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Articles written by Rebekah King

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  • School board: Fun Days dance card is full

    Rebekah King|Jun 23, 2023

    On Monday, June 12, the Esko school board heard a presentation from the Esko Hockey Association about hosting the Esko Fun Days street dance at the district’s sports complex next to the football field. The hockey group is looking to relocate the event, away from the parking lot at the firehall out of concern for the safety of those walking across the street in the dark, the blocking off of access to the hall, and noise issues. The board was hesitant to consider allowing an event with alcohol sales to be held on school property. “I’m a littl...

  • Esko eschews 'Eskomos' moniker

    Rebekah King and Mike Creger|Jun 16, 2023

    By unanimous vote of the school board Monday night, the Esko school nickname will no longer be "the Eskomos" as of June 30. The change, which has been urged for at least three years by some in the community, comes as a new state law goes into effect that prohibits school districts from using names, symbols, or images that refer to American Indian tribes. The board told parents and the community that they were still researching options about the nickname at its meeting on May 8 and planned to...

  • Group floats sports dome

    Rebekah King|May 12, 2023

    The Thomson Township community is once again coming together to support local sports, this time in hopes of raising enough money to build a multisport dome. Over 10 years ago, the Thomson community came together and raised over $400,000 to put turf down on the local football field. The same group of individuals that spearheaded the turf project is now looking for the community’s support to build a multisport dome in the township. Members of the “dome club” gave a presentation about the possible project to the Thomson Township board of super...

  • More chime in on Eskomo nickname

    Rebekah King|May 12, 2023

    Esko parents are continuing to show up and show their support for changing the school district’s Eskomos nickname. At the Esko school board’s meeting Monday, two parents and a representative from the National Coalition Against Racism in Sports spoke in support of changing the mascot during the open forum portion of the meeting. Two letters of support were sent to the board as well. Parent Rachel Gilbertson said many more support the cause. “Within the last two months, I’ve received an outpouring of support from people throughout this communi...

  • Thomson Board moves ahead with road paving project

    Rebekah King|May 5, 2023

    The Thomson Township board of supervisors is moving forward with the East Riverside Road paving project that residents have been pushing for since 2019. The board approved a bid for the paving project at their meeting on April 27, 2023, for $403,864. The township received five bids and ultimately selected the lowest bidder to complete the project. This comes after 27 township residents signed a petition urging the board to repave East Riverside Road in March 2021. Due to new building construction on the road, the board approved the request for... Full story

  • 'Eskomos' mascot comes under fire again

    Rebekah King|Apr 14, 2023

    The Esko school board is once again being asked to consider changing the school mascot's "Eskomos" nickname. The call for change from some community members comes as the Minnesota State Legislature is considering a bill that would prohibit the use of American Indian mascots and logos for all schools in the state. As the bill is currently written, school districts may not "have or adopt a name, symbol, or image that depicts or refers to an American Indian Tribe, individual, custom, or tradition t...

  • Residents question large budget 'surplus'

    Rebekah King|Mar 17, 2023

    Thomson Township residents voted to approve a 3.91-percent tax levy increase for 2024, despite significant pushback from a few residents at the annual meeting Tuesday. At the end of 2022, Thomson Township was left with a fund balance in its general operating expenses fund of almost $1.85 million. This amount concerned some residents, who felt that this “surplus” in funds should be applied toward the annual budget to take the burden off of taxpayers. Resident Ole Larson had concerns during the review of the township’s annual statement and propo...

  • Board approves fitness center plan, payment

    Rebekah King|Mar 17, 2023

    The Esko School Board approved its 2022-2023 revised (and largely unchanged) budget of $16.14 million at its monthly meeting Monday, March 13, along with final funding and construction plans for the highly anticipated fitness center. Final construction plans for the fitness center detail a nearly 4,750-square-foot fitness center, two rooms for physical therapy, two bathrooms, and a front entryway with a welcome desk for use by the public. The building is being constructed using the existing...

  • Thomson Township: Shared road hearing delayed, sewer rates go up

    Rebekah King|Feb 24, 2023

    After tentatively scheduling a date for a follow-up public hearing on the proposed private road and private shared driveway ordinances at their first February meeting, the Thomson Township board of supervisors decided to take the date off the calendar and select a later date. On Feb. 2, township attorney David Pritchett urged the board to select a date to push the project along due to the large public engagement. At the time, the board selected March 9 for the follow-up hearing. However, at the township board meeting Thursday, Feb. 16, the...

  • Esko fitness center moves forward

    Rebekah King|Feb 17, 2023

    The Esko school district is one step further along in its plans to build a new fitness center for students and community members, following the school board’s approval of an initial construction plan and budget. The district’s construction planning company, Duluth-based ICS, presented the current floor plans and budget at the board meeting Monday, Feb. 13. ICS proposed a fitness center which will include a large open area for workout equipment, two exam rooms to be used by physical therapy patients and trainers, two bathrooms, lockers, and a fr...

  • Township schedules second hearing on private roads and driveways

    Rebekah King|Feb 10, 2023

    The Thomson Township board of supervisors has scheduled a followup public hearing on the proposed private road and private shared driveway ordinances for 5 p.m. March 9. Following a large turnout for the initial public hearing — with many township residents giving feedback critical of the proposed ordinances — the township’s attorney, David Pritchett, strongly recommended scheduling another public hearing as soon as possible to give the public ample time to review the edited ordinance and be aware that there will be another hearing. At issue...

  • Thompson Township residents question proposed township road, driveway rules

    Rebekah King|Feb 3, 2023

    A set of ordinances presented to Thomson Township residents last week has people talking, and not all of them are in favor of more government control over their properties. At issue are two proposed resolutions that would require a shared maintenance agreement and minimum design standards for private shared driveways and roads in the township. The proposals would ensure safe and adequate access for public safety and to permit future upgrading, proponents on the board say. More than 40 residents...

  • Hearing set on sewer rate increase

    Rebekah King|Jan 27, 2023

    The Thomson Township board of supervisors had a short agenda for its meeting Jan. 19. The board rescheduled a public hearing to set rates for sewer service in order to allow time to work out the details for changes to commercial businesses in the township. The meeting will now be held at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 16, before the board’s regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. According to the public hearing notice online, the proposed rate changes per month are as follows: • One-family dwelling used for residential purposes: from $35 to $40 • Multi-family dwell...

  • Esko board backs online classes for snowy days

    Rebekah King|Jan 20, 2023

    Snow days may soon be a thing of the past in Esko. Esko school board members approved the district’s eLearning day policy — basically having school online instead of canceling classes for a snow day — as presented by superintendent Aaron Fischer during the Jan. 9 meeting. eLearning days will be communicated to parents and students at least two hours prior to normal start time. Teachers will share assignments virtually or will have sent home assignments prior to the eLearning day. Internet accommodations will be made for families that do not h...

  • Sunnarborg appointed to Thomson board - again

    Rebekah King|Jan 13, 2023

    The Thomson Township Board of Supervisors appointed David Sunnarborg to fill the vacancy on the board at its meeting Jan. 5, following more than four months of an empty seat and controversy surrounding the original appointment process. Sunnarborg’s appointment by the board followed his resignation in mid-December in order to allow the board to reset its appointment process. The Minnesota Department of Administration ruled in December that the board violated open meeting law in September during the process which led to Sunnarborg being a...

  • Esko levy to rise 5%

    Rebekah King|Dec 23, 2022

    The Esko school board approved the 2023 tax levy with a 5-percent increase at their meeting Monday, Dec 12. The board previously approved the 5-percent increase, which is the maximum amount allowed, for the preliminary levy in September. The total levy will increase to $2,238,714, which is $106,614 up from the 2022 tax levy. The increase includes the lease-levy the board approved for the construction of a new fitness center for the district. A vote on the proposed fitness center was originally on the agenda for Monday, but the district’s b...

  • Board hits reset on appointment process

    Rebekah King|Dec 16, 2022

    The Thomson Township Board of Supervisors is once again accepting applications for an open seat on the board. In an effort to self-correct after the Minnesota Department of Administration ruled this month that the board violated open meeting law during its previous appointment process, a special meeting Thursday, Dec. 8 was used to reset the process. At the suggestion of township attorney Dave Pritchett, newly appointed Thomson Township supervisor David Sunnarborg resigned from his seat during...

  • UPDATED: Board appoints familiar face as supervisor

    Rebekah King|Dec 9, 2022

    Editor's note: On Dec. 8, appointee David Sunnarborg resigned his new position so the board could rewind its selection process after the Minnesota Department of Administration ruled that they had violated open meeting law when they illegally closed a meeting to narrow the original list of six applicants to three. Read more about that decision in next week's Pine Knot News or here: https://www.pineknotnews.com/story/2022/12/09/news/thomson-town-board-rewinds-supervisor-selection-process/8447.html. Following months of an empty seat and controvers...

  • Supervisor resigns as Thomson Township resets appointment process

    Rebekah King|Dec 9, 2022

    The Thomson Township Board of Supervisors is once again accepting applications for an open seat on the board. In an effort to self-correct after the Minnesota Department of Administration ruled this month that the board violated open meeting law during its previous appointment process, a special meeting Thursday, Dec. 8 was used to reset the process. At the suggestion of township attorney Dave Pritchett, newly appointed Thomson Township supervisor David Sunnarborg resigned from his seat during a special meeting. The decision allowed the board... Full story

  • Candidates for open board seat interviewed

    Rebekah King|Nov 25, 2022

    The Thomson Township board of supervisors interviewed finalists for its vacant board seat on Nov. 17, after nearly three months without a full board. The three candidates, Eric Rish, Gary Bonneville, and David Sunnarborg, were asked a series of questions about their intent to apply for the seat, what they view as hot issues for the township, and what they would bring to the board. Eric Rish is a retired Duluth Police Department lieutenant and Esko resident. He served on the Esko Sports Alliance board for four years and was a member of the...

  • Coach carousel discussed

    Rebekah King|Nov 25, 2022

    The Esko school board approved all winter sports team coaches and their stipends at their meeting on Monday, Nov. 14, but not without discussion from the board about the direction the coaching staff has taken over the last few years. With more parents stepping up to fill empty coaching positions, board member Jeff Salo asked the board to take a good look at what options the district has to entice individuals to come coach long-term, and not just while their child is on the team. “The comment which I seem to be making every year is my disdain fo...

  • Incumbents win handily in Esko area

    Rebekah King|Nov 11, 2022

    There will be no new faces on the Thomson Township Board of Supervisors following the 2022 midterm election, as all three incumbent candidates were re-elected to their spots on the board. The board’s current chairperson, Ruth Janke, defeated Parrish Silbernagel to maintain her seat on the board. Janke brought in 1,810 votes (78.56%), with Silbernagel garnering 482 (20%). Former chairperson and long-time board member Terry Hill also handily defeated a challenger. Amna Hanson fell short of unseating Hill, with 766 votes (33%) to Hill’s 1,549 vot... Full story

  • Thomson Township: Candidate interviews set, selection process questioned

    Rebekah King and Jana Peterson|Nov 11, 2022

    The Thomson Township Board of Supervisors announced plans to finally interview finalists for its vacant board seat, as the process for selecting those three final candidates is under scrutiny by the state of Minnesota. The board will select one person to replace Jason Paulson, who resigned in August from the board with two years remaining on his term due to a busy work schedule as a pilot. Six people initially applied for the opening, but township supervisors narrowed the applicant pool from six to three in a closed meeting Sept. 8,...

  • Board OKs new policing contract language

    Rebekah King|Oct 28, 2022

    The Thomson Township Board of Supervisors approved terms of a new law enforcement contract with the Carlton County Sheriff’s Office, extending services provided to the township for another three years. The Carlton County Sheriff’s Office assigns a deputy to work exclusively in the township. According to Chief Deputy Dan Danielson, who attended the board’s meeting Oct. 20 to answer questions about the new contract, the assignment allows the deputy to form a relationship with the community, get to know businesses, and work alongside the schoo...

  • Esko candidate forum has passion, pride from candidates

    Rebekah King|Oct 21, 2022

    The seven candidates running to fill three open Esko school board seats in the Nov. 8 midterm election spoke directly to community members at a candidate forum event earlier this month. The Oct. 11 event was hosted and moderated by Esko’s Parents in Education group and had a successful turnout for the group’s first attempt at a candidate forum. The Esko school theater was nearly filled with parents, teachers and community members. The incumbent candidates, Margaret Sunnarborg and Todd Rengo, along with the five other candidates seeking election... Full story

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