Staff Writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper.
- Member for
- 4 years 10 months
Pequot Lakes High School sophomore Natalie Thorson has had a knack for music for much of her life. Though she did not grow up in a particularly musical family, she learned to play the trumpet and violin in elementary school, and has since learned to play "a little bit of everything." That gift will be on display for a larger audience this summer and winter, as she was selected to play trumpet for the Minnesota All-State Symphonic Band.
With the Pequot Lakes School District currently sitting at 164 student-contact days - one short of what is usually the legal mandate - the school board unanimously agreed Monday, April 15, to take advantage of legislation forgiving districts being below the 165-day threshold due to inclement weather. Therefore, as it stands, the district will not add any additional days to the end of the school year.
The Pequot Lakes Patriot speech team finished the season with some hardware, as sophomore Mollie Pierson earned the state title in the discussion category Friday, April 12, at Wayzata High School. "I thought I did pretty well," Pierson said. "My prelims were a little iffy - you never really know how it is going for the judges. I was just happy I finaled, but I definitely was not expecting to win. There were a lot of really good people there, and I was definitely intimidated."
Some individuals struggle to find the motivation to help others. For Pequot Lakes' Chad Nelson, it is second nature. The Pequot Lakes graduate has spent the past 12 years running Insurance Brokers of Minnesota in downtown Pequot Lakes, where he serves clients by helping them find the best deals on insurance across several different companies alongside his wife, Lisa. Before that, the two spent a decade doing the same job in Hibbing.
In its Monday, March 18, meeting, the Pequot Lakes School Board voted unanimously to charge Superintendent Chris Lindholm and Business Manager Heidi Hagen with parameters for the fiscal year 2020 budget. The district is expected to end the current fiscal year with an unrestricted fund balance of $2,809,171, or 16 percent of its operating budget. Assuming an increase of 1.5 percent to the general education aid formula, it is projected to have a general fund revenue amount of $18,456,791. That total increases to $18,529,801 if the general education aid increases by 2 percent.
The Pine River-Backus Tigers saw their top three scorers combine for 42 points, but the team fell to the Nevis Tigers 54-52 in the Section 5A quarterfinals Monday, March 11. "It was an outstanding high school basketball game by two teams who know each other extremely well," PR-B coach John Riewer said. "I really felt in my heart of hearts we were the better team, but they beat us fair and square two out of three times this year."
PARK RAPIDS—Gabby Rainwater led No. 2 seeded Pine River-Backus with 20 points and nine rebounds, but the Tigers fell to the top-seeded Menahga Braves 58-57 in the Subsection 5-1A finals Tuesday, March 5. "We played as hard as we could and so did they," PR-B head coach Randy Schwegel said. "It was a good basketball game up and down ... We aren't going to second-guess ourselves. We were down 10 or 11 in the second half and then we made a great run. I am absolutely proud of the way the girls played."
In a meeting with local shareholders on Thursday, Feb. 21, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources outlined the highlights of Gov. Tim Walz's proposed natural resources budget that would affect the lakes area, including funds combating aquatic invasive species. However, the recent discovery of chronic wasting disease in a wild deer near Merrifield was also a key discussion topic. Newly appointed DNR Commission Sarah Strommen discussed the governor's plan to allocate $4.57 million in general fund dollars to combat CWD.
In its Monday, Feb. 11, meeting, the Pequot Lakes School Board agreed to hire six new staff members for the 2019-20 school year to counter a projected enrollment increase. The board first approved hiring four new teachers - one for language arts, science, math and Spanish - for the middle and high schools. The action passed unanimously. Board members then voted on hiring for two High Reliability Schools coaching positions. The motion passed 6-1, with board member Dena Moody voting against the measure, citing a lack of clarity on the necessity of the two positions.
Snowmobile clubs play a pivotal role in the area during the winter months, primarily in their preparation and grooming of snowmobile trails. However, membership numbers are declining, and few active members are individuals in their 20s or 30s. A new club hopes to ignite a new generation's interest in the activity as the 10,000 Lakes Youth Snowmobile Club was founded in the spring of 2018.