Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at farmbleat.areavoices.com.
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WORTHINGTON, Minn. — Residents of two Worthington care centers are hoping to bring a little joy to Rockport, Texas nursing home residents displaced by Hurricane Harvey. Gathered around tables covered with pencils, crayons, markers and stickers, the Worthington residents decorated handmade cards Wednesday, Sept. 13, and added their own personal messages of love and prayer for residents of Gulf Pointe Plaza in Rockport.
BREWSTER, Minn. — Tied at the shoulder and decorated with ruffles, lace and embellishments, one might never realize these little girl dresses are made of pillowcases. JoAnne Smith, of rural Brewster in southwestern Minnesota, has made 294 of these dresses in the past two years, and currently has a batch ready to be delivered to the Orphan Grain Train. From the Nebraska distribution site, they are sent wherever they are needed. Smith was coaxed into the project by Karen Doeden, a member of the St. Matthew Lutheran Church mission sewing group.
LUVERNE, Minn. — A trio of siblings with Adrian roots are taking the tragic loss of their babies due to stillbirths and a miscarriage and turning their pain into a source of comfort for other parents experiencing the same unimaginable setback. Nikki (Jon) McLendon of Luverne, Krissi (Phil) Butenhoff of Winona, and Tony and Alyssa Thier of Adrian hope to raise $6,000 to purchase two Cuddle Cots — one for Sanford's Birthing Center and the other for the Women's Center at Avera McKennan, both in Sioux Falls, S.D.
JASPER, Minn. — As she sits in her rocker, occasionally gazing out her window overlooking the front lawn of Sunrise Village in Jasper in far southwest Minnesota, Aino Lavoie shares an incredible "Coming to America" story — a story of tested strength, willpower and determination, of family separation and separation from her homeland.
MOUNTAIN LAKE, Minn. — The morning after 21-year-old Hannah Stoesz was killed in a car crash on Interstate 90 near Fairmont, her sister and brother-in-law had the difficult task of telling their 5- and 3-year-old daughters that "Auntie Han" was gone. After hearing the news the next morning, Addyson, the elder of the girls, told her parents it was going to be OK. Auntie Han had visited her in a dream, telling Addyson she was with Jesus and she was where she wanted to be.
BALATON, Minn. — Luverne is among two southwest Minnesota communities tapped to possibly become home to the state's first commercial-scale shrimp production facility, or shrimp harbor. Michael Ziebell, president and chief executive officer of The trū Shrimp Company, a subsidiary of Ralco Nutrition in Balaton, said an announcement will be made in the near future. Marshall, already selected for the shrimp processing facility, is also in consideration for the first shrimp harbor.
WORTHINGTON, Minn. — Nearly 5 million pounds of material was recycled by Nobles County residents last year and approximately 10 percent of that was glass. Recycled in shades of amber (brown), flint (clear) and green, the glass eats up profits of recycling centers for the simple fact that companies can make glass bottles from virgin sand and soda ash cheaper than they can push recycled glass through the processing stream.
WINDOM — Though membership in the group has dwindled over the years, the mission of the Highway 60 Action Corporation has not waned since it formed in 1965 — to see the highway's four-lane expansion realized from the Iowa state line to Mankato. Now, 51 years after that first meeting, the final piece of the expansion project is slated to begin in the spring, with completion anticipated by early October 2018. The approximately 8.5-mile construction project includes building two westbound lanes and repaving the existing two lanes between Windom and Mountain Lake.
WILMONT — Lloyd and Clara Fuerstenberg farmed for many years on the outskirts of Wilmont in far southwest Minnesota raising crops in the field and 11 kids on the farmstead. With that many children, they had little time for things like vacations and hobbies. The transition from farmer to retired status wasn't an easy one, though. As Lloyd points out, it didn't take long after his retirement in the mid-1990s for Clara to tell him he needed a hobby.
b>Update 10:35 a.m.