Friday, June 19, 2009

"Steal The Deal" Names Winner

At a press conference Friday afternoon Mills automotive group and Brainerd's Baseball Lunkers presented Tammy Thomas of Brainerd, a check for $20,000 toward the purchase of a new vehicle as a result of the "Steal of a Deal" promotion held recently. The Lunkers and Mills Automotive Group partnered this Summer to bring the promotion to the Lakes area. Thomas was selected as the winner during the Lunker's seventh home game on June 10 against the Wisconsin Woodchucks when Lunker's shortstop, Stephen Wickens stole home in the bottom of the sixth inning.

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Brainerd Gets State Money For Sewer

The city of Brainerd received a $28.8 million low-interest loan from the State of Minnesota to upgrade and expand its wastewater treatment facility.

Dan McElroy, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development says Brainerd ratepayers will save a significant amount of money, thanks to the low interest rate on this loan.

The expanded wastewater treatment facility will serve the needs of both Brainerd and Baxter, which have a combined population of approximately 22,000.

Todd Wicklund, secretary and finance director, Brainerd Public Utility Commission, said the project is expected to be completed by fall 2011.

Wicklund says the expanded facility will enable the city to meet the new MPCA requirements and extend the facility's life expectancy

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Fishing Classic on Gull

Saturday marks the 26th anniversary of the Camp Confidence Fishing Classic on Gull Lake. Chaiman Doug Dypwick tells KLKS News, fishing legends like Al and Ron Lindner, Gary Roach, Marv Koep and lot of pros will be guiding the event.

Dypwick says more than 80 boats will shove-off from Craguns Resort Saturday morning. Spectators can meet the legends and pros during the awards event at the end of the day.

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Emerald Ash Borer and Brainerd Lakes

The Brainerd Lakes Area needs to be concerned about spread of the Emerald Ash Borer, according to Len Nelson of Deblen Service Company of Pequot Lakes. The pest has been discovered in St.Paul, where trees have been cut-down to slow its spread.

Nelson tells KLKS News, the kind of Ash Borers we have had in the past attack weak trees. The difference is, the Emerald Borer attacks healthy trees. To save them, he says trees need to be treated annually.

Nelson says there are 900 million Ash trees in Minnesota. White and Green Ash are most common here.

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Celtic Festival Saturday

The Celtic Festival and Summer Soltice Celebration will be held Saturday at The Farm on St. Mathias. Owner Bob Jones says it should be a good time with music from the Irish band Rumgumption and demonstrations of blacksmithing, sheep shearing and story telling. He also says there will be a Kiddie Carnival for the small ones.

Jones says the farm is located off Business Highway 371 south of Brainerd; look for the St. Mathias Farm Garden sign and travel about three miles.

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Oberstar Wants No Delays In Road Projects

Minnesota Congressman Jim Oberstar says he is going to push against the White House to pass a bill funding road and bridge projects. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is concerned about the price tag of the six year transportation funding bill. Oberstar said the 18 month delay proposed by the administration is unacceptable because it will keep states from moving ahead with important road projects.

Oberstar is chairman of the house committee on transportation and infrastructure. He has been working on a new surface transportation bill with House Republicans for the last two years and expects to introduce a bipartisan bill next week.

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Kudos for Crosby Hospital

The Cuyuna Range Medical Center has received recognition from the Minnesota Hospital Association for preventative measures such as accidental falls. The hospital in Crosby was recognized in three different categories.

To qualify for the recognition, hospitals must have implemented at least 90 percent of the required safety measures, such as verifying that they are repositioning at-risk patients at least every two hours to prevent pressure ulcers.

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Lunkers Beat the Weather and the Beetles

Even with a 51-minute weather delay, the Lunkers knocked off the Alexandria Beetles, 5-2 in Game One of their series at Knute Nelson Park Thursday night.

The Lunkers return home tonight against Alexandria. First pitch is 7:05 PM.

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Brainerd Woman found guilty in File-Sharing Suit

(AP) This out of Minneapolis--a Federal Jury has ruled that Jammie Thomas-Rasset of Brainerd violated several music copyrights in the nation's only file-sharing case to go to trial. According to the jury, they found that Thomas-Rasset "committed willful violation" of the copyrights on 24 songs. The jury awarded the recording companies $1.92 million, or $80k per song. This is the second trial--the first one in 2007 had awarded the recording companies a $222,000. settlement--but a new trial was ordered after the judge in that case decided he had erred in jury instructions.

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Closing Arguments in Brainerd Music Trial

(AP) Closing arguments will be given today in the trial of a Brainerd woman accused of illegally sharing copywrite music on the Internet.

The record labels accuse Jammie Thomas-Rasset of sharing music on the KAZAA network. She denied the charges in testimony in Federal Court in Minneapolis earlier this week.

Thomas-Rasset is one of 30,000 similar lawsuits, but one of the few that has gone to trial. Most have settled for $3,500.

This is her second trial. In the first, the Brainerd woman was ordered to pay the record labels over $200,000. However, the judge said he gave the jury the wrong instructions and ordered a new trial

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Brainerd Bears Raiding Bird Feeders

The DNR says it may be time to put the bird feeder away for a while. Crosslake Conservation Officer Nikki Shoutz tells KLKS News, they are getting lots of bear complaints. The young males are roaming now, with big appetites. She suggests homeowners who have been visited by bruins should put the bird feeders away for a couple of weeks.

Shoutz says bears will eat just about anything

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Lunker Gaff Duluth

Zach Kenyon (Iowa) had another great outing, cruising seven innings and allowing only one hit, striking out twelve, and walking two to lead the Lunkers to a 5-0 victory over the Duluth Huskies at Wade Stadium.

The Lunkers improve to 11-9 on the season with the win. They head to Alexandria tonight to meet the Beetles in a North Division showdown. First pitch is 6:05 PM.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hecker Automotive Group under Investigation

(AP) A criminal investigation has been launched by the State Patrol into whether bankrupt Denny Hecker Automotive Group committed felonies involving taxes and fees on vehicle sales and liens on trade-in's. Authorities are searching Denny Hecker's Corporate Headquarters in St. Louis Park, three of his homes, and two dealerships. Hecker Attorney, Marsh Halberg, says Hecker is at his Headquarters, and is cooperating.

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Ward and Koering React to Cuts

State Representative John Ward of Brainerd suspects Governor Tim Pawlenty may have planned all along to balance the budget on his own as a means of promoting his national image. Tuesday, the Governor announced big cuts to local government aid, health and human services and other state programs to fix a $2.7 billion revenue shortfall.

Since the end of the session Pawlenty has announced he won't seek reelection, and has been mentioned as possible candidate for President.

Representative Ward tells KLKS News, the Governor did not appear as involved in the legislative process this year as he has been in the past.

Ward says the reaction from local government officials to the Governor's cuts has ranged from little impact to cuts in police and fire and property tax increases.

State Senator Paul Koering of Fort Ripley is considering running for Governor. He tells KLKS News, had he been Governor this past session, he would have worked harder with the DFL majority to find a budget solution.

However, Senator Koering says he agrees with most of the Governor's cuts, even though he worries the cuts will drive up the cost of college tuition.

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Hwy 169 Resurfacing Delayed 3 Weeks

Motorists will experience a traffic switch with two-way traffic on northbound Highway 169 north of the Rum River Rest Area to just south of Onamia beginning Monday, July 6, as the Minnesota Department of Transportation resurfaces the southbound lanes of Highway 169.

The traffic switch, originally schedule for Monday, June 15, has been delayed in an effort to accommodate motorists traveling on Highway 169 during the holiday.

Motorists are asked to slow down and use caution in the area where crews are working and be alert for trucks hauling materials in the work zone.

This $4.5 million project is one of nearly 100 Minnesota road and bridge projects that will be funded with $502 million in federal economic stimulus dollars.

All work to be completed by mid-August.

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Cost of Workers Comp Claims Up

Officials of the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry are meeting in Nisswa today to try to understand why the cost of workers compensation is increasing. The number of claims fells 36 percent from 1997 to 2007, but the cost per claim has been rising significantly compared to wages.

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Lunkers are Liking Duluth

Dennis O'Grady (Duke) threw a complete game one-hitter, struck out nine, and walked only one to lead the Lunkers to a 1-0 victory over the Duluth Huskies at Wade Stadium.

The Lunkers improve to 10-9 on the season and meet Duluth tonight in Game Two of their series. First pitch is at 7:05 PM.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pawlenty Makes Budget Cuts

(AP) Governor Tim Pawlenty is cutting aid to Minnesota Cities, Counties, and Townships by $330 million as he tries to close a $2.7 billion budget shortfall for the State. The next biggest cuts come to State Health and Welfare programs losing $236 million. Pawlenty's plan calls for ending the State's General Assistance Medical Care Program on March 1st of 2010. Pawlenty is also deferring State aid to K-12 schools by $1.8 billion in fiscal 2010--though schools will get their full aid entitilement in the second half of the fiscal year. Higher Education funding for State agencies will be cut by $100 million, and State agencies need to cut $33 million from their budgets. Republican Governor Pawlenty is using his power to "unallot" spending, after he and Democrats controlling the Legislature could not agree on a budget deal.

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Governor Pawlenty Prepares to Cut

Governor Pawlenty is expected to Cut over $2 billion from the budget to bring it in to balance. He vetoed the budget approved by the legislature, and now must unalott. Since the end of the session, the Governor has announced he will not run for reelection.

Republican State Senator Paul Koering, who's testing the waters for a run to replace him, expects deep cuts in aid to local government. He says some police may have to be laid-off.

Koering says Brainerd currently receives $4-million in state aid, Little Falls gets $2 million. He expects the governor will not cut aid to K-12 education, but will delay when those payments are made. The Fort Ripley Republican fears state cuts to higher education would force up the cost of tuition.

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Nisswa Knitting for Komen

For the second consecutive year, Kristy Yutrzenka and a group of fellow knitting and crochet enthusiasts will spend 24 straight hours using their skills and energy to make a difference in the lives of those who are diagnosed with cancer.

They will be participating in the second annual Nisswa Knit-In for the Cure, from noon June 26 to noon June 27 at Yutrzenka’s yarn store called Utrinkets, located in Nisswa Square. The event has greatly expanded this year to include a street dance June 27 and a classic car show June 28. Proceeds from all the events will benefit the Brainerd Lakes Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

The street dance, called Sock Hop for the Cure, is 6-10 p.m., and will feature music, a beer tent

The Cruising for the Cure Classic Car Show will be from 11 3 p.m. Admission is free. However, those showing cars are being asked for a $10 donation to Komen. The public can vote on their favorite car, with awards going to Men’s Choice, Women’s Choice and Kids’ Choice. At 3 p.m., the cars will cruise through Nisswa to signal the end of the event.

The Brainerd Komen’s largest fundraiser of the year is the 10th Annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, which will be July 11 at Forestview Middle School in Baxter.

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Brainerd Woman Music Re-Trial

A Brainerd woman gets another day in court today on charges of illegally sharing copyrighted music. Jammie Thomas-Rasset was ordered to pay more than $200 thousand in 2007. However, the judge says he gave the jury the wrong instructions and ordered a new trial, which began Monday in Minneapolis.

Thomas-Rasset is accused of sharing 24 tunes on the KAZAA network, although industry lawyers claim the number is more like 1,700.

Defense attorney Kiwi Camara says the record companies can't prove that the Brainerd woman shared any songs. Thomas-Rasset is expected on the stand today.

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Lunkers Down the Border Cats

With two outs, the Lunkers scored five times in the eighth inning to propel the Brainerd team over the Thunder Bay Border Cats, 6-3 in Game Two at Port Arthur Stadium, Monday.

The Lunkers improve to 9-9 on the year and head to Duluth to meet the Huskies today in Game One of their series. First pitch is at 7:05 PM.

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Monday, June 15, 2009

A Fund Raising For Pequot Library

A fundraising event is underway in Pequot Lakes for a new library. Mayor Nancy Adams says they have run out of room at the existing library in city hall. She tells KLKS News, the "Little Pine Plaza" has come available through foreclosure and would provide the room they need.

Mayor Adams says they need to raise $200-thousand by the end of the month to save an additional $17-thousand in costs. They have about $90-thousand raised so far. Those who would like to make a donation may do that at Pequot Lakes City Hall.

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Ribbon Cutting for New Brainerd VA Clinic

A ribbon cutting was held this morning for the new Brainerd Veterans Affairs Clinic located in the old roller skating rink next to the civic center.

Life-long Brainerd resident Bill Wroolie (Rule-ee), past national commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, was the Master of Ceremonies. He tells KLKS News the clinic will have expanded laboratory services, primary home care services and expanded mental health care services.

Wroolie says they ran out of space at the old state hospital building. He says the new facility is better, because all services are offered on one floor.

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Bye Drowns in Bay Lake

A legendary Minnesota athlete lost his life in Brainerd area waters over the weekend. 82-year-old Billy Bye drown in Bay Lake Friday afternoon.

Crow Wing County Sheriff Todd Dahl tells KLKS News, He was on a pontoon boat with family and friends, when the propeller became entangled in a rope attached to a marker buoy. He entered the water to free the prop. After working to free the boat, Bye was unable to climb back aboard the boat. Eventually the boat drifted away from Bye and he went under. His body was pulled from the water by a passing boater.

Bye had a home in the Twin Cities and a second home on Bay Lake.

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Light Plane Crash at Camp Lake

(AP) A 69-year-old Ham Lake man walked away from a float plane crash on Camp Lakes, 20 miles southeast of Brainerd, Sunday. The Crow Wing County Sheriff's office says Allan Truman Dela lost control of his plane just before 11 a.m. yesterday.

The craft veered into the shoreline and hit some trees, damaging the plane's wings and undercarriage.

Garrison Fire Chief Bruce Breun says the pilot reported trouble with the planes floats, so Dela was attempting to get as close to shore as possible. Authorities stopped a fuel leak when they arrived at the scene.

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Lunkers Struck by Thunder

The Thunder Bay Border Cats pounded out ten hits and scored three times in the first three innings to defeat the Lunkers, 4-1 at Port Arthur Stadium Sunday. The loss ends a season-high three-game Lunker winning streak.

The Lunkers fall to 8-9 on the season. They return to action against the Border Cats Monday.

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