2015 • • • Year in Review

Compiled by Louise H. McGregor, staff writer

JANUARY—The Deer River City Council learns of the state’s interest in the Deer/Moose Lake and municipal forest properties. Bigfork Valley announced the closing of its Marcell Clinic. The Deer River Community Café to benefit from the Food Pantry Holiday Makeover Challenge hosted by Wal-Mart. Lake Country Power’s Operation Round Up® gives out more than $53,000 in grants. Minnesota Department of Health announced that norovirus hitting Minnesota residents hard this season. Itasca County 4-H Horse Project members prepared fleece blankets for the Itasca Area Crisis Nursery. Two Itasca County 4-H LEGO robotics teams participated in the MN First Lego League’s Regional Qualifying tournament at the Northome School. New college grads offered job search advice by the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources MinnAqua program wins the 2014 Aquatic Resources Education Association Outstanding Aquatic Education Program Award. Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson is recommending that the Minnesota Legislature considers updating state laws to provide better transparency for student loans. Bigfork Valley held a grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony for Aspen Circle, the facility’s new memory care unit. A dedication ceremony was held to rename the Deer River ski trail as the Robin Baker Blueberry Hills Cross Country Ski Trails. The Deer River City Council learns more about the plans for a community center and provided input on what they felt were the most important community needs. Emery James Jenkins appeared in Itasca County District Court and entered a not guilty plea to the charge of Murder in the Second Degree. Essentia Health awarded a United States Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Services Distance Learning Telemedicine Program grant to expand Telehealth network. Deer River Warrior basketball players Alaska Marleau and Noelle Grose selected for the Aitkin Christmas tournament “All-Tournament Teams.” A Minnesota Department of Transportation study identifies locations where highway/rail grade crossings can be improved for safety reasons with increase in oil transports. According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), only 1 of 500 Mississippi River water samples tested was positive for the presence of bighead carp. Information was also released by them that announced that there was no chronic wasting disease detected in hunter-harvested in the southeastern Minnesota during the 2014 firearms season. The DNR also held more than 50 meetings to get public input on a wide range of subjects in order to improve habitats for people and animals. The Deer River New Year’s baby, Kailee Furman-Moffitt was born at the Essentia Health-Deer River Hospital on Jan. 10. Bigfork Valley Hospital Board of Directors welcomes new members, offers Aaron Saude the CEO position and hires John Licke as the board’s attorney. WIR readers get to revisit some of the happenings during the past year with the Year in Review information. After a steady decrease in the price of crude oil, the cost of unleaded gas in Deer River finally dropped to $1.999. The University of Wisconsin-Madison named Samuel Dorry of Deer River to the Dean’s List for the fall semester of the 2014-2015 academic year. The Minnesota Department of Health advises Minnesotans to stay home when fighting influenza and other viruses. Matt Zimmer offers readers advice on dealing with financial risk in healthcare. The Deer River Chamber of Commerce learns that activity at the chamber website has been low and discusses upcoming BBQ and BrewFest. The U. S. Fish And Wildlife Service announced that the monarch butterfly will receive a status review under the Endangered Species Act. Governor Mark Dayton announces the launch of TransparencyMN website so Minnesotans can see how their tax dollars are spent. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announces that winter trout fishing is open for the first time on 24 lakes. Carl Williams takes over as the Deer River Warrior boys basketball coach, replacing Chuck Isaacs. Warrior team members Aaron Drotts and Kole Schultz chosen to the Aitkin Holiday Tournament All Tournament Team and Tyrese Jackson chosen for the All Tournament Team at the Aitkin Holiday B-Squad Tournament. The Vets Club Honor Guard held a hot roast pork sandwich fundraiser at the Deer River Vets Club. Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota warns consumers that scammers are growing more ambitious and coming up with new schemes. Deer River City Council learns that municipal forest now free and clear of restrictions and welcomes Wade Reed as the new council member. Bigfork City Council re-elected officials sworn into office, but missing newly elected council member Eric Storlie was not at the meeting. Effie City Council has a short organizational meeting for the first one of the year. Independent School District 317 Board welcomes new member, Rose Villeneuve, and new business manager Jennifer Drotts. Deer River High School physical education teacher and volleyball coach Connie Boyum-Erzar selected to receive the 2015 Breaking Barriers Award from the Minnesota Coalition of Women in Athletic Leadership. Blandin Foundation announced that they have up to $950,000 available in need-based grants for Itasca area students seeking higher education. On the Fall Semester Dean’s List at Gustavus Adolphus College of St. Peter are Kerrie Humble, Emily Rudquist and Maggie Swanson, all of Deer River. On the Itasca Community College 2014 Fall Semester Dean’s List are area students from Deer River, Bigfork, Marcell, Effie and Talmoon. Those students are Maggie Anderson, Patrick Evans, Hannah Salmela, Aaron Wicklund, Lauren Brophy, Katie Fieldsend, Madison Fritz, Jeremy Gotchie, Henry Hellmann, Melanie Isaacs, Colton McCarroll, Haylee McCarroll, Michael Nieznanski, Therese Remmers, Jace Swanson, Isaac Venezio, Mathew Wright, Melissa Houg, Cassidy Moehling, Tyler Scherf, Cassidy Villeneuve, Jonathon White and Kimberly Wilhelm. Local recent Tanks of Thanks® free fuel recipients were Marcia Parks, Ron Henke, Michael and Joan Issacs. A reprinted article by the Herald-Review by Nathan Bergstedt lets area residents know that possible sighting of Bigfoot by the Maple Ridge Resort in Bigfork to be featured on television. Kaye Belle Ikola retired from the Deer River Township board as their treasurer after 44 1/2 years of service to the community. Two different vehicles, at two different locations, broke through the ice on Leech Lake and the Cass County Sheriff’s Office and Walker Fire Department emergency crew were called out to rescue them. Even with the weather not cooperating with an ample amount of snow, the Deer River Warrior High School ski team season gets underway. An oversize load that was stuck in Duluth for several days passes through Deer River in a few minutes. The Deer River Warrior girls basketball team defeats Cass Lake with a score of 72-64. The Itasca County Board of Commissioners elects Davin Tinquist of District 1 as the board chair and learns more about the presence of radon in area residents’ homes. Deer River National Honor Society members set up the books for the sale at Essentia Health-Deer River that is organized by the Deer River Health Care Volunteers to help fund the scholarships they award. Russell L. Johannsen, who served as the Itasca County Sheriff for four terms from 1975 to 1991, died at the age of 82. The Office of Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson warns residents that scam artists are using technologies that enables them to show the individual’s own phone number on the caller ID. Nutrition Assistance Program for Seniors (NAPS) announces that there is a distribution site in Deer River for this free food program. The Department of Natural Resources announces more restrictive walleye regulations for Upper Red Lake. The Itasca Water Legacy Partnership was awarded the Conservation Cooperator Certificate of Merit by the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced that the first egg has been laid by the eagle featured in the DNR eagle cam. Emery James Jenkins of Deer River was indicted by the Itasca County Grand Jury for the charges connected with the death of his son. The Marcell Family Center’s Winter Frolic drew generations of families to this annual event. Street light Christmas decorations finally came down in Deer River. Letters to “Open Forum” came from Sheila R. Maki of Deer River, who wrote in regard to the Community Café, and Gene Madsen of Bigfork, who is concerned about an ending for the Fort Hood shooting. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes a special rule to focus protections for the northern long-eared bat. Members of the Deer River Vets Club Honor Guard held their annual bullhead feed at the Deer River Vets Club. Paul Bunyan Communications encouraged area high school juniors to enter their essay contest for a chance to attend the 2015 Youth Tour in Washington, D.C. In the college news are Mary Crystal Goggleye of Inger, who started coursework at Fort Lewis College and several area students that made the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Dean’s List for the Fall Semester 2014. Those students are Kathrin G. Dullard of Bigfork and Kaleb R. Plate and Michaela M. Salmela of Deer River, Tristan T. Williams of Squaw Lake and Sean Shearen of Talmoon. A benefit was held for Krissy Ross, who lost her home and two friends in a fire, at the Deer River Vets Club. Deer River High School Warrior girls basketball team lose to Eveleth 54-28 but emerged victorious against Chisholm with a score of 65-51. Cyrus M. King Elementary School students awarded certificates for perfect attendance and celebrate their efforts with horse-drawn wagon rides. Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota offer some helpful tips for the public as tax season gets underway. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announces new special angling regulations on nearly three dozen bodies of water. KOOTASCA Community Action reminds area residents that there is a penalty for those not enrolled in a health insurance plan, as required under the Affordable Care Act, and offer free and confidential help. Get Fit Itasca partnered with Parents in Education Night to offer youngsters and adults fun and healthy activities and food. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) informs area residents on program benefits besides food.The content you are trying to access is only available to members. Sorry.

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