The Isanti County News The Isanti County News covers community news, sports, current events and provides advertising and information for the cities of Cambridge, Isanti, and Braham, Minnesota and their surrounding areas. Mon, 31 Aug 2015 00:15:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 New Braham students, parents should contact school Mon, 31 Aug 2015 00:15:30 +0000 New residents in Braham’s School District No. 314 who have school-age children will need to contact the school district to enroll their children and to get information regarding transportation to and from school.

The elementary principal is Jeffrey Eklund. His office for Kindergarten through 4th-grade is in the Braham Area Elementary School, 320-396-3316. His office for grades 5 and 6 is in the Braham Area High School, 320-396-4444.

The high school principal is Matt Lattimore. His office for grades 7-12 is in the Braham Area High School, 320-396-4444.

The activities director is Shawn Kuhnke. His office for grades 7-12 is in the Braham Area High School, 320-396-4444.

High School Counselor, Ursula Scheele, is someone who wishes to meet all new high school students as well; and will be in her office at the high school beginning on or about Sept. 2, 320-396-4444. ]]> 0 Art Matters Mon, 31 Aug 2015 00:10:08 +0000 Arne Everson
Cambridge Center for the Arts

Did you know becoming a member of CCFA has some benefits? Besides receiving discounts on classes and events, field trips and more, as an artist member, you have the opportunity to exhibit your work in our Member’s Show and at the Cambridge Medical Center through their Healing Arts Program. What a wonderful way to use your art for a good cause. A membership is inexpensive, and supports the arts in Cambridge. You may join online at or pick up a membership application at the gallery.

At the Gallery

• Our current exhibit is a compilation of a life time of work by Cambridge resident, Betty Haskins. Our gallery walls are filled with her gorgeous landscapes, florals and wildlife art done in watercolor and oils. Stop in and treat yourself to this lovely collection of work. Exhibit runs through Sept. 12.

The Scandi Show features beautiful paintings by Elof Wedin, from his Scandinavian  roots and travels. The show runs Sept. 25  through Oct. 17. A very special opening reception, with special guests including Carol Wedin, daughter-in-law of the artist, will be held Friday, Sept. 25, from 4-8  p.m. The evening will include a silent auction, desserts and wine, and a presentation by art historian, Brian Szott, telling about his recent book on the four “Minnesota Moderns of the Twentieth Century” which includes Elof Wedin.

Special Concert   

• Cambridge Center for the Arts presents the Centennial Singers, outstanding male chorus from the Twin Cities. Numbering about 50 singers, this entertaining choir presents a great assortment of religious anthems as well as folk and patriotic arrangements. It will be held Sunday, Sept. 27, at 4 p.m. at Cambridge Lutheran Church. Tickets are $10; age 12 and under, $5, available through CCFA.

Classes, Workshops and Educational Events.

• First Friday WaterMedia Class, Sept. 4, 9 a.m. to noon, (gallery open at 8:45 a.m. to set up).

Classes will offer watermedia demos on color, design, value patterns, creating successful watercolors. Individual help, time to paint and group discussions. A great way to improve knowledge and technical skills with watermedia, and spend time with fellow artists. All levels welcome. Come to one or as many classes as you wish. Cost per each class: $35 non-members; $30 members

Payment and registration are due in advance. Sign up on our website at to pay with a credit card, or visit our gallery and register in person with check or cash.

Open Studio

Second and fourth Wednesdays of every month, 9 a.m. to noon. Gallery opens at 8:45 a.m. for set-up.

Get to know other artists. Grow in knowledge, support and community by painting together in all mediums. Artists work on their own projects with their own supplies in a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere. No instruction. No intimidation. No charge. Bring a snack and come and join us. All mediums welcome. Questions call 651-747-7975.

Life Drawing

Wednesday, Aug. 26, 1:30-4:30 p.m. at the gallery. Cost: $10 Members, $15 Non-Members.

Please register and pay in advance for this opportunity to draw-paint a clothed model. Come into the gallery and sign up or send us a check. Any medium is accepted, however, oil painters are required to use odorless turpentine.   763-552-0320 or

• Support the Arts. Your donations in any amount are needed and welcome. A $500 donation makes you a CCFA Arts Angel. Consider setting up a monthly donation for as little as $10 per month. Tax deductible. Donate online or in person at the gallery.

Cambridge Center for the Arts

City Center Mall, 140 N. Buchanan, Suite 178, Cambridge


Phone: 763-552-0320


Hours: Tues. & Sat. Noon- 4; Thurs, Noon- 6 ]]> 0 U must lead on sexual harassment education Mon, 31 Aug 2015 00:05:02 +0000 ECM Editorial Board
ECM Publishers Inc.

One month before Norwood Teague was hired as athletic director at the University of Minnesota in 2012, the Board of Regents was busy cleaning up language in the school’s sexual harassment policy.

The intent was to ensure that the language of that policy was clear, and that anyone attending or employed at the University of Minnesota would be able to work and learn in an environment void of sexual harassment. Simply put, regents were reaffirming the school’s commitment to a policy that would protect victims and punish violators.

Three years later, the board was reacquainting itself with the language and goals of that same policy, apparently because it had been violated by an athletic director who should have been an example of professionalism and leadership to women throughout the Gopher State, not one referencing alcohol use and poor judgment as an excuse for his behavior.

Just days ago Teague announced he would be stepping down from his role at the U because of incidents that involved inappropriate behavior on his part. The extent of that behavior and how many people may have been affected is still being investigated. But Teague himself issued a statement that noted his transgression: At a recent University event, I had entirely too much to drink. I behaved badly toward nice people, including sending truly inappropriate texts. I am embarrassed and apologize for my offensive behavior.

Already three women have stepped forward to indicate they were the targets of alleged sexual harassment, including one who is a special assistant to President Eric Kaler, another who is a deputy chief of staff in the president’s office and a StarTribune reporter who covers Golden Gophers athletics. And according to the women, the alleged harassment went well beyond texts.

What is perhaps most troubling, beyond the idea that it took place in the first place, is that it could have occurred at such a high level and without the knowledge of other high-ranking U officials. That type of behavior typically displays itself in other ways. Word gets around.

Early reports suggest the alleged activities in question took place in social settings and where alcohol may have played a role. Certainly alcohol can lower inhibitions, but it is not an excuse for unacceptable behavior.

Disappointing. Demoralizing. Destructive.

Sexual harassment simply has no place in any setting. Period. That it continues to happen suggests that some still don’t recognize just how poisonous it is to individuals and society.

Just this year Cosmopolitan magazine conducted a survey of 2,235 women ages 18-34 and discovered that one in three women has experienced sexual harassment at work. Of those, 29 percent said they reported it, while 71 percent said they did not. Why do so many choose to allow the harassment to go unreported? That same survey found that 38 percent of the time, the harassment was being instigated by a manager. Usually it is a male manager. Imagine a place where the person that stands between you and career advancement is that wolf guarding the henhouse.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission receives an estimated 12,000-15,000 reports of sexual harassment charges per year. It is a number that is tainted by the fact that so many women, and a smaller proportion of male victims, simply do not report the harassment. And so the violations continue.

At its core, harassment is about control. And that kind of control prevents a company, an institution and individuals from realizing full potential. It creates fear. It creates doubt. It creates anger. It creates dissolution. It creates chaos. It creates no positive result for anyone.

The U has taken the right steps by launching an independent investigation of the Teague situation. Two months ago it also had reason to initiate an internal audit of the athletics department regarding Title IX concerns. That two high-profile investigations are occurring in the same department at the same time is truly troubling.

Unfortunately, selfish, controlling and consuming sports personalities no longer surprise the public. There have been so many incidents of inappropriate behavior by athletes, whether it’s physical, mental or sexual abuse of girlfriends, wives and sometimes children, the shock for most has simply morphed to disgust. Clearly, this is a small minority, but the behavior still exists.

The best tool available to combat sexual harassment is education. As the state’s premier educational institution, it is expected that the U will bring to bear all of its considerable resources to correct this issue, not just within its own buildings, but throughout Minnesota. It has the ability to truly make an impact by engaging with the public, employers and other educational institutions to find new and improved ways to stop this abuse.

It’s what is needed. And quite honestly, it’s what the public should expect.

And for the 2.8 million females that live in this state it’s what they deserve.

— An opinion of the ECM Editorial Board. The Isanti County News is part of ECM Publishers Inc. ]]> 0 Extra DWI patrol on the roads through Sept. 7 Mon, 31 Aug 2015 00:00:45 +0000 On a hot summer day, it’s easy to throw back a few drinks while enjoying the beach or fishing on the dock, and it’s easy to forget that driving home with a buzz is drunk driving.

As summer winds down, state and law enforcement agencies will be turning up the heat on drunk drivers as deputies and officers will be conducting extra DWI patrols through Sept. 7.

The enforcement is part of a statewide effort with officers, deputies and troopers from more than 300 agencies working overtime with funding provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS) coordinates the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement and education effort.

“It’s time to take a stand against those who choose to get behind the wheel after drinking,” said Bob Bollenbeck, Isanti TZD Coordinator. “Don’t be afraid to speak up. Take the keys away from a friend or loved one, and find them a sober ride home. It could save a life, even yours.”

A deadly holiday approaching

As the end of summer nears, Labor Day is the second deadliest major holiday with 24 fatalities over the last five years (2010 – 2014) on Minnesota roads – that includes several in Isanti County.

Drunk driving, a sobering reality

More than 25,000 drivers are arrested for DWI in Minnesota each year, with more than 100 last year in Isanti County. Those alarming numbers average out to nearly three DWI arrests per hour throughout the state.

In the last five years (2010 – 2014), there were 479 drunk driving-related traffic deaths in Minnesota and 88 people were killed in 2014 alone.

“The 96 people, on average, who lose their lives every year because of drunk driving are often referred to as a statistic,” Bollenbeck said. “But these are real people who have loved ones hoping they will still walk through the door any moment. We won’t rest until every drunk is off the road, as we strive to make Isanti County a safe and sober driving community.”

DPS-OTS coordinates the statewide campaign, and local agencies participating include Braham, Cambridge, and Isanti police along with State Patrol and Isanti County Sheriff’s Department.

The enhanced DWI enforcement campaign is a component of the state’s Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) program. A primary vision of the TZD program is to create a safe driving culture in Minnesota in which motorists support a goal of zero road fatalities by practicing and promoting safe and smart driving behavior. ]]> 0 Bombers, Bluejacket post football victories Sat, 29 Aug 2015 16:09:52 +0000 Braham quarterback John Larson

Braham quarterback John Larson

Senior quarterback John Larson passed for 227 yards when Braham football downed visiting Crosby-Ironton 52-28 on Aug. 28.  Solomon Overton rushed for 86 yards, and Ryan Larson led the Braham receivers with 99 yards in the win over the Knights. The Bombers are now 2-0 and play at Rush City Sept. 3.

• Cambridge-Isanti evened its record at 1-1 by defeating visiting Duluth East 28-17 on Aug. 28.  Nate Muehlberg averaged 7.2 yards a carry while gaining 166 ground yards for the Bluejackets, scoring two touchdowns. Austin Schlenker put up 135 rushing yards, and he tied the game at 7-7 with a 41-yard interception return for a TD late in the second quarter. ]]> 0 IMAGE Art Show 2015 call for entries Sat, 29 Aug 2015 00:15:10 +0000 The 2015 IMAGE Art Show will be held this year at the East Central Regional Arts Council at its office and galleries located in downtown Braham. The Call for Entry form for artists is available online and is due by Sept. 21.

This year’s IMAGE Art Show will be held Oct. 24  through Nov. 6, with an opening reception on Saturday, Oct. 24 from 5-8 p.m. A welcoming ceremony and the judges’ presentations are scheduled for 6 p.m. that same evening.

This is the 29th year of IMAGE, an annual judged art show for visual artists residing in Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, and Pine counties (Region 7E). Sponsored by the East Central Regional Arts Council, IMAGE is a celebration of artists living in Region 7E. Visual artists from any of these five counties are encouraged to enter the show. There is no fee to enter.

This year’s IMAGE awards will include: 2 Judge’s Choice Awards ($500 each); 10 Excellence Awards ($200 each); and 10 Merit Awards ($100 each).

In addition, all artwork entered will be eligible for People’s Choice and Purchase Awards. ECRAC will purchase one or more entered artwork(s) which will then become part of the Council’s permanent collection. These awards (with the exception of People’s Choice) will be presented at the opening reception during the first day of the show. The People’s Choice Award will be distributed after the show ends.

To access the 2015 IMAGE art show entry form, visit Note that entry forms are due no later than 11:55 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 21.

For more information, call 320-396-2337, or email ]]> 0 Isanti approves contract for interim finance director services Sat, 29 Aug 2015 00:10:06 +0000  

Isanti Police Officer Chelsea Doherty was sworn in during the Aug. 18 council meeting. Pictured are Isanti Police Chief Gene Hill, Jim Doherty, Chelsea Doherty and Isanti Mayor George Wimmer. Photos by Rachel Kytonen
Isanti Police Officer Chelsea Doherty was sworn in during the Aug. 18 council meeting. Pictured are Isanti Police Chief Gene Hill, Jim Doherty, Chelsea Doherty and Isanti Mayor George Wimmer. Photos by Rachel Kytonen

Even though Sarah Cotton’s last official day with the city of Isanti as finance director is Aug. 28, she has agreed to provide interim finance director services until a new finance director is hired.

During the Isanti City Council meeting Aug. 18, the council approved a contract for interim finance director services with Cotton at a rate of $75 per hour. Either the city or Cotton can terminate the contract with a 30-day written notice. The date of the contract is from Aug. 31, 2015 through Nov. 30, 2015, unless sooner terminated.

Isanti Mayor George Wimmer congratulates new Isanti Police Officer Chelsea Doherty after administering the oath of office during the Aug. 18 council meeting.
Isanti Mayor George Wimmer congratulates new Isanti Police Officer Chelsea Doherty after administering the oath of office during the Aug. 18 council meeting.

During the meeting, Isanti Mayor George Wimmer presented Cotton with a commendation plaque for her exemplary service to the city from May 21, 2012 to Aug. 28, 2015, serving in the positions of finance director-assistant city administrator and finance director.

Wimmer said Cotton, who has taken a position with Lino Lakes, has done an excellent job for the city.

“Sarah has been incredible in her position,” Wimmer said. “She brought in good systems, and with software improvements, whoever comes into this position will not have to reinvent the wheel. She has helped the city incredibly, and Lino Lakes is getting an incredible individual.”

Isanti Mayor George Wimmer presents Finance Director Sarah Cotton with a commendation plaque for her exemplary service to the city. Cotton has taken a new position with Lino Lakes.
Isanti Mayor George Wimmer presents Finance Director Sarah Cotton with a commendation plaque for her exemplary service to the city. Cotton has taken a new position with Lino Lakes.

Wimmer had voiced concerns at the previous council meeting regarding the lower pay range of Isanti’s finance director compared to its surrounding cities.

He mentioned the top pay ranges for the finance director for Cambridge is $97,000; St. Francis, $98,000; and East Bethel, $104,000; while Isanti is at $84,000.

Wimmer said as of the council meeting that evening, the city had received only one application for the finance director position, and more than likely the position will have to be re-posted.

“We have to seriously look at the pay scale for this position,” Wimmer said. “It’s something we are going to have to address.” ]]> 0 Cambridge to discuss ordinance relating to vehicle storage and parking Sat, 29 Aug 2015 00:05:30 +0000 Katie Krier
Isanti County News

The Cambridge City Planning Commission will discuss a possible change to City Code 156.062 (D)(2) relating to vehicle storage and parking at its Sept. 1 meeting. This change will address allowing vehicles to be stored on a rock surface.

At the Aug. 17 Cambridge City Council meeting, Cambridge citizens Tom and Sandy Maassen brought forth their request for a change in the ordinance after receiving a violation notice for parking their fifth-wheel on a rock surface next to their garage. As it stands, the ordinance only allows vehicles to be parked on a blacktop surface or pervious pavers.

The Maassens stated they didn’t understand why it was such a big issue to have a vehicle parked on a rock surface, pointing out they keep the surface neat, with no weeds growing in it, and shrubs around it so it is not an eye sore.  The Council pointed out while they keep their yard neat, if they change the ordinance, other residents may not keep their property as such.

Council Member Howard Lewis made a motion for City Council to recommend bringing to the Planning Commission a change in the ordinance with wording to allow rocks with pavers. In favor of the motion were Council Member Tiffany Kafer and Lewis, with Mayor Marlys Palmer and Council Member Joe Morin voting against. The motion was defeated.

There was a second motion made by Lewis recommending to refer the issue to the Planning Commission. Voting  in favor were Kafer, Lewis and Morin, with Palmer voting against. The motion carried.

The recommendation by the Planning Commission from its Sept. 1 meeting will be brought back for discussion at the Sept. 21 city council meeting. Depending on the Sept. 21 discussion, a public hearing may or may not need to be held in October to change the ordinance.

Citizen Tina Johnson was in attendance to inform the council she is in agreement with the Maassens and hopes for a change, while citizen Larry Ostrom did not want to see a change in the ordinance, stating he has a “vision for what Cambridge can be,” and hopes Cambridge continues to enforce its ordinances.

Palmer informed the Maassens that about every 10 years the council works with staff on a comprehensive plan where they look back at all the ordinances as well as input from the citizens, staff and council regarding issues. The next comprehensive plan is scheduled for 2016.

“We are getting very close to the time when we look at ordinances again,” said Palmer, who was not in favor of changing the ordinance to allow rock surfaces until the comprehensive plan is looked at.

Kafer, who was in favor of the change, noted allowing rock is a cheaper route for storage, rather than a blacktop, which will in turn will give “more of an opportunity to allow our citizens to get more recreational items.”

Lewis was in agreement, and pointed out recreational vehicles in the area have doubled, thus needing a place for storage. He also pointed out he’s been on the council for years, and during those years it has been “hard to make a change on this council. We need to realize things are changing.” ]]> 0 Women’s luncheon welcomes Nancy Reiman Sat, 29 Aug 2015 00:00:16 +0000 The Cambridge-Isanti Women’s Connection will hold its monthly luncheon Monday, Sept. 14.

This month’s guest speaker is Nancy Reiman from Arden Hills. Reiman will speak about “Expression of Love.” The special feature is Reiman giving a unique interactive speech that combines the feature with the inspirational talk and then include time afterwards for discussion. Special music is by Autumn Stewart with vocals and guitar.  Come and join them for a wonderful lunch and ever better fellowship.

The group meets at Spectacular Events (Spirit River Community Center) in Isanti from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. All women from Cambridge, Isanti, Braham, North Branch, St. Francis, East Bethel and surrounding areas are invited to attend. Bring a neighbor or friend and get both of your names in a drawing for a prize.

Lunch will be served for $10 (payable at the door) and free childcare is available upon request. To reserve your place and lunch, call Linda at 763-552-0801 as soon as possible, and you must indicate if you are bringing children for childcare.

Spectacular Events (Spirit River Community Center) is located at 1320 County Road 5 NE Isanti. The organization is associated with Stonecraft Ministries whose mission is to help women connect with each other, their community and God. It is open to all women of all faiths. ]]> 0 George William Billiar Fri, 28 Aug 2015 22:17:12 +0000 George Billiar, 75, of Isanti, passed away at his home on August 16, 2015.
George was born on September 30, 1939 to Albert and Josephine Billiar of Hector, MN and graduated from Sacred Heart High School in 1957. A public servant in his younger years, he served as a police officer in both Montevideo, MN and Sacred Heart, was also on the Ambulance Squad for Montevideo/Chippewa County, and served as a member of the U.S. Navy Reserve. George also drove truck for various companies over the years and was a proud Teamster. He finished his career with Barton Sand and Gravel, and he enjoyed every day there until his retirement. An avid hunter and fisherman all of his life, George and his hunting dogs won many awards and were well known by other sportsmen in the area.
He is survived by his sons, James (Tracy Klugman) Billiar of Brooklyn Park and Chris Billiar of Mankato.
Services will be held Saturday, September 19th at 3 p.m. at First Memorial Chapel, 7835 Brooklyn Blvd., Brooklyn Park, MN 55445. There will be a private burial.

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