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Biz Buzz: Bring out your memories for lake country book

Bizz Buzz: Bring out your memories for lake country history book

Chip and Jeanie Borkenhagen are writing and designing a coffee table history book of lake country.

The Borkenhagens are collecting stories, vignettes, photos, memories for the entire lakes area region.

“I think this will be a rewarding project for all of us,” Chip Borkenhagen said. “It will be good for our area to have a fresh and fun look back at where we came from.”

One goal is to capture the stories of long-time residents before those memories are lost to time and future generations.

To that end, the Borkenhagens want to do video interviews with people who can share stories of growing up in lake country, or moving or vacating here. They are looking for “funny, quirky stories and reminisces that are fun and educational to read about. Especially interesting are the Indian trade era, the steamboats, railroad, and early resort-get away times.”

The Borkenhagens area also looking for vintage photos, which they will scan and return to their owners. All photos and interviews will be properly credited to the participants.

For more information, send an email to

The Gander Mountain redevelopment project appears to have new life. Michaels arts and crafts store and Petco are back in the mix along with other, reportedly familiar — but as yet not among those dropped — names. The new stores would join Gander Mountain in the building that long ago now was the original Baxter Walmart store and where Ashley Furniture used to share space with the outdoor retailer.

Deerwood Technologies added a new division in YourSix Communications. Jim Mayne, founder of Deerwood Technologies, said the company is expanding its family of businesses to include telecommunications solutions, unified communications, carrier services management, as well as design, assessments, analysis and full telecom professional services team.

Mayne reported adding YourSix Communications to the Deerwood team was an integral step in the expansion of offerings to regional and national clients. YourSix Communications is headquartered in Deerwood with a satellite office in the Twin Cities. Nor-Son Inc. broke ground on new Lutheran Church in Watertown. Nor-Son was selected as the design/builder for Peace Lutheran Church’s new 6,500-square-foot worship facility. It’s designed by architect Peter Schmelzer and Project Designer Nicole Weum. The facility will have a 200-seat worship center, classrooms, coffee bar, offices and storage areas. Construction is scheduled to begin in mid-August.

Artist Charles Kapsner, Little Falls, recently returned from attending the National VFW convention in Reno, Nev. where he addressed 4,000 participants in a presentation on the Veterans Historic Art Project. Other speakers included President Barack Obama the day before presidential hopeful Gov. Mitt Romney just 45 minutes after Kapsner’s presentation.

Cross-Tech Manufacturing in Crosslake is working on an expansion with a ground-breaking scheduled in September.

Breezy Point is now a StormReady city. The National Weather Service, along with other emergency officials, recently made the declaration.

Breezy Point completed a set of “rigorous weather safety, preparedness, monitoring and warning criteria necessary to earn the distinction of being StormReady,” the National Weather Service reported.

StormReady is a nationwide volunteer program designed to help communities create disaster plans for such events as severe weather and floods.

The program, which includes advice from a partnership between local National Weather Service forecast offices and state and local emergency officials, started in 1999 with seven communities in the Tulsa, Okla., area.

The program reports there are now 1,949 StormReady communities across the country, including 12 Indian Nations, 113 universities, and 53 commercial sites.

The weather service plans to present Breezy Point with an official certificate on Sept. 17 at the Association of Minnesota Emergency Managers Conference at Breezy Point Resort.

State fair visitors will once again have the opportunity to look for a Brainerd lakes area connection. For the sixth year, the Helmer family is back in Carousel Park by the grandstand ramp with its fried fruit and fruit on a stick, or in a bowl — fried, fresh, blended or chopped.

The featured flavor this year? “Fresh bananas in a feather light sweet batter warmed to a golden brown and nestled in ice cream, drizzled with caramel and topped with whipped crème, a cherry and nuts is here to tempt your palette.”

Grapes, apples, strawberries, peaches, pears, pineapple, bananas are all in the mix. The fried-fruit-on-a-stick is best described as tasting like a “warm berry pie.”

The food booth also has fresh fruit smoothies, fruit cups and fruity salsa with cinnamon and sugar chips.

Author Charles Marohn released his first book “Thoughts on Building Strong Towns” (Volume 1). Marohn, known for his work with lakes area communities through Community Growth Institute, Baxter. He is executive director of Strong Towns, a nonprofit founded to advocate for an alternative development pattern for cities, towns and neighborhoods.

“This book is a compilation of my favorite material from 2011, reedited with additional notes and references included,” Marohn said. “It is a quick primer on building strong towns.”

The book is available in paperback and in a digital version.

The new Olive Garden in Baxter is looking more complete by the hour. Olive Garden reaffirmed plans to open its 7,441 square-foot restaurant in early October. The restaurant is designed to seat 246 guests and is “inspired by traditional farmhouses found in Tuscany, Italy.”

General manager at the Baxter Olive Garden is Miranda Ahlers.

Olive Garden reports it has more than 750 restaurants, more than 90,000 employees and more than $3.5 billion in annual sales.

RENEE RICHARDSON, senior reporter, may be reached at 855-5852 or Follow on Twitter at

Renee Richardson
Richardson is a Pacelli High School graduate from Austin, Minn., who earned an applied science degree from the University of Minnesota, Waseca, with an emphasis in horse management. She worked extensively in the resort industry. She received an associate’s degree from Central Lakes College, where she was editor of the Westbank Journal student newspaper, as well as a summer intern at the Dispatch. She graduated from St. Cloud State University summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and interned at the St. Cloud Times covering business while attending SCSU. She's been with the Brainerd Dispatch since 1996.
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