10 years ago:

Army Sgt. Erin Cochran surprised her two daughters Nicole Williams and Clarissa Cochran by coming home from serving in Kuwait in the Minnesota National Guard. The single mother surprised them during their lunch period at Century Junior High in Forest Lake. She had been deployed for six months, so the greeting Erin received from her daughters was full of tears of joy.

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Blockbuster in Wyoming was projected to close at the start of the new year in 2012, which was owned by the Houle family. Tom Houle ensured that the Blockbuster in Forest Lake would not be affected by this closure.

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Girl Scout Troop 52873, composed of fifth graders from Forest Lake, went caroling to try to collect goods for Family Pathways in Forest Lake. The troop collected 121 pounds of nonperishable food by going door to door and singing.

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The Rice Creek Watershed District received an outstanding conservationist award during the annual meeting of the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts. Employee Kyle Axtell and Vice President of the Rice Creek Watershed District Barb Haake accepted the award at the conference in Bloomington. They were recognized for their ability to balance the maintenance of drainage systems while working to improve water quality, wetland function and wildlife habitat.

25 years ago:

Pat and Linda Kenney adopted five Lithuanian children, Nikolajus (Nikolai), Ivanus (Yonus), Genadijus (Ghenna), Aleksejus (Alusha) and Tatjana (Tanya); they were already the parents of their three children Emilie, Joe and Sheila. The adopted Lithuanian children’s last name was Lobanovas, which became their middle names to take the Kenney surname. The first barriers the family had to overcome was language. Linda home-schooled her three children and planned to do the same with her five adopted children. But she brought in help from Priscilla Olson, a Forest Lake teacher, to teach the children English. The five children were in an orphanage prior to adoption and had minimal access to fruit there. So during the children’s first week with the Kenneys, Linda said they collectively ate 30 pounds each of oranges, apples and bananas. The Lithuanian children were orphaned by their parents who died in 1995, which left them in separate orphanages. The Kenneys were notified in October that the children were ready to be adopted. The adoption process was finalized on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, 1996.

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The American Legion Post 225 purchased the property that had been the Bixby house, historic two-story building, which dated back to 1854, on the corner of West Broadway and Third Street. It was primarily used as a grocery store throughout its time in business. It was purchased by Roy and Myrtle Bixby, who ran a store out of it until 1957, and used it as a private residence.

50 years ago:

The Forest Lake Junior High School activity bus was approved by the board of education following a formal and special request for the transportation from a Columbus Township resident, O.C. Joachim. Joachim’s work toward getting an activity bus started after his son had to wait outside in the cold weather after his extracurricular activity was finished because the school was locked. The activity bus was scheduled to run from 12:15 to 5:45 p.m. for students who attended the afternoon shift at school. The administration planned to stop afternoon shifts when it moved into the new high school facility in early January. But it had to extend the two-school shift system until late January which created a need for the activity bus.

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Roger Rowbotham, Forest Lake’s only undefeated wrestler of the season, was thriving under the pressure of his season and fighting off nervousness. The senior co-captain of the wrestling team was the only Ranger to win an individual title at the Winona Invitational tournament, which was the first meet of the year for the team. He won three matches at the tournament and racked up four dual-meet wins to defend his title as the only unbeaten wrestler. As a co-captain of the team with Wayne Hamilton, he motivated the rest of the team to be in shape and try their best. Rowbotham looked ahead to competing in state again, but admitted he was handling it one match at a time to focus on winning to get to state.

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