City to reopen auditorium after renovation project

Shuttered for public use in the 1960s, the Eveleth City Auditorium will reopen soon as a three-year renovation effort wraps up.

Eveleth Mayor Robert Vlaisavljevich said Friday that the project cost $400,000 to $500,000 so far, and some work will remain, but the building’s main hall will be available for community gatherings and private rentals as soon as the end of October.

“We’re champing on the bit” to get it open, he said.

The reopening will give the city a handicapped-accessible space rated for 1,200 people, or nearly a third of the city’s population of about 3,700. Built in 1912, the auditorium was used as an armory before it was converted to a shirt factory in 1964. The auditorium was also used by the film crew that made “North Country,” the 2005 Hollywood film starring Charlize Theron.

The city plans to hold its first meeting at the Auditorium Dec. 8.

matt mckinney @_mattmckinney



Brainerd votes to lay off full-time firefighters

The Brainerd City Council voted unanimously last week to lay off its five full-time firefighters and shift to a paid-on-call department.

The 7-0 vote came after lengthy debates about whether emergency response times would suffer if there were no longer firefighters staffing the station full-time, in addition to the dozens of paid volunteers who respond to calls.

Eliminating the full-time position and bringing in even more paid-on-call firefighters, supporters argued, would save Brainerd more than $260,000 in the first year, and even more in following years. City Council President Gary Scheeler said officials will begin negotiations with the firefighters’ union on a compensation package. The date for the final shift to on-call workers has not yet been set.




A bit of process still, but then beer can flow later

You can’t grab a late-night growler in Rochester just yet.

The City Council voted 6-1 last week to extend the off-sale limit from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. — allowing liquor stores and taprooms to sell packaged liquor until the latest cutoff allowed under state law.

The council will do a first reading of the new ordinance at its meeting Sept. 28. If the group decides to do a second reading at that same meeting, the new rule could go into effect Oct. 1, city clerk Aaron Reeves said via e-mail. If the council waits and does the second reading on Nov. 2, it would become effective a few days after that, he said.

It’s not clear how many liquor stores will take advantage of the ordinance and stay open later, Monday through Thursday. But brewery owners, who pushed for the 10 p.m. cutoff, have said that they will start selling growlers of beer as soon as they can.

Jenna Ross @ByJenna