Tuesday, April 28, 2020

We are still here

The Bonanza Valley Voice is still here. We are surviving.

Please continue praying for our political leaders and for the workers on our front lines: fire fighters, EMT and emergency responders, health care provider workers and long-term care facility workers.


Thursday, April 23, 2020


It is predicted that Governor Walz will keep K-12 schools closed in Minnesota through the end of the 2019-2020 academic year.

I do not expect that any spring sports activities will be allowed. This will be officially announced (a yes or a no) at the 2 p.m. press conference today.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2020

A breakthrough on testing

This was e-mailed to Minnesota media outlets at 13:52 today. It is really tremendous news. I don't know if it's enough to save an endless list of small businesses who will fail because of the current pandemic, the tail end of the 2019-2020 school year or youth sports/activities for the next couple of months...but this is big.

Governor Walz, Mayo, U of M Announce COVID-19 Testing Breakthrough

Governor Tim Walz, representatives of the state’s health care delivery systems, the Mayo Clinic, and the University of Minnesota (U of M) today announced a breakthrough for rapid, widespread testing of COVID-19 in Minnesota. Standing together at the State’s Emergency Operations Center, they launched a statewide testing strategy to test all symptomatic people, isolate confirmed cases, and expand public health surveillance tools. By building capacity to test as many as 20,000 Minnesotans per day, this increased testing and tracing will help improve control of this pandemic and support the safe re-opening of society.

“When Minnesota faces a challenge, we rise up—together,” Governor Walz said. “I’m proud to partner with Minnesota’s innovative health care systems and leading research institutions to pioneer how states can begin to move forward amid COVID-19.”

The partnership announced today will help to assure that every person in the State with symptoms of COVID-19 gets tested. Funded in part by $36 million from the COVID-19 Minnesota Fund, the partnership will establish capacity to deliver 20,000 molecular and 15,000 serology tests per day.

“This expanded testing capacity will be transformative to our COVID-19 response, especially for vulnerable populations: individuals living in congregate care settings or experiencing homelessness; communities of color and American Indians; and critical workers,” said Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan. “By testing more people, we will build a better picture of how COVID-19 is impacting our state and how to combat it. I am grateful to the extraordinary health care professionals at the University of Minnesota, Mayo Clinic, and all of our health systems for making this partnership possible.”

The partnership will improve control of COVID-19 in Minnesota through increased public health surveillance and research. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and its public health partners will simultaneously expand contact tracing efforts for better control of the infection. The partnership will help to identify and respond to emerging “hotspots” of infection.  They will collect data on prevalence, geographic distribution, and barriers to care for the virus, and they will conduct groundbreaking research on COVID-19 to assure that tests are applied according to the best emerging science.

“We are pleased to roll out this new testing effort in partnership with the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic,” Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm said. “Having this greatly increased testing capacity will improve our understanding of how COVID-19 is spreading in Minnesota, and will provide key data to inform our decisions about how to protect Minnesotans.”

In partnership with MDH, the Mayo Clinic and the U of M will create a central lab to accommodate the expanded testing and a virtual command center in coordination with the health systems to monitor daily testing needs and coordinate rapid responses to outbreaks. 

“Mayo Clinic has been leading the nation in COVID-19 testing since the pandemic’s emergence.  As always, Mayo Clinic continues to put Minnesota first,” said William Morice, M.D., PhD, President of Mayo Clinic Laboratories. “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayo Clinic has prioritized Minnesota’s needs, offering the state unlimited access to Mayo’s unmatched testing capabilities and providing assistance and expertise whenever asked.  Mayo’s commitment continues today as we pledge further support for Minnesota’s statewide testing strategy.”

“We are committed to our vital public health obligation of aggressively expanding access to COVID-19 testing throughout the state. It will be core to any effort to safely reopen our state” said Jakub Tolar, MD, PhD, Dean of the University of Minnesota Medical School. “This is a complex health challenge. It is only fitting that two of Minnesota’s pre-eminent research institutions answer the call together in our commitment to tackling this pandemic. We are deeply grateful to Governor Walz and Minnesota leaders for supporting this testing strategy."

The expanded testing will include intensive testing of: vulnerable populations, including Minnesotans living in congregate settings and those experiencing homelessness; staff that serve vulnerable populations and health care workers; communities of color and American Indian populations; and workforce for critical infrastructure.

“As an organization that cares for and serves 1.2 million patients and 1.8 million health plan members, HealthPartners applauds Gov. Walz for his leadership in advancing a statewide COVID-19 testing vision,” said Andrea Walsh, president and CEO, HealthPartners. “This partnership will help us identify people who have the infection, prevent spread of disease, and protect our doctors, nurses and care teams. Expanding testing and contact tracing is a necessary building block to help us all work toward re-opening Minnesota.”

"I strongly support a comprehensive statewide SARS-CoV-2 testing program bringing together both core clinical laboratory and public health surveillance expertise," said Dr. Michael Osterholm, Regents Professor and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

The U of M is the State’s public research university with a presence in every county of the state and is a leader in transformational research into the basic and clinical science of infectious diseases. Mayo Clinic is a leader in developing clinical testing and scaling capacity, and serves as a national reference laboratory and also a leader in clinical and basic infectious disease research.


Saturday, April 18, 2020

Prairie View Golf Course

Prairie View Golf Course is taking steps to open its course to the public. They are working to secure cleaning agents required to keep equipment clean each day. To book tee times, which is required to use the course, you have to call ahead and pay ahead with credit card: 320-346-2677.

Its Pro Shop will be closed to comply with the state's executive order.

Their website is https://prairieviewgolfcourse.com/rates.

Further information to follow.


Monday, April 13, 2020

COVID-19 testing

Minnesota labs have completed 38,427 COVID-19 tests as of this morning.

Through this time, 1,650 of those tests came back positive. Which means that in Minnesota, only 1 in 23 suspected cases of COVID are actually COVID.

Out of the 1,650 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 842 of them have recovered and are no longer needing isolation. A total of 74 patients are in ICU, out of a total of 157 who need hospitalization today. To date, 361 of the COVID-19 people have needed hospitalization.


Sunday, April 12, 2020

Some very interesting history!

How many of you knew that a smallpox outbreak spread across the colonies during the U.S. Revolutionary War?

Link: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1775–1782_North_American_smallpox_epidemic.

We owe the very existence of our country to the founding fathers and those who bravely fought the British Red Caps in those years.

And here's some uplifting singing on this Easter Sunday: https://www.faithpot.com/amelia-kate-hallelujah/.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

(VIDEOS) Easter Sunday worship




Two videos are included! One from 2019 that is absolutely MARVELOUS to watch any day of the year and especially right now, and another for the 2020 Easter worship at Norway Lake Lutheran parish.

When I get to the 4:30 mark in the 2019 video clip shown, it's all goosebumps for me! What a thrilling and exciting song to take in!!! And the performance of the choir at East Norway Lake Lutheran church was outstanding!

Be well. Stay well.

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Elrosa welcomes the Easter Bunny

The Easter bunny made an early visit to Elrosa today. The Easter bunny was escorted around town by the Elrosa Fire Department, with members of the Elrosa Commercial Club and Elrosa Baseball Club helping distribute candy bags to local children and senior citizens.

Video clip:

Last night the Easter bunny visited Belgrade, with the Belgrade Fire Department providing accommodations.

In news from around the country / world...

Government mandate: "Gotta stay 6 feet apart."

Okay...sounds reasonable.

Then we have 16 recovering drug addicts gathering (spread out) in a church sanctuary that holds 300. For some of them, the church is all they have. Their families have disowned them, they struggle to find gainful employment, and the hope and salvation offered by the pastor at this church is essentially the difference between being able to survive or folding up shop. Government response to that: "Shut this down! Threat to public health."

That's the current state of affairs. We have quite a fight on our hands.

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Thursday, April 09, 2020


As it turns out, France is having a very bad day today. Their figure for COVID-19 deaths is 1,341. That's the equivalent of the U.S. losing 6,604 people in the same day.

Now we are learning the full scale of what China did: the virus was ravaging through Europe in February. China kept the world in the dark in January, and now we're all paying for it.

For the U.S., we're in the midst of one of our worst days in this. Our reported figure as of mid-afternoon is 1,443 deaths (799 in New York state).

In Minnesota, the projections show 456 COVID-19 deaths between the start of this and August 4, 2020. Two weeks ago, that estimate was over 2,000. It was cut in half on April 5...and then on April 8, the estimate was again cut in half.

If all activity returned to what you'd say was "normal" for mid-April, the estimated deaths from COVID-19 would jump back over 2,000 and very likely higher. So for now, Minnesotans will hunker down and continue being very deliberate about every public interaction we have.


Wednesday, April 08, 2020


The death totals from COVID-19 are in for today, close to being official, as the reporting period is almost at the end (it resets at 9 p.m. tonight to tomorrow).

Germany...recorded 333 deaths today related to COVID-19. That's the equivalent of 1,324 Americans dying in one day.

For the record, America's number for today was 1,827, which is down from yesterday's number of 1,970.

Also today, 747 people died in Spain. That's the equivalent of 5,245 Americans dying in the same day.

In the United Kingdom, they had their worst day today with 938 people dying. That's the equivalent of 4,641 Americans dying.

Italy is improving, and their number for today is 542 (it was 604 yesterday).


Tuesday, April 07, 2020

A pick-me-up

It was great to hear tonight "on good authority" that take-out business at the Padua Pub has been going well. They're grateful for the support.

Let's keep it going!

I heard a fun saying on tonight's Dave Ramsey show. Ramsey spoke heavy praises on the teachers of America for what they are enduring, hand-in-hand with parents of K-12 children.

Ramsey said, "Parents will see the full value of our teachers as they work with this distance learning. And, they can picture trying to teach a group of eight-year old kids in a classroom...I think any honest parent would equate that with trying to nail jello to a tree. It can be that difficult. To our teachers doing their very best to make this work, you are one of the many unsung heroes in all of this. We salute you."



The Indiana state crisis phone line, for people suffering from severe depression or thoughts of suicide, have spiked from 1,000 a day to 25,000 per day.

COVID-19 is not the only terrible thing happening in America right now. However, sadly, the MSM (main stream media) are putting the nation's entire focus on that.

On a much brighter note: today we hit 65 degrees in the Bonanza Valley! Holy smokes! It hasn't been this warm since...probably last September.

I am hoping and praying for May. For me, it's all about the month of May right now. We're enduring great economic misery right now...our personal misery isn't necessarily quite as great. (We're being "called" to sit on the couch and watch Netflix!...which is a basic summary of where we stand)

Kids are definitely suffering. In our home, we ask, and in most cases, expect our kids to be social and be outgoing and be participating members of society. Right now, we're asking the exact opposite (for good reasons, at least reasons with the best of intentions).


Monday, April 06, 2020

(VIDEO) Ray of Hope - we are Jaguar Strong!

Tonight at football and baseball stadiums across Minnesota, the lights were turned on for a 20-minute period starting at 9 p.m. For Jaguar Country, we had lights on at Elrosa's Saints Field as well as the high school football field.

In terms of the stadium lights flooding the night skyline in Elrosa and Belgrade, the evening was a show of support for the B-B-E Class of 2020, whose senior year is in "flux" to say the least. We are also showing support for the entire student body, staff and our community first responders and health care workers.

I assembled this tonight, featuring a current view of the Jaguar football stadium, my comments and then a handful of photos from October 28, 2017. That was a day filled with many highs and a great, big low...a let down. A huge disappointment. Something that we moved past, and in the grand scheme of things...a football playoff loss that was minor when placed in the "big picture" we call life.

I don't want anyone to think that anyone knows how the rest of the 2019-2020 school year will play out. I really hope cooler minds will rule the day, and the state government won't prematurely "call it" without letting more of the month of April develop. But my hope does not translate into how life actually plays out.

Rather than spoil this blog post with more of my ranting, I want to end by saying that we really need to rally around one another, and especially our children, while picturing future memories being made on our local sports fields and in our schools. This is not a time to live in fear. This is a time to stand up, square your shoulders, straighten your neck and face the challenges of each day head on. Drive straight into them and knock out the difficulties in front of us!

YES, life is more than a football game, or a volleyball match, or a baseball game, or a fastpitch game, or a track meet, or a golf meet...I think you get the message. YES, life is more than that, but I also think it is perfectly acceptable to show sadness and disappointment that we are unable to gather around spring sports activities at this time. These events are deeply embedded in the fabric of life in our small towns across rural America. I believe reasonable people understand why these events are "on pause" right now. Many other facets of life are on "pause" as well. Keep in mind: this is not a permanent state of life.

This too shall pass.

Be Well. Stay Well.

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Ray of Hope tonight

B-B-E schools will turn on the stadium lights at the Jaguar football field and the Elrosa Saints baseball park tonight (April 6) from 9 to 9:20 p.m. as a “Ray of Hope” for the class of 2020.

This also serves as a Community Ray of Hope for our local health workers, businesses, fire fighters/first responders and police officers.

My take: enough of the doomsday talk. Let's look forward. Let's live without fear for a change. That can be done in a responsible manner.

Here's a website that I've been studying for the last five days...it breaks down needs of each state in the union. The website was updated on April 1 and then again yesterday. In Minnesota, "invasive ventilators needed" was over 600. The need was significantly higher than the 235 figure that Minnesota started this fight with (according to Governor Walz)...today I looked and see that "ventilators needed" stands at 192. https://covid19.healthdata.org/projections.

More hope, less fear please!

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Saturday, April 04, 2020

Website has been updated

The Bonanza Valley Voice newspaper website has been updated with a new batch of stories, including video of the Padua Saint Patrick's Day parade from March 17. Also included is video of Palm Sunday worship at East Norway Lake Lutheran church.


I hope you and your family and the neighborhood you live in are all doing as well as can be managed.

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Thursday, April 02, 2020

Some good news

The state trooper with the Minnesota State Patrol who was diagnosed with COVID-19 last week has been released from quarantine. He is clear of infection. This is good news!

I'm on the statewide conference call with Governor Tim Walz right now. He just reported that to the media.

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Emergency meeting in Brooten

For the citizens of Brooten:

Due to town home developer Cody Nelson not being able to procure funds until the Quit Claim Deed is in place, Mayor Larry Putz has called for an emergency meeting of the Brooten City Council for the following discussion.

Brooten City Council
Special Emergency Meeting
Thursday, April 2, 2020
at 4:00 p.m.

4:00 - Quit Claim Deed for Land Transfer
         Cody C. Nelson – Old High School Lots
         Metes and Bounds - Lots 1 Thru 3 & Lots 11 Thru 16
         Blk 3 and Vac E/W Alley Adj to Lots 11-16
        Plat – Lots 001 Block 003 of Anderson’s & Roe’s Add

4:15 - approve Building Permit – Cody Nelson Duplexes


The American Red Cross will be hosting a spring blood drive on Wednesday, April 22 at the Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa high school. This event will take place with extra precautions due to the COVID-19 virus, so donors and volunteers will be safe with specific protocols in place. This event will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Time slots are every 15 minutes. Specific appointments can be set up with B-B-E senior Jacqueline Gossen at < gossejac000@bbejaguars.org > or blood donors can go into the Red Cross website (short link) https://rcblood.org/2X2AMGrthen type in the Belgrade zip coder 56312, and set up an appointment themselves. Blood drives are an essential gathering and can have more than 10 attendees.


The District VIII court case (restitution hearing stage) in Glenwood involving Brooten business owner Jana Zenner and an elderly senior citizen in Pope County has been postponed indefinitely. The court case had a hearing set for March 31, 2020.

Once the District VIII judicial court can resume operations, a new date will be selected and released to the public.

The same is true for the District VII court case in St. Cloud involving the Brooten Commercial Club.

That's all I know. As always, if I know something and I know it can be released to the public, I will always do that as soon as possible either online or in print (or both).