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The Regional Report: Crosby moves ahead with planned November school referendum

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More than a quarter of positions remain unfilled in the Aitkin County Highway Department, an issue contributing to delays in planned construction projects for 2019-20, the Aitkin Independent Age reported Wednesday, May 22. County Engineer John Welle told the county board the department is having trouble keeping employees beyond their training period. Welle attributed this to the county's inability to compete with the Minnesota Department of Transportation when it comes to wages.


Cass County is now home to a bicycle fleet, the Walker Pilot Independent reported Wednesday, May 22. The fleet consists of 30 bicycles and will be housed at Pine River-Backus School, where physical education teachers and others who work with youths will have the opportunity to borrow the bikes. The bicycles are adjustable for rider size, meaning children of several grade levels may use them comfortably. There is also an adaptive side-by-side bicycle for children with special needs.


More communities will likely head to the polls to decide whether to support increased taxes for school funding. The Crosby-Ironton School Board voted to proceed with planning for a November bond referendum election the Crosby-Ironton Courier reported Wednesday, May 22. Although the vote was unanimous, school board members expressed concern over the cost of the proposed facility upgrades, projected at $29 million. The aim of the referendum, members said, is to allow for bonding dollars that would go toward facility maintenance, utilizing space, maximizing public use of facilities and outdoor space improvements at both the elementary and high schools.


The filming of a horror movie is underway at Sweetwater Resort in Cushing, the Morrison County Record reported Sunday, May 19. Developed by Minnesota natives Wesley Johnson and Blair Smith, "The Curse of Raven Heights" is the first feature film for the pair. It follows a family visiting a dead aunt's campground, only to face the consequences of the aunt's proclivity for the supernatural.


More than half a million dollars is headed to the Cuyuna Range from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, the Crosby-Ironton Courier reported Wednesday, May 22. The state office awarded the city of Ironton $543,625 through its Small Cities grant program. The latest round of funding adds to previous funding received by the city through the program, totaling more than $2 million since 2017. The grant will support the rehabilitation of five single-family homes, two commercial properties, eight rental single-family properties and public facilities. Resurfacing the water tower and rehabilitating city wells are on the docket for the public facilities portion of the funding.


A former city council member was one of two people given a permanent order to keep them out of Converse Park in Motley, the Staples World reported Wednesday, May 22. The unidentified people were caught on video tampering with security cameras at the park, according to Motley Police Chief Jason Borash. When confronted, Borash said the people involved said they were helping to readjust the cameras for police.

Electric vehicle drivers should have a place to charge up in Motley by the end of the month, the Staples World reported Wednesday, May 22. The newspaper previously reported the station, which will be located at BRICKS Travel Center, is part of Minnesota Power's plan to build a charging network in northeastern Minnesota. Powered by a 5-kilowatt solar array, the stations will include a 50-kilowatt DC fast charger and a Level 2 station. A Level 2 station will provide 240 volts, equivalent to what an electric dryer or oven uses, according to nonprofit advocacy group Plug In America.


Should participating in a school sport count toward a student's physical education requirements for graduation? The Swanville School District is contemplating this, according to a Sunday, May 19, article in the Morrison County Record. Because of how the day is structured for high schoolers, many students may have to quit band for a year to complete the phy ed requirement, and students in college classes run into scheduling issues as well. The school board tabled the matter but may take it up should another solution not be found.


Fearing nudity or vandalism, the Wahkon City Council reversed a decision to place a sign at Bare Ass Beach, the Mille Lacs Messenger reported Wednesday, May 22. The public beach is east of Wahkon on Mille Lacs Lake's Wahkon Bay, and on the Mille Lacs Area Tourism website, it's noted clothing is required. Council member Tony Button said he was concerned about people using the sign as an excuse to sunbathe in the buff. He said he knew of a park with a similar name where patrons began playing topless volleyball, believing the name gave them permission. With these concerns in mind, the council voted unanimously not to place a sign there.

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