Mark Evenson -- Father, Husband, Treasure Hunter

Mark, Nicole, and Kaitlynn Mark, Nicole, and Kaitlynn. Photo courtesy of Sajous Photography

The Cooler Crew lost another treasure hunter yesterday morning. Mark Evenson, husband of Mystical_Muzik (AKA Nicole), passed away suddenly, and unexpectedly the morning of January 4, 2010 at St. John's Hospital in Maplewood. Mark had no known health issues.

A fund has been set up with Wells Fargo to help the family cover their expenses during this tragic event. Donations can be made at any Wells Fargo bank branch to the Mark Evenson Memorial Fund.

There will be a visitation from 4-8pm on Thursday, January 7 at Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church, 1669 N. Arcade St. in St. Paul. The funeral will be held at Gustavus Adolphus at 10am Friday morning, January 8.

Stay tuned here and in The Situation Room at the Cooler Crew Discussion Boards for more information and how you can help. On top of this, Nicole's father (see below) is still in the Intensive Care Unit at Regions Hospital after being shot during a robbery.

Mark was preceded in death by his parents and son Charles, and is survived by his wife, Nicole, their daughter, Kaitlynn, and many family and friends. Mark was 28.

Those Medalling Kids finds AW's puck

Congratulations to TMK on his find of AW's 2009 Mock Hunt treasure. According to AW, this is the fastest find for his hunt thus far! Way to go!

2009 Medallion Has Been found

At about 9:30 this morning, the medallion was found in Swede Hollow Park. It was found by the father/daughter team of Joe and Jessica Horwath of Maplewood. The pair claimed the entire $10,000 prize, as well as the $1,200 in groceries from Cub Foods. They'd only been out looking for an hour or so when they stumbled across it. It was found several feet away from where it was originally hidden; someone probably tossed it away with their shovel. Ma Press has a great piece of poetry courtesy of the clue writer about it.

Nightly Pre-Clue Gatherings

Before each night's clue comes out, many members of the Cooler Crew get together in downtown Saint Paul as a way to wind down at the end of a long day of digging, and to recover some strength for the night of digging that often follows the release of later clues. These get-togethers will either be at Wild Tymes or at the Bulldog in Lowertown. Stay tuned to the forums at ableminds for details of each night's gathering.

2009 Pre-Dig Gig Recap

January 17, 2009
Obb's Sports Bar and Grill
Saint Paul

Group Photo

The 2009 Pre-Dig Gig (Photo courtesy of Peter Worth, official Winter Carnival Photographer)

We've made it. Ten years ago, give or take a few days, we held the very first Cooler Crew Pre-Dig Gig at McGovern's. Tonight, we held the eleventh annual Pre-Dig Gig at Obb's. Over the course of the evening, somewhere between 150 and 200 people came through the doors.

Originally planned for Matty B's, the party was moved on the last minute to Obb's, who were more than accomodating. With the Pioneer Press publishing the first clue online and in the early Sunday edition of the newspaper, being downtown isn't really necessary anymore, since we all have the clue going in and don't need to go to the paper to get it.

The 2009 Annual Cooler Crew Commemorative Button.

The 2009 Annual Cooler Crew Commemorative Button

As usual, Mom and Dad had the annual Cooler Crew buttons; there were plenty of them left over. If you didn't get one and still want one, contact me2. Lilman provided the evening's entertainment from his DJ booth, and there was even a little karaoke going on. For the last several years, Clue Master has orgainzed a park pick pool, and with a $155 total prize for the winner, this year was no exception.

The Clue Master Status Report

As many of you are aware, Clue Master is in the hospital, with surgery scheduled for Friday, 8/8/08 (hey, crazy eights. Gotta be a lucky day) to replace a heart valve.

For the $0.25 version of what's happened, last Wednesday he was in so much back pain he couldn't get out of bed. He went in to Woodwinds on Thursday where they did a full-body image set of him, and discovered something "fuzzy" in his bone marrow. Initially this was diagnosed as Leukemia, but the oncologist later corrected it saying that the rest of the symptoms weren't consistent with the GP's diagnosis; bone marrow tests would be required. After some more work, they determined he has a bacterial infection that's settled in his bone marrow, lungs, and heart.

The infection resulted from a previously undiagnosed prolapse heart valve, combined with dental work 6 months ago. The result is that the infection has eaten away at the valve to the point where he needs it replaced.

For updates, check out CM's family's web site. To send your well-wishes, check out the thread at AbleMinds. He's in there a lot from the hospital and responding to posts.

Presenting the new CoolerCrew.com

We are pleased to unveil to the general populace the new and improved Cooler Crew web site. There are some exciting new changes going on around these parts and we're glad you're a part of it.

The first thing you'll notice is the new look. After a decade of static web pages and a pseudo-content management system ares put together over the last few years, the site has implemented Drupal for managing the content. After spending a bit of time trying to work out a theme for it, the testers who provided feedback agreed that the "default" theme looks cool, so we're sticking with it.

One of the benefits of Drupal is that Coolerheads near and far will be able to submit their own news items to appear in the site. The Cooler Crew site has always depended on you to create the content you see here, and with the new software, that task is easier than ever to accomplish. Coming down the pipe, we're expecting to have an online photo gallery for you to submit your treasure hunt pictures to, as well as the ability to create your own blogs.

As always, the content of the site will be freely available. However, in order to create content, you'll have to sign up for an account on the site, but that's free and painless. And for those of you who have contributed material in the past, once you get signed up, we can attribute to you all that should be attributed to you, beyond just having a by-line in the story. Until then, well, let's just say we bring back an old name to be the nom-de-plume of everything not otherwise claimed, one Mr. Joe Medallion.

RIP Santa Dave

Santa Dave at the first annual Cooler Crew predig.

Santa Dave at the first annual Cooler Crew predig.

"Santa" Dave Young passed away last night in the presence of many of his Cooler Crew Friends.

Terry Valentine eulogized him quite nicely, so I'm taking the liberty of stealing what she wrote for the site:

Being as sleep is alluding me, I thought I could share some information and memories of our friend Dave Young over the past 10 years.

He was raised on a farm near Brewster, MN. We know he has a sister still living in that area along with aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. He still owned farm land that he rented out. He spent most holidays with a niece back in Brewster and always bragged about her cooking.

He was married once. He never had children.

He was a ham radio operator and a licensed pilot. He loved the State fair, the medallion hunt, micro napping, working on computers, and any gathering that involved a good dinner and people he liked being with.

If you went anywhere with him, it wasn't long and he'd run into someone he knew. He had a very long list of friends.

Almost without fail, when you said goodbye at the end of a time together or on the phone, his last words were "have fun!". That was his philosophy and there wasn't much of anything he wouldn't try if it sounded like fun.

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Cooler Crew -- A History

During the 1990's, the St Paul Pioneer Press opened online discussion forums. These forums were called Water Coolers. The forums had discussion topics related to sports, politics, news, and current events. Each year, the Pioneer Planet — the online section of the Pioneer Press — opened a discussion forum as a media for hunters to discuss the clues for the Winter Carnival Medallion Hunt.

During the earlier years, one might find a few hundred posts during the hunt. As more hunters had computers, those numbers jumped. From 1997 to 1998, the number of posts increased from the hundreds to the 5-digit thousands. It was during the 1998 hunt the Cooler Crew was born.

The community spirit and teamwork displayed in the Pioneer Press Medallion Hunt thread was inspiring. The group of hunters found themselves at the end of a hunt not wanting to let go of new friendships and the camaraderie found on the Water Cooler board. The idea emerged to do what anyone would do in the middle of winter in Minnesota. A picnic in Cherokee was planned - the first Rehash Bash!

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