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Bernard's Northtown car dealership celebrated its 75th anniversary of doing business on Saturday, amid all the national publicity about a possible federal rescue plan for the "Big Three" automakers. Despite the gloomy news in the car industry, owner Dave Olson said he's excited about his dealership's future as much as he's celebrating its past. The Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep dealership has survived many tough times over the years, he's quick to point out. Olson's father, Bernard, sold his first car in 1933 during the Depression.
A warm weather vacation in Mexico turned into a frightening medical ordeal for one local family. Darren and Libby Hose of Amery traveled to Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico on Nov. 29 to enjoy a week of condo living along the beach. The getaway was a welcomed break from Darren's regular routine as a youth and missions pastor for Living Word Chapel in Forest. But halfway into the week's vacation, the family experienced the unexpected. Darren and Libby, along with their two young daughters, were enjoying an afternoon on the beach Dec. 3. "The undertow that day was pretty strong," Libby said.
A new western Wisconsin auction house is a real family affair. Robbie and Tareana Kobs of Somerset have been operating their flea market and auction business out of a former factory space in Amery since July. A whole host of relatives and friends help out whenever they can. Robbie's Auction Service conducts consignment auctions every Thursday night, from 5 to 9 p.m. at 705 South Keller Ave. Everything from antiques to furniture to toys to housewares items are auctioned off during the evenings. Once a month, Robbie's Auction Service conducts an antiques and collectibles sale.
Both sides in the ongoing dispute over noise from the New Richmond Sports Center complex said they would have preferred to sit down and quietly work out their differences. Yet there they were, debating the issue for more than an hour at Monday night's City Council meeting. While some progress seemed to be made during the discussion, more work remains. A committee will be formed in the coming weeks to hammer out a more concrete solution.
You can count Greg Bonnes's first major chainsaw sculpture project as an apparent success. Mother Mary still has her head. Bonnes is fashioning a statue of Jesus Christ's mother out of the nine-foot stump of a downed ash tree on the property of Immaculate Conception Church in New Richmond. He was a little worried that the statue's head wouldn't hold up, although he admitted that it could easily be re-attached with bolts if needed. The owner of New Richmond Tree Service began working on the statue last Wednesday.
The challenging economy is apparently putting the squeeze on healthy living. The YMCA of Greater St. Paul is poised to pull out of YMCA operations in New Richmond and Osceola in the coming weeks. Declining memberships and an overall gloomy financial picture are partly to blame for the bad news. The good news for local YMCA members is that the health and recreation organization is working with a group of New Richmond leaders to transfer operation of the local facility.
There is no mistaking that it's the Christmas season when you step inside Pearl Christensen's home. Holiday decorations are visible in every nook and cranny of the main level. "I really enjoy the holidays," Christensen said. "And decorating really gets me in the Christmas spirit." A quick tour of the house proves the point. The laundry room has a variety of Christmas knickknacks. The living room is packed with the colors of the season. The staircase leading upstairs is adorned with greenery and lights.
If you love a parade, New Richmond is the place to be on Saturday. The second annual New Richmond Area Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade is slated for 2 p.m. Dec. 6. The route will follow Green Avenue from Mary Park to the Middle School. According to Chamber Executive Director Russ Korpela, between 20 and 25 units are expected for the holiday event. Last year's units totaled 15. "It's a great increase," Korpela said.
Salvation Army volunteers will be ringing their bells a little harder this holiday season. Due to challenging economic times, St. Croix County Salvation Army Director Duana Bremer said more people are seeking financial help from the non-profit organization. "Demand for our services has increased over 500 percent," she said. "This is the toughest we've ever seen it." Bremer said calls for help aren't just coming from unemployed residents.
A ball of fire forever altered Joe Dubak's life two years ago. On Dec. 29, 2006, Dubak was working to dismantle an abandoned car at his place of employment north of New Richmond. He was unaware that a gas tank with gallons of fuel was inches away from his blow torch. When the flame of his salvage tool hit the fuel line, a giant explosion resulted. Dubak was engulfed in flames. "The gasoline ejected all over me and down my boots," he said.