The Exchange Burns in Crosslake
The Exchange in Crosslake burned last night, and is presumed to be a total loss. Erick Lee of the Crosslake Police Department said that they received a call shortly after 3 o'clock this morning that the Exchange was on fire. Keith Anderson of the Crosslake Fire Department confirmed that his fire department, along with fire departments from Fifty Lakes, Ideal, Mission, Nisswa, and Pequot Lakes responded to the fire. The building was locked at the time, and there was no one in the building. There were no reports of personal injury. The fire is under investigation with the State Fire Marshall.
Minnesota Security Hospital Expecting Job Cuts
The Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter is expecting more than 50 security jobs to be cut due to a budget crunch. Some lawmakers are worried, because the hospital houses sex offenders and the mentally ill--its also near Gustavus Adolphus College.
New Jet by Cirrus
The plans for a new jet by Cirrus Design Corporation took a big step forward yesterday with a successful test flight of a prototype. The fork-tailed single-engine plane took a flight yesterday morning from Duluth International Airport. The flight lasted 48 minutes, and the plane came in for a smooth landing. Cirrus is known for their high-performance prop planes that come equipped with a signature full-frame parachute. Company co-founder and CEO Alan Klapmeiger says production of the jet is still several years away, but he hopes the prototype will be able to fly in an air show at the end of the month.
Drowning on Gull Lake
A man from Brainerd drowned after swimming with a group of people on Gull Lake. Divers from the Crow Wing County Sheriff's office recovered the body of the 20-year-old about an hour after he disappeared this afternoon. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The man's identity has not been released. An autopsy is scheduled.
Oberstar Opposes Sirius and XM Merger
Minnesota's 8th District Congressman, James Oberstar, along with four fellow Minnesota Democrats, say the merger of XM and Sirius Satellite Radio would create a ". . .national satellite radio monopoly to the detriment of the public interest." In a letter to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, they ask that the FCC set aside 25 percent of the total satellite spectrum for non-commerical, minority, and emergency services. The law-makers would also like HD Radio technology included in all new satellite receivers to promote competition.
Gasoline Prices Have Candidates at Odds
Minnesota Federal Senate Incumbent, Norm Coleman, and DFL Candidate Al Franken are at odds about how to combat the problem of increasing fuel prices. Coleman says fuel cost increases can only be slowed by mixing efforts, including more drilling off the coast, and supporting alternative fuel sources. Franken is looking for more investment in technology for renewable fuels, and is wanting congress to end tax breaks for oil companies.
Anti-War Activist Had Been Arrested--
An Anti-war Activist who had been arrested by mistake during last month's Obama rally in St. Paul says that an apology from the St. Paul Police Department is not enough. Mick Kelly, who was handing out leaflets that advertised an anti-war protest scheduled for the first day of the Republican National Convention coming later this year, is now suing for $75,000. in damages.
Pirating Music Files Trial Progress--
In Duluth, a Federal Judge is considering arguments about whether he should order a new trial for Jamie Thomas, of the Brainerd Lakes area, who's convicted of pirating music files. Attorneys on both sides of the first-ever file-sharing trial filed documents in U.S. District Court on Monday, arguing for and against the re-trial. In May, Judge Michael J. Davis issued an order indicating he may allow a re-trial of the case because he may have given incorrect instructions to the jury. Oral arguments are set for August 4th.
Campsites Are Likely Still Available!
Due to rising gas prices, more folks are staying closer to home. It's likely that Minnesota State Park campgrounds will be busier than usual, but DNR Parks and Rec Director, Courtland Nelson, says that up to 30% of the campsites in each state park are available on a first come basis. He mentioned that many of the state campgrounds offer family-friendly programs, which are usually free, but a state park vehicle permit is required. For program information, visit the state park page at www.mndnr.gov
Minnesota's 4th of July Capitol!
Nancy Cross, with Brainerd Community Action says that the Brainerd Lakes Area is Minnesota's 4th of July Capitol! She mentions that up-ward of 126,000 visitors are expected in our area this weekend--and they are WELCOME! Nancy mentioned several of the activites that are happening over the extended Independence Day weekend, including tonight's Battle of the Bands slated for Don Adamson Field running from 4 pm 'til 11 pm tonight. Tomorrow night there'll be "Gospel Night" at Heritage Assembly of God in Baxter, starting at 7 pm. Then there's the parade and fireworks happening on the 4th. For more information, call 829-5278.
Oberstar Wants Conditions on Sat-Rad Monopoly
Minnesota 8th District Congressman James Oberstar, along with four fellow Minnesota Democrats, say the merger of XM and Sirius Satellite Radio would create a "national satellite radio monopoly to the detriment of the public interest."
In a letter to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, they ask that the FCC set aside 25 percent of the total satellite spectrum for noncommercial, minority, and emergency services.
The lawmakers would also like HD Radio technology included in all new satellite receivers to promote competition.
Guthrie Theatre's "Little House on the Prairie" Selling Fast!
Ticket sales for the world premiere production of "Little House on the Prairie" are tearing up the ticket office at the Guthrie Theatre! Last Friday was the first day of sales for the show running August 15th-October 5th, and they'd already sold over 5400 tickets--a record for the Gutherie. Their previous record had been set in 2006 for Dickens' "A Christmas Carol".
Happy Dancing Turtle's Eco-Camp, 2008
It seems like everyone is mindful of the environment these days--Barb Hines, Events and Education Coordinator for Happy Dancing Turtle told us about their Eco-Camps, 2008, which are slated for August 4th-8th for students entering grades 3th-5th, and August 11th-15th for students entering grades 6th-8th. Besides field trips, there'll be experiments, projects, arts, crafts, and games! Snacks, trips, and supplies are included in the $50./student tuition--students are to bring their own lunch. These camps will be held at the Warehouse in Pine River. Deadline for registration is July 28th. Registration forms are available at many Pine River locations, including the Pine River Information Center and the Pine River Library, or by going on-line to www.happydancingturtle.org
4th of July Fireworks Held on the 3rd!
There just a TON of activities happening around the Lakes Area! Pequot Lakes is hosting their Stars and Stripes Days July 3rd-4th. Sue Galligan told us a taste of what's on tap: On Thursday, they have the Firemen's Rodeo at the Trailside Park, with Bobber Bowling after the rodeo. They'll have live music, as well as food vendors both at Trailside Park and at the football field, with fireworks starting at dusk. On Saturday, there'll be the Pequot Lakes Fire Department Pancake Breakfast--Baby Races, Money in the Haystack, a Kiddie Parade, with the Stars & Stripes Parade starting at 11 o'clock in the morning. Additional activies are on tap, including a Flea Market and Food Vendors at the Trailside Park all day long. Breezy Point and Pequot Lakes--THE Happenin' Place!
Brainerd Adds a Downtown Garden
Brainerd will be exchanging asphalt for asters.
The parking lot between the Blue Ox and Downtown Art & Frame will blossom into a garden on Thursday, July 3 beginning at 8:30 a.m.
The Brainerd Main Street Program is a community-based effort designed to revitalize Brainerd's Central Business District.
Donations from businesses and property owners covered the costs needed to complete the project.
Minnesota DNR Non-Game Wildlife Specialist Pam Perry says that the reason we're seeing more turtles on the roadway at this time of year is because the females are migrating to lay their eggs, then move back home. She mentions that turtles and their migratory habits have been around for millenia--that we've just happened to build roads that cross those paths. She also explained that turtles, and most reptiles, not only enjoy "sunning" themselves on logs and rocks--but that they physically need to--the sun warms them up, which speeds up their metabolism to make them more active in the summertime.
Standardized Test Results Show Improvement
Students performed a little better on Minnesota's Standardized Tests this year, but the list of struggling public schools is expected to worsen. The largest gain in the state was in 10th-Grade Reading, with a 9% increase in proficiency. Commissioner Alice Seagren of the Minnesota Department of Education says that although the state is making progress, it needs to do better. Test results are in the hands of the districts--but the public will have to wait until August to find out which schools will carry an "Underachiever" label und the federal "No Child Left Behind" law. For more information, go to www.education.state.mn.us
Nisswa Woman Home Safe--
On Sunday, Cass Counties authorities had forwarded a report that 71-year-old Marijan Nelson of Nisswa had been missing since Saturday afternoon. Per a phone-con and subsequent press release, the Cass County Sheriff's office reports that Nelson arrived at her Gull Lake area home late on Sunday night.
Nisswa Woman Reported as Missing
The Cass County Sheriff's Office reports that 71-year-old Marijan L. Nelson of Nisswa is listed as missing, per her family. She was reported missing around 9:45 Saturday evening. Her family said that their mother left the Twin Cities around noon on Saturday, heading for her residence near Gull Lake. Family members drove to the residence and reported that Marijan apparently had not arrived home. Nelson was last seen wearing a pink blouse, blue jeans, and a brown velvet jacket. She is believed to be driving a 2002 Mercury Mountaineer, silver in color, bearing Minnesota plate JYX546. Family members report that Nelson may be suffering from dementia. Anyone with information on Marijan's whereabouts should contact authorities.
Non-Profits are Struggling
Many rural Minnesota non-profit organizations are struggling, due to the pinch of the economy. The Beltrami County History Museum is operating in the red. According the the Dispatch, Ruth Sherman, who works with 40 non-profits says that the people looking for help has increased, while the pool of philanthropists is dwindling. Charitable giving is dramitically down, and money that had come from federal, state, and local governments has been reduced or eliminated. Many organizations are experiencing reduced volunteerism, due to the rising gas prices. It would seem that "Survival?" is the question.
Jobless Rates Down
Jobless numbers for Minnesota indicate a decrease from April's unemployment rate, but remain higher than they were last year, according the the Brainerd Dispatch. The unemployment rate for the state was 5% in May--not seasonally adjusted--while the nation-wide rate was 5.2%. The jobless rate for May was as follows: Aitkin County, 6%--Cass County, 5.6%--Crow Wing County, 4.9%--Mille Lacs County, 6.7%, Todd County, 4.6%--Wadena County, 5.8%.
Struck by Lightning!
Kent Lilyerd of Mora is recovering from being struck by lightning after he ran out into his yard during a storm to bring in his patio furniture. He's at Hennepin County Medical Center, where he was taken after the Friday night storm in Mora. Doctors say that is amazing he survived the incident.