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"I like to think of myself as more of a creator than simply an author." Ryan Keith Johnson, 32, sat in the Magpie Coffee House and Café in Somerset. The 1997 graduate of Somerset High School was holding copies of his first two published books - and grinning broadly. "I'm working on four or five books right now," he said, describing stories that encompass horror, Christian-themed fiction and fantasy. His first book, "The King's Retribution," was more than six years in the making before being published in July 2007.
The Village of Roberts needs to educate the public. At the August board meeting, the members discussed how several residents have been complaining that they cannot hear the new weather sirens. Willard Moeri, village president, said that he alone has had 20 people approach him about the problem. So he decided to have someone come up to test the system from various points in the village. "The issue was that the decimal reading was supposed to go up 10 points," he explained. "We started at 52-54, and every place we went it was between 75-80.
Elise Deppe, 19, had always had a fascination with Africa. "It pulls at my heart to see those commercials (of children suffering in Africa)," she said. Although the college student hadn't ever been out of the United States, she was determined to go with the Bridge Bible Church's missionary trip this summer to Kitale, Kenya. "I haven't learned the language, but I am learning about their culture," said Deppe in early July.
The Village of Somerset Board meeting on Tuesday, July 19, revisited an old discussion. On the agenda was a request to approve Rebecca Kappers, manager of the Apple River Liquor Store, as the agent for Apple River Solution LLC. "The recommendation died at the committee level," said Greg Sayers, chairman of the public safety committee. "The committee has no recommendation for the board." "You know how I feel about this," began Dave Carufel, board member.
Truant: one who is absent without permission. The term was widely applied to youth who were seen out and about in the community during school hours. In this day and age, that is not always the case. Thanks in large part to computers, students now have the option to take classes from home - and St. Croix Central is helping them do just that. SCC implemented virtual education and homeschooling programs last year: two full-time students and eight part-time students chose that option.
Every year the Somerset Library hosts a children's reading program. However, despite the popularity, Norma Scott felt a change was in order. They decided to include teens and adults, too. "It seemed a shame that adults and teens were left out; we understand they read and we wanted to make it fun for them too," said Scott, head librarian. "We wanted to get to know them better and reward them for a job well done." Rhys Linke, 15, was one of those people.
Teenagers are sometimes unfairly generalized to be lazy, self-absorbed and oblivious the world around them. Those labels don't apply to the teens in the Rock Youth Group. Every year, the Rock Youth Group - based out of St. Anne's Church in Somerset - goes on a mission trip somewhere in the United States. This year, they elected to go to Boonesville, Ark.
Historical romance fans may want to pencil the weekend of July 22 on their calendars. That Friday (9-5 p.m.), Saturday (9-4 p.m.) and Sunday (11-3 p.m.), New York Times bestselling author LaVyrle Spencer's home at 1530 Amundson Lane in Stillwater (on the Oak Glen Golf Course) will hold a moving sale. Peggy Grubbs and Associates, of Somerset, is handling the sale of the 8,500-square-foot house and its furnishings.
Samantha "Sam" Swanson, 17, hasn't been bored this summer. The Somerset teen isn't one to be idle anyway. Not when she plays softball, golf, is a member of the school book club, forensics, Girl Scouts and Friends Helping Friends group. The myriad of odd jobs she does for her family keeps her active. Now she has added one more group to her list: Venturing Crew 144. "It is so fun," said Swanson. "It's truly geared toward older kids." Venturing is a revamped version of the former Explorer program in the Boy Scouts of America.
Cathy Hamblin has been preparing for her current occupation since girlhood. "God had been grooming me for ministry since my first speaking contest in 4-H at age 9," said Hamblin. "I didn't understand and act on that call to pastoral ministry until many years later." Indeed, Hamblin's path to becoming the new pastor of the United Methodist Church of New Richmond has been a winding trail. She attended the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, majoring in marketing with a minor in public speaking.