April 17, 2014

Cook Easter Egg Hunt is a community affair

The Easter Bunny, after seeing all of the entries in the coloring contest, will be coming to Cook this Saturday to meet the local youngsters and help hand out prizes. This year the Easter Egg Hunt is a community affair with many in the community donating baskets, money and time. They include: Hill Wood Products, Cook VFW, VFW Men's Auxiliary and VFW Women's Auxiliary, Friends of the Park, Northwoods Friends of the Arts, Gary Albertson who is heading this up, Cook News-Herald, Country Store, Cook Timberwolves Snowmobile Club, Zup's Food Market who put the baskets together, Cook Lions Club, Cook Leos, Cook Hospital, Scenic Rivers Clinic, and many more. Mark Eyre was especially helpful. A complete list will be printed in the Cook News-Herald after the event.
The Easter Egg Hunt will start at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Cook VFW building and is open to children up to 10 years of age. Youngsters will meet the Bunny when they come in, and receive a bag of treats. Inside certain eggs will be a number that will designate what their prize is. There are boys' and girls' bikes for various ages, 12 total. Then the youngsters can play games and win more prizes. Every youngster should win a special prize, such as an Easter basket.
The parents have as much fun at this event as the youngsters do.
Those donating to the Easter Egg Hunt sometimes receive cards or letters of thanks from the youngsters who receive their gifts.
The whole Cook community is putting on this gala event. The Cook Easter Egg Hunt started in 1979 and is still going strong. Easter is a special occasion in the area. That is the day Christ rose from the dead, so celebrate it.

North Woods' split third-grade class discussed at ISD 2142 board meeting


The regular board meeting of ISD 2142 held at the Tower-Soudan School on Monday looked to be a quiet one, but the issue of keeping or not keeping Northeast Range Nighthawks boys basketball Coach Mark Fabish made the meeting interesting.
The agenda item was to vote to non-renew Fabish's contract. Under comments from visitors, three signed up to speak for Fabish.
Jewell Herring was first and told the board, "Fabish does have the feel to coach." He also said the team showed improvement under Fabish's two-year reign and that they needed continuity.
Coach Fabish spoke of meeting with the superintendent, principal and athletic director for an hour and felt his "back was against the wall." This last year was his 21st as a coach, he told them, and added that he "felt I was fired." He felt he deserved the right to show improvement. Assistant Coach Ron Marinaro, who has been around Babbitt and NER sports as a coach and assistant coach for years, said he didn't think it was all about Fabish. He thought it was a personal thing more than anything. He added that the kids have made great improvement. He thought Coach Fabish should be given more than two years.
Supt. Teresa Knife Chief replied she didn't think there was anything personal about this. She added that she had a little change of heart and that she would support keeping Fabish.
More discussion ensued, including building a feeder program from the lower classes and from Tower. Knife Chief said she would support another year. Babbitt board member Gary Rantala said he had received seven letters in support of Fabish. Rantala moved to deny the motion to non-renew and his motion passed unanimously.
North Woods third-grade teacher Denise Parsons brought the issue of a split class for third- and fourth-graders in North Woods to the board. She said the students need to know if it would be full or split. She told the board she knew the finances were tough and they had to make tough decisions, but she hoped they would reconsider when they have to make a decision.
Supt. Teresa Knife Chief spoke of attending the education job fair and said several were interested in the district. She noted that this was a busy time of the year.
The Consent Agenda was approved with one correction. The district received donations totaling $4,890, including $500 from Zup's for North Woods, and $50 from Fortune Bay.
Thanks to Sen. Tom Bakk, a grant was received from the State of Minnesota for the purpose of funding costs associated with transporting ISD 2142 students to the State Capitol for school-sponsored trips.
The contract for new Supt. Steven Sallee was approved. It calls for a salary of $127,000 for 2014-2015, $130,000 for 2015-2016, and $133,000 for 2016-2017. He has accepted the contract.
Alizabeth Beseke was recalled from ULA for Social Studies at South Ridge effective Aug. 27, 2014, and James Mackai for 0.1 FTE Social Studies for Northeast Range for a total of 0.3 FTE.
Jessica Bialke, tenured Social Studies teacher at South Ridge, was proposed to be placed on ULA.
Jennifer Kaufenberg was hired as a 1.0 FTE probationary teacher.
Rebecca Constantine was terminated as an Instructional Aide at Cherry, effective March 28.
Cook Aide Renee Overfors at Cherry had her resignation accepted.
Kali Anderson was hired as the assistant track coach at Cherry, and Tyler Olin and Katherine Capriglione as half-stipend assistant track coach, both at South Ridge.
The resignations of Head Girls Basketball Coach at South Ridge Brad Olesiak and assistants Don Olesiak and Bridget Paulson were accepted.
Tower-Soudan Principal John Metsa reported that Tower-Soudan Pride Day will be April 24, from 1 to 3 p.m. He noted that testing starts April l4.
The meeting adjourned at 6:17 p.m.

Orr Council accepts $125,000 County Development Grant

by A.J. Shuster

At the Monday, April 14, council meeting, the Orr City Council heard from local MN/DOT (Minnesota Department of Transportation) representative Chris Cheney. He was there to address the problem of the frozen MN/DOT drain by Pattenn's Cafe. The department does not have a steamer hose long enough to reach all the ice to thaw it. To avoid such a problem in the future, a heat tape will be inserted. Summer will see them cleaning the drain of muskrat debris to enhance drainage. When questioned about drainage tiles above Highway 53, it was revealed that digging for high-speed cable opened a spring that now leaks where there had been no problem before. Cheney will have his crew inspect and add tile as needed.
Accepted was a $125,000 grant from the St. Louis County Economic Development Fund for work at the Carefree Assisted Living site. Paving the parking lot and driveway will account for $105,000, while the other $20,000 will reimburse the City for building up the road, putting in the water line, and costs for the attorney and engineer. Doran Klakoski reminded the council that the paving must include the truck turn-around area by the hydrant, at the top of the driveway.
Approved was the use of a Voyageurs National Park uniformed ranger to staff the Orr Tourist Center. This personnel would be there from Thursday through Monday from May through August. Hours would be about 10 am. to 4:30 p.m., as travel time from International Falls would count as part of their/his/her eight-hour day. Addressing this schedule, councilman Lloyd Scott suggested approaching a local resort with the proposition of free kiosk advertising in exchange for a camper site so the ranger can work more and travel less. Approval was given for him to make the inquiries. Having the National Park ranger manning the TIC will allow the City personnel to work on City business solely for those three week days; and it also allows the TIC to be open on weekends when tourist travel is heaviest.
Donations were next to be accepted. One of $400 from Willow Valley Township came in for the Orr Ambulance Fund. Five checks for the Orr Community Library, totaling $650, came in from townships, the Orr Lions, and Nett Lake.
The library's request for purchase of a laptop computer and inkjet printer was approved. The cost will total almost $510 before tax and come out of its $1,800 account. Library hours now are: Tuesdays 10-5, Wednesdays 11-3, and Thursdays 10-6:30. New volunteers are Linda Manick and Carol Alfredson. Tom Kennebeck is trying to get a hanging shelf for the many paperbacks that have nowhere to go at present. A Boy Scout has shown interest in addressing this as his Eagle Scout project.
The Minnesota League of Cities' background check outline for employees and volunteers was approved. The cost could range from $15 to $35 depending on the depth and complexity of the search requested. This will now be a required procedure for all new employees and volunteers. As the Ambulance Department has already been under such a mandate by the State, the City will now reimburse for the costs to those who pass the test.
Several requests were granted, including the following:
· Use of hockey shack for the 3rd of July 5K run
· A banner on outside of TIC for Carefree Assisted Living, as well as an information display inside
· Gambling permit for Orr Lions at Norman's One Stop
· Gambling permit for Orr Chamber at 3rd of July Raffle
· American Income Life policy for Muni employees at no cost to them or City, by membership in the Minnesota Municipal Beverage Association
The council is allowing Louise Redmond to take two days off, and giving her $150 registration fees, to attend the International Economic Development Conference June 1-3, at the Mall of America. Travel expenses will be shared as she attends with Theresa Martinson of Cook.
The Fire Department was granted permission to purchase a newer brush truck, and to adjust its previously approved 2014 budget. Doran Klakoski reported that even though a ladder truck has not yet been acquired, the newer brush truck will be a benefit. The older one currently in use (1975, 150,000 miles) will probably be auctioned. He also announced his retirement as of June 1. With the department in good shape financially, in equipment, and in personnel, it is the right time to do this. He also affirmed that the department is in capable hands with Dallas Johnson.
To keep in the running for State DOT funds for the airport, approval was given to apply for the possible purchase of a Brush Hog, pulled by a skidster, for fiscal year 2015. In other airport news, a request was made for rental of the last open hangar for this summer, and some money has been made from solar panel power.
While two bids for cleaning and maintenance of the Orr water tower were received, the second came too recently for director Paul Koch to thoroughly examine its contents. Granting of a bid by the council has been tabled for now. The maintenance crew has been spending time on the old school. Request has been made for water to be run in homes, churches and businesses until further notice. While 30+ inches have thawed, the frost line extends close to 60 inches yet.
The Local Board of Appeal meets Thursday, April 24, 3-4 p.m., at the TIC/City Hall, to hear questions on the valuation/classification of property by the assessor for the purpose of taxation. In attendance to hear questions, comments or complaints will be Tom Kennebeck, Lloyd Scott and Joel Astleford.
The liquor store's business is going up. A report by the auditor shows last year's business up from the previous year, especially in the off-sale end. No new labeling machine has been purchased, but the old one was calibrated to be compatible with a different label printer, allowing price adjustments for the first time in nearly a year. This is only a temporary fix as the machine is obsolete and replacement parts are no longer available.
Diana Klakoski shared there are new requirements by the State for new ambulance recruits. All current members are being asked to cover one weekend a month during the summer so those who usually only cover weekends can have some leeway for their families and special events. Orr is working with Cook's ambulance service to cover slack. Two new backboards have been purchased. The crews are still getting used to the change-over from phoned-in heart monitor information to using the cell-signal machine which sends the information in real-time. Already available for nearly a year, this new high-tech equipment has been the difference in the lives of a couple of patients.


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