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Veterans Day events to remember, recognize all who've served
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In Jim Glynn’s eyes, Veterans Day is one of the most important holidays.

The World War II veteran has fond memories of taking part in Veterans Day programs when he was a young boy, something that still takes place to this day. Students, school staff and members of the community are invited to gather Thursday at several area events to remember and recognize all who’ve served.

Faribault

Bethlehem Academy students, faculty and staff invite all veterans and interested members of the public to join them at 8:30 a.m. Thursday in Van Orsow Auditorium for a Veterans Day program.

Retired Major Dan Rasmussen, U.S. Marine Corps, National Guard and Army Reserves veteran will be the honored guest and speak about his 36-year military career.

The event includes the presentation of colors by members of the Rice County Central Veterans Association, patriotic performances by the Bethlehem Academy Band and Choir, and a reading by the winner of a school-wide poetry contest on veterans and patriotism. Masks are recommended during the ceremony.

With a draft number of 29, Rasmussen signed up to serve on Friday, Aug. 13, 1971. He entered the U.S. Marine Corps in 1972 for his three-month Officer Candidate School training; after which he married his wife Karen. The highlight of his 36 years of service was working with his home congregation in Billings, Montana, to sponsor his Vietnamese interpreter from the camp. Following Rasmussen’s initial service, he joined the National Guard, and for a time, served in the Army Reserves, both as an officer and enlisted until he retired on Jan. 31, 2008.

Currently, he serves in the Honor Guard and had two terms as commander of the American Legion. He and his wife have three adult children, two daughters and one son. Two followed in his military footsteps, one serving in the Army and one in the Navy. They also have five grandchildren.

Rice County area veterans present a ceremony at 11 a.m. at the Rice County Veterans Memorial, with a noon luncheon at the American Legion Post 43.

Jim Glynn, also the “Last Man” of the Post 43, is the honored veteran for Veteran’s Day 2021. The Last Man’s group stems from a tradition that began on May 8, 1948 honoring all those who served, meeting yearly and making a toast to all who had fallen.

Glynn enlisted in the Navy at 17, after finally convincing his father to sign off on it. He shipped out to the Great Lakes training center for three months of training, on his 18th birthday. He was discharged in August 1946.

Hy-Vee will commemorate Veterans Day on Thursday, offering a free breakfast to all veterans and active-duty military members. A buffet-style breakfast will be offered from 6 to 10 a.m. at Hy-Vee stores. There will also be another option with each individually packaged breakfast that’s available via contactless drive-thru in Hy-Vee store parking lots.

At Faribault Public Schools, though there will not be an all school Veterans Day assembly this yea, though the FHS Honor Society has something special in store for students and staff.

Honor Society Advisor Katelynn Beaupre and Co-advisor Lindsey Bernier said members are asking all teachers to show a video and complete an activity with their second hour class on Thursday.

The video is put together by the Honor Society officers and includes all of the traditional elements of the assembly.

As for the activity, Honor Society members ask students to complete a star honoring someone they know who is a veteran. If a student doesn’t know a veteran, they can make one for a staff member who is a veteran or just a broader “Thanks for your service” star.

Kenyon

All veterans are invited to the Kenyon VFW at 8 a.m. Thursday for rolls and coffee and following the 10 a.m. program at Kenyon-Wanamingo High School for lunch.

This year’s program at the school will feature speaker Tyler Kistner, who was an active duty Marines for 10 years and ran for the Minnesota’s 2nd District Congressional seat.

Northfield

American Legion Post 84 Commander Ray Ozmun says the Legion and VFW will host a short program at 11 a.m. Thursday at Veterans Memorial Park. The program will include a short volley and salute to colors. Ozmun says they will try to hold the program regardless of the current weather conditions.

On Sunday, the local American Legion and VFW, and Believet join Northfield Beyond the Yellow Ribbon to present a Veterans Day service from 3 to 5 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church. Believet presents a demonstration at 3 p.m., followed by a presentation by the American Legion at 3:15 p.m.

The afternoon event includes a light meal of hotdogs/brats, chips, drink and cookies. All are welcome. Organizers will also collect and making holiday cards for deployed local service members. Northfield Public Broadcasting will record the program and replay it on NPB online and Charter Spectrum channel 180 Television | Northfield, MN — Official Website.

Lonsdale

Veterans of the Lonsdale American Legion travel to both Webster’s Holy Cross at 8:55 a.m. and Tri-City United’s Lonsdale Elementary School at 10:45 a.m. to take part in traditional Veterans Day programs by conducting a flag folding demonstration/narration.

At Holy Cross, history teacher Michael Bass Smith leads the program veterans and family members and/or supporters of Holy Cross are invited to attend. Call the school at 952-652-6100 to reserve a spot.

Veterans interested in attending the 30-minute program at TCU Lonsdale Elementary must RSVP to 507-744-3900.


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Global product shortages hit local manufacturers
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Like many manufacturers across southern Minnesota — and around the world — Jim Stickney’s problems are a few handshakes removed.

“Much of the issues we’re having with our suppliers are not necessarily our suppliers, but their suppliers, or their suppliers’ suppliers,” Stickney said.

Stickney is the director of operations at the south Faribault Daikin Applied plant, a multinational air conditioning manufacturer headquartered in Osaka, Japan. Between its three plants in Faribault and Owatonna, Daikin employs about 1,200 people working to produce industrial-grade heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) units.

Daikin is struggling with the global shortage of semiconductors, or the “chip shortage,” that has plagued the automotive and other industries throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Daikin needs semiconductors for the fans in its HVAC units. Specifically, Daikin’s fan supplier uses motors to power its fans, and the fan supplier’s motor supplier uses circuit boards to power its motors, and the motor supplier’s circuit board supplier uses semiconductors to power its circuit boards.

Without chips, the whole supply chain falls apart.

“We’re continuing to receive orders,” Stickney said, adding that the demand for HVAC among his consumers — industrial HVAC contractors — is as high as it’s ever been.

Without semiconductors, though, Daikin is left with incomplete units piling up in its yards. Stickney said he has customers who have been waiting on units since August that Daikin can’t complete until a missing component arrives.

“That is a huge problem for us,” he said.

Daikin Applied’s south Faribault plant has been piling unfinished heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) units in the yard while it waits for delayed component parts to arrive. (Photo courtesy of Daikin Applied)

John Makela, general manager at Creation Technologies in St. Peter, is dealing with the same problem. Creation designs and manufactures electronic assemblies for aerospace, defense, medical and tech-industrial markets.

On the bright side, Creation Technologies is growing — Makela reported 15% growth last year. Demand is also high, he said, and he’d like that growth to keep going. One of the obstacles to that growth is the difficulty of hiring new employees — they currently have 250, but Creation aims to get closer to 300 by 2023 to go along with facility expansion.

The other problem is semiconductors.

“Getting microchips out of Asia is very difficult right now,” Makela said. “There are many challenges with the global supply chain shortages.”

Where are the chips?

Macroeconomics 101 can tell you that if one country is highly efficient in making wool socks, another in making steel beams and a third in making semiconductors, it’s cheapest for all parties involved to stick to what they do best and trade with each other, rather than everybody trying to produce everything for themselves in isolation. Plus, a small number of very large factories in a few countries can produce goods much cheaper than a larger number of smaller factories spread out across many countries.

This is why the global supply chain developed — it saves everyone money.

The COVID-19 pandemic showed the weakness of that setup.

When the world locked down during the spread of the novel coronavirus, economists widely predicted demand for products would plummet, which it briefly did. Manufacturers around the world prepared for that drop in demand by shutting down. Others also shut down to stop the spread of the virus within their borders and factories.

During the pandemic, demand ticked back up sooner than expected. It went up even higher after stimulus checks were sent out by the federal government and has continued to climb as wages for entry-level jobs continue to increase.

As Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said Aug. 27, “Booming demand for goods, and the strength and speed of the reopening have led to shortages and bottlenecks, leaving the COVID-constrained supply side unable to keep up.”

That means delays and higher prices, made worse by a shortage of truck drivers and limited supply of container ships and the containers they carry.

It also means that a trade war between the United States and China that impacts China’s biggest chip manufacturer, combined with a drought in Taiwan and an increase in microchip demand from a population stuck at home during COVID-19 can cause a chip shortage for the entire world. Which is exactly what happened.

Eric Gustafson, chief operations officer at K&G Manufacturing in Faribault, admits K&G is not immune to some of the delays and price hikes that other manufacturers are experiencing. So far, though, there’s no product they need that they can’t acquire.

As a contract manufacturer, K&G conducts custom production of aerospace, defense, marine and medical materials for Fortune 500 companies. It employs about 75 people. What sets it apart from other manufacturers of its size is the size of its supply chain.

“We don’t buy from overseas,” Gustafson said, adding that K&G mostly buys from and sells to American companies. “Right now, from a supply chain issue … it’s not affecting us much.”

Because of the industries K&G serves, Gustafon said, federal regulations require it to buy American products “because of the sometimes questionable quality of stuff overseas.” That allows them to mostly stay out of the global supply chain, a luxury many manufacturers cannot afford while still staying competitive.

The only shortage that keeps him up at night, he said, is workers.

“That is the resource that is in the tightest supply,” he said.

Precarious and interconnected

While not all manufacturers are suffering too badly now, some are worried that the worst is yet to come.

RelCore Composites, Inc. in Northfield manufactures aluminum honeycomb composite materials, or “core materials,” whose lightweight strength is used for a wide variety of purposes, including airplanes, commercial passenger trains, cruise ships and snowboards.

RelCore Composites, Inc. in Northfield manufactures aluminum honeycomb composite materials, or “core materials,” whose lightweight strength is used for a wide variety of purposes. (Photo courtesy of RelCore Composites, Inc.)

To manufacture its product, RelCore needs aluminum. The automotive industry, which has slowed production significantly due to the shortage of semiconductors needed for cars, also needs aluminum. Since that industry isn’t manufacturing too many cars right now, aluminum has not become an extraordinarily sought-after commodity. The demand for cars is high, though, and the semiconductor shortage will not last forever.

Paul Larkin, president of RelCore Composites, fears the day the automotive industry lurches back to full capacity to exploit that demand.

“It’s gonna drive prices crazy and lead times way out there,” he said.

As a highly automated manufacturer with fewer than 10 employees, Larkin works with a select group of customers. There are only two other American companies that do the specific type of manufacturing RelCore does, and they’re over 100 times as big. All this puts RelCore at risk.

“It’s a difficult situation, especially for a small operator like us,” he said.

Winegar, Inc. of Waseca, a contract machine parts supplier with about 80 employees, is also nervously eyeing the future, although for somewhat different reasons.

As Tim Wenzel, president of Winegar, explained, even if Winegar has everything they need to manufacture the parts needed by its customers — Fortune 500 manufacturing companies — if its customers cannot get the other parts they need for their own manufacturing process, they won’t need Winegar’s products.

In other words, if Toyota Group needs certain machine parts from Winegar and electrical glass from Company X to build a car, and Company X has no electrical glass due to global product shortages, Toyota Group will likely not be ordering machine parts from Winegar.

Wenzel’s only consolation looking forward is the extra inventory Winegar carries, which has helped significantly amid the shortages. This is against modern “just in time” manufacturing business practice, which advises against ordering or maintaining extra inventory for purposes of maximizing profit and efficiency.

“We’ve always been a little skeptical of true ‘just in time’ and have carried a little more inventory than most other customers, because it has bailed us out in the past,” Wenzel said.


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'Last Man' Glynn is Faribault's 2021 honored veteran
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Jim Glynn has been selected as the honored Faribault area veteran for Veterans Day 2021.

Glynn is also the “Last Man” of the Post 43 World War II veterans stemming from a tradition that began May 8, 1948 honoring all those who served in the war. The group met yearly and hoisted a toast to all who had fallen. Bottles of French cognac and Philippine rum, symbolic of the War in Europe and War in Japan supplied in appreciation of the American servicemen by those embassies, were passed on until the last man was left to drink them.

Glynn doesn’t drink anymore so the bottles and his last man records will go to the Rice County Historical Society Museum.

Born 1927 in Tyler, Minnesota, Glynn and his family lived there only a short time until drought and pestilence (grasshoppers) drove them off the farm to live with Glynn’s grandparents outside Faribault. Before long, they settled into a home of their own 4 miles east of Faribault. His father worked in the construction trades where Glynn may have inherited some of his many talents.

He reminisces often about life in the country, working for area farmers, walking to the Faribault High School while trying to fit in some sports.

Still very sharp of mind and body he has been busy writing his history, doing a little woodwork and waxing philosophically. He distinctly remembers people, events and places; has a large collection of memorabilia and detailed records of his many projects.

He remembers being at a neighboring farm the day news was received of the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor and one of the boys saying he was going to enlist in the Marines the next day. That boy, Chuck Carver, enlisted the next day and served in the South Pacific the entire war.

That was the attitude at the time, Glynn said, and most young men signed up as soon as they were eligible. Being 14 years old at that time, he had to wait until he turned 17, at which time he convinced his dad to sign off and went to the Post Office to enlist in the Navy.

A week after he graduated from high school and on his 18th birthday, Glynn was shipped out to the Great Lakes Training Center for three months of training, then onto a troop carrier steaming off to the Philippine Islands. The war ended while he was en route.

After that, he took assignments on a mine sweeper, a weather station PCE902 and then ended up in Hawaii where it all began. He was discharged in August 1946 and headed back to Faribault with some great experience and stories to tell. He married his high school sweetheart, Patricia. They raised four children together. Widowed later in life, Glynn is remarried to his now wife, Donna.

After returning from his years in the service, Glynn began working at the Art Layman cabinet shop. When Layman died in 1949, Glynn and two others purchased the shop and renamed it Southern Minnesota Woodcraft. Over time and retirements, the Glynns became the sole owners. They sold the shop 50 years later, in 1999.

Being a jack of all trades and master of many, he still dabbles around in his warehouse, a museum in its own right. He has rebuilt two airplanes — and flew well into his mid 80s — as well as several vehicles and countless other detailed projects. Currently he can be found plunking away on an old typewriter in his shop documenting a life well lived.


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COURT REPORTS: Drivers charged with fleeing following police chases
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A Faribault man on probation for drug possession was arrested over the weekend for leading police on chase through town and possession of methamphetamine.

Police were asked to be on the lookout for a tan SUV driven by Zachery Michael Bongers, 29, Sunday after he was was reportedly involved in a disturbance outside city limits. According to court records, Bongers entered a residence uninvited and pushed an individual inside the home.

A Faribault officer later noticed a vehicle reportedly traveling at a high rate of speed and matching the description given them. The officer allegedly tried to stop the vehicle, but to no avail. The vehicle continued at a high rate of speed, even passing another vehicle in a No Passing Zone, and forcing that vehicle to veer to the right as the SUV passed it, according to court records.

A second officer also tried to stop the SUV as it reportedly traveled westbound on 14th Street NE. The two squad cars continued to pursue the vehicle until it finally came to a stop at First Avenue NE and 13th Street NE in Faribault, according to the report.

After getting out of the vehicle, Bongers reportedly told officers, “I shouldn’t have took off. I’m sorry” and that “I took off but I didn’t do nothing wrong.”

During a search of the SUV, officers reportedly found two broken pipes, one in the glove box and one in a pocket behind the driver’s seat. Both tested positive for methamphetamine, police reported.

Bongers has several felony drug convictions and a 2012 conviction for first-degree burglary in Rice County. He also has a 2020 conviction in Wisconsin for recklessly endangering safety, a felony.

Dirt biker charged following Le Center chase

A Faribault man accused of driving while intoxicated and fleeing Le Center police on his dirt bike entered a not guilty plea and requested a jury trial.

In a letter to the court from his attorney, Bryan Jesus Rivera-Rodriguez, 24, says he’s not guilty of fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle and two misdemeanor counts of driving while impaired.

According to a criminal complaint, Le Center police received a complaint at 2 a.m. Oct. 24, indicating that someone was driving a dirt bike around the area. The responding officer said they followed numerous dirt bikes traveling northbound on North Lexington Avenue and observed the bikers did not have any headlights or tail lights illuminated.

The officer reported turning on their emergency lights and two bikers immediately pulled over, but a third, later identified as Rivera-Rodriguez, sped off. Law enforcement continued to pursue the biker and reported that the driver looked back at the squad car before accelerating south.

The officer said they then activated the siren and alerted dispatch that the subject was fleeing. Police reportedly observed the driver traveling near 40 mph in town while looking back at the squad car on multiple occasions.

Rivera-Rodriguez then pulled over and reportedly put his hands in the air. According to the complaint, Rivera-Rodriguez, immediately apologized and said he was scared.

As Rivera-Rodriguez was handcuffed, officers said he smelled of alcohol. When asked how much he had to drink, Rivera-Rodriguez allegedly replied that he had a beer approximately an hour prior.

Rivera-Rodriguez reportedly had 0.171 blood alcohol content in a preliminary breath test and 0.14 in a later test, according to the criminal complaint.


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