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Adapt Your Holiday Plans

Places are closed, organizations have drastically shifted their service delivery, and plans have been canceled. This has become the norm during the pandemic of 2020. One thing that is not canceled is the holiday season. Many of us look forward to either going to a loved one’s house, hosting people in your neighborhood/community or celebrating with a new family member. How we celebrate will be different this year; however, we still need to stay connected now more than ever. Here are a few ways to stay connected:

Host a virtual gathering where you can visit with loved ones;

Prepare frozen meals for friends and neighbors and deliver following health guidelines;

Write letters or emails, bring back the pen pal system; and/or

Spend time talking over the phone. Yes, you can still call people with cell phones!

If you are gathering in your home, health officials have guidelines to help people stay safe:

Make a meal for those that live within your household;

Indoor gatherings are difficult; try meeting outside around a bonfire;

Clean hands often, either washing or utilizing hand sanitizer; and,

Arrange chairs and place settings that encourage social distancing.

If you or someone else is feeling ill or has been exposed, please stay home and take care of yourself or your loved one. There will be opportunities to gather later; your health is the most important.

Do not cancel your holiday plans; make adaptations. We have an opportunity to improve how we communicate; letters, emails, virtual conferencing, video calling (Jetson style) and more! This year’s holiday season is one that we won’t soon forget but let us make it a season we won’t forget on a positive note. Explore new ways to celebrate and, most importantly, stay safe.


Register now for farmland rental agreement workshop 

Farmland rental rates are the largest input cost farmers have which makes determining a fair farmland rental agreement a challenge in today’s economy. Landowners, farmers, and agri-business professionals are invited to attend one of several online rental rates meetings provided by University of Minnesota Extension.  

Negotiating a fair rental agreement that satisfies the landowner and the farmer is challenging.  David Bau, Extension Educator in Ag Business Management, will provide several ways using examples, factsheets and worksheets to determine a fair farmland rental rate for both parties.

Meetings will be held online only this year. There’s still time to register for the meeting on Wednesday, December 16 at 10:00 a.m., which will use facts and figures specific to rates within Murray County.  Registration is required to receive the secure Zoom link:  https://z.umn.edu/LandRentMurrayCo  You can also register by calling the Murray County Extension Office at 507-836-6927.  

Regionally focused online rental rate meetings will be held throughout Minnesota in December.  Register online for one of these programs at:  https://z.umn.edu/LandRentRegistration. 

 If you have any questions please contact Melissa Runck at mkrunck@umn.edu  or 507-836-1143. 


“Victims of Foul PLay” In Print now Local Connection

Outskirts Press announces “Victims of Foul Play”, the latest highly-anticipated history book from Granite Falls, MN author Patricia Lubeck.

October 30, 2020, Denver, CO and Granite Falls, MN – Outskirts Press, Inc. has published Victims of Foul Play: A True Story of One Man’s Dark Secrets by Patricia Lubeck, which is the author’s most recent book to date. The 6 x 9, 244 page, black & white paperback in the history/united states/state & local/midwest category is available worldwide on book retailer websites such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble for a suggested retail price of $19.95. The webpage at www.outskirtspress.com/VictimsofFoulPlay was launched simultaneously with the book’s publication. 

About the Book (Excerpts & Info)

Clarence Larson married twice. Both of his wives met suspicious ends . . . and yet, he was never convicted of any crime. How can that be? In this masterful exploration of Larson’s life, historian Patricia Lubeck illuminates the failures of procedure and early forensic science that seemingly allowed a murderer to walk free. From the horrifying “accident” that killed his first wife Martha to the strange series of circumstances surrounding the “disappearance” of his second wife Jean, “Victims of Foul Play” paints a vivid portrait of a sinister man. Richly detailed with information drawn from original source material and the author’s personal interviews with key players in Larson’s story, this chilling and compelling true crime story is a tribute to two women who deserve truth and justice. 

Excerpts: pg. 19 “Describe the position that you found her in when you came around the tractor?” Larson said, “Well she was on the east side of the drawbar, the power take-off. Her right arm was twisted around the power take-off shaft and her head was back underneath the tractor. The rest of her body was just straight along parallel with the power take-off shaft.”

Pg. 148 “Agents O’Gorman and Berg found blood splatter in various places in the kitchen and around the sink area. Clarence said that two days before her disappearance, Jean had cut her hand while opening a fruit jar. Agents said it would be impossible for the blood to be deposited there from a cut hand. Clarence’s only reply to this challenge was a simple, ‘Oh.’”

About the Author

Patricia Lubeck grew up in the small town of Echo, Yellow Medicine County Minnesota. She graduated from Echo High School, then moved to California where she received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of California. Years later, she returned to Minnesota where she became the director of the Yellow Medicine County and Redwood County Museums. She spends her time writing true crime stories from Minnesota’s early history. “History is important, must be preserved and is meant to be shared.” This is her fifth book. Her books are available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Outskirts Press and elsewhere. 


Community Transit adjusted service, but never stopped

As the people of the world begin to crawl out of our Covid-19 fortresses, it feels good to know that some things are still the way we remember them. Community Transit of United Community Action Partnership (UCAP) never stopped safely serving our communities, though what we do and how we do it got some upgrades.

With Covid-19 restrictions, the need to get from place to place decreased, but people still needed essentials.  Community Transit began redirecting resources to make sure people who could not get to the store could still get what they needed. We partnered with local food shelves, grocery stores and Head Start to develop systems for delivering meals and other essentials. Since then, Community Transit drivers have delivered countless meals, groceries, and essential items. 

For those who still needed transportation, Community Transit served them through it all, and developed protocols that ensure every ride is as safe as possible. Vehicle cleaning has been prioritized to provide people the assurance of a safe ride. There have always been rigorous standards in place for vehicle cleaning and inspection at UCAP. Each shift begins and ends with the drivers methodically moving through the vehicles to check for maintenance issues and cleanliness. Those practices have been expanded to include disinfecting, especially in high-touch areas of the vehicles, multiple times throughout the day. Additionally, the state mask mandate is being followed, and provisions are being made for social distancing. 

The change most people will notice when they board a Community Transit vehicle is that plexiglass barriers have been installed, and people are wearing masks. Striking a balance between safety and the welcoming care people expect in Southwest Minnesota is important. The plexiglass barriers around the driver’s seat allow drivers to interact with their passengers while still providing great protection from airborne contaminants. Masks provide additional protection. They can be provided to passengers who do not have them.

People may also notice the bus is not as full as it once was. The maximum number of people allowed in each vehicle at one time has been reduced to allow people to be at least 6 feet apart during their ride.

Finally, since the only direct contact many passengers have with their drivers is the exchange of fares or ride cards, we are not collecting fares on board our buses. Community Transit is currently only accepting mail-in payments. It is our hope that, in addition to being more hygienic, suspending the on-board exchange makes it possible for more people to access the transportation they need without stress in a time when finances are tight. During the suspension of on-board fares, people can send donations towards transportation to any UCAP transportation office. Donations will be used to help cover the cost of operations during this unusual time. On-board fare collection will likely be reinstated sometime in early 2021, though a specific date is not set.

UCAP continues to monitor Covid-19 and anything that affects transportation needs in the communities we serve. We will continue to adjust. Our primary goal, now and always, is to do whatever it takes to maintain and expand a viable transportation system in Southwest Minnesota.


Murray County Food Shelf Holiday Hours

The Murray County Food Shelf continues to be open on Thursdays from 2:30 PM to 4:30 PM with curbside distribution and with registration by cell phone upon arrival at the site at 2989 Maple Road in Slayton.  During December the Food Shelf will be open on Dec. 3, 10, 17 and 31 but will be closed on Dec. 24.


Blue Christmas meditative service First Presbyterian Church Fulda

For those who are experiencing loneliness, sadness and loss, the Christmas season can be difficult – we can feel singled out by the programmed happiness of “the most wonderful time of the year”. But we are not alone.  Many people experience at least some sadness and loss this time of year. All of us have experienced loss in our lives.   This time will be a time of reflection with scripture, readings, prayers and prerecorded music to offer some hope from God.  As we honor and recognize our losses, may we embrace God’s hope.  

During this rather difficult season made especially difficult this year with coronavirus.   We at First Presbyterian Church, Fulda, are offering an outdoor meditative walk around our luminaries on December 21st, 2020 from 4:30 – 7:30 pm.  The hopes are that this might ease the pain of loss associated with the loss.   We will adhere to all the COVID19 guidelines as possible.   We would appreciate your sharing this information with your constituents, or congregants. 


Minnesota  Association of Townships Announces 2021 Scholarship Program for High School Juniors 

ST. MICHAEL, Minn, (December 2, 2020) - The Minnesota Association of Townships (MAT) is proud to announce its 2021 Scholarship Program, which will award up to five $2,000 scholarships to high school juniors. All students currently enrolled in 11th grade and attending a Minnesota public, private, or parochial school, or a home-study program, are eligible to apply for this program. Since its inception in 2001, the MAT Scholarship Program has had over 2000 submissions and 87 winners. 

Applicants should submit a written essay using critical thinking on the topic of land use by May 1, 2021. Winners will be chosen by an independent panel of judges and will be notified by September 1, 2020. They will also be invited to attend MAT’s annual conference in St. Cloud, Minnesota in September 2021.

For more information and application details, please call the MAT offices at 1-800-228-0296 or visit www.mntownships.org. 

“Townships are proud to offer the Scholarship Program, and encourage as many high school juniors as possible to apply, whether they are from the largest cities or from smaller rural areas. We know the MAT Scholarship Program has made a real difference for our recipients in furthering their education. It is also an opportunity for learning about township government, which embody the values of “grassroots government” where local citizens directly participate,” said MAT Executive Director David Hann.

There are approximately 914,174 township residents in 1,781 townships in Minnesota. Townships exist in every area of the state, including the metropolitan area. Some, with populations of more than 1,000, function in much the same way as a small city. While many townships remain rural agricultural centers, other host a variety of residential, light commercial, and industrial development.


Good News 

By: John Stenen 

For the first two centuries of the Church, a fish was the symbol used for Christianity. Several years ago a man had a golden fish hook made into a lapel pin. He discovered that wherever he went people would ask him, “Do you belong to a fishing club?” “Yes, I do” he replied. “I have caught fish all over our nation, many of them in the two hundred and fifty pound range.” “No! Are you serious?”  “Yes, I’m not kidding. I catch them in all sizes, but I especially love catching the smaller ones.”

His fish hook lapel pin opened many doors of opportunity to let people know that he is a fisher of men for the Lord Jesus Christ. He would then tell them how they could be ‘saved’ by repenting of their sin, surrender their lives to Jesus, and follow Him all the days of their lives. “For by grace are you saved through faith…. (Eph. 2:8). Jesus said to Andrew and his brother Peter, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mat. 4:19.) Wouldn’t it be great if all Christians were willing to trust Jesus to use them in winning souls and go fishing for Jesus.  God bless.