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.
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WILLMAR - The time has come. Three years of preparation come to a point today with the start of the 2010 Minnesota State Amateur Baseball Tournament. Beginning in 1975, Willmar hosted numerous American Legion State Tournaments but the state am is a first.
BIRD ISLAND - If Target Field is the newest pride and joy of downtown Minneapolis, this town of 1,200 citizens on U.S. Highway 212 can point to Lion's Memorial Park with similar affection. The ballpark is a monument to community spirit on the level prairie.
SPICER -- After a week of intense heat around a thunder storm, the seventh annual Green Lake Triathlon got a golden break. On a mild Sunday morning with the temperature in the mid-60s, a swarm of athletes of all abilities swam, cycled and ran. "What a beautiful course," said Jill Ellenbecker of Coon Rapids, who won the women's Sprint course. "There was a strong headwind the last four miles of the bike, but I just love the setting for this race and the weather was near perfect." The Green Lake Triathlon is four races in one.
Casey Johnson has the Willmar Cardinals wrestling program on an upward trajectory but he won't be on board to savor it. The 29-year-old physical education teacher will be teaching and coaching elsewhere this school year. "It's bittersweet," he said this week of his departure after three years as head coach. He's accepted a teaching and coaching position in Albany.
WILLMAR -- Like tennis, golf and bowling, stock car racing can be one of those lifetime sports. Perhaps not lifetime -- but a long time. Here's what some of the most veteran race drivers at the KRA Speedway had to say about their need for speed on the opening night of the Kandiyohi County Fair on Wednesday. Jamie Lemke, 45, of Hutchinson has been racing stock cars for 26 years. Wednesday night's Modified Special was his first return to Willmar since the season opener in May: "I do it for the thrills. It's still a rush. But this is my last year. My twin girls will graduate (in 2011).