The Regional Report: Plan to vacate Motley school moves forward; Staples board member walks out of meeting
The life of a 15-year-old was saved by the heroics of an Aitkin High School senior, the Aitkin Independent Age reported. Emma Sherman received recognition for rescuing the teen with a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Lifesaving Award. On July 4, Sherman saw the boy struggling in the water after he dove in shallow water during a fireworks display. She kept his head above water, dragged him to shore and performed CPR until he began breathing again. The boy has some challenges ahead of him, Aitkin Sheriff Scott Turner said, but is alive to face them.
Aitkin firefighters are paid less than those in surrounding departments, the Aitkin City Council learned, according to the Aitkin Independent Age. The pay disparity came up from one of the firefighters as part of a presentation by Fire Chief Brian Pisarek, who appeared to ask the council for an increase in pension payments for those retired from the department. Pisarek said firefighters donate time for training and travel and are asked to make a 20-year commitment to the department at the time of joining. He covered the financials, noting the pension fund appears to be stable for the foreseeable future. The council approved Pisarek's request unanimously.
Another new business plans to move into Crosby's Main Street, the Crosby-Ironton Courier reported. Victuals and Rave Creamworks asked the Crosby City Council Nov. 13 to accept its commercial redevelopment grant funding from the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board. The grant funds will be used to demolish a building on Main Street.
Ice skaters will have another rink to glide across in the lakes area, the Crosby-Ironton Courier reported. The Crosby City Council approved a request for an outdoor skating rink next to the Hallett Center. Eric Anderson, who made the request, said he would coordinate volunteers so the rink could be open Friday nights for family skating.
The Crosby Fire Department will no longer serve Irondale Township as the primary fire responder, the Crosby-Ironton Courier reported. The township board accepted a fire service contract bid from the Deerwood Fire Department instead. The Crosby department continues to have service contracts with Riverton and Perry Lake Township, and the council voted to freeze the cost of those services. Mayor Bob Novak said he was disappointed in the loss of the contract, noting a formula previously in use artificially kept the cost of fire services lower than they should have been. With other entities not contributing, more of the cost burden will fall on residents of Crosby, he said.
Those operating vacation rentals by owner in the city of Lake Shore have additional restrictions to contend with following the council's amendment of an ordinance, the Echo Journal reported. The ordinance restricts the number of times the properties can be rented in a year and does not permit more than one party to rent a property within a given week. These are among numerous other measures intended to reduce the impact on neighboring properties.
Plans to repurpose the school building in Motley will move forward, after the Staples-Motley School Board voted to direct staff to work on the matter, the Morrison County Record reported. This would mean all students in the district would attend school in Staples, at either the elementary school or high school. The district also intends to ask voters to approve a referendum next year that would combine those two schools into one larger building at the elementary school site. Interim Superintendent Ron Bratlie said the move would help the district save enough money to avoid staff cuts and other budgetary measures in the future.
Does the mayor of Nisswa live in Nisswa? This a question that's come up repeatedly at Nisswa City Council meetings, and Nov. 20, the council accepted Mayor Fred Heidmann's proof of his residency within city limits, the Echo Journal reported. Heidmann's landlord emailed the city confirming the dates Heidmann lives there. Previously, Heidmann admitted to moving outside the city for a few months at a time, but said he checked with the League of Minnesota Cities and the city attorney and was assured the temporary moves were not a problem.
A school board member who recently posted a profanity-laced criticism of the public for not attending school board meetings on Facebook walked out of the most recent meeting himself, the Morrison County Record reported. Greg Frisk left during the public comment period when the speaker Paul Anderson began criticizing Frisk's behavior on social media. Frisk asked Chair Chad Longbella to limit Anderson's time if all he planned to do was belittle him. As Anderson continued, Frisk left the room and asked someone to get him when Anderson was done.
Anderson said students would soon be offered a presentation on issues concerning social media, and he felt Frisk's behavior was counterproductive to the message students would receive. Longbella said he and interim Superintendent Ron Bratlie addressed the issue.
Lighting for buggies traveling on area roads was the topic of an ordinance under consideration by the Todd County Board, the Staples World reported. Commissioners discussed consulting legal counsel on whether an ordinance concerning lighting for the vehicles used by those in the Amish community would be permitted. Although the ordinance would request buggy drivers use lights, it would not require them to do so. Commissioner David Kircher said County Attorney Charles Rasmussen had already analyzed the issue and determined the matter could not be addressed on the county level, and would instead need to come from state lawmakers.
-- 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.