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Declining enrollment delivers another blow to Concordia College in Moorhead

ALSO: Worthington’s Mary Beth Blegen, the 1996 National Teacher of the Year, died Monday; East Grand Forks couple’s wedding featured on “The Bachelor”; and more.

Faced with declining enrollment, Concordia College in Moorhead is offering professors ages 55 and up a deal on early retirement. Grace Lyden of says qualifying faculty members can get a full year’s salary if they retire. President William Craft also said the college will pare away programs not drawing sufficient numbers of students. Discussions on which programs to cut are ongoing, Craft said. The college is eyeballing $2.7 million in revenue and cost savings. This fall, the school will have 575 freshmen, compared to 520 last year and 540 in 2014. But even with a larger freshman class, undergraduate enrollment will drop to 2,126 students from 2,162 in 2015, assuming standard retention. The buyouts are a first in Concordia’s recent history.

Former national teacher of the year Mary Beth Blegen of Worthington died Monday at age 72, the Worthington Daily Globe reports. Blegen died of cancer. A humanities teacher who started at Worthington in 1967, Blegen was named Minnesota and then National Teacher of the Year in 1996 in a ceremony with President Bill Clinton in the White House Rose Garden. She worked for the U.S. Department of Education from 1997 to 2000. Most recently, she had been a consultant for the St. Paul schools. A memorial service will be Friday at 11 a.m. at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 700 Snelling Ave. S., St. Paul. The visitation will be from 4-8 p.m. Thursday at the same church.

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, unless it’s filmed for a national television show. Pamela Knutson of the Forum News Service tells the tale of Leah Starr and Travis Foster of East Grand Forks, a couple that after seven years of courtship simply wanted to roll a few dice, catch a show and get married in Las Vegas. But weeks before their trip, they received a call from the producers of “The Bachelor,” an ABC reality TV series, asking if they would like to appear on the show. Not having any reason to say no, they said yes and were later married by the bachelor himself, Ben Higgins, while he was wooing (or being wooed) by bachelorette Becca Tilley. Apparently, after the couple made their online appointment at the Little White Chapel, the show’s producers thought they might make a nice addition to the episode. The production company covered the wedding costs and had staff do Leah’s hair and makeup. Travis and Ben even had a heart–to-heart about finding true love. The show aired Monday and the couple had to stay mum about the nuptials to keep the shows secrets secret.  “We didn’t have a fancy wedding,” Travis said. “But we had an unforgettable one.”

Thanks to a nontraditional loan from the micro-lending site, Kyaw S. Hang, who goes by Joe, will open The Happy Family Asian Grocery in Willmar on March 1, reports Linda Vanderwerf of the West Central Tribune. The store will be in the strip mall south of the Kandi Mall. Hang is a Karen refugee from Myanmar and has joined many Karen in relocating to Willmar. Hang has worked in Willmar for about four years while his family stayed in St. Paul, but they will relocate to help run the new business. Play Htoo, one of Hang’s six daughters, is taking college classes to learn more about accounting and marketing to help run the business. Hang will sell Asian food so people won’t have to drive to St. Cloud or St. Paul for groceries. He said he was able to raise $5,000 through Kiva Zip in about four days.

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The A.G. Thomson House Bed and Breakfast in the Congdon Park neighborhood in Duluth has been named the top bed-and-breakfast in the United States and was in the top 10 best bed-and-breakfasts worldwide in TripAdvisor’s 2016 Travelers’ Choice awards, writes Lisa Kaczke of the Duluth News Tribune. Tim and Angie Allen have owned the Thomas House B&B for more than eight years. In fact, the same website named their B&B the best in the U.S. in 2012 as well.

When Kelly Schultz arrived in front of Mayo Clinic Hospital-Methodist Campus on Jan. 19, she was lucky radiology technician Deborah Vinje was just coming off an eight-hour shift, Jeff Kiger of the Rochester Post-Bulletin writesThe baby, Kannon Lee Schultz, was in a hurry. Schultz’s husband, Cory Schultz, had hit only green lights along Second Street as Kelly’s contractions were coming at about two-minute intervals. As Kelly stepped out of their van, she could feel the baby’s head crowning and she dropped to the ground. Vinje, walking through the glass doors, saw a woman lying on the sidewalk. Once Vinje realized the woman was in labor, she took out her phone to call the Mayo Clinic operator. That’s when Schultz screamed. Vinje had never delivered a baby before, though she had given birth to four of her own. “She (Vinje) just jumped right in and took over,” said Cory Schultz. “It was amazing how calm she was.”

The Bemidji School Board is close to inking a deal for room to build a new elementary school, writes Kyle Farris of the Bemidji Pioneer. The district will pay $599,000 for the 160-acre tract, which includes a small lake and protected wetlands. A previous attempt to buy a school site met with failure but everyone is hopeful the district, city and county can come to an agreement.

The power of social media reared its ugly head last weekend when more than 100 young people, mostly teens, showed up at a vacant house in Rochester and begin to have a party. Kay Fate of the Rochester Post-Bulletin reports that after a posted invitation went up on Facebook, the youth showed up at 1105 Greystone Lane SW. Police found the house damaged, said Capt. John Sherwin. Forced entry had been made into the property for the party. People came from as far away as Austin after learning about the party through social media. No arrests were made.