July 19, 2018

Two rain/thunder/lightning storms deliver over 5 inches to the Cook area last Wednesday/Thursday morning residents say 'Enough'

Many in the area are ready to wave the white flag to Mother Nature. They have had enough rain. It seems like northeastern Minnesota around Lake Vermilion has had at least one rain/thunderstorm per week in June and July that delivered over five inches of rain. The ground is saturated due to the rain, roads are washed out, basements are filling up with water and, generally, it is a mess.
Residents here are used to inclement weather, though, and they just clean it up. Earl Grano, a supervisor for Beatty Township and the chairman of the Roads Committee, reported they were getting everything back to normal, thanks to Bill Gruska who was busy bringing in gravel. Earl reported he came to one road that was under water and saw a skunk swimming down the middle of it. He also reported that Lake Vermilion was up three inches overnight.
There were some power outages, but the Lake Country Power crews were taking care of them. They have to be getting tired. The St. Louis County Highway Department was also out repairing roads.
The Holm/Francis Golf Tourney scheduled for Vermilion Fairways this weekend has been rescheduled for the end of the month. Vermilion Fairways is soaked, with much of it under water.
The Crescent Supper Club was surrounded by water from the rainstorms and had to close. Water was reported almost seeping in. The road to The Crescent in both directions was also closed due to the rain. By Friday, the water had receded quite a bit.
Hopefully the rain, thunder and lightning will cease for a while. This has been a weird year. The spring season was not much and now the rain, though the temperatures are high. They make for some muggy weather.
Take heart, this will just be another season to be talked about for years to come.
More flood pictures on pages 2-3

58-year-old River Street Bridge goes down for $1.3 million replacement


Everyone has heard the song "London Bridge is coming down." Well, as of Monday, the River Street Bridge over the Littlefork River in Cook is coming down. Thanks to St. Louis County and the Minnesota Department of Transportation Bridge Replacement Program, the city received funding for the $1,300,000 bridge replacement and minor approach work. The bridge was closed last week and demolition started Monday by the Brad Stone Construction Company of Mora, Minn.
The project is planned to be completed by November 2018. A detour route follows Vermilion Drive to County Road 24 to County Road 115/Ashawa Road to River Street North. Local residents know of several ways to get around the detour. Homestead Mills will be affected by the detour, but those wanting to get their Homestead Mills cereals, etc. will find a way. Ohotto Service Center will also be affected, but those using that business know the area by heart.
There have been talks of replacing the bridge for nearly 20 years. At one time there was a big effort to replace the bridge with a covered one. Replacing the bridge will cause some local problems, but a safe bridge will be worth it.
The detour will be in place until the bridge is replaced.

Greenwood Town Board of Supervisors adjusts clerk's election judge slate


Over the past decade Ruth DeLuca has served as an election judge many times. The only elections where she has not served was when her husband, Carmen DeLuca was a candidate for a board seat. This year Greenwood Township Clerk Sue Drobac presented the town board with a list of nine judges, for the upcoming August 14 Minnesota Primary and November general election, placing Ms. DeLuca as an alternate judge for a total of 10. Ms. DeLuca appeared at the Tuesday July 10 Greenwood Town board meeting to ask why she was being removed as a judge. She recounted her record of service and training and questioned why she was removed as a judge.
Since the two botched spring election recounts conducted by Clerk Drobac, and the then necessary, successful and very expensive third recount conducted by the township attorney, there remains a significant, yet unanswered question of "why?"
There has been plenty of gossip in the township about the validity of that March election process and how it was conducted. The slate of judges appears mostly, as in the past, however with the proposed removal of Ms. DeLuca as a judge several citizens are wondering if her removal is some sort of political payback or an attempt to further keep the election process held within a small special interest group.
While the members of the town board mostly refrain from direct response on comments made by the public and simply listen without reaction, Clerk Drobac chose to respond. "There is no seniority," she said.
The public comments continued with the same five or six people reiterating the same questions and complaints, meeting after meeting, over and over again. If you have ever been to a Greenwood Town Board meeting over the past couple of years you already pretty much have heard it all. "We don't want water or anything new in the township. We want to micro-manage the fire department. We know better, blah, blah & blah."
Three worthy comments were also received by the board. Pam Lundstrom recounted her activities on the upcoming 40th anniversary celebration and thanked the many volunteers who worked on representing Greenwood with a float in the recent Tower 4th of July parade. Jet Galonski reported that he had met some families enjoying the new playground equipment and that they were very happy with its addition to the township campus and Steve Rodgers commented that the recycling canisters and resulting garbage accumulation might well impact helicopter-ambulance transfer and asked the town board to consider the canister issues with their mind on safety. Rick Stoehr read a litany of concerns, too many for me to understand and report on here. He said that he would supply the town clerk with a copy for township records and readers are encouraged to seek a copy at the town hall if they are interested in reading them.
The 45 minutes of public comments ultimately came to their end and the town board proceeded with the business before it, but let's start near the end of the agenda and conclude the board actions on election judges. Township Chairman Mike Ralston submitted the clerk's list or recommendations and placed the list before the town board for its approval. He asked if the names needed to be presented and approved individually and the clerk assured him that they did not need to be handled that way and that the board could approve the entire group. The chairman's motion, however, died without anyone noting support.
"I think that Ruth should continue as an election judge," Ralston said, noting her experience and tenure.
Clerk Drobac took umbrage with this saying, "The judges are appointed by the clerk, and the voters made me clerk."
"And are approved by the board," Ralston reminded her, "I moved to approve your list, but the board did not support it."
Drobac reported that she just wanted to train new judges and was proposing Julie Stoehr, a first time judge, to widen the pool of trained judges. (Election Judges do require to be retrained for every election).
Drobac continued voicing her objections "in my opinion . . .", however Ralston cut her off stating, "your opinion did not pass the board."
A motion was made to approve the list of election judges, changing the status of Ms. DeLuca from "alternate judge" to that of a primary judge with the board instructed to pick a different alternate. "That was her choice," Ralston assured her. This motion received full support and the board all voted to approve the list as amended with the exception of Supervisor DeLuca who noted that he, properly, was abstaining because Ms. DeLuca was on the list.
Dr. John Bassing in a apparent attempt to disrupt the board proceedings from the audience quested if the board was "allowed" to approve the names as a group. Ralston shut this line of questioning down by reminding him that the clerk clarified the process at the onset of the agenda item and moved towards the end of his agenda by calling for fire department, fire training and supervisor's reports.

In other action, the Greenwood Town Board of Supervisors:
· Held a lengthy discussion on problems created in hosting the recycling canisters. It is clear the town board wants to be accommodating to this need in the township but the resulting issues from user neglect and scofflaws is jeopardizing this service for everyone. People should be mindful that this is a service provided  by the Greenwood Town Board, but it is not Greenwood's obligation. Garbage and recycling is a function of St. Louis County Solid Waste and the township will attempt to find solutions to the issues plaguing the town hall canister site through Labor Day weekend and will work with the county on new ideas
· Tabled further discussion on installing security cameras as a means to eliminate garbage accumulation at the recycling canisters until a later meeting. It is expected that cameras would cost in excess of $4,000 and create additional main-tenance work
· Approved June bills totaling $12,039.99 and one July bill of $100
· Tabled discussion on cleaning the town hall kitchen stove hood system until next month before the board decided if it wanted to spend the $500 to have it cleaned
· Learned that the township currently has $486.16 in capital credits with Lake Country Power
· Approved new purchase order procedures for the township
· Set the annual polling place as: Greenwood Town Hall, 3000 County Road 77, Tower, MN  55790
· Transferred the annual $2,000 commitment to the Greenwood Trail maintenance account
· Received and accepted only one quote for propane at $1.189 per gallon for the first 5,000 gallons and twenty percent over market rates for additional product. Attempting to determine why the township only received one quotation Supervisor Paul Skubic asked if the call for quotes was published publicly. Clerk Drobac reported the she did not publish but only contacted suppliers
· Determined that it would seek fill to level the skating rink
· Approved the Treasurer's report noting June fund balance totaling $655,080.59
· Approved minutes of the May 17 Board of Appeal Meeting, June 12 Regular Town Board of Supervisors meeting and its June 19 special meeting
· Learned, in a report from Chairman Ralston, that the fire department has completed and supplied its inventory, however, to date he has not received any inventory from the town clerk.


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

Christine Schlotec brings business acumen to race for St. Louis County Commissioner District 4

Drug Task Force executes search warrant at Black Bear Cafe

Homicide suspect apprehended

Letters to the Editor...