January 29, 2015

ISD 2142 board approves 2014 audit

St. Louis County Schools receives one of three state District Award of Distinction plaques


The regular ISD 2142 board meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 20, in the District Office, started nine minutes late due to a study session that went over the 2014 district audit.
The audit report was presented by the accounting firm of Walker, Giroux and Hahne with auditor Greg Knutson explaining the annual audit to the board.
The report showed that General Fund Operating Funds started the year on July 1, 2013, with $1,983,348 on hand, had revenues of $25,330,479, and expenses of $24,612,793 which produced a surplus of $717,686. The district also received $36,074 for the sale of assets (closed school buildings) and transferred $251,247 in equity transfer. The ending balance was $2,485,861. The board approved the final audit for FY2014.
Supt. Steve Sallee spoke on the recent Minnesota School Board Association meeting held in the Twin Cities. One speaker said teachers shouldn't focus so much on test scores and more on creativity. They were also told that "teachers make a difference."
The ISD2142 school board received a very prestigious award, the District Award of Distinction. They were one of three districts to receive this award, which recognized the school board and its support and commitment to Educational Excellence through participation in MSBA's Inservice Programs. This award put ISD 2142 on the educational map.
Supt. Sallee said they were still having problems with the water in Cherry. It can be used for washing, showers, etc., but bottled water is being brought in to drink. They are going to "scope" or take pictures down the well to see if they can find the problem. He added that the district may have to drill a new well.
Curriculum Technology Director Kristi Berlin gave an assessment update from the recent staff development day. She said that K-3 elementary teachers met on interventions, shared ideas and agreed on a pilot phonics program. Grades 4-6 elementary teachers are going to purchase an Interactive Read Aloud program. Secondary teachers took part in a Schoology training session. Special Ed. teachers worked on accommodations for state testing, math teachers worked on technology integration, English and Language teachers worked on Common Core standard implementation, Social Studies teachers worked on textbook information and also worked with Lowana Greensky about Native American content requirements. Many of the teachers wanted a summer meeting.
A donation of $9,310 was received for the Cherry School from the Thirsty Moose Bar & Grill. North Woods School received $1,000 from the Minnesota Vikings Children's Fund, $700 from Target Field Trip Grants, $145 from Jon Hannine and Jessica Parker, and $75 from Fortune Bay.
American Indian Policies and Procedures for 2015 were presented to the board by Lowana Greensky. The board approved them.
The purchase of eight adjustable tables, a sound system, 26 select chairs and 24 folding chairs for a total of $5,088.24 was approved. Every school was given this amount to purchase items like this.
The Bus Drivers' contracts for 2011-2013 and 2013-2015 were ratified.
Cierra Meier was hired as a technology assistant for Northeast Range School, Tower-Soudan School and North Woods School.
The meeting adjourned an hour after it was called to order, at 6:09 p.m.

City Council names Cook News-Herald as their legal newspaper for 2015

by A.J. Shuster

After beginning with the swearing in of re-elected members Johnston, Bixby and Brunner last Thursday, the Cook City Council approved the Cook News-Herald as winner of the bid for legal newspaper for 2015.
Tammy Palmer approached the council for approval to proceed with application for legislatively supplied funds to the IRRRB for such local projects as the ongoing Recreation Center. She has prepared a letter to the organization, Rep. David Dill and Sen. Tom Bakk. Included are about 20 pages of material prepared by Greg Burckhardt on funds raised, volunteer hours, purchases, and work accomplished. These funds would not interfere with any other IRRRB grants available. The amount being sought is $50,000 and would be sufficient funds to finish the project. The council readily approved.
The library's bylaws and policies were accepted and new board member Eric Tripp was approved. A liquor store audit shows Cook does well in comparison with other regional facilities. The Recreation Center ice rink is up and ready, with much thanks to the fire department's help, as well as Dan Reing and John Mankus for all of their hard work.
The City bow hunt results were nearly half of last year's count. Taken were four adult females, one juvenile female and one juvenile male.
The St. Louis County Board will hold its March 24 meeting in Cook at 9:30 a.m. in the Comet Theater.
In the council forum, the staff and City employees were praised for faithful service. Thanks also went to Don Flack for shoveling by the park, which enables the elderly to get out and safely walk.
In response to inquiries, Theresa Martinson is sending out letters to the several property owners who are not clearing their portion of sidewalks.

St. Louis County working to update zoning ordinance, seeks public input

St. Louis County is in the process of updating its zoning ordinance, and is looking for input and feedback from the public on the proposed changes. County staff from the Planning and Community Development Department, along with representatives of the Planning Commission, have been working for the past year to draft a new ordinance. It would replace the current zoning ordinance, which was adopted in 1993.
The 91-page draft ordinance, which the Planning Commission approved last month, is available for the public to review. The draft, as well as a feedback form, can be found online at stlouiscountymn.gov/zoningordinance.
Two informational meetings also have been scheduled. The public is invited to learn more about the proposed changes, ask questions and provide comments. The meetings will be conducted like an open house, so people are welcome to stop in at any time:
Wednesday, January 28, 4-6 p.m.
Northland Office Center, Liz Prebich Conference Room, Third Floor,
307 1st Street South, Virginia
Wednesday, February 4, 1-3 p.m.
Richard H. Hansen Public Works and Transportation Complex
4787 Midway Road, Duluth
One of the key proposed changes is a rewrite of the section on land use controls to better identify what types of uses are allowed in the county's various zone districts and what type of permitting is necessary for those uses. Other revisions include a new interim use permit for borrow (gravel) pits under certain circumstances, a rewrite of the performance and administrative standards, and the addition of a section on closed landfills and dumpsites, as is required by state statute. The draft also incorporates changes to make the zoning rules easier to understand through clearer references to other ordinances and policies to eliminate conflicting information, and better organization to improve readability.
Written comments may be emailed to bourbonaisj@stlouiscountymn.gov or can be dropped off or mailed to St. Louis County Planning and Community Development, Northland Office Center #117, 307 South 1st Street, Virginia, MN 55792. All comments received by March 1 will be included in the Planning Commission packet. All other comments must be received by March 11 at 4:30 p.m., or presented at the hearing.
The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing Thursday, March 12, 9 a.m., in the Northland Office Center in Virginia. Written comments or testimony at the hearing are welcome.
For more information, contact Jennifer Bourbonais at 218-749-0629 or bourbonaisj@stlouiscountymn.gov.

Sheriff's Office releases phone scam warning

Jan. 22 - The St. Louis County Sheriff's Office has received several reports from residents of an AT&T scam. This scam starts with the suspect contacting resident by telephone and stating that their AT&T bill has discrepancies and that if the resident does not provide their name and address then their phone will be blocked by AT&T.
Residents are urged not to give out any personal information and to contact Law Enforcement if needed. It is always best to ask for the company's published telephone number to confirm that the person you are speaking to is an actual employee.


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