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The Pine River City Council approved a final payment on the summer airport project at its meeting Tuesday, Jan. 9. The final payment was awaiting the completion of an electrical hookup. The pay estimate totaled $30,301.11. The council also made its annual appointments, renewing those for Bryan Drown as city engineer, Ted Lundrigan as city attorney, and PineandLakes Echo Journal as print publication. The council approved Fire Chief John Richards' choices of assistant chiefs, Kraig King and Jason Meyers.
In spite of risk of frostbite, Back to Hack was a lively affair Friday-Sunday, Jan. 12-14, with a special guest from New York in attendance. Events ramped up Saturday, Jan. 13, when the bulk of activities were under way. The morning Frostbite Ur Fanny fun runners started crossing the finish line just after the 20-minute mark with Mike Smith crossing at 20 minutes, 8 seconds and LeRoy Jordan crossing only a second behind. Andrew and Rebecca Johnson crossed eight and a half minutes later and Lisa Turner brought up the end of the frigid run at 31 minutes, 28 seconds.
The Pine River-Backus School District opted to hold an observance day on Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 15, giving students an opportunity to expand their perspectives concerning the impact of our environments, social media safety and women in politics. The day started with presentations by a variety of experts in their fields, including Pine River police officers, church leaders and state Rep. Sandy Layman, R-Cohasset, who addressed women in politics, personal responsibility and potential.
The Backus City Council decided to gradually switch the city to LED streetlights to ensure the best affordability. This Jan. 8 decision followed inquiries by city maintenance into the cost of replacing all of the sodium vapor street lights with LED bulbs. Minnesota Power, which has partial ownership of the lights, has been replacing burned out sodium vapor lamps with the same types of lamps as they burn out. The city decided to ask about LED when considering how much longer LED lamps should last versus sodium vapor. The city also hoped to save on the cost to run the lamps.
During the annual reorganizational meeting, the Pine River-Backus School Board set meeting dates and times, renewed contracts and delegated official relationships with depositories and publishers. This meeting on Monday, Jan. 8 is standard practice for school boards following the new year. Board members requested discussion on board salaries before the 2019 reorganization meeting, but most memberships and contracts remained the same.
Jenkins City Council made its official appointments for the new year on Monday, Jan. 8. Appointments included city engineer, Widseth, Smith, Nolting's Dave Reese; city insurance agent, First National Insurance Agency; depository, First National Bank and 4M Fund; official newspaper, Northland Press; septic inspector, Martin Joyce; weed inspector, Jon Lubke; police liaison, Charlie Hoffman; accountant, Miller McDonald; attorney, Breen and Person; and mayor pro-tem, Donna Stricker. The council did not take any other actions during the meeting.
In college I was introduced to the work of a poet and philosopher named Matthew Arnold. Arnold had an interesting philosophy about two opposing forces. He called them "culture" and "anarchy." Don't get ahead of me, though, because his view on anarchy and culture aren't directly comparable to ours today. He said "culture is properly described as the love of perfection; it is a study of perfection," but his views on perfection aren't exactly comparable to our own either.
With sudden and extended sub-zero days lasting for more than a week, ice on area lakes has finally had a chance to grow, but insulative snow cover and other factors mean that ice may still be thin in some areas. "I would certainly be very cautious about driving on the lakes yet," said Cass County Sheriff Tom Burch. "Make sure to test the ice and check with bait shops and things like that. Use caution and make sure you know what you are getting into. Just because it has been cold doesn't mean there's a foot of ice."
If you go to the Pine River Market Square farmers market this summer, chances are you will see a mysterious figure with a big nose, glasses and mustache with his hood pulled tight at one of the tables. Don't be scared. It's all part of a disguise to protect against overzealous fans, paired with a pseudonym to match. Call him Mr. E. "I want my actual identity to remain a mystery," said 12-year-old artist Clayton Newbold. "My dad came up with it. That way when I release more books, people won't try to surround me."
While Mom was still alive, I was minding my own business and she asked, "Do you have time to go pick up some chickens?" Now, we did not then nor do I now have a coop, so I assumed she was talking about dead and ready to cook chickens. Naturally, I said yes. "OK, so-and-so has six roosters. Go get them and we'll butcher them."