Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
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Sidewalk work has begun on downtown side streets in Park Rapids. A rainy Wednesday made for difficult work for crews that day. But during the last week a lot of electrical work has been done, along with grading, curb and gutter and alley work. Underground crews transitioned into Phase 3. Project superintendent Jeff Wipper said he expected all sidewalks to be completed by Thursday, June 23. Bituminous paving crews will be working throughout the week as well, he expects. People can expect to see an increase in truck traffic due to the sidewalk work and bituminous paving.
Menahga Mayor Pat Foss asked the City Council Monday to begin discussing a proposed ordinance regarding front yard regulations for solar panels and wind turbines. "I think there needs to be a place for them - not in the front yard or near the street," he said. The reason Foss brought up the issue was because he had heard from some residents who oppose solar panels in front yards due to appearance and possible visibility issues for driving. He added wind turbines to the discussion because he knows of other cities that have them in town. Foss brought a proposed ordinance to the meeting.
Progress is being made with downtown construction work, although some citizens expressed frustration that no paving or sidewalk pouring had been done. Dick Rutherford said that Second Street has been ready for sidewalks and paving for weeks. Project manager Jon Olson said the reason more concrete work hasn't been done is that it's difficult to get a contractor to come to town for a small amount of work.
Menahga School District will approve hiring Ariana Wright for the elementary principal job. This is the second offer the district has given for this position. Justin Sperling accepted the position last month and later declined the job. Wright has worked as a music teacher at Chatfield Elementary in the Belle Plaine School District. The board will officially vote on the recommendation at a special meeting Thursday, July 9.
Hubbard County is a hot spot for ticks and the diseases they carry. Diseases have become more prevalent for humans and pets and the Minnesota Department of Health has several recommendations to prevent tick-borne disease. Blacklegged ticks are found in wooded, brushy areas. Unless someone is spending time in that kind of setting, simply being in a high-risk county won't place a person at risk, according to MDH.
Construction work in downtown Park Rapids was delayed slightly because of power outages but some curb and gutter work was done. The project as a whole is still on schedule for completion by the end of June, said project engineer Jon Olson. Progress was also made with underground utility work. Crews have finished underground work on Second, Third and Fourth streets and have moved south to Eighth Street.
A collaborative effort will result in a better habitat for trout in the Straight River south of Park Rapids. Minnesota Trout Unlimited, Straight River Trust Committee and Department of Natural Resources Fish and Wildlife and Forestry divisions spent this week placing structures made of trees in the river to move the water current. Much of the funding comes from the state Legacy grant but each entity has contributed. "The river is real slow and flat, which has caused sediment to drop," said Doug Kingsley, with the DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife. As a result, the river has widened and
The Park Rapids Police Department continues to be busy, according to a report by Chief Terry Eilers last week. He presented a 2010 activity report to the Park Rapids City Council last week. "Our overall call volume has decreased slightly from last year, but we see increases in other areas," Eilers said.