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A HISTORIC LANDMARK IN BIG STONE CITY, SD came down on Monday, Dec. 15 as the Big Stone City Hall building was tore down. Shown above is Abe Dorry of Ronglien and Sons Excavating, Inc. bringing down the building early that morning. The brick building was constructed in 1910 and holds memories for many in the community. According to Big Stone City Mayor Deb Wiik, there are no plans at the present time for any construction on the site.

DNR appoints Haukos, Wiese to Game and Fish committees

The commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has appointed 10 Minnesotans to three-year terms on citizen oversight committees that monitor the agency’s fish and wildlife spending.

The appointees are responsible for reviewing the DNR’s annual Game and Fish Fund report in detail and, following discussions with agency leaders and others, prepare reports on their findings.

Appointed to the Fisheries Oversight Committee by Tom Landwehr are John Haukos, Ortonville; Dave Koppe, Minnetonka; Steven Pedersen, Coon Rapids; and Bonnie Swanson, Willernie.

Appointed to the Wildlife Oversight Committee are Chad Bloom, Mayer; Bill Faber, Brainerd; Steve Okins, Willmar; Mark Popovich, Welch; Scott Springer, Preston; and Jenna Elizabeth Wiese, Ortonville.

Two people were reappointed to the wildlife committee for a second term and the other new members are first-time appointees. The committees will resume work after the mid-December publication of the DNR’s Game and Fish Fund report for fiscal year 2014.

“We look forward to working with these volunteers,” said Dave Schad, DNR deputy commissioner. “The appointments continue our commitment to share detailed budget information, bring new participants into the oversight process and ensure revenue generated by hunting and fishing license sales is used appropriately.”

The Fisheries Oversight Committee and the Wildlife Oversight Committee continue a citizen oversight function first created in 1994. Almost 50 people applied for oversight committee positions. Factors in choosing the new appointees included geographic distribution, demographic diversity, and a mix of experienced and new participants.

In the weeks ahead, committee chairs and four members will be selected by each committee to serve on an umbrella Budgetary Oversight Committee chaired by another appointee, John E. Hunt. The committee will develop an overall report on expenditures for game and fish activities. Those recommendations will be delivered to the DNR commissioner and legislative committees with jurisdiction over natural resources financing for further consideration.

Though not well known, Minnesota’s Game and Fish Fund is the fiscal foundation for much of the state’s core natural resource management functions. Upwards of $90 million a year is deposited into this fund from hunting and fishing license sales, a sales tax on lottery tickets, and other sources of revenue, including a reimbursement based on a federal excise tax on certain hunting, fishing and boating equipment. The dollars that flow into this fund pay for the fish, wildlife, enforcement and ecological management that support 48,000 jobs in Minnesota’s outdoor recreation and hospitality business.

Ortonville elementary students raise over $1,000 in Box Tops

Ortonville’s James Knoll elementary students are learning about giving to those in need during this holiday season.

The kindergarten through 6th grade students turned in Box Tops through the month of November knowing that all the money would go to Project Christmas and the Big Stone Lake Area Food Shelf. 

According to Sheila Hoernemann, elementary Physical Education Instructor, the students turned in 5,100 total Box Tops at 10 cents each totaling $510. 

“As the Box Tops coordinator, I told them I would double whatever amount their class turned in from our Box Tops school fund,” said Hoernemann. “So the kids are spending over $1,000 locally.”   

The top class turned in 620 Box Tops worth $62 and then Hoernemann doubled it so they actually have $124. 

“The kids really did an awesome job turning in Box Tops this year,” said Sheila.  “It is a great project to do as they learn to “give” rather than receive.  We talk about how the toys and food are going to needy families in Big Stone County.”

Each grade spent time shopping locally in Ortonville to purchase items for the needy. Each class had so much money to spend and did a remarkable job of picking out toys and other items that will be distributed to those in need this holiday season.

Community members are reminded that the school would welcome any Box Tops that they have. They can  be dropped off at any time to the school or give them to any elementary student.  They do monthly contests all year long to raise money. Box Tops fund the Prairie Fire Children’s Theatre that comes to  the school each spring and is used for other educational needs throughout the school year.

Seth Parker