Saturday, August 23, 2008

Gasoline Thefts in Morrison County

Area businesses in Morrison County are being warned by Sheriff Michel Wetzel to take steps to prevent their vehicles and property from gasoline theft. According to Wetzel, two businesses in Little Falls were the victims of either theft, or attempted theft, of gas. He says that thieves are siphoning gasoline out of large fleets of vehicles, or attempting to break-in to fuel-storage tanks. This warning also applies to farmsteads wtih gas storage tanks. Sheriff Wetzel urges area residents who notice any suspicious activity near fuel-storage facilities or fleet vehicles to contact law enforcement.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Bachman's Successor Named

Bachman's, Inc., family-owned florist and garden center out of the Twin Cities has a new CEO. Dale Bachman succeeds Todd Bachman, who was killed earlier this month in Beijing while attending the Olympics. Dale Bachman is Todd's second-cousin.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Highway 23/Mississippi River Bridge in St. Cloud To Be Demolished

Highway 23/Mississippi River Bridge in St. Cloud scheduled for demolition
ST. CLOUD, Minn. - The Highway 23/Mississippi River bridge in St. Cloud is scheduled for demolition beginning Monday, Aug. 25. Crews will install security fences, construct river access on the southeast side of the river and remove the railing and lighting off the deck. The existing bridge deck will be removed, by sections, which should take about two months. At 7 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 25, Riverside Avenue will close to traffic at the bridge. Motorists should follow signed detour. Bikers and pedestrians will no longer be allowed to access or cross the bridge. For safety reasons, the bike and pedestrian paths on both sides of the bridge are also closed during this work. A signed detour route will be provided. Bridge work will continue during the winter months. Crews expect to have substructure piers in place by May 2009 to begin placement of steel truss beams. The bridge will be opened to four lanes of traffic by November 2009 and be completed by June 2010. Westbound Highway 23 traffic is detoured onto Lincoln Avenue, St. Germain Street and Fourth Avenue. Eastbound Highway 23 traffic should follow the signed detour on Fourth Avenue, St. Germain Street and Wilson Avenue. Semitrailer drivers are encouraged to continue to use a signed truck route around St. Cloud to alleviate local congestion. The route is via Highway 15, Benton County Road 29 and Highway 10. Boat traffic will be maintained during this project. For safety reasons, river navigation at the bridge may be closed for short periods of time during demolition. Motorists are also asked to slow down and watch for trucks hauling materials away from the bridge.

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Breezy Point Community Fest This Saturday

The Third Annual Breezy Point Community Fest is happening this Saturday, the 23rd on the grounds of the Breezy Point City Hall. Mayor Joanne Weaver told K-Lakes' News that the purpose of the event is to get neighbors together--both to say, "Hello!" to the new, and visit with the old. She mentioned that children are the focus of the event, with crafts, face- and finger-painting, and games. There'll be free food, and door prizes. You'll also have the opportunity to soak local celebrities in the Dunk Tank. The event runs from 1pm-4pm.

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Hackensack's Northwoods Art Festival This Saturday

The Northwoods Art Festival and Book Fair is happening this Saturday, the 23rd, in Hackensack, running from 10am-4pm. Event Organizer, Sharon Peterson, told K-Lakes' News there will be many activities, including art demonstrations, a mini-concert by the UCC Church Bell Choir, and a local poets recognition. Over 70 vendors will be in Hackensack, including 20 in the Community Building and over 50 outside--with Lake Street being blocked off for the event. There will be 18 authors in the UCC Church. Music and food, including Kettlecorn and Maui Waui's, will be available. For more information, 218-675-5200.

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Minnesota's Air Quality Meets Standards

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the entire state of Minnesota meets the new, health-based outdoor air-quality standard for soot (fine particles). The news was announced on Tuesday in letters to governors of all states in Region 5, which includes Minnesota.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Patriot Sports and Central Lakes Hockey Fund-Raiser

Next Tuesday, the 26th, there will be a golfing fund-raiser for Patriot Sports and Central Lakes Hockey at Deacon's Lodge in Breezy Point. Golfing Professional and Event Organizer, Jim McElhaney, told K-Lakes' News that it's going to be a fun event for a great cause. It will be a four-person scramble with a shot-gun start. The event includes golf and a cart, and dinner at Postello's. Cost is $125./person. The dinner is open to the public with reservations required for $25./person. With the golfing, there will be door prizes--and the first hole-in-one on the 17th hole will win a new car from Pine River GM. Deadline for team registration is Saturday the 23rd. For more information or registration, call 218-562-6262.

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Uldrich Supports Missiles in Poland

Despite Russia's threats, Minnesota Senate Independence candidate Jack Uldrich, says it was a good idea to place defensive missiles in Poland. Uldrich, a former civilian advisor to the Pentagon, tells KLKS News, it is strategically important for the U.S. work with eastern European allies, particularly after recent events in Georgia. Uldrich, in a campaign swing through the Brainerd Lakes Area, says off-shore drilling is a bad idea, even though two thirds of those asked support it. He says it is a short term solution that will have little effect on prices, and urges continued efforts toward alternative fuels.

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DNR Worries about Feral Pigs

A European Boar has been spotted in the wild near Detroit Lakes. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wants to locate the animal quickly before it has a chance to breed with farm pigs. Non Game Specialist Pam Perry tells KLKS News, other states have suffered from feral pigs. She says they can cause damage to native vegetation and they can be aggressive toward people.
Wisconsin has feral pigs, and sportsmen are asked to shoot them on sight.

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Highway 27 Open Again

The detour has been lifted on Highway 27 from Morrison County Highway 43 in east Little Falls to Highway 25 in Pierz. The Minnesota Department of Transportation said the detour was necessary to replace culverts.
Work will continue on this segment as crews pave a new blacktop road surface, including shoulders and added turn-lanes.
Motorists should plan for delays, reduced speeds and lane closures with short periodic stops in the work zone. A pilot car and flaggers will control traffic.
Other segments to be paved:
Highway 27 east of Ninth Street in Long Prairie to east of Highway 238 west of Little Falls
Highway 25 just north of the Skunk River to junction Highway 27 south of Pierz
Knife River Corporation of Sauk Rapids is the prime contractor for the $5.3 million pavement improvement project, which began in mid-July and is planned to be completed by early October.

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Pequot Students Show Good Test Results

The former Superintendent of the Pequot Lakes School District says sometimes it's the test. Jim Oraskovich was referring to the latest results from the Minnesota Department of Education, which says many students fell short in science exams. He tells KLKS News, there has to be accountability through testing. However, the former educator says Minnesotans can feel good that we were tops in the A.C.T. tests. And, he says Pequot Lakes did well in the science tests.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Brainerd Man Dies After Assault

A 39-year-old Brainerd man, Chad Campbell, who was injured in an assault on August 14th, died Tuesday afternoon around 12:30 at St. Cloud Hospital. An autopsy will be performed to determine the manner and cause of his death. A 25-year-old Brainerd man, Bradley Lewis, has been in custody since his arrest on the 14th of this month. He allegedly struck Campbell in the head outside a bar in downtown Brainerd. Brainerd police found Campbell unconscious minutes after the assault--later that same day, Lewis was arrested. Last week, he was charged with first degree assault in Crow Wing County District Court. Police will meet with Crow Wing County Attorney, Don Ryan, tomorrow to discuss amending the criminal complaint against Lewis to a more serious charge. The incident is still under investigation.

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Tour of Colors Bicycle Ride

Bicyclers in the lakes area have another tour to add to their calendar. The inaugural ride of the Tour of Colors Bicycle Ride is scheduled for Saturday, September 20th, in the Pequot Lakes area. Organizer Jim Oraskovich tells KLKS News, it will be family friendly. It will feature a 24 or 40 mile ride between Pequot Lakes and Manhattan Beach, during the peak fall colors. Oraskovich says the proceeds of the event will benefit the Patriot foundation of the Pequot Lakes Schools. Information is available at the Pequot Lakes Chamber of Commerce.

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Highway Speeds Remain Down

The State Patrol says speed has been down on state highways, as motorists conserve expensive fuel. Sergent Curt Mowers of the Brainerd office says, despite recent declines in the price of gas, speed remains down. He says they are in the middle of the HEAT project (Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic). And, he says, other than the occasional zoomer, they are having difficulty finding speeders. Another benefit of reduced speeds, has been fewer fatalities.

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Coleman Campaign Comes to Brainerd

Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman is making a campaign swing through the Brainerd Lakes area this morning. His campaign says he will be pushing his views on energy and the economy. He was scheduled to appear in Walker at 9:45 am at the Outdoorsman Cafe. And at 11:45 am, he was scheduled to meet-and-greet at the Front Street Cafe in Brainerd. Republican Coleman is seeking reelection against DFL challenger Al Frankin.

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Last Suspect Caught in Quickbear Beating

Police have the last suspect in custody in connection with a severe beating of a Brainerd man last month. 31-year-old Cord Thomas Robinson was arrested in Hennepin County, where he was wanted on an assault charge. 36-year-old Cameron Quickbear of Brainerd was beaten July 15th at a home on seventh Avenue Northeast in Brainerd.

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Excelsior Road Detour

Excelsior Road from Cypress Drive to Conservation Drive, in Baxter, will be closed from 7:00am - 7:00pm on Wednesday, August 20 and Thursday, August 21 for construction of the Paul Bunyan Trail Bridge. Truckers are advised, that during construction, the overhead clearance of the bridge is reduced to 14-feet.

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Crosby Ironton to Ask for More Student Aid

Financial troubles have not gone away during the summer for the Crosby-Ironton School District. The School Board, Monday night, voted to increase student aid by $595 per student, and another $100 dollars for maintenance expenses. Last year, voters turned down a similar request, requiring the school district to slash $750-thousand from the budget. The latest request will be placed on the November 4th ballot.

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CLC Sees an Enrollment Increase

Central Lakes College in Brainerd and Staples is experiencing a surge in enrollment with the start of the fall semester Aug. 25.
The two-year community and technical college is expecting a headcount of about 3,200, which is 16 percent above last year.
A number of adjunct faculty have been added to the instructional staff as courses and sections are added due to the increased enrollment.
Several summer enrollment events, called EZ Enrollment Days, have helped to boost CLC's growth. They featured a streamlined applications process for new students.
CLC has also undergone facility upgrades. Among the summer projects was relocation of two career education programs. Criminal Justice and Marine and Small Engine traded places in the west wing of the Brainerd campus.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Brainerd Lakes Citizen of the Year

The search is on for the Brainerd Lakes Citizen of the Year. Brainerd Community Action is accepting nominations through September first. Judges will be looking at volunteer work and length of service, offices held in organization, impact of contributions and letters of support from those who have benefited. Last year's winner was Karen Owens of Brainerd.
Community Action is also looking for the 2008 Youth Volunteer of the Year. The 2007 winner was Koreann Martin.
Nominations should be made to Brainerd Community Action, 213 South 5th Street, Brainerd, MN 56401.

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The Brainerd Chamber Hears about Workers Comp Reform

The Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, comes to town tomorrow to discuss workers’ compensation reform before a gathering of the Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce. Steve Sviggum is expected to review past efforts regarding workers’ compensation reform and the new bill that will be introduced in the 2009 Session.
Last year the reform bill failed. The event will be held Tuesday, August 19th, from 10 am to 11 am at the Northland Arboretum.

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Brainerd Business Leaders Talk Taxes

Brainerd Lakes area business leaders will get a chance to quiz State Senator Tom Bakk of the Minnesota Senate Tax Committee today.
The Tax Issues Meeting will take place at 4 p.m. in the lower level of the Northland Arboretum in Brainerd.
Senator Bakk will discuss tax reform issues. He says he will be looking for feedback from the local business community.

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Boy River Man in Fatal Accident with Wolf

A 62-year-old Boy River man was killed over the weekend, when his motorcycle struck a timber wolf. Robert Tellstrom was airlifted to a Duluth Hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival. The Cass County Sheriff's office says Tellstrom struck the animal about 9 am Friday. Passers-by discovered the accident and the wolf underneath the cycle.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pequot Lakes Chokecherry Festival

Blue skies and gentle breezes accompanied the first ever Chokecherry Festival in Pequot Lakes Saturday. The Trailside Park came alive with games for the whole family, crafters and food. The Lions "shishkabobbers" were a huge hit as volunteers struggled to keep up with demand. Thirteen entered the culinary contest, in which the prime ingredient was the tart chokecherry. Revelers proved they had ample lung power to propel the pit spitting contest. And, folks quickly took sides in the water wars contest, in which the mayors of Pequot Lakes and Breezy Point cascaded water balloons down on each other. Pequot Mayor Kathy Malecha and Lions President Laurie Dally estimated the crowd up to 25 hundred for the day long event.

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Klobuchar to Tour New 35W Bridge

Later today, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar is slated to tour the new 35W bridge, which is nearly completed. She'll be checking on the progess of the construction. The bridge collapsed just over a year ago killing 13, and injuring 145. Shortly after the collapse, more than $373 million in federal funds were allocated to pay for the costs of rescue and recovery, and rebuilding.

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