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I just realized that in several of my recipe columns I have referenced thickening agents, such as slurries and roux (pronounced "roo"), but some of my readers might not know what a roux is, which is unfortunate. In high school, under Dorothy Rollins' tutelage, one of the first tricks we learned in her cooking class was how to make a roux and why. If we scatterbrained newbies got it right, you can too.
The Pine River-Backus School Board discussed options regarding a program that allows sixth-grade students to participate in seventh-grade athletics and activities during a Monday, May 15, regular meeting. The school board has had mixed responses to the program, which started this past school year. The program did not open all sports to sixth-graders, but only select sports in which size difference between participants would not likely lead to injury, and only so long as the sport needed more students.
When her grandmother, Lisa Ford, was receiving treatment for brain cancer, Pine River-Backus High School senior Tia Ford had a rough school year. Asking for help kept her from falling behind and earned her a recognition she didn't even know existed. "I missed some school for my grandma, who has brain cancer," Ford said. "That was really tough on me." Ford took responsibility rather than just ignore her schoolwork, for which she recently received the National Joint Powers Alliance's Rising Star award.
The Pine River City Council approved a bid for work on the municipal airport runway during its Tuesday, May 9, regular meeting. The approved bid was much lower than the overall project estimate of $338,949.13. "We got a very, very, very competitive bid from Anderson Brothers in the amount of $205,413, which was about $135,000 less than the project estimate," said city engineer Bryan Drown, recommending the council award the project to Anderson Brothers on condition the city receives funding from the Minnesota Department of Transportation and a Federal Aviation Administration grant.
The class of 2017 at Pine River-Backus High School numbers in the low 70s, which is a significant increase over last year's graduating class of 45 students. This trend is likely to continue into the future. "It was just simply a bigger class coming through and we have some bigger ones coming after it," said high school principal Andrew Forbort. "In the next two to three years we have some fluctuation up and down with the low 60s, high 60s or 70s. I think in our low to mid elementary level we have some 70-plus to low 80s classes. We're just having some good enrollment projections."
It has been hard, lately, to get into the outdoors. I think I fished two times in 2016 and I hope not to repeat that trend. Having a recent Sunday off, and having learned of morels popping up as close as Nevis, I dressed in my woods clothes and went out to a few places where I've had some mushroom luck in the past. For company, and because I bought a dog specifically to go to the woods with me (safety in numbers), I loaded up my two dogs, Katie and Bugget.
Volunteers from Pine River's historical group, Heritage Group North, took time during a sunny Saturday, May 6, to paint the caboose next to the Pine River Railway Depot. The caboose and depot are visibly located adjacent to Highway 371 and attract a lot of attention so Heritage Group North, which owns the caboose, strives to keep the attractions presentable by donating time and resources.
When hard times forced Pine River-Backus High School senior Sierra Tallman to focus on coursework as a distraction, she didn't expect it to literally pay off. But that's what happened when she received a scholarship as part of being chosen as a National Joint Powers Alliance Rising Star. "I was really shocked and I didn't really believe it at first," Tallman said. "I'm not usually nominated for anything or noticed, so I thought it was just a joke."
The Jenkins City Council has had a vacancy since Dec. 12, 2016, but is back to five members as of Monday, May 8, when the council appointed Andrew Rudlang. Rudlang will fill a position vacated by former council member Tim Hidde, who moved out of the city, which required his resignation. The council had declared a vacancy and began meeting with potential replacements following that resignation. The council also decided on a name for the service road being constructed to the east of Highway 371 - Gateway Avenue. The name still needs to be approved by other outside officials.
Shiner minnows, one of the most popular baits for Minnesota's walleye and northern pike fishing opener Saturday, May 13, were slightly delayed this year in spite of early ice-out, but local bait shop owners think several warm days in a row will get them stocked and ready.