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Ortonville Park Board Looking to Revisit the National Parks Student Presentations

The Ortonville Park Board met last night at their regularly scheduled meeting – I’m writing to cover just a couple of their agenda items.

In new business, Scott Simmons announced he would be stepping down from the Board – but stressed he would be happy to help on projects and assist in an advisory role when the Board calls on him.  I’m covering this item to take a moment to extend a HUGE THANK YOU for the work that he has done on the Park Board – and his many volunteer hours planning and creating Ortonville Central Park’s new Disc Golf course last summer (you can follow their updates on the Central Park Disc Golf Facebook Page)  I’ve added a few photos of their work to reflect what a major undertaking this was by Scott and the many awesome volunteers.  Scott is the Manager of the Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge and Wetland Management District and also serves as the Coordinator/Manager for the Northern Tallgrass Prairie National Wildlife Refuge – just a little extra note on the expertise Scott brings to our parks as a volunteer!  

And also under new business – I was very excited to hear – the Board plans to review the work and presentations that were previously compiled from the National Parks along with the community survey that had been collected to review park usage and ranking input for the City park system.

The Ortonville City Council, the Ortonville Planning Commission, and the Ortonville Park Board had voted unanimously to support the City’s application to the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails, and Community Assistance Program (with staff assistance provided by the Ortonville EDA) for the preparation of an overall Park and Recreation Plan for the City.

The assistance came through the National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) program.

I am posting information from this previous work/research so that we can all take a refresh on the presentations that they will be reviewing.  The students who had prepared the presentations did so through new eyes on the parks and from information about our community that had been provided before they arrive in Ortonville.  Their work is intended to spark thoughts on what can be created within our park system.  There is more information that they provided and I will be gathering that and including it on this post at a later date.  Enjoy the review of information – and if you feel so moved – attend a future Park Board meeting and share input or offer assistance!  Summer Rec is already organizing for the 2021 season and it sounds like there could be some new and interesting activities – keep a watch out for more information on that!  The Parks Board meets the first Wednesday of the month at 6:15 p.m. in the Community Center.

During this process, there was a Community Survey taken in regard to the Parks.  Below are the results.

A few pictures from the students that provided presentations during this process.

Student Presentations for review.  (more information will be posted soon)

1 Yang overallPlan intro

Don Burger – AnnalieseExecDoc1Update

Don Burger – AnnalieseProPracticeFinalDesignBoardsUpdate

Don Burger – Brady Aldrich Book

Don Burger – BradyAldrichBoards

Slade’s Slides

Don Burger – Geoff.Ortonville.Project. Portfolio PDF

Don Burger – JosephGerberBoards

Don Burger – Shanna Brown’s Final Boards

Don Burger – Shanna Brown’s Ortonville Portfolio

Today is a Big Day in Ortonville!

It has been a long few months for the majority of our small-town businesses – and today, June 10th, marks a day that truly gives a lifeline to many of our hardest-hit establishments.  They are not open to full capacity yet – but this surely helps!  Our Restaurants and bars – while some were able to offer curb side service and delivery it was difficult to cover the expenses – and then they were able to add capacity by utilizing outdoor seating.  While outdoor seating was still very limited to the number of people they could serve, many were excluded from the opportunity due to their location and space and of course the investment that would be required in order to provide that outdoor seating.  BUT, today is a better day.  It was great to drive through our Main Street and see so much activity just before noon today (header photo).  

The best way we can show support for these businesses that have invested so much in our community is to walk through their door and ENJOY!  Today we celebrate all of our businesses in Ortonville and look forward to the day they can expand to full capacity!

Below are a few of our latest businesses that have been able to expand during the latest COVID-19 updated regulations.

And during this time, Hasslen Construction built (investing even more in Ortonville than they already have!) a new storage building – picture below.


Living Rural & Loving it!

2020 Listing the Ortonville Investments

Looking at the past 10 years… listing the businesses that have made major capital investments (investing in the permanent structures & securing our brick and motor tax base in the City of Ortonville for years yet to come).  Investing in our town.  I personally have found this list to be impressive!  Let’s take a few minutes to reflect and celebrate these awesome investments in our community!  – and if you see that I missed someone, give me a shout by using the contact form on this website.  (you’ll see a photo and then a very brief description – click on each of their links to see more about each business)

Bluestem Dental photo taken during construction. Parking lot is now paved & building complete.

Bluestem Dental – or newest business and building in town which just recently opened.  The lots were cleared and construction began… what a conversation piece as we anxiously awaited the completion!  Located on First Street and houses 10 jobs.

Lingonberry Lodge on Main Street (2nd Street)


Lingonberry’s Pastry & Coffee Shop

Lingonberry Lodge a beautiful lodging option overlooking Main Street and right next door to Lingonberry’s Pastry and Coffee Shop which opened earlier but within this current 2020 10-year capital improvement review.  Khadija (pictured above right) is a “Clinton” girl that has come home to Big Stone County – how’s that for a possessive attachment on my part to the owner of these two businesses?  🙂

Ortonville Mercantile & Gallery

Ortonville Mystery Games (escape room fun – always changing!)

Then there is Greg & Sue Lockwood that made three investments seemingly one right after the other!  They invested in a home, restored it and now is one of our short-term rental options – then they restored the “old bank building” – and I mean restored!! — to house the Ortonville Mercantile & Gallery.  This is a great stop even if you’re not shopping & just want to walk through and see the details of their amazing restoration… original doors from other historic buildings, the bricks, and beams which are all truly fascinating to stop in and see.  Of course, I’ve yet to stop in this business without finding something to purchase before I leave!  (maybe I need to learn a little self-control?!)


Northridge Apartments are located just north of the ball fields and south of the new building lots – and close to the golf course, senior housing, and municipal swimming pool.

Northridge Apartment Complex

It is pretty exciting to have this facility get a complete makeover into market-rate apartments!  The City of Ortonville/Ortonville EDA Housing Committee worked with the Minnesota Housing Partnership (MHP) (Housing Institute Program) for an 18-month course looking at Ortonville housing needs.  MHP also assisted with our housing study.  The first request to review our housing study is now the current owners of this building and major remodeling is underway.  We are very excited to see this project completed!

Idle Spurs Inn

This has been a total – down to the studs – remodel project which has now been completed.  Amazing owner – and rooms!  Make sure to check them out when you are staying in the area!

Over the Top Granite

Jerold & Mindy built a brand new building along Highway 75 and have been busy with installations since they opened (I think our house was even the first project – great workmanship!)

Let’em Buck Apparel & Supply

A wonderful store for men’s & women’s clothing, shoes, and accessories!  The building was totally remodeled for a retail store – located along Highway 75.


2nd Street Cafe &Coffeehouse

This building was originally completely (and beautifully!) updated by Julie Anderson & Dale Anderson and is now with new owners (Brenda and Sarah Keller, mother/daughter).  An excellent stop – check out the link to their Facebook page and scroll through the delicious dishes they serve!

Ortonville Family Eye Care

Jacob Bollman, OD and Todd Trudel, OD purchased this building and with major investment converted this space to a beautiful eye clinic and also made it possible for Woodland Centers to come to Ortonville also!

Old American Bike Barn

Wow.  You do not need to be in the market to buy a bike in order to enjoy (really enjoy!) stopping at the Old American Bike Barn when you’re in town!  There is always something new (old…) – the inventory is always changing.  I remember when I stopped in shortly after they opened and Kevin told me they had to take the website down until they could figure out how to handle the inquiries!  Tough problems to have when you open! ha  Stop in and talk with Tina or Kevin!

Sioux Historic Pavilion

One of Ortonville’s historic buildings – saved!  What an amazing restoration while keeping retaining so much of the history.  Not sure I’m comfortable talking history about a building that spent many a night roller skating on these beautiful floors!  Roller skating is still drawing our youth to gather and enjoy – and the facility continues to provide wonderful accommodations for weddings and other large venues.  Only now with a much-updated facility/amenities.  Thank you, Mark & Sheila Thompson!

The Ortonville Shop

Arachne Yarns

The Ortonville Flower Shop

Kandi Hamann has an amazing flower shop – and then she also purchased the building next door, opened up/connected the buildings and has provided additional space for the flower shop and also space brought two new businesses into town – Arachne Yarns and Richard Krogstad’s studio!  For special occasions (especially during the holiday seasons, there are additional vendors that “pop-up” for an extended weekend shopping event also.  What an addition to downtown!

The Smallest Art Gallery – connecting two buildings.  Both restorations/investments made in the last few years.

The Smallest Art Gallery

Kathy Marihardt.  Where do I begin!?  We have a community of amazing artists in Big Stone County and the surrounding area, with Kathy being one.  So many art activities utilizing various spaces in the school and buildings throughout Ortonville… then Kathy quietly purchases a building displaying her art along with hosting artists from the area and quite some distances away to show their art – with a “meet the artist” evening for each.  What an experience!  When the building next door became available, she purchased it and went to work rehabilitating that building to expanded her space.  There is always something new!

Ally Cat Bowling

Completed a substantial remodel to include the kitchen/restaurant!  They have awesome food – and a hearty breakfast menu in the mornings too!

Photo credit: Big Stone Fitness

Big Stone Fitness Center

This building has been completely updated and retrofitted into one of the finest fitness centers that you’ll find anywhere!  This has been an investment in the building – and community health!!

GoFasters Powersports & Marine, Owner Dustin Roggenbuck

GoFasters Powersports & Marine

With a major rehab to convert this very large industrial space to house retail and office space, along with showroom and storage – Dustin created an amazing space along Highway 75 by utilizing a building that had sat empty for some time and was in need of the upgrades.  The perfect space and location for this business!


Helping Hands Therapeutic Massage & Body Work

This building was originally built by Brad Snortum for his landscaping business.  He later built (another capital investment in Ortonville!) on First Street.  Amy and Darren Lang purchased this building and converted the building to house Helping Hands Therapeutic Massage & Body Works which is their daughter, Kelly.  They also provided space for KDIO 1350 AM Radio – which thankfully the timing was perfect since a storm had totaled the building that they had been located in for many years – and we were now fortunate to keep them in Ortonville with the use of this space!  (The Lang’s would make a very good “blog story” someday… they’ve moved to the area, transformed this building & opened Kelly’s business, their son Troy has an excavating service and although Darren has full-time business that he works out of town – he also has started a quality duck guide service for Big Stone County hunting along with trips for duck hunting in Maine.  They also have a short-term rental lodge and RV spaces to accommodate their hunters.  And don’t let that leave you wondering what Amy does… she helps it all run smoothly!

Conroy Eye Care, PA

Conroy Eye Care, PA

Conroy’s updated this building which had been a clinic building years ago, housed the City Office for a short period of time and then was empty.  Thankfully, Chris and Traci found potential in this building and invested to update and convert this space to meet their needs.

Larry’s Refrigeration & Heating Inc.

Larry’s Refrigeration & Heating Inc.

In the past 10 years, Larry’s has remodeled the front inside and out and then converted the back to useable office space.  Tuckpointing, new roof and new interior walls & floor and new HVAC!


Heritage Printing

It takes some investment to tuckpoint an older building of this size!  The Swihart’s also restored the upper floor to living space – what a view of Main Street (and the Lake) they must have from up there!

Investors Advisory Management Group – Ortonville Office

Investors Advisory Management Group – Ortonville Office

This building was in need of renovations and tuckpointing when Becky Parker purchased the property – and the inside is as marvelous (if not more so!) as the outside!

Big Stone Chiropractic Health Center is pictured on the right.

Big Stone Chiropractic Health Center – Ortonville

Chance Haugen (owner) with the help of his father, Gary – worked to convert this building into a beautiful Chiropractic Health Center facility!

Dawn’s Hair Design

As with older brick buildings, there were storefronts with shared walls.  Dawn & Mark Hughes purchased the empty building next door and opened up the space to expand the business!

Big Stone Therapies

Big Stone Therapies, Inc.

What an area success story!  They were established in 1990 by two physical therapists – Paul Treinen and Wade VanDover – in the basement of the Ortonville Hospital.  They now consist of over 30 clinics in several states!  (Link to the location map)  The old Ortonville Hospital had set empty for a number of years before Big Stone Therapies purchased and started the renovations which were no small undertaking.  We are fortunate to still have this building still standing strong in Ortonville  — and to have Big Stone Therapies continue headquartering out of this area.

The Ortonville Independent

This building was constructed along Highway 75 providing much-needed space for their expanding equipment needs.  Quite an investment in our community!


Pro Image Partners

Dan & Brenda Kafka made a move to Main Street in Blair Johnson’s building for a major expansion – and then purchased the building next door to combine the two building into yet another expansion!  This Main Street business has quite a reach bringing in customers from all over the state and beyond.

Johnson & Roggenbuck, P.A.

And… who kicked off the amazing updates to downtown Ortonville?  Blair Johnson!  We lost the original structure on this lot to a fire and we were fortunate that Blair decided to expand his business and build a brand new building in its place to keep his expansion on Main Street.  They say this type of investment can have a domino effect – and in this case that appears to have happened!

Dollar General

It is great to see two new structures built at one of our main entrances into Ortonville – Dollar General on the Southeast corner and Casey’s General Store (below) on the Northwestern Corner.  With the Museum & Chamber located on the Southwestern corner and the Municipal Airport located on the Northeastern corner – all provide a very nice entrance to our community!

Casey’s General Store

Ortonville Area Health Services:  Hospital,  Clinic & Senior Housing

Of course, we have also had some major leadership and investment from the Ortonville City Council with the expansion of Fairway View Senior Communities and the all-new Ortonville Area Health Services clinic & hospital – which provides award-winning health care for miles around.

And, speaking of Ortonville Area Health Services and community investment… we need to give a shout out to an amazing Doctor who has been a pillar for both – our Dr. Bob Ross!

Dr. Bob was the recipient of the 2019 Rural Health Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Bob joined the Ortonville medical staff in 1977 and hasn’t sat still since. In 1989, Dr. Bob and his partners formed the Big Stone Health Care Foundation. The Foundation, along with Dr. Bob and the entire Board’s vision, has provided health care opportunities to our community that otherwise would not have been possible. We thank Dr. Bob, his wife Mary, and their entire family for the sacrifices that have been made in order for him to be one of the leaders for his partners, the staff, and most importantly his patients. Congratulations, Dr. Bob!

Help! What do Love about Living in Ortonville?

I will be interviewed at 8:00 tomorrow morning for a project –  my perspectives on community, here in Ortonville.  One of the questions will be to describe what people like about living in Ortonville.  I have my answer – but would love to hear from as many as possible on what it is that you really like about living here in Ortonville.  I would love to incorporate more than just my opinion on this question!  Thanks for your help!  (I did add a slot for you to provide any suggestions for improving community life in Ortonville if you’d like to include that as well)

Again, appreciate your time to provide input!!

Social Media Lunch, January 22nd

The first Wednesday of the month was a busy time – so in reviewing what Wednesday would work better… with the Chamber meetings on the 2nd Wednesday, we’ve moved the new scheduled date for the Social Media Lunch to the third Wednesday of the month.  (However, to note, there will be no meeting in February)  We can discuss the 2020 schedule further at our next meeting to make sure this fits and schedule accordingly.

January’s Topic:  Facebook Event Pages

  • Why are they important
  • How to Create a Facebook Event

A hint on the “why”… there are a few reasons, but one is that your event can be added to the MNbump Event listings for the County.  As of today’s insights, the MNbump Facebook page has reached 8,742 different Facebook users over the past 28 days – but we not only reached them… the stats show that the posts in the last 28 days received 11,728 engagements (which is the number of times people have engaged with our posts in the last 28 days – likes, comments, shares).  So, when we connect your event with our Facebook page, you’ll be reaching more people! … and of course, we’ll discuss the other advantages too.

Reminder:  These are informal lunch meetings where everyone brings their own lunch and drink – and joins in conversation after the initial presentation.

If you missed the last lunch, you missed a good one!  🙂  Video below.


Christmas Season in Ortonville

Such joy! — and busy.  Christmas time in Ortonville.

Last night’s vocal concert at the Ortonville High School  – the combination of generational inclusion  – painted a beautiful picture of who we are as a community.

The annual Hymn Sing at Abiding Faith Free Lutheran Church (open to congregations to join in) was just beautiful!

A Short Clip from the Christmas Carolers on Santa Day

And, to top off Santa Day, the annual Lighted Parade in Ortonville!


Presentation: Branding

November’s Social Media lunch was held on November 20th with Kelley Nemitz of 360 Design House, Inc.  We had a number of our “regulars” that could not make it to the presentation that day so Kelley was kind enough to let me videotape so that they were able to view later.  And, since then has ok’d my request to post the video on our website for all of our businesses to view!  The handouts from the presentation are being emailed to those that had registered for the meeting.  Check out the Gallery section (LINK) of her website for examples of her work.

On a side note, it was great to have Jackie Turner of the Southwest Initiative Foundation join us for this Social Media Lunch!  Jackie and the Foundation were instrumental in starting our Social Media Lunch program several years ago.  Things have evolved but the concept is still in place.

This was a great presentation – hope you get a chance to take a look!  I did not include the question and answer portion at the end – which was very interesting; however, there were some questions and discussions that were a bit more personal to a business or two and best left out of this public viewing.  (to be a part of those conversations, you need to join us for lunch!)

November Social Media Lunch – Branding

We will have a speaker/presenter from Canby for this month’s Social Media Networking Lunch.

We are changing up the “Wednesday” to November 20th
Time:  Noon
Location:   Ortonville Media Center, 412 2nd St NW, Ortonville, MN
(lower level of the Ortonville Library)

Branding is one of the most important parts of your business. An effective brand strategy will set you apart from the crowd, tell your unique story, help you attract your ideal customers, and establish trust, all while staying true to who you are. Whether you are starting a new business, or just need to clarify your existing one, crafting an effective brand strategy is essential.

If you’re thinking about branding but you’re feeling lost or overwhelmed, join us on November 20th. Kelley Nemitz from 360 Design House will present the basics of branding and give tips on how to get started. Topics will include:

  • What is a brand?
  • Telling your brand story
  • What is my brand purpose?
  • Brand spirit/personality
  • Defining your ideal customer
  • Establishing brand positioning
  • Crafting your brand style (logo, colors, fonts, images, grids/layouts, tone of voice…)

Reminder:  These are informal lunch meetings where everyone brings their own lunch and drink – and joins in conversation after the initial presentation.

If you plan to attend the meeting, please fill out the form below – so that I can gauge if we have enough seating.  However, if you do not RSVP and at the last minute decide to come – please do!

Local Author Presentation: Claudia Sellin

Of course, I’ll start out with a picture of the amazing brunch (peach french toast with sausages) that was catered by Crazy Apron Catering.  It was truly as delicious as it looks!

I’m a member of one of our local organizations in Ortonville that gets together once per month (September through May) and enjoys great food, conversation and a presentation by a person or organization from the area.  This month’s presentation was a delightful (and humorous) share by Claudia Sellin on her book “You Can be Anything You Want to Be!  Says Who?”  The video below provides an introduction to the book – then she went on to share various pieces of the book… which were so relatable and hilarious!  I’ve just started the book… and picked up a few copies which will make perfect gifts!  As one of the MNbump bloggers, I find this book to have an extra interest… reading about the life of someone who also grew up in Ortonville (bonus for me:  as a babyboomer), moved away and has now returned to Ortonville – there seems to be so many of those stories lately and I’d love to hear them all!

On a side note, the MNbump website is currently underway with a new section for businesses, organizations, and churches to help connect our residents.  So if you’re looking for an organization to connect with check out this link (updates will be added over the next few weeks):


Northridge Apartment Specs, OHS Homecoming & the 2019 Art’s Meander

It was a busy week for all ages in the Ortonville area!

Many of you have noticed the activity at the Northridge building (I know this because of the number of texts I’ve received!)  Yes, the work has begun – and I can share the Phase I and Phase II apartment layout with you!  Phase I is the complete northern hall/end with Phase II being the apartments along the hallway that runs north and south.   LINK:  Apartment Layout — The contractors have an estimated 60 working days to complete Phase I with Phase II to follow early next summer.  Phase I includes Six 2-bedrooms, two 1-bedrooms and an efficiency apartment.

More details to follow!   — If you are interested in renting and would like more information once the project is complete (or nearing completion) of the first phase, please fill in the no-obligation form.  LINK to FORM

I’m excited to see this project get started – the property will provide some lovely rental options with mature trees, great landscaping and private sheltered picnic area in the back portion – and great location next to parks, swimming pool, and golf course – while maintaining a quiet space.

Homecoming week started with Volleyball on September 30th, Coronation at the School on Tuesday evening with more Volleyball, Cross Country and the Football game after the Friday afternoon parade.  WITH the Upper Minnesota River Art Crawl starting on October 4th and ending Sunday the 6th.  So, downtown Friday afternoon was busy with activities going strong – Parade & Meandering!  Below you’ll find a few highlights from the activities that I attended throughout the week.

Highlights from Homecoming Week

A couple of amazing songs performed during Coronation

My Ortonville & RedBarn Meander Weekend stops +
MNbump Connector Mary Hillman covered Odessa and Connector Janine Teske covered Clinton

And if you missed the article… check out MNbump’s article on US Senator Tina Smith’s visit to Ortonville area health services:  LINK: