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

By Lois E Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Athletic complex will need parking, playground


December 13, 2018

The grass on the new football practice field inside the track needs another year to grow, reported Moose Lake Superintendent Robert Indihar at the meeting of the Liaison Committee, made up of representatives of the Moose Lake and Willow River School Boards. The committee met on Wednesday, Dec. 5, at the Moose Lake School.

A five-year agreement is in place with the new owner, Moose Lake Development, that the locker rooms and the outfield of the baseball field at the old school still be used for football practices, said Indihar.

Football Coach Dave Louzek reported that he would also like the DCD room (video room) for showing videos of the opposing team.

“Watching videos is a huge part of coaching,” he said.

Indihar invited Louzek to meet with him in the spring to discuss the arrangements.

Louzek also said he hadn’t been consulted when planning for the football program.

“In my second recommendation, I wrote that I hoped that we could all work together,” he said. “I would like to give my opinion when the facilities are being built or rearranged. I was never asked once if this would work for football. We need usable spaces. I need benches where the kids can sit.”

In his written recommendation, Louzek stated, “Mr. Indiahar has already indicated that he would like to meet with me about future possible facilities. I very much appreciate that.”

The MLWR Rebels ended the season as a Section 7AA Champion and a state quarterfinalist.

Vollyball Coach Beckie Jackson reported that the girls finished the season with a 12 to 13 record.

“We had a lot of new kids and young kids,” she told the committee. “There was a lot of learning. We hosted our first tournament. I was worried about coaching but it was awesome, and it was fluid. A lot of coaches came up to me and said it was low-key and low-stress.”

Jackson told the committee she appreciated having the junior high practices in Moose Lake.

Adam Whelan spoke about the cross country season.

“It was a fun cross county season this year,” he told the committee. “We had 10 seniors graduate but then 10 seventh grade girls came out. That made it a lot of fun. There were 45 kids in cross country. That was a net loss of two runners.”

Whelan said the boys finished in sixth place.

“That was pretty good after losing an all-state runner (Ethan Olson),” he said. “The girls took third place. The Minnesota Coaches Association gave the girls the gold medal. I think that is the first time the girls have won that medal. The boys won a silver medal.”

Indihar gave an update to the committee about the athletic field complex.

“We are looking at potentially going out for another bond,” he said. “ICS has gotten input from the students, staff, board and the community. The results will be presented to the community on Dec. 11.”

Indihar listed the needs and said another parking lot and ECFE playground were the most important.

Moose Lake Board Chair Steve Blondo pointed out the advantage of more facilities.

Seating for track and the baseball field will strengthen the cooperative,” he said. “We need your (Willow River's) input to make sure that we are doing it right when we do it.”

There was discussion once again about C team basketball for boys and girls.

The Moose Lake Athletic Director Tony Andres reported that the language about the C team has been written.

He said the C team will be made up of students from the seventh and eighth grades. There are enough students for the C teams.

Andres recommended that the contracts be approved to re-hire the current coaches Louzek, Jackson and Whelan. The committee passed a motion to approve the recommendation. Both the Moose Lake and Willow River school boads will also have to vote on the recommendation, it was said.

There was discussion about busing the students that participate in sports. No decision was made. Louzek told the committee that the busing needs to be consistent.

The pep band playing at games was also discussed.

Andres said the band students aren’t forced to be in a pep band.

“Some of our band students are in sports as well,” he said.

Indihar said he had spoken with Ryan Hanson, the Moose Lake band director, and Hanson told him there are less kids in band now than there were 10 years ago.

“Now we have trap shooting and robotics,” he added. “Those spread the kids out thin.”

Blondo suggested that the community band could participate and have seasoned adults playing with the kids.

Indihar said it was something to think about; he would speak to Hanson about combined practices.

Coaching staff for elementary non-school sponsored sports was discussed. Those sports, such as wrestling, did not require the organization that sponsored the sports to do background checks on coaches. There was a question whether the school would be held responsible if there was an incident where a coach conducted inappropriate actions with a student.

“We want to make sure that the parents realize that it is not a school-sponsored sport,” said Willow River Superintendent Bill Peel. “The coaches did not have background checks.”

Willow River Board Chair Dave Prachar added that the policies are being redone at Willow River.

“I know whose door they would knock on if there is a problem,” he said. “It would be Willow River’s or Moose Lake’s. There hasn’t been a problem yet but the parents need to know.”

Louzek suggested the policy be listed on both schools’ websites.

Indihar stated that each school should check with its attorney and insurance company.


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