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Drain stencil program lauded

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A local class is working hard to keep Rainy River and the Rainy-Lake of the Woods watershed free from pollutants.

Grade 8 teacher at Fort High, Jody Bonner-Vickers, and her class delivered a presentation during a council meeting on Monday about the Drain Stencil Program that's running for its third-consecutive year.

On May 29, the Grade 8 class will travel around town stencilling the words “no dumping” onto approximately 60 storm drains, as done in the years past.

“Our goal is to raise awareness of possible pollution going into the storm drains and hopefully decrease the pollutants being dumped into the river through the drains,” said Grade 8 Fort High student Jenna Bailey during the presentation.

The students said it's important that people are aware that whatever they put in a storm drain gets dumped into Rainy River.

By raising awareness through the Drain Stencil Program, the students hope that they can help reduce the amount of soap, fertilizers, oils, and general litter going into the storm drains.

“We also plan to pick up litter along the way and leave door hangers on houses to let people know about the issue,” noted grade 8 student Monika Ruppenstein, at the meeting

The project is a partnership between the Town of Fort Frances, Fort High, the Lake of the Woods Water Sustainability Foundation, Couchiching Soil and Water Conservation, and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Mayor June Caul said she's seen the students embark on the project in the years past and was very impressed by how well behaved the students were as they spray painted the drain stencils.

“They certainly have fun doing it but it's always very professional and I just want to say congratulations to Mrs. Bonner-Vickers at how well behaved your students are and what a wonderful job this is," she remarked "I'm glad to see it's continuing.”

At the end of the presentation, Bonner-Vickers invited any of the councillors to come out with them on May 29 and witness the kids in action.

The presentation was received by council with thanks.

Also at Monday's council meeting, council referred a request to amend the town's dog bylaw to Planning and Development executive committee with input from Fort Frances Police Services Board.

A resident is asking council to amend the bylaw so that no animal be allowed to be tied up in the front yard of any residence or business in town and that if an animal is over a certain weight or certain breed, they be required to be kept in a locked kennel in the back yard.

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