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Westbrook, Minnesota
November 3, 2010     Sentinel Tribune
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November 3, 2010

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I ?_ w~ .i RE I i - - -- ~ ~';'~t'~--m" ~" -'~ .'L~~-- -- ..... Times of sun Abundant Mostly Sunshine. Mix of sun TURNBACK and clouds, sunshine, sunny. Highs Highs in the and clouds. Highs in the Highs in the in the low mid 50s and Highs in the CLOCKS ONE mid 40s and mid 40s and 50s and Jaws lows in the low 50s and lows in the lows in the in the mid mid 30s. lows in the HOUR mid 20s. ; upper 20s. 30s. mid 30s. mn ihld,llll,ll,ll,l,,ll,llll,lllflllllhiHlllll'tqlllillvhhl ***************MIXED ADC 50902 09/13/99 SmallTownPapers 5026 CALIFORNIA AVE SW SEATTLE, WA 98136-1208 6 Wednesday November 3, 2010 $1.00 VOLUME NO. 26 NUMBER 10 14 PAGES Plus supplements in local edition Knakmuhs Agency celebrates 50 years of progress Business from a small later they purchased one person business to the Rongstad four locations and 11 Agency in employees W:St:sekrson!r m Today Richard's Chandra Kolar handed out treats for the Halloween Parade last Friday. The parade is sponsored by the Westbrook Women's Club and participating businesses. More on page 12 Face painting was a popular event at the Elementary Carnival last Thursday at the elementary school at Walnut Grove. More photos on page 12. Happy Face, the clown showed students his turkey sandwich, it had a mirror on the top piece. He was one of the featured persons at the Prairie Winds Art Festival last week. More on page 2. By Tom Merchant Sentinel Tribune WALNUT GROVE For the past 50 years the Knakmuhs Agency has served the community with the emphasis on family. Richard (Dick) Knakmuhs founder of the business started out working as a bookkeeper and parts man in the Ford Garage at ]'racy in 1958. While there he began selling insurance policies to people buying vehicles there. In a previous interview Knakmuhs commented, "We used to write liability and property damage policies for about twenty five dollars for six months -- It's slightly higher now," he said with a wry grin on his face. By 1960 Knakmuhs decided he could never afford to open a garage of his own. So, when there wasan opportunity to purchase the Fordham Agency in Walnut Grove he bought it and set up shop. He operant there for a few years and then moved the business into his home. son Kerry who joined the firm in 1977, is now presi- dent of the compa- ny. The latter Knakmuhs com- mented, "It is kind of a special thing with my father, it couldn't have worked better. He gave me the latitude to develop the busi- ness." In recent years Kerry's sons, Matt and Nate, have joined the firm. He said, I have wanted to do the same thing with my sons as my From left seated: Kerry Knakmuhs, Dick Knakmuhs. dad did with me. I Standing: Nate Knakmuhs and Matt Knakmuhs. find it is more impor- tant working with But that did not work very well so he purchased the building where the original Oriental Food Store now occupies. They operated in that location until their move to their ~resent facility, which was' occupied by Olsnn Hardware. Over the years the busi- ness has expanded in loea- family on the per- tions and personnel, sonal side than on the busi- In 1980 they purchased ness side. Although he admits the Bank Agency in Tracy. it sometimes makes it diffi- cult covering the bases at Ten years later they pur- chased Duane Peterson work when they have family Agency ha Tracy and Gak-~~'~ ~'ents. and in 1998 they purchased Knakmuhs the Real Estate Business Continued on Page 3 from Peterson. Three years Kottkes living on Century Farm A family tradition of croquet goes way back with the Kottkes By Tom Merchant Sentinel Tribune WESTBROOK Ron and Shari Kottke are living and farming a Century Farm about five and quarter miles north of Westbrook. The land it sits on was originally pur- chased from the raft- road in 1887 by Helge Thorsen. He was a Norwegian immigrant, and never was married. However his sister Kristi Thorsen came to live with him. Later she married Helge Kleven, and they had four sons Ole, Thor, Albert, and Martin, (Ron's Grandpa). Martin farmed the farm across the road from Helge and Kristi, which is now occupied by Ron's moth- er Leona (daughter of Martin). The time line for ownership is Helge Thorsen 1897, Helge was an uncle to Helge Kleven sons. In 1917 Ole Kleven and his wife Wilton bought the farm. In 1978 Oliver (Ole's son) and Muriel Kleven bought the farm and in 1995 Ron (son of Leona Kottke) and Shari Kottke bought the farm, and are currently living on it. Kottke said, "I feel the Century Farm desig- nation has to do more with the original own- ers. They broke the sod with horses -- there were no trees, and there were plenty of rocks to Ran and Shari Kottke Century Farm home. remove." He commented, they didn't have the big equipment we have today. '~l'oday when you break the ground you have to think back how hard they had to work to do the same thing," Kottke said. The original tile was all dug in by hand. "It was a very. physical life they started from scratch -- they built a in front of their lot of their buildings." he said. Kottke laughed when he mentioned that the brothers must have loved pouring concrete, because I have had to remove some of it for new projects and it was 18 inches thick! In the early days much of the farm was m pasture. Although they did plant corn, flax, oats, and hay. In those days 50 bushels of corn per acre was considered a really good crop. Today 200 bushels is not uncommon. According to Kottke, in the early years his grandpa and his sons didn't like to rent land to people with corn pick- ers because they dropped to much on the ground. The brothers were also very innovative each installing electrici- ty on their respective farms before the arrival of rural electricity. They used the electricity to power lights, radio, refrigerators, and wash- ing machines. The sys- tems used gas engines to produce the 32 volts of electricity. Kottkes Continued on Page 3 INDEX ON RECORD PAGE 2 SPORTS PAGE 9 INSIDE PAGE 3 SPORTS PAGE 10 VIEWPOINT PAGE 4 SPORTS PAGE 11 FAITH & FAMILY PAGE 5 AREA FOCUS PAGE 12 COMMUNITY PAGE 6 CLASSIFIED ADS PAGE 13 COMMUNITY PAGE 7 BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT PAGE 14 VETERANS PAGE 8 FALL SPORTS PAGE 9-11 CONTACT US INFORMATION CIRCULATION CLASSIFIEDS ADVERTISING 507-274-6136 OR 800-410-I 859 Please read and recycle Printed with Soybased Ink Copyright 2010 Sentinel Tribune ]