January 19, 2017


Students save over $3,500 during North Star Credit Union's fall semester promotions

The students at North Woods and South Ridge schools have been busy saving at their student-led credit unions, The Money Cave and The Jungle, respectively. North Star Credit Union works with the two ISD 2142 schools to provide students with the opportunity to learn money management skills and complete financial transactions right at school. Combined, the students saved $3,527.25 during the fall semester promotions.
North Star Credit Union held two promotions to encourage students to save. The first promotion lasted the entire semester and offered students 10 percent interest on their savings up to $200. Students could deposit their savings into their credit union account from September to December without withdrawing it. Right before Christmas, North Star rewarded the students who saved with their 10 percent interest bonus up to $20.
The second promotion rewarded students for their grades. Students could earn entries into a drawing for $25 deposited into their savings account. Students were encouraged to bring in their grades with a minimum deposit of $1 into their savings account. They earned three tickets for every A, two tickets for every B, and one ticket for every C. Then at the end of fall semester, three winners were drawn to win $25 each.
North Star Credit Union congratulates all of the students who participated and encourages students to continue saving.

Crane Lake Township moves for $150,000 grant for Voyageur Country ATV Club

The Crane Lake Township board met on Tuesday, Jan. 10, in the Crane Lake Chapel Fellowship Hall at 7:30 p.m. for the first meeting of the year. Following the Pledge of Allegiance, Jim Janssen was elected Chair, and Jerry Pohlman Vice Chair.
A meeting was held at Voyagaire on Jan. 5 at 1 p.m. to discuss the VNP-Visitor/Campsite. Newly-appointed VNP Superintendent Bob DeGross was introduced. The property owned by Mr. Braaten was discussed. Deena Congdon reported to the board that Braaten was not willing to sell his property for the $950,000 grant the Township may be awarded. His request is for $1,050,000.
Bruce Beste from the Voyageur Country ATV Club asked the board to consider asking for a one-time appropriation of $150,000. Janssen moved, and Pohlman seconded the motion for this request from the ATV (183; 2102 Natural Resource Account) for the following: Finalize alignment for Phase 1 of the Voyageur ATV trail and develop tentative Phase 2 alignment; hire contractor to complete wetland delineation on Phase 1 alignment and complete wetland permitting; hire contractor to complete engineering design and cost estimates for an OHV/Snowmobile trail bridge over the Vermilion River as part of the Voyageur ATV Trail; and hire contractor to complete Master Plan for Voyageur ATV Trail System for Legacy Funding. The motion passed unanimously.
The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.

Greenwood Township to join Vermilion Trail joint powers agreement

by Anthony Sikora - Tower News

The Greenwood Town Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to join the Vermilion Trail joint powers board, subject to the approval of its attorney. The annual cost to the township will be one dollar per capita, or just over $900 based on census data. Cook and Tower joined late last year and the Bois Forte Band of Minnesota Chippewa, Vermilion Lake Reservation has also expressed its support and intention to join according to trail organizer Carol Booth.
The township was engaged by an interesting presentation by Booth who outlined the project for the town board. She said that it was expected that the project would take 20 years to complete, cost between 400 thousand and 900 thousand a mile to construct and run about 40 miles between Cook and Tower, along the south shore of Lake Vermilion. Once the joint powers board is in place and a master plan is formed the organization expects to seek grant funding, the primary source of con-struction funds, and begin construction as soon as 2018. Supervisor Jeff Maus said he could only see benefits to the Lake Vermilion com-munity from this trail. Greenwood Chairman Dr. John Bassing made the successful motion to join the joint powers board and Supervisor Gene Baland provided support for his motion.
Supervisor Carmen DeLuca reported that he has met with the fire alarm committee and that it was decided that the best, although not the least expensive, proposal to install the alarm system was provided by ESC Systems, Proctor, Minn. Their proposal is to outfit the town hall and fire hall with a fire alarm system at a cost of $19,250. DeLuca's motion to accept the ESC Systems proposal was supported by Supervisor Baland and was passed with the unanimous approval of the other supervisors.
Chairman Bassing has been working on completing a list of fire department paid on call violations and presented his findings to the board. Bassing said that he found that firefighters collected a total $3,680 which he said should not have been paid, over a two year period. The overpayments come from 368 claims that Bassing suggested were inappropriate. He even said that this could be considered "misappropriation of public funds" although he did not provide the board with any copies of his notes or cite any specifics to back up his allegations.
"We know there was a problem in the past-I don't want to believe that it was on purpose," Supervisor DeLuca said. Supervisor Maus said that he has been "chasing this down since 2010, and before." He agreed with DeLuca that the township should look forward instead of backwards as long as the guidelines were now being followed. Maus moved to discontinue any further audit of any past paid on call claims. The motion was supported by DeLuca.
"I could support this motion but want to say that if this clerk (Sue Drobac) was to do something like this, under the previous board, this would not end now," Chairman Bassing said. The motion to discontinue the audit passed unanimously when the vote was taken.
The board of supervisors continued with firefighter paid on call issues. Bassing said that he was recommending, that going forward, the town board set paid on call at $15 per hour, for the first hour, and $10 per hour for subsequent hours and that the rates be applied on a one-quarter hour basis. Bassing suggested that Supervisor Jeff Maus state his conflict of interest, as a firefighter, into the record. Maus complied noting that he would participate in a discussion on paid on call, however, as a firefighter he would not be voting on the issue.
Supervisor DeLuca made the motion to accept Bassing's proposal and Bassing supported the motion. The motion passed with everyone voting in favor except Maus who abstained from voting.
Supervisor Kladivo made a motion to withhold pay from any firefighter who does not have an Internal Revenue Service W-4 form on file with the township. Supervisor Maus supported the motion, however the matter was tabled following a brief discussion.
Chairman Bassing asked the town board to consider soliciting waivers from firefighters allowing the township to make paid on call payments quarterly rather than monthly. This would save a lot of time and paperwork Bassing said. Bassing put his idea in the form of a motion which Supervisor Kladivo supported. In discussion it was determined that the request will attempt to have the firefighters in compliance by the second quarter of 2017.
The township has been rife with accusations against Clerk Drobac since it was learned that the No. 10 fire truck was sold with some of the equipment still on it. Several people have claimed that the clerk exceeded the intention of the board motion to sell the truck with equipment when she listed it for sale by auction. Supervisor Maus had questions about how the equipment came to be sold with the truck and asked if the township's insurance ratings would be negatively affected by the loss of firefighting equipment. Chairman Bassing said that he thought the township received a better price for the truck because the equipment was part of the sale and noted that a county-owned radio was removed prior to the sale. He maintained that the truck and the equipment was of little benefit to the fire department.
Supervisor Maus listed, from memory, much of the equipment, mostly fire hose along with foaming equipment and a pump. Supervisor Gene Baland directly asked Bassing, "You are comfortable with the sale?" Bassing said that he was "very comfortable with it," and the board was in agreement to let the issue rest. Treasurer Delores Clark reported that the proceeds from the sale were deposited into the capital equipment fund and available to use to purchase any new equipment the township might desire.
Supervisor Maus defended his having contacted the township attorney when he was meeting with one of the township's committees last month. Supervisor DeLuca expressed his concern about Maus' actions during the December regular meeting of the town board. "I feel I need to bring this forward," Maus said as he provided a copy from a page of the Minnesota Association of Townships handbook, which showed that all supervisors, including the chairman, are equal, in terms of their rights and responsibilities. DeLuca disagreed with Maus. "We elected the chairman. I'm not asking you to seek the chairman's approval, I'm just asking you to keep him informed," DeLuca said.
Chairman Bassing told Maus that he, in fact, had established a new relationship with the township attorney, and essentially hired him without town board approval when he called with questions from the committee. "I was just trying to be expedient," Maus maintained. "Democracy is not about expediency," Bassing said. Maus apologized for contacting the attorney and said that he was truly not trying to act without board authority.
Jari Ankrum updated the township on the progress made by the Greenwood recreation board towards funding the proposed playground equipment. Donations, to date, total $7,500 and there are pledges totaling $2,000 yet to be received. Plans are underway to host a fundraising spaghetti feed in May and barbecue in July, according to Ankrum. She also said that the recreation board contacted all previous donors to the pavilion project and the responses were 100 percent in favor of pursuing the playground equipment. It is expected the citizens of the township will be asked to approve of the playground, at no cost to the township, at the March annual meeting.
In other actions, the town board of supervisors:
· Learned, from a report by Supervisor Kladivo, that the personnel committee has completed its work concerning township employee policies and is finishing its work on firefighter policies and the committee expects to provide its full recommendation at the February regular meeting of the town board.
· Learned, in a report from Fire Chief Dave Fazzio, that the firefighters were displeased with the December town board action to withhold pay from the safety director because he was out of town.
· Approved the minutes of the December 13, 2016 regular meeting, December 13, 2016 special meeting and December 20, 2016 special meeting
· Approved the Treasurer's report stating that the township's December closing balances were at Checking: $512,436.54, Long-term investments: $251,273.24 and Savings: $252,682.48
· Approved December 2016 claims against the township totaling $9,985.30, reissued a check in the amount of $692.92 and approved January 2017 claims, to date, totaling $224.14
· Approved a request from the Fire Department to purchase a portable water pump retailing at approximately $8,000
· Approved to continue having Julia Maki serve as Fire Department Secretary for one month
· Acknowledged the filings of one candidate for the position of Supervisor and one for Treasurer
· Set the Board of Audit date for February 14, following the regular meeting of the town board of supervisors
· Approved removing the recently sold No. 10 fire truck from the township's insurance policy
· Authorized to have the town clerk call St. Louis County for sand and salt to be delivered to the town hall campus
· Appointed Delores Clark and Kathy Lovgren as head election judges, and Kathy Vogh, Colleen Lepper, Joan Mueller, Ruth DeLuca, Sue Drobac and Carol Maus as election judges for the upcoming March election
· Passed a resolution appointing Delores Clark, Kathy Lovgren and Colleen Lepper as the Absentee Ballot Board for the March election
· Approved Sue Drobac, Delores Clark, Mary Richard, John Bassing and Carmen DeLuca as authorized signators on the township's Frandsen Bank accounts. The board also removed all other previously authorized signators
· Approved the annual payment of $13,935 to remain part of the Tower Ambulance Service
· Tabled the agenda item on a community enhancement loan appli-cation
· Heard public comments from Mary Richard who was displeased that the township was unable to install the skating rink this winter and from Rick Stoehr who offered, along with another, to adopt the township's American flag and take responsibility to see that it was properly presented. Stoehr also asked the town board to consider flying a Missing In Action/Prisoner of War flag to the presentation. The board gave its unanimous approval to obtain a MIA/POW flag. Byron Beihoffer also made public comments about snowplowing at the town hall.
· Approved donating $100 to each, the Cook Public Libary, St. Louis County Fair Board and W.C. Heiam Medical Found-ation (Cook Hospital)
· Reviewed the township's fire department Good Time Credits (pension) policies


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