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September 18, 2020

New Water & Light utility GM gets job offer
North Branch Water and Light Commission voted unanimously last week to extend the General Manager job to  Hibbing public utility official Scott Hautala.  Chair Terry Smith remarked that as a member of the personnel subcommittee  which interviewed the candidate he feels Hautala will be a real asset.
Friday, September 11, 2020


Center City Council and Xcel come to terms
A couple of representatives for Xcel Energy attended the Center City Council meeting September 1 to review a planned “viper” switch to improve electric system reliability.  The equipment can be perceived as unsightly in some peoples’ minds, so Xcel was advised by city staff to talk with council about the need for the installation and the location.
Friday, September 11, 2020

CLACF reminds public about available grants
Pictured, Chisago Lakes Community Foundation members are reminding the public about grants that are available to do a huge assortment of public good.  The Foundation has an application form inside that you are invited to complete if you are involved in a local organization or group that could use a little financial assistance to make a project or program happen.  Members are: Jesse Johnson, left back, Sue Mack, Loretta Anderson, Susan Clayton, Ann Gillach and Sara Johnson. Front row, left Patricia Mahoney, Dan Hoolihan, Louann Mattson, Adam Wojtowicz and Julie Lauritzen. Form is on page 9.
Friday, September 11, 2020

Chisago Lakes sewage treatment Veolia contract gets thumbs up
The Chisago Lakes Joint Sewage Treatment Commission handed over the operations of the regional wastewater system to Veolia Water North America, LLC last week.  A special meeting was called to finalize the draft contract for the private company’s services and Veolia WNA should be assuming responsibilities September 14. 
Friday, September 11, 2020

Sculpture Park gathering, arts space to open
The Franconia Sculpture Park wants to invite the public to a grand opening Saturday September 26, of the Franconia Commons.  This is also the 24th annual Art and Artists Celebration to be held by FSP.
Friday, September 11, 2020

Cancellations are abundant; how about a good old fashion' car show?
This weekend would have been Hay Days. Yet another event we can check off as “maybe next year”.  We are running out of events to cancel around here.  All-in-all people have come to grips with the pandemic and are trying to keep a positive attitude about our new “cancelled” lives.  With everything closed or altered, you would like to think this would be a great time to catch up with old friends.  For whatever reason, that has not happened (with us anyway.) 
Friday, September 11, 2020

Fruitful bounty for salads
Today I am going back to salads. Specifically, fruit salads. We are so lucky to have such a variety of fresh fruit available for us. We not only have fruits that are ‘in season’ at our local farmers market, roadside stands and of course our grocery stores. We enjoy fruits the year round shipped in from faraway places. In the produce department of our local grocery store, you can find almost any variety of fruit to make nutritious salads. We have the best fruits to help keep us healthy.  Eat fruit often, whether fresh, canned or frozen. They are so good for us.
Friday, September 11, 2020

Sheriff's Office opens comment on body worn camera proposal/policy
The Chisago County Board will hear a presentation on a draft policy September 16, as a first step for the sheriff’s office to implement a plan to bring bodyworn cameras into county law enforcement operations.
Thursday, September 10, 2020

With no agenda adopted North Branch Council stalls out first hour of meeting
The eggshells everybody in North Branch City Hall has been tip-toeing on top of finally began to shatter last week.  The mayor of North Branch has been very clear he wants Council member Kathy Blomquist gone, and he has begun to actively make that option very attractive. 
Thursday, September 3, 2020

Anything can happen on the river...
For this 20-something guy from rural Taylors Falls, when he looks back on summer 2020 some things that will not come to mind are racial unrest, video of law enforcement shootings, or even covid-19.   
Thursday, September 3, 2020

Chisago City citizen disputes water tower fee
On Aug. 25, the Chisago City Council heard a resident’s plea for the city to rescind the current flat fee of $27.45 a quarter to pay off the water tower renovation and to consider an increase in the water use rate instead.
Thursday, September 3, 2020

Final plat for Green Lake Villas approved minus one Riparian lot
High Point Land, LLC, plans to develop 35 detached town homes and custom homes on the former Lakeside Elementary School property on Little Green Lake.    On Aug. 25, the Chisago City Council approved the final plat for Green Lake Villas with one last-minute change, eliminating lakeshore (riparian) rights from one lot in the Planned Unit Development. 
Thursday, September 3, 2020

C'mon people-get a grip here; Relay for Life was awe inspiring
A few nights ago we had our first case of political rage.  Ok political rage is nothing new, but we had someone in our community physically attack a family’s property just because of their political affiliation.  The person threw paint all over the family’s vehicle before being chased off the property.
Thursday, September 3, 2020

A bit of tomato trivia and recipes
It’s about tomatoes today. Did you know tomatoes are really a fruit and not a veggie? As far as I’m concerned, they’re a veggie. Just a bit of tomato  info for you since some recipes call for one pound of tomatoes. That would be four medium globe tomatoes. One pound of tomatoes, peeled and seeds removed, equals about 1-1/2 cup of tomato pulp. Twenty-five to 30 cherry tomatoes equals about one pound. If you pick your tomatoes before they’re red ripe, store them at room temperature. Don’t ripen tomatoes on a window-sill in direct sunlight as the sunlight softens them but doesn’t help them to ripen. A good spot to ripen them is in a brown paper bag, closed tightly. The tomatoes give off ethylene-gas, a natural ripening agent in all fruit speeding up the ripening process. The same goes with bananas and other fruits as well.
Thursday, September 3, 2020

Ki Chi a blast for everyone
The Chisago City scaled down Ki Chi Saga Days event in the park;  featured a booth for the city parks department where Kaitlin Carlson and Aisha Roche were holding down the fort, explaining their Girl Scout Silver Award project.   The bird houses were assembled with materials provided by Gregory Contracting and painted by volunteers working with the girl scouts-- to then place the houses in city parks.  (Story Press July 30.)
Friday, August 28, 2020

Heartland Express facing restructuring
The Heartland Express has been a seemingly successful collaborative transit program between Chisago and Isanti counties; but last week the Isanti County Board agreed to basically sever ties in being funded with a state transit aid grant-- and the Chisago County Board could do nothing to reverse that.  The fine print in the collaborative contract left the commissioners no option but to continue to collaborate with Isanti towards a shared busing system.  (The vote was 4-1 with Rick Greene opposed due to wording in the resolution he didn’t like.)
Friday, August 28, 2020

Council sees Lindstrom Fire Hall design
The first drawings and cost estimates for Lindstrom’s new fire hall were reviewed last week by the city council. Early estimates are that the seven bay fire hall can be built for between $5,272,960 and $4,585,183.
Friday, August 28, 2020

Non profit grants applications open soon
The COVID CARES Act millions continue to be filtered out through local governments to those who can benefit from monetary support. 
Friday, August 28, 2020

Shafer Council annexes-in 10 acres
Shafer City Council met August 18 for a regular meeting.  All members were present as well as five citizens in attendance.
Friday, August 28, 2020

County Road 30 driveway denied to Stacy developer
The County Board last week returned a request from the City of Stacy asking for a county denial of a  driveway access off County Highway 30 to be reconsidered.  The county engineer’s office denied the application for a direct driveway off #30 to service a parcel  proposed for use as a self-storage business by owner Doug Jeans DC Contracting, Forest Lake.  The location is close to Doyle Fields, but on the west side of #30.
Friday, August 28, 2020

County Planning actions and recorder office report on commissioners' agenda
In business before the County Board last week some planning matters included:

~ Approval of a 98 foot tall communications pole with an antennae on top,  at 14819 Pleasant Valley Road, in Chisago Lake Township near 310th and County Road 37, by the ECE substation.  The Interim Use Permit was sought by East Central Electric. It is needed for communicating remote meter reading devices to customer meters, according to the applicant.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Water and Light now hopes new GM may be signed by September
The North Branch Water and Light negotiations subcommittee had nothing to report as far as progress on terms of the  newly-adopted unionization-- or on the process of hiring a new general manager.  At the monthly commission meeting last week the two utility commissioners serving as negotiations liaisons said there are additional sessions scheduled but nothing in writing. 
Friday, August 28, 2020

NB celebrates the newly extended Hemingway Avenue
North Branch City officials, the county engineer,commissioners and others celebrated the opening of the newly extended Hemingway Avenue.  The road makes a connection now from Hwy. 95 (at its new roundabout) south to County Road 14 (Lincoln Trail.)  This was made possible by Chisago County, MnDOT, North Branch and the developer of the housing development just northeast of the middle school working cooperatively.
Friday, August 28, 2020

Chisago County District court is reopened for jury trials
If you should get summoned for jury duty in Center City District Court this is not a scam, the courts are reopened.  Cases are being heard again in person in courtrooms that look very different from what you’d have seen a few months ago. 
Friday, August 28, 2020

Ki Chi Saga Days was awesome; reduced tuition in a pandemic??
Thank you so much to all who worked very hard to make this year’s Ki Chi Saga Days so special in a year filled with cancellations.  Judging by the response on that “book” on the internet, there were bound to be opponents to the thought of having an event. I totally understand their opinion. I was in the group that was so starving to do something that I took part in Ki Chi Saga Days multiple times as a matter of fact.  We went and enjoyed two different bands in the park and some good food.  It was obviously a reduced schedule, but it was something.  Something is all we need when we have been staring at the same four walls for what seems like a year now. What’s that saying? "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results." There should be an astrisk following that statement that says *See Matt Silver.
Friday, August 28, 2020

End of summer fresh zucchini
It’s getting close to the end of summer, according to the calendar. Gardens, roadside stands and farmers markets are filled with lots of fresh veggies waiting to be purchased. There are a lot of varieties of summer squash out there and I always thought that only crookneck squash were called summer squash. Not true. There is the ever popular zucchini. We have patty pan, scallopini and straight yellow squash and more.
Friday, August 28, 2020


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