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The Regional Report: Deerwood discovers large water leak; Pine Grove otter exhibit runs up costs

AITKIN COUNTY Two incentives aimed at encouraging boaters to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species are underway in Aitkin County, the Aitkin Independent Age reported. Inspectors at landings will hand out towels decorated with a walleye a...

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AITKIN COUNTY

Two incentives aimed at encouraging boaters to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species are underway in Aitkin County, the Aitkin Independent Age reported. Inspectors at landings will hand out towels decorated with a walleye and reminders about best practices for AIS prevention-a "prize" Aitkin County Soil and Water Conservation District Manager Steve Hughes said he hoped would make encounters more positive.

The second incentive is custom water bags provided by bait shops, supplying fresh water is anglers forgot it to replenish bait water when they return to shore. The bags are returnable for 50 cents cash back or $1 off artificial bait.

BENA

A long-awaited new school will open this fall for students, the Cass Lake Times reported. The Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig High School is set to open, albeit a year behind schedule due to setbacks from weather and other matters. The school features an expanded library, computer and science labs, a large kitchen aimed at improving use of fresh foods and a large gymnasium doubling as a storm shelter.

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BREEZY POINT

After 27 years, Kathy Millard will retire as deputy clerk for the city of Breezy Point, the Echo Journal reported. Millard began working for the city in 1991, when the government offices were housed in a two-car garage. The Breezy City Council voted to advertise for a replacement for Millard.

CROSBY

A potential bike path along Highway 210 is drawing concern from the Crosby Economic Development Committee, the Crosby-Ironton Courier reported. Former Mayor Joann Lattery addressed the Crosby City Council on behalf of the committee, reading aloud a letter stating the committee's position against adding the bike path. Among the concerns was the loss of parking and increased danger for motorists and bicyclists. Lattery said while the organization recognizes the economic benefits reaped from the influx of bicyclists in town to enjoy the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area, there are alternatives to a bike path along the busy stretch of road that should be explored.

DEERWOOD

A large water leak leading to a $14,000 water bill for the Deerwood Trailer Park was discovered after weeks of searching, the Crosby-Ironton Courier reported. The leak itself was not discovered within the trailer park's connections, but rather in a curb stop hooked up with a nearby home. The owners of the home, who do not live there, did not know water was flowing into their basement at a rate of 2,700 gallons per hour. The owner of the trailer park asked the Deerwood City Council to forgive the expense of the water bill, also noting the park spent about $8,000 on excavation work searching for the leak. The council told Peter Brook to pay for an average water bill while it researched what to do.

HACKENSACK

Get a haircut, help a congregation. This is the plan for a fundraiser set to benefit the Faith Assembly of God Church in Pine River, which was partially destroyed in a fire last month, the Walker Pilot-Independent reported. An event Saturday, June 9, at Total Image Salon in Hackensack dubbed "Cutting for a Cause" will see all proceeds from haircuts go toward helping the church. The haircuts are available 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. The salon will also collect additional at-will donations.

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LITTLE FALLS

A Little Falls woman will serve as a new judge in the 7th Judicial District following an appointment from Gov. Mark Dayton, the Morrison County Record reported. Wetzel will replace Judge Douglas P. Anderson. Prior to her appointment, Wetzel was an attorney at Wetzel Law Firm, where she was a general practitioner. She also served as a neutral mediator and city attorney for Little Falls and Royalton.

A planned otter exhibit at the Pine Grove Zoo in Little Falls hit a snag last month, costing the city an additional $60,000, the Morrison County Record reported. Although the original plan called for two protruding glass tubes allowing visitors to be surrounded by the underwater habitat, the company bidding for the job submitted something quite different. The company, Reynolds Polymer, also stated it could not make the tubes the zoo requested.

Instead, the city council agreed to an alternative plan, running a tunnel through the aquarium.

A native of Little Falls was named Duluth's Police Officer of the Year, the Morrison County Record reported. Morgan Cekalla, a 2004 graduate of Little Falls Community High School, received the honor. He's served on the police department since 2011.

PEQUOT LAKES

After more than a year of negotiations, the Pequot Lakes School Board and Education Minnesota of Pequot Lakes reached an agreement concerning teachers' contracts, the Echo Journal reported. The board voted to approve an agreement with the teachers for the 2017-19 school years. The groups also agreed on those for 2019-21, although the school board will officially vote on those later.

PIERZ

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Digging through 400 pages of documents is not the most ideal way to understand the placement of a sewer system in case of a leak or other emergency. But that's exactly what contractors need to do in the city of Pierz, the Morrison County Record reported. To alleviate this, the Pierz City Council voted to spend $8,500 to map its sewer system.

WADENA COUNTY

Four people filed to challenge Judy Taves for Wadena County auditor-treasurer, the Staples World reported. Taves also filed for re-election to the post after facing scrutiny during the past several months for accusations of creating a hostile work environment.

Taves was restricted from interacting with her office's employees following a grievance filing charging a hostile work environment, the World previously reported. A labor attorney told the county board an investigation determined Judy Taves violated the county's own policies by improperly attempting to fire an employee and not permitting requested items to be added to the county board's agenda. Taves defended herself to the Wadena Pioneer Journal in December, noting she was concerned with the vitriol directed toward her.

Also running for the office are Brian Hagen, Curtis Kreklau, Heather Olson and Stacy Smagacz.

WALKER

The Walker-Hackensack-Akeley School District is home to a woman considered the best in Minnesota at what she does, the Walker Pilot-Independent reported. Sue Piggot was named best school custodian by WCCO-TV. The custodian has worked for the district for 20 years.

-- Compiled by Chelsey Perkins, community editor. Perkins may be reached at 218-855-5874 or chelsey.perkins@brainerddispatch.com . Follow her on Twitter @DispatchChelsey or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dispatchchelsey .

Related Topics: AITKIN COUNTY
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