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The Pine River-Backus School Board approved a preliminary budget for 2018-19 during its June 18 meeting, with few changes save a $364,197 increase resulting from the 2017-19 master agreement teacher contract. The details of that agreement were settled May 7 at a special board meeting, which concluded months of negotiations. The contract included a 2.5 percent salary schedule increase in year one and a 3 percent increase in year two, and a $300 increase in district contribution toward group health insurance.
What makes the difference between a job where you work to make money and a job that gives you meaning? Probably passion. I know it can get dull going to the same job over and over and over again. Admittedly, the sheer volume of work (even in the news industry) can wear down or hide passion and make a person dull (especially in the winter). There are a few things that tend to rekindle that spark.
Most projected expenses remained unchanged when the preliminary budget was presented to the Pine River-Backus School Board on Monday, June 18, with exceptions of salaries and benefits. The board approved a 4.3 percent increase ($586,681) in the preliminary budget. Of that increase, $362,197 relates to settled staff contracts. Also included was a transfer of $100,000 from the general unreserved account to a "committed for construction" account. This fund covers upgrades to the elementary media center furniture and shelving, as well as a track and field storage building.
After getting word of a complaint pertaining to 15-minute parking signs on Barclay Avenue, the Pine River City Council decided to remove the signs. The council learned at its Tuesday, June 12, meeting that someone told the Pine River Chamber that he was approached by a business owner after parking on Barclay Avenue with a vehicle and boat trailer to buy license tabs. He had parked in front of a 15-minute parking sign on the street, as well as a sign forbidding trailer parking.
The Jenkins City Council decided to review the benefits of membership in the Whitefish Area Lodging Association. During its Monday, June 11, meeting, Mayor Jon Lubke said he wants to review how the lodging tax funding paid to WALA benefits the city, especially compared to how the city could benefit from using that same money under its own direction.
Dick Houston owned Houston Ford in Pine River until April 1, 2015, at which time Kade Virshey became partial owner of the business. While Virshey kept the name at first as great branding, it had to change eventually. That change didn't come until well after Houston sold out completely to Virshey on July 1, 2017. Now astute drivers might notice the sign above the familiar car lot bears the name Kimber Creek Ford.
Following an auction liquidating all the assets, the former Fresh Start Meat Market - more widely known as the former Shamp's Meat Market - in Pine River had a lot of open space, thanks to the lack of coolers. That made it a perfect space for a new canvas and upholstery shop. Rick Low, a Backus resident for the past five years, decided the building would be perfect to get back into the business he and his brother ran in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. To that end, he opened Canvas Technology on May 28 with plans to expand already on the drawing board.
After 34 years with the Pine River-Backus School District, teacher Nancy Meier was perfectly qualified to retire. A bout with cancer approximately a year earlier helped her decide that June 6 was the day. Leaving now means Meier has an overwhelming majority of good memories from her years in front of the classroom, and that was an important factor. "I have the rule of 90, but I have always said I am not in this to get rich," Meier said. "I also don't want to be here when I'm not enjoying it. I am still liking it, even with challenges."
Months ago I toyed with the idea of an invention that I am still convinced could hit it big, but I was quashed by limited resources and limited knowledge. You see, I had an idea for a product that would make at-home pasta production simpler using an equally simple tool that most hunters in our area already have. We even have companies in the area that could produce such a product. My problem is twofold. First, I don't know computer-aided design. Second, I don't have the capital it would require to produce a prototype or start a production run.
Some local city councils within recent months have addressed a franchise agreement with TDS Telecom. Among those who approved an agreement with TDS are Backus, Hackensack, Pequot Lakes, Pine River and Breezy Point, along with Birch Lake and Pelican townships. Some residents in these communities might not know what this means. Here is a breakdown of what to expect and what not to expect. TDS will be allowed to provide internet television in these communities.