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Your Town Tuesday: The Unique People, Places, and Things of Rice [VIDEO]

RICE – ‘Your Town Tuesday’ headed up Highway 10 to Rice this week. As I drove into Rice I looked off to my left and saw a yard of boats. Little Rock Boat Works is owned and operated by Dave Watts, and he has been restoring boats since 1978. He got his first boat from his father when he was only fifteen.

Photo: Joshua Akkerman, WJON News

“My dad hauled it home in the back of his Pontiac car.”

After starting his business in his garage, Watts moved to his current location in 1996. Watts and his team’s work has attracted some national attention. Watts told me about their latest trip.

“We were at the Seabrook Show. That’s the Keels and Wheels, that’s one of the top shows in the country. We received best in class and best in show. We’ve been to that show three times and we’ve received three Best of Show awards.”

Their work has also received multiple awards at the Lake Tahoe Show.

Photo: Joshua Akkerman, WJON News

As I made my way into town I found myself at Janski Grocery. The store was purchased in 1952 by Steve Janski’s parents. Steve Janski took over the store in 1977. I was told the store operates on a first name basis with it’s customers, and that it draws a crowd from all over the region. Janski gave thanks to his loyal customers.

“We are very fortunate that we have loyal customers that come in everyday and treat us good. We try to treat them good, it’s very rewarding to show the loyalty that we have.”

Photo: Joshua Akkerman, WJON News

Just up main street is another family run business that has been around for a long time. Jim and Allen Voigt worked at Rice Blacksmith Saw and Machine when their uncle and father owned the business. Jim bought into the business in 1971, and his brother Allen joined him in 1982. They were proud to be taking over such an established business. Allen Voigt says

“If you can’t do it in a community like this you just can’t do it. I love this community.”

These two brothers went on to tell me that they love giving back to the community. Jim Voigt says

“We do a lot of small repair for people in town, as far as any small welding jobs, lawn mower repair, and things like that.”

Allen Voigt added.

“I’m on the fire department, my sons on the fire department. We actually have been partaking in city business and city things for this community for the last thirty years.”

Photo: Joshua Akkerman, WJON News

A walk around town revealed a park that one man says is an afternoon of family fun. Jon Keller and his family were able to try snow shoeing at Bend in the River Regional Park this past winter. The park sits on 289 acres of historic farmland, with trails running through the farm and along the shores of the Mississippi River. The old farm buildings that remain on the land have plaques attached to them giving visitors the chance to learn more about the farm and the buildings.

There were so many great people, places, and things in Rice that I did not get a chance to see. Be sure to swing through Rice this summer and check out what I missed, and remember to check back for more of ‘Your Town Tuesday’ as we feature more communities in Central Minnesota.

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