandchildren playing in the neighborhood.

Woulfe explained the 30 mph speed limit is set by state statute. Police Chief Tim Dwyer reported during recent extra patrolling of the neighborhood, radar monitoring found most vehicles in the area do not get to more than 27-35 mph.

In other action, the council:

• Approved a resolution allowing for an interim use permit for automobile sales at 309 First Ave. E., Cambridge. Jordan Valder is requesting to move his business, Valders Vehicles, from East Bethel. The property was formerly used as a car dealership, and Valder intends to renovate the existing building to improve the aesthetics and quality of the site. The improvements to be made include new interior sheetrock, new flooring, new paint on the interior and exterior, and new overhead garage doors.

• Approved summary ordinance No. 603 amending Chapter 95 to allow agricultural-related businesses to sell hatchlings (young chickens) from Feb. 1 through April 30 each year.  The businesses will work with East Central Sanitation to properly and safely handle dead carcass removal.

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Braham receives public safety traffic award Wed, 20 Aug 2014 19:07:08 +0000 The Minnesota Department of Public Safety presented a Safe and Sober Award to the Braham Police Department during the Aug. 5 City Council meeting for their continued efforts to make the city’s roadways safer.

The program, “Toward Zero Deaths,” awards cities, like Braham, that have lessened the number of traffic deaths by various methods.

The award allots a new piece of technology to the department.

Braham chose a LIDAR unit, which is an instrument that is used to measure speed.

They differ from speed guns because they don’t use Doppler radar and are more accurate.

In other action, the council: 

• Approved putting up signs from the Braham Horizons Team for the Braham Area Community Center, Industrial park and Braham business district.

• Approved an increase in the benefit level for the Braham Firefighter’s Relief Association from $1,875 to $1,950. This was approved by the council last month retroactively to Jan. 1 of this year. There is no liability to the city with the increase.

• Approved a temporary on-sale liquor license application for St. Peter and St. Paul Catholic Churches.

• City Engineer Brian Miller presented plans for a picnic shelter in the Northwest Park, and bid results for a Dollar General extension.

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Ross Benzen files for mayor of Braham Wed, 20 Aug 2014 19:04:24 +0000 Ross Benzen

Ross Benzen

My name is Ross Benzen and I graciously ask the citizens of Braham to consider my candidacy for mayor. I was born and raised in Braham, now living and raising my own family here. My wife Marianne and I have two kids, Natalie, 7, and Eli, 4.

I believe I have strong leadership skills, integrity, faith, and responsibility to provide Braham with the tools it needs to strive with past and future heritage and goals. Through teamwork and cooperation, I will do my best to make Braham the best it can be. I have been active in the community and surrounding area, since moving back here almost 10 years ago. I went to Bethel College and graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Business Management. I currently serve on the Braham Fire Department as the Assistant Captain and Treasurer, and I work for the Isanti County Sheriff’s Office as a dispatcher and SWAT Medic.

As your mayor, my priorities will include:

• Making sure Braham has a strong public safety presence throughout town and a great fire safety program within our school system. I have coordinated fire safety week along with the BFD and the elementary school for the last two years, along with synchronizing a mock prom crash for those at the high school twice.

• Dedication to listening to the citizens of Braham and providing a great place to live, this includes curb appeal and general upkeep of the city.

• Supporting and assisting business growth.

• Focusing on responsible budgeting and maintaining taxes.

• Being diligent on continued street maintenance and water-sewer issues.

I am humbled to live in Braham. As your potential mayor, I ask for your vote Nov. 4. I thank you in advance for your support and look forward to serving each one of you.

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Tiffany Kafer files for Cambridge City Council Wed, 20 Aug 2014 19:00:24 +0000 KaferMy name is Tiffany Kafer and I am excited to announce my candidacy for Cambridge City Council.

I was born, raised and have spent my entire life in Cambridge. I have dedicated 10 years to volunteering at Cambridge Isanti Competitive Baseball, CPIS PTO, Community Education and CI Early Childhood. Cambridge has been a good foundation for my family, and now I want to be a part of our city council in order to make it an even better place for current residents and families to come.

As a council member my goals will include: improving communication between the council and residents, because I believe that residents should be involved and informed of our local government; working hard to bring entertainment and opportunities to our youth; bringing out the community within our community through public events and activities; continuing on and strengthening our partnerships with the Isanti County Board, Isanti City Council and the School Board; and being the strong diverse voice of the people of Cambridge.

I believe we need to bring in businesses that diversify our tax base while paying livable wages to employees, and we need to continue improving parks and looking into developing a recreational facility for families while remaining fiscally responsible, so that we are not faced with tax increases. As a homeowner, mom, and college student, I know the importance of having a place to go to have fun as a family, but more importantly, I know the importance of being able to afford to do so.

I am currently attending our community college pursuing my degree in education. I’ve been married to my husband, Brent, for 8 years, and together we have four children; Brennan, Mikayla, Savannah and Linkon.

I would appreciate your vote, and am looking forward to being your voice on the city council.

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Area author brings his beloved dog to Cambridge Wed, 20 Aug 2014 18:57:19 +0000 in_bettendorf-1Pat Bettendorf was supposed to have Ruby the pit bull for just a weekend in 2003. But her personality and warm nature won over the family members’ hearts.

“She was like a politician,” Bettendorf said. “It was like she wanted to stay, and she was just plotting her takeover.”

The pup was put in obedience training and later became a therapy dog.

After many years, tons of stories and facing prejudice, Bettendorf, of Scandia, wrote his first book about his and Ruby’s adventures. He’ll bring his two books and Ruby to Scout & Morgan Books in Cambridge from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 23.

Ruby has shown the world how gentle pit bulls can be, Bettendorf said.

Bettendorf recalled Ruby’s play debut. She originally wasn’t chosen because of her breed, Bettendorf said. A black lab was chosen, but the dog kept knocking off props. Two weeks before Bettendorf and his wife were supposed to go on vacation, Bettendorf’s phone rang. It was the play director asking if Ruby could do the part. She floored the crowd with her improvisation of her role, which eventually grabbed attention from local papers.  in_bettendorf-2

The story of this lovable service pet went overseas with news agencies like the Associated Press picking up her story. Her international fame has sent her to 17 countries and countless cities within the United States.

One of Bettendorf’s fondest travel memories was their trip to Hollywood. The two were flown out because they were finalists for a Milk-Bone commercial. They were greeted with a limo service and giant dog treats because those running the auditions thought Ruby was a big dog.

The two have braved cancer, slipped discs, Cushings disease and more. Ruby’s story is far from over, but Bettendorf fears the inevitable.

“The chapter I don’t want to write is when she’s no longer with me,” Bettendorf said.

It’s no doubt that readers won’t want to read that chapter either. Ruby’s “successor” is Sugar. The two have adventures in the second book, “Ruby’s Road,” which explores Ruby’s journey after her stardom.

Scout & Morgan Books is located at 114 Buchanan St. N., Cambridge, and can be reached at 763-689-2474. More information on “Ruby’s Tale” can also be found at

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Grant Study Circle presents forum on publicity in Braham Wed, 20 Aug 2014 18:56:05 +0000 Representatives of Rum River Stage Arts, the Braham Area Community Center, and Tusen Tack, shared information about grant successes and opportunities at a recent Grant Study Circle in Braham.  Photo by V. S. Arrowsmith.

Representatives of Rum River Stage Arts, the Braham Area Community Center, and Tusen Tack, shared information about grant successes and opportunities at a recent Grant Study Circle in Braham. Photo by V. S. Arrowsmith.

The East Central Minnesota Grant Study Circle invites area residents to a special forum at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 24, at the new Braham Area Community Center.

The focus is on promotion and publicity, including print and social media.

Presenters will share their experiences in promoting non-profit and for-profit events, and media representatives will talk about what they need on the receiving end of press releases and publicity materials. The forum is free, sponsored by We R Able, and is open to people interested in promoting their events.

Presenters are Jon Tatting of the Isanti County News in Cambridge and ECM Post Review in North Branch; Judith Kissner of Scout & Morgan Books in Cambridge; Karen Amundson of the Mora Area Chamber of Commerce; and Connie Reilly of Braham Country Floral.

The notion of a study circle began in Sweden, and it means each participant takes responsibility to contribute to the group’s learning. Members propose items for the agenda or themes to study over a pre-determined period of time. For more information call 320-358-1211.

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On the Go upcoming events Wed, 20 Aug 2014 18:54:32 +0000 Cambridge and Isanti Farmers Markets

The Cambridge Farmers Market takes place from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays in the City Center Mall parking lot. The Isanti Farmers Market takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursdays at Riverside Market in Isanti.

City Center Market Tent Sale

Friday, Aug. 22: City Center Market is hosting its 2nd Annual Tent Sale. Local foods and all the benefits of buying and eating local will be the highlight of the day. Locally-grown produce and herbs from Princeton, Mora and Cambridge, grass-fed beef from Princeton, barbecue sauce, gluten-free baking mixes, bread flour ground in North Branch, coffee roasted in Minneapolis, cereal, popcorn and more will be available to sample and buy. Local musicians will play throughout the day, and you can get a henna tattoo from a local artist. The sale will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the City Center Market parking lot, 122 N. Buchanan St., Cambridge. Visit for more information or call 763-689-4640.

Isanti Family Farmers Market 

Friday, Aug. 22: The Isanti Family Farmers Market is open every Friday from 2:30-6:30 p.m. in downtown Isanti off Main Street behind Isanti Custom Meats. Shop farm fresh produce, artisans and craft and homemade goods. For more info visit

Pig and Turkey Roast in Braham

Friday, Aug. 22: The 18th-annual Community Fellowship Gathering ‘Pig and Turkey Roast’ will be held from 5-7 p.m. at Braham Ev. Lutheran Church (County Road 4 & West Central Drive). Side dishes and dessert will also be served. Free-will offering. All are welcome.

‘Farm to Table’ Cooking Class

Saturday, Aug. 23: City Center Market and Uproot Farm in Princeton are collaborating to offer a ‘Farm to Table’ cooking class with food as fresh as it gets from 3-6 p.m. at Uproot Farm. Participants will help pick, clean, and cook or grill the foods for the menu. Learn some new recipes and have a wonderful meal. Kids are welcome. Call 763-689-4640 or visit for more detailed information.

John Larson Memorial Ride

Sunday, Aug. 24: The 9th-annual John Larson Memorial Ride will be held at Larson’s Cycle (205 Garfield St. S.) in Cambridge. Gather at Larson’s Cycle at 11 a.m. and the ride will leave at noon. It’s an 80-mile easy-paced motorcycle ride. The ride ends around 3 p.m. at Captain’s on Long Lake with food, drinks and live music. No cost to ride.

Breakfast at Mill Ridge Terrace

Tuesday, Aug. 26: Join your friends for breakfast at Mill Ridge Terrace, 235 Fern St. N. in Cambridge, on Tuesdays from 7:30-8:30 a.m. Good food, friendly service and great prices. Complimentary coffee. For more information call 763-689-1474.

MOPS Fundraiser at Culver’s

Tuesday, Aug. 26: Mother’s of Preschoolers (MOPS) has been encouraging moms from the Cambridge area for over eight years. MOPS will hold its annual fundraiser from 4-8 p.m. at Culver’s in Cambridge. At MOPS all moms are welcomed, accepted and inspired to reach her potential and recognize her influence within her family and her world. A percentage of the sales at Culver’s will support the two MOPS groups of Cambridge.

Sons of Norway Meeting in Cambridge

Tuesday, Aug. 26: Rumelva Lodge, Sons of Norway in Cambridge will meet at 7 p.m. at the Isanti County Historical Society, located at the Isanti County Fairgrounds in Cambridge. The program will explore superstitious beliefs of old-time Norway as well as the Norwegian folk tales that have been passed down through generations of Scandinavians. Sons of Norway is an organization that promotes and preserves the heritage and culture of Norway. For more information, contact Kathy  Hagfors at 763-689-3401 or Ann Saterbak at 763 389-4908.

Cambridge Senior Dance

Wednesday, Aug. 27: Cambridge Senior Dance will be held at American Jane’s Grill & Bar (formerly American Legion) from 1-4 p.m. with John Kujda + 3. Cost is $7. Great lunch is included.

CHS Class of 1960 annual Luncheon

Thursday, Aug. 28: The Cambridge High School Class of 1960 will hold its annual luncheon at 11 a.m. at Sidelines in Cambridge.

Paint and Pinot: Paint a Poppy

Thursday, Aug. 28: Cambridge Center for the Arts is hosting the next “Paint and Pinot” class from 6:30-9 p.m. MaryAnn Cleary will guide beginning and advanced painters through the process of “painting a poppy.” All painting supplies and canvas are included in the cost. Bring your favorite wine or other beverage and enjoy an evening of painting fun (appetizers provided). Cost: $35, $30 for CCFA members, limited to 12 pre-paid students. Information and registration:, or call 763-552-0320. Cambridge Center for the Arts, 140 Buchanan St., Cambridge, in City Center Mall.


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