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HOMECOMING KING AND QUEEN FOR 2017 were crowned during Coronation Monday, Oct. 9.  This year’s royalty are Queen Tyler Peters, daughter of Jerrold and Mindy Peters and Nate Strong, son of Paul and Ruth Strong.

Prescribed burns planned for Meadowbrook State Park

Big Stone Lake State Park will be conducting prescribed burns on 380 acres of the Meadow unit.The burn area will be between the east side of Meadowbrook Road to the west end of Sunset View addition, from Oct. 23 to 26, providing weather conditions are right.

Burn experts and members of the DNR throughout the state will be conducting the burns. The Big Stone County Sheriff's office will be on hand to assist with traffic. (See map of the area to be burned on page 2)

Efforts will be made to control the smoke emitting from the burn, yet there is always the possibility that some smoke will travel beyond the park boundaries. The DNR plans to burn the unit east of Meadowbrook Road with a south wind to prevent smoke from affecting private homes. "We will be staging fire equipment and a pump for refilling in the parking area of Meadowbrook Public Water Access," said Cara Greger, assistant state park manager  "I apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause."

The DNR uses prescribed burns to benefit wildlife habitat in several ways. First and foremost, it promotes the growth of native prairie plant species whose seeds may be lying dormant in the soil, waiting for fire to stimulate their growth.

Secondly, by encouraging the growth of these native species, we discourage the growth of non-native species that tend to overrun non-burned areas. Native prairie species are more various and beneficial to wildlife, providing food and shelter to a variety of rare birds and animals. Native prairies are dependent upon regular burns to stimulate native grass and wildflower growth.

The DNR also uses prescribed burns to reduce fuel loading (the amount of burnable material such as dead grass and down trees). The burn will decrease the chance of wildfire and if a wildfire occurs it will not be as severe.

If weather conditions are not right, the burns may take place in the spring of 2018. If you have any questions, or medical issues that will be adversely affected by a prescribed burns, please call the park office at 320-839-3663, or e-mail Greger at:

Pheasant hunting slow over weekend due to wet weather

Minnesota opened its pheasant season Saturday, Oct. 14, According to Curt Vacek, Appleton Wildlife Supervisor, public lands and Walk In Areas were busy on Saturday with hunters coming and going at most sites throughout the morning and early afternoon.

“For the most part, hunters were not very successful and struggled with the wet conditions and acres of unharvested crops,” said Vacek. “While the weather was ideal in the morning - cool, light wind and damp, the mid-afternoon rains shut hunting activity down.”

Vacek remains optimistic that hunting success will continue to improve as the season goes along and crops are harvested.

“There are certainly a fair number of pheasants out there,” said Vacek. “Hunters just need to be persistent this year, and get after them when the crops come down.  It's also just a great time of year to spend exploring outside by yourself, with your dog or with friends, regardless of how many birds get harvested.  And based on the smiles I saw Saturday, it was obvious shooting limits of birds wasn't the main focus of the day.”

The Department of Natural Resources estimates Minnesota's pheasant population is down 26 percent from last year. The DNR says the key reason is a big drop in acres enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program, which takes environmentally sensitive farmland out of production and turns it back to grassland.

It’s habitat that matters and loss of habitat in the farmland regions has contributed to a 26 percent decline in Minnesota’s pheasant index compared to last year, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

“There has been a steady decline in undisturbed nesting cover since the mid-2000s, and our pheasant population has declined as a result,” said Nicole Davros, the DNR research scientist who oversees the annual August roadside survey that monitors pheasant population trends. “Although it appeared mild winter weather and dry summer weather might boost our numbers, that wasn’t the case.”

The 2017 pheasant index is 32 percent below the 10-year average and 62 percent below the long-term average.

During the 2017 pheasant season, the daily bag limit is two roosters through November, and it increases to three roosters on Friday, Dec. 1. The possession limit is six roosters (increasing to nine roosters on Dec. 1). Shooting hours are 9 a.m. to sunset. Additional details are available at

Scheff-Koosman part of NSU Hall of Fame induction

It was a memorable day for former Ortonville graduate Chris (Scheff) Koosman, as she and her 1991-1992 Northern State University teammates were one of five inductees into the Northern State University Hall of Fame on Sept. 29.

The team was also honored at halftime of the NSU/Minnesota State University, Moorhead football game Saturday, Sept. 30, as a part of Gypsy Days.

The NSU women’s team won the university’s first team national championship in school history with a 73-56 win over Tarleton State of Stephenville, TX, that year.

“After falling in the first game of the season, we rattled off 12 straight wins rolling into the heart of our championship season,” said Koosman. “We won the Northern Sun Conference, notching the first league title since the 1987-88 season as we advanced to the NAIA National Tournament in Monmouth, OR.” 

The Wolves finished with an overall season record of 30-4 and earned numerous season awards.

Koosman, daughter of Ron and Carol Scheff of Big Stone City, SD, had a stellar career playing for the Ortonville Trojans girls basketball team prior to her career at NSU.

Chris holds a number of OHS records, which includes most two point shot attempts in a game with 36 against Milan in 1986-87, best point average of 21.3 points per game in 1986-87 and most two point field goals made in a season with 181 in 1986-87. She is third all time at OHS in points in a season with 447 and seventh in rebounds in a season with 205, both in the 1986-87 season.

During the 1988-89 season as a senior, Chris made 151 two point shots on 334 attempts for a 45.2 percentage, which ranks eighth in school history. She is also a member of the 1,000 point club, with 1,170 points, which ranks fourth overall for girls at OHS. Chris is fifth all time in rebounding with 586.

Koosman received a basketball scholarship from NSU and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary and Special Education. Following her graduation from NSU in 1995, Chris was hired by Lac qui Parle Valley High School as a Special Education teacher and has taught at LqPV for the past 22 years.

Chris and her husband, Aaron, have two children, son RJ (nine years old) and daughter Reese (seven years old). They reside on a farm north of Appleton.


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