Western Itasca Review http://westernitasca.com Wed, 21 Jun 2017 18:00:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 Samantha Hollinday, Jaden Meyer selected as Effie Girls State reps http://westernitasca.com/2017/06/21/samantha-hollinday-jaden-meyer-selected-as-effie-girls-state-reps/ http://westernitasca.com/2017/06/21/samantha-hollinday-jaden-meyer-selected-as-effie-girls-state-reps/#respond Wed, 21 Jun 2017 18:00:30 +0000 http://westernitasca.com/?p=31233 American Legion Auxiliary, Waldron-Flaat Posts 182, of Effie announce the recipients of Girls State honors. The representatives for 2017 are Samantha Hollinday and Jaden Meyer.

Hollinday is involved in cheerleading, drama/theater, speech, dance line, River Watch, golf and Bridges Kinship Mentoring. Following graduation in 2018, she plans to attend college to follow a course in forensic pathology and continue on to med school. She is the daughter of Jennifer Hollinday.

Meyer is involved in cheerleading, drama/theater, speech, dance line, River Watch and Bridges Kinship Mentoring. She plans to attend college after graduation to study psychology and attend med school for psychiatry. She is the daughter of Jillian Haataja and Jeremy Meyer.

American Legion Auxiliary Girls State is a nonpartisan program that teaches young women responsible citizenship and love for God and Country. Since the inception of the Girls State program in 1937, nearly one million young people nationwide have had the opportunity to learn first-hand how their state and local government works. For the past 71 years the interactive program teaches about Minnesota government and how to form city, county and state government offices. They vote for and carry out elected and appointed positions in government. This program gives participants the experience of living together as self-governing citizens with the privileges, rights, and responsibilities of American citizenship, plus gaining knowledge of the American Legion Auxiliary. The theme this year is “Thank a Veteran – All Gave Some, Some Gave All.” Candidates were required to write a short essay on this theme.

This year the girls will have their sessions at Bethel College in St. Paul. High school girls who have completed their junior year spend an intensive week of study, working together as self-governing citizens at auxiliary-sponsored Girls State programs. Participants learn how to participate in the functioning of their state’s government in preparation for their future roles as responsible adult citizens.

Following are the essays that the girls wrote:

To Those Who Serve
By Jaden Meyer

                   Jaden Meyer

America – as our national anthem boasts – is the land of the free and the home of the brave, however, some of us forget where that freedom comes from. To those who have forgotten, it all starts with our veterans – men, women, and everyone in between who risked their lives and dedicated their time to fight for the American people so that we could be free and safe. Whether they were on the front lines, in the nurse’s station, or driving a Humvee like my aunt did, they all played a significant role in the outcome of our country today. So to all of the veterans reading this today, I give you my thanks. Thank you for giving up time with your family back home to fight with your military one. Thank you for putting your life on the line to save others. Thank you for going through hell so we didn’t have to. You are the heart and soul of this country and everything you’ve done for it should be enough proof. But to those who did not make it home, my heart goes out to you and your families. Your name will never be forgotten. It will forever rest on the lips of the broken and the tongues of the grieving. To those who made it home, but with battle scars in hand. To those who have left the battlefield but still have a warzone taking cover in their minds. To those whose memories were just too much for them to bare and have since left us. You are the strongest of us all. You don’t just get to leave. You’re stuck in a trench reliving the worst days of your life over and over again. My aunt Jennifer has PTSD from her time in Iraq. She had to drive over children because they were potential suicide bombers and if they stopped, she would’ve been killed. My beloved aunt is the strongest and most loving person I’ve ever met, and she’s fighting PTSD every day. These residual scars don’t make you weak or broken–they make you stronger. No matter when, how, or if you came home, we thank you for your service to our country. I know we call you veterans, but really we should just call you heroes.

In Your Memory
By Samantha Hollinday

      Samantha Hollinday

When I saw this year’s theme “Thank a Veteran– All Gave Some, Some Gave All” the first thing that came to my mind was my grandpa. He has been such an influential part of my life, being drafted into the Vietnam War he fought for me and everything I have before I was even born. The very life I live is a testament to his and every other veterans struggle on the field. For this I am eternally grateful and thankful. I can’t imagine what my grandpa went through, all I know is what a huge part of my life he has been. He gives everything from stories and jokes to vacations to fixing his pontoon for us. I remember years ago I asked him why he did so much for us and he responded, “I want to give all my kids and grandkids the life I always wanted but never got to have.” I keep these words close to me as a reminder of the life I have and how I got it. After my dad died everything became more difficult, but even in this hard time I still had my grandpa. Whether he knows it or not he filled part of the missing space in my life. My dad used to take my brother and I out golfing, swimming, and hunting and now my grandpa does. I honestly can’t imagine a life where without him in it. My heart goes out to all those who lost someone to war and to those who were there to see it happen. He doesn’t like to talk about his experience, refusing to do so most of the time and I don’t blame him. The other day I watched a movie with him and some other family members called Hacksaw Ridge. It follows the story of Private Desmond Doss who enlisted in WWII, but due to his religion refused to touch a firearm. With a huge struggle and nonstop fighting he was moved on to the front lines as a medic without a single weapon to protect himself. Going up the ridge, no one had faith in him and didn’t want an unarmed soldier alongside them. Doss proved himself on the field being one of the bravest and most kind hearted medics out there, saving each and every injured person he could, even running into the line of fire. In the end when his side was pushed off the ridge and every able soldier retreated, Doss stayed and drug 75 men to safety while hiding from the Japanese. After his brave feat he earned the respect of every soldier, some refusing to go back up without him. As we watched all I could think was, how can someone be so brave and selfless even when looking death in the eye? Glancing at my grandpa and seeing the look in his eye I immediately knew, every soldier has that same bravery for even going out into war, some just don’t show it or even realize they have it. When the movie ended my aunt asked, “Why do you never hear about these people?” That really made me think. Why don’t we hear the stories of all those who served? Who risked or gave their lives for others on such a monumental level? After thinking for a while the only thing I could think of is that war is a taboo. People don’t like to speak of. It’s too painful or horrible to pass on. In reality, that’s why stories should be shared. The stories of those who saw and lived through hell but still continued to fight. Their stories deserve to be known. When I visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery as a kid, I never really knew its significance. Thinking back now to the complete silence enveloping the area that was only broken for the changing of the guard I realize what an important place I was in. The silence was in memory of those forgotten, the air as hushed as all the stories left buried on the battlefield. To all those whose tales are left unsaid or forgotten, I want to say that I remember you. I may not know your name or what you went through, but I remember what you fought for and I remember that you were there. To all who served, suffered, fought, or died I give my thanks to you, our memory, your family for all you sacrificed.



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Deer River City Council hears from White Oak Society and continues in pursuit of funding for ponds http://westernitasca.com/2017/06/21/deer-river-city-council-hears-from-white-oak-society-and-continues-in-pursuit-of-funding-for-ponds/ http://westernitasca.com/2017/06/21/deer-river-city-council-hears-from-white-oak-society-and-continues-in-pursuit-of-funding-for-ponds/#respond Wed, 21 Jun 2017 17:59:53 +0000 http://westernitasca.com/?p=31238 by Louise H. McGregor, staff writer

The Deer River City Council meeting of June 12 was called to order by Mayor Steve Geving. This was followed with the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag and the opening prayer led by Councilman Chris Reed.

Others in attendance at the beginning of this meeting included council members Pat Richards, Barb Serfling and Wade Reed, City Administrator Mark Box, City Engineer Robert Beaver of Short Elliott Hendrickson, Inc., City Police Chief Tammy Perry, Public Utilities Department Foreman Jason Lundquist and several members from the Deer River White Oak Society, Marion Reasoner, Cliff Thompson, Colleen Bishop and Cathleen Reichmuth.

A review of the minutes from the May 22 meeting resulted in corrections made by Richards and C. Reed before a motion was made and approved to accept the amended minutes.

There were a few corrections made to the minutes from the working session meeting of May 23 by Richards and then a motion was made and approved to accept those minutes.

Once a few questions from Richards on the bills were satisfied a motion was made and approved to pay those listed on the June 5 Council Approval Report totaling $36,093.45, and the June 5 City Hall payroll of $14,970.01, plus the mayor and council June 5 payroll of $1,316.47. This motion also authorized interfund loan(s) as needed to cover any negative balance(s).

In the meantime, as the council went about their agenda, several more members of the Deer River White Oak Society had filtered into the council chambers, filling the room to capacity. This group included Steve McNamara and Ben Rial.

A motion was made and approved to move the White Oak Society up on the agenda.

C. Reed, a member of the society, opened for them. He said, “We wanted to come and talk to the city about what we are looking at doing and what some of the issues are that we have going on. We are looking at doing some rebuilding and repairs. We have buildings at the Fur Post that need some work. Rajala’s is willing to give us some lumber to do the repairs, and we have people who are willing to do the work and to donate the money to get it done, but we have an issue with actually doing it because we are leased. We can buy renter’s insurance for the inside of the buildings, but that’s it, so we are kind of stuck with what we can do.

“Next year,” continued C. Reed, “is the White Oak Society’s 30th year at that site. And, between this summer and next summer, we’d like to get everything redone. We’ve had talks with Curt over at the White Oak Antique Tractor Club, and they are kind of in the same spot as we are with their buildings, as both groups have two and a half years left on our current lease. None of us really know if that lease is legal because the state has never acknowledged it. We are trying to figure out how we can move forward with the freedom to get things done, but five-year leases just don’t give us enough time.”

The White Oak Society wanted to know if the city would be willing to go into a longer lease or if they would be interested in deeding the property, or part of it, to the White Oak Society.

This subject, which included the terms of the state grant to build the Great Hall, was discussed.

“It was supposed to go back to us,” said McNamara, who was at that first meeting with the city 32 years ago, “after the period of time stated on the state grant, so we’ve lost, I’d say, 40 of the 80 acres to the city’s ball parks. The rest of the property was supposed to go back to the White Oak Society after the terms of the state grant were met. That’s where our problem sets right now. We need repairs on the buildings and nobody will give us money when we are bound by short term leases and could be gone when those leases are up.”

The council could not give the White Oak Society any answers at this meeting as it was decided that this was a matter for City Attorney Andrew Shaw to research. “We need to get some of this stuff figured out through our lawyer,” said Geving. “We, as a council, are strapped and can’t make a decision on this without his knowledge and advice. We don’t want the White Oak Society and the Rendezvous to go away. We want it to stay here, 30 years is a pretty big tradition in Deer River.”

Box asked if these three questions were what the White Oak Society wanted answers to from Shaw: (1) Could the lease be longer than five years? (2) Does the state have to sign the lease to make it legal? and (3) Will the property ever go back to the White Oak Society?

Richards and W. Reed were concerned that there could be an issue if the land was deeded back to the White Oak Society and they decided to end that organization. They would sell the land and an undesireable business would move in. They suggested that if the land was deeded over to the Society that there would be a stipulation in the deed stating that if the White Oak Society folded, the land would return to the City.

It was decided to have the White Oak Society members, along with Box, set up a meeting with Shaw to review the contract and the state grant to see what was possible and then bring this information back to the council.

Beaver only had a few things for the Engineer’s Report. He said, “They started on the city’s utility portion of the Highway 2 project today (June 12). There was a bit of discussion on this project and the detour issues before they moved on to talk about the city’s upcoming portion of the state’s Highway 6 project (state rebuild will be in 2020), the pond issue and the need to complete the Preliminary Engineering Report for the pond collection system in order to be shovel ready for funding opportunities.

“The city is at the point where it needs to start spending some money,” said Beaver, “engineering-wise to satisfy funding sources.”

Council agreed and a motion was made and approved to have Beaver move forward on preparing the Preliminary Engineering Report for the City of Deer River’s pond collection system.

A motion was then made and approved to accept the Engineering Report.

It was now Lundquist’s turn to present his report for the Public Works Department. His report began with the information that the final spring discharge for the ponds has been completed.

“Firewise has been clearing brush from the south side of the lot at the city’s Moose Beach,” said Lundquist. “And, they will be hauling the brush out weekly.”

Lundquist and the mayor had made the rounds during the past week to spot and list grass blight issues. “Then the notices were delivered too,” said Lundquist. “Most of them have complied, but there is still one that we are waiting to contact, as they live out of state.”

Lundquist then advised the council that the handicap adaptive swing seat for the Deer River Lions Park has been ordered, with many thanks to those who have already donated towards this need and the efforts put in by Serfling to get donations for this project.

“Volunteers taking part in the 1,000 Lakes United Way’s Day of Action will be coming to Deer River on June 21 and one of their projects will be to put in a cement pad for the swing,” said Lundquist.

The line tracing locator and the sewer camera for this department have been ordered. “We sure could have used them last week,” said Lundquist.

Council was informed that the Toy Box at the Lions Park kept getting emptied out and replacements soon disappeared. Lundquist then advised the council that Steve Castellano will be attending a class and be tested for his water license in the upcoming week and that the volunteers with the Day of Action group will probably have re-painting the speed bumps added to their list of projects. That was all that Lundquist had and a motion was made and approved to accept the Public Utilities Report.

Box had several resolutions included in his report and individual motions were made and approved for the those on the following list:

•Resolution 2017-21 recognizing the Bar BQ and Brewfest as a City wide-event.

•Resolution 2017-22 submission to the State of Minnesota recognizing the benefit of the Blueberry Hills Cross Country Trails and offering the city’s support of this important recreational program.

•Resolution 2017-23 accepting the donation of $250 from the Deer River Lions Club to the City of Deer River to be used for the purchase of a swing for those with disabilities.

•Resolution 2017-24 a resolution in support of bonding money for the city’s water and wastewater infrastructure and submitting an application of $3,400,000 in general obligation bonds in 2018 for water and wastewater infrastructure needs.

•Resolution 2017-25 accepting the data practices policy for data subjects for the City of Deer River employees, with one change in the Data Practices Contacts by C. Reed.

Box’s next topic was the Day of Action that was coming to Deer River on June 21. “This is the first time they have included us,” he said, “and it is a pretty good deal for us. The city will supply the materials and they will supply the labor for several projects. This list includes replacement of all six rows of park benches at the ball fields and painting the tool building at that site, repainting the city’s curbs and the majority of the fire hydrants, painting the Deer River Police Department building, the ice rink building and they are doing the concrete slab at the Lions Park for the handicap accessible swing. And, there will be groups going around town handing out informational material. There will be up to about 100 people in town for that event. Also, ASV is bringing in tillers to work up the ground for the community garden site for next year’s planting.”

After this discussion was completed a motion was made and approved to adopt the Itasca County Emergency Plan.

Box then asked for permission to advertise for a part-time Deer River License Bureau clerk. He was asked why there was a need for another clerk. “We have an individual that is going out on maternity leave,” said Box.

A motion was made and approved to allow the placement of an advertisement for a part-time License Bureau clerk.

Box didn’t have much for the Capitol Updates. He said, “The bonding bill went through, but Deer River was not on the receiving end of that. We will try again.”

Council review of the Reconciliation Summary for the period ending April 30, 2017 with the ending balance of $62,710.31 and the Reconciliation Detail of the same ending date resulted in a motion made and approved to accept these reports.

Box let the council know that the audit report should be ready before the next council meeting and he had been told that there were no huge red flags in the report, just minor things.

“That’s all I have,” said Box. Geving asked if anyone had any questions for him. Serfling said, “We were just talking about the ordinance, on the blight issue on the length of grass. I thought that when Wade (Reed) and I worked on it we said that the limit would be eight inches. Wasn’t that followed through or what?” Box let her know that no action had been taken on changing that ordinance.

“So,” said W. Reed, “if we make a motion and vote on that tonight can it be changed?” “You can vote on it,” said Box, “I think that legislation passed which requires a 10-day notice and public hearing on ordinance changes.”

A motion was then made to change the wording on the grass length limit ordinance from 12 inches to eight inches. The motion was seconded and there was unanimous approval.

A motion was then made and approved to accept the Administrator’s Report.

Geving asked Perry if she had anything she wanted to bring up.

“I have a request, actually,” said Perry, “I would like to amend my contract to allow me five more miles and five more minutes response time. Right now I am at eight minutes and 10 miles response time. But, my house is now way too big for me and I would like to buy a smaller home.”

Perry explained more about her situation to the council and answered their questions. “If I was on call,” said Perry, “I would stay in the city limits. I wouldn’t be running home for lunch or anything.”

After the discussion on this request a motion was made and approved to grant Perry’s request and allow the mileage and time response change on her contract. Richards abstained from voting as he is a part-time officer for the Police Department.

A motion was then made and approved to adjourn.

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School board hears how Deer River Boys and Girls Club helps reduce achievement/opportunity gap http://westernitasca.com/2017/06/21/school-board-hears-how-deer-river-boys-and-girls-club-helps-reduce-achievementopportunity-gap/ http://westernitasca.com/2017/06/21/school-board-hears-how-deer-river-boys-and-girls-club-helps-reduce-achievementopportunity-gap/#respond Wed, 21 Jun 2017 17:58:33 +0000 http://westernitasca.com/?p=31240 by Barbara Cameron

The Deer River School Board tackled another full agenda during its first board meeting of the summer on June 12. Directors Travis Anttila and Teresa Larson were away, as were three of the regular contributors. Nevertheless, tag-team presentations by Leech Lake Tribal Chair Faron Jackson, former Boys and Girls Club Board Chairman Mark Olson and Deer River’s Gerald White and Chad Evans held everyone’s attention.

Boys and Girls Club. After School Board Chair Ryan Fox led the room in the flag pledge, Superintendent Matt Grose welcomed the visitors and Pastor Mark Olson began the evening with discussion of what he called “a transformational project to close the achievement/opportunity gap that exists between our students.” Olson, Jackson and Out-of-School Program Coordinator Evans had taken up this very topic at the Boys and Girls Club of America (BGCA) training they had attended together in Florida earlier this year.

Olson shared thought-provoking statistics related to the BGCs, such as that 90 percent of their alumni graduate on time. He thought BGCs could have a positive impact on census data that show only 52 percent of American Indian (AI) and Native Alaskans finish high school.

Olson asked the new tribal chairman to share his story. Jackson introduced himself in his first language, saying his name was North Wind in Ojibwe. He spoke enthusiastically about the Jerry Gamble BGC in North Minneapolis that he had been affiliated with in the early 60s. This is where he participated in sports, had mentors, learned discipline and kept on a good path. “You had to be respectful,” he told the board. “I know our youth today need a lot of involvement by positive people.”

The chairman said he was glad to be a part of this gathering, and he wanted to be supportive of Chad and closing that achievement gap.

Two more stats about that gap from Pastor Olson – Minnesota ranks 45th to 50th in American Indian graduation, and no other state spends less than Minnesota on out-of-class time.

Olson listed five pieces of the BGCA formula for impact:

(1) A safe, positive environment

(2) Fun

(3) Supportive relationships – here he turned to Chad Evans and said, “You’re the poster child for that.”

(4) Opportunities and expectations

(5) Recognition.

“So what’s happening in Deer River?” Olson asked, rhetorically. “What’s happening that we need to tell the state of Minnesota about?” He cited last year’s math scores of AI students, which increased by 24 percent (15 percent above the state’s AI average and less than five percent below the state average for all kids). Also, Native 11th grade math students are outscoring the non-Native students. Reading scores showed similar improvements.

Evans took the floor next to talk about the “whole child” emphasis that is a Deer River school thing, not just a BGC thing. All of this leads to addressing the achievement gap, he said. He brought up issues that arise from poverty, evidenced by the fact that 70 percent of Deer River’s kids are on free/reduced lunch. There are families with alcohol and dependency problems, kids who are hungry, kids who don’t get enough sleep, kids with mental health problems.

He noted that the extended learning day has been part of Deer River’s plan for several years now. BGC is all about social-emotional learning, Evans told listeners. “We’re not the solution to the problem, but we are a piece of the solution,” Evans stated. “What Deer River can do is to be a really good leader and show how this can work really well. Student success is also community success.”

Olson returned with some more demographic information. Only 1.7 percent of Minnesota’s students are American Indian, but in Cass Lake it’s 85.5 percent, in Walker 20.7 percent and in Deer River 31.4 percent. He then presented lots of figures to compare the three districts and the quantification of their achievement gaps in math, reading and science and between Native and non-Native students. The upshot of that information was to show that the most encouraging trends are in Deer River. The four-year Native graduation rate in Deer River has ranged from 71 percent to 79 percent, higher than the statewide 46 to 53 percent rate.

Olson had two requests of Deer River: that the district continue to partner with the BGC of the Leech Lake Area – the funding and the shared space – and that the district enter into a 10-year longitudinal study of students participating in out-of-school activities, especially the BGC experience, preserving data privacy, and track their achievement.

“We still have an issue to address,” Olson said, “but I think what you are doing is worth sharing . . . And if we can quantify that, 50 years from now, when people look back at education trends in Minnesota, somebody’s gonna say, ‘How was it that we solved the achievement gap in Minnesota?’ And they’ll say, ‘The BGC of the Leech Lake Area and the Deer River School District, that’s where it began.’ ”

The board applauded this inspirational message.

Indian education update. Gerald White delivered the update to the board. He spoke on behalf of himself and Lavender Hunt, their cultural advisor, who was unable to be present. He stated that Title VI funding was about $12,000 more than they’d received last year, and that they were increasing the cultural education focus to include more Ojibwe language learning. Each year they increase their student population.

White added his two cents’ worth, saying, “It’s a team effort at Deer River, starting with the leadership.” He noted that typically in public schools there’s very little curriculum of interest to Native students. This year he talked with English teachers about Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. “We’re changing the way we do business,” White said.

Recalling his student time at Deer River, he identified one of his own former English teachers who had had a major positive impact on his personal experience at Deer River, Joyce Styrwoll. “Teachers make a big impact on how they treat Native kids; if they don’t feel it’s fair, they’ll shut down.”

He remarked on the decrease in discipline referrals for Native kids, concluding that equity, starting with the Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) program at King Elementary, has made a difference.

“The school is a culture. How does a kid feel when they walk into the school?” With this, White moved into what would have been Lavender Hunt’s portion of the presentation. “We parent those kids. Sometimes we talk, sometimes we sit.” He mentioned Joe Akre, and how he talks with kids. “It’s not about ‘What’s wrong with you?’ It’s ‘What happened to you, young one?’ ”

Deer River is about change, White continued, not just the school, but the community as well. “That relationship building we work on so hard here lasts a long time.”

With Lavender, White said, the kids carried off the biggest hand drum exhibition in Minnesota and southern Canada this year. They sewed, did beadwork, and raised a lot of money for the hand drum.

White mentioned that Andy Jackson will be starting language classes, and they’ll be doing woodworking, wild rice and video. White said they were modeling the “how-to” video project on the old Foxfire series from Appalachia.

White concluded his remarks with saying how glad he was to be working in Deer River with “our awesome team, our awesome leadership, our school board.”

Superintendent Grose added some perspective. “Fifteen years ago we had one person in Indian education. Now there are six.” He said that Deer River was the first to set up food pantries, and is a leader in the region with mental health services. It was the first district in the area to get after-school transportation back. He said, “The culture here is, kids are first. We keep trying to get better. Good enough’s not good enough.” He reiterated Evans’ remarks about starting with the whole child approach. After this he presented Evans with the national BGCA Native Spirit Award.

At this point in the evening Chairman Jackson and Pastor Olson prepared to leave the meeting. Jackson extended courtesy to every person in the room by going around and shaking their hands before he left.

FJJ construction update. Aaron Kriens reviewed the progress made in the last month, and he expected the summer remodel work, including asbestos abatement, would be completed by the end of June. The cafeteria addition remains at about 98 percent complete, with the kitchen equipment to be going in the first part of July. The exterior concrete and paving have begun.

He said the King School parking lots will be ready by the start of school if the board approves the bid package. (This the board did further along in the agenda.) The base bids plus the alternate choices came from Schwartz, Anderson Brothers and Hawkinson. “There was not a big spread, so we got a good price,” Kriens reported.

Regular business. The directors approved minutes from their May 8 work session on budget, state funding matters and key staff changes with Sue Akre’s retirement, followed by minutes of the regular board meeting that evening, as well as minutes from the May 22 special meeting about the bid for the parking lot and ball field relocation.

Directors also approved May’s financials; commercial leases until 2020 for early childhood space in the new wing at King School by KOOTASCA Community Action and Itasca Area Schools Collaborative (ISD 6070); staying with Northeast Service Co-op/Blue Cross Blue Shield as the health insurance vendor; the revised FY17 and Final FY18 budgets; and the first reading of a policy on unpaid meal charges.

The directors looked at the recommendation from both Grose and Kriens to accept Schwartz as the low bidder with the base bid and alternate #1 (total amount of $361,900) and to reject the separate baseball field relocation bid.

Consent agenda. The school board members approved the consent agenda, which took up 70 pages in the board packet. Among the items on consent were 14 hires, six contract renewals, 24 coach and advisor positions, three resignations, two retirements, one leave request, three reassignments, a long-term sub and three service agreements.

High school principal. Joe Akre offered first readings of the student and teacher handbooks, so no action was taken. He reported on the graduation activities, thanking people for making this a special day for the grads and families.

The Alternative Learning Program is moving ahead; six teachers and two paras have been selected to devote an hour a day to this curriculum.

The pilot college program with Itasca Community College (ICC) is also moving ahead; the target start date is spring 2018. ICC is working on a survey to send out to Deer River residents this summer. “ICC’s all in, we’re all in . . . It fits into the Full Service Community Grant. It’s gonna help us build community, and build a stronger community,” Akre said.

Chad Evans. The out-of-school-programmer reported a successful year with over 200 youth participating. The summer program with North Homes had 58 kids on the first day, and 63 are signed up for the Learning Academy and Camp Discovery the next week.

His written notes from his role with full service community schools include the details from the Marnita’s Table report, and Evans offered to talk about these with any board member who wanted to do that.

Ideas are circulating for ways to engage young kids during the before-school time at King School. Deanna Hron announced from the audience that Amber Serfling and Ryan Christiansen have both received grants to look at “maker spaces” for things kids can do before school.

The meeting adjourned at 7:40. Next month’s regular school board meeting is at 6 p.m. on July 10.

The Deer River School Board heard a lot of news about the Boys and Girls Club in Deer River and the Leech Lake Area at its regular meeting on June 12. Shown walking toward the front of the room is Pastor Mark Olson, who is on the Boys and Girls Club board. Seated in the front row are Leech Lake Tribal Chairman Faron Jackson and his wife Laurel. Visible behind them are Joe Akre, the high school principal, and on the far right, Chad Evans, who is a driving force behind the club in Deer River. Evans received the Spirit Award from the national organization this year. Photo by Barbara Cameron
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Effie Council views pump demonstration, discusses park upkeep http://westernitasca.com/2017/06/21/effie-council-views-pump-demonstration-discusses-park-upkeep/ http://westernitasca.com/2017/06/21/effie-council-views-pump-demonstration-discusses-park-upkeep/#respond Wed, 21 Jun 2017 17:57:42 +0000 http://westernitasca.com/?p=31243 by Rebecca J. Passeri

The Effie City Council met on June 12 for their regular meeting. This month, they got started at 5:30 p.m., as they had scheduled a demonstration of the type of grinder pump that they had approved for purchase at last month’s meeting.

All the council members were present: Lil Longtine, JoAnn Krickhahn, Tim Grady and Bob Cassibo. Also at the table were Mayor Mark Krickhahn and Clerk Carolyn Schmit.

The meeting began with everyone reciting the pledge to the flag. The mayor offered Longtine condolences on the passing of her mother.

The public forum was opened and resident Tom LaMont rose to speak. “I have a couple of things I would like to bring up,” he said. “In February you came up with some ideas of things you wanted to do. One of them was trimming this tree or cutting it down. [Referring to the pine tree near the east entrance of the community building.] I see that hasn’t been touched. The salt shed is still up. Another thing, last April or May I picked up a Christmas wreath that was in front of Lil’s house and brought it down here. Last week I picked up one and leaned it against a telephone pole and you go by it at least four or five times a week. [Speaking to Grady.] It was right across from your house and nobody had picked it up so I hauled that down here. And then you said that you had the dumpster all situated for the year and I couldn’t find anything from any past meetings that anything was ever decided on. But the ball players are NOT picking up their garbage. They are still breaking bottles. They are leaving stuff lay. The guy that mows doesn’t pick anything up; he runs over the bottles and busts them up more – aluminum cans are shredded. That’s more of a prob- lem for any kids running around down there. The trash cans aren’t out by the benches by the sidewalks. I am continually picking up garbage along the sidewalk there. I can just run over it and let it fly, too, but I don’t. I pick it up. And one other thing, for the last six years, I have been taking care of the park, fixing the playground, replacing swings and everything. Lil said she had somebody else that was doing it. Well, right now, you’ve got about five broken boards and you’ve got nails sticking up all over playground equipment. I think, instead of passing all these ordinances and monkeying around, you guys should get down to business and take care of some of the small things that need to be done every year. Like these garbage cans and making sure the park is cleaned up. When the ball players came for their big practice tournament or whatever it was, they swept the dugouts out, swept all the broken glass into a corner and left it lay. So that’s how good they are taking care of it. I was just down there today and looked. None of the playground equipment has been fixed. There’s nails stickin’ up; there’s broken boards and there’s broken glass all around the ball park and in the playground park. I did it before I was on the council and I did it all the time that I was on the council, just because it had to be done. I took care of the garbage cans that are supposed to be by the park benches along the sidewalks – emptied them when they needed emptying – and now they ain’t even out there. I think you should start taking care of some of the small stuff that’s got to be done every year and constantly.”

Mayor Krickhahn thanked LaMont for his time and comments.

The meeting agenda was approved with no changes. The minutes from the May meeting were also approved.

Councilwoman Krickhahn gave a brief update on the recent Bigfork Valley Hospital board meeting, including the start of the Scenic Rivers Clinic expansion and the recent groundbreaking. Schmit gave the clerk’s report which primarly related to training she has been taking to learn the software that the City uses, including time spent with Bigfork City Clerk Angie Storlie. She said they are looking at the possibility of being able to email the sewer bills, accepting credit card payments and look at setting up ACH payments for automatic withdrawals.

Then it was time for the demonstration of the E/One grinder pump. There to present it was Jeff Tyler from Liberty Pumps. He gave a brief explanation and recap of the pump system and how it differs from what they are using at the moment. “What this pump does, of course, is it grinds up the sewage material into small bits and pieces and moves it on down the line to the sewage drain,” he explained. “This pump will not suck everything up and try to move it all at one time. If the system is full – if there is too much pressure in the system, and a pump cannot push out into the system, – it will sit there and idle until the system opens up and it can start pushing it through again. The pump you currently have does not have that option. It just continues to push.”

When he was done talking about the grinder pump, he invited everyone to step outside where he had one set up. The group gathered around and watched as Tyler put various items through the grinder, many of which often cause problems for sewer systems – rubber gloves, feminine products and baby wipes.

The council came back in, took their places again and moved on with the meeting. The first item on the agenda was the renewal of Vern Hawkinson’s waste water contract.

Next on the agenda was approval of a debit card for Clerk Schmit to use for office supplies, with a cap of $2,000. She must stay within budget for supplies, or she will have to come back to the council.

The next agenda item was the mowing contract with Rhodes. “Randy has been contracted to mow the facility here,” said the mayor. “The cost is $5,000 for the season.”

Grady voiced the opinion that Rhodes is good at the job and that it was a good move to contract with him. “We had talked a little bit before about the possibility of buying our own equipment and I’m kind of against that in so much as, if you’ve got a good operator who has respect for the equipment that he is running, I think that’s one thing,” Grady said. “But if you get somebody on there that just doesn’t care, we put out $5,000 to $7,000 for a machine and he hits an iron rod, then the machine is down and then where are we at? I think for now, this is the way to go. But that’s just my own feelings. But I think he does a really good job.”

Councilwoman Krickhahn agreed, as did the mayor.

Grady made the motion to approve the contract with Rhodes for the mowing; Longtine seconded and the mayor asked for those in favor to say so. Longtine, Krickhahn and Grady did. Then he asked Cassibo if he had something to say. He said this: “I don’t know whether to approve or disapprove. Five thousand dollars this year, last year it was $4,000, the year before that it was just short of $4,000. Next year another $5,000.”

Grady: What’s the alternative? Where do you need this to go?

Cassibo: I think – in my opinion – getting our own mower and finding a responsible person. Like you said, I completely agree that if you have a moron on there that doesn’t care, that can be disasterous to us. But at the cost of what we pay every summer to have this mowing done –.

Longtine: But in the past, if you remember last year we had to call that guy three or four times. And he didn’t show up because the weather was bad where he lived and we tried to tell him it was perfect here for mowing.

Cassibo: For the record, I say “Nay.”

LaMont spoke up from his chair in the audience, asking, “Is there a cap on this? Is that the total?”

Mayor Krickhahn: There is no public comment. The public forum has been closed. This is something that we can revisit this fall, Bob, for next year. So if you are going to have any ideas for next year, bring them to the table then so we can discuss them. Maybe get some prices on mowers, or whatever you think might work.

Cassibo: Fair enough.

Next on the agenda was a pay increase for Longtine. She has been cleaning the community center one hour once a month, for which she has been paid $20 per cleaning. The mayor felt that one hour wasn’t enough time to properly clean the facility, so he suggested that she clean it twice a month for two hours each time, for an increased amount of $40 per cleaning. Grady said he could agree with that. Cassibo said he seconded and the mayor called for a vote.

Councilwoman Krickhahn questioned if Grady had made a motion and he said that he had not, but he would. After some confusion, the mayor said the motion passed, even though they did not vote on it.

The council got off the agenda when Longtine said she had a couple more items that she wanted to talk about. After the mayor gave her permission, she named someone who lives on the Scenic Highway who had asked her about using the community tables for her wedding reception coming up in July. After some discussion, Grady suggested that perhaps she should talk to the Bigfork VFW about using their tables. He said they have a lot more tables than Effie does.

The second thing Longtine wanted to talk about was the playground. She said she had recently taken a four-year-old boy there and saw that the park IS in very bad shape. “The children’s swing is not there and the playground DOES need to be repaired again,” she said.

Grady: Don’t we have the Thistledew crew coming down? I think that’s coming up this month.

J. Krickhahn: Yes. We were just up there last week and met with the sergeant and he went through everything that they can and cannot do. They are going to be coming in two weeks. They are going to come twice, actually. In two weeks they will be here for two Saturdays and then again in September.

Mayor Krickhahn said they have already set the dates in September and the crew will be working on fixing up the ice rink. He said that when they come in two weeks, they will be working on repairing the cracks in the tennis court area, fill them with concrete and remove the tennis court poles, making more room to play basketball. “All the labor is going to be for free when the Togo work crew comes down,” he said. “I would like to get the money to buy the wet-set concrete and have it mixed up so we can pour it into those holes.”

More discussion followed. They talked about getting water to the site to mix the cement, possibly using a pressure washer for some of the work, and using a generator to have power for the days the crew is there.

J. Krickhahn said that they might be able to use pull tab money for this project, as that money can only be used for recreational items for children 21 years of age and younger.

The mayor said the Togo crew will also be tilling up the volleyball court and getting that so it is usable. Discussion was held about the possibility of renting a large tiller for them to use for that project. Krickhahn said that she had put a call in to Bigfork High School Principal Scott Patrow to ask if they could donate their used volleyball net for use at the park. The school is going to be getting new nets. She had not heard back from him as of yet.

The final plan was to bring their hoses to hook up to Longtine’s home so they will have water to use when the crew is there.

Longtine brought up the flower barrels around town. J. Krickhahn said that most of the wooden barrels are no longer usable, but plans are still in place to plant some sort of planters to put out.

The mayor estimated that they would need about 25 bags of quick set cement for the park project. Grady made a motion to commit $400 to be used to rent a tiller and to purchase the concrete needed.

J. Krickhahn mentioned the fundraiser tournament that the softball team had recently held. “They will be turning in those proceeds to us for use at the park,” she said. “That might be some money that we can use down the road to get the hoops.”

The council finally got back to the agenda and the next item was the city logo. J. Krickhahn said she thought it would be fun to have a contest to see if someone could come up with a logo for Effie. She said she would put it out on Facebook and include it in the minutes.

The mayor had received an estimate from Goggleye Electric for the grinder pump meters. He said, even though the quote seemed to be quite expensive, it will, in the long run save them money. He suggested that they wouldn’t have to replace all of them at once. They could do one or two at a time, as they could afford them. “This will pay for itself over a period of time,” said Mayor Krickhahn.

The mayor explained that the replacement at some sites will be more expensive than at other sites. Councilwoman Krickhahn wanted to know how they would know the cost of each site, as the estimate that they received was for the entire project. The mayor said that he would ask Goggleye Electric to give them a breakdown per site. Then they would know the cost of each one and could more easily choose which ones they wanted to change out.

After more discussion, the council passed a motion to move ahead with changing out the meters and the mayor would get an itemized quote from the electrician so they can better decide where to start.

Once that was decided, the mayor said that Minnesota Rural Water had been to Effie and inspected all the sewer lines that are connected to the grinder pumps. “There were no leaks,” said Krickhahn. “ We got a good rating. We were concerned that there were cracks in the pipes, but that wasn’t the case. They are going to send me a thumb drive and I will bring in my laptop at the next meeting and we will show the video of the inspection so all the council people will be able to see it. ”

Next on the agenda was an update on the building repairs. Grady said that, at the very least, what needs to be done before next winter is the community building needs to be painted. “But before it gets painted, all of these outer supports that are rotting out will need to be cut back to where they are solid and get new wood in those places,” he said. Put the fascia over it and then paint it. I think if we can do that project this year, my guess is that we are looking at $4,000-$6,000. By next month, I should have bids. I will bring the bids in and we can decide whether or not this City can afford that project this year.”

J. Krickhahn said, “We’re getting quotes, right?”

Both the mayor and Grady said, “Yes.”

“I have had a couple of guys look at this building and I have looked at it and, structurally, I think it is OK,” said Grady. “But to not paint this this year I think is just wrong. We are going to get that much more rot on the siding. That needs to be sealed up.”

J. Krickhahn asked if Dan Brinker would be back to trim the tree more. Grady said he would talk to him about it. She also said, “Just so the rest of the council knows, Tim Johnson, the County Coordinator, is looking to see if there are any grants available that would help with the repair of the building.”

The final items on the agenda were the approval of the bills and the claims. Once that was done, the meeting was adjourned.

The next Effie City Council meeting will be Monday, July 10 at its new time, 6:30 p.m.

Before the June 12 council meeting, the Effie City Council gathered outside the community building to watch a demonstration of the E/One Grinder Pump that they agreed to purchase at the May council meeting. Liberty Pump Representative Jeff Tyler was giving the demonstration at the door. Left to right are council members Tim Grady and Lil Longtine, Mayor Mark Krickhahn with councilwoman JoAnn Krickhahn in front of him, City Clerk Carolyn Schmit and resident Tom LaMont. Councilman Bob Cassibo was inside the building watching the demonstration from there. Photo by Rebecca J. Passeri
Effie Mayor Mark Krickhahn, on the right, assists the representative from Liberty Pumps, Jeff Tyler, during the demonstration of the E/One Grinder Pump. In this instance, Tyler was showing how easily the pump grinds problem items such as rubber gloves and baby wipes. Photo by Rebecca J. Passeri
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Correction http://westernitasca.com/2017/06/21/correction-20/ http://westernitasca.com/2017/06/21/correction-20/#respond Wed, 21 Jun 2017 17:56:52 +0000 http://westernitasca.com/?p=31247 There was an identification error in the June 15 edition of the WIR in the cutline on the front page under the photo for the Bigfork Valley Scenic Rivers Clinic expansion groundbreaking ceremony. The name of Sandy Lyytinen should be just removed and in the cutline under the photo on the bottom of page 3 the third woman from the left should have been identified as Diane Gallagher, Scenic Rivers Health Service board member, not Sandy Lyytinen.

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The Minnesota Farm Woman http://westernitasca.com/2017/06/21/the-minnesota-farm-woman-185/ http://westernitasca.com/2017/06/21/the-minnesota-farm-woman-185/#respond Wed, 21 Jun 2017 17:55:13 +0000 http://westernitasca.com/?p=31249 by Chris Quaal Vinson

Going in the right direction

I got a message from an old friend the other day who asked if I would email her “idiot-proof” directions to our cabin. She thought she might find it by relying on her memory, but the last time she was there she and her two small children (now young adults) slid down the mile-long driveway in the dark, during a downpour complete with lightning and thunder. I’ve been going to that cabin since I was a baby, and never once actually looked at the county or township road numbers. Besides, if she relied on her over-50 memory, she could perhaps get lost in the middle of nowhere, looking for a cabin that is already in the middle of nowhere. Who knows where she might end up? There is one fire number for three driveways, so I’m not quite sure if it is ours or belongs to the neighbor. It is not that I don’t care about these things, but if God forbid there ever were a fire, the nearest volunteer fire department is about 15 miles away, so we know there wouldn’t be much left of a small old cabin and the outhouse next to it. My directions went something like this: “Turn right at that old place where we used to get ice cream bars when we were kids if we didn’t pinch each other and tattle about it on the way there. Go down the road a couple of miles and take a left where that falling-down old farmhouse used to be. The barn is still there but the house isn’t. Drive a few more miles, going up the big hill that Mom got stuck on. (An event that happened in 1967, but the poor woman never heard the end of it.) Go a few miles more, turning right until you get to the spot where that holocaust used to be but now there are a couple of nice lake homes there. (Yes, holocaust. I typed “resort” and Autocorrect decided for some reason it should be “holocaust”, which of course I didn’t notice until I had pushed the send button.) Turn left and follow Oluffson Road past the intersection. Here the road gets a little sketchy, but you should be OK because you only need a 4-wheel drive in the spring when it is really muddy after the snow melts. Bear right at the Y, and we are the driveway immediately on the left. There is a red gate with a hand-painted sign which reads “Crazy as loons” in red, white, and blue. That’s to keep the riffraff out.” No, these are not the real directions to our cabin. (With apologies to Oluf of Oluffson Road and any loons who might be offended at being called crazy.) Not that we don’t like company, but unexpected company just might catch us emerging from the sauna, and I wouldn’t want to scare anyone too badly. My friend said she wasn’t sure she could make it or not, and she never did show up. Either she changed her mind, is lost in the middle of nowhere, or she caught a glimpse of us coming out of the sauna. After all, it was Saturday night, and everyone knows that Saturday is sauna night in northern Minnesota.


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Gene’s Corner http://westernitasca.com/2017/06/21/genes-corner-15/ http://westernitasca.com/2017/06/21/genes-corner-15/#respond Wed, 21 Jun 2017 17:54:20 +0000 http://westernitasca.com/?p=31251 Submitted by Bigfork Resident, Gene Madsen

Over the past few years, I’m amazed how a very poor nation like North Korea has all the technical ability to design their big missile systems.

I think at present China is the only country willing to be friends with North Korea. You think China is our real friend. I don’t think so, otherwise why would China be giving North Korea all of these billions of dollars to put pressure on the USA? You might think at this time China is our big friend. I don’t think so. China sees the USA as a very big competitor, they want to be the big dog in the world. Don’t forget where Russia and China stood when we were at war with North Korea.

Why hasn’t any news organization ever reported on who provides North Korea with all the billions of dollars? They know everything else.

The question now is, what does the USA do to combat their idiot leader?

If I was our leader, I think I would take out all their missile launching systems. We might wait too long, until this idiot dictator launches a big bomb against the west coast of our country.

Gene Madsen

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Olivia Skaja awarded music scholarship http://westernitasca.com/2017/06/21/olivia-skaja-awarded-music-scholarship/ http://westernitasca.com/2017/06/21/olivia-skaja-awarded-music-scholarship/#respond Wed, 21 Jun 2017 17:53:12 +0000 http://westernitasca.com/?p=31253
                   Olivia Skaja

The Friends of Brad Memorial Foundation (FOBMF) has announced that Olivia Skaja of Deer River is one of two recipients of the foundation’s annual scholarship competition for young musicians in rural Northeastern Minnesota.

Olivia was homeschooled and is the daughter of Kevin and Deena Skaja. She has been ranked among the top five fiddlers in Minnesota since age 15. She was the 2016 Minnesota State Old Time Fiddle Champion and took first place in the 2017 Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition. She will pursue violin performance at St. Olaf College.

The other recipient is Briona Currie of Eveleth-Gilbert High School (EGHS). She has been dancing and singing since age 4. She played trumpet in the EGHS band and served as a music teacher at a Bible school. She will attend the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City and hopes to perform on Broadway someday.

Both young women were awarded $750 scholarships to attend college in the fall.

“We’re thrilled to be able to offer scholarships to two young women who are so clearly dedicated to sharing their respective talents through careers involving music performance,” says Troy Rogers, FOBMF president.

The Friends of Brad scholarship is open to high school seniors planning to pursue musical endeavors while attending college. One-time scholarships are open to student musicians residing in rural areas of St. Louis, Itasca, Lake and Cook counties (excluding Duluth). Strong preference is given to students who plan to major in music and pursue music-related careers.

This marks the seventh consecutive year of FOBMF scholarship opportunities. Past recipients include: Ali Juntunen, Deer River; Kelly Heinonen, Virginia; Kari Haaversen, Two Harbors; Samantha Mutchler, Grand Rapids; Steven Solkela, Mesabi East; Ricky “Chip” Sundstrom, Two Harbors; Aaron Wilcox, Virginia; Austin Becicka, Virginia; Ginger Lund, Deer River; Kimberly Rice, Virginia; Haylee Donnelson, Mesabi East; Justin Bohrer, Two Harbors; Byron Klimek, Chisholm; and Alayna Starr, Virginia. Learn more about FOBMF’s talented scholarship recipients: http://friendsofbrad.org/initiatives/scholarship-recipients/

FOBMF was created to honor the memory of Bradley Edward Rozman through programs that cultivate and celebrate young Minnesota musicians. The Foundation administers a number of programs aimed towards this goal, including the music events BradFest and BradtoberFest. FOBMF is a 501(c)(3). For more information or to contribute to the cause, contact info@friendsofbrad.org or visit http://www.friendsofbrad.org.

Rozman lived for music. He discovered a love for drumming at a young age and pursued this passion with vigor for the rest of his life. In the early days, he formed garage bands with musician friends and led the drum line in the Virginia High School marching band. After high school, he went on to study percussion performance at St. Cloud State University and the University of Illinois-Urbana. When he returned to Minnesota after graduate school, Brad became involved in many music-making endeavors in the Duluth area, most notably as drummer for the bands High Volt Rustler and Equal Exchange. Brad’s life was cut short in May 2009 when he died unexpectedly of a seizure.

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Chad Latvala hired as part-time Deer River Police officer http://westernitasca.com/2017/06/21/chad-latvala-hired-as-part-time-deer-river-police-officer/ http://westernitasca.com/2017/06/21/chad-latvala-hired-as-part-time-deer-river-police-officer/#respond Wed, 21 Jun 2017 17:52:21 +0000 http://westernitasca.com/?p=31256 by Louise H. McGregor, staff writer

              Chad Latvala

Chad Latvala, who grew up in Deer River, was officially approved to be hired as a part-time Deer River Police Officer at the Deer River City Council meeting of March 27, contingent upon passing the final required tests.

He attended the Deer River City Council meeting on April 24 with Deer River Police Chief Tammy Perry to let the council know that he had passed the last required tests and to introduce himself to those that did not know him. The council re-affirmed his hire at that meeting.

Latvala, whose parents are Tim and Becky Latvala, graduated from Deer River High School in 2001, joined the Army in 2002 and left home for basic training in 2003. His military service spanned the time from 2003 to 2012. “I was in the regular Army with the 10th Mountain Division for four years,” said Latvala, “and I was in the Hibbing National Guard Unit with the 1/194th CAV Unit for six years. While in the regular army I was stationed in Afghanistan in 2003 and was there for a year, then from 2005 to 2006 I was stationed in Iraq. That was with the regular army. While in the National Guard I was stationed from 2011 to 2012 in Iraq and Kuwait. In between getting stationed overseas I went to Hibbing Community College from 2009 to 2011 taking up law enforcement education. I did this because I wanted to continue to serve people and my country. I also worked at the Itascan Juvenile Center for six years from 2007 to 2012.”

In 2012 Latvala started working at the Children’s Mental Health Services in case management.

“I went to work for the Itasca County Sheriff’s Office in 2014,” said Latvala, “as a full-time jail corrections deputy and I am still there in that position full-time.”

Latvala married his wife Lana (maiden name Carlson, parents Dan and Ofelia Carlson of Bowstring) in June of 2016. They live in the Grand Rapids area and she works at AT&T. She has two children, Devon Kraskey (16) and Kaelyn Kraskey (12).

“Oh,” said Latvala, “I have also been an Itasca County SWAT team member for the past year.”

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Samantha Perry hired as part-time Deer River Police officer http://westernitasca.com/2017/06/21/samantha-perry-hired-as-part-time-deer-river-police-officer/ http://westernitasca.com/2017/06/21/samantha-perry-hired-as-part-time-deer-river-police-officer/#respond Wed, 21 Jun 2017 17:51:33 +0000 http://westernitasca.com/?p=31260 by Louise H. McGregor, staff writer

        Samantha Perry

Samantha Perry, who grew up in Trout Lake Township, was officially approved to be hired as a part-time Deer River Police Officer at the Deer River City Council meeting of March 27, contingent upon passing the final required tests.

These were passed and she attended the May 8 City Council meeting with Deer River Police Chief Tammy Perry (no relation) to introduce herself to the council members she had not met. Chief Perry verified that S. Perry had passed the tests and was ready to be put to work.

S. Perry graduated from Greenway High School in 2011 and then attended Vermillion Community College from 2011 to 2013 where she took up law enforcement. “I decided to get into law enforcement,” said S. Perry, “because I want to help people. I was spurred to this from some family ordeals that happened when I was growing up. That experience made me want to be there to help people.”

After S. Perry graduated from Vermillion she was hired by the Coleraine Police Department in June of 2014. “I worked as a school liaison for one year with that department,” she said, “and I still work at the Coleraine Police Department as a part-time officer.”

S. Perry was hired by the Itasca County Sheriff’s Office as a full-time dispatcher in November of 2016 and continues to work there full time in that position. “I officially began working for the Deer River Police Department in May of 2017,” said S. Perry. “I’ve done ride-alongs with Tammy, Mike (Officer Mike Cowan), and Brian (Officer Brian Castellano). I enjoy being a law enforcement officer and like the challenges it provides. And, I really like it here in Deer River.”

S. Perry, who lives in Bovey, is single, has no children, nor does she have a significant other. Her parents, Pam Perry and Glenn Perry, who are divorced, also live in Bovey.

“I haven’t had any what I would call negative experiences as a law enforcement officer as of yet,” said S. Perry, “but I have come across some people who really don’t like police officers, law enforcement officers. But, we still have our job to do and have to treat them the same way we treat everyone else. They just don’t like you. Besides that I get different treatment and different attitudes from a variety of people because I am a female law enforcement officer. There just aren’t that many of us involved in law enforcement. I just take everything with a grain of salt and deal with things as they come, as I want to make law enforcement my life’s career and I want to stay and live in Itasca County.”

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