Regional files: names of wildlife refuges volunteer of the year


The Winona resident volunteered her time to shovel snow from the walkways and kiosks at the refuge boat docks last winter. This fall, she spent nearly two weeks and used eight gallons of stain to refresh all of the wooden structures at Verchota Boat Landing, making the landing look like new.

A total of 40 volunteers contributed over 400 hours of their time, representing nearly $ 12,000 in value of service to the shelter in 2021. Other volunteer activities this year included helping with biological surveys of the shelter, planting d ‘trees, maintenance activities, and invasive species monitoring and control. .

READ ALSO: Donations Help Build Daycare Center in Blooming Prairie

The Volunteer Program is a great way to gain experience, help wildlife, meet interesting people, and is open to all ages and abilities. If you want a productive and rewarding experience as a shelter volunteer, please call (507) 454-7351.

Prairie Island Indian community elects new council

PRAIRIES ISLAND – The new tribal council of the Prairie Island Indian community has been elected with the return of many council leaders and a new member.

In the recent election, the top five voters won a seat on the Tribal Council for a two-year term. The winners are Shelley Buck, Michael Childs Jr., Johnny Johnson, Valentina Mgeni and Cody Whitebear. Johnson was elected for his 13th term on the Tribal Council. Buck, the board chair, won her sixth term. This will be Mgeni and Childs’ second term. Whitebear, who directs the work of federal government affairs for the tribe, was elected for his first term.

The election results were certified by the tribal electoral council and are now final. The newly elected tribal council will be sworn in on December 5. After taking office, Tribal Council members will vote on the individual roles of president, vice-president, treasurer, secretary and assistant secretary-treasurer for the new term.

The Prairie Island Indian community is a federally recognized Indian nation located along the banks of the Mississippi River, approximately 30 miles from the Twin Cities. Visit PIIC online at

Winners named for Winona Fine Arts Commission grants

WINONA – The Winona Fine Arts Commission has awarded grants to seven projects under its 2021 grant program.

CAF grants of $ 500 are intended to help creators and arts organizations continue their practice and operations impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

After discussing each of the very strong submissions, the Commission is pleased to announce the following winners, including individual artists: Robert Armstrong, Mike Munson and Joy Davis Ripley. The organizations that got grants were ArtFarm, Our Voice and LaShara Morgan, the Polish Cultural Institute and the Winona Art Center.

Austin Middle School Principal Wins Award

AUSTIN – Jessica Cabeen, principal of Ellis Middle School in Austin, has been named the 2021 K-12 Dive Director of the Year.

Cabeen, who has been Ellis Principal since 2018, was selected from a small pool of finalists thanks to rave reviews from teachers, community members and former Austin Superintendent David Krenz.

“She looks… this dynamic between family, between students, between teachers and how she can create an environment in which everyone will be successful,” says Krenz.

Ellis Middle School Principal Jessica Cabeen has been named the 2021 K-12 Dive Director of the Year.  Contribution photo

Ellis Middle School Principal Jessica Cabeen has been named the 2021 K-12 Dive Director of the Year. Contribution photo

Krenz said Cabeen is a “trusted source that we are not going to leave your kids behind”.

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