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From a business standpoint, it was a pretty good summer. Although the new SoundTown concert didn't have as high a numbers as the previous Country Splash or OzzFest, the weather was good enough to entice tourists to flock to the Apple River and Somerset. "We had a great summer," said Patti Lepinski, manager of Super America gas station at 419 Main Str. "We had a lot of floaters, a couple of good concerts - it was a good year." Apple River Family Campground, 345 Church Hill Road, is one of the newer campgrounds in the area.
A resident of the village spoke up during the public concerns portion of the Village of Roberts Board meeting on Monday, Sept. 12, about the warning sirens. He said that he lives less than a mile from the siren's location but could not hear it going off the other day when he was inside with his windows shut and air-conditioner unit off. "We should move it to the center of town," he suggested, citing that currently the rotating siren encompasses a large section of open field.
The former steps were, according to Melissa Tuura-Johnson, "scary." She would know. For the last several years Tuura-Johnson has been actively restoring the original Town Hall, along with fellow Somerset resident Rita Lawson. "The steps were so irregular in terms of height," said Lawson. "It was dangerous to come down them, especially with a big step from the building to the platform." The previous steps leading to the 1886 building were not original; they were estimated to have been built approximately 20-50 years ago. When the town celebrated its sesquicentennial in Sept.
The hills were alive with the sound of yapping. Approximately 121 terriers took over the Apple River Family Campgrounds on Sept. 10-11 for the Arctic Blast Terrier Trials. "This has been our biggest year ever," said Brenda Buckles, one of the organizers of the event. The trials are a nationally-recognized event for Jack Russell terriers and other working terriers, which feature races, barn hunts, and obedience competitions. Prior to moving to Somerset, the trials have been held for the past 15 years out of Burkhardt and Glenwood City.
Since he was 12 years old, Jason Hankes has always had a place to workout. "I had my first set of weights when I was 10 years old," he announced proudly. "My uncles were good collegiate athletes and my dad always used to haul me around to gyms with him." Hankes is the owner of Hank's Gym, 2260 40th St., in Somerset Township.
The Apple River Family Campground is hosting the Arctic Blast Terrier Trials on Saturday, Sept. 10, and Sunday, Sept. 11. The two-day event features racing, obedience, lure coursing, go-to-ground and a simulated barn hunt. Sandy Brown will be the judge for Saturday; Liz Valles will judge on Sunday. "We have been doing this for about 15 years," said Brenda Buckles, chairperson of the event.
It's not every day that children have their own armed escort to go clothes shopping. But for several hours on Aug. 24, 44 kids had that experience, thanks to Grace Place in Somerset. According to Lori Scheder of Grace Place, they received a $5,000 grant to allow them to sponsor the "Shop with a Cop" event - a program that pairs up children in need with a police officer to shop for school clothes. "We did this two years ago, but we didn't have the money last year," explained Scheder.
It was in a new location, but the 26th annual Barn Dance and Threshing Bee still drew a crowd. The St. Croix Valley Collectors Association has been hosting the event for 25 years on a private farm in Troy Township, but recent family matters caused them to seek a new location for 2011. They approached the Village of Roberts that agreed to let them use the Village Park for their event, and the Roberts Lions helped with tents and refreshments. "Don Greenfield did so much with helping us get this thing organized," said Tom Lubich, president of the St. Croix Valley Collectors Association.
Two heads are better than one, so the Somerset Village board believes. When Bob Crotty retired from the public works director position in early spring, the Village of Somerset Board was charged with the task of hiring a replacement. Jeff Johnson, village president, announced at the monthly board meeting on Aug. 15 that the position will be temporarily split into two public works supervisor positions. "After extensive deliberations, we decided to promote the people within to be supervisor - previously referred to as a lead person," Johnson explained.
The Heritage Hillside Concert Series wrapped up its seventh season on Wednesday, Aug. 17, with perfect weather. Trigger Happy played songs ranging from country to rock and roll, Messes and Masterpieces had an art project kids could do and Bremer Bank handed out treats. Sue Langford, organizer of the series, said that the crowds have grown each year. "The first and last nights were the best, easily 450 people each," she said. "Local groups get the best crowds, but the weather has a lot to do with it as well.