The Ortonville Independent banner

Call us at: 320-839-6163 or fax at: 320-839-3761


Home PagePrinting.html
Public Noticespublic_notices.htmlpublic_notices.htmlshapeimage_5_link_0
Letters to the Editor letters_to_the_editor.htmlletters_to_the_editor.htmlshapeimage_6_link_0
CHURCHES churches.htmlchurches.htmlshapeimage_7_link_0
Big Stone Lake cabin

TEN MONTH OLD HEART WARRIOR, MALIAH SHOTT, has gone through more challenges than most will ever indure. Through it all, this brave little girl keeps on smiling and bringing joy to her family. She is the daughter of Sarah Karels and Dennis Shott of Ortonville.

Little Maliah’s heart journey

By Sarah Karels of Ortonville

Feb. 7–14 is Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) Awareness Week.  Nearly one in every 100 babies is born with a heart defect. There are more than 40 known types of CHDs and unfortunately, CHDs are the leading cause of all infant deaths in the United States.  Many will not live to see their first birthday. Almost 50 percent of these children will require at least one invasive surgery in their lifetime. These sweet little kids become known as heart warriors.

Our sweet Maliah was born at the Ortonville Hospital on March 21, 2015.  Maliah is one of these heart warriors. We didn’t find out until she was four weeks old. Her dad, Dennis Shott, and I brought her to the clinic in Ortonville because she was having breathing troubles. Her oxygen saturations were in the 70s (normal is 92 +) and she was taken for an x-ray which revealed her heart was enlarged to the size of her chest. We also found out that testing came back revealing she had Down Syndrome. She was transferred by air to Sioux Falls, SD. She had an echocardiogram which revealed her heart was only squeezing at 10 percent.  It showed two holes in her heart and a PDA vessel was still open that should have closed at birth. She needed to be transferred again. While awaiting transfer to Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis, she went into cardiac arrest which required CPR, but she stabilized for her flight.

Once in Minneapolis, her heart function stabilized over two days but they could not figure out why she went into heart failure. They also found she had severe pneumonia caused by an infection in her lungs. On day five, she had a cardiac catheterization. This revealed she had significant pulmonary hypertension and the pressures in her ventricles were almost equal (the left should have higher pressure). The holes in her heart were causing too much blood to pump out. These two issues were fighting one another. 

On April 27, she had her first heart surgery – a thoracotomy (an incision under the armpit through the ribs) to close her PDA vessel. The hope was that this would stabilize her pressures enough without having to do open heart. This surgery didn’t go as planned; her surgeon said things seemed a bit off and he was concerned the wrong vessel was closed.  Think of going into a 1.5 inch incision where the heart is the size of a walnut and the vessels are the size of tiny wires. The next day she had a heart CT scan that showed the left lung vessel was indeed closed instead of the PDA and that her anatomy was somewhat backwards.  She had a right aortic arch (normal is to the left) with a vascular ring around her esophagus and trachea that was causing compression and pressure. 

Our surgeon informed us she would need surgery to correct these problems and open heart surgery was scheduled for the next day.  They were able to fix both holes – VSD and ASD (one between the ventricles and one between the atriums), close the PDA, reopen the left lung vessel, and clip the vascular ring.  She went on bypass four times to get the patches to fit properly in the holes without causing leakage from nearby valves. Her surgeon told us “your little girl has taught me a lot of humility” after surgery. Her chest was left open to allow swelling to go down in her heart and lungs. Two days later, she went back to surgery to close her chest. 

Unfortunately, the next day she got extremely sick and blood work determined she was in septic shock. Because of the severity of the illness, she was placed on ECMO – essentially a heart and lung life support machine.  Her doctor didn’t think she would make it through the night if this was not done. She had emergency surgery that evening. She remained on ECMO for 17 days. Ten days in, they tried switching her to a different type of ECMO for her lungs because her heart was doing well. Bleeding complications arose during and after surgery.  Her heart could not handle the stress, even though she was getting continuous blood transfusions. She had emergency bedside surgery that evening to go back to the original style of ECMO.  A week later, she successfully came off ECMO only to find another infection in her chest wound, a very fatal fungal infection. But she fought through that one too.

Upon going on ECMO, her chest was opened in order to put the cannulas into her heart. Her chest remained opened throughout being on ECMO.  With the new fungal infection, the decision was made to not surgically close her chest. Her body would have to allow it to heal on its own but it also meant her sternum bone would not close. Because of the infection, placing a metal wire would mean the infection would never go away. 

Throughout all of this, Maliah had a breathing tube put in to help with her breathing for 79 days. When this was removed, she still remained on breathing support as her lungs took quite a beating with all the infections and heart surgeries. Maliah’s chest continued to heal and close on its own. She worked with various therapies while she continued to heal. She had three more infections in August which pushed back her discharge date. 

Maliah was able to come home on Sept. 28 after 163 days! She still has complex medical needs – she is on high flow breathing machine to help her lungs as well as her feeding tube. She does not eat or drink anything by mouth. She requires home nursing for 16 hours a day. Her heart is doing great – it is completely repaired. She receives follow up every three months.

Maliah’s heart journey took many unexpected twists and turns. As with many heart warriors, her journey was not only with her heart. When the heart is sick, many other different medical issues can occur in the body. She has an immunodeficiency but the exact cause will take time to diagnose. We have been so blessed with all the care Maliah has received and Dennis and I  are so fortunate to have been able to stay at the Ronald McDonald House to be near hear during her hospitalization. It truly does take a village to manage the cares of these heart warriors. 

Maliah sees five specialists in Minneapolis and her primary doctor in Ortonville. She has progressed so well and can do most typical baby activities.  She rolls all over, learning to sit up by herself, and chatters all the time. Time is what she needs to heal and grow as well as determine how much support she’ll need in the future.  She truly is a miracle baby and our heart warrior! 

Maliah is the granddaughter of Pauline and the late Frank Karels of Ortonville.

37th Annual Arctic Open Golf Tourney this Sat. in Clinton

The 37th annual Arctic Open Golf Tournament will be held Saturday, Feb. 13 on beautiful Lake Eli at Clinton.

Buttons in support of the event, as well as many prize drawings and cash drawings are on sale from members of the CCSC and at local businesses in Clinton.

All activities, including the Kids’ Putt Putt, and adult and junior tournament, begin at 10 a.m. Bring your clubs and balls; colored balls will be available at the ‘clubhouse’, as well. Purchase an Arctic Open Button, or register at the Fish House/Clubhouse that will be located on Lake Eli Saturday.

The event is sponsored annually by the CCSC, which begins on Lake Eli with the golf tournament and concludes in the evening at the Sweetheart Dance at the Clinton Memorial Building, which begins at 9 p.m. The public is invited to attend both events and support the Clinton CCSC.

In the first Arctic Openthe publicity for that event noted that the late  Doug Anderson was the Tournament Chairman, with Ralph Strand, Head Groundskeeper and Ron Christians, Tournament Coordinator. The CCSC took over operation of the tournament a few years later.

The proceeds from the first event were $186, which was presented to the Clinton Good Samaritan Center. The  Care Center continues to be one of the benefactors of the Arctic Open, along with many other community organizations and the CCSC Scholarship Program.

The Arctic Open has had the support of the community and neighboring communities for all these years.

The groundskeepers were busy last weekend, preparing the course under the leadership of head groundskeeper Gene Moberg. Other CCSC members were involved in the course construction.


There will be a Sweetheart Dance at the Clinton Memorial Building that evening with music by the Rock’n’Roll Farmer. There will be prize drawings that evening as well. The day’s activities are sponsored by the CCSC (Clinton Community Service Club.)

Council approves hiring of two full-time police officers

The Ortonville City Council approved a recommendation by the Police Commission to hire two full-time police officers at their regular meeting on Monday, Feb. 1.

The police commission had met and conducted interviews for the one full-time and two part-time police officer position. Previously, the commission had reviewed the information presented by Ortonville Police Chief Jason Mork regarding the cost impact of hiring two full-time officers vs one full-time and two part-time officers.

The commission has been concerned about the turn over within the Ortonville Police Department and the frequent need to hire part-time officers. The commission viewed this move to have a slight impact on the budget with increased coverage to the city.

The police commission interviewed four candidates for this position. Because of the quality of the applicants, the commission recommended hiring two full-time officers.

The original motion made by councilman Jim Hasslen was to hire one full-time officer and two part-time officers. Hasslen stated that his understanding was they would meet with the police commission to discuss hiring one full-time officer or two and have more information about which would better serve the community.

Former Police Chief Gary Dinnel was in attendance and stated that he has heard talk about not seeing an officer on the street and that they can’t get a hold of an officer on the weekend. With hiring two full-time officers, you will go back to day shifts and seven days a week coverage. This may cost a little more but would also satisfy the public.

With the call of the motion by Hasslen, the vote failed on a three to three vote with council members Hasslen, Berkner and Dorry voting yes and council members Reinke, Sykora and Hausauer voting no.

A motion was then made by Sykora and seconded by Reinke to hire two full-time officers. It was discussed that during the interviews of the four candidates, it was noted that the candidates had inquired about what they could do to be more involved in the community and some already had ideas as to what they would like to do.

After calling for the vote, the motion passed on a 4-2 vote with council members Berkner, Reinke, Sykora and Hausauer voting yes.

In other business, the council approved the amended club house lease to showing that Adam Ellard be compensated three percent for green fees, memberships and cart and shed rentals. This agreement has been in place for years and that it should be reflected in the lease.

Council members then approved the reappointments of Chris Conroy and Michelle Knutson to the Health Care Board.

Seth Parker

Closed for season