Safe and Sober in the Brainerd Lakes Area
Local law will keep a keen eye out for drunks through July. Sergent Curt Mowers, of the Brainerd State Patrol, says Operation Safe & Sober will focus on young drivers and motorcyclists. Between 2004 and 2006, there were at least 18 alcohol related traffic deaths in Crow Wing County alone.
In addition to the State Patrol, the following law enforcement agencies will be participating: Crow Wing County Sheriff, Brainerd, Baxter, Nisswa, Breezy Point, Pequot Lakes, Crosslake, Crosby, Cuyuna and Deerwood.
The effort is funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Summerfest Medallion Found
The Pine River Summerfest medallion has been found. Jill Fey of Pine River found the prise at the Blue Grass Festival Stage, on the Pine River Fair grounds, late Thursday. Pine River Chamber of Commerce Executive Director John Wetrosky says, the super sleuth gets a $100 chamber gift certificate for her efforts. He tells KLKS, a lot of folks have been looking for it since June 16Th.
The medalion hunt is part of Pine River Summerfest, which has activities through Sunday, June 29Th, including a Saturday afternoon parade at 1 pm.
Wheeler Dies in a 20 Shot Barrage
An autopsy conducted by the Ramsey County Medical Examiner indicates, a Morrison County man died in a hail of bullets. Lawmen tripped off 20 rounds when 60-year-old Gordon Wheeler SR. wheeled around and pointed his gun at them. Authorities say he was holding the County Commissioners hostage at the end of their regular meeting this week. The Minnesota Bureau of Apprehension states that Wheeler was ordered to lay down his weapon. Gunfire erupted when he pointed his guns at the lawmen. Wheeler died at a local hospital after being struck by seven of those rounds.
Hwy 371 Improvement Project Delayed
Don't expect easy cruising on Highway 371 north of Nisswa anytime soon. The Minnesota Department of Transportation has pushed the highway expansion and improvement project to 2018 at the earliest. The problem is money. The state agency says the project is "Over funded" by $4.5 million.
Diesel Fuel Thefts in Royalton
Authorities report the theft of about 700 gallons of diesel fuel from Royalton. Higher prices have made the trucker's fuel a tempting target for thieves. About 500 gallons were lifted from Sand's Repair and Chrome Shop and another 200 gallons from Helena Chemical Company. The total loss is estimated at $3,200. Lawmen don't know if the thefts are related to similar crimes in surrounding areas. Businesses are now looking for anti-siphon filters and locking gas caps.
Cass Lake Woman Wins Young Native Writers Award
A Cass Lake woman was recognized by Minnesota Congressman Jim Oberstar for first place in the Young Native Writers Essay Contest in Washington, D.C.
Simone Greenleaf won for the essay," A Grandmother's Story: Surviving Adversity," tells the story of her 92 year old grandmother’s life experiences.
Congressman Oberstar said he was not surprised see that she is bound for Dartmouth College.
The Young Native Writers Essay Contest is sponsored by the Holland and Knight Charitable Foundation in conjunction with the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian.
Man Shot by Officers in Morrison County
Gordon Wheeler, Sr.--owner of adult businesses, is dead following a stand-off with police. The 60-year-old Wheeler brandished a gun around 10 o'clock Tuesday morning during the regular meeting of the Morrison county Commissioners at the Morrison County Government Center in downtown Little Falls. The hostage stand-off ended with the Little Falls man being shot and fatally injured by law enforcement officers. No one else was injured in the incident. Little Falls' Mayor Cathy Vanrisseghem explained that her role, right now, is to be a spokesperson for the town, and field any media calls that may come in. She confirmed that it appeared that Wheeler acted alone. Wheeler's motive was unclear, although it is known that he feuded with the county board a number of times regarding zoning--and liquor licenses. Wheeler's businesses have since been closed. Wheeler had sued the county and several of the county officials, accusing them of corruption. The last of the lawsuits was dismissed by a judge this year. State Patrol Trooper Kaj Meinhardt and Morrison County Sheriff's Lieutenant Bruce Mose are on administrative leave, per standard procedure. The Morrison County Sheriff's Office reported today that the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is expected in Little Falls today, and that further information would be available later today. Wheeler's funeral arrangements are pending with Emblom-Brenny Funeral Service of Little Falls.
"Critical Peak Alert" in effect Today!
Char Kinzer, spokesperson for Crow Wing Power, explained that a "Critical Peak Alert" means that they are anticipating a lot of electrical energy will be used today. Their wholesale power supplier, Great River Energy, expects to have to go out onto the grid and purchase power, which will cost two- to three-times more than the normal rate. Kinzer said that the electical power that you purchase during those peak times will reflect those increased prices. Her best suggestion is that users turn up the temperature on their air conditioning, and delay any significant electrial usage until after 10 o'clock on days when such alerts are in effect. Other tips including running your dishwasher/clothes washer/dryer until after the Critical Peak Alert is no longer in effect.
ATV Trail for Crow Wing County Re-examined
The Crow Wing County Board has approved the study and review of the feasibility of an ATV trail in Crow Wing County between Brainerd and Emily. An ATV trail project proposal will be prepared and submitted to the DNR through the "Trails Assistance Program" for review and funding consideration. District Five County Commissioner, Doug Houge, says that this is only a first step. He knows these things take awhile, but that the concept of a trail is a good one. He understands the point of view that ATV trails can be a bit of an economic boon, but wants to make sure that the trail runs in a place best suited to all parties concerned. The larger picture is to have the proposed trail connect to a larger web of a trail system further to the north of the county.
Pequot Lakes-Breezy Point 4th of July
The theme of the Breezy Point-Pequot Lakes Stars & Stripes Days Thursday, July 3 and Friday, July 4 is: Celebrate America's freedom.
The festivities begin with the Fireman's Rodeo on July 3 at Trailside Park. There will be carnival games, Bobber Bowling and entertainment with The START Band and Blues Brothers. The day's highlight will be a grand display of fireworks from the football field beginning at dusk.
4Th of July activities begin in the morning with the Pequot Lakes Fire Department's Pancake Breakfast from 7 to 11 a.m. Then comes The Stars & Stripes Parade beginning at 11 a.m. Preregistration is required for all parade entries and is due by June 26TH. To register, visit www.pequotlakes.com.
Other fun events on the 4TH include a Flea Market, Baby Races, Money in the Haystack, a Kiddie Parade, and Bed Races.
Blinkie Buttons will be on sale July 1 through 4 for $5 each.
"Crappie Talk" Comes to Pequot Lakes
Pequot Lakes community theater hosts "Crappie Talk" July 9th through the 15th at the High School auditorium. "Crappie Talk" is a comedy with lots of Up North humor featuring quirky characters: Lars, Carl, Lena, Ole, Walter, Ruth, Sven and Sal Carducci, as they demonstrate how to live in Whitefish Bay.
Show times are 8 pm July 9th through the 12th and July 14th and 15th. General admission is $10, senior and youth is $8. For more information call (218) 568-9200.
McGregor Crash Kills Two
A Twin Cities man and his mother were killed in a two vehicle accident near McGregor Sunday. The victims have been identified as 57-year-old John Iverson and his 86-year-old mother Marilou Iverson of Plymouth. The State Patrol says a car driven by a 30-year-old Minneapolis man crossed the center line and struck the Iverson vehicle head-on. He was taken to a Duluth hospital in serious condition. The State Patrol continues its investigation.
Pillager Toddler Dies
A two-year-old Pillager Boy, who was pulled from a creek near his home last Wednesday, died Sunday at Children's Hospital at the University of Minnesota. Blair Hafften was found by his grand father, in a foot and a half of water in seven mile creek, after wandering away from home. He was revived at the scene and flown to St. Cloud Hospital, then on to the Twin Cities. Funeral services will be held Thursday at 11 am at Heritage Assembly of God Church in Baxter.
Bicycle Fatality in Isle
A 13-year-old Isle boy was struck and killed near Mille Lacks Lake Sunday. He has been identified as John Remer. The State Patrol reports he was attempting a u-turn on his bicycle when he was struck by a Chevrolet Suburban. Remember was pronounced dead at an area hospital. The Patrol continues its investigation of the mishap three miles east of Mille Lacs Lake
Stealing Boat Gasoline
Boaters who leave their crafts tied at the end of docks or on boat lifts risk having the gasoline stolen. Morrison County Sheriff Michael Wetzul says his office is receiving complaints of gas stolen from cans or siphoned from tanks. He recommends owners remove gas cans and lock tanks when they leave their boats for the night.
Gasoline Thieves Not a Big Problem Around Brainerd
We are not seeing too much by way of gasoline thefts from local service stations around the Brainerd Lakes Area, according to Crow Wing County Sheriff Todd Dahl.
He tells KLKS, "That's not to say it doesn't happen, but service station operators have kept good vigilence over the pumps. They are quick to report license plate numbers and direction of travel to police when it does happen."
The Sheriff says another result of high fuel prices is more motorcyles and bicycles on the roads. He says drivers need to keep an eye out for them, because they can blend into the surroundings.
Brainerd Area Lakes Still Cold
Crow Wing County Sheriff Todd Dahl says the water is still cold in Brainerd area lakes. He tells KLKS, it wasn't that long ago when it was just 51 degrees, and it will take a lot of warm sunny days to warm it. He says water enthusiasts will experience some shock if they just plunge in now. The sheriff suggests, "Those who find themselves in the water are not going to last long." He says it is important boaters wear life jackets to improve their chances.
Crosslake 4th of July
The City of Crosslake and the Brainerd Lakes Chamber are planning a spectacular 4th of July display.
The Crosslake Fireworks will fire away on Saturday, July 5 over Sand Island on the south end of Cross Lake. The chamber says the colors and lights over the water will "blow you away."
The show begins after dusk and can be best viewed from the bridge on County Road 16, the beach at the Army Corps of Engineers Park, and from the dam in Crosslake. Boaters will have the best vantage point.
The Crosslake Fireworks are sponsored by the Brainerd Lakes Chamber and the City of Crosslake.
Charges Against the Rassier's Crumble
Dan and Sherri Rassier of Palisade had been charged with sexually abusing their daughter. Authorities based the charges on a 40 page diary which alleged sexual and physical abuse. However, the woman struggles with metal illness and the diary was quickly discredited and the charges have crumbled, but not before it cost the Rassiers $100-thousand. They say the incident has divided the family, and feel that it could have been avoided had authorities done a more complete investigation at the start. Their daughter is now in adult foster care.
Brainerd Airport Grant
The Brainerd Airport will be able to operate more effectively in winter weather thanks to an FAA grant. The Federal Aviation Administration will award more than a half million dollars to the Brainerd airport. The funding will be used to purchase new snow removal and deicing equipment.
8th District Minnesota Congressman James Oberstar says, "This Investment will ensure that Brainerd's airport can keep moving goods and people."
Earlier this year, the FAA awarded the Brainerd airport $1.3 million to make a series of improvements to its runway, taxiway and terminal building.
Flood Damage Inspected by Klobuchar
Part of the flood-damaged areas in Minnesota were seen by U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, yesterday, as she visited farmers. Steve Kraushaar's farm was visited by Klobuchar. Kraushaar lost up to ten percent of his crop from the flood that occurred earlier this month.
Grandma's Marathon Winner!
Lamech Mokono of Kenya won Grandma's Marathon, yesterday. He completed the race in 2 hours, 13 minutes, 39 seconds. Mary Akor of Hawthorne, California won the women's division for the second year in a row with a time of 2 hours, 38 minutes, 52 seconds.
Twin Cities Shooting
An early morning shoting in the Twin Cities left one person dead and three others in the hospital. The shooting happened before 3 o'clock this morning at the corner of Milton Street and Concordia Avenue. There have been no arrests.