July 18, 2019

Internet access remains a controversial topic with Greenwood Town Board


Greenwood Supervisor Byron Beihoffer began to report on a multi-community meeting he attended in Mt. Iron to discuss potential broad band internet access improvements local area communities are undertaking. The Blandin Foundation, Grand Rapids, Minn., is focusing several communities on broad band internet opportunities and grant funding available.
"We are kind of on the fringe of easily accessible broad band," Beihoffer began when he was interrupted by Dr. Joanne Bassing.
"Are you sure you are looking at that map right, that the pink and the blue are saying what you're saying? " Dr. Joanne Bassing interjected, interrupting Beihoffer's presentation.
Chairman Carmen DeLuca promptly gaveled Bassing out of order, asking the audience to refrain from interjecting into the conversation of the town board.
"It's like you are lying to us," Kate Bassing said.
With this interruption, Beihoffer dropped the written materials he acquired from Blandin on the town board table. "I'm done," Beihoffer said, frustrated with interruptions from the audience and clearly not wanting to compete for the floor.
 "Last month," Supervisor Mike Ralston interjected, saying "I asked the Blandin grant people for a blank proposal," as he outlined the process he utilized, working with Treasurer Pam Rodgers, to prepare a proposal which includes work by Wilcox Computer, Cook, Minn., for hardware, software, a year service contract, and a security system along with internet access fees. The project he proposed would cost just under $8,000, Ralston said as he moved to seek board approval for applying to Blandin with other Lake Vermilion area communities for grant funding. The proposed motion, however, died for a lack of support.
It is clear that the town board does not necessarily oppose broad band internet initiatives, however, a majority clearly remains opposed to placing a public computer site within the town hall building. A primary reason for the opposition, town board members explained following the meeting, is township security issues and a need to protect sensitive private data the township is responsible to maintain. The majority believes that supplying wireless internet access outside the town hall, on the township grounds is adequate for the needs of the population.
Then Dr. John Bassing approached the town board seeking a donation towards a $150,000 project to study broadband internet needs across Northern Minnesota. Bassing reported that Blandin Foundation is supporting the study with half the expected expense-$75,000. The town board approved earmarking $1,000 as a contribution towards the study. The motion passed 3-2.
In other action, the Greenwood Township Board of Supervisors:
· Unanimously approved a quote from Mesabi Bituminous, Gilbert, Minn., totaling $34,700 to repair and reseal or reseal the two town hall parking lots and driveway. Two other quotes were received, one totaling $155,000 and the other $57,743
· Approved an additional $1,800, and a $45 fee, to hardwire the town hall for high-speed internet. Previously the town board approved spending $486 to initiate this project
· Tabled any action, until its August meeting, on a proposal to install a water softener by Culligan, Virginia, Minn., at an initial cost of $3,995 along with an $179 annual maintenance agreement
· Tabled any action on accepting quotes for propane for the 2019-2020 heating season
· Approved a $160 donation to the Greenwood Fire Department received in memory of Tom Alltop, from his family. Mr. Alltop passed away on February 23, earlier this year
· Unanimously voted to not oppose the Eliason road vacation request currently before St. Louis County
· Unanimously approved to allow Val Leciejewski, access to township solid waste disposal coupons to dispose of road side trash she and other volunteers routinely remove from township roadsides
· Learned that the June balances of township accounts totaled $582,900.30 with $100,284.06 held in the checking account and the balance in long-term investments and a savings account
· Learned that the township received $4,750.90 in June
· Paid June claims, presented to the township, in the amount of $8,146.29 and July payroll and expenses totaling $19,327.79
· Approved minutes of the town board's June 11 meeting and minutes of a June 11 hearing held on vacating a portion of Pine Street West in the Plat of Vermilion Grove
· Approved replacing a town hall door approving a $2,300 quote Chairman DeLuca brought to the town board from Denny Construction, Lake Vermilion
· Approved a motion to transfer $2,000 to the township's trail fund
· Approved a motion to give Town Clerk Sue Drobac authority to dispose of unwanted office equipment and approved paying any disposal costs incurred
· Approved a $100 donation to the 2019 Tower 4th of July celebration.

Construction of reduced conflict intersection near Cook begins July 22

Construction of a reduced conflict intersection along Highway 53 south of Cook begins July 22.
Crews will be constructing a reduced conflict intersection (RCI) at the south junction of Highway 1 and Highway 53. Most of the work will take place within the median with minor changes to Highway 1 and County Road 22. Traffic will be staged during the construction of this intersection to allow for access to all adjacent roadways. Work is anticipated to be completed by Aug. 30.
Additionally, four new passing lane segments will be constructed between Cook and Ericsburg. Each passing lane segment will include constructing a new 2-12-mile long center passing lane. This phase of the work is anticipated to begin mid-August, with an anticipated completion of mid-October. Highway 53 will be reduced to one lane during daytime operation by utilizing a flagging operation. Crews will work six days a week during daylight hours. The traveling public should expect delays during this operation.
For more information on the project, visit http://www.dot.state.mn.us/d1/projects/hwy53-1-st.-louis-koochiching/

Lake Country Power receives Employer of Veterans Award

Lake Country Power has been honored with the Employer of Veterans Award from The American Legion Department of Minnesota. The award was presented to the cooperative during the Department Convention in Willmar, Minn., this summer.
Derek Howe, chief operating officer for Lake Country Power, accepted the award on behalf of the co-op. LCDR Howe served as a P-3 Mission Commander and provided intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Speaking before an audience of more than 300 people, Howe said, "Lake Country Power is honored to accept this prestigious award, thank you. Our values at Lake Country Power ­ integrity, safety and quality, innovation, communication, teamwork and respect ­ are what you'll find in each American veteran as well as each person serving in active duty."
Lake Country Power's workforce of 134 employees is represented by 11 percent veterans.
The first American Legion Veterans Employment and Education Commission Award was established in 1947, and recognized individuals across the country who had established outstanding records in the employment and retention of workers with disabilities. Since that time, categories were added to the current nine award programs. In 1969, The Veterans Employment and Education Commission expanded its Employer Awards Program when it created an award category for employers of veterans.
Lake Country Power's award represents medium-sized companies in Minnesota. The co-op was nominated for the award by D. Marvin Hill, a Lake Country Power member who served 38 continuous years between the Army, Minnesota Army National Guard, Army Reserve at Fort Snelling and Independent Ready Reserve at St. Louis, Mo.
Lake Country Power, www.lakecountrypower.coop, is a Touchstone Energy® cooperative serving parts of eight counties in northeastern Minnesota. The rural electric cooperative provides services to nearly 43,000 members and has offices located in Grand Rapids, Kettle River and Mountain Iron.


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