The North Branch School District is in the process of developing its 2014-15 budget and wants the public to get involved at a hearing March 13. This hearing promises to be an about-face from the setting of previous budgets; because North Branch expects to regain some financial ground that’s been lost. The hearing at the first part of the next regular school board meeting, starts at 6 p.m. The Board meets in the North Branch District Education Center (the old primary school) near Grand Avenue- Cty. Road 14 and Hwy 95.
If you have passed anywhere near Hazelden on South Center Lake, it would have been tough to not notice the massive crane revolving above the treetops. Hazelden is demolishing buildings to be replaced by a pair of two-story housing units. The first of the two construction projects (in lower left of graphic) was getting steel delivered this week. The outlined white unit, right in the graphic, “Cronin,” also is to be replaced in Phase Two.
“Vapor lounges” or electronic cigarette shops have been open for business in Chisago County for quite sometime; but there’s been no state regulation of “nicotine delivery devices” on the books. The market has proliferated under piecemeal enforcement left up to each jurisdiction addressing local entrepreneurs. Municipalities such as Lindstrom, enacted ordinances to regulate these enterprises, without state statutory support. And, area school district officials have basically relied on nobody challenging district policy as they crackdown on this new nicotine frontier.
The township governments in this area hold annual meetings and elections Tuesday, March 11, (with the exception of Nessel, with elections in November.) Meetings get started at the township hall as soon as polls close and balloting results have been calculated, which is usually just minutes after 8 p.m. Annual Meetings are a chance for township residents to learn about financial information for this year and see what supervisors propose for next year’s taxes/spending. Residents are able to make suggestions, have ideas voted on and generally have a say in the state of their township. There will be few contested seats in this year’s area township elections. Shafer Township stands out as the exception-- with four people filing for supervisor and two people are running for township clerk, a post being vacated by Roy E. Johnson. Vying for Shafer Town clerk are Faith Lichtscheidl and Donna Nowicki. On the ballot for supervisor: Loryn Bourasa, Roy E. Johnson, Kurt O Nelson and Paula Oehme. Chisago Lake Township supervisor James Froberg is retiring and the one person who has filed is Sherry Stirling. Clerk Eleanor Trippler is unopposed. Franconia Clerk Missy Glenna has filed for re-election and is unopposed. The supervisor seat is sought by Kenneth W. Novack jr. and Kevin Rochel.
More sanitation companies have been hauling trash and recyclables in Chisago City, than allowed by city code, since 2008. However, that is only because council members had not reviewed and revised the policy since much of the former Wyoming Township was annexed into Chisago City. Representatives from several sanitation firms attended a meeting Feb. 25 where city officials asked if the companies are content with their routes and other haulers in the city.
No one in Taylors Falls or anywhere near the town needs to be told that the area is experiencing a winter unlike any other in a generation, and City Council action was needed Wednesday morning, Feb. 26, on a specific weather-related problem. Eight households have called city staff to report a loss of water, due to frozen pipes. The issue has known no boundaries. Mayor Mike Buchite is one of the residents to have reported frozen pipes, out of the city’s estimated 350 water utility customers.
Authorities booked a Forest Lake resident this week on charges stemming from an incident in September, when she allegedly sold methamphetamine to an undercover East Central Drug Task Force investigator. Marion Marie Baca is charged with felony sale and fleeing, and a misdemeanor for providing false information when detained. Court documents say 28- year-old Marion Marie Baca, Forest Lake, met the task force buyer at a location in Stacy and the purchase was made using a cache of pre-inventoried bills ($800). The drug task force member bought 11.9 grams of methamphetamine, the complaint states. Baca was arrested by state patrol and a Chisago County deputy as she drove away on I-35 immediately after the alleged sale last fall. She was processed, charged and last week was re-apprehended on the warrants. Thursday, March 6, 2014
Congratulations to the swimmers, divers, and wrestlers who all took part in their state tournaments this weekend. The boys all did absolutely great. Congratulations to Joe Virga who took fourth place in wrestling at 170 pounds ad Dylan Connell who took sixth place in the 120 pound class. What a great set of athletes we have coming through the system right now. The swimmers and divers had a nice showing as well. The 200 relay team places 12th at state and divers Jake Doble and Jacob Carlson finished 8th and 9th respectively.
It is National Potato Month. There are so many different recipes for potatoes and today I decided to make French fries. H-m-m-m. Not the best way to prepare potatoes nutritionally, is it? The term is surprisingly a strictly American phrase. However, the French are credited with the popularity of thin-cut potatoes fried in oil. So, today, we’re making baked fries, plus a couple of other potato recipes. Are they fattening? Not necessarily so, depending on what you add to them. It’s full of good nutrition. One medium potato (about 5 oz.) with skin on has 110 calories, 23 gm carbs, 0 gm. fat, 0 cholesterol, 3 gm protein, 750 mg potassium and get this, 2,170 mg fiber! Yes, they are good for us without adding butter, sour cream, cheese, etc. Let’s make baked fries! Thursday, March 6, 2014
Wyoming residents wanting council to reject an application for a 75 foot cell phone tower southwest of Comfort Lake, used the public comment portion of the city council meeting to express their opposition last week. The residents asked council to “just say no” when the planning commission sends a recommendation up on a pending Conditional Use Permit.
North Branch City Council had just enough members to hold a meeting Monday this week, with Mayor Lindquist and member Blomquist excused. The council was advised by city attorney Jay Squires that because the police department involvement in an “uncertain” driver education program could be setting the city up for possible litigation, the council should suspend participation by the department in the program, at least temporarily.
The Community Expo at Chisago Lakes High School last weekend featured an appearance by Mutant Ninja Turtles, and then the turtles roamed the expo for a while...and one decided to get a sample massage being offered at the All Is Wellness booth. Thursday, February 27, 2014
The County Government Center is getting a facelift-plus. The exterior has a stucco-like cladding that is breaking down, the windows and soffit systems need to be replaced and the county commissioners set in motion last week the replacement of the chiller, step one in the list of projects. The bid for a new chiller was awarded to Johnson Controls (York) for about $59,000. The projects for repairs and maintenance at the government center will be tackled through spring and beyond. The Board also saw a reminder of the $75,000 grant the county won from the state Parks and Trails Legacy Program for the rehabilitation of Sunrise Prairie Trail. The money is available to mid-2016 and the county should await a final contract prior to expending any funds it hopes to get reimbursed for. Thursday, February 27, 2014
The Big Chill may have been happening outdoors, but inside the Lindstrom City Hall debate was heating-up again among members of the Chisago Lakes Joint Sewage Treatment Commission. The CLJSTC recently deadlocked on a land purchase to the south of the treatment plant complex. Those opposing the expense were prepared to procedurally block any action to add the purchase into a loan the commission was applying for. The purchase idea was ultimately nixed.
Shafer City Council met February 18 for a regular meeting. City Attorney Ted Alliegro was absent. With no hearings scheduled, the council quickly moved to consent agenda. Council member Jesse Keeney made a motion to consent and Council member Patty Mattson seconded. The motion passed 5-0. Keeney then made a motion to pay the bills which also passed unanimously.
Water service lines-- those pipes underground between structures and the municipal watermains beneath the streets, have been freezing. Due to types of soils and snow cover, the frostline and pipes are colliding into each other as a result of the year’s extreme temperatures allowing for deep penetration of frost. Also the quantity of water flowing through the service line, can have an impact on freezing. But, even the consistently flowing wastewater network in the Chisago Lakes area has had problems with the extreme cold. Mark Nelson, Chisago Lakes Joint Sewer Treatment plant supervisor, said two recent forcemain freeze-ups were “a surprise.” According to operations records, one pipe location did freeze 30 years ago, but ordinarily forcemains aren’t affected by frost. Olson Sewer steamed them open with special equipment. Thursday, February 27, 2014
State Patrol has released partial information on a fatality Monday, Feb 24 in Lindstrom, when a car struck a semi trailer rig head-on on the highway. Douglas Hilstrom, 71, of Lindstrom died at the scene. He was operating the passenger car. The semi truck driver was identified as 46 year old Lloyd Law, Maplewood. He had injuries but they were not “life threatening” the patrol stated.
Thank you to all who braved the snow and icy roads to come to the Home Show. As expected, the numbers were a tad bit lower than normal, but pretty good nonetheless. The entertainment was great, and the people who did make it out, seemed to be having a good time. If you as a consumer or show goer have any ideas on how we can improve the show, please email me here at the Press. Email "Home Show Ideas" to firstname.lastname@example.org. With your input, we can tailor the show to make it more appealing to everyone.
I am going to tickle your sweet tooth today. The focus is on different varieties of brownies. But first, I have a couple tips for you. If you are on a low-fat diet, consider substituting apple sauce for the oil (same amount) in your brownies and use only egg whites. Also, when both shortening and eggs are called for in a recipe, first put the egg into a measuring cup. Swirl it around, then add to batter. Next measure the shortening in the same cup... it will slide right out. Also, if you would rather not use frosting in a can, you can make your favorite chocolate frosting for a 9x13 cake. When greasing a cake pan, grease only the bottom of the pan. The brownie or cake top will be even rather than rounded at the top. Thursday, February 27, 2014
State Patrol has released partial information on a fatlity Monday, Feb 24 in Lindstrom, when a car struck a semi trailer rig head-on on the highway.
Douglas Hilstrom, 71, of Lindstrom died at the scene. Additional names and details are expected to be released later. The state highway patrol, and numerous police officers and deputies were involved for hours, investigating a fatal crash and supervising clean-up. Traffic control continued into the night, with squads still in position around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, February 25, 2014
When Mike McKenzie fries his last strip of bacon for a “Crazy Eight” breakfast combo or “Swedish” Combo cheeseburger on February 25, McKenzie will have worked in Swedish Inn kitchens for 35 years. He started in high school washing dishes for previous owner Myron “Pinky” Morrison. The teenager moved to grill work not much more than a month later, and through his next 13 years of employment he often heard Morrison say that McKenzie would make a suitable new owner for the family restaurant at 12678 Lake Blvd. Thursday, February 20, 2014
Six months after informing him by certified mail of animal infestation and structural concerns at his South Center Manor property, Center City council members and City Attorney Peter Grundhoefer were able to meet with land owner Larry Merhiy, of Blaine. Merhiy and council members noted there are mixed feelings on whether the “Manor,” which opened as a Park Island resort-hotel more than 100 years ago and later served as a group home for disabled adults, should be restored or removed.
A quilting workshop hosted by the Forest Lake Memorial Quilt Club early this month ended up creating a dozen quilts for veterans and a special flag-theme quilt given to the Forest Lake American Legion Post to be used for raffle fundraising. What used to be dubbed “National Freedom Day” has become Quilts of Valor Day in communities large and small across the United States. The Quilts of Valor organization presents custom handmade quilts to veterans, over 90,000 quilts have been dispersed. Thursday, February 20, 2014
Why is America spending billions rebuilding infrastructure in foreign nations when the transportation trust fund that pays for road and bridge projects in the U.S. is proving to be insufficient for needs here? Why do we continue to assess a gas tax in cents per gallon sold, instead of as a percentage of the cost at the pump, like all the other sales taxes?
Earlier this month, as propane supplies for heat grew tight and prices rose, the Lakes & Pines Community Action Council staff was inundated with applications for heating bill assistance. But, programming manager Richard Fuchs (sounds like fox) was starting to see a reduction in volume of phone calls late last week and “the worst” may almost be over. He added, that everybody at the agency’s regional offices in Mora had fingers crossed for the promised warm-up in temps. As a non-profit agency serving east central Minnesota; Lakes & Pines administers public programs dispersing state and federal grants for building weatherization, for rehabbing rental structures, and helps qualifying citizens receive fuel bill payment help through the LIHEAP or Low Income Heating Energy Assistance Program. Fuchs tells the Chisago County Press that dealing with probably triple the number of calls as last year, is challenging. The staff served 973 households total in 2013. Thursday, February 20, 2014