Prairie Visions get pat on the back with annual meeting and party

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 7, 2000

ROSE CREEK – People have so much fun at the annual Pat On The Back party hosted by Prairie Visions, they don’t want to leave.

Thursday, December 07, 2000

ROSE CREEK – People have so much fun at the annual Pat On The Back party hosted by Prairie Visions, they don’t want to leave.

Email newsletter signup

Not even steadily deteriorating weather and falling snow could hasten the departure last Thursday evening of guests at the annual event.

Not even a Thursday night televised Minnesota Vikings football game caused an early cessation of the party.

Like the organization itself there is obviously strength in numbers, whether its enhancing life along Highway 56 and the nearby countryside or having fun.

St. Theresa’s group served a Windsor pork chop dinner in the fellowship hall at St. Peter’s Catholic Church after the Rev. Ruben Spinler gave the invocation.

Eileen Hutchins, president of Prairie Visions, welcomed guests and read RSVP notes from those who couldn’t attend.

One of them came from Kathy Bolin, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, who has been so helpful to the group in its history.

Bolin praised the four communities for "working together" and said, "You have given your communities a vision for the future."

Ten years ago, the communities of LeRoy, Taopi, Adams and Rose Creek got together to take care of their own destinies.

There were soup and sandwich suppers, agricultural forums and other events to bring the people of the four towns and their rural friends together to plan and implement cooperative projects, share resources and compete effectively with larger towns through a joint ventures agreement among the four communities.

Today, the organization has become a model for other rural communities across the nation to take charge of their main streets and ensure their viability in the changing times that happen in rural America. In addition, it has been honored for its efforts to preserve and enhance the native prairie ecosystem.

Prairie Visions has earned state and national recognition for such projects as the Scenic Byways, Wildflower Route, native prairie enhancements and Shooting Star Recreation Trail across Mower County.

Hutchins said the organization seeks to nurture, foster and encourage the rebirth of rural communities.

At the annual Pat On The Back party, Prairie Visions – in concert with the Lake Louis State Park and Friends of the Park organizations – gave nearly everyone an award for helping pursue its mission.

The "Orange Man," Roman Landherr was the first to be honored by Margie Meier, one of the organizers. Landherr’s devotion to Allis Chalmers tractors and farm machinery helps promote agriculture’s heritage in the area.

Shawn Donais, manager at Lake Louise State Park, was honored for his contributions to promote the state park near LeRoy as a tourism attraction.

Bernie and Joyce Halver, Adams, were honored as volunteers of the year.

Each community received an award of appreciation for its continues membership and support.

Eileen and Doug Hutchins, LeRoy, received an award from Gerald Meier, who also recognized the contributions of volunteers, including Charles Anderson, LeRoy and the LeRoy Independent and Austin Daily Herald newspapers.

Mike Adams, Elkton, also was honored for his promotion efforts and Dale and Phyllis VanDenover, Austin, were honored for their efforts to organize the annual Shooting Star bike ride across Mower County.

Daryl W. Franklin, county planner and zoning administrators, received an award of appreciation for helping the Prairie Visions’ sub-committee, pursuing the Shooting Star trail project.

On the subject of the recreation trail across the county, Gerald Meier, a long-time booster of the project, said, "We expect to have the trail built all the way to Taopi sometime in 2001. It’s coming. We’re going to get it done one way or another."

Harold Eischens, a Taopi city council member, was singled out for volunteering on every project.

Marilyn Thorstenson, the retired Adams city clerk, was honored for her efforts to maintain the organization’s history.

According to Thorstenson, the organization had its origins in the community of Rose Creek where the first meetings were held. She also said long-time Rose Creek City Clerk Janet Nelsen was among the earliest organizers along with then-LeRoy mayor Don Olson and Gerald and Margie Meier of Adams.

Mayors LeRoy Swanson, Adams, and Ed Koppen, LeRoy, were honored for continuing to push for their communities’ support of the organization.

The awards, certificates and small gifts, even included those who celebrated golden wedding anniversaries, including those of Doug and Eileen Hutchins, Dale and Phyllis VanDenover and Al and Eileen Evans.