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Morris in 2013: What happened around here? (Part II)

During an all-school assembly on Thursday, Nov. 14, Morris Area High School teachers helped announce that MAHS had received a grant of $100,000 from State Farm for rallying support for safe driving during the Celebrate My Drive program.

The second half of our look back at the year that was includes a run for a state title in baseball, accolades for a famous local sandwich, and a community-wide effort that earned $100,000 for Morris Area High School.

To see the first half of our 2013 recap, pick up a copy of the Dec. 28, 2013 edition of the Sun Tribune or click this link.


The West Central Research and Outreach Center held a dedication ceremony for the Renewable Hydrogen and Ammonia Pilot Plant, which uses wind energy to pull nitrogen and hydrogen from air and water, then combines the elements into anhydrous ammonia fertilizer.

Beginning on Monday, July 16, same-sex couples could pick up marriage licenses at the Stevens County Recorder’s office. Couples who applied could pick up their official license on Aug. 1 when same-sex marriage was officially legalized in Minnesota. 

Cassey Hickman of Morris was crowned Miss Morris on Saturday, July 13 during the Miss Morris/Miss Midwest Scholarship Program. Katia Vantries and Samantha Searle were named the Morris Area Ambassadors.

A rainy Sunday in July cancelled the Prairie Pioneer Days parade for the first time in recent memory.

A civil suit filed by Stevens County Auditor/Treasurer Neil Wiese against Stevens County was withdrawn. Under an order from Judge David Mennis of Swift County, the case was dismissed with prejudice, which meant it could not be brought back to court. In the suit, Wiese contended that the Stevens County Board of Commissioners set his 2013 salary and the 2013 budget for his office in an “arbitrary, capricious, [and] oppressive” manner.

The second of two field trials hosted by the West Central Minnesota Retriever Club was held in Morris. Local dog breeder Dan Sayles is the president of the WCMRC.

The Morris City Council named Sgt. Ross Tiegs as the interim police chief for the city of Morris following Jim Beauregard’s retirement on July 31. Tiegs appointed chief in September at the recommendation of the Police Civil Service Commission.

Demolition crews started knocking down walls at Morris’ old elementary school building on Tuesday, July 30. By the end of the week both the 1956 and 1975 sections of the building were gone.


The Morris American Legion Post 29 baseball team finished their regular season with a record of 13-2 and made it through through the district playoffs to make their first state tournament appearance since 2001. The team finished the season as the state runner-up at the 2013 American Legion DII Tournament in Bird Island with a 4-3 win over La Crescent.

A severe storm rolled through the area on Tuesday, Aug. 6, dropping golf ball and tennis ball sized hail on the area. Trained weather spotters saw a rotating wall cloud and a funnel cloud west and north of Morris, but the storm did not produce a tornado.

Doug Stahman, Brad Zimmel and Lisa Kurtz were appointed to the Morris Area School Board to fill two permanent vacancies and one temporary vacancy.

West Wind Village announced a $4.7 million construction and renovation project scheduled to begin in spring 2014. The project will be the first major addition to the building since the Rossberg Alzheimer’s Unit was built in 1998.

Evelyn Baas retired from the Morris Sun Tribune after 26 years with the newspaper.


First day of school enrollment was for the Morris Area School District was 1,047 students – 548 at Morris Area Elementary School and 549 at Morris Area High School.

Enrollment at the University of Minnesota, Morris, hit an 11-year high with 469 new freshmen and 99 new transfer students registered for the fall semester. Total enrollment was estimated at 1,952 students.

Tony Reimers, a graduate of Chokio-Alberta High School, returned to the area as the new director of Morris Community Education.

The Morris Police Department added two new officers this fall. Officer Brett Collins was sworn into office in September, while Officer Travis Clark joined the force in October. Officer Jason Reed, a veteran of the department, was promoted to sergeant.

Paige Schieler and Aaron Nelson were crowned queen and king at the 2013 Homecoming Coronation for Morris Area High School. The Tiger football team got their first win of the season when they defeated Benson during the homecoming game.


A formal dedication ceremony was held for the University of Minnesota, Morris’ new “green dorm,” the Green Prairie Community. The residence hall provides rooms for 72 students in four wings. Two of the wings are designed for students who are especially interested in pursuing sustainable lifestyles.

The Morris City Council asked the Morris Planning Commission to look at a new zoning district that would combine commercial and residential properties after business owners on the north side of Seventh Street argued that their property should not be in a residential zoning district.

Morris Area High School welcomed a furry new addition to the counseling staff, Mercer, a six-year-old golden retriever who will work as a therapy dog in the community. Prior to coming to Morris, Mercer was a drug dog with the Mercer County, N.D., sheriff’s office.


Brooke Kern joined the Morris Sun Tribune staff, taking over as associate sports editor for Nancy Olson. Olson moved to the sales department after seven years at the sports desk. Heidi Roiland also joined the staff as the business Manager and Alissa Melberg was promoted to circulation director.

The Morris Area/Choko-Alberta girl’s volleyball team won the Section 3AA-North title with a 3-0 victory over New London-Spicer. The Tigers lost to five-time state champion Marshall in three games during the section final match, ending the season with a record of 19-6.

Senior Aaron Goulet finished 56 out of 175 runners at the Class A Boys State 5K meet, running a personal best of 17:20.4.

Heather Schneider, a special education teacher in the Morris Area School District, was named the 2013 Teacher of the Year. Schneider said she is proud of the way the special education teachers in the district collaborate with classroom teachers to help all students.

The grilled cheese sandwich at Don’s Cafe was voted “Best of Minnesota” as part of WCCO’s Viewers’ Choice Awards. Marsha Buss, co-owner of Don’s Cafe, said the secret of the sandwich is the restaurant’s grill, which has cooked everything from bacon to burgers to grilled cheese for the last 30 years.

Morris Area High School was awarded a $100,000 grant after the Morris Area Business Professionals of America led the charge to rally community support for safe driving through State Farm’s Celebrate my Drive program. Morris Area was among the top five schools in the small school category.

The Morris City Council voted to negotiate with Riley Bros. Properties on a deal to sell the old elementary school property. The council reviewed three proposals for the property and ultimately decided to work with a local developer to sell the land.

Dr. Robert Bosl of Starbuck was named the Country Doctor of the Year by Staff Care, an AMN Healthcare company.


State Senator Torrey Westrom (R-Elbow Lake) announced he will try to unseat Rep. Collin Peterson in the 2014 election. The announcement made Westrom the first candidate to launch a campaign aimed at taking on the 12-term Democrat from Detroit Lakes.

Lisa Daleo, a 53-year-old resident of Alberta, was killed when the vehicle she was driving was hit by a train in Morris. Daleo’s vehicle was traveling westbound on Fifth Street when it was struck by a BNSF train heading north.

The Morris Rental Housing Commission received a 2013 Local Government Innovation Award from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.

The Stevens County Board of Commissioners approved a $1.9 million improvement project to County Ditch 30, a ditch in the southwest section of the county.

Morris Area High School Principal Craig Peterson was charged with four counts of criminal sexual conduct after allegedly assaulting a 30-year-old acquaintance at his home in Morris.