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A UNITED STATES FLAG RETIREMENT CEREMONY was held at the Big Stone American Legion on Friday, Sept. 25. Members of the Big Stone American Legion Gertje-Van Lith Post 229 conducted the ceremony. Legion Post Vice Commander Bob Arndt stated that flags are collected on an on-going basis and that retirement ceremonies are held to provide the proper disposal of flags. The area to the north of the Legion will be the permanent grounds for the flag burning, with the ashes of the flags being buried where the former horseshoe courts are located.

12th Annual Meander Art Crawl to be held this weekend

The 12th annual Upper Minnesota River Meander Art Crawl will be held Oct. 2-4. The Meander is a free self-guided tour of artist studios featuring 40 local artists from five counties in western Minnesota. The annual event features the art studios, small towns and family farms found in the Upper Minnesota River region.

For 2015 featured artist Tamara Isfeld of Granite Falls, the Meander is a “great art weekend when friends get together, reconnect and meet new friends.” Isfeld created a new design for this year’s Meander poster titled “Around the Bend” which depicts scenes of a river winding through the wildlife filled landscape of the Upper Minnesota River watershed.  For Isfeld, the drawing is symbolic of what it is like to take in the Meander. 

“You drive about from studio to studio and you never know what you will find around the bend,” she explained.  “Many of the artists in the Meander have been here for a long time and there they are -- waiting to be discovered,”  she added.  “The Meander encourages people to stop and investigate places they have always driven by and learn about the artists connected with that place.”

Locally, John White will have his exhibit of photographs of the vanishing  prairie pothole region set up at Listening Stone Farm, 33166 770th Ave. in Ortonville.

Exhibiting at the Red Barn, located at 35131 760th Ave. in Ortonville are Neva Foster with her floral and abstract watercolor, nature prints with acrylic watercolor; Carol Knutson and her hand poured, painted and costumed porcelain dolls and wood carvings; Beverly Schultz will display her mixed media paintings using watercolor and acrylics in florals and abstract landscapes; Don Sherman will have paintings and drawings of local culture and environmental focus; Liz Rackl will have hand etched and colorized granite; and Kris Ninneman will display pen and ink watercolor and acrylic.

Exhibiting at the Big Stone Arts Gallerty at 42 2nd Street NW in Ortonville will be Kathleen Marihart with her mixed media, photographic images, collage, and paintings and Edie Barrett and her nest sculptures. Naomi Shanti is a new artist who will be displaying watercolor on wood at her home studio located at 329 Madison Avenue in Ortonville.

Rob Rakow will have his photography emphasizing the landscape in western Minnesota and eastern South Dakota on display at Club 7 75 Supper Club in Odessa. Valerie Berg will be showing her hand engraved and multi-stage air blasted glass designs at her home studio at 45117 650th Avenue in Odessa.

The weekend will begin with studios opening at noon Friday, Oct. 2.   A Meander Friday Night Celebration will be held in downtown Granite Falls from 6-9 p.m. that will feature a re-dedication of the community’s historic footbridge.   For more information, contact the Granite Falls Chamber at 320-564-4039 or visit

Art studios throughout the region will reopen at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 3, and culminate with a concert by jazz vocalist Connie Evingson at 7:30 p.m. at Memorial Auditorium at 601 9th Street, Dawson. Tickets are available at the door and sell for $15 for Adults and $5 for Students.  For more information,  contact the Box office: 320-769-2955 ext. 246  or

On Sunday, Oct. 4, art studios will again be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Meander has become a significant economic development event for the region, according to Kristi Fernholz of the Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission.  Surveys indicate that visitors travel to the region from eight states and spend money on hotels, restaurants and gas stations.  Fernholz noted that total reported art sales alone in 2014 amounted to  $108,207, up from $90,000 the year before.

A free brochure detailing the locations of Meander art studios and events can be obtained by calling 1-866-866-5432. The brochure can also be downloaded at: More information can also be found on the Meander Facebook page at

Big Stone School receives Exemplary, Status classification

The Big Stone City, SD Middle School has been classified as an Exemplary High Performance school from the 2014-2015 School Performance Index. The Big Stone City School Elementary has also been classified as a Status school.

Exemplary schools are those whose overall School Performance Index score is among the top five percent of all schools in South  Dakota.

Status schools are those whose performance ranks in the next five percent after Exemplary schools.

Lori Scheibe, Accreditation and Accountability Administrator with the South Dakota Department of Education, sent a letter to Big Stone City School Superintendent Roger DeGroot informing the school of its achievement.

“Congratulations on a job well done,” said Scheibe. “This is a wonderful accomplishment for your students, teachers, and school community.”

Commercial customers free to negotiate with other services

The Ortonville City Council approved a new contract for residential garbage service with Waste Management through 2022 at their regular meeting on Monday, Sept. 28.

Commercial garbage users that would like to have other options will be released from their current contract as of Oct. 1. Those commercial users that would like to continue with Waste Management will be able to do so.

Paul Kalibabky of Waste Management stated that residential customers will see a $2 a month decrease next year, with a two percent increase the following year.

Discussions have been on going over the past several months about the rates for commercial customers. Commercial customers will now have the option of negotiating with Waste Management or any other company of their choice.

Brian Hiles of Ultieg Engineering came before the council with the assessment calculations for the 2015 street projects which included Evergreen lane, Spring Drive, and Pomroy and Dyer Streets. His final assessments included both the city paying 70 percent and the property owner 30 percent, and the City and propery owner both paying 50 percent.

It was decided to have Hiles come before the Utlility Committee in October to present his assessments, with the Utility Committee’s recommendation to be presented at the second council meeting in October.

Hiles stated the street project has been completed and said the work went well with a noticeable improvement with each project.

The council awarded the three year airport farmland lease bid to Ryan Wittnebel. There were three bidders on the land with Wittnebel’s bid being at an annual cash rent per tillable acre of $201.

On a recommendation from the Street-Utility Committee, the council approved adopting a policy charging homeowners for curb and gutter and tar after private sewer and water placement or repair. The City in the past has paid this expense.

They also approved adopting a policy for commercial utility account shut offs for non-payment. City Clerk Administrator Char Grossman reported that the City has had difficulty collecting utility bills from some Commercial accounts at times and would like to see a shut-off policy adopted much like the residential policy currently in place.

The council then passed on a 4-1 motion for the purchase of a Toro Groundsmaster 4700-D mower for the Ortonville Golf Course. The lone no vote was from council member KimSykora, with council members Jim Hasslen and Ron Thomas absent. Total cost of the mower is $66,711.90 after a trade in of their 2005 Toro Groundsmaster 4100-D. Payments will be made over five years, with annual payments of $14,775.35.

The next meeting of the Ortonville City Council will be on Monday, Oct. 5 at 5 p.m. in the Library Media Center.

Seth Parker