Star News The Star News covers community news, sports, current events and provides advertising and information for Elk River, Otsego, Rogers and Zimmerman, Minnesota and their surrounding areas. Tue, 21 Oct 2014 07:34:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Soccer: Rogers trio gets all-state recognition; girls team coaches honored Tue, 21 Oct 2014 07:33:01 +0000 From left, Aaron Lindquist, Trevor Klink, Courtney Henderson, Abbie Gearou, Todd Dososky.

From left, Aaron Lindquist, Trevor Klink, Courtney Henderson, Abbie Gearou, Todd Dososky.


Three Rogers juniors were named to the Coaches Association All-State Class AA teams at the pre-state tournament soccer banquet on Saturday.

Abbie Gearou, junior center defender who anchored a defense with 10 shutouts, was named to the girls first team all-state.

Courtney Henderson, junior center midfielder who had nine goals and 10 assists, was named to the girls second team all-state.

Trevor Klink, junior forward, who scored 17 goals and made eight assists, was named to the boys first team all-state.

The coaches association names 22 players to the first team and 22 to the second team, for both Class AA and A.


Coaches get section honors

Aaron Lindquist, Rogers girls coach, was named Section 8AA coach of the year, and his assistant, Todd Dososky, was named section assistant coach of the year.

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Evelyn Clarice Birchem Mon, 20 Oct 2014 22:11:55 +0000 Evelyn Clarice Birchem, age 89, of Fergus Falls, Minn., formerly of Elk River, passed away Oct. 19, 2014. Arrangements by Olson Funeral Home in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, (218)736-7586.

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Shirley Whiting Mon, 20 Oct 2014 18:23:34 +0000 Retirement party for Shirley Whiting, bartender at Elk River Eagles Club will be Sat., Nov. 1st at the Eagles Club, 824 Railroad Dr. Potluck food starting at 4 p.m., music by Terry Dubois 6:30-10:30 p.m. Silent auction and bake sale as well.

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Teresa / Nordahl Mon, 20 Oct 2014 18:23:20 +0000 Teresa / Nordahl

Teresa Nordahl of Nowthen and Steve Nordahl of Albertville would like to announce the engagement of their daughter Kayla Nordahl to Ben Mayer, son of James and Lisa Mayer of Marcus, IA. Kayla is a 2009 graduate of Elk River High School and a 2013 graduate North Dakota State University where she earned her degree in Biotechnology and Microbiology. Kayla is currently pursuing her Medical Laboratory Scientist certification. Kayla is employed by Sanford Medical Center in Sheldon, IA. Ben is a 2008 graduate of Marcus-Meirden-Cleghorn High School and a 2012 graduate of University of South Dakota where he earned his degree in Business Marketing. Ben raises cattle on the family farm. A December wedding is planned in Marcus, IA. The couple will reside in Marcus.

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Athlete of the week: Tanner Beckerleg, Elk River, soccer: Fortitude Mon, 20 Oct 2014 17:03:31 +0000 by Bruce Strand, Sports Editor

Every step Tanner Beckerleg takes on the soccer field sends throbs of pain through his afflicted hips, but somehow that doesn’t stop the Elk River senior defender from excelling.

“Tanner holds down the back line for us. He’s the last rung of defense and he makes a big difference in close games,” coach Ryan Sorenson said. “He also has a big leg to get the ball downfield.  And despite the pain, he plays all 80 minutes.”

Beckerleg, the only junior starter on last year’s state tournament team, has a genetic flaw affecting the sockets of both hips that cause the aching when he moves. An MRI showed there are overhanging bones that rub into other bones.

Tanner Beckerleg gave the Elks 80 strong minutes on defense each game despite chronic hip pain. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Tanner Beckerleg gave the Elks 80 strong minutes on defense each game despite chronic hip pain. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

With his prep career done, he’ll soon have surgery to shave off those bones, which he’s been putting off because there’s a six-month recovery time.

“They say the pain should go away. That will be awesome,” Beckerleg said.

Starting in seventh grade, he’s had stops and starts in soccer due to injury, pain and/or doctor’s orders. However, he got a go-ahead, sort of, two summers ago.

“A doctor told me that if I can handle the pain, it’s not going to get any worse,” Beckerleg said. “So I decided right then I’d keep playing.”

Toughing it out, he turned in a strong junior year with the Elks.

“Tanner was an outstanding defender and kept us in a lot of games,” said Aaron Lindquist, Elk coach that year. “He covers tons of space and would sacrifice his body to block shots.”

Beckerleg patrols the center back, where his job is hold the line, wait for help to arrive, pick off passes and steal the ball. “There’s a lot of bumping and banging back there,” he said. “I like when the refs let it be physical.”

Even though he’s slight of build at 5-foot-11 and 165 pounds, he thrives on contact and has proven to be a strong tackler.

“I’ve been playing a year or two up for a long time,” he said, “so I am used to that.”

This year, with only two other senior starters and a big sophomore class breaking in, the Elks went 4-11-2. “It was a learning experience for them, and I love to play soccer win or lose.”

Soccer is Beckerleg’s lone prep sport but he’s active with hunting, fishing, wake boarding, and water skiing and took up snocross at ERX last winter with some success: one win, one second place and a couple of thirds. “I had a blast,” said Beckerleg. “I didn’t have much pain because that’s mainly when you’re moving.”

He’s hoping college soccer, somewhere, will be the same, after his long-awaited surgery.



Personal file — Age: 17 … Family: parents Debby and Ron; sister Cierra, 15 … Sport: soccer … Other activities: National Honor Society, Spanish Club … Academics: 3.74 GPA … College plans: undecided where, maybe soccer, physical therapy
Favorite stuff — Class: Wildlife Biology … TV show: “Ridiculousness” … Movie: “Coach Carter” … Music: country, hip-hop … Food: spaghetti at Olive Garden … Drink: Gatorade blue … Teams: Broncos, Barcelona soccer … Athlete: Peyton Manning …. Hobbies: hunting, fishing, wake

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Football: Royals host Willmar on Tuesday, winner faces Elks Mon, 20 Oct 2014 16:40:53 +0000 The Rogers Royals, one of three state-ranked teams in the Section 6AAAAA tournament, were seeded third after a 7-1 regular season.

The Royals will host No. 6 Willmar (3-5) on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Willmar has lost four straight games in which they’ve led after three quarters each game but have been outscored 63-7 in the fourth quarters. The Cardinals have two capable quarterbacks in Augustine Hahn (1,006 yards passing) and Zach Radermacher (588 yards) and a good receiving corps including Max Doerning and 6-foot-5 Austin Grove. Top rusher is Michael Heitzman (704 yards, seven touchdowns).

Rogers offensive leaders are Gunnar Bloom with 969 yards rushing and 22 touchdowns (17 rushing, four receiving, one punt return), Andy Borchard with 970 yard passing, 11 touchdowns and two interceptions, and Adam Heyer with 289 yards and six touchdowns receiving.

In the final Max Preps rankings for Class 5A, St. Michael-Albertville was No. 2, Rogers No. 3 and Elk River No. 5. In the section, STMA was seeded first and the Elks second.

No. 5 Buffalo will play at No. 4 Monticello in the other game Tuesday. On Saturday, Elk River will host the Willmar-Rogers winner and STMA will host the Monticello-Buffalo winner, both 3 p.m., with finals Friday, Oct. 31, at high seed, 7 p.m.

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Football: Thunder hosting Mound-Westonka in playoff opener Tuesday Mon, 20 Oct 2014 16:39:44 +0000 The Zimmerman Thunder were seeded third in the Section 5AAAA football tournament after posting a 6-2 regular season record.

The Thunder will host No. 6 Mound-Westonka (2-6) on Tuesday, 7 p.m., with the winner facing No. 2 Orono on Saturday, 3 p.m. in Orono.

Thunder leaders include Austin May with 686 yards rushing and three touchdowns, Taylor Snow with 69 tackles and Trent Milless with four interceptions.

Starting quarterback Matt Dorso, who had a minor knee injury three games ago, has a 50-50 chance of playing, said coach Tom Kish.

About Mound-Westonka, Kish said, “Mound has a very good QB and some weapons on offense. Defensively, they have an excellent D-line. They are a much improved team from what we saw when we played them several years ago. We will have to play well to win.”

Becker (7-1) is top-seeded among six teams and will host the winner of No. 5 Delano at No. 4 Big Lake on Saturday. Finals are the following Friday.

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Volleyball: Elks, Thunder, Sting, Royals enter sectionals this week Mon, 20 Oct 2014 16:36:07 +0000 Elk River was seeded No. 7 among 12 teams in Section 7AAA volleyball after a 9-15 regular season.

The Elks will host No. 10 Princeton (11-15) in the first round Wednesday, 7 p.m.

Cambridge-Isanti (24-4) is the No. 1 seed. North Branch (17-5), a team the Elks beat 3-1 early in the season, is No. 2. Also having first-round byes are No. 3 Andover and No. 4 Anoka.

If the Elks beat Princeton, they would play Friday at North Branch. All game times are 7 p.m. The semifinals will be Wednesday, Oct, 29, and finals Saturday, Nov. 1.

Elk leaders after the regular season include Sidney Wentland with 187 kills, Kennedy Strain with 140 kills and 37 aces, Geneva Kachinski with 97 kills, 233 digs and 33 aces, and Kaitlyn Pearson with 261 digs.


The Spectrum Sting, after an 18-7 regular season, are seeded No. 4 in the north half of Section 5AA, and will host No. 5 Zimmerman (5-21) Thursday, 7 p.m. The two schools also met in the first round last year with Zimmerman winning.

The Spectrum-Zimmerman winner will play the following Tuesday, most likely at No. 1 Park Center, unless No. 8 Minneapolis Henry upsets the Pirates.

Top-seeded in the other half is Maple Lake.


The Rogers Royals (13-15) were seeded eighth among 12 teams in Section 5AAA and will host No. 9 Spring Lake Park on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The winner will play at No. 1 Champlin Park on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Totino-Grace, Osseo and St. Michael-Albertville are seeded 2-3-4.

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Congressional candidates meet at forum Mon, 20 Oct 2014 16:12:46 +0000 • Candidates vie for open seat in the state’s 6th District

by Paul Rignell

Contributing Writer

The 6th District race will be featured this fall as it is Minnesota’s only U.S. House race in 2014 without an incumbent.

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann is retiring from the seat in Congress after serving four terms. Her district Republicans have nominated Tom Emmer, of Delano, to run for the job of succeeding her in Washington.

The Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party has endorsed Joe Perske, of Sartell, while the Independence Party is backing John Denney, of Forest Lake, as Emmer’s challengers.

Elk River is near the center of this district that expands from central Minnesota east to the Wisconsin border, wrapping south around St. Paul. The three candidates met at Elk River City Hall on Oct. 11 to answer questions on transportation, foreign policy and health care, and also discuss how they would seek bipartisanship during work in Congress. Their forum was sponsored by the Elk River Area Chamber of Commerce and the Elk River Citizens League, and their hour of discussion will be aired at scheduled times on cable access prior to Election Day, Nov. 4.

(Editor’s note: The 6th Congressional District candidate forum held Oct. 11 in Elk River  will be rebroadcast from 7-8 p.m. Thursdays and 3:20-4:25 p.m. Saturdays on the city of Elk River cable channel, ERtV, Channel 180. There also will be a link on the Elk River Area Chamber of Commerce’s website at

On the first topic of transportation, the Independence Party candidate Denney was afforded the chance to open the speaking. He said that the winner of this fall’s 6th District race will be succeeding someone who has ranked last among the state’s eight districts in securing federal funding for transportation at home.

Denney suggested that residents could expect the same commitment from Emmer, saying that the Republican candidate “very much is Michele Bachmann 2.0.”

State and local governments could count on Denney to work hard for sending help home for roads and bridges, he said.

“They need predictability in their funding streams,” Denney said.

Emmer said that he would like to move more decisions on transportation to state leaders. He said that Minnesota is not getting enough for its federal tax dollars toward roads and bridges, as the state really only gets 73 cents for every dollar that it sends to Washington.

Perske, who is currently the mayor of Sartell, agreed that Congress needs to work closely with state and local governments. He noted that he has worked with a transportation planning group centered in St. Cloud, and Perske promised to be a champion for transportation in the vein of former 8th District U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar, who served 18 terms in Congress from 1975 through 2010.

The Elk River forum moderator asked candidates to speak on how the United States should address threats of terrorism.

Emmer said the nation needs a coherent foreign policy that he says is lacking under President Obama.

“I don’t think the United States should be a policeman, but we do need to lead and not from behind as our current administration has suggested,” Emmer said.

He pledged that he would work to ensure that U.S. residents who might leave to join terrorist units in attacking the country would never be allowed back as citizens.

Perske said the current threat from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria group, ISIS, requires strong organization and action from Washington.

“We need to get it right,” he said. “We will put ISIS down. It has to be done.”

Denney said the U.S. needs to “secure our servers” as much as the nation’s borders, as he said terrorists would be more likely than ever to infiltrate the country through data breaches. Denney promoted himself as a “younger, more technologically sound candidate” compared with Emmer and Perske.

On a question of how the candidates may work toward bipartisanship, Perske said dollars are tight everywhere and that Sartell has worked with St. Cloud, Waite Park and other cities along with their county governments to reach efficient solutions on projects for everyone.

He said that there needs to be much more cooperation across the aisle between Democrats and Republicans.

“The polarizing politics are absolutely killing us,” Perske said.

Denney noted that his run for Congress is his first foray into politics. He pledged that if he is elected in the 6th District, he will execute a lifetime ban on ever returning as a lobbyist.

Emmer served three terms in the Minnesota House of Representatives, from 2005 to 2010, when he said it was often easier to work with Democrats than it was with his fellow Republicans.

“(Democrats) always said what they were going to do, and they always voted the way I expected them to,” Emmer said. “You don’t have to give up who you are (in order) to work with people with different visions.”

Regarding a question on the Affordable Care Act, Emmer noted that it has been the president’s signature legislation in office.

Denney referred to the program widely known as “Obamacare” as a “well-intentioned mess.” Denney added: “What I think we need to do is look for ways to improve it.”

“Well-intentioned? Yeah,” Emmer responded. “I think everyone would like to see people get the health care that they need.”

As written, the ACA “doesn’t seem like it can work,” Emmer added.

The Republican candidate said he would like people to have as much free choice for buying health insurance as they have for vehicle insurance.

Perske said the U.S. is the “only developed country without a working health care plan for its people.”

He said he has heard from many people that the ACA has helped. Pharmacists have told him it is great that “people are getting the medication that they need,” he said.

“I think we need to work together to refine (Obamacare),” Perske added.

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Police report: Lost gun, voodoo, identity theft and more Mon, 20 Oct 2014 15:46:29 +0000 by  Paul Rignell

Contributing Writer

Police responded to a business on Holt Street where an Elk River man, 47, called at 4:21 p.m. Oct. 12 to say he owned a permit to carry and that he might have lost a handgun from its holster while shopping.

An officer helped the man retrace his steps at the business but they did not find the gun. The officer followed the caller back to his home, where they found the gun in a bathroom.

Pit stop for

An officer that was running a security check at Aggregate Industries, 12001 213th Ave. NW, cited a Zimmerman man, 56, and a Wayzata man, 29, for trespassing after seeing one of the men walking in a pit Oct. 12.

The suspects had reached the 20600 block of Proctor Road on foot when police stopped them at 1:43 p.m.

Phone use never wise behind the wheel

An Elk River man, 29, was cited for failure to drive with due care at the intersection of Highway 169 and Main Street at 11:58 a.m. Oct. 12.

The man had been in a left-turn lane, waiting to drive east on Main Street from southbound Highway 169, when he hit a car in front of him. The suspect admitted that he was not paying attention. A witness told police that the man had been talking on a cellphone.

Books taken from car in Elk River

An Elk River woman, 38, on 192nd Lane called police at 8:53 a.m. Oct. 12 to report an unknown person had broken out a passenger window on her vehicle overnight. The suspect removed a handbag and several books that belonged to the caller’s daughter, age 20.

Jail trip after traffic stop for man

Police brought a Rockford man, 27, to the Sherburne County Jail after a traffic stop at 5:09 p.m. Oct. 11 revealed that the suspect was driving after cancellation.

Officers arrested the man for obstructing the legal process after he first refused to identify himself while stopped near Highway 169 and Ranch Road.

Suspicion of voodoo

Police were alerted to suspicious activity on the 800 block of Freeport Avenue at 4:16 p.m. Oct. 11 after a man called from an address there to say he believed another male had afflicted him by casting a voodoo spell.

The caller had told a dispatch operator that he was driving to a hospital. An officer tried to contact the caller by phone, but there was no option to leave a voice message.

Alleged domestic assault called in

Police arrested and booked an Elk River man, 25, on suspicion of fifth-degree domestic assault. Officers got a call 11:24 p.m. Oct. 10 that alleged the man was pushing his girlfriend on the 18600 block of Gary Street.

Evicted tenant may have left damage

A man from Hawaii, age 39, called Elk River Police at 11:05 p.m. Oct. 10 to report suspicion of property damage by a former tenant in a local rental unit owned by the caller on 181st Lane.

The man said he recently evicted a female tenant, 36, after she had paid no rent since April. The landlord found that a broken water pipe had flooded his property’s basement, and he reported no sign of forced entry.

Driver sleeps through green lights, booked for DWI

A Princeton man, 24, was arrested and booked for driving while intoxicated and driving after suspension at 12:33 a.m. Oct. 10 after nodding off in his vehicle that faced north on Jackson Avenue at School Street.

Police arrived to check on the man after other motorists said he stayed idle and appeared to be asleep in his vehicle through several cycles of green lights at the intersection.

Identity theft
concerns couple

A husband and wife, ages 56 and 54, on 181st Drive called police at 9:15 a.m. Oct. 9 with suspicions of identity theft.

The man said he received a letter from the Internal Revenue Service saying that the couple still owed money with their 2013 tax returns on file. The man reported that the couple actually had not yet filed those returns.

Over a yard and through the woods, leads to DWI arrest

An Elk River man, 21, was arrested for third-degree driving while intoxicated at 11:52 p.m. Oct. 9 on the 11300 block of 195th Avenue NW.

After being called to the scene, police observed the suspect to be driving out of a yard. Witnesses said the suspect had also driven through some nearby woods.

Neighbors’ attention had been drawn to the incident due to a loud muffler on the driver’s car.

Slow driving draws police attention

Police arrested and booked an Elk River woman, 59, for fourth-degree driving while intoxicated at 7:04 p.m. Oct. 9 after she brought attention to herself by crossing fog lines and driving particularly slowly on County Road 14 and then Highway 10.

Officers stopped the woman on the 600 block of Proctor Avenue in Elk River.

Prescription fraud reported by man

Police learned at 4:04 p.m. Oct. 9 that an Elk River woman, 21, on Carson Street was suspected of misusing a male acquaintance’s prescription for medication.

The man said the woman had brought him to a hospital Sept. 29, when he received a prescription order but he found later that the form was missing. Video surveillance from the man’s pharmacy showed that the female suspect used the form to obtain the prescription.

Hazardous waste     is in the mail

An Andover man, 34, reported at 2:36 p.m. Oct. 9 that a package intended for disposal with Hennepin County hazardous waste ended up being addressed to the Elk River Landfill, 22460 Highway 169.

A Robbinsdale man, 82, is believed to have mailed a clear bag containing asbestos insulation to the appropriate Hennepin County authorities but included the Elk River site’s address. A landfill representative said they can handle that material for disposal, but they require special paperwork.

Texting while driving

Police cited an Oak Grove woman, 41, for texting while driving at 8:33 a.m. Oct. 9 near Main and Zane streets.

An officer said that he witnessed the suspect holding a phone at eye level and pressing her right thumb on the device while in motion. The woman admitted in a traffic stop that she was sending email.

Impaired driver cites methadone use

Police arrested a Plymouth man, 29, for driving while impaired at 9:26 a.m. Oct. 8 after he dropped off a student for school at Twin Lakes Elementary, 10051 191st Ave. NW.

A witness who alerted police said that the suspect was stumbling and fell to a sidewalk before re-entering his vehicle in the school lot. Police found the suspect and vehicle at the student’s home address. The man reportedly said he was using methadone and that he was in possession of prescription drugs not belonging to him.

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