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A lack of seniors is not just an issue for some athletic activities at Pine River-Backus High School this year. It also affects the theater. In the past seven or eight years, most cast members were seniors. This year the show features just one senior.
The Emily City Council addressed issues between the city, Minnesota Department of Transportation, businesses and residents during the Oct. 9 meeting, according to unapproved draft meeting minutes. Minutes state that the MnDOT State Highway 6 reconstruction project has created issues with flooding, standing water and/or drainage issues with Emily Meats, The Log Cabin, Pine River State Bank, Emily Cooperative Telephone Co. and The Landing. In addition, there have been issues with re-seeding at the old city hall location.
The journey to convert the old Backus dump into a viable business property may not fit into Black Line Conversions Inc.'s preferred timeline, so the city council tables discussion until it learns more from business owner Micah Eveland.
A tip submitted through Facebook messages uncovered a large stream bank restoration project that could improve both Willow Creek and the bodies of water downstream, yet the restoration started largely without fanfare. Terrie Griep, who lives on the stream, asked a staff member with the PineandLakes Echo Journal about the project. She said that over the course of 15 years the creek has been the subject of different alterations on an almost yearly basis. She was concerned about this restoration and wanted to know its purpose and who funded it.
Six area legislative candidates gathered to peddle their ideas at the final Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce candidate forum Monday, Oct. 29, at Central Lakes College in Brainerd. Candidates fielded questions by the event organizers and those who attended. State House candidates are: • District 9A: Alex Hering, DFL candidate from Pillager; and incumbent Rep. John Poston, R-Lake Shore. • District 10A: incumbent Rep. Josh Heintzeman, R-Nisswa; and DFL candidate Dale Menk from Brainerd.
The Pine River Public Library participated in ArtOrg's 1,000 print summer, contributing 25 one-of-a-kind prints made by Pine River area children and parents. Olivia Johnson, 10; her sister, Hailey Johnson, 8; and their cousin, Lily Barchus, 8, used the opportunity Friday, Oct. 19, to make prints that showed their familial bond. Olivia and Lily each made a print with half of a heart, but together the prints made one heart. The two are best friends in addition to family. "It's because we're cousins and she's my favorite cousin," Olivia said.
After years of background work, a solar garden is finally being installed at the Pine River-Backus School location. Construction began shortly after a Pine River city ordinance was adopted Sept. 11 defining the city's stance on ground mounted solar structures. The frames went up quickly and panels were delivered the week of Sept. 15. By Sept. 23, Rural Renewable Energy Alliance owner Jason Edens said 30 percent of the panels had been installed.
The Jenkins City Council opted out of a cooperative seal coat contract with Crow Wing County during the Tuesday, Oct. 9, regular meeting, according to a written meeting summary. The council decided that the city did not have enough roads that would benefit from the seal coat. The council also tabled a contract with the Minnesota Department of Transportation for snow removal to give council members time to discuss the contract.
The Pine River-Backus School Board received results of a recent phone survey by the Morris Leatherman Company on behalf of the school, and Business Manager Jolene Bengtson said results were even more positive than she anticipated. The board reviewed results Monday, Oct. 15.
The first week in October, when most businesses near Backus are normally starting to feel an annual slowdown between vacation season and snowmobile season, some local businesses got a boost from a surprising source. A film crew was in town. "I think it's brought some business into the area and the bar," said Patty Alexander, owner of Willard's Saloon and Eatery. "The first night they shot we had 25-plus people that came in. During the evening and the following days after that we would have two to four people in for breakfast and lunch. For dinner we had several more."