Saturday, September 26, 2009

About 1/4 of the State's Federal Stimulus Dollars Spent

(AP) More than $1 billion of Minnesota's Federal Stimulus money has been spent--that's according to Tom Hanson, Management and Budget Commissioner. That's almost a quarter of the money that the State is getting. Thus far, the largest amounts have gone to transportation projects, and Medicaid Health Care Services.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Women's Expo in Crosby Saturday

The Hallett Community Center in Crosby will be hosting The Arts and Crafts Fair and Women's Expo Saturday. Spokesperson Shirley Hale says there will be everything from designing a meditation garden to a food demonstration.

The event runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the admission is free.

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Crosslake Days This Weekend

The fun during Crosslake Days crests Saturday. Chamber spokesperson Doreen Gallaway tells KLKS News chili lovers will be able to sample lots of recipes at various business around town. She says 25 dishes will be available for tasting during the chili cook-off.

Also Saturday, There will be a classic car and motorcycle show, featuring entertainment through the noon hour; arts and crafts fair and the always popular Jule Kaffe Fest.

The event concludes with a softball tournament on Sunday.

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Tour of Colors Bicycle Ride Saturday

Wheels will be spinning around Crosslake Saturday. The second annual Tour of Colors Bicycle Ride gets going between 8 and 9a.m. On-site registration begins at 7:30 at the Lions Pavilian at the Crosslake Community Center.

Ride organizer Jim Oraskovich says they have modeled the event after the Tour of Lakes Bicycle Ride with well marked routes of 12, 20 and 40 miles, and healthy food stops.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Pequot Lakes School Patriot Fund.

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Schaefer Nisswa Citizen of Year

Nisswa celebrated the selection of its 2009 citizen of the year last night at the new Grand View conference center. Ted Schaefer, owner of Schaefer's Grocery Store received the award. He told members of the chamber of commerce that he was embarrassed to win the honor, preferring to be a behind-the-scene kind of guy. He thanked his wife for putting up with his long hours at the store, and spoke with pride about the recently remodeling completed at the store.

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Thursday High School Scores

Girls Volleyball:
3-0 Alexandria def Little Falls
3-0 Bertha-Hewitt def Henning
3-0 Browerville def Eagle Valley
3-0 Cromwell def McGregor
3-0 Detroit Lakes def Crosby Ironton
3-0 Mora def Milaca
3-0 New York Mills def Verndale
3-0 Pequot Lakes def Staples Motley
3-0 Pierz def Rockford
3-0 Rush City def Aitkin
3-0 Sartell def Brainerd
3-0 Sebeka def Pillager
3-1 Upsala def Osakis
3-1 Wadena-Deer Creek def Park Rapids

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Minnesota's Attorney General's Office gets an "Adequate" Grade

(AP) An audit of Lori Swanson's Office--Minnesota Attorney General--uncovered a few bookkeeping lapses, including improper salary increases, overtime that lacked documented approval, and purchases that didn't follow State policies. Legislative Auditors, however, found that--overall--the office has been run in adequate fashion.

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Heavy Demand for Flu Shots

The flu is apparently making an early appearance in area schools. All area schools are reporting flu-like symptoms among their students. It may be the H1N1 swine flue.

Dr. Peter Henry, Crow Wing County Medical Advisor, and Emergency Room Director at St. Joseph Medical Center in Brainerd says 90% of Minnesota cases at the end of August were H1N1. He says the vaccine for that variety may not become available to the general public until the end of October.

In the meantime, clinics have been running short of the seasonal vaccine. Dr. Henry says that should be a short term problem, that there is plenty of vaccine for everyone.

In the meantime, Dr. Henry says the best practice is frequent hand washing or the use of hand sanitizer, and staying home when ill.

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Area State Patrol Calls Fielded in Duluth

The duties of the Brainerd State Patrol dispatcher will be transferred to Duluth. Sergent Curt Mowers says they are in the process of whittling the number of dispatch centers around the state from 10 down to three. He tells KLKS News, people needing assistance should notice little change.

Mowers expects the transition to take up to three years to complete.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

St. Paul College Building now Safe after Lockdown

(AP) A St. Paul College building has been declared "safe" after a several-hour lockdown earlier today. Staff and students were evacuated from the main building on campus around 11 this morning while police searched for an armed man. A man is being questioned by officials, but it's not clear if the man being questioned is the one seen with a gun in the main building's elevator.

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Crosslake Days through Sunday

Crosslake is poppin' with activity through Sunday as part of Crosslake Days. The event was moved from it's previous mid August date to late September to take advantage of the beginning of autumn colors. Spokesperson Doreen Gallaway tells KLKS News, they have a number of fun activities planned. The big day is Saturday, which begins with a car and motorcycle show at the site of the old Catholic church, and the start of the Tour of Colors Bicycle Ride staged out of the Crosslake Community Center.

Other events include a treasure hunt, coronation and chili cook-off featuring 25 different samples. Maps for the event and other information can be found on the Crosslake Chamber web page.

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Delays on Hwy 210 in Baxter

Motorists need to be prepared for delays on Highway 210 from Golf Course Drive to Knollwood Drive in Baxter beginning Monday, Sept. 28.

To improve safety in the area, crews will be reconstructing the intersection to restrict left turns onto Highway 210. The work will include widening the left turn lanes to Elder Drive from Highway 210, installing concrete medians to restrict left turns from Elder Drive to Highway 210, resurfacing of the roadway, and installing a storm sewer and lighting.

Traffic will be restricted to a single lane through the work zone. Turn lanes will be closed to traffic during the first week of construction on the approaches. Motorists should slow down and watch for trucks hauling materials on Highway 210 and Highway 371.

Anderson Brothers Construction of Brainerd is the prime contractor for the $462,000 project.

The project is expected to be complete by early November.

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United Way Chili Cook-Off Today

The annual United Way Chili Cook-Off will be held during the lunch hour today, at the Westgate Mall in Baxter. Folks may sample a variety of chili from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

Five dollars allows the tasting public to cast votes for the Community Choice Award, for best chili recipe.

The event helps the United Way kick-off this year's community fundraising campaign.

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Prosecutors Happy In Sjodin Appeal

The prosecutors in the Dru Sjodin case are hailing the decision of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. The federal panel has rejected the appeal from the attorney representing Alphonso Rodriguez Jr., convicted of killing the Pequot Lakes woman.

Lynn Jordheim, Acting U.S. Attorney for North Dakota says they are gratified, but know this is just one step in the appeals process.

One of the appeals judges dissented, saying the case should go back to the lower Court for further action. The defense is expected to use that dissent in their future appeals.

Still, Former U.S. Attorney Drew Wrigley said, "Make no mistake about it, this case has been upheld."

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Spiny Waterfleas in Mille Lacs

Spiny waterfleas have been discovered in Lake Mille Lacs. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Aitkin Area Fisheries staff discovered the invasive species last week. It is the first such discovery outside of Lake Superior and the U.S.-Canadian border waters.

Spiny waterfleas impact on lake ecosystems are largely unknown. Waterfleas compete with small fish for food called zooplankton. While larger fish eat them, tiny fish may not be able to consume this invader. In certain types of lakes, they can change the species and numbers of zooplankton, which may harm those lake ecosystems.

The spiny waterfleas in Lake Mille Lacs were first observed collecting on fishing lines in the water. The find was later confirmed from water samples collected by the DNR.

Anglers are often the first to discover spiny waterfleas because they become tangled to fishing gear. The waterfleas can be a nuisance to anglers, collecting in gobs on fishing lines.

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Tuesday High School Scores

Girls Volleyball:
3-0 Bemidji def Brainerd
3-0 Browerville def Swanville
3-0 Nevis def Pine River-Backus
3-0 Pelican Rapids def Staples-Motley
3-0 Verndale def Menahga
3-0 Wadena-Deer Creek def Perham
3-0 Walker-Hackensack-Akeley def Clearbrook-Gonvick
3-1 Albany def Milaca
3-1 Bertha-Hewitt def Underwood
3-1 Crosby-Ironton def Aitkin
3-1 Holy Family Catholic def Montgomery-Lonsdale
3-1 Pierz def Sauk Rapids-Rice
3-2 Hill City def Orr
3-2 Osakis def Royalton
3-2 Pillager def Pequot Lakes

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Staples To Honor Community Involvement

Tickets are now on sale for the Staples Community Foundation Outstanding Community Service Award Celebration. The event is Thursday, Oct. 8 at T Maxwell's in Staples.
The social begins at 6 p.m., dinner is at 6:30 p.m. and the program is at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are available at the Staples World, Unity Bank, First International Bank and Trust, City of Staples Government Center, T Maxwell’s and the Centennial Auditorium box office.
Tickets at the door will be subject to availability, so advance purchase is recommended.
A time to honor and encourage community involvement is the hallmark of nearly every successful community. The inspiration for this event was born in the celebration held in 2004 to honor Dr. Duane R. Lund for his lifetime achievement of contributions to the Staples area. During the planning for that event, the Staples Community Foundation decided that one of the best ways in which it could honor Dr. Lund was to continue his mission of enabling the gifts of so many others to flourish and bloom in the community.
Those to be honored at this year's event include: Dick Donat, Duane R. Lund Award for Lifetime Achievement; Amy Hunter, Citizen of the Year; Harriet Dent, Chairman's Award; Staples World, Business of the Year; Still Cruisin' Car Club, Organization of the Year; and Jenna Nypan, Youth of the Year.
The Staples Community Foundation is a component fund in partnership with the Initiative Foundation. Its mission is to develop and strengthen community resources, and to enhance the quality of life of individuals, families and organizations in and around the Staples community. Its focus is to strengthen youth and families, improve community appearance and increase community involvement along with a sense of belonging.

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Call Ahead for Your Flu Shot

(AP) If you are planning to get a flu shot, you may want to call your administration location before you go to insure that they still have an adequate supply. Boynton Health Service Officials at the University of Minnesota have postponed a clinic scheduled for tomorrow due to a limited supply of the vaccine--their clinic last week distributed more doses than anticipated. A second round of vaccines is expected next month.

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Rodriguez Loses Death Appeal

(AP) The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has denied an appeal by Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. The Crookston man was convicted in the kidnapping and death of Dru Sjodin of Pequot Lakes. The opinion was released today in Minneapolis.

Rodriguez was convicted in the 2003 kidnapping of Ms. Sjodin, a University of North Dakota student. She was last seen alive in the parking lot of a Grand Forks shopping mall where she worked. The body of the Pequot Lakes woman was found near Crookston five months later.

Rodriguez, a convicted sex offender, appealed on several grounds, but the 8th circuit rejected his arguments on all of them.

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Cougar Killed Near Bemidji

(AP) Bemidji had a rare visitor Friday night. A mountain lion was struck and killed by a car near the northern Minnesota town.

The animal has been taken to a Department of Natural Resources station in Grand Rapids for a necropsy. Researchers are interested in learning what it was eating.

Confirmed mountain lion sightings are a rare occurrence in Minnesota.

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Texting While Driving Not Safe

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar is pushing for federal legislation that would ban texting while driving. The Minnesota Democrat says, "No text message is so urgent or important that it's worth dying for."

Crow Wing County Sheriff Todd Dahl tells KLKS News, parents must tell their young drivers to concentrate only on driving.

Since August 1, 2008, Minnesota has had a state law banning anyone from texting on a cell phone or other personal electronic device while operating a motor vehicle, whether the vehicle is in motion or part of traffic. However, 32 states have no laws that restrict texting while driving - including Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota and North Dakota.

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A Cool Dry Summer is Over

Autumn officially arrives at 4:18 this afternoon. K-Lakes meteorologist Tony Schumacher says the summer of 2009 will go down in the books as both cool and dry. He says most of the summer around the Brainerd lakes ran about two to five degrees below normal, except for September which has been about seven degrees above normal. August was the only moist month. The other months were a half to three inches below normal.

Schumacher says it has been a streaky summer.

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Monday High School Scores

Girls Volleyball:
3-0 Crookston def Park Rapids
3-1 Royalton def Isle

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Morrison County Sheriff Issues Warning

Morrison County Sheriff Michel Wetzel issued a reminder for all residents to be extremely cautious when buying or selling items on Craig's List, E-Bay, or other Internet based trading sites.

Recently, a resident lost a large sum of money when she sent a check out of state to an individual whom she had agreed to buy a car from. The car never arrived and the money will never be recovered.

According to Wetzel, Internet trading or selling sites are filled with thieves and scammers. I personally found this out while looking to purchase a vehicle for my son. he deal seemted to be too good to be true and as I checked into it further it became clear that the person I was dealing with was a scammer. Wetzel went on to say that things like, 100-percent guaranteed, prices below the actual value, free shipping, or overpayment with a request that the excess amount be returned, are all clues that the deal may not be legitimate. Wetzel recommends that buyers only purchase vehicles that they are able to personally inspect and take custody of at the time of the money transfer. Any time you send money off without having the product in hand, you risk being taken to the cleaners.

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CLC Has a New Security Chief

Ken Dickinson, Pillager, was recently named Director of Security and Safety compliance at Central Lakes College.

The former Waite Park Chief of Police is responsible for the Brainerd and Staples campuses' security programs.

Dickinson had served as interim Security Director at CLC last April.

He spent 18 months in Afghanistan, where he served as an international police adviser for Dyn Corp International, a government subcontractor. He is also a U.S. Air Force veteran of the Vietnam War.

He was employed by the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Department as a 911 dispatcher and seasonal water patrol deputy from December 1999 to February 2009.

He is a Sylvan Township supervisor, serving a four-year term since January.

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Heritage Conservation Grants

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will hold workshops in three cities including in Grand Rapids, to help conservation organizations and local governments apply for Outdoor Heritage Conservation Partners Grants. The grants program has $3.7 million available for projects throughout Minnesota.

Workshops will begin at 7 p.m. with a short overview of the program,
followed by an opportunity to ask questions and work through potential
grant ideas.

The Grand Rapids workshop will be held Sept. 28, at the DNR Regional Headquarters, 1201 E Highway 2, Grand Rapids.

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Akeley Pays a $55 Thousand Award

The city of Akeley has awarded $55 thousand to a woman who claimed police failed to investigate a sexual assault by a sheriff's deputy. The woman initially filed a $2 million lawsuit in May against the city, its police chief, an Akeley officer, Hubbard County and the accused deputy.

The city has admitted no wrong-doing in making the award.

No criminal charges have been filed against the deputy, who has resigned from the sheriff's department.

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