New school snowmobile trail haltedSome controversy has developed over a proposed snowmobile trail that was planned to run behind Two Harbors High School.
Some controversy has developed over a proposed snowmobile trail that was planned to run behind Two Harbors High School.
Work on a trail re-route by the Voyageurs Snowmobile Club had begun last month but was halted because there were no permits in place. The current trail runs along the Highway 2 ditch in front of the school and has caused concerns about safety, especially in the mornings and afternoons when cars and buses are coming and going at the school.
The new trail plan was to cut east at the south entrance road and go north along school property and then west along the north side of the north entrance road to avoid the congestion.
The Lake County Planning and Zoning Commission denied a permit to re-route the trail this week. “I don’t think they had a good argument [that it] was totally due to safety,” said county commissioner Rich Sve, who sits on the commission. There was a unanimous vote against the re-route.
“We want to make it as safe an environment as possible,” said Dan Pierce of the Voyageurs Snowmobile Club. “From a public safety standpoint … it’s a no-brainer.” The club was acting on instructions from Superintendent Phil Minkkinen, who had approval from the school board last year to find a safer crossing for Highway 2 snowmobilers.
Pierce said the club received a grant for the project from the Two Harbors Fund and will probably be billed for the clearing that had already begun.
Some local residents were against the proposed trail that would run on school property near homes and the school forest. Mark Schlangen, a teacher at the school and nearby resident, said he wishes he would have been told about the plans before seeing a bulldozer on school grounds. He suggested putting up trail stop signs where the trail runs over school entrances. Lake County Sheriff Carey Johnson also recommended signs over a re-route.
The trail would have run on school property that includes the school forest area. “I have high hopes for an outdoor classroom,” Schlangen said.
Teacher Penny Juenemann, who also has a home near the school, said she was worried because the new trail would run where students play.
School board member Dwight Moe said safety is the key concern and is worried about insurance issues the district could be facing if there is an accident in front of the school.
Last Thursday, the school board passed a resolution to look at other alternatives and come up with a plan by Sept. 15. Chairman Leo Babeu said he wanted to talk about options with club members and others before a final decision is made.
In other district news:
- Minkkinen discussed a possible ballot for an operating levy vote expected in May. One of the possible questions would ask for $425 per pupil unit, which means property taxes would go up $69.94 a year on a $100,000 home for 10 years. A “no” vote would lead to a follow-up question asking for $300 per pupil unit, which would increase property taxes by $49.37 on a $100,000 home for 10 years. The district is thinking of changing the ballot. Instead of voting for one of the options, voters can vote for “yes” for both, “no” for both, “yes” for option one and “no” for option two and vice versa.
- The Pamida Foundation donated $750 to Minnehaha Elementary for playground equipment and art supplies.
- Teachers from Minnehaha will serve food at the Two Harbors McDonald’s for McTeacher’s Night 4-7 p.m. March 9.
- It will help raise money for library books at the school. Students will also have a salute to senior citizens in March. Children will interview people and then write their story and include a song from their discussions.