By: Jana Peterson and Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
Thumbs up to the city of Cloquet and area businesses who are coming forward to assist with the community playground build at Washington Elementary School in Cloquet, set for the MEA weekend of Oct. 18-20. The city is providing some big machinery and hauling gravel and sand, while other local businesses (including 3D and Boldt construction companies) and area restaurants are also stepping up.
Of course, this is not a project that can be carried by the businesses. They need volunteers to make it happen. According to organizer Bridget Schrier, the school needs skilled construction volunteers for site prep on Thursday and Friday, Oct.18-19, and even more folks with strong backs and willing spirits – for the actual playground build –on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 20-21. Got questions? Call Schrier at 218-879-3369.
Thumbs up to the Esko baseball players and their parents who spent one of their Saturdays recently working on field repairs to ensure they would have a baseball season next spring. The field was submerged in flood waters last June and basically ruined. Since there were far more extensive repairs to be made elsewhere in the local sports complex, the Esko Little League and Softball Association, along with members of the high school program, decided to do what they could to help set the field back to rights. In addition, organization leaders pursued a Minnesota Twins Foundation grant to help out with replacing the dugouts. The Twins organization agreed with the merits of the program and offered to help out – to the tune of $10,000.
Thumbs down to the culprit or culprits who not only removed campaign signs from two Carlton residents’ yards but also had the gall to burn them right there in the street in front of the houses who posted them. Such mindless vandalism speaks volumes – not so much about the political candidates named on the sign as about the perpetrator who went to such measures to deface them. While the issue seems to emerge every year at election time, it’s a senseless destruction of property that is patently against the law.
Thumbs up to Bettina Johnsen and all the other folks who initiated a Facebook campaign to “Take Back Our Rez” in response to increased gang-related crimes in the area. The discovery of a body last Thursday outside a home on Reservation Road was the straw that broke the camel’s back, said Johnsen, mother of three young children. Through Facebook and word of mouth, Johnsen and other like-minded community members organized a march Monday morning up Big Lake Road from Fond du Lac Gas and Grocery to the Tribal Center to rally folks and bring attention to their cause.
“We want to come together to make a public statement that we’re not going to put up with it anymore,” she said, noting that people have to watch out for each other and not be afraid to report violence or intimidation.
A community meeting on the same topic is set for 6 p.m. Thursday at the Tribal Center. Johnsen encouraged both Fond du Lac and Cloquet residents to attend since the violence is an issue for both communities.