September 11, 2014

MCA test scores down for ISD 2142

The ISD 2142 board, at their regular meeting Monday at the Northeast Range School at 5 p.m., heard the bad news that the scores for Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) testing were down this year. Kristi Berlin, who is in charge of Staff Development, told the board that the district has to make improvement on these scores.
The main problem appears to be keeping teachers so there is continuity. Supt. Steve Sallee is looking at ways to do that. It was also pointed out that the administrative team has to work together. There was some good news, though. The gap between whites and Native American students is narrowing. Sallee told the board that he was "making this one of our top priorities" for the school year and that it would be on the agenda for every administrative meeting. There was some discussion over the tests and how they change every year, but the main idea coming out of this discussion was that the scores were "not great news."
Berlin presented a plan for Staff Development activities which included training, continued collaboration with Q-Comp, Indian Education, Title Services and the Administration Team. Other plans include the Peer Teacher training, Special Ed. Training, New Teacher CGI Training, Facilitator Training, SMART Training and more. Supt. Sallee, Berlin and the staff are making improving these test scores a main priority. There will be CGI Elementary and Secondary Teacher meeting for Math in Cherry, also. Board member Chet Larson questioned where the districts were that brought up the average state scores and was told they were from all over.
The district now has a Staff Development budget and said the board would back this and give the teachers the tools they need. Larson noted that they had to be consistent in teaching with all schools the same. Retain teachers and principals was something that has to be done according to Cherry board member Lynette Zupetz, plus giving them more support. Supt. Sallee wanted to find out why there is the turnover the district has.
Supt. Sallee spoke on technology and said the new technology advisor would be working to get the iPads out to the students so they can use them.
The old Tower football field was discussed by Sallee since he received a letter from the Tower City Council asking that the city get the field from the district. This will be on the agenda at the Sept. 22 meeting in North Woods.
Two NER students, Brody Skala and Chloe Kaufenberg, reported on their school's North Star Mentor Program. There are 12 mentors and each has two seventh-grade students to mentor. This program helps these students get ready for high school. The mentors all have special shirts identifying them. That way the seventh-graders feel they have a friend in high school. Northeast Range is the only school in this program, now.
Supt. Sallee brought a request to the board to purchase highway signs for the South Ridge School on Highway 53. Some people have said they get lost trying to find the school. The cost is $2,370 and the board approved it.
Graduation for all schools will be on Friday, May 29, 2015.
A contract with Johnson Controls for the controls of the NER heating system was approved at a cost of $8,468. This is much lower than in past years.
A change order for the Cherry Expansion to revamp their catch basin at a cost of $20,909.94 was approved.
The North Woods Grizzlies football field has a problem of erosion at one end. The cheapest way to handle this is to move the fence in 10 feet. Coach John Jirik approved that idea. A track around the field will be cut for now.
The District's Campaign Finance Report for the 2009 Bond Referendum is being checked by Attorney John Colosimo before sending it to the state.
The board didn't act on an agenda item to hire board member Zupetz as a substitute teacher since all board members but Orr's Nancy Glowaski were present and all board members should be there. Cotton board member Chet Larson didn't think this was necessary and had the state guidelines on this with him.
Tenured teacher Jessica Bialke was recalled from ULA for 0.2
FTE for a total of 0.9 FTE at South Ridge.
Support Staff hired were Elizabeth Grages as instructional aide at South Ridge, Debbie Moen as instructional aide at NER, Katherine Salo as instructional aide at NER, Amanda Ellefson as instructional aide at South Ridge, and Ryan Gibson as bus driver at Cherry.
The resignations of Dana Hilde, instructional aide at Cherry, Alisa Dammer, instructional aide at South Ridge, and Julie Schmitz, cook aide at NER, were accepted.
There being no other business, the meeting adjourned at 6:02 p.m.

Trinity Lutheran Congregation Celebrates
Little Fork Lutheran Church's 100th Anniversary


Back in 1904, area people around what is now Cook, had a concern for the formation of gatherings, to congregate, and they did so for the purpose of their religious desires. These groupings were the foundation for the beginning of the Little Fork Lutheran Church. The first services were held in homes. The first pastor was Rev. Einar Wulfsberg. The organization of the Lutheran congregation took place in December 1906 in the home of Alfred Holter. In l914 a building committee was formed, headed by Andrew Scott. They made requests for donations and, for $40, purchased two acres of land in Field. The first service was held in 1915. The new Trinity Lutheran Church was started in Cook and on Jan. 2, 1947, the Little Fork congregation merged with Trinity. The last confirmed group with Rev. Refsdal was in 1930.
The church has been kept up, but now there is a push to do more. Sheetrock has been put on the ceiling and there are plans to strengthen the walls.
Trinity Lutheran's congregation came to Little Fork Lutheran's 100th anniversary last Sunday and they packed it. After the services, many could be seen checking out the old cemetery and the grounds. There was even talk of making this an annual event.
The 100th anniversary was a very special day for all who attended.
Happy 100th and many more to come.

'Rampage at the Ridge' race causes a stampede to Biwabik!
Bobbi Halverson of Cook among the participants

by Robin Fisher

The very first obstacle course race offered at Giants Ridge Resort in Biwabik, held Saturday, Aug. 23, brought a lot of folks out to try the event. Local race participant Bobbi Halverson of Cook commented that "over 600 people ran in this race!"
It was a 5K (about three miles long) with a variety of challenging obstacles to contend with. Some racers did do the race as fast as they could, but the race was not about speed. The participants received a "Rampage at the Ridge" T-shirt and a sweatband. Finishers also received a medal and "One Free Beer."
The race was organized for the United Way of Northeastern Minnesota to benefit programs for local veterans. The runners each created a fundraising page for their application and could collect pledges. The United Way nearly reached their goal of raising $50,000. Many big sponsors supported the event. Each obstacle even had its own sponsor.
Race organizers encouraged the runners to "Get Down and Dirty" and "Unleash your inner giant." If that isn't enough to get you going, there is a sign on the course saying "pain is weakness leaving the body!"
Bobbi said, "The race was tough, but fun. I should have trained a bit harder to prepare for this event." The route crossed the ski slopes of Giants Ridge, so many portions were quite steep. Bobbi said that some obstacles were very memorable. One obstacle, the "Icy Plunge," had a dumpster filled with water and blocks of ice. "It was quite chilling."
Bobbi said, "I am so glad I didn't do the race like some with just a pair of shorts on my legs. I had on tight leggings. I ended up with plenty of scrapes and bruises as it was."
Bobbi said the very first obstacle was large round hay bales that had to be climbed over. It sounded easy but wasn't. She said you actually had to use teamwork with other racers to get over the bales. A cargo net climbing wall was like a scene from military boot camp. Bobbi said the barbwire crawl was not too bad. "You could hunch down and miss the wire without going completely flat in the mud."
The gauntlet of four Ridge snowmak-ers was one of the hardest obstacles. The heavy spray coming out of the nozzles made a cold fog that was totally blinding. Bobbi had to be guided by the flagged boundary ropes to find her way past the mist.
"Everyone was soaked with mud by the end of the race. They provided a water pipe with multiple holes so everyone could rinse the worst of the mud off, like a makeshift group shower."
Bobbi would like to do the race again next year and train better for it. She has run local triathlons in past summers and that kind of preparation would be great for this obstacle course race. The event encouraged people to run as teams, and costumes were welcome. Next year's Rampage will probably be even bigger!

Orr City Council sets preliminary levy at 5%

by A.J. Shuster

Orr's City Council approved a preliminary 2015 Budget and Levy. A 5 percent levy was established until questions of insurance rates can be answered. It is hoped this levy level can be reduced before final approval.
On Oct. 1, the lease for the Bear Association at Old City Hall will end. Approval was granted to rent the space to the St. Louis County Assessor's Office for five years. With a number of Library volunteers, it was accepted to get six new keys for the exterior door of Old City Hall. Per Mayor Joel Astleford's recommendation, these will be stamped with an assigned number and be signed out for use by qualified personnel.
The Library has had a steady number of visitors and book borrowing. Use has increased without exceeding hours. Most of this has been with summer residents or resort guests and most have left a donation. Shelves have been installed for and filled with paperbacks. A Minneapolis couple gave a $20 donation to the Library.
The Fire Department reports that its tanker (tender) truck is going in for frequent repairs and may need to be replaced in the near future. Six people have participated in training, of which four are certified and two need to take written tests.
For the TIC, the Voyageur Park Rangers have volunteered to remove and repair the birch-bark canoe. Meanwhile, the Maintenance Department is preparing to spread Bio Mass on a pre-selected field. Chet at the Liquor Store is going in for training from the Municipal Beverage organization. Four thousand gallons of Jet A were recently purchased, and 1,900 gallons were sold almost immediately. The Ambulance Department received a $50 donation from Crane Lake Voyageur Days in thanks for assistance in a boat rescue. An ambulance training session is coming and work is ongoing on the bylaws. New uniform bottoms have been purchased out of the Ambulance Funds, and will be kept in lockers at the ambulance hall. An application for a grant will be issued for the purchase of jackets.
Changes are in the works for pay equity for employee and trainee education reimbursements from the City. A grant from Lake Country Power has been received for electric heaters and fans to keep the basement of the old school from freezing over. This will help maintain the integrity of the building.


Pick up this week's paper for more stories and pictures...

CLWSD levy cut 16.6%

Dancin' the Summer Away

North Woods tops County Schools in MCA testing for 2013-14

Letters to the Editor ...