Born and attended public schools in Willmar, Minn. Served 20 years in U.S. Navy as a photojournalist. Worked at West Central Tribune since retiring from the Navy in 1994.
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As the heat rose Monday on the grounds of the Willmar Civic Center, a group of eight boys were busy completing a list of pre-ride checks on motorbikes. Ranging in age from 12 to their mid-teens, the youth are some of the members of Team 180, a program run by Youth for Christ that uses the bikes to help young people improve their lives. The program's national sponsors are Honda and the National Youth Project Using Minibikes (NYPUM).
To say that Colorado kicked our butts would be a gross understatement. That's what happened to my friend Bob Hines and I when we rode in the Bicycle Tour of Colorado. We'd been planning for months for the weeklong ride that looped through the southwestern portion of the state and into New Mexico. During the six days of actual riding -- we'd get a day off in Pagosa Springs, Colo.
As Michele Steffen wraps up her watercolor technique classes today at Kennedy Elementary School in Willmar, she hopes the fifth-graders she's worked with will take away more than new painting skills. She wants them to know how big a role art plays in their lives. "Behind many things, there's an artist," she said. "Sometimes it's closer to home than you think." Steffen, an artist in residence Tuesday through today at Kennedy, demonstrated how to gently apply colors to a paper.
It took some coaxing, but 3-year-old Addysen Hamstad smiled for photos Thursday at Cost Cutters. It was a day she had looked forward to for a long time, her mother, Jami Hamstad of Pennock, said. Addysen was donating her hair to Locks of Love, a nonprofit organization that collects hair to be used for hair prosthetics for disadvantaged children with medical hair loss.
WILLMAR - Shortly after his marriage 60 years ago, a friend asked Roger Bonnema to drive his car in a race. Bonnema declined explaining to his buddy that he was a newly wed. But the idea always stayed with him and eventually became a dream. It was a dream fulfilled Thursday for Bonnema, 78, as he raced one of his church's pastors around the KRA Speedway at the Kandiyohi County Fairgrounds in Willmar during the regular Thursday night races.
UPPER SIOUX AGENCY -- Ask most people much older than 30 if they want to go geocaching and their confused expressions will show how much they know about the techno-treasure hunts. Anyone who wants to find out about geocaching or geocachers who want to test their skills in a new setting are invited to a challenge at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the Upper Sioux Agency State Park, about eight miles from Granite Falls. The event begins at the park's main picnic area near the visitor center. People who have hand-held Global Positioning System units may bring them.
WILLMAR -- The national poverty rate dropped three-tenths of a percent from 2005 to 2006, according to the Census Bureau. The bureau reported Tuesday that the rate dropped from 12.6 percent in 2005 to 12.3 percent last year. A 0.3 percent decrease in the rate would mean that hundreds of thousands of people moved out of poverty, but is that what those numbers really mean? The Associated Press stories on the statistical shift explain that the government defines poverty differently depending on people's circumstances.
WILLMAR -- National Football League alumni help kick off this year's United Way fundraising campaign in Willmar. Former Minnesota Vikings players Matt Blair, Ted Brown, Joey Browner, Doug Sutherland and Stu Voigt will attend the Taste of Kandiyohi from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday at the Kandi Mall in Willmar, said Stacey Roberts, executive director of the United Way of Kandiyohi County. The players will help serve food from the 16 area restaurants participating in the event. "BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway) is a major sponsor," Roberts said.