Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at The Farm Bleat.
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WORTHINGTON, Minn. — A challenging growing season, depressed markets, increased input costs and China’s imposed tariffs on agricultural products have meant a tough year for many of the region’s farmers. Often humble people who work quietly to feed the world, these men and women are up before dawn to milk cows, feed cattle or do the hog chores. They lose crops from too much rain — or not enough — and work well into the dark of night to plant and harvest their crops.
LUVERNE, Minn. — Katie Hemme hasn't hunted since she was in college, and even then, the only things she tried to shoot were raccoons or coyotes who threatened her family's sheep farm. The one time she actually dropped a bird was when she took aim at the pigeons in the haymow, angry after their droppings got all over the hay she was supposed to toss down for the livestock. When a pigeon fell to the floor, Hemme said her up-close view revealed such a pretty bird, she couldn't bring herself to shoot another one.
YAOUNDE, Cameroon — A Worthington native studying international relations and Russian is spending his summer researching press freedom in the central African country of Cameroon. Oliver Wolyniec, a 2015 Worthington High School graduate, is interning with the pro-democracy nongovernmental organization NewSETA (Network for Solidarity, Empowerment and Transformation for All) in Yaounde. In addition to examining press freedom, he is also exploring the challenges impeding the work of journalists in Cameroon and compiling a report on the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
WORTHINGTON — The Southwestern Mental Health Center hasn't yet reached its fifth anniversary in its Fifth Avenue facility near downtown Worthington, and interior renovations have already been made to create more work space. The reason? The need for mental health services in Nobles County has increased 76 percent since 2012, with a 24 percent increase from 2016 to 2017 alone, according to SWMHC Director Scott Johnson.
WORTHINGTON — A Son-D-Farms tractor trailer loaded with market-weight hogs rolled Friday morning as the driver tried to maneuver a Minnesota 60 roundabout in front of JBS. The Minnesota State Patrol, Nobles County Sheriff’s Office, Worthington Police Department, Worthington Fire Department and Worthington Ambulance were dispatched to the scene at approximately 11 a.m. According to David Bullerman of Son-D-Farms, the driver of the tractor received minor injuries, including a banged-up shoulder and a little bump on his head. There was minimal loss of livestock.
WORTHINGTON, Minn. — Residents of two Worthington care centers are hoping to bring a little joy to Rockport, Texas nursing home residents displaced by Hurricane Harvey. Gathered around tables covered with pencils, crayons, markers and stickers, the Worthington residents decorated handmade cards Wednesday, Sept. 13, and added their own personal messages of love and prayer for residents of Gulf Pointe Plaza in Rockport.
BREWSTER, Minn. — Tied at the shoulder and decorated with ruffles, lace and embellishments, one might never realize these little girl dresses are made of pillowcases. JoAnne Smith, of rural Brewster in southwestern Minnesota, has made 294 of these dresses in the past two years, and currently has a batch ready to be delivered to the Orphan Grain Train. From the Nebraska distribution site, they are sent wherever they are needed. Smith was coaxed into the project by Karen Doeden, a member of the St. Matthew Lutheran Church mission sewing group.
LUVERNE, Minn. — A trio of siblings with Adrian roots are taking the tragic loss of their babies due to stillbirths and a miscarriage and turning their pain into a source of comfort for other parents experiencing the same unimaginable setback. Nikki (Jon) McLendon of Luverne, Krissi (Phil) Butenhoff of Winona, and Tony and Alyssa Thier of Adrian hope to raise $6,000 to purchase two Cuddle Cots — one for Sanford's Birthing Center and the other for the Women's Center at Avera McKennan, both in Sioux Falls, S.D.
JASPER, Minn. — As she sits in her rocker, occasionally gazing out her window overlooking the front lawn of Sunrise Village in Jasper in far southwest Minnesota, Aino Lavoie shares an incredible "Coming to America" story — a story of tested strength, willpower and determination, of family separation and separation from her homeland.
MOUNTAIN LAKE, Minn. — The morning after 21-year-old Hannah Stoesz was killed in a car crash on Interstate 90 near Fairmont, her sister and brother-in-law had the difficult task of telling their 5- and 3-year-old daughters that "Auntie Han" was gone. After hearing the news the next morning, Addyson, the elder of the girls, told her parents it was going to be OK. Auntie Han had visited her in a dream, telling Addyson she was with Jesus and she was where she wanted to be.