May 27, 2015

Area Counties invest in mass notification system

By Denise Bonsack, Publisher

With the advent of cell phones, email, and social media, we are being inundated with information all the time.

But, if there’s a missing person in the area, or a gas leak or chemical spill near your home or business, do you want to wait to find out about it until someone thinks to post it on Facebook?  

In 2012, Sibley County put a mass notification system in place that allows Emergency Management and Sheriff’s Office personnel to notify citizens of situations like these and others where getting information to the public is critical.  But according to Sibley County Director of Emergency Management, Bryan Gorman, only about 45 percent of residents have signed up to receive those notifications.

The system, called CodeRED, is designed to allow notifications to be sent to the entire county, a specific neighborhood, or even a single street.  Gorman indicated that emergency personnel can select a radius from a specific point and notify all residents or business owners within that area.

For complete story see print edition

May 20, 2015

Artist spotlight: Basket weaver

Patricia Beilke receives grant

By Amy Berg, Staff Writer

Being introduced to basket weaving ten years ago, rural Morganite Patricia “Trisch” Beilke has taken her hobby to the next level.

“I don’t think of it as work,” Beilke said with a smile. “I think of it as play.”

Beilke was recently announced as a recipient of a Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council (PLRAC) Emerging Artist grant. This is the second time she has received this grant.

The grant is a total of $1,000 and Beilke will use it to attend the National Basketry Organization’s Biennial Conference. This year, the conference happens to take place in Minnesota at Macalester College in St. Paul in July.

“I was planning on applying for the grant but wasn’t quite sure what I would propose to do with it,” she said.

Then she saw that the conference, which is held every other year in various places throughout the United States, was going to be in Minnesota.

“I got lucky!” she said with a chuckle.

In describing her projects, Beilke first described people’s varied reactions to her works at events or shows.

Some people will look at her baskets and exclaim: “This is so beautiful, but what would I do with it? What would I put in it?”

To that, Beilke said she responds, “Do you have flowers in every vase in your house?”

“I don’t usually put things in my baskets,” Beilke said. “Then it becomes a simple container. The focus turns into what’s inside the basket.”

For complete story and more photos see print edition