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There’s a place for everyone in Ranger Territory and a path for every student to succeed. We are a vast and diverse school district serving students from a dozen different cities and communities. Yet, we offer an amazing array of opportunities in both academics and activities that allows eve…

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After buying a home on Bone Lake a few years ago, Tom Furey downloaded the Score Your Shore tool from the Minnesota DNR website and set to work to learn more about his new property. From conversations with the Comfort Lake – Forest Lake Watershed District, he already knew that water quality …

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When you look back at your childhood and think about the teacher/staff members that made a difference in your life, what was it about that person that made the difference for you? Most of us know that we will not remember all the things that people taught us, but we will always remember how …

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This is the time of the year that many people head south to escape the worst that Minnesota’s winter can throw at us. While Mexico, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic remain the most popular destinations for Minnesotans heading to the Caribbean, they are starting to suffer from the problems…

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A 5 by 7 sign with orange block letters boldly proclaiming “TODAY IS THE DAY” has had a visible place in my office for many years and was the first thing I put on my mayor’s desk when I took office on Jan. 14th. It reminds me that despite lengthy timelines and daunting details, there is no t…

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About six weeks ago, a friend from high school came to visit me. We grew up in Virginia (the state down south, not the city up north). When I took him out to the lake, his head nearly exploded when he saw all the pickup trucks driving on the ice, and the rows of fishing house set up in the d…

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All of us at Forest Lake Area Schools are tremendously grateful for the support that our community showed for students in passing November’s operating levy. We are currently in the process of setting our budget for next year in a way that makes the best use of those new dollars for the benef…

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Do you know someone in the community who has gone out of their way to protect local lakes and waterways? Perhaps it is the neighbor who transformed their yard with native plants and raingardens to reduce runoff pollution. Maybe it is a business or organization working to prevent the spread o…

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This month, with the help of their parents and some exciting new tools, our students are selecting which high school classes to take in 2019-2020. The process for registration this year is unlike any I’ve seen before. Students are using a structured format to set goals for their lives and ma…

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Alaska is the land of glaciers, mountains, and some of the most unique wildlife viewing in North America. Alaska is also a vast land, ranging from the temperate forests of the Inside Passage and Southeast to the icy vastness of the arctic. In between, small villages, glaciers, stunning natur…

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It’s probably too late to be talking about New Year’s resolutions. By the time this is published, January has ended, and many of you will either be well into your successful weight loss plans or organizing initiatives or stacks of self-help books. Others, however, may be a bit more like I am…

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There are a lot of tragic situations around the world. Recently, I got to see one just down the road in Corpus Christi, Texas.  Fourteen months ago, many homes were ruined by Hurricane Harvey.  The initial mess was cleaned up, and tons of items from these homes, including walls, insulation a…

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Last week, the razor company Gillette released a commercial that had a new twist on the “Best a Man Can Get” slogan by encouraging “The Best a Man Can Be.” 

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At the start of a new year, we have an opportunity to start fresh, set goals, and make plans. Turning over a new calendar page reminds us of the passage of time—a speeding train of moments rushing past in a kaleidoscope blur. For centuries, scholars and philosophers have considered this conc…

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In spite of the winter chill, we’re already gearing up at Columbus Elementary for those warm September days next fall when we’ll be welcoming our new class of kindergarten students. Every year, we plan and prepare so that each student has a great experience with their transition to kindergar…

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The Forest Lake area is a truly unique place to live and call home. We have all of the benefits of rural Minnesota life – wide open spaces, access to a huge variety of outdoor activities and a lake around every corner. As a bonus, we are also part of a major metropolitan area with the busine…

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The Minnesota Senate had two significant changes when the new legislative session began on Jan. 8. First, Senate President Michelle Fischbach, the first female president in Senate history, retired. She will be replaced by new Senator Jeff Howe. 

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Last March, I recommended Ambrose Bierce’s “The Devil’s Dictionary” in the staff picks feature of The Times’ Arts & Entertainment section. In May, I provided some modern definitions in the same style for the letters A-H, and in September came those under headings I-O.

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Columbus begins the new year as a city poised for growth. After 20 years of planning, meeting and negotiating, an updated and appropriately-sized bridge and interchange at Highway 97 and I-35 should be completed by the winter of 2019. With the Anoka County Commissioners making this a priorit…

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Happy Holy Days to you. May this Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s and the many other special occasions, religious or otherwise, be a special time that brings families together.   

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Have you ever had too much to drink and woke up with a headache? You probably thought, “I wish I hadn’t had that last drink.” In this holiday season, with its usual gatherings, it is wise to remember that along with the parties all too often comes tragedy. Each year, about 40,000 people are …

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The Forest Lake area community provided a significant investment for our students last month by approving an increased operating levy for our schools. This levy increase will result in an additional $5.5 million per year for our school district, and the new funding represents more than extra…

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The time of year is upon us all where it is a good practice to reflect and take inventory. As the leader of North Lakes Academy, this thought process has culminated in a single feeling: blessed.

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In 1871, Elof and Eva Modig migrated to the United States from Sweden, purchased land near a small lake in southern Chisago County (at $1.25 an acre) and settled down to build a house and begin farming wheat. Over the next three decades, the couple had children and changed their last name fr…

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With 2018 winding down, state economists at Minnesota Management and Budget recently announced the state budget forecast, indicating a surplus exceeding $1.5 billion for the state for the next two years.

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Last month, the area in California that I used to call home was swallowed by fire, just hours after a place I’d been to several times before was shot up by a gunman. Two former students in the youth group I used to help lead at church knew two of the victims of the Borderline shooting well. …

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The National Association of Secondary School Principals is advising its members that a recent U.S. Surgeon General’s report has found that 1 in 5 adolescents will face a significant mental health condition during their school years.

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A relaxing cruise along France’s hidden waterways is a unique way of discovering the authentic France, away from the crowds and at a civilized pace.  Originally built to move cargo before the advent of the railroad, France’s inland canals today are peaceful, serene passages through the count…

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The big news from Hollywood this summer heralded that for the first time in movie history, only two movies in the top 10 were original new releases. Eight of the 10 were remakes of old films or sequels, excepting “Solo,” the Star Wars prequel. Often, these are solid and enjoyable films.  I a…

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“You snooze, you lose.”  That phrase, in some respects, summarizes the legal doctrine known as the statute of limitations.  It holds that if you wait too long to begin your lawsuit, you lose the right to do so – even if you had the best legal claim that ever existed.  Why would this be?

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Last month, I wrote an obituary for the lutefisk dinner at Faith Lutheran church. It was a lighter way to spread the news that, after 70 years, our congregation would no longer be hosting this community event that around 500 people would attend on the second Tuesday of December. 

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Lakes International Language Academy, the PreK-12 public charter school in Forest Lake, set out in 2004 with a mission to prepare students to become critical thinkers and global citizens. We integrated the renowned International Baccalaureate curriculum across our program from the start and …

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A new chapter is being written for Forest Lake Area Schools. On Nov. 6, voters approved an operating levy providing an additional $825 per pupil in funding to the district. This funding will allow the district to address many critical funding needs and put an end the annual budget reductions…

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Northland NEMO (Non-point Education for Municipal Officials) is a program with a funny name but an important purpose – to provide local leaders with research and support to help them make informed decisions about protecting their water resources. Hosted by University of Minnesota and the Nat…

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As I write this, we are anxiously awaiting Election Day, and the results of the school district’s operating levy referendum. As you read this, you will likely already know the results. While this is a very important issue for our schools, no matter how the vote turns out, the process of this…

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Faith Lutheran Scandinavian Dinner, also known as “The Lutefisk Dinner” or “Holy Tuesday”, has peacefully died at the age of 70. It was preceded in death by numerous cousins (many other churches have had to make this decision over the years). It’s survived by a few remaining siblings that ar…

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After 20 years of serving middle and high school students in the Forest Lake area, North Lakes Elementary is opening in September 2019! The new elementary and middle school campus will be located on 232nd Ave North, between the Wat Lao Temple and the Calvary Catholic Cemetery. As the groundb…