April 28, 2016
ISD 2142 Title audits come out in 'Good Shape'
St. Louis County Schools Supt. Steve Sallee gave the school board members good news at their regular meeting on Monday at 5 p.m. in the Tower-Soudan School. The audits of their Title programs have been completed and the district came out in "Good Shape."
Sallee also told them that Northeast Range Principal Kelly Engman will also be the new principal for the Tower-Soudan School next year, replacing John Metsa who is retiring. She will be at the Tower-Soudan School at least two mornings a week.
Sallee's report on the Legislature dealt with the shortage of teachers. One bill could help new teachers by forgiving part of their student loans.
Tower-Soudan Principal John Metsa, giving his final report on the school, noted they had seven youngsters for Kindergarten Roundup, but there should be 17 to 18 youngsters in kindergarten next year. The T-S students had a special guest author, Erin Soderberg, who gave each student an autographed book. There will be a school dance for T-S on May 13. The Elementary Music Concert is scheduled for Thursday, May 26, at 1 p.m. It is called "Lighten Up." School Spirit Day is June 1 from 1 to 3 p.m. Students in grades 2-6 will be participating in the Ely Marathon. Awards Day is May 7 and Field Day is May 31.
Business manager Kim Johnson gave the financial report which showed total cash and investments at $5,568,739.42.
The board approved an unpaid leave of absence for Lisa Fosness.
Jodi Klander was hired as an assistant cook for North Woods.
Jason Limp was hired to be the new girls swim coach for Northeast Range.
The termination of long-term substitute teacher Joshua Johnson was approved.
North Woods bus driver Irene Semon had her retirement approved.
South Ridge custodian James Stella had his transfer to NE Range approved.
The resignations of Cherry Head Football Coach Justin Bakkethun and Assistant Football Coach Bill Marino were approved.
Board members thanked Principal John Metsa for his service. He is retiring at the end of June.
The meeting adjourned at 5:22 p.m.
Northwoods Friends of the Arts Photo contest has outstanding entries
The Northwoods Friends of the Arts Gallery was packed last Friday with art lovers who came to see the entrants for the annual Photography Contest. This event is getting more popular every year and the walls of the gallery were lined with the many entries. The Friends of the Arts had refreshments on hand for the viewing public.
The public voted on the People's Choice award and judges picked the other winners. Sara Hendrickson took the People's Choice Award with her entry "Three of Me." Alethea Bangs took first for ages up to 12 with "Sunrise," and Honorable Mention for "Reflections." Mark Schmidt won for adults and also took home an Honorable Mention. Maria King took first for students 13-18 with "The Music of Love." Ashley Vito took home Honorable Mention for students 13-18 for "The Bay of Riomaggiore." Beth Sprouls took home Honorable Mention for adults with her entry "Anybody Want A Peanut." Carol Bowman received an Honorable Mention for adults for her photo "Loon Family."
All the entries were winners though.
April 22 - U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan conferred with the White House and hosted a meeting with Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Deputy Director Linda Lance that included Range Association of Municipalities and Schools (RAMS) to discuss the status of the agency's review of the Twin Metals leases and mining in the Rainy River watershed to obtain greater clarity on the timelines and scope of environmental review and actions. The group discussed Interior Secretary Sally Jewell's recent remarks that the Department should "reexamine whether decisions made in prior administrations properly considered where it makes sense to develop and where it doesn't," specifically citing the Boundary Waters in Minnesota and implying consideration of presidential action under the Antiquities Act that would ban mining in the entire Rainy River watershed, which includes a large portion of Minnesota's Iron Range. Mining is already outlawed within the Boundary Waters.
"People were alarmed by Secretary Jewell's statement," Nolan said. "However, in addition to assurances from the White House that they were unaware of any such action being contemplated in the White House, Deputy BLM Director Lance told us that she was not aware of any such plans, despite recent statements by Interior Secretary Jewell seeming to indicate otherwise. I was also advised that if any action begins to be seriously considered by the White House or any agencies, that I will be informed and given an opportunity to weigh in."
"In the meantime, with the BLM and Department of Interior being lobbied so hard by a variety of forces to stop mining, it was very important for this agency to hear from our Range officials about the importance of mining not only to the Iron Range, but also to our national economy and national security."
The group also explained to Deputy Director Lance the rich history of iron and taconite mining in the region, and how the majority of area residents are looking forward to new mining prospects that further this heritage. They cited the relationship between pending BLM decisions and the Administration's recent assistance to get Iron Range miners back to work by fighting against illegal, foreign subsidized steel through tariffs (taxes) and more enforcement actions.
Steve Giorgi, executive director of RAMS, said: "The delegation from RAMS was very grateful for the time and the sincerity of Deputy Director Lance of the BLM and for Congressman Nolan and his staff. The delegation, which included the mayors of Ely, Hoyt Lakes and Babbitt, as well as a council member from Aurora, were more than satisfied that our message was delivered on the subject of federal mineral leases in the Rainy River Watershed Basin and we will continue to spread that message with Senators Franken and Klobuchar as well as with other members of the Minnesota congressional delegation."
The Range delegation pressed Deputy Director Lance to provide a more precise timeline on what comes next for mining in the region. She informed the delegation that the BLM is working closely with the U.S. Forest Service to determine the next steps in the environmental review process. Nolan expects to meet with additional high-ranking Administration officials in the near future and similarly urge them to let the process play out without undue political interference.
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