The Regional Report: Splash pad coming to Deerwood; Mille Lacs hospital to expand

DEERWOOD It's official: a splash pad is on its way to Deerwood, the Crosby-Ironton Courier reported. The Deerwood City Council approved placing an order for the equipment Dec. 3, with installation planned in the spring. The estimated cost is $122...

Regional Report graphic.jpg


It's official: a splash pad is on its way to Deerwood, the Crosby-Ironton Courier reported. The Deerwood City Council approved placing an order for the equipment Dec. 3, with installation planned in the spring. The estimated cost is $122,500, of which the city has raised $107,398 with more expected. The council also plans to seek funds through the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board early next year.


A creek feeding the Whitefish Chain is receiving some tender loving care, according to the Echo Journal. Willow Creek, which runs into Upper Whitefish Lake from the north, is the subject of a bank stabilization project led by Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation District. The project seeks to restore the natural buffer and eliminate the need to compensate for erosion on a regular basis, as was the case before the project began.



Paying for road projects with bonds didn't work out for the Lake Shore City Council after voters rejected the proposal in November. Instead, the projects will be funded anyway directly by property owners in the city, the Echo Journal reported. The council approved a 2019 property tax levy that's 27.8 percent higher than the previous year's, an increase of $227,495. Much of this increase is attributable to $200,000 in planned road improvements. Without the option to bond, city officials said they expect to continue levying for road improvements identified in the five-year capital improvement plan-meaning it doesn't appear taxes will return to previous levels in the future.


A planned expansion to the Mille Lacs Health System hospital was recently announced, with fundraising planned in 2019 and construction for 2020, the Mille Lacs Messenger reported. The expansion would include a two-story addition of 17 rooms, a larger emergency department with more privacy, a new kitchen and a new cafeteria.


Another bond referendum might be on its way to lakes area voters, the Echo Journal reported. The Pine River-Backus School Board reviewed a proposal for capital improvements, part of which would include seeking $15.4 million from voters in a May vote. Among the proposed improvements are a $11.06 million performing arts center, $1.24 million to renovate the high school gym, $1.94 million for career and technical education spaces and $533,000 for upgrades to the track and football field. The school board will vote in January on whether to begin the bonding process.

Meanwhile, the board approved a reduced tax levy for property owners in 2019 due to declined enrollment of about 20 students. Part of a school district's levy is determined by a formula based on pupil units, reflecting the enrollment reduction.

The dam deemed obsolete by state officials in Pine River will be replaced, thanks to funding from the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council, the Echo Journal reported. The council agreed to include the city of Pine River in its funding cycle after initially denying its request. The project, which entails the installation of a rock riffle dam with fishway in the aging dam's place, is expected to cost $2.23 million.



One of the state's Ten Outstanding Young Minnesotans calls Staples home, the Staples World reported. Jayme Carlson was named to the list compiled by JCI Minnesota, formerly Minnesota Jaycees. Carlson owns Jemma's Salon in Staples, a business she uses as a platform to reach out to the community, according to her nomination. She includes customers in a "Pay It Forward" service and provides free haircuts to families in need at the Back to School Fair in Staples. Carlson also coaches cheerleading, volunteers at school events and is active in Sunday school at her church.


Dogs running at large have been a pervasive problem in the city of Upsala as of late, and the city council is at a loss with how to deal with it, the Morrison County Record reported. This is in part because the city last year opted out of its contract with the Morrison County Humane Society because the council felt the $650 annual fee was too high. Without a contract, the cost to the city for each dog brought in would be $200. City employees are trying to determine who owns the large dogs to resolve the issue, because people are expressing fear the dogs might attack a child.


The city of Wahkon is now a participant in a case under consideration by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Mille Lacs Messenger reported.

Attorney Gary Leistico of Rinke Noonan Attorneys at Law in St. Cloud presented in November the opportunity to join as a party to an amicus brief, a document filed by anyone who isn't party to a case, but may have an interest. The Wyoming case involves a tribal member, cited for shooting an elk off reservation, who sought to assert rights to hunt in unoccupied lands due to a 19th-century treaty. The 1999 case, Minnesota v. Mille Lacs Band of Chippewa Indians, could play a role as a precedent in Herrera v. Wyoming.

In the brief, Rinke Noonan argued the ruling in the Mille Lacs case failed to recognize the interests of residents, the county, and non-tribal members in its decision-making concerning the management of the lake's resources.

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

What To Read Next
Get Local