As the new year dawned, there were some shifts in political leadership. In South Haven, Norm Bodeker was appointed mayor after the unexpected death of David Kothe Dec. 10, and Jill Schmidt was appointed to fill Bodeker’s seat on the council. On the state level, Lt. Gov. Tina Smith became U.S. Senator replacing Al Franken; State Senator Michelle Fischbach, as President of the Senate, stepped into the Lt. Gov. role. Fischbach retained both her Senate seat and the Lt. Governorship throughout 2018, despite attempts by Democrats to replace her in the Senate. (Fischbach later allied with Tim Pawlenty in his bid for Minnesota Governor, but the pair did not survive the Primaries in August.)
In early January, local hospitals imposed visitor restrictions to protect patients from a high prevalence of RSV and influenza.
The new website went up for Kimball Schools as well as a new App to facilitate communication with the community.
The Kimball Girl Scout Troop 749 earned the Bronze Award, the third-highest award a Girl Scout can earn. The award was for their Buddy Bench project where they made and installed Buddy Benches at St. Wendelin School, Kimball Elementary, and Annandale Elementary.
Eden Valley-Watkins FFA competed in four contests Jan. 5 at Ridgewater College in Willmar. The Poultry Team took first place, advancing to state competition; individually, Gregory Gathje placed first, and George Lemke placed second. Adrienne Lipinski took third place in the Farm Bureau Discussion Meet.
Holy Cross Catholic School in Marty (Pearl Lake) hosted an American Red Cross Blood Drive Jan. 5.
Eden Valley Area Library hosted a “Frozen” Story Hour Jan. 5 and a free showing of the movie “Frozen” later that evening.
Stearns County deputies were called to an accident near County Road 9 and 165th Street in Eden Lake Township Jan. 9. Three horses had gotten loose when a gate was left unsecured and the horses were on the road when Barbara Nistler struck one with her SUV (that horse would recover from minor injuries) and Alex Foehrenbacher struck another with a passenger car (that horse had a broken leg and had to be put down). The drivers had no injuries.
The Kimball Booster Club hosted a “Bleacher Creature Night” Jan. 9 at the girls’ basketball game, filling the stands with fans.
The City of Eden Valley voted Jan. 10 to raise its base fees for water and sewer by $2 each. They also changed to monthly billing for these services, instead of every-other-month. (The monthly billing would work well for both the city and residents.)
Kimball Elementary fifth- and sixth-graders held their annual fundraising fish fry Jan. 12 at Generations Ballroom in Kimball. They raise funds each year for their Spring field trips.
A million-dollar fundraiser began Jan. 12 at Holy Cross Catholic School, part of a state-wide competition that ran through Feb. 25. Students raised $11,115 in six weeks.
“Monster” Mike Schultz made an appearance at Gohmann’s Foods Jan. 13 in Kimball to sign special boxes of Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes. Schultz is on both the front and back of the cereal boxes. Schultz was headed to the Paralympics in two snowboard events. Later that day, Schultz spoke at The Body Strength & Training Shed in Kimball. 2018 would be quite a year for Schultz.
Kimball Area High School played host to 92 teams from around the state for a VEX Robotics tournament Jan. 13. The KAHS team received the Judges’ Award and finished ninth of 39 teams. Dozens of volunteers helped to make the tournament a success.
Central Lakes Snowmobile Club held a snowmobile safety class Jan. 20 at the Watkins Fire Hall.
Jan. 20 was the Eden Valley Sportsman’s Club ice fishing contest on Browns Lake.
Wat-Kim-Valley VFW Post 5460 held a breakfast benefit for Meeker County Relay For Life and American Cancer Society.
The Catholic Order of Foresters sold Bouja and chicken noodle soup Jan. 21 at St. Anthony Church in Watkins.
The Knights of Columbus hosted the 2018 Youth Free-Throw Championship Jan. 21 at KAHS. Hope Kuechle won the regional competition in Feb. 22 in Cold Spring, which qualified her for the state competition April 7.
The KAHS District Spelling Bee was held Jan. 23.
Powder Ridge food managers Mary Heid and Joel Ryan received the Stearns County Board of Commissioners 2017 Food Safety Award Jan. 23.