Memorial Day observance set for May 28 in Tower-Soudan
Tower-Soudan's area-wide Memorial Day Tribute will be held at the Tower Civic Center on Monday, May 28, from 10:00 a.m. to twelve o'clock noon. The Bois Forte Honor Guard will present and retire the flag, fire the 21-gun salute and play Taps. The names of local veterans killed in action and deceased local veterans will be read.
The Tower-Soudan Area Singers, under the direction of Rolf Anderson, will sing a number of patriotic songs and the program will conclude with the traditional placement of the Memorial Day wreath on the symbolic Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in a ceremony to be held outside the Civic Center.
Refreshments provided by the Tower-Soudan Civic Club will be served prior to and following the program. Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend.
The members of the American Legion Women's Auxiliary Unit #220 of Mountain Iron will be selling the traditional poppies at the Civic Center and will present the Wreath in the ceremony.
The campground at Minnesota's newest state park opened on Friday, May 11, according to the Department of Natural Resources. With electricity and Wi-Fi at all 33 campsites and three large group camps with screened picnic shelters and modern shower buildings, Vermilion Ridge Campground at Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park in northeastern Minnesota will be a popular destination this summer.
Although the campground partially opened for the fall color season from September 12 to October 21, the official grand opening is yet to come.
"Weekends booked up quickly when we started to take reservations last fall, but there are still many openings in the group camps and on weeknights for those who want to stay overnight at the park this summer," advised Jim Essig, Park Manager. "And," he added, "of course there is a lot to do here besides camp."
A ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 7, will kick off a weekend of special activities, which will include:
A nature cart (10:30 a.m. - 12:30 noon) and campfire program (8:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.) Thursday, June 7
A night sky program (8:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.) Friday, June 8
A geology walking tour (9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.) and Canoeing 101 (1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. - call 218-300-7005 for reservations) on Saturday, June 9.
Visitors can enjoy fishing and boating on Lake Vermilion, have a picnic with a view of Armstrong Bay, take an underground mine tour, find the geocache hidden in the park (GPS units are available at the park), attend interpretive programs and hike or bike a freshly paved segment of the Mesabi Trail into town.
Reservations are required for camping and also are recommended for the underground mine tours. To reserve a spot, visit www.mndnr.gov/reservations or call 866-857-2757.
For more information, visit www.mndnr.gov/vermilion soudan or call the DNR information Center: 888-646-6367 (8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. on Saturday.
by Anthony Sikora
Continuing an agenda item from its last meeting in April, Fitton opened discussion on a proposal to permit Randy Semo to place a trailer at Hoodoo Point to serve food, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages. Campground manager Randy Pratt announced that he was not opposed to the idea of food service near the campground. "I don't see any benefit to the campground, however, I don't see a disadvantage either. Our concern is alcohol," Pratt said. He explained that on occasion alcohol consumption has been a source of noise and disorderly conduct at the campground and has resulted in disturbances serious enough to warrant police calls. Pratt suggested that the city allow the vendor trailer to be set up near the pavilion area, located on the shore southeast of the campground and beach.
The city council was of a similar mind as Pratt. In discussion it was obvious that the council's concern was alcohol service too. Alderman Lance Dougherty made a motion to permit the food service, without alcohol, and Alderman Brad Matich quickly provided his support. The motion passed with unanimous support from the council.
The Tower Economic Development Association (TEDA) presented the city council with a new proposed lease for its building to the Vermilion Country Charter School. The new lease, starting July 1 and continuing for 60 months until June 2023, will cost the charter school $6,500 each month. Deputy Mayor Fitton explained that the lease was nearly the same as the previous lease. In fact, at the TEDA meeting, Fitton advocated keeping the lease payments the same as the previous five-year lease because 80 percent of the funds come from federal sources and it would not add costs to the school's budget. His one request was to earmark $2,500, annually, in a dedicated fund to facilitate needed building improvements. Dougherty asked about the current $4,500 budget amount for building maintenance. Fitton explained that the new account would serve to finance improvements, not regular maintenance. City Clerk-Treasurer Linda Keith reminded the city council that expensive repairs to the building's leaking roof were soon needed. A motion to approve the lease passed, 4-0. It is expected that the lease will be forwarded to the school board for its approval. The new lease will provide funding for the city to continue to pay the mortgage which amoritizes in 2023. The city incurred the debt five years ago when it remodeled the building into a facility suitable for the school.
Jason Chop, Short Elliott Hendrickson, Inc, city engineer, presented the council with several bills for work now completed on city projects. The first pay request was from Low Impact Excavators which has been conducting demolition work at the Tower Marina to clear the way for Your Boat Club to remodel the facility. The city council unanimously approved paying $44,064.72, the first, and current amount due on the $69,944 project bid. It was reported that some cost overruns are anticipated because old cribbing was discovered and also needed to be removed to move the project forward.
A pay request was made and unanimously approved by the city council for payment to Utility Systems of America for work completed on Hoodoo Point Campground improvement projects. This bill, the third pay request, was for $26,194.54 on a contract totaling $412,391.
The City Council dissolved the Miss Tower-Soudan Queen Committee account and will forward the balance, approximately $5,000, to the Tower 4th of July. The action came upon recommendation from the Miss Tower-Soudan Queen Committee. The event has not been held for the last few years and interest in these types of community activities has waned.
In other action, the Tower City Council:
· Received correspondence on upcoming public hearings regarding complaints about Frontier Communications of Minnesota, Inc., the local telephone company
· Approved the application for a $10,000 Rural Fire Grant to purchase replacements for aging structural fire turnout gear
· Approved a recommenda-tion to conduct a muzzleloader deer hunt within the Tower city limits between November 24 and December 9 of this year. The special hunt has a bag limit of five antlered, or antlerless deer
· Approved transferring the airport hangar lease currently held by Brian Johnson to Bob Shadduck
· Approved the submission of a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Landowner Disclosure Form and a Bill of Rights form to facilitate the vacation of an unused spur of the snowmobile trail which currently is platted on the Highway 135 business park lot where the new Lamppa Manfacturing building will be constructed later this year
· Accepted ownership of a boat dock currently owned by the DNR, Trails and Waterways, to the city. The dock is being given to the city and is currently located in the Tower harbor
· Established a savings account to be funded at $2,500 each year, starting with the 2019 budget, to fund improvements to the building currently the Vermilion Country Charter School
· Received the 2017 audit and asked Clerk Keith to have a representative from Walker, Giroux and Hahne, the city's accountants, at the next meeting to review the document.
Also In This Issue:
Flag pole at Soudan Ballfield dedicated
Minnesota Fishing Opener - It's a Minnesota Holiday
Those Were the Days!