A more secure entrance to Aitkin High School will be constructed, thanks to a $495,000 grant from the Minnesota Department of Education, the Aitkin Independent Age reported. The district, already in the process of planning and finalizing a second phase of construction on the high school building, incorporated the secure entry into its plans due to the grant support. The new entrance would be placed on the northwest corner of the building, and the high school office will be moved there as well.

The public can help name a new section of park land in Aitkin, the Aitkin Independent Age reported. A property recently acquired by the city, adjacent to Aitkin City Park, will add trails and activity space across the Ripple River from the main areas of the park. The property is known as the "old Tibbetts farm," but the city council wants suggestions for a new name.

When Aitkin High School choir members suit up for a concert, they could be wearing the same robe their grandparents wore. Not just the same style-literally, the same robe. The Aitkin Independent Age reported the choir robes in use in the district originate from the 1950s. Although they've been repaired as needed over the decades, the robes are approaching the end of their useful life. That's where the Aitkin Education Foundation comes in. The organization is raising funds to replace 75 robes, which would cost an estimated $11,250.


Highway 6 north of Crosby will close for up to three weeks this summer, the Crosby-Ironton Courier reported. The Minnesota Department of Transportation will install a pedestrian tunnel, a project set to begin in May. The tunnel would connect the bike trails in the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area with the city of Crosby. MnDOT will soon seek bids for the project, and is requesting work be done between fishing opener and Independence Day. The project also received financial support from the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board. The city earned a grant for $134,000 toward the tunnel.

It's one of two road closures in the area planned for this summer, as the stretch of Highway 210 between Ironton and Brainerd is also scheduled for a reconstruction. Those plans call for the closure to begin after the Fourth of July.


No computer science classes were taught in the Little Falls Community Schools for 15 years-but that's about to change, the Morrison County Record reported. The district recently became one of the first in Minnesota accepted to the Amazon Future Engineer Program. The program provides all course materials for an introductory computer science course, along with two Advanced Placement courses, and free staff development training. For Little Falls students, selection for the program will revive a subject previously lost to budget cuts.


A May vote will ask residents in the Pine River-Backus School District to support a $15.3 million bond, the Echo Journal reported. The school board voted to poll residents on the matter May 14. Should it receive support, the bond would cover construction costs for adding a multipurpose performing arts center and space and equipment for career and technical classrooms. The money would also pay for renovations to football and track facilities and the existing high school gym.

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