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Articles from the February 12, 2021 edition


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  • 'The first time he kissed me, I cried'

    Jana Peterson|Feb 12, 2021

    Sexual abuse survivor K.M. addressed the courtroom during the sentencing for her former high school basketball coach, Robert Pioro, at the Carlton County Courthouse Friday afternoon. She read a victim impact statement to the people in the courtroom — including Pioro and one of his attorneys — and a host of people watching the proceedings online. “The first time he kissed me, I cried. I can still remember how disappointed I felt knowing that everything had changed. As I cried, he told me that some parents kiss their kids on the lips. And then... Full story

  • Music legend marks 94th birthday

    Lois E. Johnson|Feb 12, 2021

    When Florian Chmielewski carries his accordion into the VFW in Cloquet, he can't help but smile. "I told someone that I have been doing that for 76 years, bringing my accordion into a place and setting the case down," he said. "I have to do it. I am there to make people happy. I bring joy to their lives." Chmielewski celebrated his 94th birthday Wednesday in true Florian style: by playing at the VFW's senior dance. "Someone asked me who was going to play for me on my birthday," Florian said. "I... Full story

  • Carlton Wrenshall: Schools 'pause' merger wrangle

    Mike Creger|Feb 12, 2021

    The on-again, off-again talks between the Carlton and Wrenshall school districts regarding consolidation are officially off again. Superintendents and school board members agreed last week that it was time for a “pause” in current negotiations regarding a merger that has been kicked around for more than a half-century. The pause marks an end to a flurry of consolidation maneuvers in the past two years that saw the school boards agreeing on a two-site plan that would utilize the South Ter...

  • History Mystery

    Pine Knot News|Feb 12, 2021

    No real mystery here this week. We received this cool photo in a packet of information about the Wood Conversion Company, including one of its newsletters from 1950. Using the old-car expert the Pine Knot News keeps on a retainer, we confirmed that this shot, most likely taken from the old water tower near Pinehurst park, was taken in the late 1940s or in 1950. Do you have a History Mystery? Send it to us a [email protected]...

  • Esko Schools: Tutors will try to bridge Covid gap

    Pete Radosevich|Feb 12, 2021

    Esko schools plan to expand a tutoring program for students who fell behind during distance learning, after a pilot program led by high school principal Greg Hexum showed good results. The high school tutoring program will provide remedial help and focus on credit recovery, which is for juniors and seniors who may need help to earn the credits needed to graduate. The elementary school program, led by principal Brian Harker, will focus on remedial needs in the core subjects such as reading and math. Esko school board members approved both plans...

  • Retiring firefighter gets a grand goodbye

    Jana Peterson|Feb 12, 2021

    Sean Saddler went through a rollercoaster of emotions Thursday ... and then he went for a ride in a fire truck. Retirement is bittersweet, said the firefighter of 33 years. "This is my family and I'm gonna miss them," he said, gesturing at the gymnasium filled with upward of 30 people, most of them firefighters and emergency responders. "It's hard to leave the guys, it really is. I won't miss the job as much, since they've already told me the welcome mat will be out and I can come cook a meal... Full story

  • Winter bus route starts for students

    Pine Knot News|Feb 12, 2021

    Thanks to the cold snap, the Cloquet School District started winter busing for those students who are not eligible to ride regular buses because they live too close to a school. These routes started this week — both morning and afternoon — and will end at the district’s discretion sometime in the spring. Unlike last year, there is not a separate bus for the winter route. Superintendent Michael Cary said parents must call the Cloquet Transit office to make arrangements for their child to ride the bus, because students will have to be sched...

  • Online series on race set to begin

    Pine Knot News|Feb 12, 2021

    Carlton County residents and others are invited to join an online series of conversations about equity, diversity and inclusion across the county on the fourth Tuesday of each month starting Feb. 23. Called “Niibidoon: Relationship Weaving,” the two-hour conversations will be held online via Zoom and are open to all community members. The interactive talks will be facilitated by U of M Extension’s American Indian Leadership and Civic Engagement team. Following is the schedule through June: • Conversation with Jay: Indigenous Perspec...

  • School staff navigating vaccination road

    Jana Peterson|Feb 12, 2021

    By working with as many sources as possible, the Cloquet school district is making good progress getting staff members vaccinated for Covid-19. Superintendent Michael Cary told Cloquet school board members that they started the process with the state efforts, but found that when 42 people traveled to the regional vaccine center in Mt. Iron there wasn't enough vaccine to go around. More recently, Carlton County has been an incredibly important partner in the process, he said. "The last couple of weeks the county has gotten doses that they're...

  • This isn't her first pandemic rodeo

    Jana Peterson|Feb 12, 2021

    Martha Westlund, age 105, was three years old when the last pandemic hit the world. But she doesn't remember much about the 1918 influenza pandemic, because no one got sick on their isolated farm in the Twig area. She is very much aware of Covid-19, however, and was thrilled to get her first vaccination at Community Memorial Hospital on Friday. Her son, Tim Westlund, said he'd been calling around and searching websites in the area to get her an appointment, and finally called the Raiter Clinic,... Full story

  • Carlton County cases stay low

    Pine Knot News|Feb 12, 2021

    Carlton County Covid-19 case numbers increased by 37 cases over the past week, and there have been no new deaths in at least two weeks. As of Feb. 10, Carlton County had seen a cumulative total of 2,946 Covid-19 cases with 43 deaths, according to the most recent numbers from the Minnesota Department of Health. Also Wednesday, the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa reported a total of 196 positive tests so far — unchanged in two weeks — with 92 of those on the reservation, also the same as the previous two weeks. The state’s Feb. 4 rep... Full story

  • Superior rapid test site reopens

    Pine Knot News|Feb 12, 2021

    The University of Wisconsin-Superior’s Covid-19 community rapid testing site will reopen Monday, Feb. 15. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services requested that the site open again after closing last month. Minnesota residents may test there. Testing will remain at the Marcovich Wellness Center and is offered 2-6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Information, including how to schedule an appointment, can be found at uwsuper.edu/covidtest.... Full story

  • New treatment offered in Duluth

    Pine Knot News|Feb 12, 2021

    Essentia Health is offering a new treatment for people diagnosed with mild to moderate Covid-19 who are at high risk for severe complications and hospitalization. The drug, called bamlanivimab, is a monoclonal antibody recently authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It must be given within 10 days of the start of symptoms and as soon as possible after a positive Covid-19 test. Patients must meet criteria set by the FDA to qualify for the treatment. There is a limited supply of bamlanivimab, so it is being...

  • Thomson Township: New engineering company has a familiar face

    Rebekah King|Feb 12, 2021

    After months of consideration, the Thomson Township board of supervisors has decided to enter a three-year agreement with a new engineering firm: Advanced Engineering and Environmental Services. Joe Jurewicz, a project engineer with the firm, previously worked for MSA Professional Services, which has worked with the township for more than 15 years. Jurewicz recently accepted a position with AE2S, sparking the discussion of a change in the town’s contracted engineering to a larger firm and yearly contract, as opposed to a project-by-project b...

  • Transfer station changes OK'd

    Dan Reed|Feb 12, 2021

    The Carlton County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to make changes to the way the county operates the Carlton County Transfer Station. Zoning and Solid Waste Management administrator Heather Cunningham presented a plan that would end a contract with private contractor Mahkahta Trucking and hire two full-time employees to run the processing of demolition refuse coming into the facility. The station would continue to have three half-time employees, two to run the office and one...

  • Our View: This extreme cold defines who we are

    Pine Knot News|Feb 12, 2021

    Winter in Minnesota is rarely routine. With all the snow and cold we get in northern Minnesota, it’s the perfect place to hold an ice fishing contest, or a snowmobile exhibition, or a sled dog event. Yet some winters, those things are canceled … because there’s no snow. Or it’s too warm. Or even because it’s so cold. Our ski hills have been mostly closed for a week. Who would ski when the temperature barely gets above zero degrees? Not many. And of course there are health risks that go with b...

  • Harry's Gang: Financial institutions change but community value remains

    Pete Radosevich|Feb 12, 2021

    We're fortunate to have so many quality banking options here in town. Not only do we have a couple branches of some major banks, we also have plenty of smaller, local banks for most services. It's not just banks. Credit unions have a long history in these parts, due in no small part to the influence the Finnish people have on our culture. Finns knew that if they pooled their resources, they could compete with the big banks and still have local control of their money. Credit unions were usually... Full story

  • Letters to the editor: Words matter on way to more robust civility

    Pine Knot News|Feb 12, 2021

    Our country continues to go through a traumatic time. Nobody in Congress trusts anyone, and hatred for the other party seems the norm. Very few people are willing to compromise. I think the biggest problem we have is that too many politicians, ads, news media, and even local reporters/contributors have forgotten a lot of decent vocabulary in exchange for mean spiteful words. I wish we could start changing our thoughts, and here are some of the words/phrases I think we could start using again: I’m sorry. I made a mistake. You were right. I w...

  • Guest views: Five questions with local GOP and DFL leaders

    Pine Knot News|Feb 12, 2021

    We posed five questions to the leaders of Carlton County’s political party organizations about the state of politics today. Tony Sheda is the chairman of the Carlton County Republicans and Patty Murto is chairwoman of the Carlton County DFL. DFL-Patty Murto Q: We had a tide-turning election in November, especially on the national front. Where do you envision politics going in the next few years? Murto: The Republicans in the U.S. Senate are trying to figure out a way to allow Trump off the hook for inciting violence against our Congress as t... Full story

  • Student View: Consolidation is best for academics

    Pine Knot News|Feb 12, 2021

    Wrenshall High School students wrote editorials in Ted Conover’s English composition class and some shared their opinions with the Pine Knot News. We will be publishing their work over the next few weeks. Over the years, I’ve noticed some limitations when it comes to the academics at both Wrenshall and Carlton high schools. I believe that if the schools were to combine, the students would gain new academic opportunities that would greatly benefit them in the future. With a very limited student b... Full story

  • Obituaries: Anna Elizabeth Kauma

    Pine Knot News|Feb 12, 2021

    Anna Elizabeth Kauma, 86, of Esko passed away Feb. 2, 2021, in the comfort of her home. Anna was born on Feb. 26, 1934, in Palermo, New York to Albert and Senja Hill. She was a member of the Independent Apostolic Lutheran Church. Anna volunteered at the Esko Historical Society and enjoyed her visits with the Esko TOPS gals on Tuesdays. Anna was preceded in death by her husband, Elden, and great-granddaughters Alyssa and Anikka. She is survived by her children, Mel (Lisa), Kenny (Marianne),... Full story

  • Obituaries: Michael Hugo Tempes

    Pine Knot News|Feb 12, 2021

    Michael Hugo Tempes, 69, of Cloquet passed away of natural causes as the cold winds of February ushered him upward to a warm and welcome Homecoming. Michael was born to Hugo and Delores (Loubsky) Tempes on Sept. 5, 1951. He and his four siblings grew up in the house their father built in Bensenville, Illinois. Michael joined the Navy at age 17 and celebrated his 18th birthday while serving overseas in Japan. Upon his discharge, Michael moved to Carlton, where a chance meeting on the shores of... Full story

  • Obituaries: Edward "Ed" Vernon Jaakola

    Pine Knot News|Feb 12, 2021

    Edward "Ed" Vernon Jaakola, 83, of Cloquet passed away Feb. 6, 2021. He was born Nov. 26, 1937 to parents Edward Emmanuel Jaakola and Maime Senja (Ainasoja) Jaakola. Ed was greeted into life by two siblings, brother Reynold and sister Shirley (Wirtanen). At age 1, Ed's brother Kenneth was born. Upon Maime's second marriage came Ed's sister, Sally Lund (Pearson). Growing up in Cloquet, Ed graduated from Cloquet High School in 1955 and served in the Navy 1955 to 1957. In February 1957, he met... Full story

  • County Seat one-act opens live and online

    Pine Knot News|Feb 12, 2021

    The County Seat Theater's production of "Do Not Go Gentle" opens today in-person as well as virtually. Precautions will be required for the 40 people allowed to watch the performances. The one-act play is described as both a drama and a comedy. Inspired by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas' poem of the same name and written by Suzan Zeder, the play centers around Lillian Boedecker Barron, who is 84 years old, vibrant, funny, wise ... and recently deceased. During her lifetime, Lillian shared a special,... Full story

  • Gardening web series begins next week

    Pine Knot News|Feb 12, 2021

    University of Minnesota Extension Educators is presenting a second annual “Gardening from the Ground Up” webinar series next week. The free series will take place from 1-2:30 p.m. each day, Feb. 16-19. Here is what is being offered: • Feb. 16: Starting a Garden from Scratch • Feb. 17: Selecting and Starting Plants for your Garden • Feb.18: Tree and Shrub Maintenance • Feb. 19: Lawn Care and Pest Management Go to z.umn.edu/GardenUp to register. Contact Bette Vichorek at the Extension office in Cloquet, 218-726-6463 or email bvichore@um...

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