A revamped hockey rink and a new pickleball court will soon be available to Aitkin residents, the Aitkin Independent Age reported. The city received a matching grant from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for $143,000. Plans for the project include rebuilding the hockey rink so it can be used as a pickleball court in the summer, along with building a new warming house. The project must be completed by 2020.


Students in the Crosby-Ironton School District will no longer be permitted to use cellphones or other personal electronic devices in the classroom, the Crosby-Ironton Courier reported. The school board voted to approve a policy banning phones after some discussion over whether to leave it up to teacher discretion. The policy was written as a total ban, according to Chair Tom Nixon, because students were abusing the devices, and confusion was created when some teachers permitted phones while others didn't.


After several months of strife between the Fifty Lakes City Council and the manager of the 50 Lakes Bar & Bottle Shop, council members acted to fire Steve Maeger, the Echo Journal reported. City Clerk-Treasurer Karen Stern was installed as interim manager until a Minnesota Municipal Beverage Association member can be on site.


Bonds for a new city hall and road improvements in the city of Lake Shore were the subject of a recent public hearing at Lake Shore City Hall, the Echo Journal reported. The city council preliminarily approved issuing two general obligation bonds: $1.895 million for a new city hall building and $1.595 million for city street repairs. Council members voted 4-1 in favor of the approval, indicating they wished to move the process along while acknowledging a resident petition could force the issue to the ballot box.


Mille Lacs County is experiencing a shortage of correctional officers, the Mille Lacs Messenger reported, and it's not alone. Holly Wilson, personnel director/assistant county administrator, told the Mille Lacs County Board the county was not alone and the problem plagued county jails statewide. Mille Lacs is currently short-staffed by five positions in the jail. According to county officials, this does not affect jail operations, but does lead to overtime for current employees.

A payment to a law firm representing Mille Lacs County Sheriff Brent Lindgren received county board approval, the Mille Lacs Messenger. The $15,066.50 payment is the latest authorized as part of a federal lawsuit filed against the county by the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. The lawsuit addresses an agreement dissolved between the Mille Lacs County Sheriff's Office and the Mille Lacs Tribal Police in 2016. The dissolution meant sheriff's deputies now have primary legal authority over areas previously patrolled by tribal police.

In total the county has paid or authorized for payment $435,567.19 toward legal fees in the lawsuit.

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