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Stewart's Super One Foods to change ownership

After more than 50 years of owning Stewart’s Super One Foods, the Stewart family has sold the grocery store to Miner’s Incorporated.

A news release said Stewart’s Super One Foods reached a tentative agreement to sell the grocery store to family-owned Miner’s, which owns and operates the County Market grocery store in International Falls. The purchase price was not disclosed.

“While this decision was difficult, market conditions and personal family circumstances have shifted, and it is time for our family to make this change,” said Dave Stewart, owner and company president. “Because Miner’s is a family-run retail grocery company with an existing presence in International Falls, we believe Miner’s is best positioned to serve our customers and the community. We wish the Miner’s organization great success in its new International Falls location.”

Jim Miner Jr., president of Miner’s Incorporated, said, “Ivan and Dave Stewart have been grocery mainstays in International Falls for many, many decades. We are excited about acquiring the Stewart family store and we recognize there are a lot of synergies between our two family-owned businesses.”

Miner said he believes by acquiring Stewart’s Super One, more convenience and value will be brought to customers’ shopping experience in International Falls.

“Adding this store also demonstrates Super One Foods’ commitment to maintaining a significant presence in International Falls for the foreseeable future,” he said.

The Miner family has operated grocery stores in and around the region since the 1940s. Miner’s Incorporated Super One Foods banner is well known in northern Minnesota and on the Iron Range, the company said in a statement. The company, in its fourth generation as a family-owned grocery retailer, in addition to County Market, owns 40 other grocery, hardware and liquor stores across the northern tier states of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. The company’s headquarters are in Hermantown.

Stewart said the store opened in May 1961 as a Piggly Wiggly supermarket. In June of 1980, the store was re-bannered as Super One Foods. The Stewart family, in a statement, thanked the community of International Falls and Koochiching County for its support over the past 58 years.

Stewart’s Super One Foods has about 75 employees, who will be offered interviews for employment with Miner’s Super One operations, the statement said. The transaction is currently in the due diligence phase and is scheduled to close next month.

Once the purchase and sale transaction is completed, Miner’s current County Market store will be re-bannered as Super One Foods. The name of the Stewart location will remain Super One Foods.


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Hills, trails, ice roads and more: winter outdoor recreation opportunities

Even though January can get chilly in Borderland, it is important to get outside and appreciate the great winter recreation opportunities right outside our front doors.

There is a multitude of outdoor activities available for locals to try – many at no cost. This list highlights a number of popular winter recreational activities available in the area – within and outside Voyageurs National Park – you’ll be sure to find a way to fill your January, February - unfortunately maybe March - afternoons with frosty fun.

Be sure to check online for updated opening dates and trail conditions. The availability of activities will vary due to weather.

Skating:

Many Minnesotans will have memories of pushing a chair around a frozen pond when first learning not to wobble on blades. Luckily there are many ways to enjoy this classic Minnesota pastime within Borderland.

Voyageurs National Park:

Have you ever wished you could ice skate in a national park? As of 2017, you can: a free to the public ice rink is available at Sphunge Island on Lake Kabetogama. The sledding hill is free for public use, but no equipment is available.

Elsewhere in Borderland:

  • Ranier Ice Rink (free admission)
  • Open Ice at Kerry Park

Skates are available to rent for free at the Ranier Rink or can be rented locally at The Sports Shop.

Snowshoeing:

A wonderful way to take your love of hiking into another season. It is a good source of exercise and a great way to get out and explore the natural landscape.

Voyageurs National Park:

Below are the trails groomed for snowshoeing:

  • Black Bay Beaver Pond Trail
  • Blind Ash Bay Trail
  • Oberholtzer Trail
  • Sullivan Bay Trail
  • Rainy Lake Recreation Trail

Snowshoes can be rented free of charge at the Rainy Lake Visitor Center during open hours.

Cross-country skiing:

A wonderful way to get outside in the winter with miles and miles of trails right outside your door.

Voyageurs National Park:

  • Echo Bay Ski Trail
  • Rainy Lake Recreation Trail
  • Black Bay Ski Trail
  • Tilson Connector Trail
  • KabAsh Trail

Elsewhere in Borderland:

  • Tilson Creek Ski Trail
  • Manka Ski Trails
  • Gheen Hill Trails (near Orr)

Skis and poles can be rented free of charge at the Rainy Lake Visitor Center during open hours. A Minnesota Ski Pass is generally required on most trails.

Ice Roads:

A fairly unique way to experience the lake – entirely from the comfort of your car.

Voyageurs National Park:

  • Rainy Lake Ice Road
  • Rainy Lake Dryweed Loop
  • Kabetogama Lake Ice Road
  • Kabetogama Lake Ice Road West and East Spur Roads

Elsewhere in Borderland

  • Rainy Lake Marine Ice Road ($5 ice access free)

Ice Fishing:

Get hooked on ice fishing this winter. What could be better than fishing in the summer? Fishing in a warm ice house, surrounded by crockpots of hot food and good friends.

Voyageurs National Park

Anglers can set up anywhere, as long as icehouses are placed at least 50 feet from the center of snowmobile trails and the ice road. Fishing license and ice house registration required.

Sledding:

A classic winter activity for children of all ages – and adults who aren’t afraid of hitting their tailbone on the ice too hard.

Voyageurs National Park

  • Sphunge Island Hill at Kabetogama Lake. The hill is available to the public for free, no equipment available on site.

Elsewhere in Borderland

  • Ranier sledding hill, free to the public

Nature photography/wildlife spotting

Winter is the best time to see wolves, and the northern lights, take advantage and hit the trails to capture some memorable images.

Voyageurs National Park

Animal tracks are easier to spot in the snow, and animals stand out against snowy backgrounds in photos. Bundle up and try to spot some animals along a snowshoe trail.

Snowmobiling

Snowmobiling is a fastpaced and exciting way to experience winter in Borderland. There are many trails within Voyageurs, around Borderland, and throughout the state.

Voyageurs National Park

  • International Falls to Kettle Falls (Purple Trail)
  • Rainy Lake/Black Bay to Kabetogama Lake to Ash River (Green Trail)
  • Ash River to Crane Lake (Green Trail)
  • Chain of Lakes (Dashed Black Trail)
  • Ash River to Kettle Falls (Yellow Trail)
  • East Namakan Lake to Sand Point Lake (Blue Trail)
  • Rudder Bay (Orange Trail)
  • Elsewhere in Borderland
  • Blue Ox Trail
  • Arrowhead Trail
  • Hagerman Trail
  • Slatinski Trail
  • Caldwell Brook Trail

As of 2019, snowmobiles can be rented locally from Boyum Performance.

Winter safety tips from Voyageurs National Park:

  • The color orange on stakes means danger.
  • The shape of a diamond on a sign or two trail sticks crossed like an "X" denotes danger.
  • Thin Ice signs are no joke; do not go past. The area of thin ice may be just a short distance ahead, and not apparent or visible.
  • Crossing a pressure ridge should only be done after personally evaluating if it is safe to do so (even if marked as a place to cross) because conditions can change and large pockets of open water can form near the ridge.
  • Lowered body temperatures affect a person’s dexterity, judgment, and vision. Dress appropriately in layers that can be adjusted to changing conditions.
  • Be aware that wind chill can reduce the apparent temperature significantly, and driving a snowmobile fast creates your own windchill.
  • Please remember the snowmobile speed limit within the park is 45 miles per hour on frozen lake surfaces and 25 miles per hour on all overland portages. Speed limit signs are posted at trailheads and overland portages.
  • Reports of hazards are not always immediate and hazard signs may not yet be posted. Travel no faster than you can observe, evaluate, and react to unsafe conditions.
  • Avoid slush and open water by staying on marked trails.
  • Check weekly trail reports for general information.
  • There is no fuel at Kettle Falls over the winter; plan accordingly.

Snowshoe and cross-country ski loans are available for the 2019-2020 winter season at the Rainy Lake Visitor Center. Check the visitor center's winter hours to plan your visit. For more information and the newest safety updates from Voyageurs National Park visit https://www.nps.gov/voya/planyourvisit/winter-ice-and-trail-conditions.htm


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Local
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Grueling Arrowhead 135 race kicks off Jan. 27

A local man is among the nearly 180 athletes who will compete in Borderland's extreme ultramarathon later this month.

Bob Bahr and 175 others are currently on the roster for the 16th annual Arrowhead 135 Ultramarathon that begins at 7 a.m. Jan. 27 at Kerry Park in International Falls.

“I anticipate Bob to do really well,” said Ken Krueger, co-director for the event.

Bahr will run the 135-mile event from International Falls to Fortune Bay Resort in Casino in Tower. Racers can bike, run, ski or kicksled. Bahr competed in 2018, but dropped because of colder temperatures.

“The cold can catch people off guard,” Krueger said.

But it's the cold and the camaraderie that attracts people to the race.

The grueling event takes racers through northern Minnesota’s wilderness, and has been hailed as one of the toughest races in the world. The competition draws athletes from around the state, country and world.

“People come from all over,” Krueger said. “I know some of the racers are already here or on their way to start getting acclimated to our weather.”

Krueger and his wife, Jackie Krueger, are in their seventh year as race directors, and Ken said he is most looking forward to seeing the competitors.

“It's a highlight,” he said of being reunited with those involved in the event. “It just goes too fast... I'd love to spend time on the trail with everybody and get to know them a little more. It's great to see everyone.”

By the numbers

This year’s race will feature 85 bikers, 81 runners and 10 skiers who have 60 hours to finish. Twenty-eight of those athletes will race unsupported, meaning they are not allowed to stop at any of the checkpoints along the route.

“It adds to the challenge,” Ken Krueger said of racing unsupported.

Ken credited the diverse group of dedicated racers, many who continue to sign up year after year, with the race's success. Some even attempt to earn the “Arrowhead a’Trois” trophy, which means they have have finished the race by skiing, running and biking. This year, seven are competing for that title.

While registration is up this year, Krueger noted the Tuscobia Winter Ultra, held at the end of December in Rice Lake, Wis., featured “some pretty harsh” weather conditions, forcing some athletes to withdraw from the Arrowhead 135.

“The two races attract a lot of the same people and some have had to drop because of the cold, rainy weather in Wisconsin,” Krueger said. “We've had a few drops from our race already and I expect some more before (Jan. 27).”

Helping out

In addition to competing in one of the world's toughest races, Krueger said the Arrowhead 135 also attracts participants because it features a family-like atmosphere.

“Very few people come here to win this race,” Krueger said. “It's all about helping each other and surviving.”

Last year, he recalled a biker who got a flat tire only three miles into the race. Another biker gave the stranded cyclist his only spare tube, even though he had 135 miles to go.

“I think any biker out there would have done the same thing,” Krueger said. “It's pretty impressive.”

The race director also gave a nod to the volunteers who help the race run smoothly.

“Many of the volunteers have been part of this longer than Jackie and I have,” Krueger said. “The group makes it go so smoothly.”

Krueger encouraged the community to come see the racers off at 7 a.m. Jan. 27 at Kerry Park. The event will again feature a brief fireworks sendoff.