Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Two found dead at Faribault Chamber December 23, 2016

UPDATE, 6:55 p.m. Friday: Faribault police have identified the two individuals found shot to death as Richard “Dick” Larson, 61, and his ex-wife, Barbara Larson, 59. Richard Larson apparently shot Barbara and then himself. Richard Larson was a retired Faribault police officer. I remember him. A harassment restraining order was served on him earlier this week.

Their identity does not surprise me as I quickly connected the dots.

About a week ago, Barb Larson was interviewed by local KDHL radio station personality Gordy Kosfeld about Chamber activities. You can view that interview by clicking here.

I am deeply saddened by this act of domestic violence. A restraining order is no guarantee of protection. Something has to change.

WE ARE A COMMUNITY SHAKEN.

This afternoon, a man and a woman were found dead behind a desk at the Faribault Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism office in an apparent murder-suicide, according to police.

I am still trying to comprehend this violent tragedy, the second such in just 12 days. On December 11, a 33-year-old man and an 8-year-old girl died of gunshot wounds in a murder-suicide in a residential neighborhood of Faribault.

At this point, just hours after the bodies were found, information is limited to early media reports and a news release from the Faribault Police Department. That release states officers found a firearm at the scene and that the public is not at risk.

Additionally, the release states that “No other Chamber employees were present or injured.” That leads me to conclude that at least one of the deceased is a Chamber employee.  With a population of around 23,000, Faribault is a small enough city that our Chamber/tourism people are highly-visible and well-known.

I listened to a police audio on mnpoliceclips.com, which suggests the possible identities of the deceased.

I am sad, just incredibly sad. I have no other words than to advise all of you to hold close those you love.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

A sweet surprise on Small Business Saturday in Faribault November 24, 2012

A Small Business Saturday promotional bag with my purchases inside.

“THANK YOU FOR SHOPPING LOCAL,” she said, then handed me a Shop Small shopping bag that contained a $10 Faribault Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Chamber Check.

So how’s that for a sweet surprise at Faribault Ace Hardware on Small Business Saturday, a day to support and celebrate small businesses?

My husband and I stopped by our local, friendly hardware store this morning for a cordless drill (on sale already on Black Friday, but two still left on the shelves), drain cleaner and lint traps.

After paying $47.81, Randy perused the winter gloves. And that’s when Barb Larson from the local Chamber thanked us for shopping local, handed me the Shop Small bag and asked to take my photo with her cell phone.

The really interesting thing here is that I knew Chamber folks would be roaming downtown Faribault today handing out those Chamber bucks. I even told my college son we needed to wait until Saturday to shop for shoes at Burkhartzmeyer Shoes for that sole reason.

But I’d forgotten. So the Chamber thank you was, indeed, a surprise.

As soon as the son returns home from dining at Augusto’s Ristorante, a downtown Italian restaurant, which is fabulous by the way, we’ll head a few blocks away to Burkhartzmeyer Shoes, a third-generation family shoe store. At this shoe store, employees and store owners measure and slip shoes onto your feet and will even repair your shoes. How’s that for small town service?

About half a block from Burkhartzmeyer Shoes, I dropped more money in my downtown, at Keepers Antiques. I’m supporting my local small businesses.

Have you shopped local today or recently?

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling