Travis Grimler and Chelsey Perkins
The Pequot Lakes Class of 2014 will become a part of school history at 7 p.m. Friday, May 30, when seniors walk for graduation for the first time in the new athletic complex. For 34 years, since the Class of 1980, Pequot Lakes seniors have received their diplomas in the high school gym that was part of an addition to the school building in 1979.
With the passing of the new Safe and Supportive Schools Act (SSSA), Pine River-Backus (PR-B) and Pequot Lakes school officials say their schools are already mostly in compliance with the new bill. The new law, signed by Gov. Mark Dayton, strengthens an anti-bullying law that, according to an April 10 story in the Star Tribune, was “widely considered” one of the nation’s weakest at only 37 words.
Most popular fishing lakes throughout the area have plenty of open water for the Saturday, May 10, walleye and northern pike fishing opener, and the forecast is calling for low- to mid-60s. But will there be bait for the average angler? Last year many bodies of water were still frozen for the fishing opener. This year is different.
For the first time in nearly 10 years, the Minnesota Legislature approved a hike in the state minimum wage, vaulting the state from one of the lowest minimums in the country to near the top. Gov. Mark Dayton signed the bill into law Monday, April 14, implementing a tiered wage that would gradually increase to $8 per hour this summer, then to $9.50 per hour by 2016. The wage would be increased each year based on inflation after 2018, capping at an increase of 2.5 percent.
An aging bus fleet coupled with brutally cold temperatures led to frequent breakdowns and increased maintenance costs for the Pequot Lakes School District’s transportation department this winter. Transportation director Randy Maxfield said this has been one of the toughest years for his department, straining his maintenance and supplies budget as well as his staff.
This year’s extreme winter weather forced Pequot Lakes School District officials to call off school a total of five days, along with one late start. The Pine River-Backus (PR-B) School District closed six days and started late twice. For both districts, one of those canceled days was a statewide closure Gov. Mark Dayton ordered because of near record-breaking cold temperatures. In a typical year, two snow days would be considered a high number, said Pequot Lakes Superintendent Chris Lindholm, but this year’s winter has been an exception to that rule.