Bigfork Valley looks at surge in COVID cases in region, November meeting rescheduled to Nov. 12

    At its Oct. 6 board meeting, the Bigfork Valley Hospital board addressed the increased numbers of COVID positive cases in the region and election issues.

    CEO Aaron Saude said that incident command and networking meetings both within the hospital and regionally were more frequent with the increased numbers of positive COVID cases in the area. With in-place agreements, the Bigfork hospital may be caring for non-critical patients diverted from Duluth hospitals. Long term care residents are now being tested more frequently, every 3-7 days, and will continue until there are no positives for 14 days. 



IRRR Board moves to support rural broadband projects

    Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation is investing $1.5 million to improve broadband within two rural areas of northeastern Minnesota.

    The IRRR Board last Tuesday recommended funding broadband projects in Pequaywan Township in the Cloquet Valley area, and in Wuori, Sandy and Pike Townships north of Virginia.

    “These are big deals that require significant investment,” Mark Phillips, IRRR commissioner, said prior to the board meeting. “Broadband infrastructure requires a lot of money, but we’re trying to leverage our money. We wouldn’t put that kind of money in unless we get big investments” (from private and public partners).

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Itasca County residents challenged to reverse COVID surge

    Three simple things can turn around surging COVID cases, said Kelly Chandler, Itasca County Public Health, during a special briefing of media.  “Keep six feet of distance, avoid gatherings and wear a mask,” she said.

    “The schools have managed to control spread by doing these three things, and so can the community,” said Chandler.  “If we don’t stop the rise of COVID here in the next two weeks, our community spread will force schools to all go to distance learning.  And that also means no sports and activities.”

    As of Monday, Oct. 12, at 8 a.m., Itasca County has continued to see a significant rise in cases, due largely to social gatherings such as weddings, backyard barbecues, at bars and restaurants, and clusters in workplaces.  Over the past 14 days, the county has seen 223 new cases and an average of 46.1 cases per 10,000 residents.  

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Bigfork City Council hopeful for replacement business at e2ip facility

    The Bigfork City Council discussed the prospects of a business acquiring the e2ip (Bergquist) property north of town, authorized bidding for the Ash Street project and purchase of a sound system for City Hall at its Oct. 8 meeting.

    Tamara Lowney, CEO of the Itasca Economic Development Corporation, discussed the potential interest by a large regional manufacturer in the e2ip site north of town. e2ip has extended its closing 

date to the end of the year. The council discussed possible incentives and, because the plant is closing due to COVID-19, will offer $8,500 remaining in CARES Act funding plus up to $6,500 in monthly sewer abatements over two years. The Northern Itasca Joint Powers Board will also offer a monetary incentive.

    Curt Meyer of Widseth, consulting engineer, updated the council on the Ash Street project. The last issue has been the design of the sharp curve and water/sewer piping at the end of Ash St. 

Senior living community groundbreaking held

Pet of the week

    Suffering succotash, why hasn’t anyone adopted me? My name is Sylvester. I’m a handsome fella who is a bit shy but enjoys being petted. I’m hoping to find a forever family that will understand I need time to settle in and learn to trust. If you’re willing to be patient with me, I promise to give you a lifetime of love in return! 

    Precious Paws Humane Society, located at 101 First Avenue SW in Chisholm (across from Jubilee Foods), is a no-kill shelter staffed entirely by volunteers. We serve the communities of Chisholm, Nashwauk and Keewatin. We may reached via telephone at 218-254-3300, or email: Please call ahead for hours of operation. Check out current adoptees on the Facebook page.



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