July 30, 2015


Four-Star Rating for ECFE highlights regular board meeting of ISD 2142


The lone board meeting for ISD 2142 in July was held Monday in the district office in Virginia at 5 p.m. with board members hearing several uplifting reports for the district.
DaNeil Sirjord had the biggest news, that the district's Early Childhood/ Family Education program was given a Four-Star Rating, which is the top rating. Sirjord has made this program, plus Learning Readiness and others, one of the top in the area, if not the state. The District Office is festooned with signs denoting the Four-Star rating. She also reported that there were 223 children with 427 parents being served in the ECFE program. A survey was sent out to parents by the Advisory Council for Learning Readiness and Sirjord reported that 96 percent of those sent out were returned, which is an awesome amount.
DaNeil also reported that thanks to the Legislature, the funds for Learning Readiness were doubled from $27,000 to $54,000 from the state. ECFE received a modest increase of $5,000. She also reported that youngsters from surrounding districts were coming to our programs and she contacted their districts asking if they would help pay for this. They agreed. Board Chair Chet Larson remarked to DaNeil, "Your programs are tops," and said he had checked around at what others are doing.
Supt. Steve Sallee reported that the preliminary reports on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) tests looked good, but the results aren't available to the public yet. He also reported he will be giving a State of the District report at each of the five schools this fall. By starting early, the district has the majority of positions filled for the 2015-2016 school year.
Business Manager Kim Johnson gave the monthly financial report which showed cash and investments totaling $8,244,680.91. Total cash was $7,358,464.03, up from $6,948,349.96. There is one payment left for the Cherry construction and there is still $881,213.94 left in that account. The payment will not take that amount, so Johnson said she would report at the next meeting on what can be done with it.
The Health and Safety Policy was approved.
The use of the Cotton School Forest by the Old School Lives for the Ka-Bi-Ka Race was approved.
The budget for Health and Safety was approved at $89,650 for FY 2017. For FY 2015 it was $147,095.84 and for FY 2016 it is $133,925. The big cut was in Physical Hazards which went from a budget of $53,150 for FY 2016 to $2,000 for FY 2017.
Bids for propane came in with Ferrellgas getting the bid for Cherry at $.70 a gallon, Tower-Soudan at $1.199, South Ridge at $0.64 and North Woods at $0.64. Lakes Gas received the bid for Northeast Range at $0.879.
A Memo of Understanding between ISD 2142 and Arrowhead Head Start for services to Learning Readiness Children was approved.
The board approved the contracts for Bus Drivers, Custodians, and Clerical for 2015-2017.
Raises for District Office staff were approved with the average being 1.5 percent.
Meal prices for elementary and high school will go up 10 cents, with elementary rising to $2.25 from $2.15 and high school to $2.55 from $2.45. All others stayed the same.
The resignations of Paige Uggerud, science and chemistry teacher at SR and NER, and Kathleen Recht, elementary teacher at Cherry, were accepted.
Probationary teachers Sarah Joyal, 0.6 FTE Science at SR, Katherine Kebbekus, 0.2 FTE Visual Arts at SR, Corrie Foster-Little, 1.0 FTE Special Ed. at Cherry, and Jack Zirkle, 0.2 FTE Math and 0.3 FTE Phy. Ed. at North Woods, were hired.
Jessica Bialke was given the Dean of Students assignment at South Ridge for 0.1 FTE.
Aaron Kaufenberg, Technology Assistant at NER, Shannon Mattila, Technology Assistant at NW, Christine Kainwo, Indian Ed. Program Assistant at NW, and Debra Olson, Food Service Coordinator, were hired next.
South Ridge assistant basketball coach for girls, Amy Hudspith, had her resignation, accepted.
A leave of absence was granted to North Woods Business Education teacher Todd Olson until he is cleared by his physician to return to work, probably spring or summer of 2016. An unpaid leave of absence was granted to Rachel Latuff, Visual Arts teacher at North Woods. She is also the reigning Miss Minnesota.
The following coaches were also hired:
South Ridge School - Jeremy Polson, Head Cross-Country Coach; Ashley Dahlman, Assistant Cross-Country Coach; Dan Squires Assistant Cross-Country Coach; Brad Olesiak, Head Volleyball Coach; Bridget Paulson, Assistant Volleyball Coach; Amy Hudspith, Assistant Volleyball Coach; Brent Johnson, Head Football Coach; Adam Janke, Assistant Football Coach.
Cherry School - Bill Marinaro, Assistant Football Coach.
Northeast Range School - Ron Marinaro, Assistant Football Coach.
The board then approved the bid of Petersen Drilling for the Cherry well at $43,040. The bus garage for South Ridge will be built by Northland Buildings at a cost of $129,816, with Parsons Town & Country doing the electrical work at $29,657. This project came in under budget.
The board also approved membership in the MSBA at a cost of $6,460 and MREA at a cost of $2,500.
The meeting adjourned at 6:16 p.m.

Sportsmen's Club investigates source of Lake Vermilion calcium

To better understand Lake Vermilion's risk for zebra mussels, the Sportsmen's Club of Lake Vermilion (SCLV) and its partners have begun a systematic search for the source of the moderately high calcium concentration in East Two River, one of five rivers flowing into Lake Vermilion's east basin. Zebra mussels, a very destructive aquatic invasive species, require a moderate or high calcium level for shell growth.
"During routine water sample collection this spring, our lake association volunteers found calcium levels around 25-30 milligrams/liter in East Two River above the Tower Harbor," said Wayne Suoja, SCLV board member and water quality leader. "Subsequent samples in the same area and further downstream confirmed those levels."
Since no historical calcium data are available, the Sportsmen's Club does not know whether these levels are new or long-standing.
The East Two River calcium level is worrisome, because it is well above the 15 mg/l threshold for zebra mussel larvae survival to adulthood and also above the 20-25 mg/l threshold for a reproducing adult population.
Northeastern Minnesota lakes and rivers generally have low calcium levels. Limestone from ancient sea beds, a major source of surface water calcium, was carried south during the last glacial period, leaving low-calcium bedrock at the surface.
Historically, Lake Vermilion's highest calcium levels are about 13 mg/l in the east basin, with concentrations gradually falling off from east to west. These calcium concentrations and Vermilion's alkalinity and pH are all below the range for a viable population of zebra mussels.
The Sportsmen's Club is partnering with the Lake County and North St Louis County Soil and Water Conservation districts to conduct the search. Derrick Passe, Lake County SWCD Rainy River coordinator, is overseeing the calcium water sample collection effort. MPCA and SWCD personnel are able to collect many of the additional calcium samples while they are at traditional river and lake testing locations conducting other water chemistry monitoring.
As a precaution, the SCLV will place substrate samplers in East Two River near the marina to detect any adult zebra mussels as early as possible. The samplers are short sections of PVC pipe which provide the hard attachment surface preferred by adult zebra mussels.
The Sportsmen's Club plans to complete the search phase of this investigation by fall. The organization is hopeful the source of the East Two River calcium can be partially or completely removed.

Sand Lake Shuffle raises bucks for Cancer


The very popular Sand Lake Shuffle, held at Sand Lake, is on for this year. The dates are Aug. 14/15. The Shuffle will start at the Voyageur's Sand Lake Resort in Britt.
There are usually upwards of 600 "shufflers," though some do run the 1/3-mile route. Funds raised are from donations, the sale of luminaries (paper bags with candles in them), plus the raffle of a quilt made by Adrian DeVries. Bob Pernu has donated a cardinal bird carving that will be raffled off, too. A second quilt has been donated by Corky Hill of North Country Quilts.
Come early and partake of the spaghetti dinner from 4 to 6 p.m.
Many who enter this, start out walking at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 14, and don't stop until breakfast at 8 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 15.
There will be 2,000 luminaries (candles) lining the 1/3-mile route. The bags are available at Copy Magic in Virginia.
There are no costs to the organizers with everything donated. Most of the money raised goes to Care Partners, people who care for those with cancer.
Many who enter come as teams with there being as many as 15 on a team. Yeah, they have also been known to dress in costumes.
If you would like to donate to this very worthwhile cause, send checks to Sand Lake Shuffle, P.O. Box 487, Virginia, MN 55792.


Pick up this week's paper for more stories and pictures...

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Letters to the Editor...