Commending the Brainerd School District's lead in the state for offering all-day kindergarten, Gov. Mark Dayton made a stop in one of those classrooms at Garfield Elementary Thursday. Sitting on the floor along with the children of Erica Ruen's class, Dayton chatted about the lessons they were learning inside the four walls of the vibrant classroom. "How to be good," one kid offered. "Math," said another. For 16 years, the classrooms at Garfield have been home to all-day, every day kindergarten.
In a couple of years, Business Highway 371/South Sixth Street will have a new look. Just how much change is up to residents and the city of Brainerd. The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) will do a complete revamp of the road - from Joseph Street to Highway 210 - in 2017. Up for discussion is the number of lanes to give the highway.
For nearly two decades, Brainerd Public Schools has been superintendent Steve Razidlo's reality, his pride. On Monday, Razidlo stepped down from his post for a new adventure. He starts Aug. 1 as superintendent at The American International School in Vienna, Austria. "It's emotional to leave a life, family and a career that's fed your soul for the better part of 17 years," he said. "The hardest part is not the challenge of an international school, it's working though the reality that I'm leaving (Brainerd schools).
The concept of student housing for Central Lakes College (CLC) is in the works, though it's still not a sure thing. Officials at CLC have climbed many hurdles in the past few months but construction could be pushed out another year, if it's built at all, said Pam Thomsen, executive director of the Central Lakes College Foundation. Thomsen is still optimistic that the process will iron itself out, though she wouldn't say for sure that housing would, in fact, be erected. "We can't dig and move rocks when plans haven't been approved," she said.
Demolition of the Whittier School has again been postponed in hopes that another school could move into the building. Discovery Woods Montessori in Brainerd has a potential financial backer to buy the building, said Chad Turcotte, board chair of Discovery Woods. In a special meeting Wednesday, the Brainerd School Board voted to hold off on demolition of the building while Discovery Woods drafts a purchase agreement with the district.
The director of the Brainerd Public Schools Foundation is now an employee of the school district. At a special Brainerd School Board meeting Wednesday, the group unanimously voted to hire on Jill Neumann as a district employee. The foundation operates separately from the district, though its housed in district offices and works to raise funds and improve each of the schools, staff and students. Administration recently started looking into bringing Neumann on as a district employee to see if it was feasible. "It's your discretion on whether or not you see this as a way to add to communicati
Brainerd's first History Week was so successful, it has organizers mulling the idea of an annual celebration of roots. The week-long celebration ended Sunday, pulling in dozens of people to each of the multiple events. The success is largely because of peoples' interest in their background, said History Week Committee co-chair and city council member Mary Koep. "They liked learning more about the history of the town," she said.
It's official. The city of Brainerd is now the owner of the hydro dam, formerly operated by Wausau Paper. All of the papers were signed and documents exchanged last week, said Scott Magnuson, Brainerd Public Utilities (BPU) superintendent. City council member Gary Scheeler, who serves on the Wausau Task Force and who first brought the idea of the dam purchase forward, said the move marks a "golden" investment. "I wouldn't sell it for $20 million. It's worth at least that to the city," he said.
Daily $100 fines start again Saturday, June 21, for a Brainerd resident who has yet to complete a house construction project. During a house visit to Terry Kinder's property at 1420 Quince St., the Brainerd City Council Friday voted to fine Kinder $100 a day, starting Saturday, until the work is complete. The council also agreed to forgive all past fines since Kinder was making progress on the longtime project. Absent were city council members Dave Pritschet and Kelly Bevans. "I hope this sends the statement that the city wants residents and businesses to succeed.
Steve Matchett isn't a bicyclist. He doesn't know the lingo and is still learning the best maneuvers. But that hasn't stopped the 72-year-old from attempting to bicycle the length of the Mississippi River. He made a stop in Brainerd Thursday, the third day of his journey. Matchett is taking on the daunting task in effort to raise $199,000 and plenty of awareness for bone marrow transplants. "You could help save someone's life. How could you not want to do that?" Matchett said.