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May 18, 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

Wyoming park's funding gets boost
Wyoming City Council last week accepted the largest donation so far to be used to improve Railroad Park. The First State Bank of Wyoming  donated $100,000 to the “history walk” which is part of the Railroad Park master plan. (see left)  Railroad Park is at the Sunrise Prairie Bike Trailhead approximately at #30 and Viking Boulevard.
Monday, May 17, 2021

Chisago Lakes Masons and community raise $12,063 for Chisago Lakes area food shelf
Chisago Lakes Masons (Hiram Lodge 287), along with hundreds of caring community members, raised an impressive $7,063 for Family Pathways’ Chisago Lakes Area Food Shelf. As part of their annual community fundraiser these funds were matched up to $5,000 by Minnesota Masonic Charities, bringing the total of funds raised to $12,063. Because of Family Pathways’ buying power and network of food providers, this funding translates into over 36,100 meals.
Monday, May 17, 2021

Water and Light resignation triggers 'exploration' to transition utility operations into municipal departments
North Branch Water and Light utility commissioners have set into motion an “exploration”  towards contracting out utility services. A group was named at an emergency meeting Monday this week to make a recommendation on the feasibility of  transitioning the utility to a city function.  The review will be done by City Administrator Renae Fry, Public Works Director Shawn Williams, Utility General Manager Scott Hautala, and Commissioners Baxter and Keech.  The exploration to outsource passed unanimously. 
Monday, May 17, 2021

ECSWC landfill to continue to take deer carcasses
The five commissioners on the East Central Solid Waste Commission are still considering options for deer carcass disposal.  They did adopt recommendations to allow continued acceptance.  
Monday, May 17, 2021

Good luck with fishing opener!
Here in Minnesota, it seems a foregone conclusion that people love to eat walleye.
Monday, May 17, 2021

Fishing opener, find a job and a golden deck
This weekend is a big one. Depending on who you ask, this is to some THE biggest weekend of the year. It’s the weekend that many of us can finally wet a line.  Usually held on Mother’s Day, the fishing opener is a week later this year.  Not sure why, but it’s a great idea not having it  on the same weekend as Mother’s Day.  I was in the water just yesterday and believe me it is super cold.  Please be careful if you are planning on venturing out Saturday opener. 
Monday, May 17, 2021

A little over half of County is vaccinated
Chisago County Public Health Coordinator Courtney Wehrenberg told the county commissioners this week around 59 percent of the population of 16 years and older have had at least one dose of a covid-19 vaccine.
Friday, May 7, 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

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

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