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       A Night in The Swamp at Greenbush

  overtime tipoff 

        Above the bleachers on the west side of the Gymnasium, proudly proclaimed as “The Swamp” by the electronic billboard on the opposite side, a huge carved wooden ’Gator with its mouth ready to snap holds court. A proper bit of symbolism, since, as one of the visiting wrestlers says, “all the BGMR wrestlers are good.”

285 pounders      That particular wrestler won his match, but that situation was few and far between for Roseau as the Gators rolled up a 56-21 score on the Rams on Thursday night, January 29th. 

Left: John Heinen and Alex Yaeger match up in the 285 lb class.


        BGMR wrestlers Ryan Bergeron, Storm Booe, Skylar Price, Trevor Ingel. Trevor Janson, Timm Ingel and Branden Nepstad won by falls for BGMR. Roseau standouts John Heinen and Connor MacGregor won their matches by pins as did Braden Stroot.  The meet summary is below.

103: Ryan Bergeron BGMR over Cole Knochenmus Fall 1:45

112: Braden Stroot ROS over Isaac Novacek Fall 4:35

119: Storm Booe BGMR over Zach Audette Fall 1:40cheerleader

125: Skylar Price BGMR over Jarek Ludwick Fall :47

130: Tom Gullikson BGMR over Kyle McCourt Tech Fall 23-6

135: Connor Macgregor Ros Over Tanner Sovde Fall 2:52

140:  T.J. Wojo  BGMR  Forfeit

145: John Kruger Ros Over Tomm Ingel 4-3

152: Trevor Ingel BGMR over Nate Constante Fall 2:21

160: Trevor Janson BGMR over Debron Acosta Fall 2:12

171: Ben Evans BGMR over Travis Pederson 10-7

189: Timm Ingel BGMR over Cole Buley Fall 2:54

215: Branden Nepstad BGMR over Ryan Karl fall :40

285: John Heinen Ros over Alex Yaeger fall 1:52

Budget Cuts burn State Fire Wardens  

While it is common to hear of layoffs in this economy, the Minnesota DNR has come up with a new one. Recently, a letter was sent out by the DNR to all the area township Fire Wardens with the following message:

Fire Warden “It is regrettable that we in the Warroad area of the MN DNR have been directed to inform you that there will not be Township Fire Warden  dinners held in the spring of 2009. Budget deficits across the board within the MN DNR led to this decision.”

Right: The Fire Warden signs like this are a common sight throughout the rural Northland.

 “While it is unfortunate, we are still committed to providing you with the needed materials and services.”

 “Length of service awards will be hand delivered in the spring, and any sign repairs you require can be taken care of onsite.”

For the uninitiated, the yearly supper is the only pay the Fire Wardens receive for a year’s worth of writing burning permits.

As one local DNR employee who chooses not to be named says, “This group of people has been there for us whenever it came to fighting fires or other things. Then they do this to them? I’ll tell you this, it wasn’t a local decision.”  

One wonders whether the next step will be elimination of the needed materials, yearly awards and sign repairs.



Southwest Angle  

by Rob Crowe

The Old Rocket, AKA Chuck Lindner, is back at it again. He had so much fun last year biking the Arrowhead Ultra that he biked it again this year. The race started at 7:00 am Monday morning, February 2nd, south of International Falls. Chuck finished 8th at 2:16 pm on Tuesday. The race is 135 miles long and ends near Tower MN. The temperature here Tuesday morning was near –30F, and a logical conclusion is that it was that cold or colder on the trails winding through the Arrowhead. Good job, Old Rocket.

 I’d heard about the wrestling program at Greenbush since one of the carpenters I had working for me back in Grand Rapids, Aric Bentow, wrestled for Greenbush when he was in high school. I used to kid him about Greenbush, knowing next to nothing about the town and the wrestling heritage at the time. Not any more. I went there with daughter Katelyn Thursday night last to watch the BGMR vs Roseau match.  

Quite an experience. Katelyn quickly noticed the carved Gator hanging on the wall since we were sitting close to it.

Little Gators

We caught part of the B-squad match, and, after that, the announcer said that the elementary wrestlers were going to put on a demonstration.  I figured they’d have a couple of matches, but that didn’t happen. What happened was: about 100 little wrestlers, well, 75, in matching suits, swarmed out and covered the mat, practicing their moves in pairs for about 15 minutes. It’s an understatement to say they take wrestling seriously over there.

The electronic billboard called the gymnasium “The Swamp”, very aptly named. We made it out of there intact, more than can be said about most of the Roseau wrestlers who “saw the lights” (colloquial for being pinned). A good night, learning more of the area heritage.

The next Tuesday, I had the experience of covering  the Roseau vs Warroad hockey game at the Memorial Arena. I took Valeri along since she was the only child without mountains of homework for the evening.

Since I was there to observe and take pictures for this newspaper, we moved around some during the course of the evening. We happened to be standing near the locker room exit when the teams came onto the ice at the start of the game. As they rushed out of the locker room, there was a definite locker room odor that wafted out with them, prompting my observant 7 year old at some point to comment, “Hockey players stink!”

One of the Roseau High School choirs came onto the ice and sang the National Anthem, very well done. The Roseau band also had a good sound.

While I don’t claim to know all the finer points of the game, my impression was that the play was fairly even. Warroad had more shots on goal, but in the third period, Roseau appeared to dominate, keeping the puck in the Warroad end for most of the period. A well played game and enjoyable to watch.

My campaign for finding a ride for the race at Warroad is moving right along. I received a call from Seth Thoreson the other night. For those who haven’t been following events here in the Southwest Angle very closely, Seth is the fellow who lost a motor in his Chevy pickup on his way to TRF for the I-500, then banged up his Yamaha Sno-Cat on the last day of the race and had to drop out.

Seth fixed up his machine and raced at Ada, finishing the race in 11th place in his class. Under the circumstances, a moral victory. He still has to fix the pickup.

Anyway, he called up and offered the use of his sled to me for the Warroad Race when he read about my desire to join the race driver’s ranks. I’m not sure if it will come to fruition, but, thanks, Seth, it is a very nice offer, far more than I deserve. You’ve earned an honorary citizenship in the Southwest Angle.

Another week in the Great North, see you next week!





Gary and Ida Mae’s Tree Farm

Gary and Ida Mae

Gary and Ida Mae Johnson stand beside their Tree Farm sign with their Golden Lab Gus.

At the 2008 Roseau County Fair, Mary Polara of Boise Cascade presented an award to Gary and Ida Mae Johnson for their Tree Farm in Falun township. I was able to catch up with the busy pair on a recent Sunday afternoon, Gary being done with his food procurement/pheasant hunting trips to the Dakotas for the time being, to talk about the Tree Farm and its history.

ski trailWe sat at the table of the rustic cabin that Gary and Ida Mae moved into the 200 acre plot while Gary told me about the tree farm. Ida Mae sat in on the conversation and filled in some of the details. The property is located about 12 miles southeast of Salol.

Right: Gary and Ida Mae maintain ski trails like this for those who want to cross country ski on the Tree Farm.


“Dad always said you should have a place of your own to hunt on,” says Gary, “and we were lucky enough to get this land. It was the original Kotta homestead. Eventually, Harold Fjoslien bought it and I told his wife Liz (after Harold died in a plane crash) that I’d like to buy it from her. I was managing the tree farm for her. When she decided to sell, she offered it to me. We bought it on a contract for deed in, I think, 1994.”

He related that the land had been put into the Soil Bank program on the early 1960’s. “I guess they grew a great crop of rye on it the year before it was planted into trees,” Gary, a DNR forester, said, “With this sand it probably raised pretty good rye, but it is better soil for trees. We’ve had Clayton Skoien come over and thin the pines out using his horses. We’ve also had Lyle Roseen and Earl Johnson do some of the thinning.”

“It’s been a great investment, also. We had the aspen logged off in 2004. That was at the time of the high stumpage prices and Boise paid us over $60.00 per cord for the stumpage. We have been lucky enough to enjoy the fruits of the labor of the former owners.” 

Gary said, “It was a dream come true to get this land,” as Ida Mae nodded assent, “We come out and ski every weekend. I use my snowmobile to make the trails. Our friends and family come out and ski with us. If anyone wants to, please feel free to come out and ski.”

red pine plantation“Every year we put on ‘Ida Mae’s Swedish Pancake Breakfast,’” Gary continued, “We invite all our friends out to eat Ida Mae’s delicious Swedish pancakes and then go skiing. That’s coming up pretty soon. We’ll let you know when it is.”

I think I’m going to dig out my old cross country skis and brush up on my skiing to make a showing along with the rest of Falun township for some of Ida Mae’s Swedish Pancakes...

Left: A stand of plantation Norway pine that was planted by a former owner.




clayton adpolaris

Southwest Angle Athlete of the Week:  Connor MacGregor

   “I love to wrestle,” says Connor MacGregor, Roseau wrestler and the first Southwest Angle Athlete of the Week.  His record this year is 21-4 and he is ranked 6th in the Class AA  130 lb class on The Guillotine website.

Connor has been wrestling since he was in eighth grade. He is now a senior and is one of the team mainstays.

 When asked who helped him achieve success as a wrestler, Connor says, “I credit my former coach Tanner Hovde, he’s

Connor MacGregor

responsible for a lot of the drive I have. Coach Aaron Rose also helps me out. The one who has helped me improve the most is probably Jeff Jordan, who has a wrestling school in Urbana OH. I flew to Urbana and we wrestled in a giant pole barn, slept on the mats and ate our meals in the horse stalls. It was a good experience. I also wrestle Free Style in the summers.” 

About his wrestling style, Connor says, “I think it is important to be able to improvise during a match. The ones that don’t know how to react don’t try anything. The worst thing about wrestling is cutting weight. I like to eat!” he said with a laugh.

He continued, “I’d like to wrestle in College next year. I’ve been contacted by Moorhead State, Concordia and NDSU. I plan to major in either Computer Science or Business Management.” 

Coach Aaron Rose says this about Connor: “He has been a great role model not only on the mat, but also in the practice room with his hard work and great work ethic.  It has been great watching Connor develop into a very successful wrestler and great leader for our team.  What ever college Connor chooses to participate in, will not be disappointed.”

Best wishes to Connor for the rest of the season and as he prepares for a college wrestling career.


Connor wrestling

Connor MacGregor in action at the Swamp in Greenbush against Tanner Sovde
on January 29th. Connor won by a fall.


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Up and Comers

 bagder basket

A little Lady Badger scores a basket on a fast break in the Saturday 6th grade girl’s game with Roseau. 
Badger won the game by a substantial margin.  

 cofffey free throw

A Roseau player attempts a free throw in the sixth grade boy’s game
in Badger. The home team won the game 48-15


Area High School Box Scores

Boy’s Basketball

1/26/2009  BGMR           77     Cass Lake-Bena               89

1/27/2009 Grygla-Gatzke 54     Kittson County Central   65

1/27/2009  Roseau            83    LOW                              32

1/30/2009  Roseau            73    Goodridge                       58

1/30/2009  Warroad          59    Crosby-Ironton               68

1/30/2009  LOW               22   Cass Lake-Bena              133

1/31/2009  LOW               74   Laporte                            53

1/31/2009  Roseau             73   Crosby-Ironton               84

1/31/2009  Warroad          67   Goodridge                        41


Girl’s Basketball

1/27/2009 Roseau             55    Stephen Argyle-Central      51

1/27/2009 Warroad           48    Crookston                          63

1/29/2009 Warroad           47    Kittson County Central      40

1/29/2009 LOW                42    Bemidji                              69

1/29/2009 BGMR            71     Roseau                               47

1/31/2009 LOW                68    Laporte                              37


Boy’s Hockey

1/27/2009  Roseau             3      Moorhead                         4

1/27/2009  Warroad           7      Crookston                         0

1/30/2009  Warroad           3      Duluth Marshall                1

1/30/2009  Roseau             4      Crookston                         0

1/31/2009  Roseau             6      St. Cloud Tech                  0

1/31/2009  Warroad           2    Duluth Denfield                  1

2/3/2009    Roseau             2     Warroad                            3


Girl’s Hockey

1/27/2009  Roseau           5      Moorhead                          0

1/24/2009  Warroad         4      Moorhead                          0

1/27/2009  Warroad         5      Crookston                          2

1/27/2009  LOW             1      Thief River Falls                 1

1/30/2009  Roseau           6       East Grand Forks              0



1/27/2009  BGMR     40           Bemidji                            31

1/29/2009  BGMR     56           Roseau                             21

1/30/2009  BGMR     60           Fertile-Beltrami                12



Ski by candlelight at Hayes Lake State Park Feb. 7

The public is invited to ski by the light of the moon and the glow of candlelight at Hayes Lake State Park from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Feb. 7.

Up to 1.5 km of groomed ski trails will be lit with candle luminaries for the event. There will be a trail stop midway, where skiers can gather around a campfire and warm up with a cup of hot cider or cocoa.

Picture of the Week

buildingsand river bank

Mystery Landscape

The day of the I-500, some quick snow squalls moved across the area. This is a picture of one of those, having moved across whose barn? Sharp readers will remember where the crack news team was operating on that day.


Last week’s picture was taken from the bridge over the Roseau River on County 28 (340th street), looking southwest towards the Rubin Haglund property.

More Southwest Angle Columns

Warroad Winter Sports Schedules and Rosters

Warroad Fall Sports Schedules and Rosters