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Boy Scout builds pier on pond by Andover stores
  Date: 08/28/14

  by Eric Hagen ABC Newspapers

John Portesan loves to fish, so a fishing pier seemed a logical Eagle Scout project for the 16-year-old

Andover Boy Scout.  The Muskie Club he formed as a freshman at Andover High School two years ago won’t

be able to find any large fish where the new pier is perched on the man-made pond next to Target. But

Andover Community Development Director Dave Carlberg did see a school of sunfish going after pieces of

bread that someone feeding the geese threw into the pond.


Portesan initially wanted to install a pier at the larger Round Lake, but the Andover Economic Development

Authority that led the development efforts of Andover Station was more interested in getting a pier on the

pond next to Target.  “We decided it would be better here so somebody could go to Caribou and come out

on the dock,” Portesan said as he stood on the trail near the pier and a pergola.  The Andover EDA covered

all construction material costs, while Portesan and his team of volunteers built the pier with their own hands

from Friday, July 25 to Sunday, July 27.


Andover Councilmember Tony Howard’s professional construction background came in handy for this

project, but he said Portesan took the lead designing the pier and organizing volunteers. Howard said he

just made some design and materials suggestions to make sure the pier would last as long as possible.


All the boards for the pier were pre-ordered through Menards, Portesan said. The platform of the pier is 20 feet by 12 feet. The walkway is 20 feet long. The Andover EDA covered the $4,500 material costs, according to Carlberg.  Portesan said Howard came out Friday, July 25, with him and his father Jim Portesan to build the frame and make sure everything was in place for Saturday, July 26, when approximately 30 people came out to help, including Howard.  “I had a lot of fun helping him put that together with his friends, and there were a lot of dads,” Howard said.  About 10 people came out Sunday to put the finishing touches on the project, Portesan said.  “There was a lot of planning that went into it and a lot of work that went into it. To see it come to life is a weird feeling. It wasn’t really a real thing in my mind until I saw it,” Portesan said.


Portesan became a Webelos scout in the fifth grade, which is the entry level in the scouting program. He was looking for something fun to do with his friends, and he loves to camp and fish.  The biggest fish he has caught was a 46-inch muskie in White Bear Lake. His favorite spot to camp is off the Kekekabic Trail in the Boundary Waters where only canoes and no motor boats can travel. He recently got back from a trip to Lake of the Woods from the Canadian side.

Portesan has lived in Andover all his life and is the son of Jim and Cheryl Portesan. He has a 23-year-old brother, Tony, and 22-year-old sister, Angela.

Portesan does not quite have his Eagle Scout in hand. That will come after a board of review process through the Boy Scouts of America.

In the meantime, he will have plenty on his plate as he enters his junior year at Andover High School and weighs his college options. He is currently interested in attending the University of Minnesota. He is still one of four active members of the school’s Muskie Club that goes fishing on Forest Lake and Bald Eagle Lake when members have spare time. They compete on Lake Minnetonka in Muskies Inc. fishing tournaments.


Former Troop 524 Eagle Scout receives Honor Medal for Lifesaving Actions
  Date: 03/20/14

  by Olivia Koester ABC Newspapers

When Brian Manion rescued an Andover woman from her burning car, he wasn’t expecting any recognition.  The Boy Scouts of America presented Brian Manion with the prestigious Honor Medal Sunday, March 2, 2014. Manion was awarded the medal after saving an Andover woman from her burning car. He was simply living out the Boy Scouts of America’s slogan: “Do a good turn daily.”  Even after becoming the recipient of the Boy Scouts’ prestigious Honor Medal March 2, Manion remained modest. “I’m a simple person,” he said. “I do what I can.”  Manion, 35, of Isanti, pulled Tonia Dockter, 43, from her smoldering vehicle Nov. 17, 2012. He was honored for his heroism in a ceremony for Three Rivers District volunteers this month.


The Honor Medal is a national award, given to men involved in the Scouts who take on “considerable risk” while

saving or attempting to save another’s life.The award dates back to 1923, and since that time, fewer than 2,500

medals have been distributed across the United States.  Manion’s medal is the first presented locally in at least 10

years, according to Jamie Lamprecht, senior director of the Three Rivers District.  


The incident on Nov. 17, 2012, Manion and his family were headed home after a morning of shopping in Coon Rapids.

 The family saw Dockter driving in and out of the ditch on County Road 9 and became concerned.  Jennifer, Manion’s

wife, called 911 to report “sporadic, crazy driving” after Dockter hit a speed limit sign and sped off, Manion said.  

Near the 19700 block of County Road 9, Manion’s family discovered Dockter’s car in the ditch and went to see if she

needed help.  


Manion saw that there was a young boy in the vehicle, Dockter’s son, as well as the female driver.  As Manion was

making his way down into the swamp where Dockter’s car settled, he heard another bystander shout, “The car’s on

fire!"  The boy jumped out of the vehicle, but Dockter didn’t move. She appeared to be chemically impaired, Manion

said.  “A little bit of panic sets in, a little bit of adrenaline,” he said, remembering the day.  Manion unbuckled

Dockter’s seat belt and lifted her out of the car. Another bystander helped her away from the vehicle while Manion

returned for her purse.  He isn’t sure why, but he turned off the car and put it in park. “As I was doing all that, the

car was starting to fill with smoke,” he said.  By the time police arrived, thick black smoke could be seen miles away

and the car and the grass around it were engulfed in flames, according to an investigation report from Deputy Travis

Bolles of the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office.  


Dockter was transported to the hospital.  In May, she pleaded guilty to driving while impaired and endangerment of

a child charges. The court sentenced her to two years probation after it stayed one year in prison.  A long history with the Scouts Manion’s training with the Boy Scouts led him to action Nov. 17.  “It’s been a lifelong journey,” he said.  He started as a Cub Scout in Pack 524 out of Coon Rapids. He moved through Boy Scouts and attained the rank of Eagle Scout in 1996 (becoming Troop 524's 39th Eagle Scout) after reconstructing some steps in Bunker Hills Regional park. Now, his son Daniel is a Cub Scout in Pack 511 out of St. Francis, and Manion is his leader.  Manion is grateful to his parents, Don and Sue Manion, who nominated him for the lifesaving award, and all of the scout leaders who taught him the skills necessary to spring into action Nov. 17.

Scouting volunteers recognized at annual dinner
  Date: 03/21/14

  by Eric Hagen ABC Newspapers

The Boys Scouts of America Three Rivers District recognized 65 volunteers at a March 2 dinner at the Brookhall Event Center in Blaine.


Jamie Lamprecht, district director, said the whole district includes 1,017 volunteers supporting 1,282 Cub Scouts in 33 packs, 828 Boy Scouts in 29 troops and 53 youth in seven Venturing crews. These are just registered volunteers – countless other parents and family members are integral in the success of the scouting program, he said.


The Boy Scouts of America Three Rivers District recognized numerous volunteers at a dinner celebration

March 3. The highest award, the District Award of Merit, was awarded to David Klemm (district commander

from Blaine and member of Troop 524), Kevin Connelly (district boys activities chairperson and member of

Troop 524) and James Albee from Boy Scout Troop 509 out of Andover. “Our program can’t operate without

volunteers,” Lamprecht said.


The highest honor that can be bestowed on a volunteer is the District Award of Merit. Lamprecht said each

scouting district can award up to three people each year. Those recognized March 2 were David Klemm, a

district commissioner from Blaine; Kevin Connelly, a district activities chairperson from Blaine; and Andy

Albee of Troop 509 in Andover.  Each of these men have been helpful behind the scenes or in a more visible

role, according to Lamprecht. For example, Klemm helps grade each troop leader on their performance,

Connelly sets up the audio and visual equipment at all the big events and Albee visits different troops to help raise money for district activities.

Scout Troop Joins Heart Safe Campaign
  Date: 03/06/13

  by Peter Bodley Managing Editor ABC Newspapers

A Coon Rapids Boy Scout troop has joined the efforts of the Coon Rapids Police Department to have Coon Rapids certified as an American Heart Association Heart Safe Community.

Boy Scout Troop 524 out of Church of the Epiphany hosted a training session Feb. 25 in the use of CPR (cardio pulmonary resuscitation) and AED (automated external defibrillators) operation for both its Scouts and adult leaders.

And in doing so the troop became the first community organization to have this life saving training through the heart safe community project.

According to Kyle Palzer, Boy Scout Troop 524 communications coordinator and Heart Safe Community outreach coordinator, there were 45 Scouts and 30 adult leaders who took the training session.

“Boy Scout Troop 524 will be the first Scouting unit in the city to become trained,” Palzer said.  “Scouts and adults received personal hands-on training of both AED operation and CPR.”

According to Palzer, the Scout troop decided it wanted to be involved in the training after hearing and talking about the heart safe community project.

The Scouts have had some training in CPR in the past, but “nothing hands on like this” involving both CPR and AED, Palzer said.  “They are very excited and enthusiastic,” he said.  There are two AED machines at Epiphany Church and School, but this training will enable Scouts to respond in a sudden cardiac arrest situation no matter where they are before emergency services arrive, Palzer said.

The training in the Epiphany Cafeteria was led by Allina Paramedic Paul Mendoza, a longtime Coon Rapids resident, and Officer Bryan Platz, who is spearheading the police department’s heart safe community project.  They were joined as trainers by two other police officers, Dan Freiberg and Briana Johnson, Fire Inspector Nick House from the Coon Rapids Fire Department and Deb McPeck, an Anoka-Hennepin School District 11.

                                                                                                    Before breaking up into small groups to perform CPR and AED procedures on                

                                                                                                    mannequins, the Scouts heard a presentation and demonstration from Mendoza on

                                                                                                    what to do in the event of sudden cardiac arrest situation.  They learned about what is  

                                                                                                    called the chain of survival including recognizing heart attack symptoms and sudden

                                                                                                    cardiac arrest signs plus the treatment protocol using both CPR and AEDs.  According

                                                                                                    to Mendoza, chest compressions at a rate of 100 compressions a minute should be

                                                                                                    started before the arrival of the AED.  With the help of House, Mendoza showed the

                                                                                                    Scouts how the electrodes from the AED should be attached to the victim’s body and

                                                                                                    how to follow the voice prompts from the AED.  A person suffering sudden cardiac

                                                                                                    arrest is clinically dead, but the person has not flat-lined because the monitor will still

                                                                                                    show a wavy line rather like a four-year-old using a crayon, Mendoza said.  “The first

                                                                                                    two minutes are critical,” he said. “There are big odds you can save them.”  Indeed, in

                                                                                                    his experience as a paramedic, Mendoza said a patient in sudden cardiac arrest will  

                                                                                                    wake up after the first AED shock and start talking as if nothing had happened.

                                                                                                    There are two types of AED, one that transmits the shock automatically and the other

                                                                                                    that requires the operator to push a red button on the machine, he said.  The danger

                                                                                                    in that is the operator might hesitate, which is why Mendoza said he prefers the

                                                                                                    automatic AED.  Nor can the AED shock hurt the person in sudden cardiac arrest, he

                                                                                                    said.  “It’s OK to use an AED on a child under the age of 18, even the age of one,”                  

                                                                                                    Mendoza said.  And Platz told the Scouts that they cannot get into trouble for using  

                                                                                                    CPR and an AED.  “You are helping to save a life,” Platz said.​

According to Platz, One Beat CPR has donated two AEDs to the police department to be used in its heart safe community training program.

All 20 of the city’s police squad cars are now equipped with an AED, so are all the vehicles used by the fire department.  To become a heart safe community, there are certain criteria that have to be met, including having 17 AEDs placed in Coon Rapids businesses, having a specific number of people training in CPR and AED use, both of which are based on population, and scheduling public events, Platz said.

Besides the training session with the Troop 524 Scouts, all staff at Epiphany Church/School, clergy and teachers included, will be trained in CPR and the AED process, he said.  And Platz is working with Life Time Fitness to offer CPR/AED training to its customers, as well as with Broadway Pizza for staff training.  All these training sessions are free of charge to community groups and businesses, Platz said.  The goal is not only to provide the training, but get AEDs located in public places, including businesses in the community, according to Platz.  The retail cost of an AED is about $2,400, said Coon Rapids Police Chief Brad Wise.

“Police and fire respond to hundreds of cardiac emergencies a year in retail establishments and in the event of sudden cardiac arrest, hands-on CPR and the use of an AED increases a person’s survival rate to about 85 percent in the first two minutes,” Platz said. If members of the community are trained in CPR and the use of an AED, this will provide critical minutes for survival of victims until the arrival of emergency services, according to Platz.

Boy Scout Troop 524, which was formed in 1964 and will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in November 2014, currently has over 80 youth members.

According to the American Heart Association Heart Safe Community brochure, designation as a heart safe community “makes the community a safer place to live, work and play by being prepared to reduce the number of deaths and disabilities associated with sudden cardiac arrest.”

Coon Rapids Police Officer Briana Johnson (left) watches as Troop 524 Boy Scouts Lawrence Hapka and Eli Andrzejek (far right) practice CPR and AED use on a mannequin.

Local Boy Scouts Learn How to Use AEDs
  Date: 03/01/13

  CTN News 

The push to make Coon Rapids a Heart Safe Community took a big step forward this week, with the first public AED training class.  Dozens of Boy Scouts from Troop 524, along with their parents, took part in a training session Monday night at Epiphany School.  They learned what to do if someone goes into sudden Cardiac Arrest and even got hands on training at stations set up in the school cafeteria.  Scout leaders decided to get involved after hearing about the Heart Safe Community Initiative.  “It speaks volumes for what the Boy Scout program does.  We tell our kids one of our mottos is to Be Prepared and I think it’s a way for these scouts to start to be prepared for all kinds of situations, and we’re really glad to step on board and we’re hoping more people join the movement as well” said Kyle Palzer an adult volunteer for the Troop.  Troop 524 hopes other scout groups in the city also get the AED training.  To schedule a free training session for your group or business call Paul Mendoza at 612-325-3465 we also have a link to the Coon Rapids Heart Safe Community Facebook group on our website at

CTN Studios features Troop 524 on their Facebook Page
  Date: 2/25/2013

  by Steve Ericson CTN News Anchor

CTN Studios which airs CTN News every Friday at 5 PM for Coon Rapids residents visited our Troop meeting to record the first Heart Safe Community training event.  The initiative seeks to train as many members of the community as possible on how to perform CPR and use AED's.

"Boy Scouts from Troop 524 learn how to use AEDs as part of the push to make Coon Rapids a Heart Safe Community.  More this Friday at 5pm on CTN News."

Learn more about CTN News:

or follow them on Facebook:

CTN Studios

Coon Rapids Concert Series moves to Sand Creek Park
  Date: 6/20/2012

  by Peter Bodley Managing Editor ABC Newspapers​

There will be a different venue for the third concert of the Coon Rapids Arts Commission’s annual free summer series.

Instead of the Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park performance pavilion, where eight of the nine concerts in the series will take place, the Thursday, June 21, 7 p.m., concert featuring country music star and former Coon Rapids resident Rockie Lynne will be at Sand Creek Park.

“We are expecting a large crowd and Sand Creek Park has more room,” said Kris Linquist, deputy city clerk and staff liaison to the arts commission.

Lynne has appeared nationally on “Good Morning America,” CMT, GAC, The Grand Ole Opry “Live” and Fox News.

His debut single, “Lipstick,” spent 10 consecutive weeks in the No. 1 slot on Billboard’s Country Singles Sales chart.

According to his website biography, Lynne first made a name for himself when he released his critically acclaimed self-titled debut CD on Universal Records.

He was named a “breakout artist” by ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America,” while Billboard Magazine named him their artist “Most Likely To Succeed” and he has made countless media appearances, including performances on GMA’s Summer Concert Series and 14 appearances on the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tenn., where he now lives..

A native of Statesville, N.C., Lynne has been singing and writing songs since the age of 14. After high school, he joined the U.S. Army, where he served for three years in the 82nd Airborne at Ft. Bragg, N.C.

After leaving the military, he starting playing clubs and has spent the better part of the last year touring and writing songs for his new album, “Songs For Soldiers.”

One third of the proceeds from the record will benefit troop-related charities.

The inspiration for the album was his 21-day tour of Afghanistan, Southwest Asia and the Persian Gulf, where he and his band entertained U.S. troops stationed abroad.

Lynne is co-founder of an annual charity motorcycle ride called Tribute To The Troops, where riders visit the homes of the families of fallen soldiers to acknowledge them for having made such a sacrifice. The organization has raised over $200,000 in aid to the families of the fallen.

The remainder of the 2012 concert schedule is:

• June 28 – The Elvis Experience, a tribute to Elvis.

• July 12 – Minnesota Sinfonia, family pops concert.

• July 19 – Bill Koncar, accordion variety.

• July 26 – Island Time Band, island party/dance.

• Aug. 2 – Betty Rydell and Randi Rae, country/gospel.

• Aug. 9 – The Hillbilly Mafia, top 40 country.

Ray McManus, owner of the Shortstop Bar & Grill on Northdale Boulevard, has donated $7,500 to sponsor eight of the nine concerts this year.

The Minnesota Sinfonia concert July 12 is sponsored by the Pentair Foundation.

Boy Scout Troop 524, Church of the Epiphany, is selling popcorn, candy, soda and water during the concerts, while the Coon Rapids North Star Lions Club has food items such as hamburgers, hot dogs and brats for sale.

The Coon Rapids Arts Commission, which is a volunteer advisory commission to the city council, plans arts events in Coon Rapids throughout the year.

For more information call 763-767-6432 or 763-757-4700.

Scouts test their skills on "The Amazing Race"

​  Date 5/25/2012
​​  by Tammy Sakry ABC Newspapers

Twenty-six teams set out on “The Amazing Race” to visit 14 countries.

The teams comprised Boy Scout troops from the Three Rivers District and the race was at the district’s annual Spring Camporee.

During the race, teams had to complete both physical and mental challenges, including solving clues to figure out their next destination and figuring out how to lift a tire over a long pole in least than a minute.

Teams from throughout Anoka and Isanti counties competed in the race.

“The Scouts were from the Three Rivers District which is all of Anoka and Isanti counties,” said Jamie Lamprecht, Three Rivers District director. “We had 691 Scouts in attendance this weekend; it was our largest districtwide event.”

Christopher Thomas of Troop 524, located at the Church of the Epiphany in Coon Rapids, rings the bell at the top of the rope.  Photos by ABC Newspapers.

Epiphany Extra Front Page

  February 2012 Edition Issue 5 Volume 5
  by Gabe Andrzejek and Kyle Palzer​

Troop 524 had articles about an Eagle Project one of our scouts did (he wrote the article) and a smaller section talking about our involvement with Scout Sunday at Epiphany Church and our annual Pancake Breakfast that was held that day.  Read the "Epiphany Extra" front page articles by clicking the pdf document on the right.

Blaine Teen Earns Eagle Scout
  Date: 10/26/2010

  North Metro TV Channel 15​

Eagle Scout is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouts. Since its introduction in 1911, the Eagle Scout rank has been earned by more than 2 million young men. And this week, Matthew Krepsky, a senior from Blaine High School completed some of the final steps in the process to become the newest member of that group.

For his Eagle Scout project, he built a memorial garden at fire station three in Blaine, memorializing three children who lost their lives in a van fire in Blaine in 2002.

In addition to an Eagle Scout Project, in order to become an Eagle Scout, the scout must earn 21 merit badges, and have been a Life Scout for at least six months.

The memorial garden dedication ceremony was attended by scouts, police officers, firefighters, and family members of the children who are being memorialized.

Blaine Eagle Scout Honored
  Date: 6/26/2009
  Photos by Tim Hennagir ABC newspapers​

Mayor Tom Ryan reads a proclamation in front of the Blaine City Council June 18 honoring Blaine resident and Eagle Scout Andrew Jacobs for work associated with his Eagle Scout award.

Jacobs planted and placed mulch around six new trees, installed and painted a new park bench, painted seven existing park benches, built a retaining wall planter around the Carrara East Park sign at the east entrance, filled it with blackdirt, placed mulch and planted perennials and low growing shrubs.

The project in Carrara Park, 13129 Eldorado St. N.E., required a combined total of over 206 hours of work involving 43 volunteers consisting of fellow scouts, family, friends and neighbors. The work was completed on May 16.

Seven Blaine Eagle Scouts are Honored
  Wednesday, 6/3/2009
  by Sue Austreng ABC newspapers​

Bestowed the prestigious and hard-fought Eagle Scout award during a May 31 court of honor were Troop 524’s Kyle Brandes, Aaron DeRusha, Jonathan Klemm, Patrick McDonald, Ryan McDonald, Bruce Thibodeau and Jeremy Wolf.

“These boys have been Scouting together since they were Cubs in first- or second-grade at Johnsville Elementary School,” said  Tim DeRusha.

Along the way, two of the Cubs lost their dads. Bruce Thibodeau Sr. and Kevin McDonald died when their boys – Bruce Thibodeau and Ryan and Patrick McDonald – were just getting their Scouting feet wet.

Pressing on, honoring their fathers and keeping them alive in their tender Scouting hearts, Bruce, Ryan and Patrick continued earning merit badges and climbing the ladder toward Eagle status.

Through the years, as the seven young Johnsville Cubs climbed the scouting ranks to Boy Scout status, they formed a patrol with Troop 524 and began meeting at Epiphany Catholic Church, Coon Rapids.

Only 2 percent of the young men who join the Boy Scouts of America achieve Scouting’s highest award, that of Eagle Scout.

May 31, Brandes, DeRusha, Klemm, the McDonalds, Thibodeau  and Wolf extended Troop 524’s historic Eagle Scout count to 81, following in the footsteps of the troop’s first Eagle Scout, Jeffrey Iverson, who was awarded the honor back in 1965.

Before pledging the Eagle Charge and receiving their Eagle awards, the candidates endured comical Scouting memories resurrected by Scoutmasters, den mothers and fellow Boy Scouts.

Tales were told of the boys’ legacies of long-windedness, of forgetfulness, of inventiveness, of sharp shooting, of joking, of singing, of golfing, of misplacing camping equipment, of surviving and protecting, of hiking and fishing and more.

““"Eagle Scout is who you are. It’s not just an award. It’s who you are. After this day, it’s not something you say, ‘I was an Eagle Scout.’ From this day forward, you are an Eagle Scout. It’s something that can never be taken away,"” said former Troop 524 Scoutmaster Karen Theisen after the Scouts pledged their lives and vowed their allegiance to the Eagle Charge.

"“Looking at these boys on this stage... they represent our future, and I’'d say the future looks bright,"” said John Conelly, the uniformed court of honor emcee.

And the assembled crowd responded with a standing ovation.

*Article was partially edited due to long length*

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