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The Regional Report: News from around the lakes area - Dec. 3

AITKIN

• An Aitkin firefighter received recognition recently for his lifesaving efforts in a house fire, the Aitkin Independent Age reported. Volunteer firefighter Kurt Hagestuen helped to save someone from inside a burning home Oct. 30.

• A former Aitkin resident earned second place in a world championship event for karaoke singing, the Aitkin Independent Age reported. Beth Brennan and her partner Mikko Bonilla-Sunsin traveled to Finland to compete in the singing competition. The pair sang "The Prayer" by Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion, and "No More Tears (Enough is Enough)" by Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer. After placing in the Top 6, they sang "When You Believe" by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey.

CROSSLAKE

• A familiar landmark in Crosslake was returned to its original location following construction of a new business in the city, the Echo Journal reported. While a new Dollar General store was erected on the corner of county highways 3 and 36, a historical marker denoting the Horace G. Butterfield homestead was removed. The Crosslake Area Historical Society asked permission to return the sign to the property, and did so in November.

ISLE

• Isle High School students will not be required to complete community service in exchange for their diplomas, the Mille Lacs Messenger reported. The school board revisited the request by Principal Jeremy Schultz to consider a requirement, but instead of approving it, members encouraged Schultz to consider implementing community service within curriculum instead.

LAKE SHORE

• A new city hall is in the works for the city of Lake Shore, the Echo Journal reported. The council agreed to purchase land for the building, which will be built behind the current city hall. Plans call for construction to begin in 2019.

• A request by residents for the burying of power lines along County Highway 77, as part of a reconstruction project, appears to have reached a roadblock, the Echo Journal reported. The city council learned Minnesota Power will not pay for burying the lines itself, and would only install the underground lines if residents along the route paid. This would mean a cost of about $7,000 per family, plus the costs of running a line to each home.

STAPLES

• After initially agreeing to begin a search for a new superintendent, the Staples School Board is now asking its interim superintendent to expand and extend his contract, the Staples World reported. Ron Bratlie has been serving as the school's leader on a part-time basis, but the board cited his strengths and experience in school finance and facilities construction as reasons they wished to keep him on, versus spending time and money on a search. Board members intended to meet with Bratlie to gauge his interest.

WADENA COUNTY

• The auditor/treasurer in Wadena County will continue to be restricted from interacting with her office's employees following a grievance filing charging a hostile work environment, the Staples World reported. A labor attorney told the county board an investigation determined Judy Taves violated the county's own policies by improperly attempting to fire an employee and not permitting requested items to be added to the county board's agenda.

Because Taves is an elected official, the county board cannot discipline her, but can issue an admonishment. She is not permitted to interact with employees without another specified employee. County Engineer Ryan Odden was given authority to hire, supervise, discipline and discharge employees in the department.

-- Compiled by Chelsey Perkins, community editor. Perkins may be reached at 218-855-5874 or chelsey.perkins@brainerddispatch.com. Follow her on Twitter @DispatchChelsey or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dispatchchelsey.

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