Anna Erickson is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
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The Park Rapids School Board approved $510,000 in budget adjustments Monday. The budget adjustments included not replacing five retiring employees for a savings of $371,000. Also, the current assistant principal at Century, Jeff Johnson, will become the high school principal. Principal Al Judson is retiring at year's end. Johnson's position will be eliminated and Shelli Walsh will take over his testing duties. Assistant principal John Schumacher will now split his time between the high school and middle school.
The Miss Park Rapids Pageant is returning this Saturday with 22 girls participating. "Everything is really coming together," said pageant organizer Kristine Walsh. The event begins with a royalty reception at 5:30 p.m. Saturday followed by the pageant at 6:30 p.m. It includes four age categories so girls from kindergarten through juniors in high school can participate. Walsh has emphasized that it is not a beauty pageant.
The large moose sculpture outside Moose Creek in downtown Park Rapids is no longer standing tall. Sometime over the weekend it was vandalized. The antlers and legs were broken off. Moose Creek owner Tom Paulson said he's not exactly sure when the vandalism happened but he's upset that "people have nothing better to do than terrorize the town" over Easter weekend, he said. "I'm contemplating doing some sort of reward for prosecution of whoever vandalized it because I just think it's sickening," Paulson said.
Construction of a new well and well house has begun in Park Rapids. The new well is located south of Frank White Education Center in Park Rapids. The well is deep, at about 287 feet. North Star Drilling has been contracted to dig the well. Jack Thilquist, who is heading up the work with North Star Drilling, said drilling should be completed by Tuesday.
Public transportation in Park Rapids and Hubbard County has seen a spike in riders - especially those who use wheelchairs or scooters. Linda Bair, Heartland Express transit coordinator, said buses have been busiest in the city of Park Rapids. Two buses run in the city. One runs from 8:15 a.m. to 4:15 a.m. and the second bus comes on up to five hours as needed. Riders are picked up at their front doors and at the time of their choice, which is different than a route schedule.
Alan Zemek is asking to consider designating a redevelopment Tax Increment Financing District for the Armory. Zemek, a developer, has been acquiring grants over the last year to research the building and determine whether it is feasible to redevelop. "There's still a substantial challenge there," he said. "The heating system is completely gone, you'd go broke if you tried to put that boiler back into service, the building needs a lot of upgrades for health and public safety and fire safety." Despite those hurdles, Zemek is continuing to move forward step by step.
In keeping with the idea to be creative in saving money, the Park Rapids City Council will now meet during the day to save on overtime pay for employees. The measure should save about $7,500 in overtime pay per year, said city administrator Bill Smith. Department heads attend most of the council's meetings. By having meetings during the regular workday, the council hopes to cut overtime costs. The city council will now meet at noon the second and fourth Tuesdays instead of 7 p.m.
Park Rapids will have very little signage downtown after the Main Avenue reconstruction project. The Park Rapids City Council reviewed its downtown signage after Scott Wilson, with Park Theater, approached the board last month saying it was inconsistent. He requested the council reimburse him for a towing fee and impound fee after a vehicle was towed in February. He thought the council should reimburse the fees because there wasn't a sign saying no parking for snow removal right in front of the theater, where the vehicle was parked.
Enrollment projections for Menahga School continue to go up and up. Superintendent Mary Klamm said school staff has always figured out projections by calling county officials, looking at the newspaper for births and hearing about people moving into the area. "It wasn't real scientific," she said.