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Thursday, September 3rd, 2015
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Whalan Community Center given new life


By Kirsten Zoellner

Fri, Jan 24th, 2014
Posted in Whalan Progress Edition

After extensive fundraising efforts and renovating, the Whalan Community Center is being enjoyed for a variety of events. Photo submitted

It happens almost daily. Old buildings are torn down, leveled to the ground, to make room for modern progress. In the heart of Fillmore County, in our small communities, more and more are laying claim to these historical remnants, reclaiming them not only for the past, but for the future.

Last year, we told the story of how one town of 63 people, Whalan, Minn. saw residents, former residents, and other area folk came together in effort to save the town’s early 20th-century city hall. The massive effort was strictly volunteer and amassed nearly $50,000 and countless hours, resulting in an open house celebration this past September. Not surprisingly, the ball didn’t stop rolling there.

“Something needed to be done,” said city mayor Larry Johnson. “It was either tear it down or renovate it. A group of community-minded citizens came forward to take it on and raise funds. It all started from there.”

The group was spearheaded by Whalan-native Donna Novotny, of Chatfield, Minn., who initially approached the city about the town hall and community center five years ago. A member of the Ladies Auxiliary, who had long used the facility as their post home, Novotny and the spirited ladies group began saving their money from local fundraisers. “It seemed so hopeless,” she notes in retrospect. “It took us a while, but we eventually got up to $5,000 and went to the council with seed money for it. It really seemed like, ‘We are never going to be able to do this.’” Still, the group persisted.

The city contributed $20,000 towards the project and it seemed like it was underway. “We started and went as far as we could. They looked at me like, ‘Huh? Are we going to be able to do this?’” adds Novotny. “But you never know what you can do until you start,” she enthuses.

Getting a little help from their friends, the group continued on and sometime after, Novotny received surprising news. “I was told about a quarter of the way in that we were the recipients of funds from an estate. I was told a portion was to be given to Ladies Auxiliary through the VFW and American Legion. It was very generous. The kicker of the whole thing was that I had to sit on it for a while. It was so hard to do, but you can’t count something until you have it in your hand!”

That funding breathed life into the project again and the collaboration continued as private donations and small grant .....
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Whalan holds cookie walk and chili feed

Fri, Dec 20th, 2013
Posted in Whalan Features

Tasty comfort foods could be found at the Whalan City Hall in Whalan, Minn., on Saturday, December 14, 2013 as the Whalan Taste of the Trail Committee held a Cookie Walk and Chili Feed. The event was held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. giving people plenty ..... 
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George W. Judy

Wed, Dec 18th, 2013
Posted in Whalan Obituaries

George W. Judy, age 94, formerly of Whalan, Minn., died Monday, December 16, 2013, at Good Shepherd Lutheran Home. George was born March 17, 1919 in Springfield, SD. In October of 1941 George served for the US army until December of 1945. During ..... 
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Whalan Council approves final tax levy for 2014

Fri, Dec 13th, 2013
Posted in Whalan Government

The City of Whalan’s tax levy for 2014 was adjusted at the December 9 Whalan City Council meeting—in a direction that should please town residents. After discussion about the previous preliminary figure of 5 percent set earlier this fall, and a ..... 
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Whalan’s Cookie Walk and Chili Feed

Fri, Nov 29th, 2013
Posted in Whalan Arts & Culture

Whalan’s Taste of the Trail Committee will be sponsoring a Cookie Walk and Chili Feed on Saturday, December 14 from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. The event will be held in the newly remodeled Whalan City Hall. Come and pick out some cookies and other treats, j ..... 
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Kjell Olav Nordlie

Tue, Nov 26th, 2013
Posted in Whalan Obituaries

Kjell Olav Nordlie, the son of Kaare and Magna “Kjenner” Nordlie was born on September 3, 1946, in Sarpsborg, Norway. He grew up in the Sarpsborg, Norway area where he attended school. He later attended Oslo Teachers College where he received hi ..... 
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Whalan City Council approves new town brochure for DMC meeting on the 18th

Fri, Nov 15th, 2013
Posted in Whalan Government

Next Monday evening, November 18, the topic of Rochester’s Destination Medical Center (DMC) will take center stage at the Commonweal Theatre in Lanesboro, Minn., and thanks to speedy work from local residents and support from its city council, Wha ..... 
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High honors for local resort owners

Fri, Nov 1st, 2013
Posted in Whalan Features

Larry and Sheryl Johnson, owners of Cedar Valley Resort in Whalan, Minn., have been chosen as the Minnesota Resort and Campground Association’s 2013 Operators of the Year. The couple attended the three day MRCA conference which took place October ..... 
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Whalan City Council has “powerful” meeting on October 14

Fri, Oct 18th, 2013
Posted in Whalan Government

The atmosphere was “charged” at the October 14 Whalan City Council meeting—but not in any bad way. Members of the council needed to discuss and make decisions on a number of electrical issues arising out of local projects underway. The need ..... 
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