Latest Posts

Shopping Local Series – Christmas Shopping at Home in the #MNbump

Shopping the MNbump this Christmas Season (and all year round)… Please shop local first & when you can.

As you scroll below, you’ll first see this post’s business partners and then you’ll find a link to every business (and organization, church, etc.) in Big Stone County sorted by category.  Remember – most have gift certificates available. (How do you become a business partner for one of MNbump’s posts? Watch our Facebook page and respond – no cost – we like to highlight a few of our businesses that stay connected to the ‘bump and reach out to help spread the news of Big Stone County. Staying connected, promoting each other – that is a great partner!

Shopping in Beardsley
by Matthew “Slim” Meyer

The season of giving is fast approaching and one thing no one wants to give anymore is their time! What better way to keep your time than to shop local and not travel over the river and through the woods to find gift options. A quick trip to Beardsley can easily fulfill all your gift needs. Shopping for men, shopping for women there are options for everyone.

A trip to Rolling Acres Boutique, located right outside of Beardsley can find you gift baskets, holiday decor and more. Look for the signs on Highway 7.

Maybe the items there are too frilly for your gift recipient? Head to the edge of town to CS Diesel for some items that are always much needed! Bows and wrapping paper still fit on truck parts, oil and filters.

Maybe in between is where you find your gifting needs, stop by downtown Beardsley and you can load up on gift certificates or even a meal to go from one of the our three eating establishments.

Bobby Jo’s Cafe and CateringStop in and check with Mary Sykora for a great deal or a great meal.

Big G’s Pub & GrubStop in and check with Gary or Holly for those special gift certificates.

One More Time BarGet that certificate for one of these awesome steaks!

These Beardsley establishments are more than excited to help out in making someone’s holiday happy!

Shopping in Clinton
by Janine Teske

If you are looking for that special gift for someone special this holiday season, Clinton in the #MNbump has quite a few options for you to choose from. Clinton Bucks can be purchased as a nice gift from Frandsen Bank. You can use these at any of the local businesses.

Bonnie’s Hometown Grocery has many unique items in her store as well as gift certificates to the store or to Bonnie’s Bloomers, her greenhouse that is open in the spring. Also available at Bonnie’s would be some items from Clinton Area home businesses including Becky’s Red Barn Candles and Etched Memories embroidery items.

Jamers One Stop also has gift certificates available as well as a few items for that last minute shopper. You can purchase your Minnesota Lottery tickets there as well.

The Downtown Diner has gift certificates available as well for that special someone to take a night out on the town. Home of the famous steak cubes that are so popular in the Mnbump!


You can also order your food and the Downtown Diner will deliver it to the NorthStar Saloon and you can eat there as well, or get a gift certificate for a night on the town at a later date or a special off sale bottle or 12 pack from the Saloon.


Amanda’s Shear Impressions also has gift certificates available or shop her store for lotions and other personal items.

If you are looking for a new computer or repair, check out CTS Repair online or stop in and see Rich for your customized system just for you.


In our rural area, be sure to check out John G. White or Jean Menden who are local artists that will be displaying their work at Listening Stones Gallery on Saturday, December 14th.

Clinton on the #MNbump is a great place to shop!

Shopping in Graceville
By Gina Gilsdorf

Christmas is just around the corner and we all have a few people on our list that may be a bit tricky to buy for. Shopping local in the City of Graceville is always appreciated and with so many options you can’t go wrong.

The Flower Box is a great place to shop for a beautiful gift of flowers or a holiday plant.

Down the road, a local home business, The Studio is a great place to get some custom hand made jewelry.  Some of their pieces are made from old heirlooms or silverware that might have been grandma’s.  Check out their Ann and Pam’s creations.

Any resident of the MNbump could always use a gift certificate from a number of our local businesses,  such as the famous pizza from Headquarters Bar.

Gina Lee Photography also offers gift certificates for a perfect gift for your family photo sessions.

Whatever you’re looking for, we can help you find it here in Graceville in the MNbump.

Shopping in Odessa
By Mary Hillman

Club 7-75  just outside of Odessa on, you guessed it, the intersection of Highways 7 & 75 – Known for their amazing Prime Rib and delicious Salad Bar – would make a great gift certificate for any occasion!

Shopping in Ortonville
By Vicki Oakes

Let’em Buck Apparel & Supply is located along Highway 75 and has both men’s and women’s jeans, clothing and boots & shoes… and an abundance of accessories! FUN stop!!

Pro Image Partners, Inc. is a great stop downtown Ortonville! You’ll find a nice selection of tops, jackets, t-shirts and more in their store, a great online store (especially for your sports support items!) and custom designs to order. Now that is not Dan & Brenda Kafka (owners) in the photo – but they are a couple of the awesome staff at Pro Image Partners that agreed to be in the picture for me when I stopped in this morning!

OMG, Ortonville Mercantile & Gallery
You can spend hours in this delightful store with so much variety – and some have even lost track of time just looking at the work that owners Greg & Sue Lockwood have done to restore this building. A must-see store in downtown Ortonville!

Design Electronics, Ortonville – It is awesome to have such a great selection of electronics in Ortonville! And you just cannot beat the help you get at this store whether it is with your new phone, TV or other electronic gadgets.

Ortonville Family Eye Care Located downtown Ortonville

Did you know you can purchase non-prescription sunglasses such as Coach and Oakley here also? Stop on in and pick up a gift certificate!

OMG, Ortonville Mystery Games – located downtown Ortonville
Do you know someone on your gift list that loves a good mystery… pick up a gift certificate for one of the Escape Rooms! This seasonal room, in particular, I hear is quite the challenge!

Conroy Eyecare, PA – located up on Third Street
Another great gift certificate opportunity for sunglasses & eyewear – check out some great gift ideas.

Lingonberry’s Pastry and Coffee Shop located downtown Ortonville has a wonderful display of treats and a delicious breakfast & lunch menu! Oh, and of course coffee!! Pick up a gift certificate – or better yet, how about just take that special someone out with you to Lingonberry’s!?

Big Stone Vacation Home Rental – Planning (& booking!) a vacation at this home on Big Stone Lake would certainly make a fantastic gift!

You’ll find Artie’s Bait & Tackle at the intersection of Highway 7 & 12 at the south end of downtown Ortonville. There is quite a range of sporting gifts packed in this store and a gift certificate always works too!

Norwex – Rachelle Brown — A great idea for gift-giving any time of year! (or when you need to pick up some great cleaning products for yourself)

2nd Street Cafe and Coffeehouse – downtown Ortonville. Wonderful specialty coffees, delicious treats – and if you’re hungry for some great “home-cooked” type meals (breakfast or lunch) this is your stop! The perfect choice for everyone: a Gift Certificate!

Helping Hands Therapeutic Massage & Body on the southern end of downtown Ortonville  – a gift certificate would make an excellent gift!

Ally Cat Bowling – pick up a gift certificate for bowling and/or GREAT food!

Shady Oak Realty– A new house or cabin would certainly be an excellent gift!

A huge shout out to the business above for connecting with MNbump for this post!
As you are checking off your Christmas shopping list (or any time of year), please make sure to check out all of our Big Stone County businesses… you can find a complete list at this link (sorted by category): Big Stone County Businesses
Shop local first – shop local when you can – Thank you!!

Shopping Local Series – Hair Salons

The first in our “Living Rural & Shopping Local” series!  As we swing into the holiday seasons in the fall, winter, and then ringing in the new year, hair salons are likely on the top of most preparation lists.  (we’ve provided links to those that have an online presence)

Also, a little reminder… our salons carry a wide range of products that make great gifts this Christmas season (or check on a gift certificate!)  #ShopLocalFirst

We first hear from Gina Gilsdorf, our MNbump Connector from Graceville.

The City if Graceville has three hair salons open to the public and one salon located at Grace Home for our nursing home and assisted living residents. The other three are located downtown. Kreative Hair and Nails by Kendra and Shear Grace Salon are located on Main Street. J&R Headhunters is just off main on 3rd street. The salons in our area are all a great asset to our community offering a variety of services including cuts, colors, perms, toning and much more.

Next, we have Ortonville Salons submitted by MNbump Connector Vicki Oakes

Photo:  Ortonville Main Street with clouds rolling in – snow expected soon (11-25-2019)

In Ortonville, we have two salons downtown – Dawn’s Hair Design and Hair Classics along with two salons up off/on Highlighand Highway – Beauty and Grace Salon and Studio 210.  Ortonville’s Salon’s carry a full range of products and services – they have us covered!  There are also two beauty salon stations located within our senior housing complex, Fairway View Communities, (shown below) that we are fortunate to have covered through appointments by some of our local salon stylists!

Next, we have our MNbump Connector, Janine Teske, reporting on Clinton.

Amanda’s Shear Impressions located on Main Street in Clinton has a lot to offer her clients. In addition to hair cuts, color and styling for the entire family, she provides manicures, Gel nails, pedicures (which are awesome!) and Facial Waxing.  A variety of other products are also available at her salon, as well as a great conversation!  In addition to offering her services at the salon, Amanda also has a chair at the Clinton Care Center where she provides services to the tenants that live there.  Amanda’s shop is a great asset to the Clinton Community!

For the full list of businesses, organizations, etc. use our top-line menu – our goal is to have every business posted on this site so if we are missing one, please let us know!

Looking for Employment?
Looking for Housing?

Fun Fall Activities in the #MNbump

Fall is a special time in the #MNbump and in the upcoming days there is no exception to the activities that are available for kids and adults.  There are several Fundraising Meals, Fall Suppers, Halloween Events and other fun activities to keep us all busy!  Check out the info below and click on the events to take you to the links to the events, if available.

Thursday, October 24th

Chili and Soup Feed Fundraiser

First English Church – 11 am – 1 pm Free Will Donation

Image may contain: text

Friday, October 25th
Treat Street – Downtown Ortonville

No photo description available.

Saturday, October 26th
Trunk or Treat Hosted by GWO
Main Street – Graceville
Free Mini-Photography Session by Gina Lee Photography

Image may contain: text

Saturday, October 26th
Boo! and Bingo Party – Big Stone City Library
10 am – 1 pm


Saturday, October 26th –
4-H Annual Halloween Carnival at the Fairgrounds
5:30 – 9:30 pm

Image may contain: text

Saturday, October 26th
Firemen’s Halloween Dance
Sioux Historic – Ortonville  – 9 PM

Image may contain: one or more people and text

Sunday, October 27th
Big Stone City’s Ghouls & Goblins Street
3 PM – 5 PM

Image may contain: text

Wednesday, October 30th – Holiday Expo
Clinton Women’s Civic Club 4 – 7 pm
Clinton Memorial Building
Clinton Crew Cancer Support Group Fundraiser Supper

No photo description available.

Thursday, October 31st – 1:00 – 3:30 pm
Main Street Treats  – Downtown Clinton

Image may contain: text

Thursday, October 31st
Ally Cat Halloween Party
7 PM – 9 PM  Costume Contest

Image may contain: text

Friday, November 1st – 5-7pm
Big Stone County Cancer Support Group
Chicken and Fish Fry – Big Stone Legion

Image may contain: text


12:30 – 3:30

check out a video from last year’s event:

Wednesday, November 6th
Trinity Lutheran Youth Group Fall Supper
5 – 7 PM -Clinton

Image may contain: text

Saturday, November 9th –
Ortonville Early Childhood Initiative
Kids Glow Party – 2 – 4 pm – Ortonville VFW Basement

Image may contain: text

Saturday, November 9th
Glow Bingo for 18 and over
Ortonville Early Childhood Initiative
Ortonville VFW Basement – Beginning at 7PM

No photo description available.

US Senator Tina Smith Visits Ortonville Area Health Services

US Senator Tina Smith visited Ortonville Area Health Services this afternoon to listen and to learn how she can support communities to keep and sustain their health care in the face of a lot of really big challenges.  Her main questions today were:  how do you make it work in your communities, what are your challenges, what are the opportunities and what can she do to help bolster the areas, especially around workforce.  Other health care representatives present joining the discussion were representatives from Appleton Area Health Systems, Johnson Memorial Health Services (Dawson) and Lakewood Health Systems (Staples).  Carrie Bendix from the SW MN Private Industry Council (who also works with the workforce development board for the 14-county area) was also present to talk workforce.

There was great discussion shared amongst all in attendance which ended with Carson Ouellette, the Northwest Minnesota Outreach Representative for Sen. Smith, bringing the discussion to a close with “So I hate to cut it short but I do want to get a chance to see the award-winning OB department!”  With that, they wrapped up the discussion and took the tour.  (Ironically, Dr. Stacy Longnecker had left the meeting midway through to deliver a baby!)

US Senator Tina Smith talking with Maria Botker (OB & ER Nursing Coordinator) during the tour.

In reference to the “award-winning OB department”, Carson was referring to the 2019 Rural Health Team Award – in recognition of contributions improving the health of rural Minnesota at the Minnesota Rural Health Conference which was held in Duluth earlier this year.  (see video below)

We are very fortunate to have the Big Stone Health Care Foundation who has been key in recruiting many of our local people back “home” to work at Ortonville Area Health Services (OAHS) and to have a strong relationship and support through Sanford Health.

An interesting side note (one that I had forgotten) was that both Dr. Botker and Dr. Longnecker started their health careers way back “in the beginning” working as CNAs.

OAHS currently has six MDs with three more coming on board by November 2020.

Ortonville Area Health Services is dedicated to offering excellent care in all facilities of their health care system.  They serve the area through Ortonville Hospital, Northside Medical Clinic, and Clinton Clinic, Fairway View Senior Communities, and OAHS Home Health Agency.

Fairway View Senior Communities on our 18-hole golf course.

For more about Ortonville, you’ll find their community blog at and the City’s official website at

Written by Vicki Oakes

Meander Art Crawl Features Several #MNbump Artists – Oct. 4-6


The 16th annual Upper Minnesota River Meander Arts Crawl will be held on October 4, 5 & 6, 2019. The Meander is a free self-guided tour featuring 42 artists from 5 counties in western Minnesota. The annual event offers a chance for the public to meet with the region’s top artists in their home studios nestled among the small towns and family farms found in the Upper Minnesota River Valley.

We are happy to be able to highlight the #MNbump artists who will be participating in this years Crawl.   Click on the photos below to check out their locations for the Meander and also the links below the photos to follow their pages.  For full details on the 2019 Meander – the Upper Minnesota River Art Crawl click here for the link to their page.

The full brochure of all the events can be found on this link.





Blog by Kelly Lang: Your Life, Your Choice – Let the Healing Begin

As we continue our “People of the MNbump” series which highlights some of the talented people who live here in the MNbump – meet Kelly Lang!

Kelly started blogging last year when she began a series of posts sharing her journey (and struggles) through earlier health issues – with “When your life flashes before your eyes in a flood gate of memories…”  Her health has now come full circle which she documents in her first series of posts.  She now continues writing (blogging)… with her new writings starting out with:

“Hello!  It’s been a while since we’ve last connected.  Since finishing sharing my personal health journey story it was time for a sabbatical from blogging.  It’s been a great break, but I’m ready to start dabbling again.  That being said, I/our family has a story to share.  It’s a story about adventure, love, rescue, and so much more.  Are you ready to join me/us in an adventure?  If so, let’s embark on this one together!”

Kelly is the owner of Helping Hands Therapeutic Massage & Body Work in Ortonville.  It has been fun watching this wonderful young person as she started her new business and now taking on more…  As a self-employed businesswoman for 6+ years, their business has grown and they’ve spent a considerable amount of time diving into technology and reviewing different social media platforms.  They totally redesigned their own website and have added Instagram and Pinterest to their social media line-up (they’ve had their Facebook page for quite some time).   See her blog post “Loving Summer Changes” for the details of this summer expansion!

The MNbump will be sharing information on some of our local people that have blog posts and like to write and share their information.  Please note that the views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of anyone associated with the MNbump or Big Stone Area Growth.


Brent Olson’s Independently Speaking Column Enlightens Those Around the #MNbump and Beyond

Brent Olson leads a complicated life. His home is in Big Stone County, a small place hanging off the western edge of Minnesota.

Brent made a living as a farmer for 30 years. In 1977 he was asked to fill out a term on the Soil and Water Conservation District. He ended up staying 12 years, during which time the district won two Goodyear Awards, given for outstanding work in soil and water conservation. He was also the token Protestant on a Catholic hospital board which led to an epic trip across Saskatchewan with a van load of nuns.

He’s served on the Southwest Minnesota Arts and Humanities Council, Big Stone County Pork Producers, the United Methodist Board of Ordained Ministries, and is on the board of the New Life Primary School in Mizac, Haiti.

He served on the first board of directors of a wildly successful ethanol plant and an utterly failed wind turbine project.

He was a 2012 Bush Foundation Fellow and his fellowship project, The Inadvertent Café, was profiled by Minnesota Public Radio and the Star Tribune and eventually turned into a book.

As a journalist he’s written over 1,300 columns and articles, filed stories from six continents, and won a half dozen American Agricultural Editors Awards. He’s published six books – four collections of essays, a memoir, and a novel.

Brent has been a Big Stone County Commissioner for 15 years. In that time the county provided fiber optic broadband to all rural residents, helped create the first mental health center in the county and began an innovative project to retain and clean rain water from farm fields.

The MNbump will be sharing information on some of our local people that have blog posts and like to write and share their information.  Please note that the views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of anyone associated with the MNbump or Big Stone Area Growth.

The Creative Bite – a Blog by Danielle Green

Danielle Green, grew up in the small community of Graceville, Minnesota and now lives on the farm she grew up in outside of Graceville with her husband Matt and their twins Madelyn and Cooper.  Her parents are Chuck and Deb Walters of Graceville.

Here is the link to her blog –

Danielle’s blog highlights her love of cooking as and highlights her ideas of Eating Well, Being Creative and to Live Good

If you have any questions or feedback please contact her at!

The MNbump will be sharing information on some of our local people that have blog posts and like to write and share their information.  Please note that the views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of anyone associated with the MNbump or Big Stone Area Growth.



A View From Here: Resettling Big Stone County – a blog by Kathy Draeger

We know that there are many talented people in living in the MNbump and we are starting a series to highlight them!

Kathy Draeger, an Adjunct Assistant Professor; Statewide Director, Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships with the University of Minnesota and a resident of the #MNbump is one of our local area bloggers that moved to Big Stone County after living in the Twin Cities area for several years.

Kathy started her blog post in 2007 and it has been fun to follow as she describes life and living rural and loving it.    Kathy and her husband Mike Jorgenson farm east of Clinton.  They have three children Alma, Jens and Lake.   Thanks for allowing us to share your blog page Kathy.  It’s been fun following your posts over the years and we are glad you are back!


Here is the link to her blog site:

The MNbump will be sharing information on some of our local people that have blog posts and like to write and share their information.  Please note that the views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of anyone associated with the MNbump or Big Stone Area Growth.







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.”