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Lance Gehl isn't much of a movie buff, but the Illinois man plans to watch Touchstone Pictures' "The Proposal" when it comes out June 19. He's not interested in Sandra Bullock's smile or Ryan Reynolds' quips, but in what's hidden beneath. At some point in the movie, 54 seconds of music will add to his father's fame. "It's pretty exciting for a guy who's 70 years old," said Lance's father, Len. Nearly half his song, "Take Some Love," will play during the film. Len Gehl, who grew up in Hawthorne and graduated from Northwestern High School, has lived a life surrounded by music.
Superior youth are counting down the days to summer break. Most are looking forward to biking, playing in parks, visiting friends and lazy days. Some, however, see summer as a time of hunger. Without their free or reduced-price school breakfast and lunch, they have no consistent source of balanced nutritious meals. "Families getting food stamps don't get more (over the summer)," said Jeanne Provost-Hopkins, food service director for the Superior School District. But they suddenly have two more meals a day they have to provide. Need is already climbing in the area.
Participants left Wednesday's hunger summit with an appetite for change. Pastor Pat Ziem vowed to start a church garden at Zion Lutheran Church. "Encourage people to do that, plant that extra piece of land," said County Board Supervisor Kay McKenzie. Galeynn White with the United Way of Duluth said she would steer clear of fast food. "No McDonald's," she wrote. Millie Rounsville, executive director of Northwest Wisconsin Community Service Agency, plans to work with local farmers to buy food for the agency's food shelf. Nicole Mand and Laura Gapske with the Center Against Sexual and Domes
Bobby Berchild will cross the graduation stage Saturday into a bright new future. The Superior High School senior leaves the school ranked sixth in his class with numerous awards to his name -- including a Sparty for high school sports broadcasting and a silver award for social studies. But his eyes are already on the horizon. A four-year national ROTC scholarship awaits him at St. Thomas University in the Twin Cities. He was one of five to win the honor if the 122 students who applied.
With some give, some take and a couple tweaks, 14 segments of county highway connecting existing routes and trails moved closer to opening for ATV traffic during a Douglas County Highway Committee meeting Wednesday. "It's a good day," said Supervisor Dan Corbin, a member of the Northwest Trails Association. After getting a seal of approval -- or disapproval -- from the highway department and sheriff's department, the applications move on to a Douglas County Board possibly as early as this month. "None of these trails are open at this time," cautioned Kay Johnson, committee chairwoman.
If you're looking for a true-life drama ripped from the headlines, turn off the TV. Right here in Superior, on air and on stage, life is breathed into the colorful history of Douglas County. "I think it's a great way of retelling history for a generation brought up on TV and YouTube," said Teddie Meronek, former board member for the Douglas County Historical Society. The area is steeped in history -- people and events that shaped the community and even touched the nation. To flesh out the tales, the historical society is launching a History Theatre.
The number of charges against a man accused of stabbing his ex-girlfriend and her parents at a Superior residence has doubled. Donald Lavail Christopher, 40, was initially charged with two counts of attempted first-degree intentional homicide and one count of aggravated battery on April 24 in Douglas County Circuit Court. Three additional felony charges were added by the time of Christopher's appeared for his arraignment Friday afternoon -- two counts of substantial battery and one count burglary. Christopher pleaded not guilty to each of the six counts.
A former music teacher whose career with the School District of Superior ended -- in part because of improper conduct with a female student -- was recently granted a restraining order against the former student. Dana Tolene, 21, was ordered to have no contact with her former choir teacher, Brian G. MacDonell.
She's caring, outgoing and opinionated, and she has made a career out of giving students a lift -- physically as well as emotionally. When Lee Ann Keogan retires June 12, the special needs bus driver for the Superior School District will be missed. "My son's been on her bus since he was three years old," said Mary Jo Manion.
Little things have taken on big significance for Jennifer and Neil Helenius. A touch, a song, a test passed, an ounce gained, each means a step in the development of their twin daughters, who were born three-and-a-half months early. "Every day and week that goes by it gets better and better," said Robin Deshayes, principal of Northern Lights School, where Jennifer teaches second grade. The tiny girls, known as micro-preemies, were born April 7 at 25 weeks. Henleigh was half an inch longer than a ruler (12.5 inches) and weighed one pound, 10 ounces.