Relay for Life right around the corner

By Derrick Knutson 

Chances are most of us have been affected by cancer in some way.

It is a disease, which, sadly, has a very broad reach.

But North Branch and communities across the world are seeking to reduce that reach and combat cancer through an annual event: Relay for Life.

At the North Branch City Council meeting Monday night, Mayor Amy Oehlers proclaimed July 20-21 as the days for the event in the city.

The event will take place at the Almelund Threshing Grounds at 5:30 p.m.

The proceeds from Relay for Life go to fund cancer research and aid cancer patients in their battles against the malady.

Also, starting today and lasting until Saturday, the mayor prompted residents and business owners alike to “Paint the Town Purple.”

By wearing purple or showing off the hue in other creative ways, people in the city will be acknowledging those who have died of cancer, the survivors and people who are currently fighting the disease.

During the meeting, Oehlers offered some statistics about cancer.

• An estimated 27,600 Minnesotans are expected to be diagnosed with cancer over the next year, which equates to 75 people everyday.

• About 9,200 will not survive.

• North Branch is joining over 5,000 communities worldwide to host the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

“I urge citizens to celebrate cancer survivorship and remember loved ones lost to this disease, honor caregivers and join Chisago County’s fight against cancer,” Oehlers said. “Only together can we find a cure.”

To sign up for a Relay for Life event, visit the organization’s website follow the instructions.

After the days for Relay for Life were set, the council also noted July 14 will be the city’s eighth annual “Day With Public Safety.”

The event includes a 5K run/walk starting at 9 a.m. – registration is at 8:30 a.m. – and a bike ride at 10 a.m. – registration is at 9:30 a.m.

Participants can pre-register for the 5K online for $5 cheaper at

The stink about a sewer bill

Also during the meeting, the council voted to table a vote on reducing a sewer bill for resident David Beckman.

Beckman addressed the council about a charge he received from March 20-April 18, dates when he was out of town and not using the sewer system in his home.

That charge equated to more than $600, which was far more than it should have been, according to Beckman.

He noted his son did find a leaky toilet in the house and fixed the problem while Beckman was way, but he said the toilet alone shouldn’t have led to such a high sewer bill.

Public works director Shawn Williams said his staff would come out to Beckman’s house and inspect his sewer system so the council would have more information at a future meeting on which to base a decision to reduce the bill or keep it at the current amount.

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