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New pastor takes over at St. Paul’s Lutheran

Members of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Henning have showered their new pastor and his family with groceries, gift certificates and offers to baby sit.
“They informed my parents and his parents that they’d take good care of us, and they have,” said Dawn Mann, whose husband Kevin was officially installed as the new pastor on November 30.
Mann’s installation means that the 400-member church has a full-time pastor for the first time in more than three years, when then-pastor, Randy Maland, was severely injured in a motorcycle accident.
The Manns come from Melrose, Minn., where Randy pastored a church. The couple met at Concordia University, a Missouri Synod Lutheran school in River Forest, Ill. They have four children: Jacob, 10, in fourth grade at Henning School; Olivia, 5, soon to start preschool; Benjamin, 3 and Callie, 11 months.
Kevin Mann said he had talked about becoming a pastor when he was in grade school, but as he aged, he decided he’d rather teach high school biology or math at a Lutheran school. He did so in Texas for a while, then switched to accounting. In 2005, he got laid off. Nothing came from his job search, and the idea of becoming a pastor resurfaced, so he decided to enter the seminary.  read entire story. . . .

A reminder of Christmas all year long

During December, what is better than to have a little Christmas mystery?
In this case, a little poinsettia has mysteriously hung onto its vibrant red blooms for an entire year in a Henning apartment building.
Poinsettias normally don’t keep their blooms, or bracts, said Andrew Butler, a grower with Green Valley Greenhouse north of the Twin Cities, where this particular plant originated.
“I’m going to say that’s extremely unusual, almost unheard of,” he said. “Poinsettias will rebloom, but they’re daylight sensitive. They need 12 hours of dark starting in September.”
Typically, leaves will fall off and new green bracts will emerge. Growers can put the plants outside, even plant them in their gardens, and they’ll thrive. But to get them to rebloom can be tricky. They should be taken inside in September and then placed in equal amounts of darkness and perfect lighting conditions, such as under a grow light.  read entire story. . . .

Local writer says her stories choose her

When Shirlee Taylor’s children were small, she didn’t have time to write, so she took notes for future books. She filled one whole notebook with her vivid recurring nightmares and when she finally found time, that notebook became her first novel.
Taylor, who lives between Henning and Deer Creek, has written four books with a fifth in the works. She has self-published them and sells them in Henning at the Salvation Army Thrift Shop and Denny’s Food-n-Sport Shop. One of them, a local history called “Dear John,” is also sold at the dentist’s office.
Her first three books were fiction and “Dear John,” her fourth, is based on a double murder and a mob lynching of a 15-year-old suspect in Perham. She’s working on a fifth book, about the lives of historical figures killed for crimes they may or may not have committed.
“I’ve found my niche,” she said. “The stories have been picking me. I look at forgotten legends, unsolved murders or deaths, something that’s unresolved.”
Taylor searches genealogy records and old newspaper articles, and takes tips from people she encounters. Instinct guides her choice of writing material; it generally involves horrific historical events, but not just any crime or murder will do.
“If there’s something that grabs me, then I dig,” she said. “It has to speak to me.”
Her children are adults now, and a bad back landed her on disability so she has more time to devote to her craft. She published her historical book as ShirLee, to distinguish it from her fiction, which she writes as Shirlee Taylor.
Her novels were published in 2000 and involve the paranormal––haunted houses, demons––as well as elements of detective novels and suspense. Her first book, “Reflections,” involves a government-run dumping ground for social misfits. Her third, “Whispers in the Darkness,” features a house with a mind of its own.
Taylor firmly believes in “things we can’t explain,” and is open to the idea that spirits might seek to tell their stories through her.  read entire story. . . .

New power line provides access to renewable energy

The new CapX2020 power line running through southwestern Otter Tail County will provide access to wind energy coming from North Dakota. If needed, this access will benefit Otter Tail Power electricity consumers in Pelican Rapids, Perham, New York Mills, Battle Lake, Parkers Prairie, rural Henning and other areas.
The 345,000-volt transmission line is a joint initiative of 11 transmission owning utilities, including Fergus Falls-based Otter Tail Power Company.
“The new line will improve community reliability in Otter Tail County and other areas along the route,” said Tim Rogelstad, president of Otter Tail Power Company who is a native of Pelican Rapids, Minn.
Rogelstad, who became president of OTP this past April, said during a news media briefing on December 4 that connections to the new CapX2020 power line will be operational at Alexandria and Fargo. Power lines from those two stations will carry electricity into Otter Tail County, at 115,000-volts.
The CapX2020 line running through Otter Tail County is a double circuit 345,000-volt transmission line. It’s being built between a new Bison Substation west of Fargo, the existing Alexandria Switching Station in Alexandria and the new Quarry Substation west of St. Cloud.
Included in the overall CapX2020 project are four 345,000-volt transmission lines and one 230,000-volt line. The project will also serve electricity consumers in South Dakota and Wisconsin. The lines are projected to cost more than $2 billion and cover nearly 800 miles.
Customers of Otter Tail Power Company are seeing a four percent rate increase in light of OTP’s participation in the CapX2020 project. This is the largest development of new transmission in the Upper Midwest in nearly 40 years.
Installation of a new $384 million air-quality control system at Big Stone Plant in northeastern South Dakota will result in an additional rate increase of 2.5 percent for customers of Otter Tail Power.  read entire story. . . .