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The Doreen's K9 Cuts and Paw Spa building on the 1500 block of State Highway 371 between Backus and Hackensack was destroyed Wednesday, Jan. 23, in a fire of undetermined cause. Owner Doreen Sawyer announced she was sent reeling by the loss of a dog named Loretta in the conflagration. "We lost our renter's dog," Sawyer said. "It was very sad." Sawyer said the investigating fire marshal said the cause of the fire was undetermined due to the presence of a wood stove, old wiring and a space heater.
Ever the team player, when Pine River-Backus coach and teacher John Riewer was selected as the school district's Teacher of the Year, he gave credit to virtually the whole school.
OK, OK, I'll admit I'm a little bit obsessed with the meat and cheese tray. First I wrote about venison charcuterie, then liver pate. I will probably some day write about cheese making and crackers. That's who I am. Sorry, but my thoughts tend to be sequential. For example, I went to a Christmas gathering and enjoyed a good liver pate. Just when you thought I was done talking about stuff you could cut or smear onto a cracker - boom! Membrillo, enter stage left!
In anticipation of temperatures dropping to extreme lows, the Pine River-Backus and Pequot Lakes school districts are among many across the state that announced they will close Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 29-30. The closures are in keeping with recommendations by the National Weather Service in Duluth.
Every year around this time I write a column laying out my goals for wild food foraging in the coming year. This year I plan to expand that a little to not only include foraging, but recipes and crafts to try. Drop me a line if you know anything about any of this. • Thistle pickles: Last year I finally sampled the tender inner stem of a thistle and found, much to my excitement, that they tasted great. This year I plan to make pickles; however, I have to find a pickle recipe that will not turn them to mush. If anyone has a pickle recipe for tender veggies, let me know.
It took 16 rounds and a championship round for Emily Holtti to claim victory Tuesday, Jan. 22, at the Pine River-Backus Middle School Spelling Bee. The eighth-grader sealed the win by spelling the word "guava" correctly. Holtti was toe-to-toe with classmate Mikayla Seibert for five rounds before Seibert was eliminated. Words like "plodding," "taut," "citizen," "rebuked" and "cliques" did not trip up the spellers. Words like "hilarious," "procession," "immune," "swindle" and "molten" eliminated some spellers, though it turns out they were competing against themselves.
Residents had their first chance Tuesday, Jan. 15, to learn more about the Pine River-Backus School District bond referendum where voters will determine May 14 whether the district can issue up to $15.295 million in bonds to fund projects. Mike Schellin and Kelly Martinez, of Kodet Architectural Group LTD, gave a presentation on the four construction projects that would be included on the bond, and two additional projects that would be paid for with existing funds. Throughout the presentation they welcomed questions.
The Emily City Council approved a final 2019 general revenue tax levy of $1,000,100.96, or a 2 percent increase over 2018. The increase corresponds with projects to build a maintenance shop, replace Emily Dam bridge beams and purchase a grass rig for the fire department. During the Dec. 11 meeting, the council also approved a fire department recommendation to buy a Polaris Ranger Crew XP 1,000 EPS Northstar edition as a grass fire rig and discussed maintenance shop construction.
The Jenkins City Council was forced to reassess a cost share agreement on road work on County Road 145 from Poulack Street and Veterans Street. In relation to a meeting with Crow Wing County Board members, Mayor Jon Lubke and council member Charles Hoffman on Monday, Jan. 14, discussed at length the problems and opportunities presented in the potential project. The city's cost for the project came in higher than anticipated.
In an action that Quinn Swanson, of Happy Dancing Turtle, said was unprecedented, the Pine River Chamber of Commerce invited churches, businesses, community members and others from outside the chamber to attend its annual planning session Thursday, Jan. 10. The meeting helped to reveal goals from chamber members and non-chamber members alike and prevent conflicting schedules. In the past, the meeting included input from chamber members only. Including non-members provided an opportunity for the chamber to plan around non-chamber events.