Thursday, July 29, 2021

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This year's Corky's Early Bird Softball Classic, which begins Thursday, will feature about 200 teams. Most teams come from the Midwest, but some come from as far away as California and Texas. In addition to playing softball and reuniting with friends, the tournament also raises $50,000 for a different charity each year. Submitted photo
Corky’s Early Bird Softball Classic, which is already the largest tournament in Minnesota, keeps bigger and bigger, and this year is no different. This year a women's bracket is being added to this weekend's festivities, which kicks off this Thursday, July 29, and lasts through Sunday, Aug. 1,...
Howard Lestrud, right, is shown with his best friend, Ed Vervaecke. They reunited recently after 55 years. The two served together in the U.S. Army.
It's true. The past 55 years just whizzed by. Some say I am older than dirt. Others, including my only daughter, have urged me never to say I am getting old. What does it mean to be getting old anyway? It means that one is eligible for Social Security and one might be rallying around visits to the...
An unprecedented bill is currently being considered in U.S. Congress that will not only help bail out the ailing newspaper industry, but everyone else who values local journalism. The Local Journalism Sustainability Act allows individual and business taxpayers certain tax credits for supporting...
Harvey Farr and daughter Whitney led a group of motorcyclists and collector cars for the 2021 BOB (Bikers of Blooming) Ride last Saturday. The ride benefited Toys for Tots in Steele County. Harvey and Nancy Farr have led the fund drives in Blooming Prairie and have been the top fundraisers for Toys for Tots in Steele County. Staff photo by Howard Lestrud
Fifty-five riders participated in the 22nd annual Toys for Tots BOB (Bikers of Blooming) Ride on Saturday, July 24. Motorcycles and a variety of muscle cars and recent vintage cars were driven in the BOB Ride. Riders came from Blooming Prairie, Ellendale, Geneva, Albert Lea, Austin, Brownsdale,...
Ken Esplan of Blooming Prairie looks at a shadow box display his wife Judy has made, containing his Purple Heart and other medals he received for his service in the Vietnam War. He was wounded in action on April 10, 1970; BP is working on designation as a Purple Heart City. STAFF PHOTO BY KAY FATE
When Ken Esplan landed in Quang TrI province in Vietnam in July 1969, he couldn’t believe his eyes. Sitting at a table, assigning newly arrived soldiers to their posts, was his next-door neighbor from Blooming Prairie. “He was just typing away, with two fingers, and didn’t look up when I got to the...
Community members and kids cheer following a ribbon-cutting for the newly finished inclusive playground and Miracle Field located at Manthey Park in Owatonna. Missy Ahrens, center left, and Amanda Gislason, center right, spearheaded the grassroots effort that made their dream for the new playground and field a reality. STAFF PHOTO BY CHRIS BALDWIN
Cars lined the parking lot and spilled over into the street as kids and families poured into Manthey Park last Monday to play together. Kids tore through the park and played together just before settling down to listen to several speakers during the inclusive playground and Miracle Field opening...
With a big smile and a firm grip on the halter, Jacey Herron, 8, of Owatonna, walks her calf around the yard during the annual Cow Camp at Clover Glen Farms near Claremont on July 20. Several other kids are in the background leading their calves to get familiar with them.
Glenn Johnson will be the first to admit he thought his wife was nuts when she suggested they host a Cow Camp for children on their Steele County dairy farm. “It was a chaotic mess the first couple years,” Johnson said with a chuckle. Thirteen years later, the Johnsons, who operate Clover Glen...
The Mid-American Renegade Sprint Non Wing Traditionals made their second of three scheduled appearances at Chateau Speedway in Lansing Friday.  The field put on a caution-free night of racing in both heats and in the feature. With five of the top 10 winningest drivers in the various Renegade series...
Eighty years after it was built, Gus’ Station is looking better than ever – and can still draw a crowd. The tiny gas station that once sat on U.S. Hwy. 30 in Ellendale is once again the guest of honor at the 7th Annual Gus’ Station car show and fundraiser this weekend at the Steele County...
Out in the wild, less than 10% of monarch butterfly eggs hatch into an adult butterfly compared to the 90% lucky enough to be cared for by Kathy Van Ommeren of Owatonna. Van Ommeren said she has assisted more than 10,000 monarch butterflies hatch over the past 20 years – 700 so far this summer,...

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Steele County Times

Steele County Times
411 E. Main St.
P.O. Box 247
Blooming Prairie, MN 55917
507-583-4431

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