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Articles from the May 12, 2023 edition


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  • Sjodin family support stays strong

    Jana Peterson|May 12, 2023

    An estimated 1,500 people showed up for the Sjodin family Saturday, packing the Four Seasons Sports Complex and Event Center in Carlton to demonstrate their support for 18-year-old Janae Sjodin, badly hurt in a car crash six weeks ago. The parking lot outside was packed. Cars overflowed onto Chestnut Street for blocks in either direction. More and more people streamed into the arena throughout the afternoon, dropping money in the donation jar by the entrance and buying raffle tickets inside.... Full story

  • Students pedal bikes for more than a joy ride

    Brady Slater|May 12, 2023

    An enrichment day last week for Queen of Peace Catholic School found a large group of students bicycling through the Historic West End of Cloquet. The goal was to teach students the rules of the road. "They're going to be riding bikes long before they're driving cars," said volunteer Paul Baecker. "They've got to know the rules." Baecker works with the school as a mental health therapist. He and his wife, Jana, and their four young children moved to Cloquet from Germany, where they were...

  • Celebrating expansion at airport

    Jana Peterson|May 12, 2023

    When Bill Stone started Venture North Aviation at the Cloquet Airport in 2009, it was just Stone and one airplane in a one-room office at the airport. As of last week, Stone announced Venture North now boasts nine aircraft and 15 employees and taught accelerated flight courses to more than 200 customers last year. This year they expect more than 360 customers. Stone made the announcement at an open house event held to celebrate the grand opening of a multi use hangar that houses airplanes as...

  • Road work back on Cromwell

    May 12, 2023

    Contractors resumed construction on Minnesota highways 210 and 73 in Cromwell on Monday, the Minnesota Department of Transportation reported. Remaining work on the $3.7 million project includes sidewalk and entrance installation, culvert and storm sewer lining, striping, and final signage. Motorists can expect daytime lane closures and intermittent flagging operations. All work is expected to be complete before July 1. The project to reconstruct the existing highway was designed to improve the ride for travelers and increase stormwater...

  • Bands have say in forest use

    May 12, 2023

    The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa joined two other northeastern Minnesota tribes last week in solidifying their stewardship of the 3.3-million-acre Superior National Forest. Fond du Lac, along with the Boise Forte and Grand Portage bands, joined officials with the Superior National Forest in signing a memorandum of understanding on May 2 in Grand Portage. The memorandum will ensure the bands’ involvement in the future management of the Superior National Forest, a joint news release said. The memorandum recognizes the bands as origi...

  • Board zeroes in on superintendent hire

    Brady Slater|May 12, 2023

    Down to their last man, the Wrenshall school board seems to have found their next superintendent. The district has offered Jeff Pesta, retired Deer River superintendent, its position beginning July 1 and working half-time through the next school year. Pesta and the district are in negotiations, and board member Mary Carlson reported during the board’s committee of the whole meeting Wednesday that Pesta has said he wants to help the financially struggling district and not take a penny more than what the district is currently paying outgoing K...

  • 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...

  • School staff to get free sports pass

    Jana Peterson|May 12, 2023

    Staff at the Cloquet schools won’t have to pay to attend ballgames and other athletic events next year, a move district officials hope will make it easier for teachers and staff who carry a district photo ID to attend and show support. Cloquet school board members debated the loss of funds from admission fees and passes versus the benefits and elected to at least try the new policy for a year. The district’s family engagement office and activities director Paul Riess recommended the move. “It’s good for the kids,” Riess told the board. “I...

  • Cloquet housing group lauded

    May 12, 2023

    The Cloquet Housing & Redevelopment Authority has received designation as a “High Performer” by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development under the Public Housing Assessment System Measurement of four key indicators: Physical, financial, management, and capital fund administration. Executive director Debra Shaff attributes achieving HUD’s highest ranking to the HRA’s staff and commissioners. “Big things are possible as a result of our commissioners and staff’s continued commitment, enthusiasm, perseverance and leadership,...

  • 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...

  • Pokornowski accepts activities director job

    Ted Lammi|May 12, 2023

    Carlton and Wrenshall have completed the plan to combine all competitive activities with the merger of robotics and speech for next year, Carlton superintendent John Engstrom announced Monday, following the debut of combined spring sports this year. Activities such as theater and prom will have a different approach, he said. Engstrom explained that each school puts on one or more plays and that they should be kept in place, “but also open them up to the student body of each.” The decision whether to combine prom and dances went to the stu...

  • Appeal denied on life sentence for kidnapping, assault

    May 12, 2023

    The Minnesota Court of Appeals has rejected challenges from Dennis Michael St. John Jr., who was found guilty by a Carlton County jury in January 2022 of three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, along with kidnapping and domestic assault of a woman. St. John’s attorney, Kevin Gregorius of Meshbesher and Associates in Minneapolis, asserted that the Carlton County Sixth District Court erred in seven instances regarding procedures, evidence and testimony during his trial. All were rejected by the appellate court led by Judge Tracy S...

  • Sales lot owner dispute continues with city

    Brady Slater|May 12, 2023

    The conflict between an outspoken business owner and the Wrenshall city council spiked again last week, when the council voted to send a letter informing Jeff Bloom he was out of compliance with city ordinance. Bloom is the owner of the Wrenshall General Store and RV park, and was in attendance at the May 3 city council meeting. Bloom told the board he would not seek to renew an interim use permit for his Ponderosa Sales, an auction business located on the same property as Bloom's other...

  • 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...

  • Staff assaulted at Moose Lake sex offender facility

    Mike Creger|May 12, 2023

    Daniel Wilson, a committed client at the Minnesota Sex Offender Program facility in Moose Lake, said Wednesday that a "vast majority of clients are horrified" by the two assaults that took place there recently. He said that despite the past records of the people who live at the facility, most are "nonviolent." But he also said "we all sort of expected it" when it came to the attacks. On May 1, according to a complaint filed in Carlton County District Court May 3, client Nicolas Ladell Aron-Jones...

  • Constituents have questions; here are some answers

    Rep. Jeff Dotseth|May 12, 2023

    Conference committees have been working to iron out differences in finance packages that received preliminary approval in both the House and the Senate. Once those bills are in order they will come back around for votes on final approval in order to have a new two-year state budget in place before the Legislature adjourns later this month. I'm receiving many questions about the current lay of the land and here is a snapshot: Where's the surplus? Minnesota's February economic forecast projected...

  • Let's get real on gun rights

    Pete Radosevich|May 12, 2023

    I was just in Houston, and there was an amazing story circulating. Apparently, some guy was meeting his girlfriend for a date at a burger joint. Both parked their cars at a lot across the street, paying the attendant $20 each, which sure seems like a lot of money to park your car, doesn’t it? Well, the attendant assured these people that they would get a refund of the $40 if they showed a receipt from the burger restaurant, proving that they had eaten there. Sounds a little odd, but parking c...

  • Letter to the editor

    May 12, 2023

    Two Sundays ago I bought a meal at the Burger King in Cloquet. I noticed on the receipt that they are still charging a sales tax total of 7.875 percent. I think it is supposed to be a rate of 8.875 percent as of April 1. Do they owe a month’s worth of uncollected back taxes? Should an authority point out a reminder to them? Dan Unulock, Cloquet...

  • Wilderness split games, head home

    May 12, 2023

    Winning on the road is a key to success in any playoff series, and the Minnesota Wilderness managed that last weekend during their best-of-five Midwest Division finals. The Wilderness split with the top-seeded Wisconsin Windigo, winning 1-0 on May 5 before falling 3-2 in overtime the next night in Eagle River, Wisconsin. The Wilderness' quest to advance in the North American Hockey League's Robertson Cup playoffs continues with games 3 and 4, scheduled for 7:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Northw... Full story

  • Young pitcher saves day for Cards

    Kerry Rodd|May 12, 2023

    An eighth-grade pitcher for the Cromwell-Wright baseball team stepped up in a big way on Friday, May 5 in helping to lead the Cardinals to a 4-1 win over the Carlton/Wrenshall Raptors. Drew Nyberg was called on to step up for the Cards when starting pitcher Tate Bloomquist had a sore arm and had to leave the game in the third inning with the Cardinals leading 2-0. "Drew came up huge for us," said Cardinals coach Dean Levinski. "He went four innings and gave up just one run on a couple of hits... Full story

  • Focus is fun at quirky Cloquet relays

    Kerry Rodd|May 12, 2023

    The Cloquet relays are hosted by the Cloquet track team every spring as a midseason way to break up a busy but short season. Last Friday, May 5, the event was held again with Cloquet hosting teams from Hermantown, Proctor, Moose Lake/Willow River and Barnum. "It is a good time to have some fun before the real busy time of the season begins," said Cloquet coach Tim Prosen. "We do things like a steeplechase with hay bales, and different types of relays that are not traditional high school... Full story

  • Up-and-down 'Jacks knock out Bombers

    Kerry Rodd|May 12, 2023

    After going 1-2 last weekend at a tournament in Becker, the Cloquet softball team returned to local play Monday with a 14-0 win at home against Barnum. Barnum was the home team, but had to play in Cloquet because the Bombers field is still unplayable. "Our field has been a problem for a while now," said Barnum coach Dusty Collelo. "We haven't played a home game yet. Our field is mostly clay and doesn't drain well, so we have had to play all of our games on the road." Monday's game was played at... Full story

  • Vote puts volleyball in for boys

    May 12, 2023

    Boys volleyball will soon join the roster of high school sports sanctioned by the Minnesota State High School League. The league’s 48-member representative assembly approved the proposal Tuesday with 39 votes in favor. It needed 32 votes — a two-thirds majority — to pass. “It’s pretty incredible. We’re elated,” said Jenny Kilkelly, president of the Minnesota Boys High School Volleyball Association, which has organized statewide competition as a club sport for several years and had been lobbying for sanctioned status. Cloquet has fielded boys... Full story

  • Fish diversity and habitat

    The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources|May 12, 2023

    All fish have value whether or not anglers typically pursue them. Native fish species benefit their ecosystems and the DNR is bringing more attention toward, and focus on, responsibly managing native fish species. Although not every kind of fish lives everywhere, 162 species of fish can be found in Minnesota waters. Walleye are the most sought-after fish in Minnesota, followed by crappie, then sunfish, northern pike and bass, and all these are native to Minnesota. But there is a whole array of other fish that anglers try to catch, or sometimes... Full story

  • Cold open; While it isn't exactly springlike out there, suddenly the fishing opener is upon us

    May 12, 2023

    Saturday marks another step in our slow-crawl spring this year: It's the fishing opener. While most lakes in the Carlton County area are open, don't expect them to be up north, especially in deep inland places like the Gunflint Trail, where ice remained on lakes this week. But it's always odd when we still have snow on the ground and are talking about casting those first lines for bass, walleye or northerns. Here are some Minnesota fishing facts to ponder while on the water this weekend. They...

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