Jeanne Thompson begins term as Nevis mayor

Making the Nevis community stronger and rebuilding the planning and zoning committee are her top priorities.


Jeanne Thompson was sworn in as the new mayor of Nevis Monday night.

She has served as a Nevis City Council member for four years and her family has a long history in the Nevis community.

“My great-grandparents, John and Grace Schroeder, moved to Nevis in the 1950s, and since that time members of my family, especially my grandmother, Evelyn O’Borsky, and my father, John O’Borsky, have lived in Nevis in that same home,” she said in an interview.

“My cousin and I spent most of our summers here in Nevis, and five years ago our family moved here permanently. We are the fourth and fifth generations to live in that home.”

Thompson is a social worker who currently manages Sanford’s assisted living facilities in Bemidji. She and her husband, Scott Thompson, have three boys. Alec and Seth have graduated from college and live in Minneapolis and Chicago, respectively, and Aiden is a junior at Nevis High School.


Following Jared Senger’s resignation as mayor this fall, Thompson said she felt an obligation as a member of the council to step up and help fill that void.

“I have enjoyed my time on the council, helping to make Nevis a wonderful place to live and visit,” she said. “I feel it is each person’s responsibility to get involved in their community somehow. I have always loved the theory of government and felt this was a good place for me to contribute to our community.”

Her top priority as mayor is to do the right things for Nevis to keep the community thriving from a social, community, business and economic perspective.

“We, as a council, would like to focus on helping our community, including the municipal bar, survive the COVID pandemic and come out as strong as we were before this all descended on us,” she said. “The council would also like to focus on re-building our planning and zoning committee. We have had a lot of change in that department of the city and we would like to see it become strong again with active members who want to see our city thrive.”

Katie Rittgers is the newest member of the Nevis Council. She was sworn in at the December meeting to fill Thompson’s term.


Rittgers joins Nevis City Council

Annual appointments

The council approved the appointment of Rich Johnson as the assistant mayor for 2021, the Northwoods Press as the official newspaper, Northwoods Bank and TruStar Federal Credit Union as the official depository banks with Thompson, Johnson, city administrator Dawn Veit and deputy clerk Kimberly Wright on the signature card.


The council also made the following committee, board and commission appointments and reappointments: Emily Whitaker, Gary Nicklason and Teresa Leshovsky, zoning commission; Sue Gray, parks; Rittgers, administration; Thompson, fire and liquor store; Johnson, public works; financial advisors/auditors Miller McDonald; city attorney Peloquin, Jensen Law Office; and building inspector Andy Sharpe with Township and Range LLC.

In other business, the council:

  • Approved paying half of the cost of a new computer and monitor that will be used by city maintenance supervisor Don Umthun. The total cost is $1,125 and the fire department will pay the other half since they will also be using the equipment.

  • Approved purchasing new buoys for the city beach for $142 each with money in the parks fund.

  • Heard from council member Sue Gray that GameTime will replace at no cost the freestanding piece of playground equipment that did not meet safety standards. The company will contact the city in April to let them know when this work will be done. A barricade will be put in place to keep people out of the area while work is in progress.

  • Veit reported that the sewer debt has been paid off, as approved by the council last month. The $20.60 from the utility bill that had been going to debt repayment will be put in the city’s water replacement fund.

  • Heard it has been too warm to flood the city ice rink, but an area for skaters has been plowed on Lake Belle Taine near the city beach.

  • Heard all staff are back at the municipal liquor store and the bar area has been rearranged to meet social-distancing guidelines. The mask mandate is being enforced and the air purification measures are in place.

  • Approved a request from Fire Chief Chris Norton for a basket to lift people out of the water in ice rescues, at a cost of $1,200. Norton said the department went on an ice rescue call on Dec. 25 and on a call to a garage that was on fire Jan. 1.

  • Heard some members of the fire department will be participating in ice water rescue training with the Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office on Jan. 16.

  • Heard the COVID-19 vaccine was offered to members of the Nevis Fire Department and a good number of them received the shot.

  • Heard that an arrest was made within 48 hours of a break-in at a business in Nevis.

The next regular council meeting will be at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 8 at city hall and on Zoom.


Lorie Skarpness has lived in the Park Rapids area since 1997 and has been writing for the Park Rapids Enterprise since 2017. She enjoys writing features about the people and wildlife who call the north woods home.
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