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The Regional Report: News from around the lakes area - Nov. 19


A new police officer has joined the force in Aitkin, the Aitkin Independent Age reported. Colter Riedel was sworn in Nov. 6 at the Aitkin City Council meeting.


An attempt to take a stance on Enbridge's proposed Line 3 replacement by the Crosslake mayor did not receive enough support from council members, the Echo Journal reported. Mayor Patty Norgaard introduced a resolution supporting an alternative route for the oil pipeline project, which would direct it away from the lakes area. With two voting in support, two against and one member absent, the resolution failed.


New school board members were elected in late October to serve on the Crosslake Community School Board, the Echo Journal reported. Elected were parent member Jeremy Max and teacher members Lisa Steffen, Lance Swanson and Mara Powers.


An ongoing dispute among Mille Lacs County, the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and now state officials over a law enforcement agreement on tribal lands continued this month, the Mille Lacs Messenger reported. The county board tabled an agreement to pay $5,000 toward a mediation effort championed by Gov. Mark Dayton, thereby also tabling a resolution to participate in the mediation. This reaction, the Messenger reported, was in response to a Star Tribune editorial stating the county board's actions were "out of touch."

Commissioner Dave Oslin recommended tabling the issue, citing a "lack of respect the county is getting," the Messenger reported.

An agreement dissolved between the Mille Lacs County Sheriff's Office and the Mille Lacs Tribal Police in 2016, meaning sheriff's deputies have primary legal authority over areas previously patrolled by tribal police.


Lightning struck twice in Onamia, the city council learned last week, the Mille Lacs Messenger reported. City maintenance supervisor Gene Falconer told the council a water well house was struck by lightning for a second time, causing $3,700 in damage to a variable frequency drive. The strike put the well house out of commission for less than a week.


Insurance will cover the loss associated with an online scam that duped the Swanville city clerk, the Morrison County Record reported. Minus a $500 deductible, the city's insurance policy restored the $68,000 lost in the scam, first reported in July.

"I kissed the (insurance) envelope three times before I opened it. I went to the bank and deposited the check into the city's account right away," City Clerk Julie Hollermann was reported saying in the Record.

Hollermann received an email appearing to be from Mayor Sandy Lange instructing her to complete a wire transfer to street repair. Lange never sent the email however, and the clerk wired money to a Bank of America account in Decatur, Ga.


The operating referendum put to voters in the Upsala School District received approval, the Morrison County Record reported. The vote kept the district's funding the same as what it was previously operating under, and guarantees this amount for 10 years. The $930.54 per "adjusted student unit" would not result in an increase to the district's levy.


The honor of School Nurse of the Year for 2017 belongs to Sandra Munson of the Walker-Hackensack-Akeley School, the Walker Pilot-Independent reported. Munson, who's worked for the district since 1992, was selected for the award by her peers in the School Nurse Organization of Minnesota.


A music pavilion will soon be erected near Walker City Hall, following approval by the city council, the Walker Pilot-Independent reported. The Leech Lake Area Arts and Culture Alliance will build the 12-by-20-foot pavilion near an existing rock garden.

-- Compiled by Chelsey Perkins, community editor. Perkins may be reached at 218-855-5874 or Follow her on Twitter @DispatchChelsey or on Facebook at