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STEM Teaching at Greenway

There won’t be enough skilled labor in Northern Minnesota in 10 or 20 years.
During last month’s school board meeting for Independent School District 316, Roy Smith, of the Applied Learning Institute, briefed the board on job opportunities that may be lost if we don’t have the skilled labor force we need.
On Wednesday night, the board made a move towards more STEM, or Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics courses at Greenway Schools. Superintendent Mark Adams (Adams STEM actuality)

The board, on a five to one vote, approved the discontinuance of the Family and Consumer Sciences class. Director LaNea Johnson cast the dissenting vote. Superintendent Mark Adams told the board that this is a shift the kids are asking for.

By |March 25th, 2015|Blog, News|Comments Off|

Grand Rapids New Fire Chief Sworn In

Grand Rapids newest Fire Chief Mike Liebel was sworn in at last night’s city council meeting. Second Assistant Fire Chief John Linder was also pinned, and Travis Cole was appointed as Captain for the Grand Rapids Fire Department.
Also at last night’s Grand Rapids City Council meeting, the city entered a 5 year lease agreement with Itasca County to relocate the cities Data-center into the courthouse. The council agreed to allow the Police Department to sell forfeited and impounded vehicles at the Mid-State Auto Auction. The next Grand Rapids City Council meeting is April 13th at 5 o’clock.

By |March 24th, 2015|Blog, News|Comments Off|

Chisholm Driver Injured

A two vehicle accident injured a Chisholm resident Friday afternoon. According to the Minnesota State Patrol, a Cadillac, driven by 31 year old Cody Elven of Chisholm, was traveling north on Interstate 35 when it rear-ended a Ford Escape which was also traveling north. Both vehicles ended up in the ditch. Elven was life-flighted to a Duluth hospital with serious injuries. The Ford Escape was driven by 48 year old Rebecca Anderson of Duluth. Anderson was injured. Injuries are believed to be non-life-threatening.

By |March 23rd, 2015|Blog, News|Comments Off|

Pinewood Resident Injured in Hibbing

A 25-year old Pinewood woman was hospitalized after a car chase and eventual accident. According to the Minnesota State Patrol, two 9-1-1 calls were placed about a dangerous driver, traveling east on Highway 37 near the Hibbing Airport. A patrol trooper witnessed dangerous driving and attempted to stop the vehicle. The driver fled at speeds of up to 122 miles an hour. The driver eventually crossed the center line and collided with a pick-up. The driver, identified as Grace Robia of Pinewood was injured in the accident. She was flown to a Duluth hospital. The driver of the pick-up, 50 year-old Scott Sauter of Iron Junction was injured.
Troopers are investigating possible driver impairment.

By |March 23rd, 2015|Blog, News|Comments Off|

Missing Man Located

Grand Rapids Police conducted a search on Saturday for a missing man. 38 year old Terrance Anthony Donovan was last seen walking in the area of the Pine Ridge apartments on Monday. The Itasca County Search and Rescue assisted in the search. Donovan’s body was located Saturday night in the Mississippi River, the victim of an apparent drowning. No foul play is suspected.

By |March 16th, 2015|Blog, News|Comments Off|

Grand Rapids Granted Safe Routes to School Money

Two Grand Rapids schools were awarded Safe Routes to Schools grants. The Robert J Elkington Middle School and Murphy Elementary School were awarded $261,000 for sidewalk improvements. The Safe Routes to School infrastructure grants will support schools and communities in building separate pedestrian and bicycle facilities, crossing enhancements and traffic measures that reduce speeds such as medians, crossing islands, speed humps and signage.

Since 2006, MnDOT has received SRTS applications requesting more than $100 million. Approximately $17 million in grants were awarded, illustrating the gap between current need and investment.

To narrow that gap, Gov. Mark Dayton is recommending a $2.5 million annual base increase for bike and pedestrian infrastructure as part of his transportation proposal for the 2015 legislative session.

“The state has an obvious need to increase access to safe options for walking and bicycling,” said MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle. “Safe Routes to Schools is a proven program that keeps children safe as they walk or bike to and from school.”

Safe bicycle and pedestrian access has many benefits, including reducing congestion around schools, reducing school transportation costs, and providing an opportunity for physical activity, which decreases obesity, improves health and supports academic achievement.

More information about the Safe Routes to School grants is on the SRTS website.

By |March 13th, 2015|Blog, News|Comments Off|

Keewatin Taconite Idled

US Steel, the parent company of Keewatin Taconite, announced Thursday that it will idle its Keewatin plant on May 13th. Workers were notified today. US Steel attributed the move to “challenging market conditions that reflect the cyclical nature of the industry”.
The temporary idling could affect up to 412 employees. Some may be kept on depending on maintenance and operational needs.

By |March 12th, 2015|Blog, News|Comments Off|

Essar Steel is Hiring

The mild December was good news for Essar Steel. Mitch Brunfelt, Essar Minnesota Director of Government & Public Relations, gave the Itasca County Rail Authority an update on progress at the site.
Right now, equipment is being shipped. During May and June, there will be between 600 to 800 construction workers on site. That will continue through fall.
Essar’s goal, according to Brunfelt, is to be commissioning facilities through the end of the year and ramping up production capacity during 2016. He expects Essar to begin blasting for ore in July- so there is a stockpile of ore waiting when the facility is complete.
Essar is hiring. Visit Essar Minnesota’s web site and you can apply online. The Northeast job service is also funneling applicants to Essar.

By |March 11th, 2015|Blog, News|Comments Off|

Itasca County Sheriff’s Administrator on Leave

An administrative officer at the Itasca County Sheriff’s Office has been charged with two felonies for using department technology to listen in to a private conversation.
48 year old Anna Cass allegedly listened in to a private conversation between someone she supervises and another manager in an interview room at the sheriff’s department in November.
The investigation was conducted by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and is being prosecuted by the Lake County Attorney’s Office.
Cass is on paid administrative leave as of Friday March 6th.

By |March 9th, 2015|Blog, News|Comments Off|

Essar Proposes Legislation

Essar Steel has proposed legislation to our representatives in the Minnesota House that would give the company seven years to pay back its $67 million loan to the state of Minnesota and Itasca County taxpayers.
State Representative Tom Anzelc said the company is asking for the authority to “go in the direction of reduced iron ore pellets and/or steel- if market conditions are suitable”.
Problems Representative Anzelc has with the request include making sure taxpayers are protected and the ownership of the infrastructure.
Representative Anzelc said, at this time, he is not comfortable introducing the legislation. He says that may change if conditions improve.

By |March 6th, 2015|Blog, News|Comments Off|