Archive for Cokato

Stockholm Township election and annual meeting

Notice is hereby given to the qualified voters of Stockholm Township, County of Wright, State Of Minnesota, the Annual Election of Town Officers and the Annual Town Meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 14, 2023.
The polls will be open from Ten (10) o’clock a.m. to Eight (8) o’clock p.m. The Annual Meeting will take place immediately after the polls close, The Board of Canvas will meet immediately after the polls close, to certify Election results.
Voters will elect:
One (1) Supervisor – 3 Year Terms
One (1) Supervisor – 2 Year Term
One (1) Supervisor – 1 Year Term
One (1) Treasurer – 2 Year Term
One (1) Clerk – 1 Year Term
The Annual meeting will start at approximately 8:15P.M.
The Election and the Annual Meeting will be at the Stockholm Community Center, 16233 County Road 30 SW, Cokato, MN 55321.
Wendy Halonen
Stockholm Township Clerk
Published in the Herald Journal, Feb. 24 and March 3, 2023. |

MNDOT announces winners of “Name a Snowplow” contest

Yer a Blizzard, Harry and Blizzo join the state’s snowplow fleet as winners of the 2023 “Name a Snowplow” contest, along with six other popular names, the Minnesota of Transportation announced today Wednesday, Feb. 8.

More than 64,000 voters cast a ballot in the contest. One newly named snowplow will be assigned to each of MnDOT’s eight districts.

The winning names, in order of vote totals, and their future homes are:

  • Yer a Blizzard, Harry – District 8 (Southwest Minnesota)
  • Blizzo – Metro District (Twin Cities)
  • Clearopathtra – District 1 (Northeast Minnesota)
  • Better Call Salt – District 3 (Central Minnesota)
  • Han Snowlo – District 7 (South Central Minnesota)
  • Blader Tot Hotdish – District 2 (Northwest Minnesota)
  • Scoop! There it is – District 6 (Southeast Minnesota)
  • Sleetwood Mac – District 4 (West Central Minnesota)

The agency invited people to submit creative ideas for snowplow names in December 2022. After receiving more than 10,400 name ideas, MnDOT staff narrowed the list to 60 finalists for the public to vote on. This is the third year that MnDOT has hosted the annual Name a Snowplow contest.

MnDOT now has 25 named snowplows statewide, including Plowy McPlowFace, Betty Whiteout, Duck Duck Orange Truck and The Big Leplowski. In addition to the 24 named snowplows selected through “Name a Snowplow” contests, staff in District 1 chose to add a named snowplow to their region in 2022. Giiwedin, the Ojibwe word for the North Wind, is stationed at MnDOT’s Duluth Truck Station and covers Highway 33 near the Fond du Lac Reservation.

MnDOT will share additional information on its social media pages once the new 2023 names are placed on the snowplows.


Mid-County Coop’s FALL/WINTER 2022-2023 Messenger is now available to read



Inside volume 42 of the Mid-County Messenger you will learn more about Mid-County’s different departments including Agronomy, Energy, the Auto, Truck & Tire Center, and more! There’s updates and information available for each department in the co-op containing information and updates on the successes and experiences or the last half year. READ NOW

CLICK HERE to see all the past Mid-County Newsletters too dating back to spring of 2006. Come see how Mid-County has grown over the years as well as all that’s going on now!

Funeral notice: Roger Braatz, 84

Roger Andrew Braatz, devoted husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, and uncle, passed away peacefully in his sleep at home Tuesday, Dec 20.
Visitation will take place Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2022, from 5 to 7 p.m. at The Peterson Chapel in Buffalo, MN.
The funeral service will take place Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022 at 11 a.m., with visitation one hour prior at 10 a.m. at Zion Lutheran Church in Buffalo. Inurnment will take place at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Catholic Charities of St. Cloud (Meals on Wheels)
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to The Peterson Chapel of Buffalo. Online condolences for the family may be directed to


Mid-County Coop is now hiring a Full-Time Administrative Assistant


Mid-County Coop, a growing, locally owned, full service cooperative in Cologne, MN is seeking an administrative assistant. Office experience with Word, Excel and standard administrative skills is preferred. Full-time day hours, competitive wage and excellent benefits package.
Please contact Marsi Motschenbacher at
(952)466-3720, email cover letter and resume to or mail to:
Marsi Motschenbacher, Mid-County Coop
PO Box 177, Cologne, MN 55322
Mid-County Coop is looking to fill a variety of other positions in all departments immediately, visit to see all the openings.

Waverly residents’ research leads to return of Purple Heart

By Austen Neaton
Staff Writer

Longtime Waverly resident Jan Fitzpatrick recently came across a lost historical item that led her and some friends on a mission to return it to its rightful owner.
In late July, Fitzpatrick visited her friend, Cathy Maynard, who was holding a garage sale after cleaning out some old items in her house.

Fitzpatrick says that Maynard showed her a Purple Heart that had been in the bottom of a box of loose things for at least 20 years and that Maynard hoped that she might be able to help identify who it belonged to.
A Purple Heart medal is an honor awarded to military service members who have been wounded or were killed in action. Knowing that Jan and her husband, Tom, are active members of the Waverly American Legion and Auxiliary, Maynard asked the two to find out more about the medal’s rightful owner.

Jan said that finding the item’s owner as soon as possible became a priority, as she had a brother who was awarded a Purple Heart after losing his life while fighting in the Vietnam War.

“It just touched me because Cathy brought it to me, and I lost a brother in the Vietnam War. I know what my brother’s Purple Heart and all of his medals mean to me and the memory of my brother,” she explained. “So that’s where my heart is in so much of all this because I know that it belongs to a family.”
After taking the medal home, she and Tom, who served for two years in the US Navy from 1968-1969, began researching the name inscribed on the medal.

The two found that it was given to Cpl. Hugh Joseph Akins, and that he served in World War II. They also found that Akins was born and raised in Pennsylvania and died Oct. 4, 1944. He is currently buried in the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial in Margraten, The Netherlands.
At a standstill for more information, Jan and Tom reached out to their friend and fellow Waverly Legion member Dave Holmes.

Holmes served in the US Army Reserves from 1957-1965, and over the years, he has been involved in numerous projects to commemorate long-deceased veterans. In 2018, Holmes helped do research for a registry of any war veterans connected to Waverly that served in World War I. He is also currently working on the veteran directory for the Waverly Veterans Memorial Wall.

Holmes delved into the project and used sources such as, online obituaries, and other online military records to uncover the story of two brothers lost to World War II.

The corporal
Cpl. Hugh Akins was born May 21, 1923. Akins enlisted in the US Army in 1942, at the age of 19, as part of a military draft that randomly selected men ages 18-25 to enlist in the military.
Upon enrollment, he was assigned as a paratrooper to the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment as a part of the 82nd Airborne Division, an elite military division that can deploy with 18 hours’ notice.
Paratroopers are soldiers that are deployed out of a plane by parachute to land in denied areas behind enemy lines.

Though Holmes found that Akins was likely fighting in Holland before he died, he says it is unclear which battles he may have fought.

Among the notable battles, he may have fought in are Operation Market Garden and Operation D-Day.
Operation Market Garden was an airborne operation that took place in September 1944. It attempted to get American forces and their allies into Northern Germany to try and shorten the war. Though the operation ultimately failed, it became famous for the courage and determination shown by the soldiers during the effort.
The infamous Operation Overlord, known as “D-Day,” occurred on June 6, 1944, and took place on the shores of Normandy, France. The operation allowed Americans and their allies to retake a considerable portion of France after the enemy German army had taken control of the country. The operation was considered a key component in ending World War II.

It is unclear how many times Akins deployed from a plane during his military career. However, Holmes confirmed that his cause of death was shrapnel wounds from enemy artillery and that he died at the age of 21. “None of these guys were very old, and there weren’t very many old guys there,” Holmes said.
Holmes also says that while he found as much as he could about Akins, he may never know how the Purple Heart medal got to Minnesota. “That’s the one there that nobody can know. Nobody knows how it got here,” he said. “There are a lot of mysteries that you’ll never solve, and you can only go so far down the trail before you say, ‘Well, I just gotta give up on this one.”

The corporal’s brother
During Holmes’s research, he found that Akins had four other brothers who also served in the US Army or Army Air Corps at some point. One of his brothers, Francis, also fought and died in World War II.

Francis was a pilot for a heavy bomber squadron, which dropped large bombs from planes onto known enemy fronts. In addition, he piloted a B17 bomber, which at the time was the largest plane available to the US Military.
According to Holmes, only approximately 25% of those on bombing crews survived the war unscathed. Francis died in action just two weeks before Hugh was eventually lost to the war. He was 23 years old when he died.

Francis died during a mission to drop supplies to the Polish Underground Army in Warsaw, Poland, during the Warsaw Uprising. The Warsaw Uprising was an effort by the Polish resistance to take back the City of Warsaw from German enemy control.

His mission was to pilot a B17 containing bombshells loaded with supplies rather than explosives as his crew deployed the supplies to the Polish resistance below. On the day he died, he and his plane were part of a fleet of over 100 B17s dropping supplies to the area.
As a bomber pilot, Francis had to fly straight through war zones as his crew deployed bombs on their targets below. Due to the size of the plane and the process of dropping bombs, B17s could not perform any evasive maneuvers.

Because of this, Francis’s plane was shot down by ground artillery. It is believed that Francis was also hit with artillery shrapnel while piloting the plane.
Francis was also awarded a Purple Heart for his service.
According to Holmes, a memorial for the crew stands today in Lomianki, Poland, a city near Warsaw.

In his research, Holmes found a living relative of the Akins brothers, Francis’s daughter Marcia. She was two years old when her father passed away.

Marcia assisted Holmes in his research. Finally, Hugh’s Purple Heart was packaged and sent to her as its rightful owner.

Coincidentally, the medal arrived on October 14, the anniversary of Hugh Akins’s death.
Marcia said she was thankful to everyone who helped get the medal to her. “Thank you all who have helped share and care. There are no words that can express my gratitude for all the kind strangers that have come into my life through some connection to my dad and my uncle. I like to think of them as little hugs,” Marcia said. “I hope it reminds many of the freedoms that we have today.”

Jan says that anyone who finds important pieces of history should try to return them to their owners, particularly military awards. “What I would want people to take away from this is how important this can be to a family. To anybody else, if this ever happens to them, they know that there’s some family out there that it means a great deal to,” she said.

Tom said the medal was a reminder of the results of many peoples’ sacrifices for the country. “We probably live in the greatest country in the world. I mean, look at how bad it is in Russia, Ukraine, or Iran; we have it so much better. Certainly, we can complain about inflation and whatever else happens here in the US, but it doesn’t compare to what happens in other countries. We always have plenty to eat,” he said.

Jan agreed. “When Tom says probably, I say, ‘we do have the best. We live in a world where when I look at what is happening in Ukraine, I am not about to complain that I have gas in my car. I’m not going to complain that my turkey this year cost as much as it did because we have food. My dad used to say that ‘if we have food in the refrigerator, we are not poor,’ and so many don’t all over the world,” she said.

Connie Holmes, Dave’s wife and Mayor of Waverly, also reminded us to honor those who fought for our country’s freedoms.

“It was made possible by all the sacrifices that our fellow countrymen made in all of the wars, and it doesn’t matter which one; we wouldn’t have the freedoms we have if they hadn’t given their lives for our freedom.”

Dave Holmes and Cathy Maynard pose with the Purple Heart Medal found at the bottom of a box of loose things. Maynard had the box for approximately 20 years, but only recently discovered the historic item. Holmes helped identify the item’s rightful owner and returned it to the owner’s family.

Dave Holmes and Cathy Maynard pose with the Purple Heart Medal found at the bottom of a box of loose things. Maynard had the box for approximately 20 years, but only recently discovered the historic item. Holmes helped identify the item’s rightful owner and returned it to the owner’s family.