September 25, 2014

National POW/MIA Recognition Day held at Cook VFW Post 1757

There are still 1,641 personnel listed by the U.S. Department of Defense as missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. There are also 83,000 Americans missing from World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, the Vietnam War and the 1991 Gulf War.
This country hasn't forgotten them. There are hundreds of Defense Department men and women, both military and civilian, working in organizations around the world as part of the DoD's personnel recovery and personnel accounting communities. These men and women who went in harm's way for our country won't be forgotten.
Cook VFW Post 1757 had an observance of this special day last Friday from 4:30 to 8 p.m., handing out information. Clara Gustafson, who is famous for selling VFW poppies, manned their information table for most of the night. She is special and the table she sat at is very special.
The table is set for one and is small it symbolizes the frailty of one prisoner against his oppressors.
The tablecloth is white symbolizing the purity of their intentions to respond to their country's call to arms.
The single rose in the vase reminds us of the families and loved ones of our comrades in arms who keep faith waiting their turn.
The yellow ribbon tied so prominently on the vase is reminiscent of the yellow ribbon worn upon the lapel and breast of thousands who bear witness to their unyielding determination to demand a proper accounting for our missing.
A slice of lemon is on the plate to remind us of their bitter fate.
There is salt on the plate, symbolic of the family tears as they wait.
The glass is inverted they cannot toast with us tonight.
The chair the chair is empty they are not here.
We light a lone candle, reminiscent of the light of their hope, which lives in our hearts to illuminate their way home, away from their captors, to the open arms of a grateful nation.
The black ribbon on the candle reminds us of those who will not be coming home.
All of us who served with them and called them comrades you who depended on their might and aid and relied upon them do not forsake them pray for them and remember them.
We should never forget those who fought for our freedoms.
WWII saw 405,399 killed, WWI had 116,516 killed, the Korean War had 36,576 killed, the Persian Gulf War saw 382 killed, and the Vietnam War saw 58,213 killed.
The National POW/MIA Recognition Day is one to never forget.

Friends of Aviation to host 'Fly In' at the Raymond Hill Cook Municipal Airport on Sunday

The Cook Airport will be the scene this Sunday of a "Fly In" hosted by the Cook Friends of Aviation. Pilots love to fly and when there is a "Fly In" they have an opportunity to visit another airport, check out the airplanes of other pilots, have a good meal and fly.
The "Fly In" this Sunday will go from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be Sloppy Joes, brats, hot dogs, refreshments, bars, etc. served to all those who fly in, plus members of the public who come out to see the Cook Airport and the airplanes. The Cook Airport has grown to be one of the top airports, if not the top airport, in the area.
This event is definitely open to the public. Come out, check out the airplanes and have a great meal prepared by well-known Norene Butalla and her crew of happy cooks. You might want to bring your camera along to take some pictures of these airplanes.

BOSS Money Cave gets Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award, goes on to national competition


The ISD 2142 board, at their regular board meeting Monday in the North Woods School, heard good news for their schools.
The students who are on the BOSS (Bunch Of Students Saving) board gave their report on this offshoot of the Cook Area Credit Union. The ISD 2142 board was surprised and impressed to find that BOSS was selected tops in the state in the category of student credit unions and received the prestigious Desjardins Youth Financial Educational Award. They will now go on to national competition.
Students and BOSS board members Brenna Bristol, Michael Bodri and Emily Udovich gave a progress report of their Money Cave where BOSS is situated. It became a reality on March 1, 2014. They have sponsored a Family Fun Night at the school, given classes to elementary grades on finances, checking accounts, savings, etc. Students can open their own accounts in the Money Cave and learn about finances - something many never learn how to handle. They have also brought in guest speakers to speak to students on items such as interest, savings and checking accounts. They have two student interns, a junior and a senior, who are hired by the Cook Area Credit Union and get real experience in the financial world.
Credit Union CEO Rich Crettoll spoke of starting up BOSS and working with the students. He noted the Credit Union is a not-for-profit entity and they don't make any money from BOSS.
Board members were very impressed at the lengthy report and had questions about starting something like it in their schools.
Supt. Steve Sallee reported he had met with the Nett Lake School superintendent to try and take care of the tuition problem. He proposed they make it a simple agreement. He has another meeting with the Nett Lake superintendent this Friday.
The big news from Supt. Sallee was that the Tower-Soudan K-6 School was rated first in the state in progress made.
Sallee also reported on the Minnesota Rural Education Association meeting he attended with board members Gary Rantala and Lynette Zupetz. One thing noted from that meeting was that there is a shortage of teachers. He said that licensed teachers are hard to find.
Sallee also helped set up a study session to be held Oct. 30 in the Central Office at 9 a.m.
Business Manager Kim Johnson presented the monthly financial report that will be given every month. Total cash and investments for the district at the end of July were $10,963,956.91.
Andrea Udovich and Michael Bodri gave a report on the North Woods Student Council. She said they are planning a Hawaiian theme for Homecoming this year which will start Monday, Oct. 13, with the coronation of the royalty so they can wear their crowns all week. The Homecoming game will be with Northeast Range. The Student Council is a member of the Northeast Division. Their main project this year is to have a competition between the boys and the girls on keeping their bathrooms clean. There are between 23 and 25 council members. If a student wants to get on the council, they have to get letters from teachers and sign up. It is no longer a popularity contest.
Lowana Greensky, Indian Education coordinator, reported she is trying to set up a Career Fair at North Woods. She also said the graduation rate for county schools is much better than the state average. There is a problem with attendance, though. The gap between grades of Native Americans and the rest of the school population has dwindled to almost nothing. She noted their goals are to make the education experience better. Greensky was very excited about the progress Native Americans have made.
The attendance percentage for Native Americans for 2014 is 89.56 percent, while for all students it is 93.18 percent. This is up from 89 percent in 2013 for Native Americans, and 92.89 percent for all students.
The Consent Agenda was approved with Nancy Glowaski abstaining due to a $40,000 check going to Johnson Controls. The district is still withholding $10,000 from JCI.
North Woods School received a donation of $1,000 from the Arrowhead Manufacturers and Fabricators Association, and $2,494.56 from the Target Take Charge of Education fund.
The board, next approved the World's Best Workforce Strategic Plan. The Plan showed that the district's Title I schools made all areas of AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) in 2013, 44 areas out of 44. In 2014 they made 33 of 44 areas. South Ridge Elementary did not meet targets in all math, white math and white reading. North Woods did not meet targets in white reading. Cherry did not meet targets in all reading, white math, all math and white reading. Tower-Soudan met all standards, leading the state in progress made. Northeast Range is not a Title I school. They did not meet targets in all reading, white reading and special education reading. All Title I and non-Title I schools met targets in attendance and participation.
One of their goals is to have the percentage of students enrolled Oct. 1 in K-12 in St. Louis County Schools, who are proficient on the math MCA III, increase from 64 percent in 2013 to 69 percent in 2014.
The board approved the Education Innovation Partners Cooperative Center No. 1 agreement that is under the IRRRB. They have a $2 million grant that member schools can apply for. The cost of membership is $6,000 per district, plus a dollar per student or about $8,000 for ISD 2142. Supt. Sallee told the board this was a "win-win" proposition because the district will get much more back than they put in. This program is technology driven and Sallee said that ISD 2142 is in very good shape in regards to technology. The board approved the membership.
The payable 2015 tax levy was approved at the maximum. This can be lowered when the final levy is approved on Dec. 8, 2014, at 6 p.m.
A request by the Tower City Council to purchase the Tower-Soudan School football field was approved. The agreement gives the bleachers to ISD 2142 and lets the Tower-Soudan K-6 School use the field. No one from Tower was on hand to discuss this proposal, but the Tower City Clerk was there.
The board approved hiring Amanda Koivisto as Indian home school liaison at Tower-Soudan and Northeast Range, Dianne Parenteau as instructional aide at South Ridge, Mary Carlson as instructional aide at South Ridge, and Gloria Niebuhr as cook aide art NER.
The instructional aide position of David Lamwers at NW was eliminated.
Support staff hired were Mary Persons, instructional aide at SR, and Travis Kahlstorf, bus driver at SR.
The board finally hired Bill Maxine, assistant football coach at Cherry, and Sue LaVigne (Hams) as assistant volleyball coach at NER.
The lengthy meeting finally adjourned at 7:25 p.m.

Doug Nakari is new manager of Pelican Bay Foods


Pelican Bay Foods has a new manager to replace Melissa Heel who has managed the store since it reopened several years ago. The new manager is Doug Nakari, but he is not a stranger to the area.
Nakari is a 1975 graduate of the Cook High School. He worked at the Cook Co-op grocery store for 15 years during his college career and after. He also ran the Francis Insurance Agency in Cook for seven years. His last job in Cook was the City Administrator position and he held that for four years.
Other positions he has held include the finance director for the Duluth Symphony. His last job was the fiscal director for the Bi-County Committee Action Program, which is like the Arrowhead Economic Development Agency (AEOA).
Nakari has also been a tree farmer, who likes deer hunting.
His goal at Pelican Bay Foods is to make the store as good a small town grocery store as it can be. He says the owners are similarly committed to his goals.
Welcome back to the area, Doug.


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