Three dogs from Aitkin have been diagnosed with a rare fungal disease, the Aitkin Independent Age reported Wednesday, June 26. The disease called blastomycosis typically originates from soil and rotting wood, and all three dogs affected likely caught the disease due to proximity with the Ripple River, according to Garrison Animal Hospital. Two of three dogs have died as a result, and a third is receiving treatment. The fungus is more commonly found in male dogs than female dogs, and particularly among sporting dogs, who spend more time sniffing the ground. An early sign is labored breathing along with raspy chest sounds and coughing. Dogs may also become lethargic. The disease is found in humans as well, but is 10 times as likely to appear in canines.

A new principal will take the reins at Rippleside Elementary School in Aitkin, the Aitkin Independent Age reported Wednesday, June 26. Andrew Dokken is set to begin his new post July 1. Also taking over a leadership role that day is the district's new Superintendent Dan Stifter.


More than 100 student athletes were screened for heart issues at a recent event billed as Play for Patrick, the Echo Journal reported Thursday, June 27. The cardiac screening hosted by Cuyuna Regional Medical Center checked 110 athletes, some of whom were found to have high blood pressure or abnormal electrocardiograms and received referrals. The event occurred in honor of Patrick Schoonover, who in 2014 collapsed at Essentia Health Sports Center during a hockey tournament and died.


A referendum was officially scheduled for the Crosby-Ironton School District, the Crosby-Ironton Courier reported Wednesday June 26. Voters will head to the polls Nov. 5 to decide whether to approve the district's proposed $29.56 million bond referendum. The aim of the referendum, members said, is to allow for bonding dollars that would go toward facility maintenance, utilizing space, maximizing public use of facilities and outdoor space improvements at both the elementary and high schools. The district hired a communications specialist to assist with education efforts on the proposal for voters.

Another $100,000 is headed to Crosby city coffers to offset the costs of its impending multi-use tunnel beneath Highway 6, the Crosby-Ironton Courier reported Wednesday, June 26. The Hallett Trust awarded the funds to the city, bringing city costs on the project down to $97,000 when all funding sources are included. The city also recently learned it will receive a $120,000 community infrastructure grant from the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board.


A company employing 55 people in Little Falls has shut its doors, the Morrison County Record reported Sunday, June 23. Central Minnesota Renewables-which produced products including nail polish remover and lighter fluid using corn-based chemicals-was expected to close June 21.


A sunken boat was discovered in Cove Bay on Mille Lacs Lake between Onamia and Wahkon, the Mille Lacs Messenger reported Wednesday, June 26. The boat was spotted by Ryan Kelly of Lagoona Guide Service. The source of the boat is unknown, although it may have been a launch boat from years ago, according to Kelly's questioning of others in the area.


More than $92,000 is on its way to Morrison County as part of the state's reimbursements to deputy registrars over the troublesome MNLARS program, the Morrison County Record reported Sunday, June 23. The grants totaling $13 million went to all deputy registrar offices in the state and was approved by the Legislature as an effort to deter litigation concerning the Minnesota Licensing and Registration System. There were no specified uses tied to the dollars sent to DMVs across the state.


Student athletes at Pillager may soon join forces with Little Falls athletes for some sports, the Morrison County Record reported Sunday, June 23. Sports under consideration for collaboration include grades 7-12 girls tennis and swimming; grades 7-12 gymnastics; middle school wrestling; Nordic skiing; and dance. Dance is not currently a sport offered to Little Falls students. Kevin Jordan, Flyers activity director, said Pillager currently partners with Brainerd on several sports, but the athletic fee is much higher than that collected at Little Falls-$300 versus $75 for high schoolers and $50 for middle schoolers. A formal request for joint sports is expected next month.


A new playground set will greet Swanville elementary students when they return in the fall, the Morrison County Record reported Sunday, June 23. The equipment is new to the school, but it's actually 11 years old and was previously located in someone's backyard. Superintendent Gene Harthan said replacing the equipment to the tune of $9,900 was cheaper than refurbishing the school's current wooden set.

-- Compiled by Chelsey Perkins, community editor. Perkins may be reached at 218-855-5874 or Follow her on Twitter @DispatchChelsey or on Facebook at