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 -- Like many men in the stock car pits, cars are both a vocation and an avocation. Don Barber buys wrecked cars by day and tries not to wreck at night. He's a regular at the KRA Speedway where he and Ryan Buer of Atwater were tied for first in Street Stock points going into Thursday's round of races. Don and his son, Nate, a Midwest Modified racer, are pitted on either side of Modified giant Craig "Christy" Christiansen. They're all part of the New London "Racing Mafia," competitors and friends, most making a living related to the piston engine. Don owns Don's Auto on State Highwa
Jason Mayer, the new leader of the girls hockey program at Willmar High School, knows well the players he's inherited. The Wadena native has coached in the hockey association's girls youth program for eight years. He has been hired to coach the girls varsity program that was under Chad Akerson and then interim coach Lee Wierschem in 2009-10. He's a non-school employee who came to Willmar in 1998 and has worked at Rice Hospital for 11 years. The past 2½ years he has been director of Laboratory Services at Rice. "I'm very excited," he said.
ST. PAUL -- What a way to polish off you're senior year of high school. With the silver baton in hand, Matt Anderson crossed the finish line in first place ending the Class A Track and Field Meet Saturday at Klas Field. The nearly two-second victory for the Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd 4x400 relay team also meant victory for the athletic pairing of the two school districts. "This is the happiest I've ever been," said Anderson, a 1,000-yard runner in football and a 1,000-point scorer in basketball at Dawson-Boyd. "I always dreamed of winning a state title.
ary Erickson will end her high school sports career at the state track meet on Friday. She will compete in the discus throw, the Class AA division, on Friday morning at Hamline University. She takes after her late grandfather, Bob Erickson, who threw the plate for the Cardinals. Sixty years ago on May 18 at the District 20 meet, Bob Erickson threw the discus 121 feet, 3 inches.
WILLMAR - Sixteen-year-old Tom Strandemo did his best to prevent a weekend sweep by Andy Jacobson. He took Jacobson, nearly invincible on his home course, into sudden death before bowing out on the second extra hole at the Eagle Creek Shortstop on Sunday. Jacobson drained a 20-foot downhill putt on No. 11 for birdie to avoid the upset. The 30-year-old Willmar insurance agent had won the Little Crow Early Bird on Saturday by five strokes. Strandemo, who finished 10th at New London, matched Jacobson through 28 holes at Eagle Creek.