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The Nisswa City Council on Wednesday, April 20, promoted police officer Brandon Rothwell to sergeant effective April 21, with a pay adjustment of 5 percent to $23.87 per hour. Rothwell has been an officer in Nisswa since January 2002. The council also approved on a 4-1 vote a proposal for engineering services for a wastewater treatment facility plan from Widseth Smith Nolting engineering firm not to exceed $23,750. Council member Fred Heidmann was opposed, saying it would be advantageous to get a bid from more than one firm.
A city committee continues to look into building a new Lake Shore City Hall, the city council learned Monday, April 25. According to minutes from a March 24 meeting, City Hall Building Committee members reiterated a concern from the public and whether a tax increase could be justified to the public for a new city hall. The committee received information for a $1.5 million project using $1 million in bonds at 10- and 20-year terms. The city has approximately $500,000 of city money that is not designated and potentially could be used toward this project.
For information • Visit www.mndot.gov/d3/hwy371 for recent news, detours, maps, photos and contact information and to sign up for email updates. • Call the project hotline at 218-568-4661 and leave a message. Your call will be returned within one business day. Area residents packed the Cole Memorial Building in Pequot Lakes on Friday, April 15, to hear about the $49.9 million Highway 371 four-lane expansion project that's designed to improve safety and traffic mobility.
State transportation commissioner Charlie Zelle and others spoke Friday, April 15, at an official groundbreaking ceremony for the Highway 371 four-lane expansion project from Nisswa to Jenkins. The groundbreaking was held at Trailside Park in Pequot Lakes. The $49.9 million highway project is designed to improve safety and traffic flow on those nine miles of Highway 371. The project has been talked about for many years, and became possible with Corridors of Commerce funding.
Megan Morgan, a Pequot Lakes High School senior, was crowned Miss Pequot Lakes on Friday, April 15, in the high school auditorium. Quinn Kratochvil, a junior, won Miss Pequot Lakes Princess, and senior Lark Luchka was chosen Miss Congeniality at the 29th annual Miss Pequot Lakes Scholarship Pageant. Other contestants were junior Kyra Blaukat and senior Allison Aydelotte. Both sang for the talent portion of the competition, as did Morgan. Kratochvil played the flute, and Luchka recited a speech she wrote along with a slideshow presentation.
Area residents packed the Cole Memorial Building in Pequot Lakes on Friday to hear about the $49.9 million Highway 371 four-lane expansion project that's designed to improve safety and traffic...
Rather than have several Old Highway 371 street names in the city, the Pequot Lakes City Council agreed Tuesday, April 5, to rename several streets affected by the Highway 371 four-lane expansion. The city will take over the current two-lane Highway 371 through downtown Pequot Lakes, and it will become Patriot Avenue, named after the school's mascot — the Patriots. Following are street names approved April 5: • Patriot Avenue: Existing Highway 371 from County Road (CR) 168 to the new extension of County Road 17.
Huge piles of woodchips are being scooped into Cullen Brook just north of Nisswa, and the south County Road 107/Wilderness Road intersection with Highway 371 will close temporarily starting Monday, April 11. --- Get updates For Highway 371 project updates and to sign up to receive email updates, visit www.mndot.gov/d3/hwy371 Open house A community open house to share information about Highway 371 roadwork will be held from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Monday, April 18, at the Cole Memorial Building in Pequot Lakes. Those who attend will be able to view informational displays, take home project information, meet project staff and get questions answered. They'll learn about construction staging, traffic plans and local detours. A short presentation is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. A groundbreaking ceremony will precede the open house. --- The intersection closure is expected to last through September as crews do bridge work and temporary realignment of the Paul Bunyan Trail in that area as part of the Highway 371 expansion to four lanes. A 3,600-foot concrete barrier will be installed along the highway there for safety. "We have a lot of work to do in a little area," said Randy Shoen, design build construction manager with Mathiowetz Construction and public information contact for the project. All lanes of Highway 371, and the north junction of County Road 107/Highway 371, will remain open, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). A signed detour will direct motorists to the north junction of County Road 107/Highway 371, two miles north of the closed County Road 107/Wilderness Road and Highway 371 junction. Crews were also expected to start work this week on the County Road 11 detour down to Derksen Road in Pequot Lakes, which is necessary for crews to build an overpass bridge for the new highway. And utility crews soon will start relocation work for the gas line by Cullen Brook, Shoen said. MnDOT reports crews completed clearing of the expanded highway's right-of-way from Nisswa to Jenkins. "That process left behind a clear view of the future road's route, along with huge piles of woodchips," a MnDOT news release said. Around 50,000 cubic yards worth of woodchips - 5,000 dump truck's worth or enough to cover 30 acres in a foot of woodchips - will all be used as part of the project, MnDOT said. Some woodchips will be used this year for erosion control to protect sensitive environmental areas, and some will be used to create a platform for equipment needed to build lanes and the new box culvert at Cullen Brook. Woodchips are not available for purchase or private use off of the project site.
A Crosslake pastor has turned a family tragedy into a healing and educational endeavor for himself, his family, his congregation - and jail inmates. Mark Holmen, interim senior pastor at Crosslake Evangelical Free Church (the Log Church) was raised in a "faith at home household." His father was the director and his mother the secretary, nurse and cook at a 500-acre Bible camp in Illinois. People attended camp for a week to get close to God, Holmen said.
Moving around a lot as a young girl led Tricia Hempel to become an avid reader. "That's where I got my love of reading - from moving," said Hempel, president of the Fun Books For Kids program that distributes free books to young students in Pequot Lakes and Crosslake. "We moved so much as a kid. I was really shy and it wasn't easy to make friends, so I read." --- Join Fun Books For Kids The Fun Books For Kids board invites anyone interested in joining the board to its next meeting at 3:30 p.m. Monday, May 2, at Eagle View Elementary School. For more information, contact Tricia Hempel at firstname.lastname@example.org. --- Since joining Fun Books For Kids in 2011, Hempel has helped build the program that had begun to decline. She enjoys seeing students develop that love of reading that she had as a child. Hempel attended seven different schools by sixth grade, living in California, Michigan, Oklahoma, Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Her dad was in the Air Force until becoming an air traffic controller in Michigan. After attending college in New Mexico, Hempel moved to Minneapolis in 1994 to attend the University of Minnesota to continue her education and start her young adult life. That's where she met her husband, Jeff, and together they made the Twin Cities their home for 15 years before moving to Breezy Point in 2009 after a change in family dynamics. Jeff was traveling with his job, Tricia was stressed with her job as an information technology specialist, and the couple didn't want to raise their two young daughters in south Minneapolis with a postage-stamp sized yard, a major highway nearly out their front door and airplanes flying overhead. The family had begun traveling to the lakes area routinely in 2008 after buying a cabin on Ten Mile Lake near Hackensack and decided this was where they wanted to live. "We really fell in love with the nature, the serenity, the peace," Hempel said. So they decided as a family that Jeff would travel and develop his business while Tricia stayed home with their daughters - Samantha, now a sixth-grader at Pequot Lakes Middle School, and Ellie, a third-grader at Eagle View Elementary School. After looking for lake homes, they instead found the perfect home on an acre lot in Breezy Point. Samantha was in kindergarten when they moved here, so Hempel started volunteering at Eagle View. "I really enjoy working with the kids and subbed for a while as a para(professional)," she said, noting she served on the PTA board for three years, including a year as secretary and two as treasurer. Then she turned her attention to Fun Books For Kids. "Fun Books For Kids at that time was struggling with finances and having enough books on the table for distribution day," Hempel said. "It wasn't as popular as it is today because there were titles kids had already, or they weren't as popular with young readers. I thought, 'Why not get books back?'" The program had been distributing books to students in the community since 1997, so Hempel proposed an exchange program that became popular with students. For every three books students return on distribution day, they get one free new book. "The following year, as an outsider in a small community, I realized everyone was hitting up the same groups and businesses for money. We needed to tap into a bigger financial pool of money," Hempel said. So she started applying for grants at large corporations like Target, Walmart and others that help nonprofit organizations. "Then all of a sudden we had a large influx of money. We had money to work with and got more exciting books," she said, noting she also began buying used books in the Twin Cities at a great discount. "Now we have books coming out of our ears." When fifth-graders moved from Eagle View to the middle school, the Fun Books For Kids program followed and grew to include Pequot Lakes sixth-graders as well. Hempel said it's gratifying to see how engaged students have become on the five book distribution days offered each year. Each student earns one Book Buck for every seven hours of reading they do outside the classroom. They can redeem up to four Book Bucks for four free books on book distribution days, along with earning free books through the exchange program. "They wait for this," Hempel said of distribution days. The Fun Books For Kids program is now reaching out to find more leaders and volunteers. The Hempels are moving to a Twin Cities suburb, and a new president is needed. "You don't have to be a parent or volunteer at the school," Hempel said, noting Fun Books For Kids is its own organization and is not specifically a school program. The plan is to break up Hempel's duties into smaller pieces. The board needs a leader and volunteers to staff book distribution days, help with fundraising and help with buying books. While Hempel still hopes to be involved, she is counting on others to step forward to continue the Fun Books For Kids tradition.