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Local brief- June 15

The Sightseekers — Mike Edmunds (left), Lyle Steffenson, Tom Beaver and Dick Sob

Upcoming programs offered at Staples library

STAPLES — The Great River Regional Library Staples location is offering the following programs:

Storytime with Grandpa Berry will be the fourth Wednesday of the month, beginning June 22, from 1-1:30 p.m. Parents and preschoolers are invited to a summer storytime series with Grandpa Barry at the Staples Public Library. Barry Klein will read aloud to preschoolers in the Reading Roundhouse. 

The One World, Many Songs Workshop will be from 1-2 p.m. June 23. Children ages 9-12 are invited to attend the workshop with singer songwriter Elisa Korenne. Korenne will sing and teach songs in Dutch, Spanish, French and Hebrew. Attendance limit is 25 and preregistration is required. 

One World Many Stories will be from 6:30-7:15 p.m. June 23. It’s geared for children ages 3-12. The Great River Educational Arts Theatre will present this interactive music play featuring folk tales and music from Germany, Mexico, Arabia, Turkey and China. The cast and audience journey to many lands, learn new songs and share in funny and important moral tales. GREAT is a nonprofit founded in 1998 and dedicated to children and their families in central Minnesota. The program is funded in part with money from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

The Old-Fashioned Toymaking Workshop will be June 25. It’s geared for children from kindergarten through sixth grade. Two sessions will be offered: from 9:30-11 a.m. for kindergarten through third grade; and 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. for children in fourth through sixth grade. The K-3 session requires a parent or caregiver to participate and assist. Attendance limit at each session is 20 and preregistration is required. The workshop uses materials from household items. These homemade toys were created during the Great Depression when families made do with little income. Learn how to make fun, inexpensive toys that can be made at home as well.

For more information on the programs, call the Staples Public Library at (218) 894-1401.

Aitkin County Rivers and Lakes Fair Saturday

AITKIN — The 15th annual Aitkin County Rivers and Lakes Fair is scheduled Saturday at Rippleside Elementary School in Aitkin. The fair includes classroom presentations, hands-on activities, exhibits and displays relating to natural resource management.

Children’s activities include building a bluebird house that they can take home, learning how to tie flys for fly fishing, carnival games such as minnow races and a casting challenge and craft projects. Long lake Conservation Center staff will teach participants about Minnesota’s native snakes from 10 a.m. to noon.

A “Lead Free Tackle Exchange” will return to the fair. Lead is a toxic metal that can poison mammals and birds such as loons or eagles. This is your opportunity to check out tackle made of non-poisonous materials such as tin, bismuth and steel. The DNR is bringing an aquarium of live fish caught in our local lakes and rivers. Aquatic exotic species and their control will be the topic of the featured program at 10 a.m. Rich Rezanka with the DNR will share how we can all do our part to control their spread.

Have you ever wondered what type of bird is singing that familiar song? Jerry Niemi will help participants explore the essential skill of “Birding By Ear.” You will learn tips for identifying birds just by their songs.

The fair also will include exhibits by numerous state and local organizations from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. An Invasive Species Traveling Exhibit will be shared. Lunch is available for $1.

The event is free. For more information, or a complete listing of programs, call Aitkin County at (218) 927-6565.

The Sightseekers to perform at Lions meeting

NISSWA — The Sightseekers, a barbershop quartet, will sing at the Nisswa Lions Installation of Officers dinner meeting scheduled at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Nisswa American Legion.

The quartet has been singing for more than two years and members include Tom Beaver, who plays bass; Dick Sobiech, baritone; Lyle Steffenson, lead; and Mike Edmunds, tenor. The quartet will sing barbershop songs, gospel and other songs.

Truck Touch 2011 for Kids

PEQUOT LAKES — The Pequot Lakes School Readiness Advisory Council is sponsoring “Truck Touch” from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 16 at the Trailside Park in Pequot Lakes. 

Participants will get inside an ambulance, a school bus, a dump truck, a front-end loader and many more large vehicles.

The “Truck Touch” is open to children and their families. The fee to enter the Truck Touch area is $3 per child, with a family maximum of $15. The event is a fundraiser to support scholarships for tuition costs for the School Readiness program in Pequot Lakes.

For more information, contact Sarah Tabaka, Pequot Lakes Early Childhood Coordinator, at (218) 568-9224 or the Pequot Lakes Community Education office at (218) 568-9200. To bring a truck to the event, contact Tabaka before July 16. Vehicles of all sorts and sizes will be included in the event.

CLC reaches out to Pine River area

Central Lakes College will host a College Information Night on June 20 at the Pine River-Backus School. 

From 5-6 p.m. a team from CLC will provide information on courses, admissions, financial aid and scholarships available to students attending at the Pine River site.  

From 6-8 p.m. students may register for classes. Anyone interested in taking classes or learning more about the new CLC Community Outreach Site in Pine River may benefit from attending the Information Night.  

The Pine River site will be structured to accommodate seasonal workers wanting to upgrade their skills in the winter months or traditional students who want to take classes close to home.  

CLC will offer short semesters — starting in October and continuing for 11 weeks compared to a regular 16-week semester. Classes in Pine River will be offered in the evenings, starting at 6 p.m. and limited to 15 to 20 students.  

The CLC Community Outreach Site will be located at the former District Offices on First Street North. Included at the site is a computer center so students may take online classes. There are more than 100 online courses available from CLC each semester. The computer center will open and be staffed from 5-9 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

The Cass County Economic Development Corporation, together with the Pine River Backus District and Central Lakes College, coordinated the effort to bring college courses to Pine River.

BHS agricultural teacher takes part in study

Brainerd High School agricultural teacher Denise Reeser is participating in a research study with the University of Minnesota, aimed at improving student science achievement.

The university, along with the Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council, is collaborating with the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education on a study that was spurred by a 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress that ranked the United States 21st in scientific literacy among 30 developed nations.

More studies have shown many high school students graduate without the proper scientific literacy to succeed in the future work place. Those studies led the researchers to wonder if students would learn science better if it was related to their particular career interests.

The research study worked with 30 agricultural teachers across Minnesota. Each teacher was randomly put into an experimental or control group. Reeser’s animal science course at Brainerd High School was selected to be part of the experimental group.

In the experimental group, Reeser invited science teacher Brad Ward of Forest Lake High School to help her in the classroom. The teachers worked closely together during six days of intense professional development to figure out science standards involved in her course. The educators also developed scientifically enhanced lessons for Reeser to teach in her classroom. These lessons were only taught to students enrolled in her animal science course.

Other Minnesota teachers involved in the study could be assigned to a control group. These teachers were instructed to teach their animal science courses normally.

To maximize the results of the study, Reeser’s students were tested on their scientific knowledge at the beginning of the term and toward the end. The test results from both experimental and control groups across Minnesota will be compared to see if learning science when related to a student’s career interests enhances science achievement, with results expected to be released this fall.

The project is led by Donna Pearson, National Research Center for Career and Technical Education, and Jim Leising, professor in agricultural education at the University of Minnesota.

Nisswa Women’s Club fashion show a success

The 28th annual Nisswa Women’s Club fashion show and luncheon drew 540 people to Madden’s Town Hall recently.

Proceeds from the show, as well as a raffle and silent auction, go mainly toward scholarships for lakes area high school seniors and for women who are non-traditional students at Central Lakes College.

The models wore fashions from Compliments! with artgarbs, Martin’s Sport Shop, Leslie’s, CAbi, Christmas Point, Skinny Minnow, Bagatelle, Madden’s Pro Shops, Lundrigan’s, Fun Sisters and Unique Keepsakes.

The fashion show is the club’s main fundraiser.