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Toimi asks for School Board's help

The Lake Superior School District Board heard a presentation from the Toimi School Community Center at its meeting last week.

Yvonne Everling, Toimi School Community Center Board secretary, made a request to house old records located in Two Harbors High School.

"I ran all over looking for where the enrollment records were. I went to Duluth to St. Paul down at the historical society, and no one knew where they were," Everling said. "Then Al Ringer put me on to some old books in the attic of the Two Harbors school."

The old books had the enrollment records for Toimi as it turned out to be part of the Two Harbors school system.

"The Lake County Highway Department used the Toimi School for several years for storing their equipment up there. When they no longer needed it, the county was going to sell it, so we requested that they sell it to us, the local community, and we've been working on it ever since," Everling said. "Because we have a lot of community centers in the area, we needed to be something different, so we decided to be collectors of the history."

Everling asked the School Board to allow Toimi School to store and display the old books for the tourists and public to view.

"A lot of the local families have given us artifacts that are from their time there, such as their school report cards. We have had an oral history done on the school and we've also had an oral history of growing up on a Finnish farm," Everling said. "We are looking to maintain and grow that history. So our request to you is for us to store the records that are in your attic."

Ringer, who is a member on the School Board, said the books are currently stored in a cabinet. "I just happened to come upon them when I was doing some work there," he said. "There are lots of books, but not all of them have to do with Toimi, only a portion of them do."

School Board member Paul Borg asked if the books would be under glass or available for people to go through, as he's worried about the condition of some of them.

"We haven't gotten that far but that would be my plan for them to be under glass with maybe copies available for people to go through," Everling said.

Superintendent Bill Crandall said before giving the books to Toimi, he has to verify with the Minnesota School Boards Association that they can do so because the books are school records.

"I just need to verify what our responsibility as the school district is because technically they are school district records," Crandall said. "We may still need to retain a copy, but it would be a quick question to the MSBA."

The School Board approved a motion to allow Toimi to have the records regarding the Toimi School and area contingent on MSBA rules. The Toimi School Community Center (www.toimischool.org) is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.

Also at the meeting on July 19, the School Board asked William Kelley Schools principal Joe Nicklay to hire another kindergarten teacher because there are currently 30 kindergarten students coming into WKS and only one teacher. Nicklay said he has a current position that he can't fill and will just move that position to the kindergarten level. The School Board passed a motion to allow Nicklay to hire another teacher if he feels later that he needs another body in the school.

"I'm sensitive to the fact that we have a budget issue here, but this is a student issue," School Board member Tom Burns said. "In my mind, when it comes to students or budget you have to go with the students."

The August board meeting in Two Harbors was moved to Aug. 10 at 9 a.m.

Adelle Whitefoot

Adelle Whitefoot is a Michigan native who moved to Minnesota in Sept. 2014 when she started as a reporter for the Lake County News-Chronicle. She graduated from Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Mich., in 2012 with a bachelor's in English writing and has been a professional photographer since 2011. Whitefoot is the night general assignments reporter for the Duluth News Tribune. 

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