Photos: Holding Traverse County together


1 Wheaton, Minn., residents Roy Hormann, left, and John Rose, right, are among those who regularly gather for coffee and conversation at Homer's One-Stop Mini-Mart on Highway 75 in Wheaton. The tables stay pretty full most afternoons. That's even more so on colder days, according to store clerks. 
2 A semi-trailer enters Traverse County on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011, near Browns Valley, Minn. The county is the least populated in Minnesota. 
3 Traverse County is the least populated county in Minnesota. Founded in 1862, less than 3,600 people called the county home in 2010. Much of the land is used for agriculture. This photograph was taken not far from Highway 75 and Wheaton, the county seat, on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011. 
4 Traverse County Coordinator Janet Raguse reacts to comments from a passing county commissioner (not pictured) in the entrance to the Traverse County Courthouse in Wheaton on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011. Raguse says her county enjoys good collaboration with adjacent counties. These relationships benefit everyone, especially citizens. (MPR Photo/Ann Arbor Miller) 
5 As the social services director for both Traverse and Pope counties, Rhonda Antrim spends a lot of time in her vehicle. She has offices in both Wheaton and Glenwood, but admittedly her car often becomes a traveling office of sorts. 
6 The 12-bed Traverse County jail keeps pretty full since inmates from several surrounding counties also use the facility, says Sheriff Brion Plautz. For example, on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011, of the nine beds occupied seven were being used by non-Traverse County residents. 
7 Of the nine inmates locked up at the Traverse County jail on the afternoon of Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011, just two were Traverse County residents. The remaining seven inmates, including this man from Stevens County, were residents of nearby counties that do not have a county jail. 
8 Trevor Wright, chief deputy for the Traverse County sheriff's office, far right, inspects the installation efforts of a radio tower outside the county jail on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011. Once installed the tower will improve communication throughout the area. Workers pictured are employed by Structural Tower Services of Becker, Minn. 
9 Traverse County social worker Sarah Young, second from left, has been working with fourth and fifth girls in Browns Valley and Wheaton, Minn., as part of an after school class called the Butterflies Program that promotes self-esteem. Here, Young answers a question from Ashlyn Hansen, a fourth-grade student in Browns Valley on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011. Butterflies uses a curriculum provided by Wings Organization of Alexandria and was made possible thanks to cost-saving measures in the countyA•s social services budget, according to Rhonda Antrim, department director. 
10 Fifth-graders Angelia White, left, and Kylee Appel, right, connect over chocolate treats during an after school program for girls on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011, in Browns Valley, Minn. The Butterflies Program, which uses a curriculum provided by Wings Organization of Alexandria, was made possible thanks to cost-saving measures in the countyA•s social services budget, according to Rhonda Antrim, department director. 
11 Harriet Schmitz, 90, left, and Helen Wheeler, 91, both of Wheaton, Minn., were among those who enjoyed A "turkey day" at the Wheaton Community Diner on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011. The establishment, which is the former senior center, is open to the community. Meals for seniors are a suggested $4. Both Schmitz and Wheeler were longtime teachers in Wheaton schools.