Black bear

MOUNTAIN IRON — It seems a lot of bears have been roaming around Mountain Iron lately.

An abundance of bears — and restoration of a historic 1934 city fire truck — were discussion topics at Monday’s council meeting.

This is the fifth week of reports of bears in town, said Sgt. John Backman of the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Department in Mountain Iron. It’s something that comes with the territory of living in northern Minnesota, he said.

A wildlife employee, however, told him Mountain Iron is “only surpassed by Ely” in the number of bear reports this year, Backman said.

None of the bears have been aggressive, but they have been a traffic hazard, he noted, adding that two bears were killed on roadways during the past several weeks.

The council also talked about what to do with the fire truck, which will be taking up a stall once the city gets its new fire vehicle.

The Public Safety & Health Board discussed the matter at its recent meeting and “threw it back to the council’s lap,” said Councilor Alan Stanaway.

Ideas for the truck’s future include storing or displaying it, he said. Firefighters have spent much time restoring the vehicle, he added.

It is a “classic old truck” and should be retained by the city, said Mayor Gary Skalko.

Councilor Steve Skogman suggested building a shelter with glass sides to preserve and display it. “The question is do we want to do that and where do we do that?”

Skogman added that the current fire truck that is being replaced will be used to block traffic during emergencies, so that will not free up a space for the historic vehicle.

The council decided to pass the matter on to the Parks & Recreation Commission to check into possible grants or funding to construct a display shelter for the truck.

In other business, the council:

• Hired James Hipple as a temporary summer coach.

• Accepted a change order of $254.50 for work completed on the Mud Lake Road water repair project, and approved a pay request of $4,925 to George Bougalis & Sons Co., of Hibbing, for the project.

• Director of Public Works Tim Satrang said the city’s large trash pickup “is wrapping up,” and anyone who still has items for disposal should contact the city. Some work is continuing on Mud Lake Road, he added, and residents should be aware “there are still some city crews out there.”

• Skalko also congratulated two residents: Jason Gellerstedt, a Mountain Iron-Buhl School Board member who was honored with singing “God Bless America” during the Father’s Day Minnesota Twins home game in Minneapolis; and Greg Gilness, who has led the committee to restore Virginia’s historic Olcott Park fountain, which was turned back on during a celebration last Thursday.


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