St. Joseph

Wobegon Trail signs honor Jacob Wetterling’s values

Bicyclists, joggers, skaters and snowmobilers on a stretch of the Lake Wobegon Trail will now be reminded of traits that Jacob Wetterling valued.

Small blue signs listing 11 traits such as “Be fair” and “Be generous” now adorn mile markers from St. Joseph to a marker just west of the Schwinghammer Lake bridge.

Wetterling was 11 when he was abducted at gunpoint in October, 1989. Authorities recently found his remains after suspect Danny Heinrich admitted to assaulting and killing the boy. Wetterling’s parents and a resource center in his name are promoting his valued traits as a way to honor his hope for the world.

A couple from rural Albany, Lisa and Dewey Klaphake, came up with the idea for the signs and paid for the materials. Lisa’s employer, Sentra-Sota Sheet Metal Inc., donated the labor to make the signs. North Star Signs & Engraving donated the lettering.

pam louwagie


YMCA waives joiner’s fee for state vets/families

Minnesota’s YMCAs are waiving the joiner’s fee for veterans and their families for the next 28 months.

The Minneapolis and St. Cloud Veterans Affairs Health Care Systems and the Minnesota Alliance of YMCAs recently signed a memorandum of understanding that drops the enrollment fee and also allows the VA to use space at YMCA facilities for outreach events.

The local outreach activities will depend on space availability at each YMCA. Activities could include job fairs, town hall meetings and events related to employment, homelessness and healthy lifestyle programming.

The fee waiver applies to all Minnesota veterans, including those who are not receiving VA benefits. The monthly fee will still apply.

To apply for YMCA membership, veterans should go to their local YMCA and present their Veteran’s Health Identification Card, a copy of their DD214 form or a military ID card.

Mark Brunswick @markabrunswick


Leech Lake Band launches clean energy start-up

The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe are getting into the clean energy business and getting a boost from state job training funds.

Aki Development, a tribally chartered corporation, plans to assemble and test LED streetlights in Cass Lake. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development last week announced a $29,000 grant to Aki to help the company train workers for the new business.

“Aki is a groundbreaking company that will be the country’s first solar manufacturer on tribal lands,” DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy said in a statement last week. Aki recently purchased a majority stake in St. Paul-based solar panel manufacturer Saga Solar and moved the operation to Cass Lake.

Jennifer Brooks