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. Thu, 23 Oct 2014 15:01:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 A new era of fall musical leadership begins at CIHS Wed, 22 Oct 2014 21:14:42 +0000 Meet the new leadership team for the Cambridge-Isanti High School fall musical. Pictured in back, from left are Evan Sima, Kelly Fairchild-Fahrni, Frank Wells, Viva Anderson, Melissa Skiba and Aaron Knudsvig. In front is Adam Peterson. Photo by Rachel Kytonen

Meet the new leadership team for the Cambridge-Isanti High School fall musical. Pictured in back, from left are Evan Sima, Kelly Fairchild-Fahrni, Frank Wells, Viva Anderson, Melissa Skiba and Aaron Knudsvig. In front is Adam Peterson. Photo by Rachel Kytonen

The community is getting ready to go “Back to the ‘80s.”

The Cambridge-Isanti High School fall musical, which is under new leadership due to the retirement of Bruce Danielson, is getting ready to present “Back to the ‘80s.” Tickets for the fall musical go on sale Nov. 1, with the show debut Nov. 13.

Director Kelly Fairchild-Fahrni is excited about the musical.

“This musical is everything you loved about the ‘80s and then some,” Fairchild-Fahrni said. “It has great ‘80s rock songs, music and choreography.”

Costumer Melissa Skiba said the musical takes her back to her high school days.

“This musical is taking me back to my teenage years,” Skiba said. “I’ve been really impressed so far by these student actors. They’ve done everything we have asked them to do and are up to trying anything. It’s been a great group of kids to work with.”

Adam Peterson, assistant to the directors, said the students have good chemistry between them. Rehearsals for the musical began in early September.

“One of the things I do with the students during warm-up is an energy and balancing exercise,” Peterson said. “It gets the students motivated and ready for rehearsal. Friday is our mash-up day where we have more of an extensive warm-up and do some acting exercises and ‘family huddles’ to encourage dialogue among us. This gives our cast a chance to talk about the musical, ask questions or get some feedback on characterization. It just gives us all chance to touch base and get involved.”

Skiba said is excited to be involved with the CIHS theater department.

“This has really been an opportunity for me to see all the good things happening in the music department and good things we also have going on districtwide,” Skiba said. “The theater program is really one of the strengths of our school district, and the mash-ups really help all of our cast members feel they are an important part of the team.”

Fairchild-Fahrni said the entire leadership team has been wonderful to work with.

“The entire production team is filled with fabulous people,” Fairchild-Fahrni said. “I don’t think I’ve had anyone tell me ‘no’ on anything. The students are also very energetic and easy to direct. They are all working hard and want to get things right.”

Jenny Skalicky had been involved with the past three musicals directed by Danielson that included “Grease,” “Seussical” and “Bye Bye Birdie.”

“As all directors constantly remind us, ‘You can always improve,’ and I believe that is exactly what this new program is doing,” Skalicky said. “This new program is definitely more strenuous then the previous program, and it certainly demands more dedication. However, that just means the program will grow and constantly improve. I believe through this new program the shows produced by the Cambridge-Isanti theater department will be the best they have been. This is thanks to the strong foundation laid by Mr. Bruce Danielson, and the many new additions brought to the stage by our new team of directors.”

Peterson said the students are adapting well to the new musical leadership.

“The students are adapting to the change very well, and we are entering a new era due to the retirement of Bruce Danielson,” Peterson said. “But the leadership team brings a wide variety of experiences, and we all come from varied backgrounds. We are excited to be working together.”

Mackenzie Kruse appreciates the hard work of the new directors.

“The way I view this new program is like a theater revival,” Kruse said. “We have grown more into a family than a cast. It is evident each director is working hard.”

Senior Isabelle Barrett has been in a few of Danielson’s productions that included “Grease and Fools” and “A Pair of Tales.”

“Mr. Danielson’s best trait was his enthusiasm that showed through in everything,” Barrett said. “From buying chocolate during ‘Fools’ because the previous day hadn’t gone so well for some speech team members, to laughing his signature ‘audience laugh’ to give his casts an example of how the audience will respond to a joke, to treating us all to pie at Perkins for a cast party. I have loved working with Mr. Danielson throughout my high school career.

“It is bittersweet that I am working with new directors my senior year. It has taken six separate people to replace the work that Mr. Danielson has put in during all of his years here at Cambridge-Isanti High School. I am, however, glad that I have gotten to experience the best of both worlds: the proud ending of Mr. Danielson’s long and successful program, as well as the very beginning of a new and different experience with people from all across the board. Working with so many different directors has both pros and cons. For one, it is so cool to have a specific person to talk to when I have a very specific problem. Then again, there are so many directors, it can be a bit overwhelming at times. Both approaches to the theater department at CIHS are human, therefore have human strengths and weaknesses. That human aspect is what makes it so special, though. I wouldn’t have my high school theater career any other way. I will always cherish the memories I have had working with Mr. Danielson and remain excited to come back in the years ahead to see how it’s grown and changed for the better. Both programs hold a special place in my heart. Thank you, Mr. Danielson, for all of the wonderful experiences you’ve blessed me with, and thank you for the many directors now working for attacking such a daring and wonderful task,” Barrett added.

Assistant director Viva Anderson noted the theater department is always looking for parent volunteers, and the department also has a “wish list” of needed items. For more information, contact Anderson at


Meet the new CIHS musical leadership

Kelly Fairchild-Fahrni, director

Kelly Fairchild-Fahrni grew up in Princeton and is a graduate of Princeton High School. She received her bachelor’s in education, majoring in English, theater arts and communications from Western Oregon University, her master’s in learning technology from St. Thomas University, and her gifted specialist certification from Hamline University. Prior to joining the staff at Cambridge-Isanti more than 20 years ago, she taught English, coached the speech teams, directed the competitive one-acts, full-length plays and various musicals at Wabasha-Kellogg and Braham Area High School.

For the past seven years, she has been the speech head coach and one-act play director at CIHS. Her one-acts have won the Section 7AA three times and taken the runner-up title three times. Her three section champion one-acts performed in the MSHSL One Act State Festival. She has also brought two world premiere plays to the stage at CIHS, with Jonathan Dorf’s “Rumors of Polar Bears” and “4AM, the Musical.” As she enters her 33rd year of teaching, she looks forward to the challenge and excitement of directing the musical at CIHS.

Viva Anderson, assistant director, producer

Viva Anderson has directed Children’s Musical Theatre in the Cambridge-Isanti area since 1982. Her passion for theater started when, as a child playing in her basement, she would “direct” plays and then later performed on her own high school stage. She attended Grand Rapids School of the Bible and Music, where she studied Christian education of children, and youth and music.

Anderson began directing stage shows through area churches, day camps and home school co-ops. In 1997, after seeing 91 fourth-grade students show up for an audition to be a part of the CIHS musical, she saw a “need” for community theater, and in 1999 started the Summer Youth Theatre program for middle school-age students through Community Education. In 2005 she joined the staff of the then newly formed Play Inc. Community Theatre and continues to direct the middle school students, helping them find their “outlet” in summer theater. In 2013 she returned to also directing adults in a stage show with Play Inc. She also performs on stage with Play Inc.

It has always been her mission and purpose to allow students to get “their feet wet” in theater and allow them the “real feel” for full stage productions. This includes full staging, costumes, makeup, set, backdrops, publicity, etc. Anderson loves to work with the students and watch them grow as they find their individual “role” and “purpose” and how theater can affect their own personal growth.

Anderson lives in the rural Isanti area with her husband, Tim, who for all of these theater years, has designed and built the sets for the summer productions.

Adam Peterson, assistant to the directors

Adam Peterson is a 2013 CIHS graduate who is returning to Cambridge after spending a year at Concordia College in Moorhead studying theater and communications.

He is very excited to be joining the artistic team as a stage manager and assistant to the directors. During rehearsals, he works with the cast leading warmups and acting-energy exercises. When not working with the cast, he can be found assisting the directors in their differentiating needs and spending time behind his computer completing management tasks. An alumni of the Cambridge-Isanti theater program, he is very honored to be part of the introduction to the “new era.”

In his time away from Cambridge, he has had theatrical experience in collegiate acting, stage managing, prop design, and set construction. He was a theater assistant at Concordia College in scenic design and building and had multiple opportunities to grow in the art that he considers his greatest love. Additionally to his roles at Concordia, he served as the master carpenter for Gooseberry Park Players in Moorhead in the summer of 2014.

Aaron Knudsvig, choreographer

Aaron Knudsvig grew up in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and attended Concordia College in Moorhead, where he received his bachelor’s in music education. Knudsvig moved to Cambridge in the fall of 2000 and has been teaching for ISD 911 since then. He currently teaches choir for grades six through nine at Cambridge Middle and CIHS. For the past three years, he has also been the conductor of the Cambridge Lutheran Church Sanctuary Choir.

In 2005, Knudsvig and his wife, Sarah, were the founding members of Play Inc. Community Theatre. Play Inc. has grown to now produce five productions in the East Central area every year.

Along with those productions, he oversees monthly events at “The Box,” Play Inc.’s home on Second Avenue Southeast. He is excited to be working on his 10th fall musical at CIHS after taking a five-year break.

Frank Wells, music director

Frank Wells has been surrounded by music all of his life. He performed with his local community theater through high school. In 1982 he graduated from Jamestown College, now known as University of Jamestown. He taught for three years in North Dakota, prior to coming to Cambridge. He has been teaching music as the Choral Director at CIHS since 1985. In 1992, he graduated from the University of Minnesota with a master’s degree in choral conducting. He began directing the music for the high school musicals that same year. So, directing this “Back to the ‘80s” show is his 30th year of stage shows.

Justin Kennedy, assistant music director

Justin Kennedy has led the ninth-grade band, Concert Band, Symphonic Band, Jazz Ensemble, and Pep Band at CIHS since 2012. He previously held positions as director of bands at Long Prairie – Grey Eagle Schools for nine years, music director of the Long Prairie Chamber Orchestra, private music instructor and schedule coordinator at Jan Erickson Music Studios of Eden Prairie, and head librarian for Minnesota Youth Symphonies.

As a musicologist, he has co-presented at the Midwest International Clinic for Band and Orchestra (Chicago) and The Oxford Roundtable of Scholars (Oxford, England).

As a performer, Kennedy has been featured as a saxophone soloist with a number of orchestras throughout the state, has played clarinet with the Heartland Symphony orchestra, and has played alto saxophone with the Sophisticated Swing Band and the Northernaires Jazz Band. He has taken courses toward a M.M. in conducting at St. Cloud State University and is a graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College, with an honors degree in music performance on the saxophone.

Melissa Skiba, costumer

Skiba is 1988 high school graduate, Braham. Fairchild-Fahrni, her speech coach, said she is the best college writing teacher. She said she’s lived this show. Her undergrad is textiles, so she can sew or fix just about anything you want … but it must look ‘80s.

Evan Sima, technical director, designer

Evan Sima is a senior attending University of Minnesota, Morris, as a theater major. He grew up in Cambridge. This position is acting as an internship for credit for Sima, along with taking a few classes at the Twin Cities campus. For this show, he is designing the set, lights and sound, along with leading in the completion of those three areas. He has been involved with over a dozen productions.

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Cambridge moves forward with 2015 street improvements Wed, 22 Oct 2014 21:13:03 +0000 The city of Cambridge is moving forward with its 2015 street improvements.

During the Cambridge City Council meeting Oct. 20, the council approved a resolution ordering the improvement and preparation of plans for the 2015 street improvements and a resolution adopting the assessments for the 2015 street improvements.

The proposed assessments are for the street, curb and gutter, sidewalk, sanitary sewer, water main, storm sewer and street lighting improvements on North Cypress Street from Highway 95 to Eighth Avenue Northwest; Sixth Avenue North from North Cypress Street to North Main Street; and old North Main Street from North Main Street to the northerly city limits.

City Engineer Todd Blank with SEH explained total project costs is $3,738,700. The city will be paying for approximately 89 percent of the project costs, $3,337,975. Approximately 30 percent of the city’s portion is paid through city bonding through the tax levy.

Special assessments to benefiting property owners will pay approximately 11 percent of the total cost, $400,725. Each single family residential lot is assessed a rate of $5,850.

The Cambridge-Isanti School District has the highest assessment costs totalling $117,000. Other assessments to area organizations include Common Ground: A United Methodist Community, $29,250; Cambridge Launderers and Cleaners, $17,550; and Cambridge Lutheran Church, $64,350.

Both Common Ground and Cambridge Lutheran had representatives at the meeting questioning the city’s assessment policy. Blank explained the assessments for churches and institutions are done based on the equivalent number of single family lots that will fit on the property. He said since it was determined Cambridge Lutheran could fit 11 single family lots on its property, it was billed $5,850 for each residential lot for a total of $64,350.

Blank explained assessments for multi-family residential lots and commercial lots are individually determined with the Isanti County appraiser.

Blank explained no interest will be charged to property owners if their entire assessments are paid by Oct. 15, 2015.

If not paid in advance, property owners will have their assessments added to their property tax payments for 10 years beginning in 2016. If a property owner has a total assessment cost of $5,850, their annual payment will be $709, that includes a 3.5 percent interest rate.

The city also approved hiring SEH to provide professional engineering services for the 2015 street improvement project. SEH will provide the services on an hourly basis for an estimated maximum fee of $227,500. SEH will invoice the city on the basis of actual hours spent at current billing rates, plus the actual cost of reimbursable expenses up to the maximum fee amount.

Blank said he will come back to the council in February to consider approval of the final plans, with the city going out for bids in early March. He said construction will begin in spring 2015.

SAC’s Enrichment Center requests pause in rent

Mary Sarault, with the Isanti County Commission on Aging, appeared before the council to request a pause in the rent for the Senior Enrichment Center for one to two years. The SEC pays $500 per month in rent, $6,000 annually, for its space at City Center Mall.

Sarault explained the SEC, which moved to City Center Mall in May 2014, has been serving public lunches through its SAC’s Friendship Cafe for about three months.

Sarault said lunch prices have increased from $4.25 to $5.25 since opening; however, they still offer the $4.25 price to lower-income seniors. She said everything at SAC’s Cafe is made fresh daily and attendance has increased. She explained 325 lunches were served in August and increased to 388 lunches in September.

Sarault the temporary leave in rent is being requested so those funds can be used for the purchasing of food and marketing for SAC’s Cafe.

“The biggest hurdle we face is educating the community to understand our SAC’s Cafe is open to the public and open to everyone in the community,” Sarault said. “Our motto is we serve anyone from ages 6 to 106. Our SAC’s Cafe is not just for seniors. Everything we make is homemade, and we invite everyone to stop in for lunch.”

Sarault noted SAC’s Cafe is open from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. She also noted the SEC is also making some changes internally to help save on costs.

The SEC still has a benefit account open at Minnco Credit Union under “Isanti County Commission on Aging” to accept financial donations to the SEC.

“We appreciate everything the city has done for us; we just a need a year to get ourselves going,” Sarault said.

Cambridge Mayor Marlys Palmer noted the city has several nonprofit tenants renting space in City Center Mall.

Palmer suggested the city, as well as Sarault, continue to look at different grant options and funding opportunities for the SEC. Sarault said they are continuing to do that and also are continuing their own fundraising activities, such as the Oktoberfest dinner being held Friday, Oct. 24, at SAC’s Cafe.

“Together, we will continue to work on this and see we can come up with,” Palmer said. “And we will continue this discussion at a future meeting.”

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Minnesota mystery author to hold book signing at Scout & Morgan Wed, 22 Oct 2014 21:11:53 +0000 Barbara Deese

Barbara Deese

During an annual book club retreat a few years ago at an old hunting lodge in Wisconsin, a storm blew in, knocking out the power and leaving the 10 book club members in the dark.

Sitting there in the candlelight, the women conjured up all sorts of things that could befall a bunch of women spending the night in a remote place with no means to communicate with the outside world.

By morning, Barbara Deese and her friend Dorothy Olson decided to write a murder mystery with the old lodge and waterfall as the backdrop, and the No Ordinary Women mystery series was born.

Deese will be holding a book signing from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25, at Scout & Morgan Books in Cambridge for her newest book in the series, “Forgotten Spirits.”

The series involves five members of the No Ordinary Women book club who have a collective age of just over 250. They have experienced some serious things in life — career changes, health problems and marriage difficulties. Throw in a hot flash or two, a few senior moments, and the kind of moxie you can acquire only by living life courageously. In other words, these are people you know — your mother, your next-door neighbor, your sister, your best friend. The series proves that murder and suspense are not a young person’s game.

“Murder at Spirit Falls,” published in September 2012, is the first in the No Ordinary Women book series. “Spirited Away,” the second book in the book series, was published in September 2013. Due to her husband becoming ill, Olson had to step away from collaborating with Deese on the sequels in the book series.

Deese grew up in Anoka, one of four children. She explained her parents raised her and her siblings to ask questions, research the answers and never stop learning. She said her entire family loves to read, and knows the power of a well-told story. After graduating from high school in Anoka, she went to Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, spending her junior year studying in Heidelberg, Germany.

Personal experiences triggered Deese’s interest in writing.

“When I was 30, I was going through a tough time with someone in my extended family, and I was bewildered by her anger toward me,” Deese said. “I began writing out my feelings, trying to understand the situation, and it just morphed into fiction. The writing helped me work through my feelings, and by the time I’d finished that story, I was hooked on writing.”

Deese hopes her books keep people entertained. com_Deese1

“When the five members of the No Ordinary Women book club find themselves up to their bifocals in a real murder mystery, these smart, inquisitive, funny women can’t resist the temptation to track down the culprit,” Deese said. “Then, having successfully helped to solve that crime, they embark on another investigation, and another.”

Deese is excited about her most recent book, “Forgotten Spirits.”

“One of the book club members may be living a respectable life in St. Paul, but Foxy has a bit of a past, and it’s about to collide with her present when her old friend Sierra, a former Las Vegas showgirl, dies in a suspicious manner,” Deese said. “Fearing she might be the next victim, Foxy takes off just ahead of a blizzard to hide at a resort outside of Ely, but trouble follows her.”

Deese said she enjoys the relationships she’s gained by becoming an author.

“I love the connections I’ve made with readers and other authors,” Deese said. “I’ve had some amazing conversation with readers. Something about these fictitious middle-aged book club women — Robin, Cate, Grace, Foxy and Louise — strikes a chord with a lot of people, and writing becomes almost like a conversation with the readers. I’ve been invited to so many book clubs to talk about the books, and the people I’ve met are endlessly fascinating and inspiring.

“The other thing about writing fiction is this: Whatever intrigues me, whether it’s a place or subject matter or some curious aspect of human nature, I can observe, research and write it into a story. It’s the kind of job that lets me branch out in any direction I find interesting. How great is that?” Deese added.

Deese loves hearing feedback on her novels.

“Of course, I hope they’re entertained, and that I keep them guessing to the end,” Deese said. “More importantly, several readers have said my stories gave them hope. That means a lot to me. The characters have dealt with some tough issues, as anyone who’s lived a few decades has. They triumph over their fears, learn from their mistakes, support each other in the dark places, laugh and cry together. … Just like the people you want to have in your own life.”

Although Deese planned to go into the foreign service after college, her life took the first of many unexpected turns when she became one of the first federal air marshals, and one of only 33 women, in the U.S.

“I’d hoped to go into the foreign service after graduating from college in 1971, but hit a few snags that delayed the process,” Deese explained. “I decided to get my foot in the door with a different government job, and was offered, among other positions, the chance to be in the newly formed air marshal program. I remember the woman who interviewed me saying, rather apologetically, that the job wasn’t really good for a female, as it required carrying a gun and traveling all over the world. It sounded like the perfect job for me at the time.”

Deese feels some of her life-changing experiences has made her a more compassionate person, and a more resilient one.

“Losing my first husband in a plane crash when I was 25 was devastating, of course,” Deese said. “My beautiful life had a huge hole blown through it, and nothing could change that. Having a baby on the way kept me going and gave me something to live for. Losing a person who’s so central in your life is something you never get over, but you do rebuild a different kind of life, and that can be good too. The strange thing about my experience with breast cancer is that two years before I was diagnosed, I’d created the character of Robin Bentley, who was living with breast cancer. And so when I found out that’s what I was dealing with, I’d already done my research for the book, and was able to apply it to my own diagnosis and treatment. It was oddly comforting to know my fictitious character had been through it.”

In addition to the No Ordinary Women mysteries, Deese has a short story titled “Release” in the newly published anthology “Festival of Crime,” written by members of the Twin Cities chapter of Sisters in Crime.

For more information on the No Ordinary Women mystery series, visit Scout & Morgan Books is located at 114 Buchanan St. N., Cambridge, and can be reached at 763-689-2474.

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Local bookseller selected for judging assignment Wed, 22 Oct 2014 21:10:33 +0000 Judith Kissner

Judith Kissner

Judith Kissner, owner of Scout & Morgan Books in Cambridge, has been selected to be a judge for the 27th annual Minnesota Book Awards in the Novel & Short Story category.

Sponsored by the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library, the Minnesota Book Awards is a year-round process involving nominations, judging, and the selection of finalists and winners as well as a statewide outreach program connecting readers to the works of Minnesota authors.

All books nominated must be the work of a Minnesota author or primary artistic creator in the year preceding the award. Awards are given in eight categories and judged on literary-artistic merit, originality and audience appeal. Judges agree to abide by a strict code of confidentiality and do not discuss books under consideration during the judging process.

The winner in each category will be announced at the Awards Gala at the Saint Paul Union Depot on April 15, 2015. For more information visit

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Veterans Service Office seeks military family stories for unique state tribute Wed, 22 Oct 2014 21:08:46 +0000 The Isanti County Veterans Service Office is collecting stories and sentiments from local military families to be part of a three-component tribute, a first of its kind in the nation, planned on the Minnesota State Capitol grounds.

County commissioners authorized Veterans Service Officer Jim Rostberg to spread word of the Story Stones portion of the Minnesota Family Tribute at the Oct. 15 board meeting. The project is designed to honor the families of active and veteran members of the military who have made and continue to make sacrifices for their country.

Anticipated to frame the south end of the State Capitol Mall, the tribute will consist of three main components: the Gold Star Table, the Thank You Military and Veteran Family Walkway, and Story Stones.

For the latter of the three, the Minnesota Family Tribute has partnered with county veterans service offices throughout the state to collect stories from military families. Representing each of the state’s counties, 87 stones will be arranged as part of the tribute. Excerpts from the stories or sentiments — sent between military members and their families — will be etched onto these stones.

Rostberg is now accepting submissions for inclusion on Isanti County’s Story Stone. Submissions may be from any time frame from the Civil War to today, and they do not need to be from a conflict. It can be a letter, telegram, email or even a video, which will be transcribed to written word on the stone.

Though only a small portion of any contributed submission will be etched into the stone, such as part of a sentence, the stories will depict the life of local military families. Each county has been asked to submit up to three pieces of correspondence.

Local military families can mail a copy of their submission to the Isanti County Veterans Service Office, no later than Nov. 15, addressed to: Attn: Jim Rostberg, director; Isanti County Veterans Service Office; Government Center, Suite 2118; 555 18th Ave. SW; Cambridge, MN 55008. Rostberg also can be reached at 763-689-3591 or

The dedication of the Minnesota Military Family Tribute will take place on June 13 on the grounds of the state Capitol. For more information on this project, visit

Bids rejected on dispatch center, garages

The board rejected all bids for the 911 Dispatch Center and vehicle storage garages, both of which were estimated at costing just over $1 million, collectively.

Randy Engel, of Buetow 2 Architects Inc., said all nine of the bids were higher than expected, as the low bid for both projects still came to $1.75 million. It shows lack of interest in doing the job; firms are busy and trying to catch up after a challenging four years, Engel noted.

Though the county can schedule to rebid the project in the spring of 2015, commissioners expect to regroup and discuss their options in the weeks to come.

Security update

In his regular update to the board, jail administrator Dennis Valentyn said the new security format at the front entrance of the Government Center is going well, as more than 27,000 people came through the doors from July 1 to Sept. 30.

The total means the county building was visited by an average of 300 people per day or 10,000 a month.

In that time, security staff turned away 410 knives, six cans of pepper spray, 45 scissors, 44 Leatherman multi-tools and 18 miscellaneous items, Valentyn noted.

In other action, the board:

• Scheduled the annual meeting of the Isanti County Economic Development Authority for 9 a.m. Jan. 27 at the Braham Community Center, 655 Eighth Ave. SW, Braham.

• Denied, based on non-compliance of zoning criteria, the request of Kevin and Ida Gustafson, of Stanchfield, for an interim use permit for a masonry construction company conducted within an accessory structure in Maple Ridge Township.

• Tabled, out of need for more information, the request of Dean and LaVonne Sundeen, of Princeton, for an interim use permit for an extended home occupation to operate a custom meat processing facility and catering (food preparation only) within an accessory structure in Spencer Brook Township.

• Approved the request of Jim and Cindy Tibbetts, of Princeton, to amend the existing conditional use permit for an automobile or vehicular repair shop in Spencer Brook Township.

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Braham School Board accepts donations Wed, 22 Oct 2014 21:07:32 +0000 At its Oct. 20 meeting, the Braham School Board accepted with appreciation the following contributions:

• $255 from Ron German Drywall Company for the FFA trip.

• $200 from Brian and Ken Fiedler at East Central Tire for FFA.

•$1,000 from an anonymous donor for the E gym scoreboard.

• $5,000 from the Grandy Lions for the FFA Greenhouse project.

• $500 from the Kanabec-Isanti County Farm Bureau for the FFA Greenhouse project.

• $500 from Braham Moose Lodge No. 1544 for FFA.

In other news:

• The School Board thanked the volunteers who assisted with vision and hearing screening and early childhood screening this fall.

• The FY 2014 School District Audit Report presented by District Auditors Burkhardt and Burkhardt was approved.

• The Student Council reported several Student Council members helped Tusen Tack load up a semitrailer full of bags of clothing.

• Braham Area Elementary School Principal Jeff Eklund thanked the Braham Fire Department for spending time with the students during Fire Prevention Week. He also thanked the people who wrote inspirational messages on the sidewalk with chalk and put encouraging sticky notes and treats in student lockers.

• Rachel’s Challenge, which is about bullying prevention, will be presented to elementary students Oct. 28 and high school students Oct. 29. There will also be a community meeting on Oct. 29 at 6:30 p.m. at the Braham Community Center. Thanks to a grant from East Central Energy, a new group at the high school called Friends of Rachel will be formed.

• The play “Annie” will be performed Nov. 8, 14, and 15 at 7 p.m., and Nov. 9 and 16 and 2 p.m.

• Chemical health counselor Charity Allen was nominated by staff members to represent Braham Area High School at the Leadership in Education Excellence Award banquet that is sponsored through Resource Training and Solutions.

• The Veterans Day Program will be held at 8:15 a.m. Nov. 11 at the high school.

• Allison Marcus presented the Multiple Measures Report results.

• The Halloween party will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Braham Area Elementary School.

• The next regular School Board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Nov. 17 at the Braham Area High School Community Room.

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“The Eternal Journey” Oct. 26 at Cambridge Lutheran Wed, 22 Oct 2014 21:06:34 +0000 The Lulea Maria Choir, with Lennart Johansson at the piano, from  Luleå, Sweden, will perform at 4 p.m. Oct. 26 at Cambridge Lutheran Church. Tickets are $10 at the door or by calling 763-689-1211. Ages 17 and under are free.

The Lulea Maria Choir, with Lennart Johansson at the piano, from Luleå, Sweden, will perform at 4 p.m. Oct. 26 at Cambridge Lutheran Church. Tickets are $10 at the door or by calling 763-689-1211. Ages 17 and under are free.

“The Eternal Journey,” a musical story of Swedish immigration to the USA, written and composed by Lennart Johansson, will be presented at Cambridge Lutheran Church, at 4 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 26, on stage in the Fellowship Hall.

Fifty singers and instrumentalists from Luleå, Sweden, along with singers from the American Swedish Institute’s Male Chorus, the St. Paul Male Chorus and women’s groups, the Cloudberries, and Flickorna Fem, will all join forces for the concert.

Tickets are $10 at the door, in advance from the church office or by calling 763-689-1211. Ages 17 and under are free.

Johansson is not a stranger to the Cambridge area.  Over the past 15 or more years, he has  brought  various choral groups from Luleå, Sweden, where he lives and directs several choirs in the church and greater community.  His compositions are well composed, very appealing to all audiences. His most recent appearance was at the 2010 Swedish Festival, where a choir of local singers performed a concert of music, most of which were Johansson’s compositions. Some of those pieces will be included in “The Eternal Journey.”

The story of the cantata, tells of both the excitement, and pathos of the Swedish immigrants, longing for a better life in a better land, and at the same time, the heart break of saying goodbye to their beloved home and family in Sweden.

Through beautiful choral music, accompanied by an instrumental ensemble, as well as spoken narration, “The Eternal Journey” brings a message of joy and hope.

This concert is open to the public,  presented by Cambridge Lutheran Church as part of its 150th anniversary celebration.

Organized by Swedish pioneer families in 1864, the church has been a strong religious presence in the Cambridge community throughout those many years, and even with its long traditions, continues as a contemporary congregation to look to the future with a great expansion of ministry and mission, spreading God’s love and bringing people to Christ.

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IMAGE Art Show 2014 call for entries Wed, 22 Oct 2014 21:04:26 +0000 In observance of the 35th anniversary of the arts council, the 2014 IMAGE Art Show is being hosted by the East Central Regional Arts Council (ECRAC) located in Braham.

The Call for Entry form for artists is available this year online and is due by Oct. 27. The 2014 IMAGE Art Show will be held Nov. 8-22, with an opening reception from 5-8 p.m. Nov. 8. A welcoming ceremony and the judges’ presentations are scheduled for 6 p.m. that same evening.

This is the 28th year of IMAGE, an annual judged art show for visual artists in Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, and Pine counties (Region 7E). Sponsored by the East Central Regional Arts Council (ECRAC), IMAGE is a celebration of artists living in Region 7E Visual artists from any of these five counties are encouraged to enter the show. There is no fee to enter.

There are seven visual arts categories. Each will have first, second, and third-place winners. In addition, all artwork entered will be eligible for Best of Show, People’s Choice, and Purchase Awards. These awards (with the exception of People’s Choice) will be presented at the opening reception during the first day of the show.

For a copy of the 2014 IMAGE art show entry form, go to: Note that entry forms are due Oct. 27. For more information, call 320-396-2337, or email to:

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Snowflake Parade registration forms now available Wed, 22 Oct 2014 21:02:54 +0000 The 18th Annual Lighted Snowflake Parade is set for 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 22. This year, the parade route moves entirely to Main Street due to the Highway 95 bridge over the Rum River not being completed by the parade date.

Registration forms and waivers for businesses and organizations desiring to enter this year’s line-up are available on the Chamber of Commerce website: by scrolling down and clicking on the snowflake icon. The forms are located for download under the flyer. Only the first 80 completed entries will be accepted in order to keep the parade length to one hour or less.

The Lighted Snowflake Parade is funded completely by donations and profits from the Community Chili Feed, which will be held from 4-8 p.m. at American Jane’s. If you would like to support this year’s event, checks can be made out to “Snowflake Parade” and sent to Laurie Solle, 28626 Drake St. NW, Isanti, MN 55040.

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Fundraiser for Bill Stello Wed, 22 Oct 2014 21:02:00 +0000 A fundraiser for Bill Stello will be held beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25 at Stello’s Trackside in Braham.

Stello was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in July 2014. Since then, he has been going through chemo and radiation treatments to fight this cancer. Surgery will be        following, along with more chemo and radiation treatments. Medical expense are mounting, and all proceeds from this fundraiser are going toward the family’s medical expenses.

There will be a bake sale at 2 p.m. until the items are sold. There will be a silent auction from 2-6:30 p.m. (winners announced). There will also be drawings.

A dinner of BBQ pork wings, beans, chips and dinner roll will be served from 4-7 p.m. for $10 per plate. A beer bust begins at 5 p.m. with $10 per wristband.

All are welcome to join in this event to help Stello and his family (Tammy, Jake, Amanda and Amber). For more information or if you would like to make a donation, contact Deb at 763-221-8155 or Melanie at 320-496-3588.

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