The Regional Report: Pequot Lakes hires interim superintendent

Plus a retired teacher looks back, Breezy Point gets a new leader, a scavenger hunt kicks off in downtown Crosby, another top official in Mille Lacs County resigns and the food shelf in Pine River gets a facelift.

Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton Superintendent Kurt Stumpf addresses the Pequot Lakes School Board during his interview for the Pequot Lakes interim superintendent position on Monday, June 7. The board voted to offer Stumpf the position. Dan Determan / Echo Journal

A new interim superintendent is at the helm in the Pequot Lake School District following an appointment by the school board, the Echo Journal reported Wednesday, June 9 .

Kurt Stumpf, a Pierz Healy High School graduate and former teacher and coach, will return to the area to serve in the role after two years working as superintendent of the Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton School District.

Stumpf was one of four candidates and during the interview process he made it clear he intends to apply for the permanent position. The appointment comes after former Superintendent Chris Lindholm resigned to accept a superintendent position in the Cook County School District.

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After 45 years teaching music to generations of elementary school students, Chris Nick retired after this school year, the Echo Journal reported Wednesday, June 9 .

For 42 of those years, Nick taught in Pequot Lakes. Referred to as the “matriarch” of Eagle View Elementary by Principal Melissa Hesch, Nick said she’s not yet sure what her next venture will be.


“I truly am waiting for God to push me in the next direction. God opens doors. I believe we are born with gifts. That’s why doing this was meant to be,” Nick told the Echo.

Breezy Point

There’s a new leader in the Breezy Point Police Department, the Echo Journal reported Wednesday, June 9.

The Breezy Point City Council voted unanimously to promote Sgt. Brian Sandell to police chief with the expected retirement of now-former chief Kevin Merschman. Sandell sports a 22-year career with the Breezy Point police, about half of which was spent as a sergeant.

Merschman will remain on the force to assist Sandell with the transition, and Sandell’s sergeant position will be filled upon Merschman’s official retirement.

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A weekly scavenger hunt begins this summer at Crosby businesses, hosted by the Cuyuna Lakes Chamber of Commerce’s Downtown Committee, the Crosby-Ironton Courier reported June 2.

Each week, a figurine of a man riding a bicycle named “Munchie” will be hidden at a different downtown Crosby business. Clues will be posted in the Courier and the C-I Sidewalk Scoop Facebook page. Participants can win prizes throughout the highway construction season.

“Munchie” is named after Myron G. “Munchie” Perpich, a resident who served in the Army during World War II and suffered serious wounds in a German bombing attack. Perpich died in 1988 from an aneurysm, which was partly attributed to his shrapnel wounds.


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Mille Lacs County

Yet another high-profile resignation took place in Mille Lacs County government, the Mille Lacs Messenger reported Wednesday, June 9.

Auditor-Treasurer Eric Bartusch submitted his resignation effective June 25, the third such resignation since January. In January, County Administrator Pat Oman abruptly resigned, and in May, Assistant County Administrator Holly Wilson also resigned.

Bartusch told the Messenger he accepted a position as business services director with the St. Francis School District.

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Pine River

A grocery shopping experience is now part of what the Pine River Food Shelf offers, the Echo Journal reported June 2 .

A column by Kathleen Stephan, a volunteer with the Pine River-Backus Family Center, reported the food shelf achieved “SuperShelf” status. This designation, given by the University of Minnesota Extension, recognizes food shelves meeting a number of qualifications, including offering a larger variety and quantity of foods and showcasing healthy options.

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— Compiled by Chelsey Perkins, community editor. Perkins may be reached at 218-855-5874 or . Follow her on Twitter @DispatchChelsey or on Facebook at .
Chelsey Perkins is the community editor of the Brainerd Dispatch. A lakes area native, Perkins joined the Dispatch staff in 2014. She is the Crow Wing County government beat reporter and the producer and primary host of the "Brainerd Dispatch Minute" podcast.
Reach her at or at 218-855-5874 and find @DispatchChelsey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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