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"After all these years, still doing a great job!!" -Ron Hermanson
Design decisions made for Main Street
By Lynda Berg Olds
Luck Trustees held a special meeting on April 25 for a few reasons. First to open a new checking account for the downtown project, second to approve a Certificate of Deposit at Frandsen Bank and Trust, and lastly, to approve the design elements for the Downtown Main Street Project.
Village Clerk Lori Pardun fielded the first item of business. She stated, “If we don’t open a new account, we will have to use counter checks for all disbursements and they are all numbered the same (9999). It wouldn’t leave a very clean audit trail. If we open a new account, funds can be transferred from the loan to the new checking and each check we issue will be numbered in sequence to leave a nice clean audit trail.”
Trustees quickly agreed that made a lot of sense and unanimously voted to open the new checking account. It was pretty much the same with the Certificate of Deposit and Trustee Kyle Johansen, who had to abstain from these dealings, commented that he was told the rate for the CD would be .55 percent for another year.
This too was summarily approved.
Now the floor went to MSA Professional Service’s Teresa Anderson. Prior to discussing the decisions of the (extremely small) committee with regards to the design options like street light poles (and their various LED fixtures, the arms, the base), the benches, trash receptacles and sidewalk accent color, trustees first had to tackle some sidewalk step issues.
In the trustee’s packet there was a letter from Team Leader/Project Manager Anderson. In it she notes that the preliminary design of the project has been completed. However there were four specific areas where building steps providing access to buildings protrude into the right-of-way. Those addresses, all on South Main Street, are: 110, 122, 124, and 234.
Anderson writes, “It does not appear to be technically or economically feasible to eliminate these steps, without adversely impacting building access…The Village has responsibility and authority within the right-of-way to establish appropriate grades and guidelines, whereby the Village has the authority to allow these steps to remain, and/or to be replaced in a similar location and manner, if that is determines to be the best option.”
Further, Anderson said the proper thing to do would be to document the village’s decision.
“If the Village determines to allow the steps in the right-of-way, MSA can work with Village staff to determine whether the steps should remain as is, or be replaced (partially or completely) to facilitate construction of the Village’s new sidewalk.”
The overriding sentiment here was - with a brand new Main Street – complete with new everything (road, sidewalks, curbs, fancy lightposts, decorative sidewalk accent, pretty benches and trash receptacles), it would be unfortunate to have unattractive and not matching steps to a business.
After much discussion, there was a motion needed, which passed with Trustee Mike Miller voting ‘no’ – to allow steps on the village sidewalk – but Village President Dave Rasmussen and Teresa Anderson were both going to talk to the business owners in question to see if something could amicably be worked out so there are no eyesores on the newly renovated Main Street of Luck.
After a whole bunch more discussion, the board voted to accept the recommendations of the three who gathered to make the decisions (two of whom are trustees). The choices embrace an historical flavor, as opposed to contemporary.
The board was unanimous in that decision.
May 3, 2018
Facility Study approved for Luck School
By Lynda Berg Olds
Last week’s meeting of the Luck School Board culminated in a closed session. One of the topics the group evidently discussed was preparing for future maintenance projects. Earlier in the meeting, Charlie Schneider, of CESA 10 Facilities Management Services, gave a presentation with the hope/expectation that Luck School would be on board and hire his (non-profit) firm to take that first step and provide the school with a Facilities Study.
Superintendent Cory Hinkel noted it is part of the school district’s strategic plan to ensure the facilities reflect said mission.
“CESA 10 provides services to help go through this process,” Hinkel stated in his report. “I believe getting an outside agency to do a thorough analysis of our needs and wants is an important part of reaching the goals of the strategic plan.”
Hinkel had relayed to school board members in advance that a CESA 10 representative would be in attendance at the April 30 meeting to present their services. He noted approval would be necessary to move forward if the board so chooses.
Schneider is no stranger to Luck Schools. He worked extensively with the district back in the day until finally, Luck School was proud to announce they had become one of the first schools in the state to attain the LEED/Green Certification in 2008. Schneider worked extensively with Focus on Energy, to advance the school’s standing as a LEED-certified. The facts that were often touted showed that school buildings can enhance a student’s ability to learn by keeping them “healthy, attentive and present.”
Schneider and the Focus on Energy crew leaned on new research that determined the physical location where students learn has a direct impact on the educational experience.
“LEED-certified schools provide students, teachers and visitors with clean and healthy air to breathe, better acoustics, regular access to daylight, thermal comfort and moisture control. LEED for Schools emphasizes strategies to create spaces that enhance learning by removing toxic materials and products from places where children learn and play; controlling exposure to dust and pollen, which improves the health of students, faculty and staff, while potentially decreasing sick days.”
Gaining this accreditation was a really big deal, especially as Luck was one of the very first green schools in the state. These days there is a tremendous amount of documentation about green schools. In fact, as of mid-December of 2017, the number of schools in the United States reached the 2,000 mark.
Suffice it to say LEED-certified Green schools provide the best learning environment for the kiddos and makes for happier staff too. Interestingly there is a study that shows a clear connection between proper acoustic design in schools and acoustic performance from students.
Green schools save energy and water to reduce utility costs and improve occupant health.
Schneider remains “big on green” and he gave a passionate presentation about the four-step process he wants to get rolling to maintain (and improve) Luck School. The first step has been taken as the board approved moving forward with the Facility Study on Monday.
Step two is the “prioritization matrix,” and even should the school not be ready right this minute to pursue more projects, this exercise will set them up and help the school plan appropriately for maintenance going forward. As Mr. Hinkel said with regards to maintaining a facility with the size and scope of a school, “It’s a never-ending process.”
May 10, 2018
Motion to switch ambulance service dies for lack of a second
By Lynda Berg Olds
At last Thursday's meeting of the Village of Luck Trustees, several supporters of North Land Ambulance were in attendance and spoke during the public comments. This is because the agenda inlcuded this item: "Discussion and possible action to change from North Land Ambulance Service to Lakes Area EMT Service for the Village of Luck."
Luck Fire Chief Tony Carter was first to take the floor:
"I am here in support of North Land Ambulance. We have had the privilege of working side by side with these guys for decades now. I've heard arguments about sustainability and North Land just had their 39th Smelt Fry. I think the history speaks for itself.
Going to accidents scenes with these guys - when we've got a two-car 10-50, we work so well together. Half of the time we don't even need to communicate with each other. They let us get in and do our thing and then we step back and let them take over. That is how it is supposed to work. There are no egos involved. We are just a great team. Recently the Ambulance saw our antique of an AED and approached us - we did not solicit, but they knew we would be better off if we got a new AED (defibrillator). So they actually contributed half the money, which I thought was great. They've approached us and assisted us with buying new picnic tables for our fundraisers...all you have to do is look around town at all the activities in place and you can see their entire crew out there helping, volunteering. They play an active role in the community. With other activities I volunteer at besides the fire department, I talk to a lot of people, and I have yet to meet one person in public who wants to see a change in the ambulance.
I'm still a little foggy as to how this started, but it wasn't the people out on the streets that started this. For me - and for the fire department - we'd like to see them stay."
Another officer with the Luck Rural Fire Association said he too was present to support the local Ambulance. "I think any change would be bad for the town," he said. "There are too many people - you walk in and they don't feel good - you walk in and they know you - a lot of times that is enough for them to go, 'wow, I feel better.'
RaeAnn Allen is North Land's manager and she wanted to reiterate a bit of what Chief CArter said. "The biggest thing is sustainability. We have been here for four decades and we're not going anywhere else. These are people who live in the community and it it not just taking the call at the ambulance. If there is something major that goes on with the service, with first responders, you have people here. You switch over and they're not going to be licensed with that service as first responders. So it is not just the ambulance, the 911 call that you are going to be losing, you are going to be losing your first responders too. And they are a huge vital asset to our service."
It was much later in the jam packed meeting when Village President Dave Rasmussen made the motion to change from North Land to Lakes - to bring the motion to the floor for discussion. Except the motion never made to the floor. It died for lack of a second.
May 24, 2018
"The Nest" ready for chicks
By Lynda C. Olds
As the school year comes to a close, Luck School staff have been busy getting their classrooms in order - especially in the elementary as the new 4K program willbegin this fall - and the new child care ceneter will be opening before that, perhaps as early as Aug. 1. Administration, along with the school board, are thrilled to have Gretchen Frendt aboard for the child care - and she attended the recent board meeting to describe the nuts and bolts for the members.
Frendt was surprised and thrilled with the "name the child care" contest, which had a whopping 97 entries. And the winner is: The Nest at Butternut Crossing. Students in the elementary school student council got to participate and they narrowed down the field to 10 entries. Frendt explained that from there they chose "The Nest," noting that the Center will have its own entrance on Butternut Avenue - named Butternut Crossing.
"I think we are off to a good start and I love that collaboration," Frendt said. "I can't believe who all we got e-mails from. We have really had a positive response to the child care center so far."
Frendt said the best idea in terms of hours was to be operating from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Most of the parents with whom Frendt has had contact need child care from about 6:30 a.m. - 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. The age range for children will be from about six weeks to 12 years (or fifth grade).
Frendt comes to Luck with tremendous experience. She commented that she "pretty much knows what is needed," which seemed to be a bit of an understatement with her veritable font of child care experience - from the numbers to the kids. She discussed classroom size next.
"The classroom size, how many children we can have really depends on the square footage of the classrooms," Frendt observed. Then she gave best case scenario examples. As far as how many children a person can take care depends largely on the child's age. For instance, with infants, one teacher can take care of four children.
"Infant care is the least money-making option, however it is the most needed care around."
Frendt then said the two classrooms, which are about 1,000 square feet, will be divided into two spaces with one side for infants and the other for toddlers up to two years of age.
Caregiver to child ratios, statistics, payroll and projected income took up the next half hour or so. The best case scenario (in a perfect world with full capacity) would be generating a revenue of $454,000. After costs, the net might be close to $60,000. Superintendent Cory Hinkle stated, "I've told Gretchen many times that the goal is not to make money, but rather provide a service and break even."
Frendt responded, "And I told him if he was hiring me to make money, then he shouldn't hire me. I'm about the quality."
Between "The Nest" and the new 4K program, there will be a few more jobs in the Luck area.
Elementary Principal Jason Harelson gave kudos to the elementary staff for pitching in and managing to make their early deadlines fo switching classrooms around due to the new 4K program starting this fall. He and Hinkle agreed the 4K program was ultimately going to be a win/win for everybody. The program will be open to kids who turn four by Sept. 1 and will be full days - Monday through Friday.
May 31, 2018
Summer School is right around the corner
By Lynda Berg Olds
Summer School dates have changed this year for Luck and Unity. This is because Unity students are getting out of school one week later than Luck. Unity and Luck School Districts are again collaborating, creating a great many project-based academic enrichment classes.
Renee Gavinski is the Luck Summer School Coordinator, which is no easy task as there are so very many activities going on. For instance T-Ball already started on May 21, which runs Mondays and Tuesdays for five weeks.
Gavinski noted that she also worked on coordinating the five weeks of sports camps with Summer School. She said Frederic takes care of the softball for girls in grades three through eight. For baseball, Luck takes the lead and Luck and Frederic began at the end of May. That is also for boys in grades three through eight.
In addition, Gavinski reported to the Luck School Board some time ago that there were already 20 students signed up for Summer Saunters, which was double compared to past years. That class is for kids in third grade up through sixth grade and involves hiking on the Ice Age Trail from July 30 to Aug. 3. Also, Arts in Action will take place Aug. 6 through Aug. 10 at the Luck School through the Festival Theater.
Gavinski added that all kinds of trips are planned for kids K-12 and families. She said Valley Fair is a new trip they added – and one of the trips sold out almost immediately, which was to The Lorax at the Children's Theater on June 7.
“We are taking 84 individuals,” reported Gavinski. “It happened just like that. We only had 40 tickets originally and then there was a waiting list and people kept calling me and we we able to get more tickets so everybody who wanted to go could go.”
Gavinski stated, “I think it is going to be an exciting summer,” and she was thanked profusely by the board for all her efforts.
The Unity/Luck Summer School of 2018, taking place at Unity, is broken down into two sessions this year. All five weeks will still be run as a Creative Academy – for two weeks in June and three in July. Kids were allowed to sign up for individual weeks, the June session, the July session or all five weeks.
Each week the kids will have one elective course – plus swimming. The June dates are June 18-21 and June 25-28. The July dates are July 9-12, 16-19 and 23-26. All sessions run from Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. It was also noted that kids in the July sessions in grades 1-4 will participate in Red Cross swimming lessons. The June sessions focus on enrichment.
The students can ride the bus and they will be served breakfast and lunch for free.
Some of the classes include: Tumbling/Gymnastics; Bats; Candy Chemistry; Coding for Kids; Crafty Kids; Cupcake Wars; Exotic Animals;FEstival Crafts; Kitchen Magic; Let's Party; Lego Engineering and Robotics; Mad Scientists; Mini Golf; Mystery Madness; Put the You in Ukelele; Rock On!; Spare! Strike! Gutter Ball!; Travel to Japan without leaving school; Water Engineering; Wild for Wildlife; Yard Games; 3D Tiny House; Adventure a Day; All Games All Day; Athletic Training; Camping Skills; Critter Care; Harry Potter; Outdoor Adventure Series; Outdoor Survival Skills; Paper Mache Pinatas; Safe Sitter Baby Sitting Course; Driver's Ed; Checkpoint Crash Course...and more.
The Kindergarten Summer School engages children in play activities with one another, allowing for the development of social skills and making friends. The kids become familiar with routine and structure, which will help them adapt in the fall. The brochure says, “A theme-based approach will be used integrating basic alphabet and math concepts, along with rhythm and rhyme, art, music and science.
As for First Grade Summer School, “It will provide students with an incredible opportunity to experience themes/units of study that will integrate reading, writing, math, science and art.”
For families who have not yet registered for Summer School, there may still be some selections available. The Luck Summer School Contact, Renee Gavinski, can be reached at 715.472.2151, ext. 140.
June 7, 2018
Milltown grand marshals pillars of community
By Lynda Berg Olds
This weekend marks the 70th anniversary of the Milltown Fishermen's Party and it is only fitting on this auspicious occasion that pillars of the community Marie and Milt Sogge have the honor of being the village's grand marshals. Each is a Milltown native and the duo has lived (and worked!) together for the better part of their 52 years of marriage.
The Sogge's theoretically “retired” five years ago upon selling Milltown Appliance and Heating, which they owned and ran for 23 years, but they remain as busy as ever – particularly now with the big community celebration rapidly approaching.
Marie is everywhere during the festival, a whirling dervish of the Community Club (for 28 years), which she currently presides over, and who helps to coordinate the massive volunteer effort it takes to pull off the weekend events. She said there are literally about 100 volunteers who help in one way or another. Marie is in her second year as Community Club President – and has served several other terms over the years.
With so many folks supporting the Fishermen's Party, the Community Club members wanted to give something back to the community. To that end, the Sogges raise all the pumpkins for the Pumpkin Fest, which are given out free to all the children. The Community Club also puts on the village's annual Santa Day. The Sogges were also instrumental in the push to get the concession stand in the park re-done, as well as building the gazebo.
Of note, Marie said for the first time in a very, very long time, there will be no street dance on Saturday night on Main Street. There will be live music however at Bering Park from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. - The Groovin' 60s.
The Sogges have three adult children and one step grandson who is serving in the Air Force. Although they very much enjoy traveling, Marie said she loves the town motto: “A great place to call home,” which she said Village President LuAnn White came up with.
One trip that is forthcoming after the Fishermen's Party is over with, is a circle tour of Lake Superior. The couple has also enjoyed Pigeon Forge in Tennessee, which Marie said is like a “mini Branson.” She also likes to bowl and zoom around on their UTV with the Luck Area ATV/UTV Club. Her and Milt's 14 year-old Shitzu, “Abby” likes to ride with on the four-wheeler.
So wherever they wander, there's no place like home. And interestingly, “home” for the Sogges is west of Balsam Lake, East of Centuria and south of Milltown, right smack dab in the middle – often where one will find the Sogges. That is, in the middle of things, whether it is serving up the fish or roast beef dinners this event is famous for – or emceeing the parade, which would be quite a trick this year as the Sogge Grand Marshals will be leading the parade.
June 21, 2018