Saberi Convicted of Espionage
(AP) American journalist Roxana Saberi's lawyer says he'll appeal her espionage conviction in Iran. Saberi has been sentenced to eight years in prison by an Iranian court. The U.S. has called the charges baseless, and is demanding her release.
St. Charles Residents Prepare to Return Home
(AP) Residents of the southeastern town of St. Charles may be able to return to their homes around noon today--according to officials. The town was evacuated yesterday due to a fire that had broken out at a meat processing plant--amongst fears that ammonia tanks at the plant could explode. About 70 firefighters remained on the scene through the night.
Expect May Delays on Hiway 210
Motorists should plan for delays in early May as road work gets underway on a 15-mile stretch of Highway 210, from Wisconsin Avenue east of Hewitt to Dakota Avenue in Staples in Todd County.
This season's work includes:
* Mill and overlay a new blacktop road surface, including shoulders and turn lanes
* Repair culverts
* Construct a new right turn lane at 193rd Avenue, six miles east of Hewitt
* Construct a westbound right turn lane at Todd County Highway 21, west of Staples
Traffic will be reduced to a single lane through the work zone, controlled by a pilot car and flaggers. All work will be done during daylight hours.
Widseth Smith Nolting of Baxter is administering the construction contract for this $2.3 million pavement preservation and safety improvement project. Anderson Brothers Construction of Brainerd is the prime contractor.
Work is expected to be complete by the end of June, weather permitting.
Olson Says A Tax Hike Will Be Proposed
The clock is ticking on the legislative session. Lawmakers have a month to come up with a plan to fix the $4.6 billion revenue shortfall and balance the budget. Currently, there is no agreement between the House and Senate, much less with the Governor, who has said no to any new taxes.
State Senator Mary Olson of Bemidji tells KLKS News, raising some taxes would ease some of the pain on hospitals, cities and schools. She believes the Governor's plan is a work of smoke and mirrors, and may not even be constitutional.
The legislature is expected to roll out their tax proposals next week.
Brainerd Burning Restrictions
Seasonal burning restrictions go into place Monday around the Brainerd Lakes Area. DNR Regional Forestry Supervisor Ron Sanow says contractors and agricultural interests will still be able to get a permit to burn, but not those who have a pile of brush or leaves that can wait for greener times.
A brush fire Wednesday near Gilbert Lake threatened several homes. Sanow says they spent thousands of dollars calling in air tankers, helicopters and attack fire engines to quell the fire. He says those responsible for the fire, will be held responsible, whether they had a permit or not.
Permits that have been issued, can also be deactivated. Sanow says permit holders need to check with the DNR before striking a match.
Mission Township Man Dies in Grass Fire
An 84-year-old Mission Township man was killed in a grass fire Wednesday. Volunteer firemen discovered the man's body while fighting one of two fires. He has been identified as Walter William Graff. The fire was reported shortly after 5 p.m. Wednesday near county roads 3 and 109. Cause of the fire is unknown. Sheriff Todd Dahl says foul play is not suspected.
The "Run for the Lakes" Marathon is coming up later on this month in Nisswa. It's the 2nd Annual event for the Jaycee's. Nisswa Chamber spokesperson, Ann Warleen, tells K-Lakes' News that they're already excited, as it looks like this year's race won't have to be run in the snow. She mentioned that the event actually starts on Friday, the 24th with registration and a special speaker. Other surrounding activities include an Health and Fitness Expo, Live Music on Saturday night, and merchants having extended hours. For more information, go on-line to nisswa.com
Oldenburg Sentenced in 2007 Murder
The woman who helped her boy friend dispose of the body of a Little Falls man is being sentenced to over seven years in prison. 27-year-old Casey Jo Oldenburg was sentenced Wednesday in Mille Lacs County District court for the part she played in burning and burying the body of 21-year-old Lewis Wilczek in 2007.
Jeremy Hull was convicted of killing Welczek in a plot to steal his identity. He is currently serving a life sentence.
Tea Party at Kiwanis Park
Estimates of up to 500 hundred attended the local tax day Tea Party at Kiwanis Park in Brainerd Wednesday. The protesters were upset with federal spending. As a symbolic gesture, the protesters were invited to throw tea bags into Boom Lake.
The event was billed as non-partisan, however, most who spoke were republicans. Former Republican State Representative Dale Walz says if he had his way, he would start the cuts with top heavy federal agencies.
The Brainerd Protest was one of hundreds held across the country on tax deadline day yesterday.
Wild Fire Near Gilbert Lake
Just because there was snow on the ground in the Brainerd Lakes Area just a week ago, does not mean wild fires can't happen here. A serious brush fire struck a 40 acre wooded lot north of Brainerd near Gilbert Lake Wednesday afternoon. Quick action kept it from getting to several houses on Paul Street and Blakeman Road. The fire was first reported shortly after 1 p.m. Wednesday, and was brought under control about two and a half hours later. The DNR used an air tanker to quell the fire.
Another Downward Revision for the Red
(AP) The Red River's second major crest at Fargo-Moorhead has been revised downward, again. The newest prediction is 35-1/2 to 36 feet. That's about a foot to a foot-and-a-half less than the estimate from yesterday. That is also well below the nearly 41-foot crest that was reached last month.
Kiwanis, the Site for a TEA
Kiwanis Park in Brainerd will be the site of a tax protest today, one of many being held around the state and country. It is being dubbed "TEA," or Taxes, Enough Already. Critics have said the events are not a grass roots effort, but rather orchestrated by Republican power brokers.
Dale Walz, one of the organizers of the Brainerd event, and former Republican State Representative, tells KLKS News that is not the case. He says a local man got a permit to use the park and sent out emails. Walz says it doesn't get any more grass roots than that.
He expects a big turn-out at Kiwanis Park. The event runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Wadena County Gets Federal Disaster Aid
Wadena county has been added to a list of 15 counties eligible to receive federal disaster assistance. Congressman Jim Oberstar says the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will provide assistance to communities hit by severe storms and flooding that occurred on and after March 16, 2009.
"Minnesotans are used to dealing with spring storms, but the weather system that moved across the state in mid-March was particularly destructive," says the ranking Minnesota Democrat. "Wadena County washed out several roads and in Lake County ice brought down hundreds of trees leaving large parts of the county without power for days."
The declaration covers Clay, Grant, Kittson, Lake, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Ottertail, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake, Roseau, Traverse, Wadena and Wilkin counties. They will be eligible to apply for assistance with costs incurred in the aftermath of the storm.
Crow Wing Bond Rating Improves
On tax deadline day, Crow Wing County taxpayers got some good news. In its efforts to refinance $3.3 million in general obligation bonds for the detention center, the county received a much improved bond rating. According to County Commissioner Paul Theide (Tee-dee), the county saved $170 thousand in the refinancing.
The county's tax base, fund balances and financial management are credited with the lower bond rating.
AMTRACK Suspends Passenger Rail Due to Flooding
(AP) Passenger rail service between Minot, ND and St. Paul, MN has been suspended for at least 24 hours due to flooding on the tracks. The BNSF tracks are used by AMTRACK for their Empire Builder Train which has a route from Chicago to the Pacific Northwest. A spokesperson for AMTRACK said that there is high water on the tracks east of Minot. Service impacted includes the communities of Rugby, Devils Lake, and Grand Forks in North Dakota--and Detroit Lakes and Staples in Minnesota.
"Merchant of Venice" being presented by PLHS
Pequot Lakes High School students will be staging Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice" April 24th-26th at the High School Theatre, under the direction of Daren Blanck. Assistant Director, Danae Anderson, tells K-Lakes' News that one of the reasons that the students chose to perform this selection from Shakespeare is because Mr. Blanck's class has been studying the history and impact of Judaism and anti-Semitism. Anderson added that the set is remarkable, as they are taking great pains to reflect Venice during Elizabethan times. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday at 7 pm, and Sunday at 2 pm. Ticket prices are $5. for adults--$3. for students.
Highway Construction Around Deerwood Delayed a Week
Minnesota's second season, road construction, is about to begin. The Governor is asking for patience this year because of the number of projects funded with federal stimulus dollars.
The Brainerd Lakes Area won't be as hectic, but we do have a couple of projects that will cause delays. A $2.9 million safety and pavement improvement project that was to begin begin Monday, will be delayed one week to April 20th. The project will be in the Deerwood area. The work will take place on Highway 6 from Highway 18 to Highway 210 in Deerwood and Highway 210 west of Crow Wing County Road 135 in Crosby to Highway 6 in Deerwood.
Crews will resurface the roadway, including shoulders and turn-lanes, repair and replace culverts and construct new turn lanes. All work will be done during daylight hours.
Motorists will encounter single lane closures controlled by a pilot car and flaggers. The pilot car will be used in rural areas only.
Motorists should plan for lane closures and traffic shifts on Highway 210 through the city of Ironton as crews repair sanitary sewer manholes.
Anderson Brothers Construction of Brainerd is the prime contractor.
The entire project is scheduled to be complete by mid-June.
Pequot Lakes Community Clean-up, April 25th
The Pequot Lakes-Breezy Point Lions club is gearing up for the annual Community Clean-up at the High School, Saturday, April 25th. Lions members are hoping for much better weather than last year when a winter storm dropped about a half foot of snow, and postponed the event to late summer.
The event is designed to keep the community clean and save northern Crow Wing County residents a trip to the county landfill east of Brainerd.
The same things that can be brought to the dump can be brought to event, including florescent light bulbs and electronics.
A fee will be charged for the service. The proceeds will be used for Lions projects.
Tax Extension for Flood Victims and Volunteers
People who live in the flood areas of Northwestern Minnesota, and those who volunteered to help can get an extension in filing their tax returns. Carrie Resch of the St. Paul IRS office tells KLKS News, they have until May 15th.
The rest of us may get an extension to file the return after April 15th. But, an estimated payment to the IRS must be made by this Wednesday.
Resch reminds last minute filers to check their math, include social security numbers, attach all necessary documents, and sign and date the form before filing.
Refunds for those filing electronically takes about 10 days. For those who file by mail, the wait is around six weeks.
Deer Becoming Active in Crow Wing County
Crow Wing County Sheriff Todd Dahl says the deer are on the move. He tells KLKS News it does not appear the last hunting season made much of a dent in the deer population.
Sheriff Dahl says a motorists best defense is to slow down, constantly scan the ditches and be prepared to react to the second deer crossing your path.
A Todd County Man Dies While Burning Stump
A weekend accident has claimed the life of a Birchdale Township man. The Todd County Sheriff's office says Robert Schloegl was burning a stump outside his home on County Road 100 when his clothes caught on fire. His body was found by a neighbor shortly after 5 p.m. Saturday. An autopsy is being conducted at the Midwest Medical Examiner's Office in Ramsey, MN.
Backus Boy Dies in ATV Accident
A 16-year-old Backus boy was killed in an ATV accident Sunday afternoon. The Cass County Sheriff's office has identified him as Derek W. Engleke. He was operating the machine about 4:20 p.m. on a rural gravel road when it overturned throwing him and a passenger from the vehicle. Engleke suffered head trauma, his passenger sustained minor injuries.
The young man attended Pine River Backus High School. The help of grief councilors has been enlisted as students return from the Easter holiday.
The cause is under investigation and an autopsy has been scheduled.
More Burning Restrictions for the Brainerd Lakes
Burning restrictions will go in place next week for Aitkin, Cass and Crow Wing counties.
The DNR says the restrictions will begin April 20th.
Burning restrictions were previously announced for Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Morrison, and Todd counties and will take effect on April 16.
These restrictions are put in place each spring to reduce the
occurrence of wildfires, which can damage homes and other personal
Due to snowmelt, warming weather, and dry vegetation, much of Minnesota
is at increased risk of wildfires. The risk will remain high until green
vegetation emerges. Until that time, no burning will be allowed in the
affected counties unless a special permit is obtained from a local
Special permits will only be written for extenuating circumstances such
as time sensitive construction projects and prescribed burning conducted
by professional firefighters. The DNR encourages the use of composting,
recycling, and chipping as alternatives to burning.
While debris burning will be curtailed, the use of campfires, if
smaller than 3 feet in diameter and 3 feet in height, will continue to
be allowed. Permits are not required for this type of fire if it meets
the above conditions and is monitored until coals have cooled.
Osakis Man Killed in One Vehicle Accident
A 32-year-old Osakis man was killed Friday when he lost control of his pickup truck in Todd County. He has been identified as Jeremy Baker. The Sheriff says he was traveling north on County Road 37 about 6:30 Friday morning when his vehicle rolled. He was alone in his truck at the time of the accident.
Pawlenty says Obama's Budget will weigh on Future Generations
(AP) Republicans indicate that they feel the budget put forth by the Obama Administration will require higher taxes in the future, and will unfairly load debt onto generations to come. In the GOP internet and radio address, Governor Pawlenty said that President Obama has talked about tax relief, but his budget suggests he'll be raising taxes.