Red River's Second Crest may be as Bad as the First
(AP) According to the National Weather Service, the second crest of the Red River in Fargo-Moorhead may be as bad as the first was. According to forecasters, there's a 75% chance that the second crest--expected in late-April--may reach or surpass 41 feet. That level is more than the record of 40.8' crest last week. The levees in the cities are built to 43 feet.
Snowmobile Trails Closed for the Season
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reminds snowmobilers that Grant-in-Aid snowmobile trails closed for the season on April 1. Riding these trails without the landowner's permission is now considered trespassing. The state is no longer grooming snowmobile trails this season.
The DNR urges snowmobilers to be careful if riding on the new snow that
fell this week throughout northern Minnesota.
Trees and branches that have fallen from the storm, and other trail
hazards are difficult to see under the snow so snowmobilers need to ride
with caution, says Les Ollila, DNR Northeast Region parks and trails
Governor Deer Opener in Thief River Falls
The seventh annual Minnesota Governor's Deer Hunting Opener will be held in the Thief River Falls area on November 6 and 7 th.
Governor Pawlenty says Thief River Falls provides an ideal setting for friends and families to come together and celebrate the long-held Minnesota tradition of deer hunting.
The event has raised thousands of dollars for wildlife habitat and conservation projects in Minnesota .
Minnesota's nearly half-a-million deer hunters spend $260 million in retail sales every year and create nearly 5300 jobs in Greater Minnesota, according to the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.
Next week marks Holy Week in the Christian religion, and Lord of Life Lutheran Church of Baxter will be presenting "The Centurion" next Monday through Wednesday, April 6th-8th. Steve Mau, who plays the Centurion, told KLKS that the play is presented from the perspective of the Centurion, who leads the detail that crucifies Jesus, and his gradual enlightenment that Jesus is the Son of God. Tickets are $7., and will be available at the door, with the presentation slated to start at 7 pm. For more information, call 218-828-9374, or go on-line to lolbaxter.org
Reservoir Lakes Prepare for Snow Melt
The snowmelt and run-off are expected to raise the levels in Pokegama Lake near Grand Rapids and Big Sandy near McGregor. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says they are ready to manage the additional water in the reservoir lakes.
The Corps says the levels could rise about a foot. The Mississippi River is expected to rise at the confluence of the Sandy River.
Blandin Seeks to Set Aside Forests
(AP) Forests in Cass and Aitkin counties would remain undeveloped and open to the public under a proposal from the Blandin Foundation. The foundation based in Grand Rapids would contribute $7 million to protect 292 square miles in six northern Minnesota counties.
The money would be combined with $40 million from the state to buy easements. Land would be open to hunting, public recreation and sustainable logging.
The state money still requires legislative approval.
Senator Olson Proposes Cost Savings for the Courts
The Senate's Judiciary Committee is considering a reform proposal from State Senator Mary Olson of Bemidji aimed at bringing down costs in the state's criminal justice
system. The proposal offered by the Bemidji DFL-er would expand the use of restorative justice programs in the state's court system.
Olson says restorative justice is a framework that engages offenders,
victims, and the community in repairing the harm caused by crime. And, it gives those most affected by crime options for participation in a variety of restorative practices that promote healing.
All Crow Wing Power Customers Should be Back On-Line by Dark
Crow Wing Power Spokesperson, Char Kinzer, told K-Lakes News just before 7 this evening that only a few customers remain without power, and those should be back on-line before night falls. Outages were weather-related. . .between heavy snow-fall and blowing winds. Reported outages had been running off and on all day, with as many as 1500 customers being without power at one point in time earlier today.
I-29 Re-Opened from Fargo to the South Dakota Border
(AP) Officials say that Interstate 29 re-opened this morning around 10 a.m. from Fargo to the South Dakota border. The Interstate had been closed over-night in the southeastern part of North Dakota due to blizzard conditions. At least on detour around an exit remained in effect due to water over the road.
Heavy Snow Could Weaken Young Trees
The April Fools snow storm has painted a landscape of heavy laden trees. Mark Mortenson, Program Forester for the Brainerd office of the DNR, tells KLKS News, young plantings could use a helping hand. He says trees up to 15 feet could be permanently affected by the weight, while the more mature trees should have little trouble.
Because the ground is still frozen under the snow pack, Mortenson expects most of the moisture to run-off into lakes and streams. He says precipitation is running above normal since the first of the year.
April Fools Day Computer Virus
The computer world is especially worried about April fools day this year. It's the day the so-called Conficker virus is said to invade millions of computers. It's already said to have attacked 5 to 10 million.
Mike Fynboh of Cascade Computers in Pequot Lakes tells KLKS News, computer operators need to have a good up-to-date antivirus program, as well as the latest updates from Microsoft Windows.
He says viruses can come from the most legitimate web sites.
Fynboh says he is always dealing with computer infections, and has not seen a big jump recently. In many cases, he says the attackers are looking steal identity.
Microsoft has is offering a $250,000 reward to catch the attacker.
Klobuchar Sponsors Reporters Shield Law
During remarks to the National Association of Broadcasters Tuesday, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar called for a national reporter shield law. Klobuchar is a sponsor of the bipartisan Free Flow of Information Act, which would protect journalists and their sources from unwarranted legal interference in the news gathering process.
The Minnesota Democrat told a gathering of local broadcasters in Washington, DC that democracy depends on an informed public and the free flow of information, and that in turn depends on journalists being able to gather information without fear. The bill is designed to provide journalists with reasonable protections so that they can continue to serve as the public's eyes and ears.
The Free Flow of Information Act would protect journalists from being compelled to testify or reveal confidential sources in legal proceedings and government investigations unless a judge finds a compelling need, such as when their evidence would prevent terrorist acts or violent harm to individuals.
A Section of I-29 is Re-Opened in North Dakota
(AP)Officials in North Dakota have re-opened a section of Interstate 29 south of Grand Forks. A stretch of about 30 miles from Grand forks to the exit near Hillsboro was re-opened earlier this evening, according to Transportation Officials. I-29 does remain closed from near Hillsboro to Cass County, and from Fargo to the South Dakota Border due to blowing snow and ice.
Another Reason to Buy A New Car
The Internal Revenue Service says taxpayers who buy a new a new car or truck this year may be entitled to deduct state and local sales and excise taxes paid on the purchase on their 2009 tax returns next year.
St. Paul IRS Spokesperson Carrie Resch says the deduction may make the decision to buy a new car a little easier.
The deduction is limited to the state and local sales and excise taxes paid on up to $49,500 of the purchase price of a qualified new car, light truck, motor home or motorcycle.
The amount of the deduction is phased out for taxpayers whose modified adjusted gross income is between $125,000 and $135,000 for individual filers and between $250,000 and $260,000 for joint filers.
The vehicle must be purchased between Feb. 17 and Dec. 31, 2009 to qualify for the deduction.
The special deduction is available regardless of whether a taxpayer itemizes deductions on their return. The deduction may not be taken on 2008 tax returns.
Klobuchar Looks to Make Long Term Insurance Affordable
Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar is introducing legislation she hopes would save Medicaid billions while making it easier for the nation's workforce to afford long-term insurance premiums. Klobuchar, and six other Senators introduced a bill to permit employees to pay for long-term care insurance premiums and out-of-pocket expenses on a tax-deferred basis.
While costs for elder care continue to rise, only seven percent of employees have the option of signing-up for long-term care insurance and only ten percent of seniors have the benefit.
Klobuchar says millions of families are coping with the challenges and costs of caring for the long-term health of their loved ones.
The Long-Term Care Affordability and Security Act of 2009 would change the tax code, to give employers the option of allowing tax-deferred long-term insurance premiums and provide protections for consumers who buy long-term care insurance.
Ward says the Governor and DFL-ers Clash Over Revenue Generators
State Representative John Ward of Brainerd says the Governor and legislative leaders spoke for the first time in 70 days, last week, in an effort to solve the huge revenue shortfall facing the state.
He tells KLKS News, the talks did not go well. The biggest stumbling block came over proposed tax increases, which the governor insists he will not accept.
Representative Ward says the good news is, the parties have begun to talk.
Dahl Proud of his Bemidji Hockey Team
Excitement is at a fevered pitch among Bemidji State Unversity hockey fans. The Beavers knocked off number 2 Notre Dame and number 9 Cornell to advance to the frozen four at the Verizon Center in Washington DC April 9th. Former Bemidji Defenseman, Crow Wing County Sheriff Todd Dahl, says this should be good enough to get the Beavers in the WCHA. Dahl played on the undefeated team of 1984, and notes with some glee, that he moved from enforcer to enforcement.
Deducting Charitable Contributions
Clothes and other household items can get you a tax deduction, but only under certain conditions, says Carrie Resch, Spokesperson for the IRS office in St. Paul. She tells KLKS News, it's too soon to tell if charitable contributions were down last year because of the flagging economy.
Resch says those who file electronically can expect to get their refund in 10 days, while those who file paper returns, should expect a six week wait. The number of electronic returns is up 17 percent over last year.
The Big Spring Storm Targets the Brainerd Lakes
An early spring snow storm continues to bear down on the Brainerd Lakes Area. K-Lakes Meteorologist Tony Schumacher says we could see a foot of snow from Monday night through Wednesday morning. He says it has the potential to be a wet heavy snow, which could result in a lot of slush, and difficult traveling conditions. The storm has had a history of producing blizzard conditions in North Dakota.
Bill Rewards Elder Fisherpersons
Getting older, much older, might soon pay off for Minnesota anglers. Legislation under consideration at the state capitol would provide free fishing licenses to Minnesota residents once they hit 90 years old. The bill is named for one of its most vocal advocates, Irene Long of Isle, Minnesota. She's an avid angler and wants to make sure her hobby doesn't become cost prohibitive for those her age. The base fee for a Minnesota adult fishing license is $17.00, but free licenses are available to military members, foreign-exchange students and people with developmental disabilities.