Friday, May 16, 2008

Safe Boating Week

National Safe Boating Week begins on Saturday, May 17th. Boating industry spokeswoman Carol Clark said acting responsibly is the best way to stay safe on the water this summer. Clark recommends if alcoholic beverages are a part of the merriment, be sure to use a designated skipper. She said 85% of boaters agreed with her about designated skippers in a survey they took last year.

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Purses For Partners

Tickets are now on sale for a special Kinship Partners fundraiser. Spokeswoman Jean Kraft said this is the first year for the event for those looking for a fashion accessory and want to help Kinship Partners as well. Kraft said purses will go to highest bidder. Some of them will be designer purses. She said she knows of at least two Coco Chanel items and the white shoulder bag use by Jennifer Lopez in the movie El Cantante. The bag comes with original property department tag and certificate of authenticity. The Purses for Partners fundraiser will be Saturday, May 31st at Breezy Point Resort. Tickets are $25 and you can reserve yours by calling either Brainerd or Pequot Lakes Kinship Partner office (218-829-4606, 218-568-4015) or by going online to

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Brainerd Music Download Case Development

The Brainerd woman ordered to pay nearly a quarter million dollars for illegally downloading music may get another trial. Or the case could be dismissed. District Court Judge Michael J. Davis said Thursday he may have been wrong telling the jury in Jammie Thomas' case that recording industry attorneys didn't have to prove anyone actually got the music she put up on a web site. Davis said he found an appeals decision that copyright infringement didn't occur if someone didn't receive copies. Attorneys will meet in a Duluth court room on July 1st. Thomas' attorney Brian Toder told the Dispatch he is very willing to retry the case.

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Crosby Ironton Community Tribute Sunday

The Heartland Performing Arts Center will host a fundraising day this weekend to raise money for the Crosby Ironton music department. CI music instructor Rich Aulie said the day will include a variety of activies including musical tributes to area businesses in song, dance, skit, cheerleading, gymnastics and band. The event runs from 11am until 5:30pm Sunday, May 18th at the Crosby-Ironton High School. Cost is $5 for adults and $3 for students.

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Court Grants Motion Against Theater Night Smoking

Scott County District Court Judge Jerome Abrams granted a temporary injunction stopping an Elko bar from allowing smoking as part of their theater nights. The Bullseye Saloon had been taking advantage of a loophole in the smoking ban law which allowed actors in a play to smoke on stage. Attorneys from the Minnesota Attorney General's office told Judge Abrams earlier this month that theater nights were an attempt to get around the law. Attorneys will ask the judge next month to make the injunction permanent. Elko is a town of 472 people south of Minneapolis.

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Paul Bunyan Trail Arthritis Walk

About 200 people will take a hike on the Paul Bunyan Trail Saturday morning on the Northern Lakes Arthritis Walk. The walk raises awareness and money for research, health education and governmental advocacy. Registration begins at 9:30am and the walk begins at 10am at the Baxter Trailhead.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Koering Calls For Smaller Government, State and Local

Fort Ripley State Senator Paul Koering is hopeful that lawmakers and Governor Pawlenty will reach an agreement on how to cut the state budget by $935-Million. But Koering said the continuing problem is still the growth of government, both large and small. Koering said the state budget 8 years ago was $26-Billion. This biennium's is $34-Billion, a rate of increase Minnesota taxpayers can't afford.

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Emily Citizens Sue City

Crow Wing County Judge David ten Eyck heard arguments yesterday about the future of a lake home development on Roosevelt Lake. The Emily City Council agreed on Monday to drop demands for an environmental impact statement on the Northern Lights on Roosevelt Lake project after Minneapolis developer City Lakes Investment Group agreed to drop its lawsuit and reduce the size of the project from 48 to 42 housing lots. Two Emily citizens asked the court Wednesday for a temporary restraining order. The attorney for the city said the agreement should be approved. The judge will decide in two or three weeks.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

National Law Enforcement Officer Week

Law enforcement officers who were killed in the line of duty will be remembered this week, at a special ceremony in Washington, D.C. and at a candle-light vigil in St. Paul. Minnesota State Patrol Sergeant Curt Mowers said these are men made the ultimate sacrifice. Mowers said families of fallen officers will be honored in a ceremony in our nation's capitol.

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Brainerd Lawmaker Believes Balanced Budget Will Happen

There are six days left in this Minnesota legislative session and the constitution requires the state balance its budget before the end of the fiscal year. Lawmakers are trying to come to agreement with Governor Pawlenty about how to reduce spending by the amount officials expect tax income to be short. Brainerd lawmaker John Ward said he's still optimistic that an agreement can be reached in time. If lawmakers are not able to come to agreement, Governor Pawlenty can un-allot the amount that needs to be cut on his own, reducing budgets where need be. A sticking point in budget negotiations has been the Governor's insistance on a property tax cap to reduce future increases.

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House/Senate Approve Health Care Reform

The Minnesota legislative conference committee on health care reform approved a report Monday night. Many believe the bill will be vetoed. The bill would increase the number of people on the state's subsidized health care program, MinnesotaCare by raising federal poverty guidelines and create health care homes to help patients make decisions about treatment. The bill would also attempt to reduce the number of Minnesotans who are obese or overweight and reduce the use of tobacco. St. Cloud lawmaker Steve Gottwalt said he doesn't see how the bill would save money and we're putting more people on public health coverage than we can afford.

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New Traffic Signal At County Road 16

Anderson Brothers Construction crews will begin installing a new traffic signal at the intersection of Highway 371 and County Road 16 north of Pequot Lakes on Monday. Work includes widening the intersection and installing overhead lighting. Drivers may encounter occasional shoulder and lane closures until the work is done in mid-June. The project will cost $373,000.

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Legislative Session Nears End

There are six days left for the 2008 Minnesota Legislative Session to meet. House Majority Leader Tony Sertich said lawmakers are working hard and expect to put in long hours this week. Sertich said the focus is to balance the budget and to pass bills on education and health care. The final day of this session, by constitional mandate, will be Monday, May 19th.

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Budget Talks Continue

Governor Pawlenty and legislative leaders met for about 45 minutes Monday night around Midnight but came to no final solution to trim the state budget. Officials expect to meet again on Tuesday near the middle of the day after the Governor returns from Thief River Falls. That northwestern city is today's honorary state capitol, part of Minnesota's sesquicentennial celebration.

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Emily Council Agrees To Settle Lawsuit

The Emily City Council voted Monday to settle a lawsuit filed by the developer of a building project on Roosevelt Lake. The council ordered an environmental impact statement for the Northern Lights Over Roosevelt Lake development in January and City Lakes Investment Group filed suit in protest. All five Emily council members voted Monday to drop the environmental impact statement demand when the developer agreed to scale back the development. Attorney John Erickson told the council Monday he had filed for a temporary restraining order on the decision. Judge David ten Eyck will hear arguments on the matter tomorrow in Crow Wing County Court.

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Pine River Man Convicted of Murder

Jurors took an hour and fifteen minutes to find 20-year old Matthew Michael Martin guilty of stabbing and shooting 15-year old Mollie Rice of Backus last August. Cass County jurors heard testimony for five days last week and closing arguments on Monday. Judge John P. Smith immediately sentenced Martin to life in prison without parole. County Attorney Christopher Strandlie told the Brainerd Dispatch this was the outcome he and the Rice family had hoped for.

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Pontoon Stolen

Todd County lake home owner Richard Schultz told Todd County Sheriff Peter Mikkelson over the weekend that someone had stolen his 24' aluminum pontoon. Schultz said the pontoon had been stored on blocks near the access of the Saukinac Campground and had been taken sometime between late October and late December last year. The pontoon is a red and white Weeres Sportsman with a 50 horsepower Mecury outboard. If you have information about the stolen pontoon, call the Todd County Sheriff's office.

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Brainerd Rotary Hosts Fourth Annual Children Grief Camp

The Brainerd Rotary will hold the fourth annual Grief Camp this weekend at Camp Confidence Learning Center. Spokesman Joe Brenny said the camp helps children and young adults cope with the loss of a loved one. Brenny said the camp runs through the weekend, Friday night through Sunday afternoon. There is a refundable $25 deposit to attend the camp. To register or get more information, call Camp Confidence Learning at 218-828-2344.

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Emily Council Meets About Environmental Impact Statement

The Emily City Council met Monday morning in special session to discuss their being sued by the developer of the Northern Lights over Roosevelt project. The council voted in January to require an environmental impact statement. The developer is challenging that decision. The special session was closed for attorney-client discussion of the suit but allowed public discussion of the action afterward. Attorney John Erickson said he intended to represent his client at the hearing and challenge what he understood was a settlement of the suit as ordered by the District Court. Erickson said his client has not been allowed a part of the discussion, a violation of law and court procedures. A District Court hearing on the suit is scheduled for Wednesday.

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A Safe and Responsible Fishing Opener

Crow Wing County Sheriff Todd Dahl said this year's fishing opener was busy but safe. Dahl said to his knowledge, there were no traffic crashes or boat accidents and no loss of life. Dahl said this was not the warmest and sunniest of fishing openers but it could rank up there as one of the safest.

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Child Seat Safety Clinic Wednesday

The Crow Wing County Passenger Safety Coalition is holding a child seat clinic this Wednesday at Mills GM in Baxter. Minnesota State Patrol Sergeant Curt Mower said you have to call and reserve a spot for this clinic. Mower said those attending the clinic will learn how to install child seats and specialists will check to see if the seats are safe and if there are any recalls. Call the Crow Wing County Health Department at 218-824-1097 to reserve your spot for the clinic Wednesday afternoon from 3-6pm.

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Pequot Lakes Concerned Citizens Meeting Tuesday Night

The Pequot Lakes City Council will meet Tuesday night in the high school cafeteria and hear grievances from members of the Coalition of Concerned Citizens. Organizer Jack Schmidt said this will be a special meeting with the council and an opportunity for citizen's to express themselves about law enforcement and public safety. Schmidt said he hopes lots of citizens will show up, if nothing else to see that the Coalition is not just a bunch of trouble-makers but voters with serious complaints. Schmidt said he expects 140 people to show up for the meeting that starts at 6pm.

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DNR Questions Remain

Leaders of a Minnesota House/Senate panel say they still have more questions than answers after a two-hour hearing about a national game warden conference that got state DNR money. The conference was not well-attended but still made money partly because the Minnesota DNR's Enforcement Division used $196,000 in state money and $187,000 in staff salaries for the event. Commissioner Mark Holsten said the allegations are serious and could result in people being fired. The DNR has hired an outside investigator. The legislative auditor is conducting his own investigation.

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State Budget Deal Close

State lawmakers and Governor Pawlenty met yesterday for a couple of hours but still no final agreement. House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher said a final deal is close at hand. Governor Pawlenty continues to insist on a property tax cap as part of the budget deal. Pawlenty has suggested he'll continue to oppose the Minneapolis/St. Paul central corridor light rail project unless the final agreement includes property tax restrictions. The official final day of the session is next Monday.

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