The Regional Report: Lawsuit concerning fishing regulations on Mille Lacs under consideration, city of Wahkon signs on
An ordinance concerning tobacco in the city of Aitkin received an update to include language concerning electronic cigarettes, the Aitkin Independent Age reported. The ordinance mirrors state statute, which permits the sampling of tobacco products in very limited situations, but does not permit smoking or inhaling the product. Allowed is the demonstration, sampling and testing of equipment post-repair. The rules apply to the one existing e-cigarette business in Aitkin, Pop's Vape Shop, along with any future businesses.
A school board member just re-elected to her seat at the Crosslake Community School resigned, the Echo Journal reported. Karen Larson resigned due to a conflict of interest—her daughter, Jennifer Muller recently became a teacher in the school's online education program. According to school policy, Larson should not have been an eligible candidate due to the connection. Appointed in her place was Corrie Craig, who filled a community member spot.
The cause of a fire destroying the Mille Lacs Motel in Garrison was inconclusive following a Minnesota State Fire Marshal's Office investigation, the Mille Lacs Messenger reported. The building, vacant for a decade, was not receiving utilities. Evidence of vandalism and people staying in the deserted property was found, although the fire burned the building too much to determine what sparked the blaze.
Whether pigs are permitted in the city of Motley was a subject at a recent city council meeting, the Staples World reported. Resident Holly Cuffe asked council members for clarification on the matter following instances of a neighbor's pot-bellied pigs wandering into her yard. Pig owner Erik Affolder told the council the pigs are litter box-trained, and he'd secured the escape route in his yard. Police informed Affolder pigs aren't allowed within city limits in the past, and he moved them to a farm as a result. Recently, the pigs and presumably Affolder moved to another home, which Affolder did not realize was within the city's boundaries. Mayor Al Yoder reiterated the ordinance banning swine. Affolder, in response, said his pigs were not swine, but were his pets. Lacey Smieja, city clerk/treasurer, said Affolder was in violation and needed to move the pigs by Nov. 6. If Affolder wished to apply for a swine license, it would require a public hearing.
A lot can be forgotten in a century. Ask the leaders of Morrison County, who recently spent time solving an issue that—it turned out—was resolved by a judge in 1905, the Morrison County Record reported. The Morrison County Board learned in October questions concerning which recent survey correctly identified the boundary between Hillman and Morrill townships were asked, and answered, more than 100 years ago. The file containing the judgment was found five files away from the material supporting a 2017 survey.
Stearns County surveyor Scott Marlin, hired by the county to work out the issue, said judgments are not often part of the research process when it comes to land disputes. "It wasn't necessarily because someone wasn't doing their job," Marlin said, according to the Record. "But it is one of those things when you have problems you need to be more tedious when you get into the work."
A Facebook post, since deleted, made by a Staples-Motley School Board member was printed in full by the Staples World. In the post, Greg Frisk expressed frustration with the taxpayers of the community, none of whom showed up for a school board work session focused on the hiring process for the next superintendent and the district's buildings. The district will seek voter approval of a bond referendum in May, which would combine all the district's students into one building at the site of the current elementary school, adding on to that facility to increase its size from 47,000 square feet to 187,000 square feet. Apart from the referendum, the board also recently discussed closure of the Motley school building.
After describing what was covered at the meeting, Frisk wrote: "Zero. ZERO. Zero input from any, none, none NONE of you. Not a single taxpayer in attendance. Not a single email. Not a single phone call. But by all means, spread rumors. Explain to all of the other ignorant (expletive) you hang out with how much you know about this whole situation because YOU are so sure of what's happening. I'm glad our kids don't have to rely on YOU."
Participation in a U.S. Supreme Court case and the potential involvement in litigation concerning local fishing were topics discussed at a recent special meeting of the Wahkon City Council, the Mille Lacs Messenger reported. Attorney Gary Leistico of Rinke Noonan Attorneys at Law in St. Cloud presented the opportunity for the city of Wahkon to join as a party to an amicus brief for a Supreme Court case originating in Wyoming. The case involves a tribal member, cited for shooting an elk off reservation, who sought to assert rights to hunt in unoccupied lands due to a 19th-century treaty. The 1999 case, Minnesota v. Mille Lacs Band of Chippewa Indians, could play a role as a precedent in Herrera v. Wyoming. A unanimous council vote approved participation in the amicus brief—a document filed by anyone who isn't party to a case, but may have an interest.
Also discussed was potential litigation the firm is pursuing concerning local fishing regulations. Although specifics were not revealed, Leistico indicated the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' approach to fishing regulations on Mille Lacs Lake might be unlawful. The council agreed to join the litigation, with the stipulation it could withdraw should expenses become too high.
-- Compiled by Chelsey Perkins, community editor. Perkins may be reached at 218-855-5874 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @DispatchChelsey or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dispatchchelsey.