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Clinton Native Captain Royce Williams Recognized at California USS Midway Museum

Used with permission from The Northern Star Weekly Newspaper, 
Clinton, MN

Captain E. Royce Williams, USN, Retired, a native of Clinton, MN, was recently honored for his heroic actions during the Korean War.  A replica of the F9F Panther sits in a display at the USS Midway Museum and they dedicated the cockpit to: “CAPT Royce Williams, Korean War and 4 MiG kills” painted at the side.  Royce gave a private presentation to the Docents on the USS Midway and followed with a question and answer session.  They presented him with a certificate and a model airplane. Docent Council Vice Chair Sam Armsdoff, stated, “Trust me when I say that all of us on the USS Midway Museum are deeply appreciative of Royce’s distinguished Naval Service and were ecstatic to help publicize that to our guests!  Recognizing Royce’s accomplishments and organizing the tribute to him was a collaborative effort.” The docents are museum guides and volunteers.  

The USS Midway docent council vice chair, Sam Arnsdorff made the initial suggestion to have CAPT E. Royce Williams speak at the docents monthly training forum.  Docent John Frugoni became the conduit to reach out to CJ Machado, the Producer of the short film, “Forgotten Hero” and subsequently Royce.  Docent Bob Breglio, the training coordinator, was pivotal in setting up the training schedule to accommodate Royce and promoting it within the ship. The certificate was brought to the President and CEO of the USS Midway Museum Rear Admiral Mac McLaughlin, to get it blessed and signed.  

The certificate read: “CAPT E. Royce Williams, USN (Ret.)    In recognition and deep appreciation for your dedicated and faithful service to our country.  You displayed honor in remaining silent over your harrowing combat action over North Korea, courage in the face of overwhelming odds, and a lifelong commitment to the United States Naval Service.  These attributes epitomize the Navy credo and reflect on your distinguished service.  YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN”  “CAPT Royce Williams–Your honor and courage and commitment to the United States Navy will NEVER BE FORGOTTEN”            -CV-41 USS Midway Docents  

It was Admiral Mac’s idea to place the tribute to Royce on their display Panther on deck. C.J. Machado, a photo-journalist, who writes for the Homeland Magazine, continues her activities in support of Williams and all veterans and was involved in this recognition, as well.  The USS Midway was the carrier that the film “Forgotten Hero” was filmed.  Royce  served in Korea from 1952-53 (70 missions) and Vietnam from 1965-67 (110 missions).  His Korean missions were kept “classified” for nearly 50 years. 

In August of 2018, more than 350 people, including American Legion members, other veterans, Junior ROTC cadets and military supporters attended an event featuring Williams’ story at the Indiana War Memorial in downtown Indianapolis. Greg Ballard, the mayor of Indianapolis and a Gulf War era Marine veteran, welcomed the crowd. “We’re in a building that was dedicated to the men who fought in the war to end all wars,” he said. “But tonight we honor a man who fought in the ‘Forgotten War.’ Heroes like Royce Williams must never be forgotten.” Filmmaker and photo journalist C.J. Machado presided over the 90-minute presentation, which included her 15-minute film, “Forgotten Hero.” (click the link to find the movie). “His story was secret for a long time,” Machado said. “It’s about time we honor our forgotten heroes. Not much is known about the ‘Forgotten War,’ the Korean War, so that’s why we decided to do the film.” Williams, 93, mingled with attendees, signed autographs and participated in a panel discussion. He recapped his experience, which also included landing his plane, minus its hydraulic system, on the carrier at roughly 200 mph – almost double the usual speed. Once aboard the ship, Williams was told not to share what happened with anyone. “There were NSA (National Security Agency) agents on board, and we didn’t want anyone to know,” he said, referring to the then-secret agency. “The information from radar and radio that they collected clearly showed those were Russian planes. Had this gotten out, it would have threatened World War III.” 

Former Navy pilot Peter-Rolf Ohnstad, who traveled to Indianapolis with Williams and Machado, was awed by the turnout for the event.  “To me, it’s huge,” Ohnstad. “As a kid growing up, all I ever heard about was World War II. I had an uncle who served in the Korean War and received a Bronze Star but no one ever talked about it. No one knew he received the Bronze Star until he passed away. It was just the way the Korean War was – no one talked about it. It was a forgotten war.” 

Ohnstad and Williams are members of American Legion Post 416 in Encinitas, Calif. Along with Machado, they take these infrequent but educational trips.  “In 2017 we  went to South Dakota and Minnesota, where he was honored in his hometown,” Ohnstad said. “Since no one knew about (the MiGs being shot down), we’re left to wonder: What would we have done if it had turned out otherwise, if we had lost four planes? What was our contingency plan? Nobody talks about that.” Gen. J. Stewart Goodwin, executive director of the Indiana War Memorial, noted the difference between homecomings for World War II and Korean War veterans. “When World War II folks came home, they were dancing in the streets, kissing the girls and there was a lot of celebration,” Goodwin said. “When our Korean War brothers and sisters came home, they saw no such celebrations.” 

Noting that the memorial, which includes a museum, serves as an educational tool, Goodwin closed by talking about the importance of sharing stories like that of Williams. “We need to tell our youth about people like Capt. Williams,” he said. “We need to tell people about those folks who put their lives on the line, leave their families and put themselves in harm’s way to ensure all of us are free. We don’t live in freedom today because it just happened. It happened because of people like him and everyone who wore the cloth of our nation.” 

Another event is being planned in May, “RUN FOR THE WALL taking the Forgotten Hero mission to DC in honor of CAPT E. Royce Williams, USN, Retired — 4 MiGs downed!!!! May 15-24, 2019” is being sponsored by American Legion Post 416.

Town Hall Meeting in Clinton

Thank you to State Senator Torrey Westrom and State Representative Jeff Backer for the legislative updates and an opportunity for residents to visit about topics that are important to Big Stone County! It was certainly not an ideal travel day for them to make the trip.

I’ve attached the two handouts that were distributed to everyone as they each gave a brief update on their work in St. Paul. Once they’d given their update, the residents kept them engaged past the 9:00 a.m. scheduled closing for the meeting.

Topics that were discussed: concerns regarding the low reimbursements that threaten the viability of small-town hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies; status of the licensing bureau, daycares (Kendra Moberg made some very good points on changes that could help rural daycare programs – and maybe a trip to St. Paul is in her future!); the guidance document that was recently put out by the DNR on County ditches; rural grocery stores & the Good Food Access; diversifying crops; rain tax; LGA; Border City Tax Credits/Enterprise Funds – and others. Watch the Northern Star and Ortonville Independent for a full story on the Town Hall meeting.

Thank you to Kathy Draeger-Jorgenson for organizing this opportunity to speak with our representatives! (This is her third year organizing!) – and to the Downtown Diner for hosting the event!

MNbump Alumni

The focus of the project that started the was to help small communities (Under 1,500 pop) across Minnesota discover opportunities to develop community assets for sustainable tourism. Through community input during this process, marketing our tourism opportunities via web was identified as a top priority. With further discussion, it was determined that the web marketing could also provide an opportunity for residents to communicate.

As the new MNbump Coordinator, I have been trying to come up with ideas to reach out and to see if there are things about life in the MNbump that people that grew up here or still live here would like to share with us and others. So I thought, why not start by reaching out the Alumni of our schools.

Are you an alumni from the Clinton Rockets, Graceville Shamrocks, Beardsley Mustangs, Odessa Monarchs, Ortonville Trojans, the Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley Wolverines? Where are you now, we want to hear from you.

I don’t know what the school mascot was for Barry, Johnson, or Correll were were back in the day, but would love for someone to share that info as well.

Let’s see what kind of response we get. Like our page, share and let us know what your favorite things are about life in the MNbump? Go!!

40th Annual Arctic Open in Clinton this Weekend!

By Dillon Dwyer, The Northern Star and Ortonville Independent

There is an uniquely Minnesotan  tradition that takes place every winter in Big Stone County. The Clinton Community Service Club (CCSC) and other  local businesses host the Arctic Open, a six-hole charity golf tournament on the frozen surface of Lake Eli. 

Ralph and Illa Strand  and Illa’s sister, Mrs. Manty Jallen came up with the original idea as a way to raise money for the Good Samaritan Center in Clinton. They pitched the event to Doug Anderson, Randy Stattelman, Curt Bystol and  Jerry Stattelman, who agreed with the idea and formed the original board of directors. 

The first annual Arctic Open was held on March 9 in 1979. It featured fair weather and approximately 75 golfers. Judy Drewicke and Randy Stattelman won the event, but no prizes were given out. All the earnings from the afternoon were donated to the Good Samaritan Center. 

“That first year was just so much fun for everybody,” Randy Stattelman said. “There were even a lot of people who weren’t golfers that participated.”

The Arctic Open grew bigger in its second year, but it wasn’t until the third incarnation that the button contest became a staple. The original prize for the drawing was half a hog donated by Brent Olson, but other prizes became featured throughout the years like shotguns donated by Randy Sigler and Dave Hauschild, or steak and shrimp dinners from Laguna Beach. 

“The event just continued to evolve,” Stattelman said. “Eventually, the buttons were designed by the sixth graders at the elementary school. The teachers would bring the designs back to us without any names on them and we would vote on the winners at our CCSC meeting. The top design would go on the button and the top three would get their picture in the paper.”

The Arctic Open became an event for the whole family to enjoy, as the CCSC added a junior and putt putt tournament for youngsters and began hosting a dance following the tournament. 

At the 2016 Arctic Open a wedding was even held on Lake  Eli on Arctic Open Saturday. Ron  Schlimme  of Clinton and Gail Ocshendorf of Dawson ‘tied  the knot’ at the 2016 Arctic Open. The couple was married by Pastor Richard Larson on the lake with family and friends in attendance.  The couple hosted  a reception at the Penguin Bar following their ceremony which was also very appropriate as that is where they first met. 

In recent years, the attendance of the Arctic Open has been effected by weekend basketball tournaments, but  over the past four decades, even with other events taking place that day, the event has endured through everything thrown its way. Not once has it been canceled due to weather or accident.  

“Conditions have ranged from  being too warm with puddles on the ice to having a -36 degree wind chill,” Stattelman said. “We have even had to adjust the rules to fit the weather over the years.”  

The closest thing to a major setback that the Arctic Open has faced happened during a warm year when a hole melted in the course. The tournament was still held on the 12 inches of ice surrounding the open spot, but one hole was completely lost due to the thawing. People have also slipped on the ice or fallen into shallows near the cattails during warmer years, but no one has ever been seriously injured or hurt. 

Over the course of 40 years, the Arctic Open has meant a lot to the people of Clinton. It has managed to raise approximately $2,000 to $3,000 each year and featured approximately 4,000 golfers and 2,400 holes of golf. The money raised has helped build a shelter at the Clinton Depot and the porch at the Clinton Care Center as well as support a scholarship fund for students at Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley High School. The event not only been a boon to the local economy, but also an excuse to get together with the family after a long winter inside. 

This year’s tournament will take place on Saturday, February 9. Buttons are $5 each and available at Jamer’s One Stop, Bonnie’s Hometown Grocery, Amanda’s Shear Impressions, Downtown Diner and the Northstar Saloon. A button is  required to participate in the golf tournament and bean bag tournament at the Clinton Memorial Building.  Cash prizes of $100, $50 and $25 will be given away during the button drawing. The 2019 Men’s and Women’s winners will receive hand-crafted trophys and their names will be added to the Arctic Open Hall of Fame at The NorthStar Saloon. See the advertisement in the Northern Star for more information.

Teske contracted as Coordinator/Navigator

At the recent meeting of the Big Stone Area Growth board, agreements were approved to contract with Janine Teske of Clinton to serve as the new Big Stone County Navigator and the MNbump Initiative Coordinator. Also approved was a contract with the Ortonville Economic Development Authority (OEDA) to continue to engage the services of Vicki Oakes, EDA Director to assist with the MNbump Initiative, and a contract with Development Services, Inc., a consulting service that is currently working with BSAG.

At a past meeting of the BSAG board, a Request for Proposals (RFP) was approved to engage a contractor to work as a contracted employee for the continued promotion of the MNbump initiative. After posting the RFP and receiving proposals, the best option presented to the BSAG board was to combine the efforts of Teske to cover the areas of Clinton, Graceville, Beardsley, Odessa and Correll, and continue to use the OEDA Director, Oakes to cover the events and things happening in Ortonville. DSI wil conduct research, program evaluation, grants and manage project resources. Prior to these contracts, the Ortonville EDA and Director Vicki Oakes, provided most of these service as an in-kind contribution to the original grant that was received as a part of initiating MNbump. (for more info on the original grant and history of the MNbump, click “How did all the Pieces Come Together” on this link.)

In the position of County Navigator, Teske will be working with and between organizations, businesses, schools, churches and others to gather data and/or coordinate activities, connecting needs, resources and people. In addition to this she will be maintaining a countywide calendar of events and activities. Teske commented, “I’ve always wanted to figure out a way for the communities in Big Stone County to work together to help promote events in our area and to avoid having too many things overlap if possible. We have so many awesome things going on in the MNbump area and we need to encourage as many people to support them as we can.”

As the MNbump Coordinator, Teske will continue to provide a Web Portal ( and other social media outlets (Facebook, Google Calendar, Twitter and others) that individuals, communities and organizations have the opportunity to plug into. She will monitor and update the MNbump web site and Facebook page along with Oakes and the other MNbump local community bloggers. Teske has been an MNbump blogger for a few years, covering the Clinton area. Other bloggers include Mary Hillman covering Odessa and Correll, and Gina Gilsdorf covering Graceville. Gina and Mary will continue to assist in the blogging posts and Beardsley will now be covered by Matthew Meyer. Matthew will join our bloggers beginning in February. Janine, Vicki, or one of the other community bloggers will be seen covering area events such as the upcoming Graceville St. Patrick’s Day Parade and activities, Odessa’s 140th Celebration, Clinton’s Arctic Open, Beardsley’s Ice Bowling Event, Big Stone County’s Fair and Ortonville’s Cornfest, to name a few. Also look for upcoming promotions of youth based activities, school activities and other lifestyle activities that flourish in the MNbump.

Big Stone County and the MNbump area have so many great opportunities for people of all ages. The purpose of the MNbump initiative is to promote and retain a workforce to assist the area sustain and grow. DSI, Inc. will work with the BSAG board to continue to conduct research and program evaluations, explore and apply for grant opportunities where possible, and work to develop and manage resources.

Janine and Vicki are looking forward to continuing to assist community representatives and leaders with links that will allow them to add content to the MNbump web site and Facebook posts. Posts for the City of Ortonville will go through Vicki at the EDA office and the rest of the county should contact Janine. They will also work together to help educate our communities on the values of using social media marketing. If you have information to share with the, you can send a Facebook message on the MNbump messenger app or contact Janine Teske at or by calling or texting her at 320-808-3104. Vicki Oakes can be reached at the Ortonville EDA office at or by calling 320-305-2434.

Big Stone Lake Area Chamber Hosts Annual Meeting at Sioux Historic

What a fun evening and fun people.  I had the pleasure of attending the Big Stone Lake Area Chamber of Commerce annual meeting tonight at Sioux Historic on Big Stone Lake. I’ve never attended this event in the past but I can tell you that I will be going again!  It was a great evening.

Upon arrival, I was greeted by Chamber Director Mary Hillman, with a big smile.  Mary and I have been acquainted for several years through family and friends and it’s always fun to see her.  I had the opportunity to register for door prizes and then made my way to the silent auction items to take a quick look.   There was also an opportunity to play plinko and bean bag toss to win other prizes.  The Chamber members were so generous in their donations to the event.  I bid on a few items that I thought might be fun and continued on my way to the bar for Happy Hour!

Sioux Historic is one of the gems of MNbump,  I remember as a young girl spending many Friday and Sunday nights there roller skating.  The big ballroom was filled with tables for the chamber members.  We took our seats and Mary introduced new Chamber President Ryan Kehnle.  Ryan handled the business part of the meeting well, and we were soon on our way to a fabulous buffet of pasta and pizza.  To top it off, we were able to have cupcakes and ice cream!

During the meal, drawings were made for door prizes and the lucky winners were able to pick out one of the prizes that were donated by Chamber members.   Bidding on the silent auction items continued until 8:00 pm.   It was a great fund raiser for the Chamber in addition to a great opportunity to enjoy each other’s company.

I saw some people that I hadn’t seen in awhile as well as many friends and even met a few new friends.  Thanks Big Stone Area Growth and MNbump for letting me represent you tonight.  What an enjoyable evening in the MNbump!!

Ice Bowling in the #MNbump

50491055_2286602468226524_7351696989442015232_nWhen it’s cold in Minnesota, you don’t let the weather stop you from having a fun time!  You take advantage of the weather and make accommodations to enjoy what you can.  The Beardsley Fire Department did just that last weekend with an Ice Bowling Tournament on Dry Lake in Beardsley.

I have lived in this area most of my life and I didn’t even know that there was a lake in Beardsley.  Dry Lake is located just north of Beardsley’s Main Street and it was a fun day to be on the ice.


Dry Lake, Beardsley, MN

The Beardsley Firemen were prepared to help us all deal with the cold by providing warming houses, warming fires and some warm beverages to help deal with the below zero temps.  Luckily the wind was not blowing so it didn’t seem as cold as it may have been.


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To find out more about the history of Beardsley’s Ice Bowling, click here to check out the Beardsley Fire Department Facebook Page.

Big Stone National Wildlife refuge – Who, What and Why?

An event at the Ortonville Community Center

Hosted by Kelsie Thomas and Scott Simmons

Wednesday, August 23, 2018

Ortonville’s Park Board member (and newly appointed President of the Board), Kelsie Thomas takes her part in the review and use of the parks very seriously – and wants to make sure the public is aware of what we have available in the area  – and helped organize what I hope to be a series of similar presentations.

Simmons’ passion clearly stands out as he provides the “Who, What and Why” -and answers those frequently asked questions like “why did the trees get cut down?” and “why burn when burning takes nests with it?” — great answers!

Beardsley Fire & First Responder’s Pork Supper

This is always a fun summer event in Beardsley!  Kids playing in the Park, delicious pork supper, great conversation and… this year’s safety demonstration was provided by the Traverse Electric Co-op, Inc. out of Wheaton.  I’ve embedded the demonstration from the Facebook Live post below – and I would highly recommend watching it – very useful information!  I could write about the warm greetings you receive when you enter the park and the awesome feel you get from this community picnic – but I think the pictures tell the story best!


Facebook Live Video – video quality a little off in the very beginning but it gets better as the video progresses.

You can check out last year’s safety demonstration & dinner post at this link:
2017 Beardsley Fire & First Responders’ Pork Supper

Traveling to Ortonville for Cornfest

As Mary Hillman, the Big Stone Lake Area Chamber Director, spends late nights at the office and her days running around coordinating Ortonville’s largest annual event — with the City Crew busy “dusting up” the town — and countless volunteers have organized groups to assist with the celebration, it is absolutely heartwarming to see this post (pictured below) on a private Group “You know you were raised in Ortonville MN if you remember…” After first letting it sink in how excited Ty Adams is to be returning to Ortonville with his family for a 30th School reunion and Cornfest – then seeing that he received 10 recommendations from 24 people with an exchange of conversations within 66 comments — and of course noticing that we have some really highly recommended dining options, I thought… this is really what life is all about!

Living Rural and Loving it, here on the MNbump!

Enjoy the weekend, everyone!

What were the recommendations?  …here they are in no particular order.

Downtown Diner, in Clinton
Lakewood Supper Club
Big Rock in Big Stone City SD
Off the Green (Ortonville Clubhouse)
Club 7-75, near Odessa
Alley Cat
Headwater’s Grill & Bar
One More in Beardsley