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home : news : news September 30, 2014

Highway route named, memorial honors fallen
The community turned out for a dedication September 21 in honor of the ultimate sacrifice by a native son and his fellow servicemen. Nicholas Patrick Spehar enlisted in the Navy and as  a SEAL Team member he first went to the Phillipines in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Following his second deployment to Yemen, Spehar then volunteered to deploy to Afghanistan, earning an Army Achievement Medal and a Navy and Marine Corps Achievementy Medal. Spehar, 24,  died August 6 2011 in Afghanistan with fellow members of Extortion Company, in a helicopter crash.  There is now a stretch of Highway 8 named for him, from the southwest border of Chisago City to the east side of Center City.  Spehar grew up here and graduated from Chisago Lakes High School. He is the son of Patrick and Annette. His brother Luke performed on the guitar at the ceremony.  Spehar is also survived by brother Jacob, sisters Marie and Lisa and Marie’s husband Anthony.  The Chisago County Board has proclaimed September 21 Nicholas Patrick Spehar Day.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Kids enjoying themselves at Apple Fest
The Amador Apple Festival is a feast for the senses; complete with great food, fall colors, sweet sunshine, music and even exotic creatures, like the alpaca animals at the Sunrise River Farm booth, that caught the eye of young visitors.  The apple festival is the third Sunday in September in Almelund.
Thursday, September 25, 2014

Levy gets unanimous nod; liquor license code revised
Lindstrom City Council adopted a 2015 preliminary levy, approved a Glader Blvd parcel to annex into the city, and handled some ordinance language updates at last week’s meeting. The levy is proposed to increase by $138,653 at this time, but between now and December this can be reduced.  The increase is meant to cover the budget for an officer for Lakes Area Police, add $49,500 into public works and cover  $12,000 earmarked for a consolidation study that Lindstrom’s adjoining jurisdictions have stated publicly they don’t support pursuing.
Thursday, September 25, 2014

Commissioners tackle brief agenda en route to ice down
The County Board agenda was handled swiftly last week so several county officials and staff could step outdoors and be doused with ice water-- as part of the ALS fundraising initiative sweeping the nation.  ALS has afflicted a Lake Improvement District Board member, Al Wahlgren, who has had to resign. Wahlgren was also recognized with a certificate of appreciation adopted by County Board resolution at last week’s meeting. Pat accepted the certificate on her husband’s behalf and the dumping of the ice water was videographed for Al to view at home. Commissioner George McMahon explained that Wahlgren contributed much expertise and volunteered many hours on behalf of public issues.  McMahon requested the Board action. 
Thursday, September 25, 2014

Muni renovation is awarded
You should be noticing activity around the exterior of the Lindstrom Muni (bar) as the city council unanimously awarded the renovation bid last week.  City Administrator John Olinger said for months, staff has tried to rustle up contractors to quote the job,  but only the locally-based Erlandson Nelson Construction was interested,  and so the company got the job for $48,750. 
Thursday, September 25, 2014

Spehar dedication was awesome, help the troops - see a great show
I had the pleasure of attending the Nicholas Spehar dedication on Sunday.  Some wonderful people with hearts of gold have scraped and clawed at all levels to have a stretch of Highway 8 dedicated to Nick.  

For those of you who don’t remember or maybe have moved here recently, Nick is a great kid from Chisago City who lost his life serving as a Navy Seal.  Nick was brought back to Chisago Lakes to be laid to rest with a procession greeted by locals standing along the road for miles and miles.  Words do not begin to explain the heartfelt love and respect that was shown for Nick that day.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Flavors that remind us of autumn
The breathtaking beauty of the trees and bushes are like an artist’s palette of red, orange, rust, brilliant yellow, golf, plum colored leaves changing from dark green to all of these colors. I am so grateful to be able to see these gorgeous colors of autumn that surround us. We are blessed, indeed. We are in the season of squash, pumpkins and gourds. All these years I thought that pumpkins are pumpkins, squash are squash and gourds are the small funny shaped gourds. Does that make any sense? Well people, my info guru tells me that pumpkins and squash are gourds! We are never too old to learn, are we? It’s about a gourd today.... squash. Incidentally, in a lot of recipes you can substitute certain kinds of winter squash for pumpkin and vice versa.

2-1/2 c. mashed, cooked buttercup or butternut squash or 2-10 oz. pkg, frozen squash, thawed
1/4 c. plus 2 T. divided
3/4 t. salt
Couple dashes pepper
2 eggs
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 c. chopped pecans

In a saucepan, combine squash, 1/4 c. butter, salt and pepper. Over medium heat, stir until butter is melted; remove from heat. Quickly beat eggs, one at a time; mix well. Spoon mixture into a sprayed or buttered 1-1/2 qt. or nine inch baking dish. In a small bowl, using a fork, combine brown sugar, 2 T. butter, cinnamon and pecans. Sprinkle over casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until heated through. Makes six servings. If you like spaghetti, but not all the calories, the spaghetti squash ‘noodles’ serve as a low-calorie substitute for pasta.


1 lb. ground beef
2 T. canola or vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 t. salt
Couple dashes of pepper
2-8 oz. cans tomato sauce
6 green onions, cut 1/4 inch, using most of the green part
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 c. sour cream
2 c. cooked spaghetti squash
1/2 c. cheddar cheese

In a large skillet, brown ground beef in oil. Cook until beef is no longer pink; drain. Stir in next four ingredients, mixing well. Over medium high heat, stirring constantly, bring just to a boil. Cover; turn heat to low; simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. While meat is simmering, slice green onions and combine with cream cheese and sour cream, blend well.
In bottom of 1-1/2 quart or 6 c. casserole, layer half of the spaghetti squash, half of the green onion mixture and half of tomato-beef mixture; repeat layers. Top with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Makes five servings.
Note: To prepare spaghetti squash, Cut sqaush vertically in half. Scrape out seeds with a spoon (I use an ice cream scoop to remove the seeds), place squash, cut side down in a baking pan. Pour hot water into baking pan to a depth of about 1/4 inch. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until tender. Remove from pan and let cool. When cool, dig a fork into the flesh and pull out long yellow strands that resemble spaghetti. Also, no-salt tomato sauce is available in the grocery store if you’re watching your salt intake.


1-1/4 c. mashed, cooked winter squash (buttercup, butternut, Hubbard)
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1-1/2 T. molasses
1-1/4 t. cinnamon
3/4 t. each, salt, nutmeg ginger
3 eggs, beaten
1-12 oz. can evaporated milk (not condensed)
1 unbaked nine inch pastry shell

In a bowl, combine first eight ingredients with a wire whisk. Stir in milk. Pour into pie shell. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes. Lower heat to 350 degrees; bake for 50 minutes or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream if you wish. Makes six to eight servings.
Note: If you like, you may substitute pumpkin. Also, a three pound squash makes four cups.

Thought for the Day: We are in the season of Autumn, followed immediately by looking forward to spring.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Update on Rush City raid
The East Central MN Drug and Violent Offenders Task Force and Chisago County SWAT members executed a search warrant when they entered an alleged meth lab in Rush City,  Tuesday Sept. 23.  There have been three suspects arrested who await charges.
Thursday, September 25, 2014

Stagecoach Days a hit with residents
Wyoming Stagecoach Days enjoyed ideal weather last weekend...pictured above, Mason,  at the Creative Arts Community booth where kids could paint a masterpiece on canvas, Or you could try your  hand at the pottery wheel.  There were rides and activities and booths with food and refrehsments, a car show and mini-train rides,  all over downtown Wyoming.
Thursday, September 18, 2014

Citizens demand Lent Twsp. look deeper into sports park
The Lent Township planning commission last week was confronted by an audience of some 70 residents-- more than the usual turnout for the annual meeting.  To a person they were opposed to granting a Conditional Use Permit allowing development of a sports complex and farmers/flea market, west of the freeway, on Falcon Avenue.   Several times voices were raised, order was restored,  and at the end of two-and-a-half hours the four-member Lent township planning commission unanimously tabled taking any action.
Thursday, September 18, 2014

Spehar Memorial dedication ceremony September 21
The coming weekend will be eventful for family and friends of Nicholas Patrick Spehar, a Chisago City native who graduated from Chisago Lakes High School in 2005, entered the Navy two years later and was welcomed in the elite Navy SEALS program.
Spehar sacrificed his life in service to his country when on Aug. 6, 2011, a military helicopter he was aboard  was shot down during a mission in Afghanistan. The incident took the lives of everyone on board, including 16 other SEALS and 38 people overall.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Local Law Enforcement recognized for heroic effort
Lakes Area Police Officers Sgt. Jim Varco, Tom Haller and Brian Carlson were honored for their medical response skills, handling a serious call this June.  Doctors who worked on the patient credit the officers with saving the party’s life. In June, a possible airway obstruction call to dispatch sent the officers to  the scene of a critical emergency.  Lakes Region EMS Education Manager Paul Amendt described it as “level five” which meant that without immediate action the incident could become fatal.  Amendt told the officers,  “The fact the patient made it to the hospital is certainly a direct result of the care provided by you.”  The Life Saver Awards were presented to the law enforcement responders at last week’s Lakes Area Police Commission monthly meeting.
Thursday, September 18, 2014

Environmental scoping underway for local solar farms
A public hearing last week at the Performing Arts Center at Chisago Lakes High School gave locals a chance to learn about a plan that would give Chisago County a major role in alternative energy generation in coming years.
The hearing was one of six that the state Public Utilities Commission and Dept. of Commerce are holding to help determine whether or not there’ll be solar farms in Chisago County and elsewhere in the state.  

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Apple Festival on Sunday, we get a chance to honor a local hero
There is no lack of things to do in our area this weekend.  My favorite festival of the year happens in Almelund on Sunday.  I am referring to the 21st Almelund Apple Festival.  What is an apple festival you say?  It is the celebration of the apple harvest with everything apple you can imagine.  There are mouth watering desserts, apple jams, apple butter, apple sausages and of course many of the local apple farms are there selling their wonderful apples.  There is entertainment all day with music from Porcupine Creek, Wisconsin Indianhead Barbershop Chorus, River Valley Brass Band, and the Cruiser's.  The cloggers will take the stage at noon and there will be old fashioned movies shown in the barn.
Thursday, September 18, 2014

Coleslaw is in the cards
Last week I mentioned that perhaps I would write about more cabbage information. I think you will find this part of the article rather interesting if you have some of the health issues mentioned. “Known as ‘the poor man’s medicine’ in France, cabbage features prominently in herbal texts for healing a long list of ailments: sore throat, bronchitis, ulcers, varicose veins, gangrene, hangover (a long time friend of ours could use a half dozen heads of cabbage right there!), gastritis and laryngitis. Folk medicine practicioners in both China and France give cabbage high honors for healing. During World War II, French soliders wrapped their wounds with cabbage leaves in the absence of sterile dressings. For maximum health benefits, consume the vegetable in its raw form: uncooked sauerkraut, fresh cabbage or coleslaw.” Just remember all of this information didn’t come off the top of my head. I’m sure these ailments are treated in a much different way in this era.
Thursday, September 18, 2014

City park name changed back to Railroad due to policy
What government giveth, government can taketh away...  

Thursday, September 11, 2014

ATVs and snowmobiles and just about everything motorized,  drew thousands of enthusiasts to Hay Days, near Almelund Sept 7 and 8. There also is a swap meet and vendor market for do it yourselfers, and demonstrations and open spaces for experts and beginners to try out products.  Drag races for customized snowmobiles are featured on a straightaway and while the sheriff’s department reported no serious incidents, there was roadway congestion as this year’s event seemed to draw extra-big crowds. (The final attendance tally gets submitted to county zoning  regulators later.)  Drag strip useage did extend beyond ordinary hours, as scheduled heats were finishing late, and this will be reviewed.  North Branch Police Chief Dan Meyer mentioned Saturday morning was the worst as far as traffic through North Branch. A “road rage” case is being forwarded for possible prosecution as  traffic back-ups were more than one person could handle,  and there was a no serious injury crash on #95 near the Credit Union,  about 11:45 a.m. Saturday. 
Thursday, September 11, 2014

County HHS annual report illustrates local condition of economy, social welfare issues
The news out of the county’s Health and Human Services (HHS) Department last week was  easier to take than the weather forecast-- as severe late season rain and hail erupted immediately after the county commissioners adjourned. 
Thursday, September 11, 2014

TF Council proposes higher levy for covering utility, insurance increases
Taylors Falls City Council members have approved a preliminary levy of $638,191 for the budget year 2015. The figure represents an increase of 3.38 percent. But, because the city’s property tax capacity, based on valuation, has improved the tax RATE continues to decline.  This 2015 rate should be 1.58 percent less than 2014.  The council may review and trim the budget further, and choose to lower the proposed levy before a final levy is due in December, but the city is prohibited from raising the levy above the preliminary set.
Thursday, September 11, 2014

'Rugged Maniac' attracts thousands
If the traffic around Taylors Falls seemed more like a stop-and-go fishing opener weekend on I-35, it’s because along with Hay Days taking place on Saturday and Sunday,  there was a special obstacle course competition being held at Wild Mountain last weekend. The official headcount was 3,800 people registered for a “Rugged Maniac” event, September 6, at Wild Mountain Recreation Area near the St. Croix River between Almelund and Taylors Falls. The 3.1 mile challenge is gaining a following and Amy Frischmon, of Wild Mountain, said the event is now firmly on their calendar, and will be taking place annually the Saturday after Labor Day.  More photos inside, on the Outdoors page.
Thursday, September 11, 2014

Center City sets 3.3% preliminary levy increase
Center City Council members have agreed to consider a levy increase of 3.3 percent for the budget year 2015.
The levy figures would include $160,000 for the general fund, $32,000 for debt service (related to bonds issued in 2012 for downtown improvements), $17,500 for capital expenditures and $1,000 for economic development. Council may decide to lower the proposed budget and levy before final certification is due in December, but the levy cannot exceed the preliminary number of $210,500.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Shafer City Council receives pay equity audit, bans vandals from parks for 2 years
Shafer City Council met September 2 for a regular meeting.  All were present with councilmember Jesse Keeney's seat still vacant.  With no public hearings scheduled, the council quickly moved to consent agenda.  The motion by council member Dan Vogel passed 4-0.
Thursday, September 11, 2014

Authorities ask that you watch for valuable buck
Authorities want the public to be aware of a domestic deer who was reportedly let loose from a penned area a few days ago, near 400th Street, in North Branch.  The deer farmer told authorities the animal has a yellow tag in his ear with the number 1 stamped on the tag.  The antlers have 14 points and the animal is about 180 pounds.  He’s four to five years of age.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Brush With Kindness needs you, 9/11 is etched in us permanently
I have recently joined a group called "A Brsuh With Kindness."  I have written about it a couple of times.  Basically, it is a group of individuals that are committed to improving homes in Chisago County for those who are unable to fix their homes because of trying times.  This group is a faith based group (made up of people from all denominations) that has only the best intentions.  I apologize, but I am having a hard time putting into words how absolutely wonderful these people are and how they give so much of their fee time to helping our brothers and sisters in need.  The company is a non-profit (trust me it’s very non-profit) that functions by donations and the grace of God.  Each year they schedule two separate weeks of work that in those mission weeks, manage to fix up anywhere from 18 to 26 homes in Chisago County.  The work is done by the group and many wonderful volunteers.
Thursday, September 11, 2014

Get on the bandwagon
What veggie do we harvest in the late summer and early fall?  It’s about cabbage today.  I was reading an article about how cabbage can help prevent many health issues that we deal with in our daily life. I think we (at least many of us) should get on the bandwagon and promote eating cabbage and other cruciferous veggies to help in keeping our health in check.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Rep. Barrett removes Homestead status, will pay difference in taxes
Representative Bob Barrett has addressed his property tax payment complications. He now states, after weeks of legal wrangling and declaring that his legal residence is just a distraction created by his opposition,  that he recalls he removed his Homestead status in 2012.
Thursday, September 11, 2014

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