The Regional Report: News from around the lakes area - Sept. 3

AITKIN The Aitkin City Council is one member smaller after it accepted the resignation of Molly James, elected last November, the Aitkin Independent Age reported. James is moving outside city limits, which disqualifies her from service. The city ...

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The Aitkin City Council is one member smaller after it accepted the resignation of Molly James, elected last November, the Aitkin Independent Age reported. James is moving outside city limits, which disqualifies her from service. The city is seeking applications for those interested in serving out the remainder of the term.


After two communications companies declined to accept a broadband grant offered by the Aitkin County Board, a third company took up the project to bring broadband to the Wealthwood Township area, the Aitkin Independent Age reported. The grant was declined because it was scaled back from $150,000 to $50,000-an amount that could not meet the needs of a larger original service area, Mille Lacs Energy Co-op and Consolidated Telecommunications Company stated.



Students in the Isle School District will no longer be able to attend an after-school enrichment program, the Mille Lacs Messenger reported. Grant funding for the program-which offered activities and transportation to the Isle Recreation and Education Center, along with open gym time before school-ran out for the upcoming school year. The school board discussed whether to continue the a fee-based program and decided to poll parents at an upcoming open house or with the school's automated calling system.


A $150,000 economic relief grant included in the 2017 jobs bill crafted by the state Legislature can be acquired by just one existing business, the Mille Lacs Messenger reported. Language in the bill was crafted in a way it would apply only to Hunter Winfield's Resort in Isle. Owners of the resort filed a claim against the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in 2015, claiming walleye fishing regulations adversely affected the business. The claim was tossed out by the ways and means committee.

Rep. Sondra Erickson, R-Princeton, told the Messenger in June removal of the claim was upsetting to her, so she "worked another angle" to provide payment through the jobs bill. Although the resort is the only business eligible, Mille Lacs County will still advertise the grant application.


A resident petition is asking Minnesota Power to bury power lines along County Highway 77 as part of an improvement project that's underway, the Echo Journal reported. The Lake Shore City Council Monday adopted a resolution supporting the petition. The power lines are already being relocated as part of the project, and residents point to several recent power outages as the reason for burying the lines.


Residents in Little Falls are frustrated with sewage byproduct from the city's wastewater treatment plant being used as manure, the Morrison County Record reported. The Meyer family lives next door to a farm where the biosolid was applied, and Elizabeth Meyer told the city council it was having a negative impact on them. "The ammonia was thick, it literally took your breath away," the Record reported Meyer said. Public works director Greg Kimman apologized to the residents and noted if the city chose that site again, it likely wouldn't be for several years.



The Morrison County Sheriff's Office is getting a new server after it was learned its current one was no longer automatically downloading dashcam footage from the office's squad cars, the Morrison County Record reported. Sheriff Shawn Larsen told the county board the department was manually downloading footage from SD cards in the dashcams onto a computer. Larsen said they weren't certain all data was transferring and he wasn't sure how much longer they could sustain the practice. The board approved a $42,000 expenditure for a new server, maintenance and new devices to download the footage.


The Mille Lacs Kathio State Park apparently got its name as a result of some very poor handwriting, the Mille Lacs Messenger reported. According to a 1940 book on Minnesota history, "Kathio" is actually an erroneous transcription of the word "Izatys." A French explorer wrote Izatys down on a manuscript in reference to a Dakota village on the shore of Mille Lacs Lake. The "Iz" were mistaken for a "K" and the "ys" as "hio."


The DNR intends to apply herbicide to nuisance cattail bogs within the Mille Lacs Wildlife Management Area, the Mille Lacs Messenger reported. The bogs are clogging open water, which attracts waterfowl and fur-bearing game species. The herbicide, called AquaNeat, uses the same active ingredient (glyphosate) found in RoundUp. It is approved for use in open and flowing water.


Following a change in state law, the city of Pierz will no longer offer electrical rebates to its customers for energy efficient purchases, the Morrison County Record reported. Offered since 2013 due to a state mandate, the rebate cost $10,000 a year to administer and totaled $20,678-mostly to schools and larger businesses. Earlier this year, the Legislature exempted small electrical co-ops from participating in the program.



Senior citizens will no longer be asked to pay for sporting events in the Royalton School District, the Morrison County Record reported. Those age 65 and older can attend any school-sponsored, regular season events for free. This is the first time the district has offered the free admission.


The Staples City Council is seeking proposals for a tourism promotion committee funded through the city's newly implemented lodging tax, the Staples World reported. The request will require a two-year marketing plan, a budget and an estimated timeline for project completion. The funds won't be put to use until January.


A Turner Township supervisor and clerk are facing several felonies for alleged voting irregularities, the Aitkin Independent Age reported. Charges against Supervisor James C. Dixon and clerk Nancy C. Warriner stem from the handling of absentee ballots during a March township election. According to the criminal complaint, Dixon asked Warriner for absentee ballots, which he hand-delivered to 18 alleged voters. Candidates are not allowed to handle anyone's ballots but their own.

Additional investigation showed 12 of these ballots should not have been accepted without the proper witness information. They were also found in the trash, thrown out long before the required 22-month retention period. Dixon was a write-in candidate who defeated a candidate on the ballot by five votes.


A massive gap between the number of families in need of child care in the Wadena area and those who are able to receive it is drawing concern from the West Central Economic Development Association, the Wadena Pioneer Journal reported. Mark Hanson of the association told the Wadena County Board the lack of child care is a contributing factor to the lack of economic growth in the region. An analysis showed 506 children in need of care out of 821 children in the Wadena area. "When you see numbers like that you have to get moving," Hanson told the board.


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

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