Staff Writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper
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With only a handful of upperclassmen signed up for the upcoming season, Pine River-Backus High School coaches and officials have decided not to field a varsity football team this fall. "We are low on numbers," PRB activities director Randy Schwegel said. "We have 22 kids or so. We have only one senior and we have 11 ninth-graders. For the safety of those kids—you know, putting a ninth-grader out there against seniors—we didn't feel it was a wise decision."
In its Monday, Aug. 6, meeting, the Breezy Point City Council unanimously approved a development agreement with Whitebirch, Inc. for the North Star Center. The plan for the project is to develop 40 acres of land near the Breezy Point Sports Center (hockey arena), which would include a new Cuyuna Regional Medical Center facility and GuidePoint Pharmacy. The development agreement approved Monday address public improvements such as sanitary sewer, future nearby road improvements and who will be required to pay for them.
Pine River-Backus Elementary School Principal Rick Aulie recently made his way into the record books. One week ago, he finished the par-5 fourth hole at Whitebirch Golf Course in 1 minute, 39.20 seconds to best the Guinness World Record for the fastest hole of golf by 11 seconds. That is an interesting accomplishment. I would never have thought to run between my shots out on the golf course. I still don't think I would ever do it, but it is very entertaining to watch Aulie achieve this record and my hat is off to him.
Area fire departments were called to Wild Acres Hunting Club Game Farm on Wednesday morning, Aug. 1, to extinguish a barn fire on the southern part of the property. The cause of the fire is currently unknown and will be investigated. "At this point, nobody saw anything," Ideal Township Fire Chief Ryan Schultz said. "The workers showed up for work around 8 a.m., and there was smoke coming out of each end of the building when they pulled up." Schultz said the building is a total loss. Roughly 2,000 ducks were lost in the fire.
In a special meeting Monday, July 23, the Breezy Point City Council continued discussions on the city's tax-forfeited lots, ultimately agreeing to have city administrator Patrick Wussow draft a motion for the Aug. 6 meeting to authorize Crow Wing County to waive the special assessments and have the city reassess lots for a period of 20 years. Mayor Tom Lillehei said in April that the city has 462 tax-forfeited lots - hundreds more than any nearby city. The city has nearly $130,000 in special assessments tied into those properties.
The Vikings' training camp is essentially underway. Rookies reported two days ago, and veterans will be there Saturday morning.
Pequot Lakes educators are now under contract through 2021. The Pequot Lakes School Board unanimously approved the second of two master agreements with Education Minnesota Pequot Lakes at its Monday, July 16, meeting. This agreement covers teachers' contracts for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years. The first agreement was approved at the board's June meeting.
The Breezy Point North Stars' season will not begin for several more weeks, but the team is looking to the community for help. The North American Tier-3 Hockey League team has a roster composed of young athletes between the ages of 16 and 20, many of whom are not from the area and spend a large portion of the year living in the dorms next to the Breezy Point Arena. In an effort to engrain the athletes into the community, and to have them socialize with individuals other than their teammates, the organization is looking for mentor families to interact with them.
The Major League Baseball All-Star Game rosters were selected over the weekend. That's usually something I enjoy, even though my beloved Twins rarely have more than one athlete truly deserving of a spot on the American League team. Sure, Torii Hunter and Johan Santana would be a virtual lock for a roster spot in their heyday, as would Joe Nathan and a younger Joe Mauer. In recent years, however, it seems one random Twin would be just good enough to slip into consideration.
Reid Pierzinski finished his high school track career on the highest of notes, and now he is looking to start a whole new chapter. The recent Pequot Lakes graduate managed to finish first in the 110 hurdles, 300 hurdles and 200-meter dash, as well as seventh in the triple jump, accruing enough points to win the state team title all by himself at the Class A meet on Saturday, June 9.