Latest Posts

Arens Family Named Big Stone County Farm Family of the Year

Story and photo courtesy of The Northern Star Newspaper

THE TOM AND MARY ARENS FAMILY OF GRACEVILLE  was named the Big Stone County 2019 Farm Family of the Year. They will be among the Minnesota Farm Families of the Year to be recognized at FarmFest in Redwood County on August 6. The family is pictured at the Big Stone County Fair. Tom’s mother, Beverly Arens is pictured, along with the Tom and Mary, right; and their children, Michelle, who will be a junior at CGB this fall and Joe, who will be a freshman.

Eighty-four families from throughout Minnesota are being honored as 2019 Farm Family of the Year by the University of Minnesota.  In Big Stone County the Tom Arens family was named the 2019 Farm Family of the Year.  Tom’s father, Tony, purchased the Arens farm, rural Graceville,  in 1962. Tony and his wife, Bev, raised nine children on the farm. They grew corn, soybeans and wheat and raised 50,000 laying hens. Tom’s parents also had 500 cow/calf pairs and raised pigs. In 2009, Tom and Mary took over the farm.

The Arens’ raise corn, soybeans and wheat on 1,200 acres. They custom feed cattle in a 750-head pit barn and custom feed 3,000 hogs. Tom and Mary both handle daily chores that go with crop production, including planting, spraying and harvesting. Their children, Michelle and Joe, help with tillage, working the cattle, rock picking and other jobs. The Arens are members of Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Graceville. Tom serves on the Graceville and Big Stone County township boards. The family has also been involved in the Almond Highlanders 4-H club.

The farm families will be recognized in ceremonies beginning at 1:10 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 8, at the annual Minnesota Farmfest on the Gilfillan Estate near Redwood Falls. The event is in the Wick Buildings Farmfest Center on the estate grounds.  University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel will open the program in her first visit to Farmfest. She began her duties July 1.   The families were chosen, one per county, by local University of Minnesota Extension committees based on their demonstrated commitment to enhancing and supporting agriculture.

“The University of Minnesota takes pride in honoring these families. The farm families receiving this year’s honors exemplify what makes Minnesota agriculture strong,” Extension Dean Bev Durgan said. “They bring innovation, science and hard work to farming. They care greatly about the land and animals and delivering quality products to consumers worldwide.”

Did You Know – #5 of a Series – The Odessa Jail

an #MNbump Series – #5 The Odessa Jail

This is the fifth in a series about things in the #MNbump that we are calling #MNbumpExplore. You may or may not know about these places but we encourage you to go check them out, take a selfie or group photo with them and share the photos on your page, tagging or #MNbump on Facebook!

The old Odessa Jail building is still standing in Odessa and has been the subject of many conversations throughout the years.  We’d be interested in hearing some of them (if they are appropriate) on our page here and on Facebook.  The video below was found online and I am not sure who John the Mouse is.  It gives a video tour of the building.


The sign on the building says the Jail Cells were built by ET Barnum Iron Works ET Barnum Iron Works from Detroit, Michigan.  (click the link to see more info on that company, kind of interesting!)



Main Street Industries New Garden Brings Attention to Clinton’s Main Street

Story and photo courtesy of The Northern Star Newspaper

MAIN STREET INDUSTRIES GARDEN is a new attraction on Clinton’s Main Street this year. The location was an empty lot, owned by Wally Sayles, who gave them permission for this great addition. Lisa Sayles, MSI Direct Support Professional, is pictured with some of the MSI consumers who have been involved in the project. The signage was provided by SHIP, a state program through the Minnesota Department of Health.


MainStreet Industries in Clinton is a very busy place year-round. This summer they increased one project to include a vegetable garden on an empty lot on Clinton’s Main Street.

In partnership with SHIP (Statewide Health Improvement Partnership), which is under the Minnesota Department of Health, they were able to use SHIP’s $3,000 grant along with MSI’s funding to construct a patio in the front of their building. They also constructed – in-house, raised garden beds for their use.  Unfortunately, the MSI Greenhouse that had been constructed at the rear of their building was totally damaged from the past winter’s heavy snow.

Lisa Sayles, a Direct Support Professional at MSI, wished they could have a garden spot to plant a  garden. Her father-in-law, Wally Sayles, owns an empty lot on Main Street, and gave the OK for a garden there. Brent Olson began the tilling project. Wally talked to Bob Rinke, who came in with his tractor and donated his tilling services to the project. They also have a rain barrel and Lisa’s husband Dave provided them with another one.

SHIP encourages increasing access to fresh, local fruits and vegetables, so this project fit the qualifications to a tee. There are many statewide projects receiving assistance through this program – all in the interest of the improvement of its citizens health.

The program encourages increasing access to physical activity opportunities at schools and child care facilities, and works with state towns and cities, as well as employers and health-care sites.

SHIP representatives hold quarterly meetings, which Lisa attends, and they are encouraged to use healthy foods and wellness programs for their consumers.

MSI’s recent auction and supper is one of the ways they raise funds, as well as their work projects and services.  This year they are raising beets, potatoes, onions, lettuce, peppers and radishes in their raised beds, which were built in 2018.  While the late spring caused a delay in the garden project, as you can see by the photo things really grew well in their Main Street Garden. Here they have planted zucchini, squash, watermelon, pumpkins, red onions, snap beans, broccoli and cauliflower. They have been the recipient of donated seeds and also purchased seeds and plants.

They have signage designating their project, with some being produced to donate to the Big Stone County Food Shelf.  As a side-note, make sure to check out the “Can You Recall” feature on page three of this week’s Northern Star – gives some history of the empty lot.

The garden is getting a lot of attention as folks travel along Clinton’s Main Street – and now the MSI consumers, staff and others are just getting anxious for harvest!





Did You Know – #4 of a Series The Clinton Prairie

an #MNbump Series – #4 Clinton Prairie

This is a fourth in a series about things in the #MNbump that we are calling #MNbumpExplore. You may or may not know about these places but we encourage you to go check them out, take a selfie or group photo with them and share the photos on your page, tagging or #MNbump on Facebook!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Clinton Prairie is located at the intersection of County Road 6 and County Road 7 West of Clinton.  This area of land is known as virgin prairie as it has been said that the land has never been plowed, only bailed for the grass.  From our information the land was donated to the Natural Conservatory from the Connelly family quite a few years ago and was more recently transferred to the Department of Natural Resources.  The Clinton Prairie Natural and Scenic area is a beautiful grassland that has wildflowers and birds and natural habitat.   If you have information about this prairie land or know more of it’s hsitory, please feel free to share your comments.


Did You Know? – #3 of Series

an #MNbump Series – #3 Graceville – Historic Landmark

This is a Third in a series about things in the #MNbump that we are calling #MNbumpExplore. You may or may not know about these places but we encourage you to go check them out, take a selfie or group photo with them and share the photos on your page, tagging or #MNbump on Facebook!

This monument located west of Graceville on Highway 28 is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. If you are like me you may have noticed this site, but never really paid much attention to it. We stopped at this little wayside rest and took some photos to share with you. Quite interesting to learn more about our history in this area. Check it out as you Explore the #MNbump! Also you can check out the link for the Registry in the comments on the first photo.

Did You Know? – #2 of Series

an #MNbump Series – #2 – Glacial Rocks in Big Stone County

This is a Second in a series about things in the #MNbump that we are calling #MNbumpExplore. You may or may not know about these places but we encourage you to go check them out, take a selfie or group photo with them and share the photos on your page, tagging or #MNbump on Facebook!

The Glacier Rocks between Odessa and Correll on Hwy. 7 are something we have admired for years. I remember my 6th Grade Minnesota History book that included photos of the rocks, and how excited I was to be able to say “I know where those are!” How many of you have taken the time to actually stop and check them out and see how large they are. Also remember heading home and knowing we were almost there when we passed the rocks. What are your memories of the “big rocks?” Let us know! #MNbumpExplore

Did You Know? #1 of Series

an #MNbump Series – #1-Paul Bunyon’s Anchor

This is a first of a series about things in the #MNbump that we are calling #MNbumpExplore. You may or may not know about these places but we encourage you to go check them out, take a selfie or group photo with them and share the photos on your page, tagging or #MNbump on Facebook!

Paul Bunyan’s Anchor – Up on the hill overlooking Big Stone Lake is the home of Paul Bunyan’s Anchor. This large chunk of granite was cut from the granite quarries in the area. Thousands of years ago Ortonville and the land north all the way to Hudson Bay was covered by a gigantic glacier lake named Lake Agassiz. The legends is that while Paul was out fishing one day, he threw his anchor up on the hill, and voila! The part about the lake is true, however you can believe what you want about the anchor. Anyone traveling through the area should check it out, the view is spectacular along with some great history and information posted near the anchor along with the awesome Big Stone County Museum. #MNbumpExplore #MNbumpOrtonville

Meet the MNbump Connectors!

They say it takes a village to raise a child.   In this case our “child” is the Facebook page and Website and the Village, obviously is you, the people from our area that are always here to support the Community of Big Stone County and beyond.

With that being said, we thought it might be a great opportunity for us to introduce you to those of us behind the scenes of the MNbump and let you know how to reach out to us to be able to provide you with opportunities to promote our area and your events in the communities that you represent.  Our goal is to be your direct contact for all events and activities happening in the county and to assist you to promote them.  If you have something that you would like shared on the MNbump or an activity you would like to partner with the MNbump (i.e. OAHS’s Wellness Challenge) contact one of us to help you get started.


Ortonville:  Vicki Oakes, has been with the MNbump since its inception and developed the initial website and Facebook page.  She has contributed hours upon hours of time working to get it what it is today.  Currently in her position with the Ortonville Economic Development Authority, Vicki is also the MNbump Coordinator for the City of Ortonville.  Vicki works with the businesses and organizations in Ortonville. 



Odessa & Correll:  Mary Hillman is our MNbump Connector for the cities of Odessa and Correll.  Residents and organizations in those areas should reach out to Mary if there are things going on or information that they want posted or shared.  Mary is also the Director for the Big Stone Lake Area Chamber of Commerce.


Graceville:  Gina Gilsdorf is our MNbump Connector for the City of Graceville.   Gina is available to share information about the community of Graceville and to be a contact for sharing events and information to the #MNbump.



Beardsley:  Our newest Connector is Matthew “Slim” Meyer from Beardsley.  Slim (as he prefers) is now promoting the City of Beardsley on the MNbump and those in that area should feel free to contact him to add activities to the MNbump.


Clinton, Johnson and Barry:  Janine Teske, of Clinton has been a blogger for the City of Clinton for several years and more recently was hired as an as the MNbump Coordinator for the communities of Clinton, Graceville, Beardsley, Odessa and Correll. 


In addition to her role as MNbump Coordinator, Janine also serves as the Big Stone County Navigator.  In this roles she works to facilitate communication with and between organizations, businesses, schools, churches and others in the county.  The goal is to gather data and/or coordinate activities to focus on regional workforce, business recruitment and development, promotion, youth and family resources and community activities.  Contact Janine if you have information or need assistance with any activities.   We’ll see you on the #MNbump!

For a bit of history about how the MNbump came together, please click here to read the blog post written by Vicki Oakes of the Ortonville EDA back in 2016.

Big Stone County Cancer Support Group Makes Large Donation to NDSU for Cancer Research

The Big Stone County Cancer Support Group does it again!   For 2019, the Big Stone County group donated $14,365 to the research efforts at the NDSU Center for Diagnostic and Therapeutic Strategies for Pancreatic Cancer.

The picture attached shows Dr. Sanku Mallik, director of the Center for Diagnostic and Therapeutic Strategies in Pancreatic Cancer at North Dakota State University, accepting a generous donation to cancer research from Linda Krogsrud, treasurer of the Big Stone County Cancer Support Group at a check presentation on Friday, June 7 at NDSU.

Here is the Link to the story on the INFORUM Facebook page.

Dr. Yongki Choi, Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics at NDSU had originally planned to be in Graceville on April 11th to accept the check but due to the weather, that event was postponed and members of the group traveled to NDSU.  They were able to tour the facility and present the check in person.

Those with Facebook, can see more photos and more information on the Big Stone County Cancer Support Group Facebook Page by clicking this link.


Final Mass at Saint Mary’s in Beardsley on Saturday, June 15th

Saint Mary’s Catholic Parish in Beardsley will have its’ final mass on Saturday, June 15, beginning at 5:00 pm.  This mass will conclude over 135 years of ministry and sacraments.

The church building will be sold to the city of Beardsley, and will be used as a community center and city hall.  The public is invited to use the building for wedding receptions, graduation, birthday, and anniversary parties.  The kitchen will stay fully stocked with dishes, and cooking utensils.  The building will be sold as is, with all the current supplies and furnishes.  To reserve the building for an event, please contact the city council.

The stain glass windows will stay in the church.  At a later date, if the church is ever torn down, the windows will be removed, sold, and the profit from the windows will be given to Saint Mary’s cemetery Perpetual Care Fund account, for the upkeep of the cemetery.

The church bell will be removed and will be set in a steeple like structure in the cemetery later this summer.  The bell tower will be sealed to prevent damage from moisture and animals.

The community is invited to “A Celebration of Faith, celebrating 135 years of faith and sacraments” on June 15th, beginning with mass at 5:00 pm.  Following mass, the Beardsley Fire Department will be grilling hamburgers and hotdogs.  A festive meal with salads, desserts, and beverages will be served in the church basement until 7:00 pm.