A year in Lake County: A look back on 2012Lake County News-Chronicle Editor Tammy Francois and Reporter LaReesa Sandretsky selected their top stories of 2012 for this, the first Lake County News-Chronicle of 2013. Enjoy reliving these highlights.
By: Lake County News-Chronicle, Lake County News Chronicle
Tammy's top stories
There were many, many 2012 stories from which to choose. These are just a few.
Man struck by lightning
Steve Salseg is the Cross Lake, Minn. man who was struck by lightning. A vendor at Heritage Days in Two Harbors, Salseg was closing the flap of his tent to protect his wares when he said a bolt of lightning struck a nearby building. Observers said they thought the current traveled across the pavement and up the aluminum tent pole Salseg was holding. Salseg said he was “knocked on his butt.” After the story was published, a copy of the News-Chronicle was sent to him. He sent an email to say he had received the paper and that he was no worse for wear after his hair-raising experience.
Archaeology discovery in Lake County
Archaeologist Dr. Mark Muniz of St Cloud State University secured a grant from the Minnesota Historical Society to have samples taken from a remote corner of Lake County scientifically dated. The site, now called the Lillian Joyce Quarry was made accessible after a storm and subsequent prescribed burn of the area. A team of professionals and students led by Muniz ventured into the site and were surprised by what they found—tools made of siltstone. If Muniz’ theories are correct, the quarry may hold evidence of human life in the area 10,000 years ago—long before original estimates placed people in the region. The dating will not be completed until sometimes in 2013.
Petrell Hall Centennial a hit
The Petrell Hall centennial celebration was held Labor Day weekend in Brimson. In 1911, the Fairbanks Finnish Work People’s Society bought three acres of land from Edwin and Olga Petrell for $15 and built a hall that would “be used for social uplifting of the working class forever.” Descendants of the Petrell family attended the event and a time capsule was made and placed inside the hall. Among other mementos, a copy of the Lake County News-Chronicle will be in the capsule when it is opened in the next century.
Veteran's Memorial is resurrected
The Veterans’ Memorial Forest was rebuilt along the Sonju Trail overlooking Lake Superior in Two Harbors. Much of the fundraising—grants and direct donations-- was done by the “Nifty Crew of ‘62” from Two Harbors High School who wanted to do something memorable for their 50th class reunion. Many members of the Class of ’62 attended the dedication.
Silver Bay Fire Chief receives award
Silver Bay Fire Chief John Fredrickson was honored with the Fire Officer of the Year award in November. Fredrick will step down from his position effective Jan. 1. He joined the SBFD as a volunteer in 1979 and was named chief in 1988.
Ina Backman's pie recipe released
Ina Backman shared her wonderful pie recipe with us and the story of her daughter Carol. Ina visited the News-Chronicle for an open house and brought one her award winning pies. It was as good as it looked!
LaReesa's top stories
It was a fascinating year to start my career as a journalist. I learned the ins-and-outs of working for a newspaper by covering some controversial and exciting stories. These are my picks for the top news happenings of my seven months at the News-Chronicle.June floods
The news item that dominated Minnesota coverage this year was the June flooding. The Northland was unprepared for the excess of rain, up to 10 inches in 24 hours. The 500-year flood devastated many homes and businesses across the county. Knife River was hit particularly hard, with bridges over the river closed for weeks after the flooding and the Knife River Rec Center sustaining considerable damage. The floods left their mark on the rest of the year’s news stories, too—government entities spent the rest of 2012 collecting reimbursements from FEMA, repairing damaged roads and doing their best to secure grants for individuals and businesses affected.
Silver Bay eco-park opens
After many years of planning, a greenhouse finally opened in the Silver Bay Eco-Industrial Business Park this summer. Victus Farm yields tilapia and fresh produce using innovative green technology (read more about the award the project just received on page A1). The state-of-the-art facility is a big step into the future for Silver Bay.
First wolf season
The State of Minnesota had its inaugural wolf hunting season this year, but not without controversy. Many opposed the hunt for various reasons. Opponents wondered why the Department of Natural Resources bypassed the 5-year waiting period that is usually required to begin a hunting season after a species is taken off the Endangered Species List. Two organizations appealed to the courts to grant a temporary injunction halting the hunt pending resolution of their cases. No injunction was granted and the hunt went on as planned, with two portions. During the early season, which ended Nov. 18, hunters harvested 147 wolves, which was less than the targeted 200 wolves. The late season is slated to end Jan. 31 or when the target harvest is met.
Fiber optic project pushes through obstacles
The Lake County broadband project, which began last year, made significant progress in 2012. The County has almost finished the first phase of the project and the Blandin Foundation has come on board, designating the county a Broadband Community. The project faced some hurdles this year including the debate over the ownership of utility poles in Two Harbors--a heated topic for the county, the City of Two Harbors and Frontier Communications this fall. The entities have made progress on the pole ownership issue and the project will continue as planned.
Boundary Waters tower will go in
A long-running fight ended this summer when the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled in AT&T’s favor to allow the construction of a 450-foot cell phone tower near the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area. Friends of the BWCA wanted to block the tower and when their case was decided in favor of AT&T in June, they appealed the decision to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court denied the request to hear the case in August and AT&T said it would continue to build the tower as planned.