The Tower News

Since June 4, 1900 - News About the Greatest People in the World - Our Own!

 P.O. Box 447, Tower, MN 55790


  Phone: 218-753-7777

 Fax: 218-753-7778

February 23, 2018






 Chaos and Grit

ISD 2142 board hires Interim Supt. Reggie Engebritson full-time


Reggie Engebritson was hired last December as the Interim Superintendent of the St. Louis County Schools (ISD 2142) to fill the position of departing Supt. Steve Sallee. The interim part didn't last long as last Thursday at the regular board meeting, the board made her the full-time superintendent. At a study session held Tuesday, Feb. 13, all board members present at that meeting agreed to hire her full-time.
Northeast Range school board member Chris Koivisto abstained from the vote as he thought they should have advertised more and had a bigger pool to choose from. He said he was not against Supt. Engebritson, though. Cook board member Dan Manick thought they should have searched more to see what others think of this district. Orr board member Pat Christensen spoke up for her and the board voted 6-1. Reggie Engebritson comes to ISD 2142 with very good recommendations.
Supt. Engebritson's report spoke of Leadership Training at the Minnesota Department of Education last week through the Regional Centers of Excellence. This training taught principals more effective ways to give feedback to teachers after they were observed in the classroom. The principals will be videotaped giving feedback to a teacher and then reviewed. Supt. Engebritson spoke of bringing Dr. Ross Greene to Minnesota from Maine to speak to about 180 educators at Northeast Range. She noted ISD 2142 was the only district doing this. Engebritson also announced it was National School Board Members Week and presented board members with certificates plus served them a cake in their honor. There was some discussion over the $500 stipend for bringing in new bus drivers, but nothing was done.
The collaboration with the Mt. Iron/Buhl School District was brought up, also. There was concern that Supt. Engebritson would spend too much time over there and also what this would cost. Right now, ISD 2142 is looking at a shared type superintendent, bookkeeping, etc. MIB wanted a decision made by March 12, but the board said that was too soon. They want a list of the jobs ISD 2142 will do, the cost and what the district will receive.
Early Childhood Director DaNeil Sirjord gave her annual report on this highly successful part of the district. She also spoke of the homeless students in the district of which there are 41. That doesn't mean they don't have a place to live, but that their living arrangements are temporary, they aren't living with a parent, child is not living with the parent and lives with one friend, child is living with grandparents and they are not homeless unless this is temporary. She said an updated list will be sent to building principals. She also thanked the board for their support.
The Fiscal Year 2017 Audit Report was quickly approved. The board had gone over it in a study session.
SchoolDude, an online preventative maintenance work order program costing $27,244 for the initial year and $3,660 the next year, was approved as per request by Maintenance Director Tony Buccanero.
The next item, a request for $1,819,348 for the Northeast Range School roof and $187,849 for the Tower-Soudan School roof, was approved.
A grievance brought by Probationary Teacher Michelle Phillips was settled with $6,400 deposited into her individual health care savings plan.
A Memorandum Of Understanding between ISD 2142 and Fond du Lac Human Services Division Behavioral Health Department for the implementation of the Creating Educational Success for American Indian Children Services was approved.
A Memorandum of Understanding between the district and the Cook Hospital and Care Center to develop a mutual plan of support in the event of an unforeseeable situation or emergency requiring the Cook Hospital and Care Center to evacuate and relocate patients, clients or residents was approved.
Jessica Bialke was given 0.6 FTE Dean and 0.4 FTE Success Coach at South Ridge, John Jirik 0.6 FTE Dean and 0.4 FTE Success Coach at North Woods, Zach Swart 0.6 FTE Dean and 0.2 FTE Success Coach at Cherry, and Dan Boelk 0.5 FTE Dean at Tower-Soudan.
Erin Warren was hired as a probationary 1.0 FTE Language Arts teacher at South Ridge.
Paraprofessionals Olivia Lopac at NER and Tamara Konstenius at Tower-Soudan were hired, as was bus driver Jessica Roy for South Ridge.
The resignations of paraprofessionals Lisa Squires-North Woods, Amanda Arntson-NER, and Brenda Lasart-Tower/Soudan were accepted, as were the resignations of assistant boys basketball coach Robert Pearson at Cherry, and assistant softball coach Danni Grotberg, also at Cherry.
The meeting adjourned at 7 p.m.

Sportsmen reminded that 2017 fishing, hunting and trapping licenses HAVE EXPIRED

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminded sportsmen this week that the 2017 fishing, hunting and trapping licenses have expired, as of Wednesday, February 28. Licenses for 2018 now are available wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold, online at and by telephone at 888-665-4236. All 2018 fishing licenses become effective Thursday, March 1. New licenses are required for 2017 hunting and fishing seasons that continue past February 28.
This year license fees increase by $3.00 for resident individual angling licenses and fees also increase for other license types, including deer hunting licenses, sports licenses and lifetime licenses. License fees support the ongoing work of DNR fish, wildlife and enforcement staff to conserve, enhance and protect our waters, fields and forests.
Customers who purchase licenses online via a smartphone will not receive a conventional paper license. Instead, they will receive a text message or email that serves as proof of a valid fish or game license to state conservation officers. A printed copy of the text or e-mail also can serve as proof of a valid license.

Voyageur Country ATV Club proposes new ATV/snowmobile bridge over Vermilion River

Voyageur Country ATV Club has proposed a 185-ft. bridge over the Vermilion River to unite 500-mile Cabin Road to Kabustasa Trail. The bridge is being designed by S.E.H. Engr. and the six-mile connecting road by Benchmark Engr. The club, with its 700 members, which makes it the largest ATV Club in Minnesota, nearly twice the size of the next one, is looking for $850,000 in Minnesota bonds from this legislative session with the matching $285,000 coming from ATV license fees. Senators Tom Bakk and David Tomassoni, and Representatives Jason Metsa and Rob Ecklund are sponsoring the bill for the funds. The bridge site is where the old railroad trestle was, according to Bruce Beste of the Voyageur Country ATV Club. It will be a multi-purpose bridge with a 15-ton limit so emergency vehicles and trail groomers can use it.
The plans call for a 6-1/2 mile trail to the bridge. The bridge will be 10 feet over the average elevation of the river so it won't harm navigation.
Brad Sokoloski is the president of this club that was started in April 2015 and has grown rapidly, showing the popularity of All Terrain Vehicles. Steve Koch is the trail administrator and information can be found at
There are even plans for two scenic overlooks built into the bridge.

Also In This Issue:

Northeast Range Homecoming Royality

Nolan bows out; others jump in

Those Were the Days!