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Bobber or Sinker: Legislature both praised and scolded

Bobber to the Minnesota state Legislature for approving an exemption to Minnesota Department of Health rules, allowing participants in the Crosslake Days Chili Cook-off and WinterFest SoupFest to prepare their tasty masterpieces off-site. This exemption will allow the contests to return to their former glory and will give the opportunity to other Minnesota cities to resume or begin similar traditions.

Sinker to the Minnesota state Legislature for not more carefully considering an exemption to the minimum wage hike for restaurant service staff. We are an area reliant on tourism and restaurant patronage, and increased food prices may impact tourist’s travel plans and potentially lead to decreased revenues. Servers are some of the best paid restaurant workers when tips are considered, including management, and a freeze on their wages would not have been detrimental.

Sinker to the Pequot Lakes School District for not yet reaching a teacher contract agreement. As of May 2, 86 percent of Minnesota school districts had reached agreements with their teachers, and it’s been 311 days since the last contract ended in Pequot Lakes. We hope an agreement acceptable for both the school board and teachers will be reached at the negotiating table this Monday, May 12.

Bobber to the hundreds of area volunteers who are helping to showcase the Nisswa and Gull Lake areas through the 67th annual Governor’s Fishing Opener this weekend. Kudos to Grand View Lodge, the Nisswa Chamber of Commerce and Brainerd Lakes Chamber, as well as committee chairs and committee members for all their work over the past year to pull off this huge event that brings tourism to the forefront. We acknowledge Gov. Mark Dayton, Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon and other state officials for attending the annual event and realizing its importance to the host communities each year.

Sinker to the news that First National Bank of Walker will close its Jenkins branch and move that beautiful building to Baxter, where it will operate as Lakes State Bank. Jenkins lost its post office several years ago, and is now losing its bank. While the move may make sense from a business perspective, it is not good news for the city of Jenkins.

Bobber to the Life Saver Awards program that recognizes anyone who helps safe a life. Eight such awards were recently doled out in Lake Shore, providing an opportunity for one survivor and her husband to extend their heartfelt thanks to these citizens for their efforts. It was an emotional presentation that left all in attendance feeling good.

Sinker to the weather and those who are ignoring burning restrictions in the area. As of May 6, there have been 22 fires in Crow Wing County and Cass County south of the Chippewa National Forest. Burning restrictions will remain in place until grass and brush greens up.

Bobber to area fire departments for responding quickly to escaped brush fires. Their efforts have prevented serious incidents.

Bobber to the participants in the Good Samaritan Bowl event at Pine River Community Bowl and Jack’s House in Brainerd. The annual event raised a record $80,467.

Bobber to Mother Nature for higher temperatures. The communities of Pine River, Backus and Pequot Lakes have ended their freeze runs necessitated by cold weather, and frozen water lines have begun to thaw.