The Regional Report: Crosby tunnel project runs into snag; S-M board to pursue 2-building solution
Food trucks are now permitted to operate within Aitkin city limits, the Aitkin Independent Age reported. The city council approved an ordinance allowing trucks to park in locations that do not directly compete with brick-and-mortar locations serving food, for no more 21 days in a year per location.
Those working remotely or for themselves will soon have a new place to conduct business, the Aitkin Independent Age reported. A planned shared office space is expected to appear in mid-March in the Butler Building in Aitkin. The space will have 24/7 key entry access for subscribers, and users could pay for anything from hourly to yearly fees.
A planned tunnel project on Highway 6 in Crosby is facing some challenges, the Crosby-Ironton Courier reported. Originally scheduled to be completed by the Fourth of July, construction of the tunnel that would connect the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area mountain bike trails to the city of Crosby will not begin until at least July 8. One reason is the realization by engineers that a force main, part of the district's sewer system, is located in the same area and must be moved.
The Serpent Lake Sanitary Sewer District, which consists of the cities of Cuyuna, Deerwood, Ironton and Crosby, did not plan for this expense in its 2019 budget, the Courier stated. With construction set to begin in five months, Deerwood council member John Taylor said the district does not have time to seek grant funding to cover the cost of moving the force main. Instead, those living in the district will likely see user fee increases, Taylor said. The Deerwood City Council voted to not support the sewer district spending any money on the project.
Meanwhile, Crosby Mayor Bob Novak said during a council meeting the sewer district has healthy reserves and the cost may be covered without having to raise fees.
The change in schedule also means the construction project will run concurrent to the planned Highway 210 project, which will close a portion of the state highway between Ironton and the County Highway 12 intersection.
A K-9 could join the Crosby Police Department, the Crosby-Ironton Courier reported. The Crosby City Council approved the department's efforts to begin fundraising for a dog, which would come at no cost to the city. Currently, the only agencies in Crow Wing County with K-9s are the Brainerd and Baxter police departments.
Morrison County officials are grappling with an unexpected funding request for its 2019 budget to the tune of $2.58 million, the Morrison County Record reported. The county board learned the health insurance purchasing group South Country Health Alliance, of which Morrison, Wadena and Todd counties are a part, needs $16.9 million to bolster its reserves for potential insurance payouts. State regulations require the joint powers organization to have in its possession 200 percent of the possible claims it could pay in a given year. The alliance reported it has 110 percent. If two-thirds of the 11 member counties agree, all member counties would have to contribute. According to the Record, Wadena County officials moved to leave the group in response to the funding issue.
Despite living in Loon Lake Township rather than the city, an applicant to the Pequot Lakes Park Commission received support from Mayor James Tayloe and council member Sheri Seils, the Echo Journal reported. Donna Walden's bid failed, however, because two others voted against the appointment and council member Jerry Akerson was not present to break the tie one way or the other. Council member Scott Pederson said Walden does not own property or pay taxes in Pequot Lakes. Walden was a member of People for Pequot, a citizen advocacy group lobbying against some of the changes planned to Trailside Park.
Pierz Police Chief Eric Hanneken was recently named a "Hometown Hero" by Scheels and American Heroes Outdoors, the Morrison County Record reported, the first of 2019. Hanneken was nominated for the honor by Morrison County Sheriff Shawn Larsen, who described Hanneken as humble and heroic. Larsen cited two incidents in particular when Hanneken shone: a 2016 rescue of a man who'd broken through the ice on a four-wheeler, and a 2016 house fire during which Hanneken helped save a couple from the roof of their burning home. Visit https://youtu.be/RdycU2YCASU to watch a video about Hanneken.
Combining all of Staples-Motley's students into one building is no longer on the table, the Staples World reported. At a late January board meeting, school board members voted to move forward with a two-building option for its planned referendum in May. Previously, discussion included the possibility of moving all students to the elementary site after its space was significantly expanded. Instead, the plan includes new gyms and classrooms for both schools and the demolition of the oldest sections of the high school building.
Did the Staples-Motley School Board follow the law when it voted recently to close the school building in Motley? The Staples World reported a former school board member raised the prospect they failed to do so at a late January school board meeting. Dave Hoemberg recited a statute requiring school boards host a public hearing when closing a school, allowing residents to weigh in on whether a closure is necessary or practical. Hoemberg said although residents had the opportunity to comment during regular school board meetings, the statute also requires a published notice for a hearing.
An extra $18,000—that's how much Wadena County overpaid its county coordinator Ryan Odden, according to the Wadena Pioneer Journal. Odden, who in addition to his role as county coordinator is also the county engineer, was receiving paychecks for both jobs from two different areas of the county budget over the course of seven months in 2018. County Attorney Kyra Ladd said the county needed to determine how the payroll error occurred. Odden said he would pay back the overpayment in one lump sum once the exact amount was determined. When asked why he didn't report to human resources the extra $1,200 per pay period he earned, Odden said his paychecks are confusing and he did not realize the error. He receives four paychecks a month and must clock in with two different usernames, depending on the role he's fulfilling.
-- Compiled by Chelsey Perkins, community editor. Perkins may be reached at 218-855-5874 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @DispatchChelsey or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dispatchchelsey.