Scott County Reserve Deputy Michael Fatland of New Prague recently received the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association Volunteer of the Year Award, which is presented to a civilian who volunteers in support of the Sheriff’s Office by performing in a manner that is far and above average. Since being sworn in by Sheriff Bill Nevin in 2000, Fatland has logged roughly 7,000 volunteer hours, working nights, weekends and holidays. The sheriff’s office considers him a tremendous asset to public safety.

A new program funded by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Amendment kicked off on Jan. 4 with about 30 children ages 5 and under getting the opportunity to try out various musical instruments. The musical therapy classes are fun and upbeat and intended to help with brain development and motor skills. According to Alicia Newton, the licensed therapist who led the class, the children had the chance to dance and in the next three classes will also get to sing.


At the regular meeting on Jan. 6, the Arlington City Council voted 4-0 and approved a motion to approve a development agreement with Hemp Heaven. The company has signed an agreement with the city to purchase 22 acres in the southwest corner of the community and will construct 10 greenhouses and/or processing facilities in two phases. As part of the agreement, Hemp Heaven will employ 15 full-time equivalent employees by January 2022. In other business, the council unanimously approved a conditional use permit for a veterinary clinic in the former Arlington Enterprise building.

Rick Amrhein was sworn in as the newest council member on Jan. 6, replacing Adam Cowell. His term will last through the end of 2020. In other business, the council adopted a resolution and approved Amy Newsom as the new city administrator. She will also serve as the EDA director.


The fifth annual Christmas in the Barn event was held Dec. 24 at the David Kahle farm south of Gaylord. Four services that included the Christmas story complete with a living nativity were held this year and more than 1,500 people attended.

The public is invited to an open house about the Gaylord Highway 5 Corridor Study on Jan. 16 from 4-6 p.m. in the Sibley County Service Center meeting room. A brief presentation will begin at 5 p.m. Those attending are encouraged to review project information and provide feedback. The study seeks to understand transportation issues and opportunities for the growing community.  


For the fifth annual Minnesota River Conference One Act Play Tournament on Jan. 18, Le Sueur-Henderson will bring the historical drama “Radium Girls” to life. The play follows the true story of Grace Fryer, a factory worker who took the United States Radium Corporation to court in 1928 after contracting radiation poisoning from painting watch dials with radioluminescent paint. This case helped to establish labor safety regulations in the United States.

Juniors Halle Bemmels and Zach Berndt were nominated as the LS-H High School representatives for the ExCEL award. These annual awards are for students who strive to help their community through community service and athletics or fine arts. Bemmels participated in volleyball, softball and basketball, music in both band and choir, held leadership roles in National Honor Society and helped start a Christian Athletes Fellowship. Berndt acted as a leader on and off the field as a member of the football, basketball and baseball teams, and has volunteered with the National Honor Society.


A patient at the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter left the facility with an off-campus pass on Dec. 19 but did not return when expected. He was apprehended more than a week later more than 1,000 miles away in Austin, Texas. The patient will be returned on a warrant from Nicollet County. According to Sgt. Paul Hagen of the St. Peter Police Department, they were notified when the patient went missing, but did not notify the public, as he was not considered dangerous. “If there is a true escape or flight, an alert would go out to the public,” Hagen said.

St. Peter High School graduate Vicki Davis will be inducted into the Minnesota High School Basketball Hall of Fame this year. She refereed the girls basketball state championships in 1975 and 1976. She was also the first girl to play little league baseball in Minnesota in 1959 and said, “They would not let me wear a t-shirt as it was ‘too masculine’ but I still have my hat.”

Two long-time city councilors stepped down at the end of 2019, ceding their seats to fresh bodies and new voices. Jerry Pfeifer, 84, and John Kvamme, 74, each served on the council for 28 years and while they don’t have any illusions of grandeur, they do feel that they had some impact on what the city looks like today.

For St. Peter author Pell Johnson, hunting is about more than just shooting ducks. In his latest book “Fowl Memories” he presents a collection of more than 40 true stories detailing the adventures that he and others have had at Swan Lake, the prairie wetland that stretches across 10,000 acres near the town of Nicollet and is known for its shallow lake, marsh and golden brasses.


Officer Arik Matson, a Waseca police officer, was shot in the head and gravely injured while responding to a report of a suspicious person on Jan. 6. The suspect has been identified as Tyler Robert Janovsky of Faribault, who was wanted by law enforcement on a drug-related charge. Matson was one of four officers who responded to the call and after Janovsky shot him, other officers shot the suspect twice; his injuries are considered non-life threatening. Matson is in critical but stable condition and a GoFundMe page has been established for his family.

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