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Bolen and Johnson take oaths

Wearing a suit jacket, jeans and a Minnesota Vikings jersey, Randy Bolen was sworn into office and began his second term as mayor of the city of Two Harbors Saturday evening. About 40 people attended (including one audience member in a Green Bay Packers jersey), filling the chairs in the council chambers.

After the brief ceremony, Bolen called for nominations to fill the posts of city council officers. Councilor Seth McDonald nominated Jerry Norberg for president and Robin Glaser, vice-president. No other names were put forth and Norberg and Glaser were both unanimously approved by the other council members.

"This is going to be a good year," said Norberg, amid congratulations and a hug from Donna Bolen, mother of the mayor. Norberg said that the first order of business would be to assign new councilors to committees, followed by a focus on accomplishing an ambitious list of projects throughout the city.

In coming weeks, members of the council plan to seek the support of legislators to help fund the city's marina plan. With more Democrats in the Minnesota House and Senate, Norberg said he is hopeful of increased support.

"We think this is a favorable time to approach this again," he said. The council also plans to ask policy makers to approve an increase in the city's sales tax and a change in the sign ordinance along Highway 61. Currently, signs for businesses are not allowed along the Scenic Highway, which means that motorists may not be aware of all the community has to offer. A change in the ordinance may contribute to the revitalization of Two Harbors' downtown area--something Norberg said is also a priority of the new council.

"Many of us remember the downtown of the '60s and '70s and we want to see it flourish again. The brewery will be the cornerstone of the rejuvenation," he said, referring to the Castle Danger Brewery which is slated to move its operation downtown in the near future.

Kathy Erickson smiled broadly after being referred to as "Councilor Erickson."

"It's been 'soon to be' for such a long time, that (the reality) is just hitting me now," she said. She, too, says she is looking forward to working with the council and to "learning what the people want for the community." Erickson has a background in finance and Norberg said her skills will be of great help to the council.

Of her experience, Erickson says, "I have a common sense approach, so that helps."

Monday night in Silver Bay, Joann Johnson took the oath of office with the city council, community members, friends and family looking on. New councilor Dustin Goutermont was also inducted.

Following the inaugurations, City Administrator Lana Fralich presented the council with a list of resolutions for their consideration, including the appointment of an acting mayor in the event of Johnson's absence. Steve Marolt was unanimously elected to the position.

There was a resolution to increase the amount of fire relief pension benefits from $1100 per year of service to $1600. This increase would apply only until the end of the month when it will drop back to the original figure. Fire fighters from the Silver Bay Fire Department made their case before the council.

"As you know, our chief (John Fredrickson) has retired after 34 years and has done more for the community than anyone. We feel we should be giving the most we can for him," said Scott Blood. He added that the increase would come at no cost to the City--it's funded through other maens. Blood said that the temporary increase is something they revisit with the council when there are firefighters who meet retirement eligibility requirements-- 55 years of age or 20 years of service. Any firefighter who meets the requirement may opt to retire at the increased rate. The resolution was adopted, with abstentions from councilors Goutermont and Marolt who serve on the fire department.

Resolutions for lease agreements for the bowling alley and businesses at the Mary Mac Donald building were also adopted, as were meal and mileage allowances for City employees with no increase from last year.

The council considered Silver Bay Police Department Officer Chad Streiff's attendance at Intoxilyzer training in the Twin Cities. The Intoxilyzer is a tool used to measure breath alcohol levels.

"Is this the Intoxilyzer that there's been so much trouble with?" asked Councilor Charlene Perfetto

Fralich assured her that it was an updated model. The council voted and unanimously approved the cost of Streiff's training, meals and lodging.

Finally, the council adopted a resolution to amend its contract with Magney Construction, which will result in a credit to the City's coffers.