Looking back – 2021 year in review

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From opening new businesses to retirements to returning events after a year of COVID-19 shutdown, here’s a look at the headlines that dominated the Montevideo-American News headlines in 2021.

JANUARY

A change of command ceremony was held at Field Artillery Battalion 1-151 at TACC Montevideo. Lt. Col. Troy J. Fink, the former battalion commander, relinquished command of the 1-151 Field Artillery to Lt. Col. Brian K. Douty.

Nathan Molde was named Montevideo Firefighter of the Year 2020.

Former Montevideo graduate Jody Norstedt has been named North Dakota’s 020 Sports Host of the Year.

FEBRUARY

Superintendent Luther Heller announced his retirement after serving the Montevideo School District for 12 years.

The Melody Lanes family entertainment center has reopened after COVID-19 restrictions and renovations.

MARCH

The new Montevideo Pubic Works building was completed at a cost of approximately $ 3.5 million.

The City of Montevideo awarded the 2020 Development Awards to Paula Rochelau and Stacy Olson for the Best New Business Development 2020 award; Gail and Bruce Johnson for the award for best new residential development 2020; Matt and Norm VanGorp for the Best Home Improvement 2020 award.

CCM Santé encouraged residents to register on a waiting list for vaccination. As of March 1, the waiting list numbered 560 people.

APRIL

A groundbreaking ceremony was held for the new Thunder Hawk Apartments building.

It was announced that the architect’s plans for the Montevideo Veterans Home project had been officially approved and the contractors were in place to begin the project after years of efforts.

CAN

Wildwood Montessori School has announced plans to move into a new facility over the summer, allowing an expansion from the capacity to serve 13 children to the capacity to serve 42 children.

The Lions Club of Montevideo hosted a celebration in honor of its 75th anniversary of service in the community. The Montevideo club signed its charter on April 1, 1946, with 65 members.

Local artist Jammie Niemeyer presented the introduction to her year-long project titled “Eye on Growth” at the Hollywood Theater. The project was the result of a grant from the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council to Marshall who provided the funds as part of their Artist Equity Grants.

Cruz Ornales, 81, took part in his 12th and final Hunger Walk this year at Fiesta Days to help raise funds to fight hunger locally.

JUNE

CCM Health’s community garden was planted for the season with the help of volunteers at a planting party. In addition, CCM Health’s wellness center celebrated its first anniversary.

An author from Minnesota published a book based in the Montevideo / Watson area. Donna Lovitz has published the third book in her region-based “Heartbeat Trilogy” titled “Only a Heartbeat Away”.

Thunder Hawk Care, Montevideo Community Education’s child care program, received the District Friends of Education Award. The Thunder Hawk Care program has been in existence since 1996 and currently employs 46 people.

Montevideo City Council held its first fully in-person meeting for the first time in over a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NAPA Auto Parts store returned to Montevideo under the ownership of STAR Group LLC, opening on Black Oak Avenue.

The 75th annual Fiesta Days celebration took place in Montevideo. Among the activities of the week was a march against hunger. Cruz Ornales, who had raised funds for the Hunger Walk every year since 2010, walked for the last time because at 81 he was ready to retire.

The Thunder Hawks Trap team traveled to State, where Mikail Erickson placed first in the junior varsity division, while Avery Koenen and Francis O’Malley made it to State for Track.

Heritage Hill hosted its 40th annual Heritage Days Threshing Show.

Tegan Marty is crowned Queen of Fiesta Days 2022.

JULY

After the Independence Day celebrations were canceled in 2020, activities have resumed to celebrate the Maynard holidays with the annual fireworks display.

Acquisition and merger of MJT & Associates Financial Advisory Group with Rekow Management.

Dustin Shourds has been appointed Area 8 director of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association.

The city of Milan has completed a list of age-friendly community projects with the construction of a gazebo in the city center.

JC Discount Store has opened in downtown Montevideo. The store is owned by Armando Castenada, former owner of el Paraiso Latino.

A Montevideo high school graduate, Abby Olson traveled to Brazil with the United States D-3 women’s basketball team.

James “Jimmy” O’Malley played his retirement game in the Minnesota Special Olympics Summer Tournament.

Much of Greater Minnesota has experienced severe drought. For this reason, the city council encouraged community members to limit the use of non-essential outdoor water.

Doug Broich, of Montevideo, received the James M. Roche Award for Volunteerism from the National Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR).

The Twin Cities & Western Railroad Company celebrated 30 years of service.

A meeting was held in Montevideo to present the details of the final construction plans for the Montevideo veterans’ home.

The Chippewa County Fair took place for the first time after the COVID-19 pandemic put an end to all festivities for 2020.

Merriams Midway Rides returned to the show again this year.  The company has supplied the rides and games for the fair for the past five years.
The team at Minnwest Bank's Grill prepared meals for the 4-H Café.

AUGUST

Air quality alerts were issued locally after smoke from Canadian wildfires left a thick layer of smog in the air.

The Minnesota DNR announced new hunting regulations, including the reintroduction of a special teal hunting season that had not taken place since 2013.

Scott Dubbeldee, Managing Director of Farmer’s Co-op Elevator Company, retired after 28 years.

Montevideo hosted the State Junior Legion tournament for the second time.

The Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office has announced a new way to get burning permits online to make the permit process more efficient and accessible.

The annual Yellow Medicine / Chippewa County Relay for Life event was held in person in Montevideo.

An inauguration ceremony took place for the Montevideo Veterans Home. After years of effort, the day was a cause for celebration with the presence of veterans from the region, US Senator Amy Klobuchar, State Senator Andrew Lange, State Representative Tim Miller, MDVA Commissioner Larry Henke, MDVA Deputy Commissioner Douglas Hughes, members of the Montevideo Veterans Welcome Committee, including Committee Chairman Marv Garbe, and many more.

Chanhassen firefighter Doug Foote traverses downtown Montevideo on his 200 mile route.

SEPTEMBER

Sixteen-year-old Sam Ripley, a high school student in Montevideo, opened Sam’s Pumpkin Patch for its first season as a fall family destination on his family farm. The place had a variety of games, activities, refreshments and, of course, pumpkins for sale.

Lee Mar’s equestrian team traveled to the North Branch to compete in the state’s Special Olympics Equestrian Games.

The United Methodist Church of Montevideo celebrated its 150th anniversary with a day of worship and festivities.

CEE-IV’s Drugs and Gangs Task Force warned the public of a dangerous new synthetic drug circulating in the area that looked like fentanyl but was much deadlier.

The 17th Annual Horse Power Event was held at the Swensson Museum, hosted by the Chippewa County Historical Society.

A firefighter crossing the state stopped in Montevideo. Chanhassen Firefighter Doug Foote has traveled across the state to raise awareness about the Minnesota Firefighters Initiative, which helps firefighters with physical and mental health issues as a result of their jobs.

The first annual Welcome Week celebration event took place in Montevideo. Welcome Week is celebrated nationally in small communities to enhance the message of belonging. The Montevideo event was sponsored by the Southwest Initiative Foundation.

Construction of the Montevideo Veterans Home project has officially started.

The Montevideo Millenium Theater has opened its meeting room to the public.

A meeting was held to discuss the issue of homelessness in the community. The meeting was initiated by Pastor Don McKee of Our Savior Lutheran Church, who is also a member of the St. Martin Board of Trustees which helps provide emergency aid to those in need.

Alli Sachariason and Alyssa Sachs watch Lana Rongstad be crowned Reunion Queen.
The senior class celebrates their victory in the new "spirit stick".  The class can claim the prize until the Homecoming game next year.

OCTOBER

A large group gathered in Montevideo to discuss an initiative to develop a trail system that would connect the trails of Montevideo and Granite Falls.

The Meander Art Crawl was held in person for the first time after the COVID-19 pandemic.

A meeting was held to present plans for a diversion of Highway 67 that runs through Upper Sioux Agency State Park, after a two-year study showed movement below the ground surface that indicated a break in slope.

The new owners of Lifted Nutrition, Ashley Thompson, Brent Schlangen and Emily Hunt have taken over the Herbalife drink store in downtown Montevideo.

NOVEMBER

Trick-or-Treat Street has returned to downtown after being moved to the Millennium Theater parking lot in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vishay Manufacturing has opened in Montevideo, offering a number of new jobs to the community.

Montevideo Middle School has been recognized as one of the top 30 elementary schools in Minnesota.

The Southwest Minnesota Arts Council hosted an Arty Party in Montevideo to showcase their services to the community and bring together local artists for a networking opportunity.

Parkview Towers celebrated its 50th anniversary.

The first annual Montevideo Mayor gala was held to raise funds for Larson Park.

Construction has begun on the Cenex station on Highway 7 to renovate the property.

Sam Ripley, owner of Sam's Pumpkin Patch, organizes barrel train rides around the farm on its opening weekend.

DECEMBER

The Yellowstone Trail Alliance met with a planning consultant to begin work on a master plan to revitalize the trail to improve tourism.

It was announced that the Montevideo-American News, along with other Gannett-owned weekly newspapers in the region, have been sold to CherryRoad Media.

Talking Waters won two medals at the Minnesota Craft Brewer Guild Brewers Cup for their local craft beers.

The congregation of St. Paul Lutheran bakes over 4,000 cookies for its first annual cookie walk.

Visitors to the Horse Power Show enjoyed the horse-drawn carriage rides.
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