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Articles written by Dan Reed


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  • Kalevala car show draws a big crowd

    Dan Reed|May 24, 2024

    More than 60 vehicles drove in for the "Bring What You Got" car get-together at the Kalevala Cultural Center Sunday near Kettle River. "It was awesome," commented Sam Huhta, one of the event organizers. Car styles ranged from classic, rat, antique, unique, hot rods and dragsters, among others. The event drew at least 125 area people to present and admire. Locals Dean Johnson, John Gran and Huhta were the spark plugs for the event. There was no official judging, people were asked to bring a...

  • Community flocks to Hwy 73 meeting

    Dan Reed|Mar 29, 2024

    For 80 years, local residents have been asking for a Minnesota Highway 73 upgrade, specifically for the eight miles of the two-lane highway south of Cromwell. "That road in the present condition is dangerous," said former firefighter/EMT Bob Hattenberger, speaking at a recent Highway 73 Action Committee meeting. "A response by EMTs and ambulances has no place to park and those there trying to do their job are chancing injury while on the scene." Others voiced frustrations at a Minnesota...

  • Now & Then: Fire doesn't change with the times

    Dan Reed|Sep 8, 2023

    The Lahaina destruction on the Hawaiian island of Maui definitely is a catastrophe. The loss of lives, livelihoods, homes, and irreplaceable ancient relics from early inhabitants of the islands is a tragedy, no question about it. Yet, our area of northern Minnesota has its own fire tragedy that impacts our lives even after 105 years have passed. Up to this day, it is the largest natural disaster in Minnesota history, with some 1,500 square miles destroyed by fire in a region encompassing 8,400... Full story

  • Seniors celebrated Friday

    Dan Reed|Aug 25, 2023

    Cromwell mayor Sharon Zelazny and Wrenshall resident Harold Ankrum were recognized as the 2023 Carlton County Outstanding Seniors for 2023 on Friday, Aug 18, during Senior Day at the Carlton County Fair. Harold Ankrum is well-known in the Carlton-Wrenshall area as the longtime owner of Harold's Service just west of the Carlton County Courthouse. He is in the process of selling the business. Yet, besides helping stranded motorists, Ankrum is noted for turning "fiascos into fortunes" for cancer...

  • Sawyer, Wright farms honored with century status

    Dan Reed|Aug 18, 2023

    The Mike and Jen Olesiak farm of Sawyer and the Dahl farm in Wright - owned by Cindy Dahl Jokinen - are both being recognized as Carlton County Century Farms for 2023. Qualifying farms have been in continuous family ownership for at least 100 years and are 50 acres or more. The two family farms will be recognized at the Carlton County fair at noon today, Friday, along with this year's outstanding senior citizens. They join a long list of century farms in the county. Barb Olesiak Dahl shared the... Full story

  • Kettle River honors longtime community helpers

    Dan Reed|Aug 4, 2023

    Next weekend, Aug.11-13, Kettle River will mark the 36th celebration of Ma & Pa Kettle Days. Started in 1985, the theme of this year's gathering is "Our work is never Finn-ished," in a nod to the many Finnish descendants in the area. The grand marshal for this year is Sam Huhta of Automba, accompanied by his wife Linda. Also recognized for their commitment to community is the new Ma & Pa Kettle: Mark and Tina Tollgaard of the city of Kettle River. Huhta was raised in Rice River Township in...

  • Justice center almost 30 percent complete

    Dan Reed|Jun 23, 2023

    Carlton County's $75 million justice center is 28-percent complete, jail administrator Paul Coughlin told Carlton County Commissioners at the June 13 meeting. Crews are putting in 2,000 hours each week on average. The wells for the ground-source heating and cooling pumping system are all drilled and the piping into the building is done, Coughlin said. The insulation and the rubber roof is installed, with most areas covered with wash rock to hold the rubber in place. Overall, the highest-cost ite...

  • Now and Then: A journey to mark 'Old Ones'

    Dan Reed|Jun 16, 2023

    I just got back from a car trip to the West Coast. My cousin Kaija Kivimaki from Finland, my sister Denise, and my cousin Patsey Koivisto VanderVeer from Floodwood went with me on a mission to bring a headstone for my great-grandfather's grave in Washtucna, Washington. The headstone came from a granite boulder I found in a wooded part of my Automba property. I had it cut in half and an inscription put on each section. One half of the stone was marked "Emil Riitijoki Reed, Ita Aure, Finland,...

  • Like state, county moves to curb deer disease

    Dan Reed|May 12, 2023

    Upon the recommendation of the Carlton County Planning Commission, the Carlton County Board of Commissioners approved zoning changes to the county zoning ordinance Tuesday for cervid farms, kennels and cemeteries. Existing cervid farms (raising deer, elk and/or moose) in Carlton County — there are two — will still be able to operate. However, those operations will not be able to expand, and new ones are prohibited. According to a story in MinnPost, Democratic lawmakers in St. Paul are close to banning new white-tailed deer farms in Min...

  • Public meetings tackle road projects

    Dan Reed|Apr 28, 2023

    Eight years have passed since the Carlton County Board of Commissioners approved the half-cent sales tax and the yearly $20 fee per vehicle licensed in Carlton County. In 2022 the net receipts of this funding mechanism has risen to more than $2.55 million, much higher than first anticipated. Originally, the funding was promoted as a way to rehabilitate and repair county roads numbered above 100, whether they were tarred roads or would remain gravel thoroughfares. State aid, coupled with federal...

  • Cervid farms, cemeteries to get new rules

    Dan Reed|Apr 14, 2023

    Carlton County officials are poised to make some significant changes to the zoning ordinance, specifically addressing cervid farms, residential and commercial kennels and future cemeteries, with a public hearing set for May 3 to receive public input. The commission held three working sessions through the fall and winter, approving proposed changes on March 1 and finally setting a hearing date at their April 5 meeting. Cervid farms (deer, elk, moose or reindeer) have been under a county moratorium on establishing or expanding an operation while...

  • Essentia supply center moving to Esko

    Dan Reed|Mar 31, 2023

    The Essentia Health medical supply distribution center is moving to 126 Bedrock Lane in the Esko Industrial Park by late 2024. A 163,000-square-foot warehouse is planned to support the medical supply needs of six Essentia Health facilities regionally, reaching to the Dakotas. The supply center is currently operating in West Duluth in a warehouse only one-third the size of the proposed construction project. Twenty to 25 full-time jobs will be moved from West Duluth to the new facility. The...

  • EMS workers are honored

    Dan Reed|Mar 31, 2023

    It's that time of year again, and those volunteers that make Carlton County a safer place to live by providing emergency medical services throughout the year were recognized at the Carlton County board meeting on March 14. Moose Lake Fire District chief Steve Trenhaile presented the awards to each of the recipients. Trenhaile has spearheaded the EMS and fire department training in Moose Lake. Erik Bergstedt was honored as "Person of the Year" for EMS. Bergstedt is an emergency department nurse...

  • Abuse cases stress county resources

    Dan Reed|Mar 17, 2023

    Citing stress and burnout as the precipitating factor for three open positions in Health and Human Services, director Dave Lee said those staffers have “tough jobs.” Caseloads in child protection, mental health and involving vulnerable adults have swelled for county workers, with screenings of between three and 10 incidents reported daily. “These are heavy numbers, and it is growing, of child abuse cases,” observed County Attorney Lauri Ketola during Tuesday’s Carlton County board of commissioners meeting. “There are several factors for... Full story

  • Closure irks Kettle River residents

    Dan Reed|Mar 3, 2023

    Icy roads did not deter a dozen concerned Kettle River citizens from attending Monday's Carlton County Board meeting to ask why the grader was pulled from the Kettle River area county garage. "Six months ago the Kettle River people were assured the county garage would stay open," Bob Hattenberger said to county commissioners. "No one from the county let us know the garage was empty. Our first inkling the man and machine were gone was when we saw no tracks in the snow in front of the garage. We...

  • State money OK'd for 'blue' blizzard damage

    Dan Reed and Brady Slater|Feb 17, 2023

    Carlton County will receive more than $700,000 in state disaster relief following the winter storm Dec. 12-16 which coated the region with heavy snow, breaking tree limbs and crippling power infrastructure for days. Carlton County gathered details from townships and jurisdictions throughout the county and submitted for $979,360 in costs associated with cleanup and repair. The National Weather Service referred to the storm as a “blue” blizzard becasue of the high water content in the snow tha...

  • Justice center funding sought

    Dan Reed|Jan 27, 2023

    With a state budget surplus of more than $17 billion, Carlton County leaders are again looking to the state legislature for help funding the new justice center, despite voter approval in November of a half-cent sales tax for the next 30 years. The county had requested $22 million in state bonding money for the combined jail and courts facility during the 2022 legislative session, but the divided legislature failed to pass a bonding bill. Now, because construction has already started, the justice center project no longer qualifies for bonding...

  • Better internet is on the way

    Dan Reed|Jan 27, 2023

    Good internet service in rural areas has been troublesome for a long time. This is not the world of my grandparents. Waiting for more advanced technology to finally hook up all of rural America, I have seen a lot of changes in my lifetime. But the main problem is that when a new great hope for aa foolproof means of communication explodes in one’s imagination, reality sets in and what comes just fizzles. It is like the old saying, “If it seems to be too good to be true, it is.” But we can always dream. In my early days on the farm before 1962,... Full story

  • Zmyslony returns to county board

    Dan Reed|Jan 6, 2023

    Commissioner Susan Zmyslony was sworn in as the new commissioner from District 4 of Carlton County this week, representing the southeast portion of the county, including Carlton, Barnum, Wrenshall, Mahtowa and Holyoke. Judge Rebekka Stumme officiated over the ceremonies Tuesday, which also included the swearing in of re-elected District 2 Commissioner Marv Bodie, County Attorney Lauri Ketola and Carlton County Sheriff Kelly Lake. The annual county board organizational meeting saw District 1... Full story

  • Board raises county levy 6.55%

    Dan Reed|Dec 30, 2022

    Budget discussions for the 2023 Carlton County fiscal year finally culminated at the board of commissioners on Tuesday, Dec. 27 with a 4-0 vote for a 6.55-percent increase in the county’s property tax levy. Commissioner Tom Proulx was absent. A preliminary 6.9-percent levy increase was set in September. As has been the case the last few years, the preliminary tax levy has been reduced when the final decision is made in late December. Chairman Gary Peterson noted that he had asked that the levy proposal reflect cuts in funding for new staff h... Full story

  • County board approves pay increases

    Dan Reed|Dec 30, 2022

    County commissioners set the salary rates, per-diems, meal reimbursements and mileage for the next year at its final regular meeting of the year Tuesday. Department heads, confidential, and other non-union employees received a 2.75-percent increase in their wages for 2023. Sheriff Kelly Lake’s salary was set at $131,352 for 2023 based on a 40-hour work week at $63.15/hour. The county attorney, Lauri Ketola, the only other county elected official, was set at $144,227 at $69.34/hour based on a 40-hour work week. Peterson originally made a m... Full story

  • Guest column: Getting by in dark days

    Dan Reed|Dec 23, 2022

    The early reports of first rain, then snow, seemed somewhat unusual. But those of us who have lived up north a long time know winter has the upper hand. Just live with it, because before you know it, things will change. I saw the rain come - and come - and came to the conclusion that at least we wouldn't get 4 feet of snow when it was all said and done. The Halloween storm of 1991 was like that. Two bursts of snow came in at about 12 to 14 inches. It was super heavy and clung to the trees like...

  • Landowners keep cemetery issue in front of board

    Dan Reed|Dec 23, 2022

    Again, a delegation of nearly 20 landowners from Blackhoof Township attended the Dec. 12 county board meeting, watching to see what action, if any, the Carlton County Board of Commissioners will take on a proposed “green” cemetery in their neighborhood. The board had instructed zoning administrator Heather Cunningham to draft a letter of concern on the issue. She presented the proposed letter and it was approved unanimously. The letter is to be sent to the Green Burial Council in California with a copy sent to the Steelmantown Church and Cem... Full story

  • Rising property taxes dominate hearing

    Dan Reed|Dec 16, 2022

    About 20 Carlton County residents came to the Truth in Taxation hearing on Tuesday to voice fears of losing their homes under heavy increases in local property taxes. An Eagle Lake summer resident testified she had a 23 percent increase for taxes payable for fiscal year 2023 although she and her husband lived there only 47 percent of the time. Jim Jankowski lives on a small farm in rural Esko where he had milked cows in the past. The farm has been in his family for more than 100 years. The 80-year-old took the podium. “I have worked hard in m...

  • County prepares for sales tax kick-in

    Dan Reed|Dec 2, 2022

    Carlton County voters approved it, but paperwork and state bureaucracy means collecting the voter-approved half-cent sales tax money to support the construction of the Justice Center won’t begin until spring. In November, Carlton County voters overwhelmingly accepted a half-percent sales tax to pay for the $66 million jail and courts facility being constructed in Carlton. But purchases and services of goods in the county will not see the added tax until April 1. Auditor/treasurer Kevin DeVriendt received approval to proceed with the n...

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