Friday, November 9, 2007


Lieutenant Governor Carol Molnau may announce soon what she has decided to do about the state emergency manager who failed to return from a training trip when the I-35W Bridge collapsed. Sonya Morphew Pitt has been on administrative leave and under investigation over travel expenses since returning from a trip to Washington, D.C. Governor Pawlenty said Friday morning that MNDOT has made a decision but he wasn't allowed by state data practice law to say anything.

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Breezy Point could become the capital of Minnesota next year, for a day. The city of around 2,000 has been nominated to be the State Capital for a Day sometime next year during the sesquicentennial celebration. Minnesota became the 32nd state on May 11, 1858. Voting begins Monday, November 12th and runs through Saturday, November 24th and everyone can vote online for their favorite town. Go online to and cast your ballot. As they used to say in some large eastern cities, vote early and vote often, but the message said each person should only vote once.

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Brainerd lawmaker John Ward said he was surprised at the outcome of Tuesday November 6th Brainerd and Crosby Ironton school levy elections. Ward said he believed that taxpayers understood the issues and that all possible had been done to maintain a fat-free financial house. Both Brainerd and Crosby Ironton district referenda failed to gain adequate voter support. Administrators at both schools have said they will now have to make budget cuts to balance the books, and those cuts may mean teacher lay-offs.

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Two Iowa men died early Friday morning on Cass County Road 26 south of County Road 2 in Walden Township. The men, aged 45 and 28 were in a 20005 Dodge Ram around 12:30am. The driver apparently lost control of the vehicle and it left the roadway rolling several times. The men's names won't be released until authorities can notify their families. Autopsies have been scheduled and the investigation continues.

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Someone in Todd County put a fish house near the corner of County Road 13 and State Highway 287 on Thursday and put a 'Free' sign on it. And some lucky winter angler took advantage of the offer. And if the person or persons who took the house looked inside, the deal became even sweeter. That's where the owner had stored his portable fish house, prepared for winter angling pleasure. But there is a downside to the deal; it was a prank and done without the owner's permission. The Todd County Sheriff's Department would like you to call them so they can return it to the rightful owner. They say the fish house is not considered stolen and there are no charges pending.

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Congress voted to override President Bush's veto of the $23-Billion water project bill Wedneday. Both Minnesota Senators Coleman and Klobuchar and 7 of 8 Minnesota Representatives voted to override. President Bush said the bill was too expensive and included too many earmarked projects. Coleman and Walz said the bill includes $82-Million dollars worth of Minnesota projects like flood control in Roseau, a radium filtration plant in Goodview, a wastewater treatment plant in Willmar, and a harbor navigation project in Duluth. The original House and Senate bills had a price tag of $14- and $15-Billion dollars respectively. The conference committee added another $8-Billion dollars worth of earmarked projects like $63-Million for 'beach nourishment' for Sarasota, Florida's Lido Key Beach. Congressman Jim Oberstar did not vote. The 73-year old representative had neck surgery last week.

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Thursday, November 8, 2007


The Humane Society of the United States has offered a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those resposible for the mutilation and death of a young Long Prairie girl's pet pony Savannah. Todd County Sheriff's Deputies still don't know who or what killed the Palomino. The horse was found in a field, its head cut and an eye missing. Some theorized that a hunter had mistaken pale-brown Savannah for a deer and cut the horse's head to recover the bullet. The family doubted that conclusion and hired a vet to examine the animal. The vet wasn't able to come up with a cause of death but said a hunter wasn't it. A Todd County deputy said cause of death is still a mystery and the investigation continues.

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Fort Ripley State Senator Paul Koering said yesterday he was not surprised at the results of Tuesday's school referendum elections in Brainerd and Crosby-Ironton. Koering said the voters he had spoken to in the days and weeks before could talk about little else. And the way they spoke about the issue led him to believe the tide was building against higher property taxes, no matter what they were for. Koering said people can stand only so much whether its politician or more taxes and pretty soon, they'll push back. He said "thank God we have a democracy here" and he hopes the people on the 'education side' get a message from the elections. Koering said he's sure lawmakers will try to find more money for education in the next session but he wants to know how much is enough. The next economic forecast will tell lawmakers how much extra money they have, for whatever they want to spend it on.

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Shrug the Bug

Folks getting flu shots are being protected against three forms of the virus, according to Coordinator Margie Young of the Crow Wing County Health Department. She says folks can get either the shot or mist. However, the mist is in short supply and can only be administered to those under 50.
Ms. Young says she knows some folks avoid the inoculation because of momentary pain. But, she the mist should relieve that apprehension, and the shot is only a prick and a lot better than a full blown respiratory illness. She says it is important we all get the shot to protect both young and old people.
Flu Clinics are being held around Crow Wing County. The Health Department hosts clinics at their offices at 204 Laurel Street in Brainerd Fridays through November 30th.
Cost of the shot is $20.00.

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The Cass County Board appointed Chief Assistant County Attorney Christopher Strandlie to fill out the unexpired term of County Attorney Earl Maus. Governor Pawlenty appointed Maus to a seat as a Ninth district court judge, effective in March. The Brainerd Dispatch report said Strandlie's appointment would become effective as soon as the board gets a resignation letter from Maus.

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Minnesota voters said yes to more than 60% of the school districts asking for more money on Tuesday. 61 district referenda passed, 32 failed, six others had a multiple question ballot and split decisions. Brainerd, Crosby Ironton and Wadena Deer Creek were among those districts where voters said no. Brainerd lawmaker John Ward told the Brainerd Dispatch that he was surprised the referendum failed. Ward said the main problem is that property taxes are not based on an ability to pay. Fort Ripley state senator Paul Koering said he was not surprised. He said he's out and about talking to constituents and he has a pretty good feel for what people are thinking. Both said lawmakers will take another hard look at state education funding during next year's session.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Some Lakes Area school districts did well and others not so well in Tuesday night's elections. Requests for more tax money in Brainerd, Crosby-Ironton and Wadena Deer Creek school districts were turned down but voters in the Pierz School District approved a per pupil increase from $500 to $700. And voters in the Onamia School District approved a levy request that would increase spending to $650 per pupil and renovate the track and field facility. Superintendent John Varner said this was the district's third referendum attempt and will allow the school to avoid statutory operating debt. Varner said the money will allow the board to consolidate and pay bills and re-establish a reserve fund balance but there won't be money for extras and frills. He said the track renovation would cost $350,000. The final vote for per pupil spending was 844 in favor and 675 against. Track renovation numbers were 775 in favor, 740 against.

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Big Winnie Losing Blue Bills

Some 3000 Blubill Ducks have died on Lake Winnebigoshish near Deer River. Jean Goad, Northeast Public Information Officer for the DNR says a parasite from a snail may be the culprit. She tells KLKS while eagles and other scavengers have been having a feast, it is not recommended that people consume ill waterfowl. Wildlife officials expect the die-off to continue.

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Hunter Success

Hunters are having good luck in their pursuit of the wiley white tail. Jean Goad, Public Information Officer for the northeast division of the DNR says harvest numbers are about the same as last year, which was really good. She says the first five days of the hunt are usually the best, probably because their are more hunters in the field. Ms. Goad is urging hunters to be safe in their stands, where most accidents occur.

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There are lots of smiles around the Tom Jesse household in Garrison these days. Tom won the KLKS Wanna Make A Deal contest and a trip for two to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Afternoon announcer Blenda had one last important question for Tom; is he sure he can get off work for the trip. Tom said that's not a problem, he's retired. Tom said he would be taking his wife on the trip. And they've been to Mexico before and are looking forward to warmth, sunshine and good Mexican food.

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28-year old Michael Eugene Stratenberger was sentenced to 40 years in prison Monday for stabbing his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend. Stratenberger was found guilty of two counts each of attempted murder, assault and burglary in August. The Brainerd man stabbed Carrie Vukelich and Gerald Lindemann at her home in Nisswa in August of last year. The Brainerd Dispatch report added that Stratenberger was fined $434 and ordered to pay $5,800 in restitution. He was transferred to St. Cloud State Prison on Monday.

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The Pequot Lakes Community Theater presentation of the Broadway musical Oklahoma opens Friday November 9th for a six show run. Director Michael Sander said people are probably more familiar with the movie version but except for some visual elements, there's very little difference. Sanders said the movie ends with a wildfire and there's no practical and safe way to do that on the stage. He added that Oklahoma is a very upbeat, optimistic play and that sentiment is very much a part of the production. Oklahoma curtains rise at 7:30pm for the Friday and Saturday shows at at 2pm for the Sunday matinees. Contact the Pequot Lakes Community Education office for tickets. 568-9200. Oklahoma runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday, November 9, 10, and 11 and 16, 17, and 18.

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The Great River Strings will present its fall concert this weekend. Director Rich Aulie said the concert 'On Broadway' will feature songs from Phantom of the Opera, West Side Story and Godspell. The show Saturday night will be at the First Lutheran Church in Aitkin at 7:30pm. Sunday's performance will be at the Holy Cross Catholic Church in Onamia at 2pm. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for students and no more than $15 for a family.

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The Emily Planning and Zoning commission will take a look at the preliminary survey for a 48-lot housing development tonight. Emily City Planner Chuck Marohn will present an environmental assessment worksheet for the Northern Lights over Roosevelt Lake project. After review, the report will be forwarded on to the state's Environmental Quality Board where it will be open for public comment for thirty days. The city council had ordered the EAW for the project in July after a 231-signature petition stopped the project. Each of the 48 lots on the property would have a septic system and well. Tonight's meeting starts at seven at the Emily City Hall.

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The Brainerd School District levy referendum that would have raised nearly $6-Million per year for ten years and included an automatic yearly increase for inflation has been defeated. 8,479 voters said no to the proposal while 5,427 approved the measure.

All three incumbent school board members have been re-elected for another term. Board Chairman Kent Montgomery, member Reed Campbell and Ruth Gemeinder gained higher vote totals than challengers Mark J. Olson and Phillip McConville.

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More Crosby-Ironton School District voters said no than yes to the request for an increased levy in Tuesday's election. 1,757 voters approved the measure but 2,339 voted against a proposal that would have raised approximately $980,000 per year for the next ten years. The measure included an automatic ajustment for inflation each year. 1,602 voters approved question two of the referendum but 2,466 voted no. Together, the two questions would have increased per pupil spending. CI had emerged from statutory operating debt and weathered a two month-long teacher's strike within the last 10 years. Last week, the school's para-professional union sued the district claiming unfair labor practices.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Nearly twice as many Wadena Deer Creek School District voters said no to a levy increase that would have raised the per-pupil spending from $101 to $700. 1277 voters said no, 671 said yes to the measure that would have raised roughly $710,000 each year for the next ten years.

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78% of Pierz School District voters approved a levy referendum that will raise per-pupil spending from $500 to $700. 521 voters said yes to the question, 140 said no; 78% of those voting approved the measure. The increase will put the school in a different category for state aid and thereby increase that amount as well.

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The Central Lakes College Theater Department's presentation of 10 November opens Thursday, November 8th for a three show run. Director Patrick Spradlin said the documentary-syle play with music leaves an audience with an emotional feeling about the Edmund Fitzgerald's sinking as well as more facts surrounding the event. 10 November runs Thursday, Friday and Saturday, November 8, 9, and 10 in CLC's Dryden Theater. All shows start at 7:30pm. Tickets at the door are $5.

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Area Runners Storm at State

Cross country runners from Pequot Lakes and Brainerd came away with some pretty impressive hardware during the state boys championships in Northfield over the weekend.

Both Pequot Lakes and Brainerd finished third in Class A and Class AA respectively. The Patriots finished with 161 points, 11 points behind Adrian and four ahead of Pine City. Leading the team was Clayton Foster who finished 5Th overall and 2ND in team competition with a five thousand meter time of 16:23. Kellen Braren finished 2nd for the team, followed by Silas Lydeen, Adison Runberg, Jacob headlee, Jonas Dale and Jake Braam.

The future of the team looks bright. There are two juniors on the team, the balance is sophomores.

The Warriors racked up 147 points, well ahead of 4Th place Stillwater. The harriers were paced by Thomas Ruttger who finished 4Th with a time of 16:03. He was followed by Luke Delany, Tyler Rose, Jimmy Dean, Gunner Johnson, Mitch Lorenz, and Joey Doyscher

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A former Aitkin County attorney has been disbarred from practicing law. The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled last week that Bradley C. Rhodes violated rules of professional conduct when he didn’t return client’s property as well as other charges. Rhodes graduated from Aitkin High school and got his law degree from William Mitchell College of Law. The Brainerd Dispatch story reported that Rhodes was defeated by current Aitkin County Attorney Tom Murtha.

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Monday, November 5, 2007


The State patrol said a 55-year old Brainerd pedestrian died in a crash just before 6pm Sunday night on Highway 371 near Iven's On the Bay Restaurant. Bradley R. Nasset was apparently walking across the highway from his home to a business when he was hit. The vehicle involved was a Chevrolet pickup driven by a Pequot Lakes man. Neither he nor his son were injured.

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