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Stories of survival

New York Mills singer and songwriter Elisa Korentayer is here today because her family had the courage to work hard, think creatively and break a few laws.  
Korentayer is one generation away from the Holocaust, as her dad Shay Korentayer was born in a labor camp at the end of World War II. Her grandparents were one of the few Polish Jews to survive that horrible time in history when five to six million Jews were murdered.        
“All of them (survivors) found some illegal way to survive, because according to law they should have been dead,” said Korentayer, speaking of Adolf Hitler’s anti-Jewish legislation.
Even though a few of the Korentayers survived World War II, this family lost many loved ones during those years. In honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is May 5, Korentayer shared the story of those in her family that survived. Stories that were passed down to her from her 94-year-old great-aunt Stasia, who now lives in Florida.
“It’s important to me to share these stories, because I have these stories to tell,” said Korentayer, who lives in rural NY Mills with her husband Chris Klein and their son. “More to the point, I believe that history should not be forgotten, especially the events that remind us of the cataclysmic potential when our basest human nature is not checked. And as I am one of the few people in our area to have a direct family connection to the events of the Holocaust, I hope the stories I have to share can serve to keep people conscious of how important it is to maintain our empathy and not let our differences obscure our shared humanity.”  
Although there are many stories from those years, Korentayer chose two stories of survival to share. Both stories begin on Sept. 1, 1939, when Nazi Germany invaded Poland. Korentayer’s grandparents (Natan and Batya) flee to Russia, while her great-aunt Stasia hid right under the Nazi’s noses.  read entire story. . . .

Facebook post causes panic!

A post made on the New York Mills Swap & Shop page on Facebook Tuesday night caused a bit of a panic about the safety of NY Mills School children. In fact, the comment caused dozens of parents to keep their children home the following day.
Jack Brooks, a grandparent of NY Mills school children, posted a warning on April 19 about a rumor of a shooting threat to take place at the NY Mills School. The threat he heard was allegedly supposed to take place on April 20, which is the 17th anniversary of the Columbine school shooting.
In his post, Brooks said his grandchildren would not be attending school until the public is fully informed of the matter and he urged parents to keep their children at home also.
“I vocalized it so parents would know. I was only trying to do good…to notify parents. The school is a good school. I just think they made a mistake in not informing parents,” said Brooks, in a phone interview on Thursday, admitting that he was surprised that his Facebook post “spread like wildfire.”
Upon seeing the post Tuesday night, many parents called Superintendent Blaine Novak. In response to the post, just after 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday night, Novak sent a voice message to all district parents via the districts instant alert system.
In an automated phone message, Novak explained that nearly a month ago there was a rumor of a potential threat to the school. That rumor was taken seriously and investigated by the school district in conjunction with the Otter Tail County Sherriff Department and the New York Mills Police Department. The rumor was deemed to be not a legitimate threat.  read entire story. . . .

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire...or not

Similar to Howard Lund’s beginning, a 2008 New York Mills graduate recently turned his garage into a manufacturing plant.
At his house located about 7 miles southwest of the city limits, Anthony Anderson spends his weekends building his patent pending smokeless fire ring.
Although AJA Smokeless Fire, LLC officially began April 1, Anderson started tinkering with the idea two years ago. With the intent of building an efficient wood boiler, Anderson spent hours researching on the internet before attempting to build his first smokeless fire ring. Basically, the metal ring has a bottom with two exterior walls. The outside wall has holes in the bottom and the inside lining has holes in the top. Oxygen comes in the holes at the bottom of the ring, quickly heats up in the hollow area between the two walls, raises to the top of the area between the two walls, before exiting holes in the top of the inside ring. The warm oxygen pushes the smoke back into the fire, where the smoke ignites and burns, resulting in a smokeless fire.
The process is called gasification and it’s not new. In an interview at his shop recently, Anderson said, “Industries have been using this (gasification) for big purposes. I’m making it for recreational use.”
It’s more efficient because the fire uses both sources of heat (the wood and the smoke), with just one source of fuel.  read entire story. . . .

Day care center backed by county, NY Mills EDA and Brunswick corporation

Economic Developer Mark Hanson told the New York Mills Economic Development Authority that it isn’t very often finding solutions for childcare is considered economic development. However, Hanson said NY Mills could be that exception.
“In this community, right now, it is a gigantic economic development,” he told the NY Mills EDA board last week.
Recently, Hanson met with officials from Brunswick Lund Boat Company and the county, about the need for additional day care in the community. The group has identified rooms in the basement of the Otter Tail County building as a possible location for the facility. Hanson said “Lunds is 100 percent on board,” with the idea of a day care center in NY Mills, and viewed the facility as a possible incentive to their current and future employees.
While the building is in relatively good shape, Hanson said there will likely need to be some changes to the facility, which he said the county has agreed to take care of. He also said there will need to be playground equipment installed at the day care center.
Moving forward, Hanson said there are three communities in the region that have a form of community-private partnerships and the plan is to tour those facilities to see what they are like and how they operate.
“The prospect is very positive and we are not slowing down, we are speeding up,” said Hanson.
Hanson said he will continue to meet with representatives from Brunswick Lund Boat Company and the county to keep the project moving forward.
In order to get a better look at the county building, the NY Mills EDA will host its next meeting at the county building in NY Mills. The meeting will give EDA members a chance to tour the facility and see how a day care would operate should it come to fruition in the city.  read entire story. . . .

Three NYM Lions honored

During April’s meeting, three members of the New York Mills Lion’s Club received honorable awards. Jim Wallgren received the Hearing Fellow award, while Ken Becker and Maynard Falk received the Melvin Jones award.  read entire story. . . .