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Spring started slowly with an early April cold snap, but conditions are shaping up for decent fishing when Minnesota's walleye season opens Saturday. According to Henry Drewes, regional fisheries supervisor for the Department of Natural Resources in Bemidji, the ice as of May 1 was out on most of Minnesota's lakes except for a few in the far northern part of the state. It might seem late, he says, but things actually are pretty much on schedule. "I would not describe this as a late spring in any sense of the word," Drewes said.
ALONG THE GUNFLINT TRAIL -- The Ham Lake fire blazed an ugly path of destruction Sunday night into Monday morning, burning an estimated 40 homes, cabins and outbuildings and becoming Minnesota's most damaging wildfire in decades. The fire, apparently sparked by an unattended campfire early Saturday, had burned across more than 16,500 acres by Monday evening and was spreading into Canada. The fire turned parts of this dead-end, wilderness-road community into a charred disaster area.
James Raml and his friend Ted Young had been hosing down Raml's home on the south shore of Seagull Lake for many hours on Sunday when they heard the wind had shifted. The Ham Lake fire was running fast toward a stand of young jack pine, straight toward the line of homes at the end of Seagull Lake Road. Raml was about to tell Young it was time to pack up and go "when the next thing I know, I felt really hot, and I heard that roaring sound," Raml said on Monday. He turned, and saw 50-foot flames rolling over a ridge about 100 feet from his home.
Roland A. Coller, age 74 of Hastings, formerly of Newport, died on May 15 at home. Family and friends may gather from 1-4 p.m. Tuesday, May 21, at Newport Lutheran Church, 900 15th St., Newport.
Donald C. Oehlke, age 86, of Cottage Grove, passed away on April 13. Preceded in death by first wife, Dorothy Richert, and brother Clifford. Survived by devoted friend, Audrey Lewis; children, Diane Oehlke, Jeanne (Dan) Clark, Suzanne (Dale) Hammonds, and Dwayne; grandchildren, Sven Johnson, Mariah Johnson, Amanda Clark, and Andrea Clark; siblings Norman (Adeline), Francis (Marylis), and Georgene Elliott; sister-in-law Bertha; as well as many nieces and nephews. Funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 16, at Rose of Sharon Lutheran Church, 6875 Jamaica Ave., Cottage Grove.
Grace L. Hennen, age 99, of Newport, passed away peacefully on Thursday, March 14. Preceded in death by husband, Raymond; son Richard; grandson Richard; and five brothers and sisters. Survived by children Marlyn (Edna) of Inver Grove Heights, Mary Lou (Stephen) Carpenter of Hastings, Janice Lindala of West St. Paul, Donald (Jane) of Cottage Grove, and Gary (Phyllis) of Hayward, Wis.; 21 grandchildren; 47 great-grandchildren; and 42 great-great-grandchildren; and sister Stella Cunningham. Grace loved listening to music, dancing, and above all, her family. Visitation 5-8 p.m.
Catherine (nee George) McPherson, of Cottage Grove, age 88, passed into the arms of Our Lord on Feb. 18 at Regina Health Care Center in Hastings. Also formerly resided in Kansas City, Kan.; Kansas City, Mo.; West Point, Neb.; and Louisville, Ky. Mass of Christian Burial 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, at St. Rita Catholic Church, 8694 80th St. S., Cottage Grove. Visitation from 5-8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22, at Kok Funeral Home, 7676 80th St. S., Cottage Grove, and 1 hour prior at church.
Marjory Anna Dewar, age 89, formerly of St. Paul Park, Minn., passed away on Feb. 13 in Hastings, Minn. A celebration of life will be held in the American Legion Hall in Lewisville, Minn., from 12-4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23.
Richard A. "Rich" Senart, age 58, of Cottage Grove, Minn., died on Sunday, Oct. 21. Visitation from 4-8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26, at Wulff Woodbury Funeral Home, 2195 Woodlane Dr., Woodbury. Service will be at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at Hope Community Church, 8300 Hyde Ave. S., Cottage Grove, Minn., with visitation 1 hour prior. Interment at Leavitt Cemetery, Hastings, Minn.