Thursday, December 31, 2020

5, 1, 0

The new numbers of 5, 1 and 0 have new significance for the B-B-E school district. They represent the sum of new COVID-19 cases for the Belgrade (5), Brooten (1) and Elrosa (0) zip code areas.

This is an improvement from the week before, when the numbers were 8, 2 and 0, respectively. All in all, it bodes well for re-starting full in-person K-12 school next Tuesday, January 5, 2021 at B-B-E!

Here's a link to read more information at the Bonanza Valley Voice newspaper website (short link):


Monday, December 28, 2020

The games may begin!

This afternoon the Minnesota State High School League announced that winter competition for high school winter sports can begin as early as Thursday, January 14. Additional guidance is being provided by the MSHSL to modify winter activities in accordance with state health guidelines.

Practices are set to begin on January 4.

*Remember! All of this is announced under the assumption that COVID-19 case counts will continue to decline across the state. If current trends of decline are reversed, winter sports would be in jeopardy (as would in-person schooling).

From what I read, it appears that masks will be required at all times for basketball players - during practices and games. (Don't shoot the messenger) Masking requirement exceptions during competitions will be made for student-athletes in gymnastics, cheerleading, wrestling and swimming and diving.

No information was provided regarding whether or not fans will be allowed to attend in person at winter contests.

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Sunday, December 27, 2020

(VIDEO) Christmas caroling at B-B-E elementary

Here's a video taken at B-B-E elementary school on Thursday, December 20, 2018

That was a fun afternoon! The band sounded magnificent!

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Saturday, December 26, 2020

(VIDEO) Santa Claus in Elrosa

After about a 48-hour break from adding posts here, I looked back to find this video clip. I've got a few clips from the Santa Day evening in Elrosa, and this is the second one to show.

While doing their U-turn on the adjacent hay field at the end of Roberts Street, the sound system had a brief technical issue that they recovered from after a couple minutes of adjusting the wiring. 

The Elrosa Commercial Club, Elrosa Baseball Club and the Elrosa Fire Department did a fantastic job!


Thursday, December 24, 2020

(VIDEO) Bentleyville Christmas display in Duluth

That was a fun night! You can get a glimpse of the experience in this video.

The footage is from the shores of Lake Superior in Duluth on Sunday, December 2. The Bentleyville Tour of Lights is one of America's largest walk-through lighting displays. This year it was converted to a drive-through event. It was worth traveling for! Their last day of the season is Sunday, Deceember 27.

Estimates suggest this brings $20 million of economic activity to the city of Duluth. You can read more about Bentleyville at

*Click here to review a blog post from Christmas Eve day with updated information on COVID-19. 

A tentative plan is in place to return all K-12 students to in-person school on Tuesday, January 5. The exception to that is with families who choose to utilize remote learning (about two dozen B-B-E kids). However, if local COVID-19 numbers increase in the next week, that plan would be in jeopardy.

Here's takeaway = we need COVID-19 numbers to continue to decline locally. In the Belgrade zip code, the number "8" should be "4" or even less. The new cases totaled 10 inside the B-B-E zip codes across the previous week as stated in that last blog post. Ideally, we want that number to be 5 or less. We don't want to just flatten the curve, we want to crush it. This will put B-B-E in a best position to resume in-person learning and also extracurricular activities.

  • Here's a video that I never posted. It's over a year old now. I am surprised I forgot to post it, but here it is...better late than never, right? It's the K-4 elementary Christmas program from December 11, 2019. The video lasts about 37 minutes and begins with fifth and sixth grade choir and band students performing Christmas songs.

The K-4 musical begins about six minutes into the video.

Some time in January (2021), the current fourth grade class will hopefully perform songs they've been rehearsing in Mrs. Gertken's music class. Announcements to that will be published in the Bonanza Valley Voice newspaper.

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8, 2, 0

The new numbers of 8, 2 and 0 have new significance for the B-B-E school district. They represent the sum of new COVID-19 cases for the Belgrade (8), Brooten (2) and Elrosa (0) zip code areas.

This is an improvement from the week before, when the numbers were 8, 4 and 1, respectively. All in all, it bodes well for re-starting full in-person K-12 school on January 5, 2021 at B-B-E! We really do want a COVID-free Christmas break.

Also, I'm happy to share that only seven COVID-19 cases have been identified in the last seven weeks in staff or students at B-B-E. None were due to transmission on either campus. This is in a population of approximately 800 children and adults.

Also, the COVID-19 test positivity rate is 8.6 percent for Stearns County, 6.9 percent for Kandiyohi County and 4 percent for Pope County. Getting that number under five is important.

**In related news

I have literally been saying this since last April...exactly what is spelled out in this news article. It is 99% VERBATIM what I've said for the last eight months. Click here to see what I'm talking about =

Since reading numerous similar studies last summer, I've said that my opinion was that 90+ percent of the COVID deaths that America has suffered could have been prevented if Vitamin D levels were at least "adequate" across the population. In a battle with a virus, I've always said that you want to not only slow its spread but also be prepared health-wise for a head-on battle with it. We can all do both. 

I was stunned to read the story this morning on Fox News. It is the first time I've seen a major media outlet put a story together that repeats what I've been saying repeatedly. A huge weapon we can use against COVID-19 can be found in the local pharmacy or even your local hardware store. In the case of Belgrade Hardware, everything on the list can be purchased there at a very low cost with the exception of quercetin. A bottle of 100 pills of Vitamin D (2000 IU) costs a whopping $6.23. That's a 100-day supply if you want something at that high of a level. It's more recommended to take 1,000 IU a day, however, as stated in the news story. For some, if you suspect your Vitamin D levels are low, a simple blood test will give you a firm answer.

I order quercetin through a company called Puritan's Pride.

COVID patients are still taking up a high proportion of hospital beds across the region. That's the bad news. The good news is that the numbers are improving. Even better, we are learning more and more about tools we all can use to fight back. We can do so much more than simple mitigation measures. 


Wednesday, December 23, 2020

An inch of snow...and a blizzard

It's a full-blown blizzard out there!

The Bonanza Valley State Bank closed today at 3 p.m. I'm not aware of any other business closings due to the weather, but I'm sure there were more.

Enjoy the extra family time! It's going to be as cold as 7 below zero tonight, according to the forecast.

Basically all of the Bonanza Valley Voice newspaper coverage area is in a no-travel advisory starting this afternoon and lasting until at least 6 a.m. tomorrow.

We did dodge a bullet of sorts, as the forecast of 3 to 5 inches of snow today did not materialize.

It's been a brutal year for the newspaper. 


I didn't get around to writing up a complete set of school board stories from Monday night's meeting. I did write about the new J Fund program set up for B-B-E that creates a formal process of accepting private donations for school matters (building or program improvements). This is all fabulous news. Once you read the story in this week's newspaper, you'll know more!

I still haven't written up a budget story from the December 14 Brooten city council meeting. Uff Da.

I'm pleased to report that the property tax increases for both B-B-E schools and the city of Brooten are very modest. For B-B-E, the tax increase amounts to about one percent on the levy.

Now it's time to settle in and catch some rest for the first time in many weeks. It's been a whirlwind lately! I hope you don't have to drive anywhere tonight. The winds are gusting over 50 miles an hour!


Monday, December 21, 2020

(VIDEO) Theater walls go up

On Thursday, December 10, construction of new walls began for the B-B-E high school auditorium and theater area. Below is video taken later in the afternoon.

Impressive progress has taken place since that day. Read more about it in this week's Bonanza Valley Voice newspaper!

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Sunday, December 20, 2020

(VIDEO) High school project...and a Christmas open house

Great progress has taken place at the B-B-E high school campus on the 2020-2021 remodeling project. Featured in this video, taken on December 17, is a view from the northeast parking lot. You can see the results of foundation work that's taken place this month on the new, secured entrance addition.

I am hoping to get photos and some information on the remodeling project in the December 24 issue of the Bonanza Valley Voice newspaper.

**Here's a link to learn about the Hopeful Hills Ranch Christmas open house. Their final day is today. (Short link)


Friday, December 18, 2020

A very fun evening in Elrosa

Elrosa pulled off Santa Day in style with a terrific evening where children of all ages saw Santa Claus ride around the different streets. It was awesome! 

Look for video from Elrosa to be posted tomorrow either here or on the Bonanza Valley Voice website.

And here's one video clip! This was taken on Roberts Street.

KUDOS to Elrosa for pulling this off! The children really, really enjoyed it.


Thursday, December 17, 2020

New COVID figures released: 8, 4, 1

The numbers 8, 4 and 1 are of new significance as of today.

These figures that have a sum of 13, represent the new COVID-19 cases confirmed by the Minnesota Department of Health for the zip codes of 56312 (Belgrade), 56316 (Brooten) and 56325 (Elrosa). The total population of those three zip code areas is 4,285 children and adults.

To be certain, the B-B-E school district includes a fair amount of other territory beyond the Belgrade, Brooten and Elrosa zip codes. If you look in today's Bonanza Valley Voice, you'll see last week's new numbers for a vast area across central Minnesota - including all of the B-B-E district, which has land in the Glenwood, Benson, Sunburg, New London and Sauk Centre zip code areas.

It's noteworthy to see in the Glenwood zip code, which has a population of 5,556...the new cases totaled 15 for today's MDH report.

Alexandria, population 25,080, had 123 new cases confirmed in the past week.

I'm breaking down the other zip code areas today. I might get it all posted at the Bonanza Valley Voice website. Got a few irons in the fire right now!


Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Walz sports lockdown

We learned today that the Governor Walz lockdown on youth sports will continue through at least January 4, 2021. Information was released in the statewide media today regarding K-12 school reopenings, but it is so confusing and muddled that I'm not even going to begin to decipher it.

I have no other comments to add to that.

Some good news: B-B-E Superintendent Walsh will announce further information about K-12 related news for our school some time before the end of the day on Thursday (tomorrow). It should be noted that firm decisions won't be made until after the December 31 report on local COVID-19 data is released by the department of health.


Tuesday, December 15, 2020

(VIDEO) Brooten's lighted Christmas parade

Click here to watch the parade!

More coverage will be in this week's Bonanza Valley Voice newspaper.

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Saturday, December 12, 2020

'Crazy' turnout for Brooten Santa Day

The turnout was incredible tonight in Brooten! Below, catch a glimpse of it in the video taken on main street:

THANK YOU to everyone to was in Brooten tonight. A special thank you to the Belgrade Royal Ambassadors for attending and joining the parade.

And thank you for everyone's patience as we turned over the drive-through Christmas into the lighted Christmas parade. The parade started almost a half hour after we planned. We waited until all vehicles had been through the drive-through portion of Santa Day, which allowed all the kids to see Santa Claus before he joined the Brooten Fire Department for the parade.

At least 200 cars passed through during a one hour, 20-minute stretch of time. At the peak of the event, between 30 to 35 vehicles were in the line down Central Avenue. It was an amazing night!

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Thursday, December 10, 2020

Walls will be going up

New exterior walls will be going up in the next two weeks at both the B-B-E high school and elementary buildings. This is very exciting news as we see progress made at both campuses. 

This morning I took some pictures and video at the high school. More to come.

Below is video taken this afternoon at the high school's northeast parking lot:

Also, some more exciting news...I just learned that the B-B-E senior high band will perform Christmas carol music in downtown Belgrade one week from today. They plan to do this at a yet-to-be determined location on main street at 1 p.m. on Thursday, December 17.

And...I just peeked at the local COVID-19 case count figures released today by the Minnesota Department of Health. The figures show significant decreases across area zip codes. One example of that is New London, which had 50 percent growth two weeks ago, 22 percent last week and now 10 percent for this week.

One exception was Brooten, where the growth remained at 13 percent week-to-week (11/26 to 12/03 compared to 12/03 to 12/10) with 14 new cases on the record for today's MDH COVID-19 report compared to 12 new cases on last week's report.

Again...more to come. The sun is out today and the temperatures will get just over 40 degrees. It appears that the fall-like weather is coming to an end this weekend, so I am going to enjoy today by not being inside!

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Monday, December 07, 2020

Christmas-related announcements

A couple items are announced on the Bonanza Valley Voice website this week regarding local Christmas-related information. Check it out:

Also, here's a web link to read more on the Hopeful Hills Ranch Christmas sale going on over the next two weekends (short link) Owner Jane Fauskee is married to Randy Fauskee, 1985 Brooten high school graduate and owner/operator of Fauskee Oil, Inc. 

Fauskee Oil is a tireless supporter of our newspaper and the entire operation here at our little media empire. We want to give a big shout out to Jane and Randy and their wonderful small businesses in the Bonanza Valley!

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Wednesday, December 02, 2020

(HD VIDEO) Volleyball vs. Eden Valley-Watkins

Time to get this posted before it's a month old! It's getting there...Here's video from the November 12 volleyball match against Eden Valley-Watkins. Little did we know at the time, that this was the final volleyball match of the 2020 season. It ended abruptly.

Action in the video is from game four in a match won by the B-B-E Jaguars volleyball team by a 3-1 margin. They finished the season 9-1 overall and in the Central Minnesota Conference. A scheduled non-conference border battle with Sauk Centre never materialized (scheduled for November 23).


(HD VIDEO) Veterans Day

Forgot to post this until now. This was from November 11 at the B-B-E high school.

Other coverage from Veterans Day was published in the November 19 issue of the Bonanza Valley Voice newspaper.

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