CROSSLAKE WINTERFEST-CURE FOR CABIN FEVER
Crosslake Winterfest runs this weekends. And event co-chair Brian Held said 'run' is the operative word. Brian said the main events include the car races on Trout Lake and the fishing contest next to it, the helicopter rides from Moonlights Bay and sled dog races. Brian said area merchants and restaraunts will feature all sorts of specials and all you have to do to take advantage is buy a $5 wristband. Held said the tournament is a 'fisherman' style; bring your own auger and bait. Get more information on-line at www.crosslakewinterfest.com.
DEVELOPER SUES CITY OVER LAKE PROJECT
The developer of the Northern Lights over Roosevelt Lake project has filed suit in Crow Wing County District Court against the City of Emily. The suit asks the court to set aside the city council's decision last month to require an Environmental Impact Study for the project. Attorneys for City Lakes Investment Group of Minneapolis allege the council decision was based on speculative factors and claims the city "did not engage in reasoned decision-making." The suit asks for a response from the City of Emily in 20 days.
Winter's not done yet but that doesn't seem to make a lot of difference to some of our feathered friends. DNR Small Non-Game Specialist Pam Perry said there's activity out there in the woods and trees. Perry said owls, great-horned owls in particular are getting ready to nest in southern Minnesota, seemingly a bit early. Perry will speak more about birds in person at the Pelican Lakes Conservation Club Wednesday night, February 13th. Most of the conversation will be about eagles, ospreys and loons but if you have questions about other feathered critters, please bring them along. Perry said there would be a meeting of the Bee-Nay-She Bird Club next Thursday night at 7pm at the Hallett Library.
How the Other Half Loves
Pequot Lakes Community Theater actors in the British comedy How the Other Half Loves are putting the final touches on the production. It opens next weekend at the Pequot Lakes High School stage. Director Erick Steen said preparations for the play are going well. Steen said many times when he reads a play the first time and finds humorous material, its not so funny after three weeks of rehearsals. But Steen said "in last night's rehearsal, it was funny again. This will be a good show." How The Other Half Loves opens Friday, February 15th for six shows over two weekends. Get your advance tickets from Pequot Lakes Community Education at 568-9200.
LAWMAKER OBTREMBA CHALLENGED
Todd County Board member and former Todd County Sheriff Dave Kircher has decided to run for the state legislative seat now held by Mary Ellen Otremba. Kircher lives near Burtrum and has been the past president of the Minnesota Sheriff's Association, a board member of the Todd County Victim's Resource Board and a director of the Minnesota North District Missouri Synod. Kircher told the Brainerd Dispatch that if elected he would emphasize the need to cut government spending. The district includes Long Prairie and Staples. The incumbent was elected to the state legislature in 1997.
LAWMAKERS PREDICT SESSION ACTIVITY
Minnesota Senate District 4 lawmakers predicted the legislative session that begins next week will concentrate on money and the apparent lack of it to spend. Last November's economic forecast indicated a $373-Million shortfall in tax revenue. State ecnomist Tom Stinson said this week he expects the forecast later this month to be worse. Bemidji State Senator Mary Olson said the economy and education will be the top issues during the upcoming bonding session. She told the Lake Country Echo that her party's version of the bonding bill will try to stimulate the economy. Olson said rather than call it a bonding bill, DFLers will call it a jobs bill. Walker State Representative Larry Howes said the budget will be on lawmakers minds and no doubt the minds of voters as well. Howes said the nation is not technically in a recession, and if people see a bargain and don't spend the money, a recession will happen. The second half of the legislative session begins on Tuesday, February 12th.
JAIL SENTENCE LOOMS FOR NEWS DIRECTOR
The KLKS News Director received a phone call from his 'parole officer' Friday morning. Kim Parmeter said he was doing well, bringing in lots of donations for Muscular Dystrophy, but the jail sentence has, at this moment, not been rescinded. Parmeter said she was looking forward to 'jail time' Wednesday, February 13th, unless of course he can raise his bail beforehand. The News Director doesn't want to wait until the last minute and will begin groveling immediately. Jailing innocent bystanders like the News Director is part of the effort to raise money for Muscular Dystrophy and Jerry's Kids. Get more information at www.mdausa.org.
HIGHWAY 371 EXPANSION UPDATE
MnDOT project manager Tim Bray told the Pequot Lakes City Council this week that work on expanding Highway 371 could begin in seven years, either 2015 or 2016 and he expects money to be tight. Bray said MnDOT decided to complete the Environmental Impact Statement in-house rather than hire an outside firm and mapping of the bypass route is nearly complete. Bray said the EIS won't compare the bypass with the through-town option but rather with a no-build option, primarily because the through-town route has already been studied. Bray told the Lake Country Echo that approval from the city won't be asked for until its received from state and federal government agencies. He said he did't expect any major hurdles to the project.
STATE SNOWMOBILE GROUP SPENDS WEEKEND
Primarily, this weekend's meeting of the Minnesota United Snowmobiler Association at Cragun's Resort is to take time to get out on the sled and zoom around. Business Coordinator Nancy Hanson said there will be some time spent on indoor issues like maintaining trails and talk about what can be done to expand the trail network. Lieutenant Governor Carol Molnau is expected to go along with a group of riders who plan a trip to Leader tomorrow morning and Molnau will address the group at the banquet Friday night. Hanson said she expects Department of Natural Resources Mark Holsten to make an appearance as well. Hanson said the 20,000 mile trail system is maintained by volunteers and snowmobiling brings a lot of tourism money into the state. She said the ongoing discussion is how to keep trails open and expand them, if possible.
WARRIOR WAY SEEKS TO SAVE HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
Brainerd School District officials have to cut at least $5-Million from next year's budget and one cost-cutting measure they intend to use is to increase student fees for school sports and activities. Crow Wing County Attorney Don Ryan is part of the Warrior Way, a group started by concerned parents and citizens who recognize the importance of extracurriculars. Ryan said academics are vital to a good education and in spite of financial challenges, he's convinced the district will continue to furnish a top-notch education. But he also knows how important activities are to young people. Ryan said he can't imagine looking at a perfect spelling test hanging on the wall for inspiration but he does look at a picture of his old football team everyday, more than once. Ryan said the Warrior Way intends to raise $220,000 by April to help pay for student activity fees. Eventually, the group wants to develop an endowment of $3-5-Million. The Warrior Way will meet in the Brainerd High School Cafeteria Monday night at 7pm if anyone has questions or wants to help out. Ryan said the group needs money but needs volunteers just as much.
CW COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR HAMILTON LEAVES
Crow Wing County Administrator David Hamilton has accepted a similar position in Hernando County Florida, the county that includes Tampa and he'd like to start his new job as soon as possible. Hamilton said he’s looking forward to moving south and will ask the county commissioners to let him out of the 60-day notice provision of his contract. Hamilton said when someone has accepted a new job, its best for the organization to let him finish up projects he's been working on and move on, clearing the way for his replacement. Hamilton said his stay in Crow Wing County has been positive and rewarding but its time to move on. He said he and his wife travelled to Hermando County four years ago and fell in love with the area.
Central Lakes College Theatre will stage the play "Love Letters" Saturday night, February 9th. Director Patrick Spradlin said the play became somewhat famous during the 1990s in the Lakes Area when it was done a number of times by CLC instructors Coral Stein and Joe Plut. Spradlin said the play is primarily two people reading notes and letters they sent to each other from kindergarten into middle age. Director Spradlin and Donna Salli will perform the play one night only at 7:30pm in the Chalberg Theater. Tickets available at the door are $10, $8 for senior citizens.
The Walker-Hackensack-Akely School District will try to convince voters to approve a levy increase next Tuesday. The district placed a levy referndum before voters in December but it failed by 18 votes. Superintendent Wallace Schoeb said this levy request is for less money over less time and there will be only one question on the ballot instead of two. If this attempt passes, it would raise an additional $550 per pupil or roughly $593,000 each year net for eight years. A voter whose home was valued at $150,000 would see an increase of $97 per year. School district voters will cast their ballots in Onigum, Hackensack, Akeley and at Walker High School on Tuesday, February 12th from 10am to 8pm. To find out how much your property taxes would rise, go to the school's web site www.wha.k12.mn.us, click on the button marked "Operating Levy Info" and look for the Tax Impact Calculator.
PIETA BROWN PLAYS NISSWA
Folk singer Pieta Brown opens the 2008 Grassroots Concert series this Friday. Brown said she was raised in a bare-bones Bohemian setting in Iowa where there was no electricity or running water at home. But she had music. Brown's father is two-time Grammy nominee and folk singer Greg Brown. Pieta Brown's concert begins at 7:30pm Friday night at the Nisswa Community Center. Doors open at 6:30pm. Tickets at the door, $15 for adults, $10 for children under 12.
BUS DRIVER KILLED
53-year old John Wood of Princeton died Monday afternoon when the school bus he was driving was struck head on. Morrison County Sheriff Michel Wetzel said Wood was driving on Sage Road in Hillman when a car driven by 17-year old Katie Fenna of Hillman crossed the center line and struck the bus. Fenna was listed in fair condition at St. Cloud Hospital Tuesday.
SCAMS AGAINST ELDERLY CONTINUE
Telephone and Internet scammers are still trying to separate people from their money. Crow Wing County Sheriff Todd Dahl said people have to be more skeptical and less trusting. Dahl said if an offer from a friendly stranger sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Sheriff Dahl said many of these scams are targeting senior citizens who were raised in a kindler, gentler more trusting era. He said they too have to toughen up and ask for more information. Dahl said if you've been contacted by someone with an offer that seems like a scam, call the county sheriff's office and pass on your information.
OBAMA, ROMNEY WIN IN CROW WING COUNTY
1002 Crow Wing County Democrats and 647 Republicans voted in Minnesota's first ever Super Tuesday Caucuses. Democrats favored Brack Obama for President of the United States over Hillary Clinton, 615 to 376. Republicans preferred Mitt Romney Over Mike Huckabee and John McCain. Romney received 242 county Republican votes, 194 for Huckabee, 149 for McCain. The Super Tuesday Minnesota Caucus was held a month earlier than normal. Democrat rules require delegates who go to the national convention to vote in the same percentage as last night's results. Republican caucus votes do not.
MN HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER STUMPS FOR OBAMA
Minnesota House Majority Leader Tony Sertich said he's behind the Barack Obama candidacy for President of the United States. Sertich said of all the candidates no matter which party, Senator Obama stands the best chance of re-uniting the country. Sertich is encouraging everyone he knows to go to the precinct caucuses and cast a vote. The House leader said moving the precinct caucus date up and making the straw poll result for Democrats binding on delegates were good changes. He said he believes the moves will energize his party and serve to get more people involved in grassroots politics.
HEALTH CONFERENCE AT INITIATIVE FOUNDATION
The central-Minnesota think tank and grant forwarding organization Initiative Foundation will host a conference on health next month. Communications Director Matt Killian said the conference will encompass a number of different health topics primarily as they concern community building. The community health conference called Minnesota Oomph! will be held on the 6th of March in the St. Cloud Civic Center. Get more information at www.ifound.org.
MINNESOTA PRECINCT CAUCUSES TONIGHT
It's Super Tuesday night in Minnesota when voters in two dozen states have their say in the Presidential candidate selection process. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie expects a strong turnout at Republican, Democrat and Independence Party caucuses. Ritchie expects 100,000 Minnesotans to show up for the meetings. Registration begins at 6:30pm and the formal meeting starts at 7pm. Ritchie said Minnesota is the 8th largest state in the Super Tuesday events and he's been fielding calls from national media reporters to find out how soon we're going to report our straw poll results. Crow Wing County Republicans will caucus at four locations, in the Central Lakes College cafeteria, Nisswa Elementary, Crosby-Ironton High School and the Crosslake Community Center. Democrats will meet at Brainerd High School. Independence Party members will meet at the Sawmill Inn in Brainerd. Green Party members will meet next month. Any citizen who will be 18 by November 4th is eligible to attend and vote in the caucus.
LITTLE MISS NISSWA
Pequot Lakes Senior Sammy Mraz will have help in the parades and public appearances she'll go to this year. Nisswa Elementary second grader Sophia Winter was crowned Little Miss Nisswa in the recent pageant. Sophia said she has fond memories of being picked from the field of 18 contestants. She said she likes music, Hannah Montana, swimming, reading, and writing stories about dogs. Sophia's family includes two sisters, one brother and Simon the family dog. Little Miss Nisswa 2008 is the daughter of Todd and Michelle Winter of Brainerd.
BOVINE TB DISCOVERED IN 10th Herd
The Minnesota Board of Animal Health said that bovine TB was detected in another herd of cattle in Roseau County. The newly detected beef herd was tested because it was close to another that had tested positive in 2005. Animals in the latest infected herd were also tested in 2005 and 2006 and no TB was found. Two of the animals tested positive for bovine TB last year. State Veterinarian Bill Hartman said if one more diseased Minnesota herd was found, the stat's TB status could be downgraded, changing and possibly restricting Minnesota cattle's import and export status. Humans are normally not affected by bovine TB through either meet or milk supply and adequate cooking destroys the bacteria.
Mike Cerisi Ready For Super Tuesday Caucus
Minneapolis lawyer Mike Cerisi said he's ready and eager for the Minnesota precinct caucuses and Super Tuesday. Cerisi is running against Democrats Al Franken and Jack Nelson-Palmeyer in a primary. The winner faces incumbent US Senator Norm Coleman. Cerisi said part of his message is to let people know he's not a one-dimensional guy whose only claim to fame is winning a large settlement against major tobacco companies. Cerisi said he knows what its like to start a business, hire employees, make sure they get affordable health insurance. Cerisi said he's also gotten public sector experience by serving on community boards and committees and has given back to his state as a philanthropist.
MISS NISSWA PAGEANT CROWNS SAMMY MRAZ
Pequot Lakes High School Senior Sammy Mraz was crowned the 2008 Miss Nisswa at the 36th annual scholarship pageant last weekend. Mraz said she was very surprised and is now very excited to represent Nisswa the best she can. Sammy said she was looking forward to the parades this spring, summer and fall, the Minneapolis Aquitennial, and going to college next fall. She's attending the University of Minnesota as a pre-med major intending to become a pediatrician someday. Sammy lives with the parents Christy and Monty Mraz in Nisswa.
MINNESOTA SUPER TUESDAY AND EXOTIC SPECIES
A group of Great Lakes state lawmakers want Super Tuesday voters to consider federal legislation that could reduce exotic species in the future as well as prevent water diversion away from the area. Minnesota lawmaker Ann Rest said she wants Presidential candidates to know about the legislation and get behind it. The federal legislation could require ocean-going ships to clean out ballast tanks before they enter the Great Lakes. And any water diversion projects would have to benefit the immediate area around the Great Lakes.
FORMER MINNESOTA GOVERNOR QUIE ON IMPARTIAL COURTS
Former Minnesota Governor Al Quie is part of a group that wants to introduce a consitutional amendment during this legislative session. The amendment would require Minnesota judges to be appointed by the governor based on recommendations from a review panel. Quie said voters would approve judges by a yes or no vote in election years. The former governor said this system would take steps toward keeping politics out of Minnesota's judicial system. If Minnesota lawmakers approve suggested bills, voters could decide the constitutional amendment issue this fall.