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We were treated to another case of Minnesota's ever changing weather patterns last week when we went from thawing temperatures on the 18th to -0º and strong winds on Saturday. It has remained cold ever since with temperatures struggling to get above 0º.

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From the St. John's/Kongsvinger parish: There will be joint services at St John's at 11 a.m. on Jan. 27, followed by the annual meeting (about noon) and potluck dinner. Sunday school will be at St. John's at 9:45 a.m. and they will be singing during services.

From Good Shepherd Lutheran Church: Fredrick (Freddy) Michael Hanson was born at Glacial Ridge hospital in Glenwood to Pastor Mike and Pastor Martha Hanson on Jan. 21. He is welcomed home by his two brothers, Charlie and Arnie. Grandparents are Tyrone and Shirley Hanson of Hoffman and Chuck and Liz Spohr of Morris.

Luke Michael Smith, age 34, formerly of Morris, passed away Jan. 22 in New Orleans, La. He was preceded in death by his father, Robert William Smith, formerly of Morris. He is survived by his mother, Gail Hockert, stepfather Chuck Heinrich, and sister Lindsey Heinrich (Peter) of Morris.

Ashley Mecklenburg and David Olson were united in marriage on Oct. 20, 2012 at Cornerstone Church in Alexandria. Parents of the couple are Loren and Kaylene Mecklenburg of Morris and Keith and Sheila Olson of Victoria.

An open house bridal shower honoring Melissa Zimmerman, bride to be of Erik Whittemore, will be held on Feb. 9 from 9-11 a.m. at Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Chokio. Bring your favorite recipe to share with the couple.

Nicole Daly of Donnelly was one of those who have received High Honors at Southwest Minnesota State University for the fall 2012 semester.

Kellen Erdahl (Brian and Ann) finished runner up in the spelling bee competition at the Morris Area Elementary school.

In a gymnastics meet in Moorhead the Tiger girls took first in the silver meet. Kourtney Giese received first place on vault, third place on bars, third place on floor, and second place in all-around.  Savannah Aanerud received fourth place on beam, fourth place on floor, and third place in all- around.

Joan and Jerry Kopacek, along with Helen Kill and Janet Malo, attended the VFW 5th District meeting in Benson on Jan. 23. Joan received first place for her "house plants" poppy display.

A good crowd was on hand for the ice fishing derby on Cottonwood Lake on Jan. 19 despite the bitterly cold weather. More fish were caught this year than any other year.

 The Kongsvinger annual meeting was well attended this year. Mary Shultz was introduced as the new parish secretary.  Please be sure to pick up your annual report in the back of the church if you have not already done so.

Joan Kopacek reports that our Donnelly area volunteers tied 23 quilts for nursing home veterans in the past few weeks.

In the past month or so that Mark Koepke has been staying with me, I have learned a  lot about his family, much of what I did not know. He came to live with Stan and Elsie as a foster child, spending his early years on a farm several miles NE of where I used to live before they moved into Donnelly where they lived in the "Judge Grace" house across from the old St Theresia's church for several years.  For a number of years they wintered in Florida and spent summers in Minnesota until Stan's health forced them to move to Florida permanently about 30 years ago. They chose the Orlando  area because their son Jimmy had settled down there after he got out of the Navy. When they lived here they were members of Kongsvinger. Although they never formally adopted him he was given their name and treated as their son.  Stan passed away in 1984 and Elsie in 2005. Their other son Bobby moved down to Florida after his dad died. Their daughter Linda lives in southern Wisconsin. Mark and Elsie made several trips back up here to visit family and friends in the area after Stan died, the last time in 1998. She later became ill and was in a nursing home for a number of years before she passed away. Mark continued to live in the Orlando area until last April, when he sold his trailer house down there and moved into a trailer house in West Fargo where he lived with a distant relative, Mandi Lindgren. Her father, grandfather, and Stan drove truck together for many years. Stan also drove for Ed Ellingson of Herman, Calvin Bumgardner, and others in the area, and he also worked for the Donnelly Co-op for a number of years.

I invited Mark to spend Christmas with me, after spending some time down here we decided for various reasons, it would be best for him to move down here permanently so we did that on Jan. 10.  Give me a call if you want to visit with him or e-mail him at: firebird357@yahoo.com

As most of you have heard, Howard and Deb Kill have purchased the bank building in Donnelly.

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