Covers Willmar and area high schools and Ridgewater College, plus amateur baseball, stock car racing and fitness events in summer. Writes weekly column since 1980. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children.
- Member for
- 2 years 5 months
For conservation officer Jim Steffen, the fishing opener hardly could have got off to a poorer start. A dozen discarded northern pike were discovered near a culvert entering Ringo Lake. "What a waste," said Steffen, an Alexandria native who joined the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources 21 years ago. "There are anglers out there today that would love to be catching those fish." The 2- to 4-pound pike were dumped near the northeast public access parking lot. Steffen estimated the fish were 3 or 4 days old. "Why would anyone do that?" he said rhetorically.
A check of area lakes at noon on Sunday, revealed moderate activity and limited success. At County Park No. 1, Big Lake Kandiyohi, West park manager Bud Groen summed the opener up as "cold and miserable." "A lot of shivering fisher-people. There's been some fish; the walleyes are running small. A lot of people are already heading for home. There's white caps on the lake." Todd Anderson, manager at County Park No. 3, Diamond Lake reported: "Poor. Not many boats. When the drizzle turned into rain yesterday, the access completely cleared out.
WILLMAR -- In a spring seldom fit for outdoor sports, the Lady Warriors looked quite comfortable once again. Doing what they do best -- socking the cover off the ball -- Ridgewater College thumped Anoka-Ramsey 8-0 in a five-inning game to win the school's fifth Region 13A championship in seven years on Friday afternoon under heavy overcast and a chilly north wind at the college field. At least it didn't rain as it did much of Thursday's opening rounds. "It was so much rain and snow and cold but a good team is going to keep its focus in the bitter stuff while others don't handle it so well,"
WILLMAR -- A national curling championship bonspiel at Willmar? It could happen. The Willmar Curling Club is preparing a bid. Fargo hosted the annual event in February. Philadelphia is the site of the 2012 tournament which will determine both a men's and women's team champion. The previous three year the USA Curling championships were held in Kalamazoo, Mich., Denver and Bismarck, N.D. But little old Willmar? "They came to us and asked if we'd be interesting in making a bid," said Kevin Madsen, manager of the Civic Center.
The Ridgewater College baseball team's quest for the Region 13 title starts today in St. Cloud. Nine teams will compete for the one qualifying spot at the NJCAA national tournament. The Warriors meet Riverland at noon today at Joe Faber Field. The three-day event is double-elimination.
Watching the Ridgewater College softball team this spring has been a treat -- even in damp cold. Part of the pleasure is the play of sophomores Emily Roelike and Brandi Bodin. They hit first and second, respectively, in the Lady Warriors' batting order. For opposing pitchers, it is an often lethal one-two punch. Roelike runs the bases like a cheetah and Bodin can fly, too. She may be a catcher but she's 9-for-9 in steal attempts. Both players hit for power. In the field, each is superb. Roelike has great range and a laser arm.
WILLMAR -- No surprises here, other than the sunny day at Eagle Creek Golf Club. The virtually unbeatable Minnewaska Lakers won the Willmar Girls Golf Invitational by 25 strokes over runner-up Alexandria under a blue sky with the mercury near 60 -- a rare accommodating day in April for athletic pursuits. Junior Sam Falk led the state champion Lakers, shooting a 75. That was eight strokes better than her teammate Brianna Janu and BOLD's Chloe Altmann. Falk needed only 28 putts to get around.
Scott Wierschem is a proud man. He sits straight and tall. There is defiance, yet sadness in his eyes. When he walks, he uses a cane. His speech is halting. One needs to listen closely. Scott's body began to go haywire while in his mid-40s. The muscles that allowed him to be a football standout were deserting him. He's now 51 saddled with a disease without a name.
WILLMAR -- This is what we've come to expect living in Minnesota. Cold rains that turn to sleet and bitter winds that call for gloves and stocking caps in mid-April. But the Willmar/Litchfield Boys Golf Invitational has always slogged ahead, like the proverbial mail carrier. Until this year. The two-day, 20-team meet was called off on Wednesday, two days before teeing off at the Willmar Golf Club for the first of two days. "This spring does seem to be one of the toughest I can remember," commented Willmar head golf coach Dave Ellwood.
Andrea Krause took a roundabout route to Ridgewater College. The 2010 graduate of Bloomington Kennedy first went a little east to Rosemount to attend Dakota County Technical College. She planned to pitch for the BlueKnight softball team, which announced plans to transition to NJCAA Division II. Unlike Division III, that meant scholarship money. Krause could live at home, get a big chunk of her tuition discounted and play the sport she'd excelled in since seventh grade. Todd Thorstad, the Lady Warriors' coach, had tried to recruit her.