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The Smallest Art Gallery Expands, Ice Out & Docks In, Golfers Hit the Course!

A few updates this week!

Kathleen Marihart stopped in the office for a few minutes (I love my new location downtown where people can easily stop in!) and I asked her how the opening was coming between the two buildings – I am behind the times!  The door is in!  So, I stopped down this afternoon to take a couple of pictures.  Kathleen owns The Smallest Art Gallery in downtown Ortonville and recently purchased the building next door so that she could expand her space.  She plans to use the new portion for her personal gallery and classes and the original portion of her business for Artist Receptions, Exhibits, and Classes.  You can see from the photos that she is preparing for a class and also, her sister and local artist, Edie Barrett, is preparing for a project day with a group of regional friends – they get together about every seven weeks or so and this gathering is in Ortonville.  To Ortonville’s benefit, these two sisters have settled, invested and provided new opportunities for residents and visitors to the area!


Kathleen’s classes have been enjoyed by so many – young and older!  Her receptions and exhibits provide an opportunity for artists to show their work and connect with those that stop in to see the work and meet the artist.  One in particular that I attended last summer was Corina Kell’s conceptual photography show.  Her photography is very interesting and the work that she does through her photography is amazing –  check out the link to my blog post on MNbump 

Edie has invited “us all” to follow along and be part of her work and education as she attends The Humphrey School of Public Affairs (part of the University of Minnesota) in pursuit of a Master Degree in Public Affairs.  Check out this link for details – there will be more exciting updates posted soon on this topic – the link also includes a little background on Edie’s work beyond this project.

Edie has also invested in a beautiful short-term rental property which is located on the northern end of our downtown businesses district – with a view of Big Stone Lake and a short walk to our coffee shops, eateries and shopping.  The home is complete with regional artwork throughout – and a very fun “changing of the art” party is held each year (I’ve included a video below at the end of this post from one of the art change events – the video will give a great feel for the house and a peek in at local friendships and art.  You can find information on the VRBO site for The GuestHouse to check availability on the beautiful lodging option here, in Ortonville.

We are fortunate to have these two creative and community-involved sisters in Ortonville!

Now, I started this blog post out as a quick update on a few things… and I easily float off focus when I start writing about the amazing people that fill our downtown (and beyond) businesses.  Thankfully a friend stopped by just to say hi and to drop off a white chocolate mocha from 2nd Street Cafe & Coffeehouse (which was perfect in case you were wondering!)

The official “ice out” on Big Stone Lake was Sunday – that was just two days ago and already our City Crew was down putting the docks in.  Their speed and attention are awesome – but considering that the lake level is up and the docks will need to be lowered again soon… this was especially nice that they took the time to do this twice.  The locals (my husband included) enjoys casting a few times off the docks to see if they’re biting (Walleyes – in the evening  just before/as sundown, he loves it when I share fishing spots in online posts! ha)

4/23/2019, putting in the docks

Our electrical department was also out today checking connections and prepping for the summer season throughout our parks and of course our small city campground that sits at the foot of Big Stone Lake along with the start of the Minnesota River.  If primitive camping is not what you are looking for, we have some pretty awesome options along Big Stone Lake  (Lakeshore RV Park, Rustling Elms Resort, DNA Guide Service (hunting, lodging & RV sites), and on the South Dakota side there is Schmidt’s Landing 

City Campground, primitive

And… after quite the snow struggles this spring, it was great to see the school golf teams out on the course this afternoon enjoying some real play outdoors!

The ‘Changing of the Art’ event at The GuestHouse – enjoy!

Ag Career Day in Big Stone County

Save the date:  May 14, 2019
Location:  Sioux Historic Pavilion

There will be speakers, activities, exhibitors and more.
Grades 7th to 10th are encouraged to come!

We have an amazing 4-H program, here in Big Stone County (MNbump)  – the opportunities for engagement, learning, connecting… are just about endless!  Of course, in the economic development office, here in Ortonville – we were very excited to hear that they would be hosting an Ag Career Day.  We likely describe ourselves as a rural ag community (with awesome added amenities to boot… like our amazing health care, school system, beautiful golf course – and of course Big Stone Lake) when we talk to others… but do our kids know how extensive the opportunities are in our area to find an ag-related career?  Ag-related comes in so many forms – and Suzanne, 4-H Director, will be sharing tidbits of information throughout the weeks to come leading up to the event.

A special shout out to American Farm Bureau for financially supporting this opportunity!  (truly would not have been possible without them!)

Watch this post for updates as we move closer to event day and of course, always keep up with the latest from about the County on the MNbump Facebook Page


Doctor woman with stethoscope

2nd Annual Art Crawl

Save the date!  Saturday, June 8th
Time:  9 a.m to 5:00 p.m.

The 2nd Annual Big Stone Lake Regional Art Crawl

The Big Stone County artists draw quite a crowd in their participation with the Meander:  The Upper Minnesota River Art Crawl (save that date too… October 4, 5, 6th) and last year started their first art crawl.

Check out the video taken during last year’s Big Stone  Lake Regional Art Crawl (I can personally add that it was awesome!!)

We have an active artist community!  Check out another video below…

The GuestHouse, a local short-term rental home that sits on the northern edge of the downtown business district (easy walking distance to the coffee houses and shops – and overlooking Big Stone Lake) is owned by one of our local artists that moved into the area several years ago from California.  The GuestHouse has an art change event every year – those who stay at this home enjoy local art throughout the rooms.  This video was taken during one of the art change events.

New Residential Lots Available in Ortonville

Today may not look like the perfect Spring day… and tomorrow won’t either!  However, the snow will clear out soon – and building season will arrive!

As the snow starts today — you can see in the background Big Stone Lake is opening up!

When Ortonville Area Health Services and the City expanded Fairway view, Roy Street was extended to accommodate another access to the facility.  This made for a great opportunity to parcel out a few new residential lots along the way.  As you can see, the lots are in an excellent location – near the ballfields, golf course, and municipal swimming pool!  — And, excellent pricing at this time!  Call Shady Oak Realty (who has already taken purchase agreements for two projects in this area!) 320-839-2118 or check out their website at

For more information about the area:

City Website:
Looking for a Job in the Area? -CLICK HERE!
We are an MNbump Community – check out the latest from MNbump’s Facebook Page!

Recent News in Ortonville – business expansions + more
Post 1 LINK  
Post 2 LINK

Check a few videos from last year’s events –
This is what Ortonville Looks Like!

National Night Out in Ortonville…

O.M.G. Opens, Take a Look at Gorgeous Upgrades at the Hotel, and more!

After a long snow-filled winter, this spring has sure started with some great upgrades in Ortonville!

First, I stopped over at O.M.G. (Ortonville Mercantile & Gallery) – it is just across the street from my office and I’ve been watching them work on getting ready for a bit now.  So, when Mary Hillman of the Big Stone Lake Area Chamber told me they were now open… I headed over for a look!  Check out the photos below – and make a plan to stop in – Downtown Ortonville right across the street from the newly renovated building of  Ortonville Family Eyecare!  

Now… check out the work that has been completed so far at Idle Spurs Inn (formerly Vali Vu Motel) – WOW!  I talked with Brandy yesterday about the work that they’ve been doing since purchasing the property in October.  She is concerned about the look of the exterior at this point – but when you’re doing as much work as they are, there is bound to be parts done before others!  The photos will give a glimpse of the interior work that is being done… more pictures will come as things are completed but I was pretty sure you’d like a peek at the quality rooms that will be available in Ortonville soon!  (call to check – they do have 4 rooms completed; however, at picture time, they were being rented so I was limited on photos I could share.)

Call them at 320-839-2558 to reserve your room!

And a quick check in on a few things that I took in over the weekend…

KDIO Personality (and boy doesn’t she have one! ha) – Julie French turned 50!  For her birthday, there was food, cupcakes – music by Lee Kanten and his brother – and fun time gathering and visiting!

Happy Birthday, Julie – truly loved by the area!!  🙂







Then an awesome idea by Krista Hartman… It was a hotdish fundraiser for the Dream Team and their Special Olympics travels.  It was a hit!  23 hotdishes were submitted and crowds of people stopping in to vote on their favorite hotdish!

But first… Dan Kafka, who made one of the hot dishes (#10) – was bribing our new County Sheriff, Mark Brown, to vote for #10!  ha ha… of course Mark did not fall for it – and the money was fake!  Nice try Dan!

And, I went to Milbank for the Milltones’ event  on Saturday night!  That was great fun!

If you wonder how our businesses support area activities… take a look at this list supporting the Milltones!  (We have the most supportive business community within our area!)






















April 2019 Social Media Networking Lunch

Our April Social Media Networking Lunch is this Wednesday, April 3rd.

Time:  Noon
Location:   442nd Street NW, Ortonville
(Lower Level of the Community Center)

Using HootSuites
Interactive Post Examples

(NOTE:  In May, we will have Patrick Buttke presenting on how to get your Google Business listing to rank higher on the search results!)

Reminder:  These are informal lunch meetings where everyone brings their own lunch and drink – and joins in conversation after the initial agenda.  Of course, there will be discussions throughout the hour!

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


Thank you to Frandsen Bank & Trust!

Thank you to Frandsen Bank & Trust for the desk – my office is now complete!  It is quite a network, living here on the MNbump –  The Big Stone Lake Area Chamber Director, Mary Hillman, had stopped in the Ortonville EDA office shortly after our move and noted that I really needed a new desk.  I actually had a nice desk setup originally; however, my move downtown provides a great centralized location and easy walk for many of our businesses so I had decided to set-up my two desk sections as one long conference table so that the office would always be ready for a meeting – and I could just use the city’s desk that had been left in the space.  Yes, the desk was not much to look at – but my office was much more practical this way.  The Downtown Revitalization Committee has started to have their monthly meetings here – which keeps me in the loop with what is happening; the City Park Board will start using the conference table for their meetings; and, the Ortonville EDA has a monthly Social Media Lunch for area businesses  – all of which work great in this space.  My ugly desk did not seem to hinder any of these meetings!  🙂

But… back to Mary!  She had stopped at Frandsen Bank & Trust in Clinton one day and in talking with them found out that they would have a couple of desks for sale since they were remodeling the bank.  Of course, she immediately called me to encourage me to buy one!  (for those of you that know Mary – she is persistently encouraging) – so I contacted Bill Thyne – who was awesome!  He said that they had the flexibility to donate the desk to a “worthy cause” and he was sure that the Ortonville EDA met that requirement.

So late Friday afternoon I grabbed my favorite “helper” – my husband, Dan, and we drove to Clinton to pick it up – Bill Thyne himself helped Dan load the desk.  Bill also gave us a quick tour to see the changes that they are making at the bank – I’m anxious to stop back up and see the finished remodel!  Once we returned to Ortonville and had barely stepped out of the vehicle – there was Sue Lockwood asking if we’d like some help unloading the desk.  Greg was there too in just a few minutes time.  They had been working on their building across the street (Ortonville Mercantile & Gallery (O-M-G)) and saw us pull up.

THAT is what it is like to live here, on the MNbump!

I stopped in this afternoon to put my office back together so that I would be ready to kick off the work week Monday morning – and as I write this, I’m enjoying my new desk – much larger L-shaped desk with matching file cabinet — and yes, it is much better looking than the desk I was using!

#LoveWhereYouLive  #MNbump

GoFasters Expands + 2 New Housing Developments Moving Forward – and more!

I stopped up to see how the GoFaster’s Power Sports and Marine move was going this morning.  Wow!  The work that Dustin Roggenbuck has done on the 38,000+ sq ft. warehouse building along Highway 75 is impressive!   This additional space will allow expansion for not only their showroom and accessory items but also much-needed space for their expanding service shop. They also now have additional space available for winter storage of boats, pontoons and RV’s.  GoFasters is a full range power sports and marine dealership.  They also sell all season specific gear – from outerwear to snowmobilers, to helmets and specialized gear to offroad riders year-round, to paddle boards and life jackets to boaters in the summer.  Their service shop works on everything from boats, pontoons, ATVs, dirt bikes, street bikes, snowmobiles, generators, and side by sides.  With this large amount of additional space, they will be able to create that one stop shop.  GoFaster’s also sells docks and provides an install service for docks and lifts along the lake for those in need of this service once the ice goes out.

Dustin and his family live and breath “outdoors” and outdoor toys – so you can be assured that he is well acquainted with the machines that they distribute and that they carry the accessories to go with them!  Check out the video below of Dustin and Amy’s son as he takes his snowmobile over any jump area he can find – a good indication of how much time this family spends outdoors!  Dustin’s parents, Steve and Linda Roggenbuck, own Progressive Collision & Glass which is also located here in Ortonville – and Dustin’s wife Amy is in partnership at Johnson and Roggenbuck, PA – Certified Public Accountants.  — It is great to see this young family return to Ortonville to settle back into the area and investing in not only their businesses but also investing in the community – Dustin is currently on the Ortonville City Council, and until recently has served on the Park Board while Amy has served on the Ortonville EDA Board until she reached the point that she needed to focus more time on the growing business/partnership – and of course time for family and outdoor power sports!

Dustin & Amy’s youngster riding his snowmobile below.

… and a “THANK YOU” shout out to Mark Berg for establishing GoFaster’s in Ortonville back in 2002!  Mark has been a strong community supporter in Ortonville and we’ll continue to see him off and on – he has a home on Big Stone Lake and strong friendship ties to the area since moving here.  There have been some changes since the GasGas dirtbike online business started as part of GoFasters – with both his involvement along with Steve Berkner’s in racing, this online business quickly became the number one location in the USA for parts for the brand.  A new company from Spain, Torrot, bought the rights to GasGas and then hired Mark as the COO for North America.  They employ 10 people and have over 75 dealers in the USA with 8 more in Canada.  In 2018 they set a new record for sales of GasGas in the USA.  Their warehouse is currently in Watertown – which is what brought Dustin back into the business.  So although Mark is moving in a different direction, he has worked with Dustin to keep GoFasters Powersports & Marine in Ortonville!

Check out a few photos that I took this morning from their store-front area and watch GoFaster’s Facebook page for the photos as their shop, showroom and storage areas are finalized.

Now, a few “Quick Takes”
Ortonville Updates!


The Ortonville EDA had appointed a Housing Committee to work with the Minnesota Housing Partnership (MHP) to review available housing, identify the top needs and then to reach out to potential developers that would build the needs identified.   Imagine the excitement when we received word that there were two developers looking to develop – the very developments that the Committee was hoping to target!  The properties to be developed are owned by the City/Ortonville Area Health Services and were put on the market recently – just prior to the release of the RFP from the Housing Committee.  I think it is safe for me to say that John Hartman of Shady Oak Realty was able to connect interested developers with the properties much faster than anticipated by anyone!  Needless to say, the Ortonville EDA has put a hold on the housing RFP.

One development will be through the sale of Northridge Residence.  The developers are local to the area and are looking to do extensive updates to the building which will provide 2 and 3 bedroom rental units – they are planning to have the first four units completed by the end of August!  Watch for updates on this project as things move forward – we are very excited that they have chosen Ortonville to invest in our housing need!

The second housing development will be a 4-plex which will be located near Fairway View in the newly platted City lots.  More details on both housing developments will be posted as they progress.

New Dental Office Coming to Ortonville

And a quick photo update on the new Bluestem Dental (Hilleren) building’s progress.  I know many of you are anxious for them to open in Ortonville!  (Although we do have an awesome dental practice already – Dr. Steven Winther – his practice is full and we’ve been in need of an expansion in dental providers)

Hotel – New Owners – Major Updates in the Works!

You’ve likely noticed the changes happening to the Hotel along Highway 75  – Vali Vu has new owners and they are completely remodeling and upgrading the rooms.  The first four rooms are due to be complete any day now – and I’m anxious to see them!  Besides a total update, their decorating plans really sound interesting!  The exterior is also getting a complete update – so if you drive by tomorrow… that is not the end plan!  I’ll have updated photos coming soon.

And, there is the update!  If you’d like more information on the City of Ortonville, please check out the City’s website: