One more entity has declined an offer to acquire Whittier School from the Brainerd School District. Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center officials recently turned down the offer, Superintendent Steve Razidlo told school leaders at a Facilities Committee meeting Tuesday. That leaves all eyes on the city of Brainerd. The topic will go before the city’s Safety and Public Works Committee for more discussion at its next meeting. The committee will then bring a recommendation forward to the city council.
News circulating that there’s a potential interested buyer in the Wausau Paper facility in Brainerd brings both good and bad news. It’s true — a few companies have expressed interest in acquiring the land and assets, but “all indications have been that there is no potential purchaser that would return the plant to paper production,” said Sheila Haverkamp, executive director of the Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corporation.
A passion for helping people on a local level first got Patrick Wussow into city leadership. It’s that passion that has kept him in the field and landed him with the city of Brainerd as its new administrator. In his second week on the job, Wussow said he’s looking forward to helping the city achieve its strategic goals moving forward. Wussow, who replaced retired City Administrator Theresa Goble, most recently worked as the Aitkin County administrator. Before that, he was city administrator of Big Lake and Tonka Bay, as well as city planner in North Mankato.
Math is tough for freshman Emily Irion. She can’t keep up in class so she zones it all out. But a new initiative at Brainerd High School (BHS) is helping Irion stay on track with the subject. It’s called Warrior Academy. It’s a specialized program that takes students who are having trouble in particular mainstream classes and pulls them into a separate online platform. Warrior Academy is geared mostly toward ninth-graders, though some eighth- and 10th-graders participate.
City officials are now working on a civil process to force the cleanup of an “illegal flea market” on Pine Street. Property owner Chad Ross missed another deadline of Feb. 12 to clean a cluttered yard in Brainerd. Since Ross hasn’t reported to jail, a judge will now need to issue a bench warrant for his arrest, said City Planner Mark Ostgarden.
The due diligence period in regard to the potential purchase of the Wausau dam has been extended so officials can gain legislative approval for acquiring the dam. The Brainerd City Council approved the move at its meeting Tuesday. The official 90-day due diligence period started in November with the signing of the purchase agreement and it was set to expire at the end of the month.
City leaders will further discuss the possibility of acquiring the Whittier school building. The Brainerd City Council made the decision at its meeting Monday. Voting against the motion were council members Mary Koep and Kelly Bevans. The topic will go before the Safety and Public Works Committee for more discussion into options and ideas for the building. Those ideas will be brought back as a recommendation to the whole council in March.
Dale Parks will serve as president of the Brainerd City Council. The council made the unanimous decision at its meeting Tuesday. Parks replaces Bonnie Cumberland, who died recently, leaving the post and her at-large seat vacant. Parks was serving as vice president. The new holder of that position is now Dave Pritschet. Neither position had any other candidates and both Parks and Pritschet received unanimous approval. With leadership roles filled, the council then put a call out to residents to apply for the vacant at-large seat.
Looking at wide-eyed little Caleb Pence, you’d never guess he has suffered through so much. The 7-year-old is the first to bring back a sticker from the doctor’s office for each of his three siblings. He’ll crack a joke to get a smile out of you. But stare a little deeper into those wide eyes and you’ll see the sclera has a blue tint. That’s the first sign of osteogenesis imperfecta, or brittle bone disease. Caleb has broken at least 11 bones that his parents know of, though they’re guessing that number is much higher. He’s broken his leg, arm, pelvis and foot.
Katelyn Strangstalien doesn’t remember what most things look like. But she can still picture her grandparent’s farm house in Houston, Minn.; the fields she ran through as a toddler. She remembers most shapes and colors, most of all dark purple and blue. Strangstalien still remembers her sister’s face — at least what it looked like 15 years ago before she lost her sight. Strangstalien was 3 years old when cancer took her eyes.