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Manhattan Beach residents gathered Saturday morning, July 14, for a visioning session designed to help identify the strengths and weaknesses of the community, and give guidance to the city council in future endeavors. The process proceeded much like strategic planning meetings. The approximately 36 residents present were separated into groups of five to seven people before being given brainstorming activities in three parts that identified assets, challenges and what they would like to see preserved or changed.
After receiving a historical document, Heritage Group North in Pine River was inspired to celebrate a centennial and partial re-enactment of the opening of one of the city's once famous buildings - the Spurrier Hotel. From 1918 to 1964, the Spurrier was the largest building in town with three stories, a social club and other attractions. The hotel was a social center for the town until its demolition in 1964 to make way for a planned Highway 371 four-lane expansion.
The Pine River-Backus School Board identified a difficult topic in the student handbook when board chair Chris Cunningham brought up cell phones in the classroom.
Pine River residents know that one of the cornerstones and most recognizable properties in the city was the Spurrier Hotel (later the Lakes Region Hotel) that was dedicated in 1918. It was a rather large, beautiful brick building with three floors and apparently lots going on. I don't know that it necessarily would be in use as a hotel today if it were still around, but we will never know because in 1964 the building was demolished to make way for the imminent construction of the four-lane Highway 371.
The Jenkins City Council had a heated discussion with Tim Berg, of Bay View Lodge and treasurer of the Whitefish Area Lodging Association, over the city's continued participation in WALA. During the June council meeting, concerns about Jenkins' representation in WALA were aired. The council decided to review the benefits of continuing cooperation with WALA in its current form, versus looking at a way the city could get more exposure from a lodging tax WALA collects.
Rumors spread following an incident that led to the death of Edward VanBeek of Pine River on Monday, July 9, but official details may do little to explain the events. Following his death at Essentia Health in Fargo, stories of VanBeek's encounter with a bear just before his death led to a spread of tall tales suggesting he had been mauled or trampled and then died of his injuries. Other stories said he had encountered a bear with cubs, and some interaction with the cubs may have led to the attack. Many of the details shared locally are merely exaggeration.
After some consideration, the Backus City Council on Monday, July 2, approved an updated contract with the Pine River Area Sanitary District with an increase of about $2,000. In light of the city selling its townhomes, the city public works department no longer performed certain duties; however, Andy Schwartz, of PRASD, said the loss of the townhomes did not reduce their work significantly. "I don't think we spend any less time up here," Schwartz said.
The Cass County Fair in Pine River featured not only fun, games and entertainment, but an opportunity to recognize hard work and sacrifice. In continuation with the annual tradition, Outstanding Senior Citizens were named Friday, June 29, with the honor going to Wayne Pryor and Arlene Tepfer.
Unmanned aerial vehicles are taking off in many industries, but it may be surprising to learn that Crow Wing County Emergency Management is at the forefront of Minnesota's expanding emergency use of drones. Thanks to an $80,000 grant from the National Joint Powers Alliance (now called Sourcewell), Crow Wing County was able to start a drone response program in late 2017/early 2018. The grant paid not only to buy two foldable Mavic Pro drones, but also two large Matrice 210 drones with two cameras, one with zoom and one with infrared capabilities.
'Tis time to grill, and in honor of that most awesome summer pastime I've decided it is time for the obligatory grilling recipe column. That being said, I don't want to repeat the grilled pizza, grilled cheese and grilled quesadilla recipes from last year, and I don't want to resort to the recipes that everyone knows. So I went to Facebook for ideas.