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FIVE NEW STAFF MEMBERS will begin the 2017-2018 school year at the Big Stone City, SD School. Pictured left to right are, Stacy Wollschlager (Adminstrative Assistant), Lynda Ostlund (Paraprofessional), Ruth Trautner (Paraprofessional), Karen Halvorson (Paraprofessional) and Nichole Cooper (4th Grade).

Five new staff members join Big Stone City School

The Big Stone City, SD School welcomes five new staff members for the 2017-2018 school year. Big Stone School officially opened its doors Aug. 28.

Stacy Wollschlager is the new Administrative Assistant. Stacy is a graduate of Grant-Deuel School in Revillo. She received an Associate Degree in Business Management and was a substitute teacher at Grant-Deuel for many years and served as the Administrative Assistant at the school the past three years until it closed.

Wollschlager enjoys camping, reading and going to their kids activies. She is married with three daughtes, Her husband is a farmer.

Ruth Trautner is an assistant teacher in preschool at the Big Stone School and works in Out-fo-School Time (OST). Trautner grew up on a farm in Roslyn, SD. She attended Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown, SD, where she received an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. While in school and after she graduated from college, she worked at a daycare Center.

Trautner is the youngest of seven children. She resides in Milbank, SD and is engaged. She enjoys spending time outdoors with her dog and being with friends.

“I look forward to working with the children and watching them grow,” said Trautner. “I have always had a passion for working with children.”

Karen Halvorson is a paraprofessional at Big Stone School. She was part of the staff at Big Stone City School’s Summer OST program. Prior to coming to the Big Stone City School, Halvorson was part of the kitchen staff at the Ortonville School for two years. She also was a Home Daycare Provider for over 14 years.

Karen and her husband, Jimmer, reside in Big Stone City. They have three children: Melissa Pater, 24, Christopher, 21, and Thomas, 16. Karen likes to spend time with her family, working in her flower garden, reading and fishing.

Nichole Cooper begins her first year as fourth grade teacher. She has been employed at the Big Stone City School since 2011 as a Paraprofessional.

Nichole and her husband, Kevin, moved to Big Stone City in 2010 from Colorado to be closer to their family. They have two children, Kerstin and Derek.

Lynda Ostlund is a Paraprofessional at Big Stone City School. Her husband,  Philip, is Minister at New Life Community Baptist Church in Ortonville. They have three children; Emma, Zach and Nathan.

City-wide garage sale to be held Saturday, Sept. 16

Ortonville will be the place to be  for bargains Saturday, Sept. 16 during the city-wide garage sale.

The city-wide sales are sponsored by the Ortonville Independent, and are sure to have something for every shopper.

People will be coming from throughout the area to shop Ortonville and Big Stone City, SD.

A reminder that this Friday, Sept. 8, is the deadline to submit your garage sale. A map of sale locations with listings of items and start times will be included in the next issue, with additional sales listed on the classified page.

Don’t miss the opportunity to get great buys Saturday, Sept. 16, during the city-wide garage sale.

Advance screening of Vietnam War film in Milbank Thursday

An advance screening of  a documentary film, "The Vietnam War" will be shown at the Milbank High School in Milbank, SD on Thursday, Sept. 7 from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Interviews from local Vietnam War veterans including, Gerald Goetsch of Ortonville, will be aired on Pioneer Public TV prior to a 10 part 18-hour documentary film, "The Vietnam War" directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick is set to premiere nationwide on PBS on Sept. 17.

A short preview of the local documentary made from Goetsch and other local veterans will be part of the Milbank program . The event will feature small group discussions before and after the screenings. Refreshments will be served and the events are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Scott Malimanek, Grant County Veterans Service Office at 605-432-7505 or

Viewings of segments from "The Vietnam War" will form the basis of facilitated dialogues carried out with assistance from the South Dakota Humanities Council, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, local veterans service offices, the Grant County Public Library and the Leo P. Flynn Estate.

The Milbank event on Thursday will begin at 5:30 p.m. with an open house, refreshments and opportunity to have conversations with other attendees. At 6:30 p.m. the screening will begin with a welcome by Aaron Pollard, assistant secretary of SD Veteran Affairs in Sioux Falls.  Milbank author, Bill Sly, will begin the event talking about his book “No Place to Hide:  Alpha Company at Nui Ba Dan.” Michael J. Fitzmaurice, South Dakota’s only living Medal of Honor recipient, will also be in attendance. After an overview of the 10-part series has been shown, a discussion will be held.

Entitled “Vietnam Remembered: Interviews with Western and Southwestern Minnesota Veterans,” the local prequel to the documentary, captures stories of several local Vietnam War veterans as part of the statewide Minnesota Remembers Vietnam Story Wall project. It will air on Pioneer on Sunday, Sept. 17 at 6:30 p.m. just before "The Vietnam War" documentary airs.

The first five episodes of "The Vietnam War" will air nightly from Sunday, Sept. 17 through Thursday, Sept. 21,  The final five episodes will air nightly from Sunday, Sept.  24 through Thursday, Sept. 28. "The Vietnam War" will feature testimony from nearly 100 witnesses, including Americans who fought in the war, others who opposed it and Vietnamese combatants and civilians from many different perspectives.

Gas leak causes evacuation of homes near South MN Ave.

A gas leak on South Minnesota Avenue near the Holiday Station Store in Ortonville Tuesday, Aug. 29, caused the evacuation of homes in the vicinity.

According to Ortonville Police Chief Jason Mork, dispatch received a call at approximately 10:25 a.m. of the gas leak. The construction company working in the area repairing the road hit a gas line.

A perimeter was set up around Highways 7 and 12 north to Lincoln Avenue, and from First Street East to Fourth Street. Mork stated that a few homes in that vicinity were evacuated for precautionary reasons. The smell of gas was noticed in a large part of that area.

Ortonville Fire Chief Randy McLain stated that attack lines were set up to protect homes near the gas leak in the event the gas found an ignition source. Power was shut off to one home near the leak as a precaution.

“At the time the call came in, the gas company was about one hour away,” stated McLain. “We kept all pedestrians and vehicles away until the gas company could pinch off the four inch line on both sides of the leak.”

Responding to the call were the Ortonville Fire Department, Ortonville Ambulance, Ortonville Police Department and Big Stone County Sheriff’s Department. The Ortonville Fire Department did go door to door, alerting residents of the gas leak.

Chief Mork stated that there were no injuries reported in the incident. At 12:54 p.m., the gas company was able to contain the leak and the all clear was given. Everyone cleared the scene by 1:10 p.m.


The Ortonville Independent can now print posters and