Staff Writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper
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The Pequot Lakes School Board voted to approve a secondary staffing modification for the 2018-19 school year, replacing a paraprofessional position with another full-time licensed teacher. The current paraprofessional oversees the high school's online "Odyssey" learning. That position will be replaced with a teacher - whose work day would begin later in the morning and end later in the afternoon - in charge of overseeing after-school credit recovery programs.
Senior guard Nick Ackerman was named Most Valuable Player for the Pine River-Backus boys basketball team at its season-end banquet on Thursday, April 12. "Nick is the best leader and captain I have ever coached," coach John Riewer said. "I mean that ... Because of that leadership, we won the games we were supposed to win. I have learned a lot from him, and I hope he has learned a lot from me." Ackerman led the team in scoring, rebounds and steals en route to a 15-13 overall record and a 7-7 conference record. He was also the lone all-conference athlete for the Tigers.
The Pequot Lakes Patriot girls track and field team led the pack of 29 teams to claim first place at the Beaver Relays indoor meet at Bemidji State University on Thursday, April 12. They scored 91.5 points overall. The Patriot boys team finished third overall with a score of 51, led by senior Reid Pierzinski's four first-place finishes. The Pine River-Backus boys team finished 24th overall at the meet.
Twelve Pequot Lakes Patriot athletes signed letters of intent on Wednesday, April 11, to take part in college athletics beginning in the fall. Those 12 make up the largest group of senior committees in school history. Sisters Kristin and Karli Skog will both be competing at the next level. Karli has committed to play basketball for Jamestown College in Jamestown, N.D. Coaches already sent her workout programs to help her better prepare for the increased competition.
Last year around this time, I wrote an editorial claiming that spring is an overrated season, and I stand by that sentiment. Sure, the snow melts and the temperatures rise, but we have to deal with mud, weather peaks and valleys, allergies and taxes. Absolutely none of that is particularly enjoyable.
The Pequot Lakes Patriots boys basketball team hosted its year-end banquet on Tuesday, April 3, where senior forward Zach Sjoblad was named team MVP. Sjoblad finished with 397 points (16.5 points per game), 156 rebounds (6.5), 60 assists (2.5) and 48 steals (2.0). He shot 63.7 percent (156-253) from the field and 68 percent (84-124) from the line for a Patriots team that finished 17-11 overall, ending with a defeat at the hands of Barnum in the Section 7-2A quarterfinals.
In any sporting event, officials are often at the crux of the proceedings. Their knowledge, insight and keen eye are needed to ensure games are played safely, respectfully and in accordance with the rules. However, though new referees are entering the fold at a regular rate, veteran officials are becoming becoming harder to retain, with some blaming outspoken fans and parents tarnishing the experience.
In their monthly work session, Pequot Lakes School Board members had company for preliminary discussion to add recreational space in the city for school use. The board met with Jon Lubke, Jenkins mayor and Pequot Lakes Economic Development Committee member; Randy Loukota, Pequot Lakes City Council member; Nancy Malecha, Pequot Lakes city administrator; and two representatives from Widseth Smith Nolting engineering firm to discuss the best uses for an 85-acre plot of city-owned land on the south end of town between State Highway 371 and Patriot Avenue.
The Pequot Lakes Patriot track and field teams were able to avoid the elements by competing indoors at the Lion's Invitational at Bemidji State University on Tuesday, March 27, as the girls' team finished third out of 17 teams and the boys finished fourth.
Calvin Wallin has taught firearm safety in Pequot Lakes since Lyndon B. Johnson was president. He has taught nearly 2,000 students, including his children and grandchildren. Now they can celebrate with him as he conducts his 50th year as an instructor. "We have had a lot of good students," Wallin said. "It is great to see these young people taking part and becoming safe hunters. That's an important part of this whole program."