Jacob Wetterling’s hometown is trying to raise $4 million to build a new rec center that will honor him.

St. Joseph is fundraising for the Jacob Wetterling Recreation Center, which would include three gyms, a track and activity rooms. It would also have a monument honoring Wetterling with images of the sports he enjoyed, his No. 11 and a tower with a light that will always be lit.

“It’s really beautiful,” City Administrator Judy Weyrens said, adding that Patty Wetterling, Jacob’s mother, has long pushed for a community center.

The recreation center would be part of the St. Joseph Community Center, the first for St. Joseph, a 6,500-resident city about 8 miles west of St. Cloud. The rec center will be a 40,000-square-foot addition to the community center, which will be in a renovated former school and include amenities such as a community kitchen and community rooms.

After the $4 million in donations, the city will fund the rest of the $12 million project with a regional half-cent sales tax, Weyrens said. Donations can be sent to Sentry Bank, P.O. Box 159, St. Joseph, MN 56374 or dropped off at the city’s Government Center.

Jacob Wetterling was abducted Oct. 22, 1989, by a masked gunman. It wasn’t until 2016 that authorities found the 11-year-old’s remains on a farm near Paynesville, Minn., and Danny Heinrich, long a person of interest, confessed to killing the boy.

Kelly Smith

Grand Rapids

Calling all bears! DNR wants help finding dens

Stumble across a bear den in or around the Chippewa National Forest? The Minnesota DNR would like you to report it so it can add more bears to a study it is conducting using GPS tracking collars.

The study is examining how bears have responded to changes in the forest since the 1980s. Researchers want to understand factors that cause population change and enable the DNR to “better manage and conserve this species,” according to a DNR statement.

The study area stretches from Lake Wabana to Turtle Lake, Little Bowstring Lake to Balsam Lake. Researchers are also interested in bear dens found close to Bemidji.

Report bear dens to Andy Tri in Grand Rapids at 218-328-8879, or Laura Gilbert at 218-328-8872.

Pam Louwagie


DMC growth will require 16,000 parking spots

A preliminary study of projected traffic in Rochester determined the city is 16,000 parking spots short of what will be required as the Mayo Clinic expands under its Destination Medical Center initiative. Some early findings presented to the DMC Corporation Board last week included the estimate that some 7,000 parking spots for customers, patients, visitors and residents will be needed in the city; another 9,000 spots for Mayo employees and other downtown workers will be built on the edge of town.

The discussion was an early look at a larger transit debate expected early next year on the future of transportation as the DMC project grows.

Matt McKinney