Ashley White is the community content coordinator for the West Central Tribune. Follow her on Twitter @Ashley_WCT.
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WILLMAR -- The 85-year-old pipe organ at Bethel Lutheran Church in downtown Willmar recently underwent a major renovation - its first in 60 years. "They kept what worked, and then really rebuilt what needed to be rebuilt," said Michael Schaner, director of music ministries at Bethel Church. "There have been some small changes made to the organ over the years, but it really needed this upgrade." The console of the organ - the part with the controls, keyboards and pedals - was completely rebuilt in the recent upgrade, which was done by former Bethel member Charles Hendrickson of St.
WILLMAR -- Gas prices nearly rose to the dreaded $4 mark last week, and were still $3.949 a gallon Sunday at most stations in the Willmar area. Gail Weinholzer, public affairs director for AAA of Minnesota and Iowa, said gas prices have increased in recent weeks because of Hurricane Isaac, which hit the Gulf Coast before Labor Day and closed the ports, refineries and oil rigs down there for about a week. Because roughly 25 percent of all fuel consumed in the United States comes from the Gulf Coast, those closures were significant enough to drive up gas prices, Weinholzer said. "When you kee
WILLMAR -- As Cora Jones tells the story of her two sets of great-grandparents who survived the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, she pauses to acknowledge just how lucky she is to tell their stories today. "My family is blessed to even be alive today," says Jones, who lives on the Santee Sioux reservation in northeast Nebraska. "When you look at everything that was put against us, in reality, we shouldn't even be here to talk about it." Her great-grandfather Mazaadidi -- which means "Walks on Iron" -- was No. 39 on President Lincoln's list of Dakota Indians to be hanged on Dec. 26, 1862.
WILLMAR -- Everyone knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Jennie-O Turkey Store is now trying to make breakfast not only healthier, but a little tastier, too. Over the last several months, the Willmar-based Jennie-O has revamped the look and taste of its turkey bacon and introduced a brand-new product: a rolled turkey breakfast sausage. According to a survey conducted this summer by Russell Research, most adults say that bacon is their favorite breakfast protein.
WILLMAR -- In conjunction with a recent launch of new breakfast products, Jennie-O Turkey Store is ramping up its national advertising, including another trip to baseball's biggest event: the World Series. For the second year in a row, Jennie-O will sponsor the World Series and have their commercials air during the televised games, which begin on Oct. 24. "Last year's results from our World Series advertising were tremendous," said Jen Ehresmann, director of marketing for Jennie-O Turkey Store. "The World Series is about as good as we can get.
NEW LONDON -- After a summer on display in and around New London, 19 guitars-turned-art-pieces will be up for public auction on Friday, Aug. 31, at 5:30 p.m. at Glacial Ridge Winery outside Spicer. Last spring, 19 local artists received donated, broken-down guitars with the challenge of turning them into works of art. Each artist had about two months to complete their guitars and submit them for the challenge. The result: 19 unique, creative pieces of artwork that look nothing alike.
NEW LONDON -- Local musician and New London-Spicer band director Brian Pearson is awaiting the final results of a Taco Bell jingle contest, sponsored by Fox 9 News in the Twin Cities. Pearson is one of the top 5 entries in the contest. The winner will be announced at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 1, at the KTWIN booth at the Minnesota State Fair. As part of the contest, Pearson wrote and recorded a jingle for the new Doritos Locos Tacos at Taco Bell. Judges initially chose the top 50 submissions, and the public narrowed the field each week. Final results are being kept secret.
WILLMAR -- After a month of fasting, Muslims will celebrate the end of Ramadan with a feast for Eid al-Fitr. The local Muslim community will host an Eid celebration from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday at Willmar's Northside Park, 12th Street Northwest and Ella Avenue. The event from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday will include community greetings, event speakers, a time for reflection on Ramadan, and Somali poetry, dance and songs.
WILLMAR -- As families gear up for the start of another school year, the local community and the United Way of West Central Minnesota are trying to make sure every child has the school supplies necessary to make the grade. Since the beginning of July, the United Way has been collecting donations of school supplies at various businesses and drop-off locations in west central Minnesota as part of its Stuff the Bus campaign. On Friday, the United Way parked a bus at the Dairy Queen in Willmar for two hours to collect donations from the general public.
WILLMAR -- After a month of fasting, Muslims will celebrate the end of Ramadan with a feast for Eid al-Fitr. Since July 20, Muslims have been observing Ramadan, the Islamic holy month, by abstaining from food, drink and sex each day from sunrise to sunset.