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Pequot Lakes: Klang promotes Tobacco 21 campaign

He plans to ask Pequot Lakes City Council to move the legal age to buy tobacco in the city from 18 to 21.

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Pequot Lakes Police Chief Eric Klang reported he is in the process of moving the legal age to purchase tobacco in Pequot Lakes from 18 to 21. He’s working to change the city ordinance and hopes to present the request at the council’s December meeting.

Klang said he has met with most convenience stores and vape stores in Pequot Lakes and in Baxter.

“They are very supportive with it,” he said.

Karen Johnson, with Crow Wing Energized, said a student survey through the Minnesota Department of Health revealed that youth tobacco use in MInnesota rose for the first time in 17 years, attributing that to the vaping epidemic. She said the state is behind the 8 ball because it didn’t know of side effects to vaping, which was promoted as a tool for smoking cessation.

People now realize that is wrong, and that instead it’s helping create future tobacco and nicotine addicts.

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Council member Scott Pederson said he’d heard that 28 percent of high school students use tobacco and, more shocking, 11 percent of middle school students use tobacco.

Sergeant takes leave

Pequot Lakes Police Sgt. Chad Turcotte received council approval to take a leave of absence until approximately Feb. 1, 2020, because of issues with his back. He will take this time to increase the wellness of his back and explore other possibilities.

Turcotte won’t be paid, but the city will continue to contribute toward his health and life insurance.

In other public safety business, the council:

  • Approved the 2020 law enforcement contract and joint powers agreement with the city of Jenkins for $41,200 ($3,433.33 per month). The contract is unchanged from this year’s contract.

  • Learned the fire department had two calls in September - an agency assist at a motor vehicle accident in Breezy Point and a natural gas leak in Pequot Lakes. Police had 248 calls for service in September.

Nancy Vogt is editor of the Pineandlakes Echo Journal, a weekly newspaper that covers eight communities in the Pequot Lakes-Pine River areas - from Nisswa to Hackensack and Pequot Lakes to Crosslake.

She started as editor of the Lake Country Echo in July 2006, and continued in that role when the Lake Country Echo and the Pine River Journal combined in September 2013 to become the Pineandlakes Echo Journal. She worked for the Brainerd Dispatch from 1992-2006 in various roles.

She covers Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Lake Shore and Crosslake city councils, as well as writes feature stories, news stories and personal columns (Vogt's Notes). She also takes photos at community events.

Contact her at nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
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