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May 5, 2021

Heated special meeting shows discord on CL school board
A Chisago Lakes School Board special meeting fraught with tension, bickering and accusations was on full display for the public to see on Tuesday, April 20.
Friday, April 23, 2021

Pollinators have place of honor in library artwork
A good sized gathering  Thursday, April 22 (Earth Day) celebrated the dedication of the East Central Regional-North Branch Library’s monarch sculpture.  Monarch populations are dwindling due to loss of habitat and their preferred homebase,  the milkweed plant is a key component in North Branch’s citizen garden effort. In 2018 the Rotary Club of North Branch provided funds to have buy small signs bearing a butterfly logo and information, which are given to residents who create a small pollinator friendly garden somewhere in their yard. (See the city website www.ci..north-branch.mn.us)
Monday, May 3, 2021

PSEO helped set stage for Wildcat alum's career clarity
People will advise you upon high school graduation to do what you love, or at least pursue a field that’s in-demand. In the  best of both worlds you find a career that you enjoy and that also has opportunities.
Friday, April 30, 2021

Stacy Council sets assessment hearings
Stacy City Council met April 13 for a regular meeting.  All members were present.  The council first held a public hearing regarding a proposed tax abatement being sought by the owners of All Mac.  The owners are seeking abatement not to exceed $12,500 for no more than five years.  All Mac is purchasing the old BP station located at 5580 Stacy Trail. The council later approved the abatement unanimously and the owners thanked the council and told them they have been spread the word how "great" the city of Stacy is to work with. 
Friday, April 23, 2021

North Branch Council to purchase street sweeper, fill Planning Commission seat
Springtime in Minnesota can be counted on to fill city council agendas with public works and other seasonal requests for action, and last week North Branch Council was no exception.
Friday, April 23, 2021

Lindstrom Council approves townhomes on North Lindstrom Lake, okay's plat for townhomes on golf course
There are nine single family townhomes coming to the north shore of North Lindstrom Lake, based on approvals granted unanimously by Lindstrom City Council last week.  The Albrecht Lake Landing preliminary plat was approved as a Planned Unit Development (PUD), which means compromises are allowed under regular zoning code in exchange for considerations from the developer.  Open space goes to 75 percent of the entire property, an increase from what’s usually required. The site contains low, marshy terrain and a slope, which won’t be built on. In exchange the developer gets lot widths that are half of the usual, at 54 feet versus 100 feet, for example.  The developer agrees to replace 61 “quality trees” that will be removed.
Friday, April 23, 2021

Spring means construction and renewal
Highway 8 is getting a makeover. Many of you have already seen and felt the improvements (construction) already taking place early this spring.  There are projects planned all along the corridor. While not all is set in stone there are many options under consideration for the busy highway.  Thanks to the pandemic (tongue in cheek) like many events, an open house detailing construction options is now available online.   There are seven potential plans for improving Highway 8 which includes reduced conflict intersections, minor stop controls, roundabouts, and potential new traffic signals.  I urge you to visit www.th-8-online-open-house-srfconsulting.hub.arcgis.com to see all you need to know.
Friday, April 23, 2021

Last week's dinner, today
It’s time to share a few dinners that are on our regular menu at home.
Friday, April 23, 2021

Valian sentenced for rural Harris murder in May 2020
Emotions were still very raw among those who testified at Friday’s sentencing of Justin Valian.  Judge Bollman ordered him to serve to 225 months in prison for an earlier guilty plea to the second degree stabbing death of Joshua Kaczrowski, outside his home in rural Harris, in May 2020.
Friday, April 16, 2021

Ground broken for Falcon Apartments in North Branch
Falcon Apartments are officially under construction in North Branch,  with the groundbreaking celebrated this week.  Pictured are left, city Administrator Renae Fry and Mayor Jim Swenson, third from right— with Kuepers contractors representatives; Ray Austin and Pete Wolf and Chris Raiman for the architects.  City officials were thanked for their swift handling of permits, road access and many other items that had to be addressed before this apartment complex got underway. The site is on the east side of Falcon Avenue, nearby the Ecumen senior living facility and south of Fairview’s Medical Center.  It will be accessed by a new road, 385th, that is coming off 383rd, heading north into the apartments site.

Friday, April 16, 2021

County adopts housing trust
The Chisago County Board voted 5-0 last week to adopt an ordinance putting a Housing Trust Fund into existence.  Chisago will be only the fourth county in Minnesota to have such a financial tool.
Friday, April 16, 2021

No surprises in audit
The 2020 audit was presented to Taylors Falls City Council Monday night this week, and the council was pleased to learn that accounting and budget practices pretty much stayed on track despite covid-19 and  everything going virtual with new deadlines  imposed.  Mayor Mike Buchite commented that city spending was contained somewhat over a traditional year’s purchases, because council was uncertain how projected revenues from property tax payments would be affected. The audit shows no delinquency worries there.
Friday, April 16, 2021

Council approves street repairs; public hearing next step on borrowing
With a heavy thunderstorm rumbling in the background, Center City Council, minus members Donna Higgins and Ryan Pease, tackled a couple hours’ worth of business last week. 
Friday, April 16, 2021

Girl Scout Silver Award project
The Girl Scout Silver Award Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, hosted by Aisha Roche and Kaitlin Carlson at Moberg Park last Thursday, commemorated the efforts of their partners and community members’ celebrate completion of their "The Birdhouse Project."  The event featured a presentation, demonstration, and opportunity to ask questions about the project and check out the birdhouses constructed by community members.  The girls worked with the Park Commission, and placed 30 birdhouses. "The Birdhouse Project" is a sustainable community outreach project that has been led by two ambitious girl scouts, Aisha Roche and Kaitlin Carlson, in partnership with the Chisago City Parks Commission, Gregory Contracting, the East Central Regional Library Chisago Lakes area branch, and the Audubon Society, in a collaborative effort to bring habitat to our local parks.
Friday, April 16, 2021

North Branch Water and Light puts years old trailer park issue on upcoming agenda
North Branch Water & Light Commission welcomed a familiar face to its meeting last week, in the person of Tom Borchardt. The former owner of Oakwood Trailer Park in North Branch, Borchardt is seeking compensation for a six-year-old utility project he says he was “forced” to undertake;  by a utility commission that he says was acting in violation of its own policy.  Commissioners agreed to review the issues and take action at next week’s Water & Light meeting April 21.
Friday, April 16, 2021

Shafer Council reviews bar outdoor events, parking complaint
Shafer City Council met April 6 for a regular meeting.  All members were present with attorney James Monge via zoom.
Friday, April 16, 2021

Numbers are changing - not in a good way anymore, last chance for '21 guide
Well over a week ago it seemed we were turning the page on the COVID-19 situation.  Our numbers were improving, deaths were plummeting, all signs were trending positively.  This week is a complete 180. we are back to double digit daily deaths and our ICU numbers are soaring once again. When is this immunity thing going to kick in?  We are told every night by the nightly news that our vaccination numbers in Minnesota are huge and growing daily.  Then why are the pandemic numbers on the increase? 
Friday, April 16, 2021

Sharing childhood food
Last week, I did a dessert column that featured recipes from some of the ladies in my life: my wife, my grandma, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law.
Friday, April 16, 2021

Chisago County vaccination pace is great, but hospitalizations pick-up
County Public Health officials are seeing good vaccination activity in Chisago County but the hospitalizations of residents has risen.
Friday, April 9, 2021

Farmaste Animal Sanctuary to relocate this summer
A couple ag parcels north of Center City could be finding new life as a non-profit and a rural retail operation.  The County Board will take final action April 21 on the permit recommendations handed up by the Planning Commission.
Friday, April 9, 2021

Role as an extra in 'The Chosen' a blessing
A Chisago City real estate coach and team leader had the opportunity to play an “extra’ in a film production of Jesus’s life, that reviewers and industry analysts expect to have a lasting  impact on entertainment and popular religiosity.  Neal Lawson gathered with about 1,500 other people, on a hillside outside of Dallas Texas for the filming of Jesus’s sermon on the mount for the  The Chosen— a free streaming series with the distinction of being the largest crowd-funded television or cinema project of all time.
Friday, April 9, 2021

One-acre buildable discussion still underway
Three citizens have been assigned to a select county work group— tasked with re-writing an ordinance that for better or worse, has been a tool in the county land use tool box for conserving open space and rural aesthetics.  The working group is assigned to develop new wording replacing “one acre buildable,” a pre-requisite for new plats imposed by Chisago County since 1997. 
Friday, April 9, 2021

Hwy. 8 'open house' to run virtually April 12-29
If you are curious about  proposed improvements along Hwy. 8 or if you have been hoping to give some input or to just learn more about the concept, Chisago County invites interested people to see a website for a “virtual public engagement event.” 
Friday, April 9, 2021

Chisago County Collects: Old and interesting (very)
The Chisago County Historical Society is pleased to announce there’s a new exhibit at the courthouse in Center City.  “Chisago County Collects: Old and Interesting” is arranged in the four display cases on the first floor and highlights antique and vintage items that have been collected by local residents. 
Friday, April 9, 2021

Getting a shot, big decision? Not for everyone it's not; FoodShare month
I hope you and your family. had a wonderful Easter.  You couldn’t ask for better weather!  Let’s hope this weather is here for good.  Somehow I have a feeling it’s not. I think we had snow on my daughter’s birthday last year - that was in June.
Friday, April 9, 2021

Satisfying your sweet tooth
Getting together with family was amazing on Easter. We met at my aunt’s house in West St. Paul and posted up in the driveway with a handful of tables since we didn’t have the whole family there.
Friday, April 9, 2021

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