Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Dan Reed
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Former Carlton County land commissioner dies


Milo Rasmussen, land commissioner of Carlton County for 34 years, died unexpectedly in his Esko home December 19. Retiring about eight years ago, Rasmussen, 64, was well-known in the region by local landowners, loggers and recreational enthusiasts.

He started his county work as a forester under Land Commissioner Ray Smith after first being employed by the local paper company. Rasmussen guided the county effort on establishing the county Memorial Forest lands, much of which are located in western Carlton County. He helped in the establishment of the Willard Munger and Soo Line recreational trails. He was instrumental in the formation of the Carlton County Forest plan, which put planting, harvesting, site improvements, a forest road network, and long term goals in place for the county forest resources.

He was active in local hockey and skiing activities and was an active member of the Carlton County Historical Society, eventually becoming its president.

The Carlton County Board of Commissioners opened their last meeting of the year with a moment of silence for Rasmussen.

Commissioners vote increase in salary for themselves

On a motion by Commissioner Marv Bodie and second by Commissioner Gary Peterson, the Carlton County Board of Commissioners voted for a 2 percent salary increase for the 2015 budget year. Commissioners Dick Brenner, Bodie and Peterson voted aye; Thomas Proulx and Robert Olean nay.

The commissioners had not seen a raise in salary for eight years — years that saw salary freezes for all county employees and finally a 4 percent salary increase for 2014 and another for this coming budget year. Commissioner Peterson commented during the discussion that even people on Social Security are getting a 1.7 percent increase.

For 2015, per diem rates for commissioners and non-commissioner county employees remains the same. Mileage increased to 57.5 cents per mile per federal guidelines.

Final county levy approved

The Carlton County levy for 2015 was increased 4.95 percent. A 4 percent salary increase for all county employees figured into that decision. Added this year was a Human Resources director and staff.

Other business

Ricard Puumala, Carlton County coroner for over 40 years, was honored for his service. The coroner position is now being changed to a medical examiner, Lakeland Pathology, based out of Proctor. Estimated cost will be $85,000 per year, which is more costly than the program run by Puumala. The Cloquet and Moose Lake hospitals showed no interest in providing the service according to Paul Gassert, auditor and treasurer.

Dr. Puumala said, "I got into this office somewhat by accident — my father told me to run. I never did mind getting up a 3 a.m. when needed."


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