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April 11, 2021

Guilty plea accepted for May 2020 fatal stabbing
A District Court judge has accepted a guilty plea from Justin Gerald Valian admitting to second degree murder with no intent, and not premeditated.  Valian, 24, faces almost 19 years in prison under sentencing guidelines, according to the County Attorney.  He will be sentenced April 16 in Judge Bollman’s court.
Friday, April 2, 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

Saturday food distribution is coming April 24 to North Branch
There will be a food distribution to members of the public who need some help feeding themselves or their families...it is being held at North Branch Middle School at 38705 Grand Avenue, North Branch, Saturday April 24, from 10:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. or when supplies are gone.
Thursday, April 8, 2021

Wireless internet system installation needs more time
The North Branch network of wireless broadband continues to be in the installation phase,  and there’s a few days  needed yet for testing by Genesis Wireless. The Braham based communications firm has a contract to service North Branch clients, who otherwise have not been able to connect to the Internet by wire/fiber optic. Genesis is leasing space atop multiple tower sites provided by the city, which give the company locations on which to erect its wireless equipment.
Friday, April 2, 2021

Chisago City Council approves project funding, looks at ATVs
In a rapidly paced, one-hour meeting March 24, the Chisago City Council acted on a number of projects that will ensure a busy summer in Chisago City.
Friday, April 2, 2021

North Branch mayor lifts COVID-19 remote meeting rules
Big news: COVID-19,  is no longer a public health concern.  That comes straight from North Branch Mayor Jim Swenson, who last week lifted his special declaration relaxing restrictions around remote meeting participation by elected officials.
Friday, April 2, 2021

Mandatory reporter expansion embraced by local youth rec group
A bill casting a wider safety net of mandated reporters who are watching out for abused children, garnered major bipartisan support in the state House on a 130 to 3 vote March 24. 
Friday, April 2, 2021

Flames take down Wild Mountain maintenance building
Tuesday morning, local fire departments were dispatched to a fire at Wild Mountain Recreation Area. Business officials released a statement reporting that only one structure, the maintenance building, caught fire. Although snow-making and grooming equipment and machinery were lost and/or damaged, the winter season next year should see no significant ill effects. Firefighters who responded deserve a huge thank you, and “without them the outcome may have been far worse,” the statement declared.    
Friday, April 2, 2021

School sports teams compete at state level; take vaccinations seriously
The ice is finally gone.  Thank goodness.  It only took inches of rain and wind gusts that rivaled a hurricane to get rid of it.  Nonetheless it just gives one a sense that winter is finally over and what a brutally cold end to the winter we had.  After that deep temp dip spell, the ice actually went off in almost record time.  Bring on the warm weather.
Friday, April 2, 2021

Focusing on potato side dishes
Easter is just around the corner, and it’s finally starting to feel like a bit of a normal holiday. Last year’s Easter family celebrations were almost universally cancelled, and it was one of the first of many major events that were altered in the COVID-19 world.
Friday, April 2, 2021

Fatal fall from rocks at Taylors Falls
A fatal fall from rocks at Interstate Park was reported Thursday, March 25 by the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office. 
Friday, March 26, 2021

Water and Light expects water tower rehab bids in April
North Branch City Hall may have been closed for three days last week for repairs from an electrical mishap — but Water and Light Commissioners were able to hold their regular meeting in the council chambers March 17.
Friday, March 26, 2021

Lindstrom finalizing plans for 2022 projects; bid awarded for park
Lindstrom City Council moved along a street improvement project in the area of Newlander and Elm, scheduled for 2022,  by unanimously accepting the feasibility study step and directing engineering to proceed.  Bids could be solicited by next fall, according to City Engineer Jon Herdegen. 
Friday, March 26, 2021

County Board awards multiple roadwork bids
The County Board awarded a number of bids for roadwork last week. These projects are in the approved 2021 Transportation Improvements Plan schedule: 
Friday, March 26, 2021

Shafer City Council briefs...
Shafer City Council met March 16 for a regular meeting.  All members were present except city attorney James Monge.
Friday, March 26, 2021

City, state projects to impact Wyoming traffic this summer
The bid for utility improvements in the area of East Viking Boulevard, from near the freeway at Fallbrook, easterly to Fenwick Avenue, was awarded by the city council last week.  The bid was $1,224,780 from Kuechle Underground Inc. of Kimball MN. 
Friday, March 26, 2021

County Board to consider affordable housing Trust Fund
Chisago County commissioners are considering adopting an ordinance to create a Local Housing Trust Fund, which would be dedicated to supporting builders of affordable housing.
The latest study of housing in Chisago County, done in 2018, shows 1,635 households spend more than 50 percent of their income on housing. There were 4,562 household using 30 percent, to 50 percent, of income on housing. These levels are accepted by housing advocates as potentially placing the households in  the situation of being unable to afford other essentials.

Friday, March 26, 2021

That was the longest year of my life, so glad it's over; time for paper renewals
I cannot believe it has been a year since our world got turned upside down.  I took a minute to read my column from last year. What an idiot.  I was convinced this was going to be taken care of medically or the United States would protect the borders thus limiting the influx of infections.  Close Matt - real close. Without pointing out what has transpired and what businesses have been crushed by the shut-down (pssst all of us) over the last year, we are now seeing a glimpse of hope.   Recently the Governor changed his executive orders and opened the state a little more.  Restaurants are now allowed 75 percent indoor capacity, which will help tremendously.  Gyms and fitness studios can now operate at 50 percent capacity.  Salons and barbers are now open to 100 percent capacity. And churches, weddings funerals are now thankfully open 100 percent.  So many people (including myself) have lost loved ones and never had a chance to have a ceremony.  I still have yet to say goodbye to my grandmother in Iowa.
Friday, March 26, 2021

Simple ingredients, complex on flavor
Far too often, when I’m looking to try a recipe for the first time, everything sounds good and I get excited to start it. I’ll get through the first four or five ingredients thinking, “Great, I’ve got that in the pantry,” or “I’ve got extra of that in the freezer.”
Friday, March 26, 2021

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