Saturday, December 5, 2009

Crews Contain Oil Spill Near Staples

Cleanup crews have contained an oil spill south of Staples, and an environmental official says there was no damage to surrounding bodies of water. Stephen Mikkelson of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says about 210,000 gallons of crude oil oozed out of the pipeline yesterday morning. Crews working on the pipeland apparently failed to properly secure the oil the night before the incident.

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High School Hockey Scores

Boys Hockey:
Brainerd/Pierz/Pillager 6, Crookston Pirates 2
North Metro 3, Northern Lakes Lightning 2 (Overtime)
Forest Lake 5, Grand Rapids 4
International Falls 3, Little Falls 0

Girls Hockey
Robbinsdale Cooper 4, Pequot Lakes 3

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A Pair of Thefts Reported in Browerville

According the the Todd County Sheriff's Office--within less than an hour, two thefts were reported in Browerville yesterday. At 04:40 a vehicle theft was reported by Curtis Roback who resides on 2nd Street, East. Roback said that his pickup was stolen, along with his checkbook and wallet, and all of the contents in the bed of the truck. The truck was located a short time later--and also a location of where items that were in the truck were unloaded. The vehicle was returned to Robak. Then at 05:24, Jimmy Wiershalla, who lives on Gillis Avenue--North, reported that his wallet and checkbook were stolen from his vehicle, which was unlocked and parked in the driveway. A short distance away, the wallet and checkbook were located, but an undetermined amount of cash and check cards were missing. Anyone with information is asked to call the Todd County Sheriff's Office.

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Minnesota Department of Ag Issues Warning

(AP) According to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, consumers should avoid drinking any remaining Harvest Brand Apple Cider from an ordchard in Jordan, Minnesota. The cider was contaminated with a type of mold toxin, according to lab tests. No illnesses have been associated with the contamination.

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Friday, December 4, 2009

Wadena Mayor Calls for Special Session

Wadena Mayor Wayne Wolden is calling for an immediate special legislative session to deal with the $1.2-billion revenue shortfall projected through the end of the current biennium.

Wolden, who is the spokesperson for the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities, says they are so close to the financial edge that, "Any reduction in the December funding will spell disaster in the form of closed libraries, deeper cuts to police and fire protection and a sharp reduction in critical services, like winter snowplowing."

He goes on to say, "This is one of the most challenging times Minnesota has ever faced, with high unemployment and virtually no economic growth. Another hit to cities will cripple our communities and the effects will only worsen the state's economy."

Wolden says a special session is the only reasonable, rational and responsible option. He says, "There has never been a greater time for state leaders to drop political slogans and petty disagreements and come together to address the long-term financial needs of our state."

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Pequot Sees Jump in Stop Arm Violations

The Pequot Lakes School District has had 10 school bus stop arm violations in the last 25 school days. Officials are alarmed, because there were only 6 such violations for all of the last school year.

School Transportation and Safety Director, Randy Ryan, tells KLKS News, the violators have ranged from young drivers to old. He says some were blatant, and others just didn't know the rules.

State law requires buses to put their orange lights on 100 feet in advance of stopping when traveling 35 miles per hour or less, and 300 feet when traveling faster. When the stop arm comes out, all traffic must stop in both directions.

A violation, when students are not endangered, is a misdemeanor which carries a fine of up to $1000 and 90 days in jail. When students are endangered, or when passing on the right, it becomes a gross misdemeanor and the fine can go up to $3000 and jail time of up to a year.

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Thursday High School Scores

Boys Hockey:
Detroit Lakes/Perham 6. Northern Lakes Lightening 1

Girls Hockey:

LPGE/WDC vs St Cloud Icebreakers PPD

Girls Basketball:
Verndale 63, Swanville 57

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Petters' Lawyer Says They'll Appeal

(AP) Minnesota businessman Tom Petters' attorney says they will appeal the verdict that found Petters guilty of 20 fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy counts. Attorney Jon Hopeman says they can't file an appeal until a Federal Judge has sentenced Petters. That sentencing could take place in two to four months. It's likely that Petters faces 30 years to life in prison.

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CLC Hires Diversity Director

Central Lakes College of Brainerd had named a Director of Diversity. She is Mary Sam of Onamia. She takes her post effective Dec. 14.

Sam comes to the college after seven years at the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, where she was coordinator of local government and community relations through the Office of Government Affairs,

In the newly created administrative post, Sam will lead the CLC's effort toward intercultural competency. She will also be responsible for the development of an American Indian Center at CLC.

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Olson: New Vikes Stadium Tough Sell

State Senator Mary Olson of Bemidji says the timing for a new Vikings stadium couldn't be worse. The lease on the Metrodome is running out. The team wants the issue resolved before 2011. Meanwhile, the state is facing a $1.2 billion dollar deficit through mid 2011.

Senator Olson tells KLKS News, the vikings have been very entertaining this year, especially with the on field heroics of Brett Favre. However, the DFL-er says it is still entertainment, and can't be compared with other life and death issues facing the legislature.

Olson says stadium supporters are going to have to demonstrate considerable economic benefits and job creation to change her mind.

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H1N1 Clinic Today in Brainerd

Crow Wing County Community Services Health Division will be holding an expanded H1N1 Flu Clinic today. It'll be a walk-in clinic from 4:00 PM - 7:00 pm at the Brainerd High School Cafeteria. Crow Wing County Medical Advisor, Dr. Peter Henry, says the clinic is offered to everyone from six months to 24 years of age, 25-64 with chronic medical conditions, medical workers, pregnant women and care-givers to young children.

Dr. Henry tells KLKS News, even though the swine flu has spiked, he hopes those who are eligible for the vaccine get it, because there may be another spike later this season.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Petters Found Guilty

(AP) Tom Petters has been found guilty on all 20 counts in a $3.5 billion fraud scheme. Jurors handed down that decision this afternoon, after five days of deliberations. Petters had claimed that other defendants had carried out the fraud without his knowledge--then testified against him in an effort to get lighter sentences.

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Oberstar Not Committed to Afghanistan Surge

Minnesota Congressman Jim Oberstar is withholding his support for President Obama's proposal to increase the number the U.S. troop in Afghanistan. The senior member of the Minnesota congressional delegation said, "This was President Obama's most poignant and forceful speech to-date, making a strong intellectual case for expanding the U.S. presence in Afghanistan."

Oberstar also said he was impressed that the President laid out a timetable for withdrawal. But he didn't say how much it would cost. Because of that, Oberstar said he would reserve judgment until a specific funding request is made to Congress.

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Koering says The Deficit Can Wait Until February

State Senator Paul Koering of Fort Ripley is happy to hear that Governor Tim Pawlenty is willing to wait until the legislature reconvenes in February before dealing with the projected revenue shortfall. Revenue officials are projecting a $1.2 billion shortfall through June 2011.

Koering says the efforts of 201 legislators and the Governor are needed to solve the problem. The Republican said unallotment might be a good idea at the end of the biennium, but not now.

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Anglers Wait for First Ice

Area ice fishermen are itching to get out on the ice and try their luck. First ice usually produces the best action of the season. Brainerd Area Fisheries Supervisor Tim Brastrup tells KLKS News, he doesn't know why that it. He says maybe it's something new for the fish, but for some reason, it's when they are most aggressive.

There is still open water on area lakes. Brastrup says anglers need four inches of clear ice before they venture out. In the meantime late season open water fishing can be good, as walleyes and other species feed for the spring spawn.

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LeMieur to Run Again in 12B

Little Falls businessman Mike LeMieur says he will try again to unseat State Representative Al Doty for House District 12B next year. LeMieur lost to Doty by a narrow margin in 2008.

The Little Falls business owner said he decided to run because of the strong support he says he has received from people in the community. "A lot of people are fed up with what they've seen from government in the last year, whether it is soaring deficits, the out of control spending, or tax increases," says LeMieur.

LeMieur is a life-long Little Falls resident. He is co-owner of Home Furnace Company, Inc., and he is a 19-year member of the Little Falls Fire Department where he serves as Captain.

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Tuesday High School Scores

Boys Hockey:
Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato 6, Wadena-Deer Creek 0

Girls Hockey:
Detroit Lakes/Perham 3, Park Rapids Area 3 (OT Tie)
Sartell/Sauk Rapids Rice 3, Brainerd/Little Falls 0

Girls Basketball:
Braham 89, Onamia 37
Esko 44, Crosby-Ironton 43
Isle 78, Hinckley-Finlayson 37
Northland 76, Blackduck 39
Park Rapids 54, Menahga 40
Pequot Lakes 72, Brainerd 52
Pillager 73, Sawnville 38
Pine City 56, Aitkin 55
Pine River-Backus 73, Cass Lake-Bena 33
Upsala 79, Verndale 43
Wadena-Deer Creek 58, Pierez 49
Walker-Hackensack-Akeley 74, Bagley 41

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Central Minnesota's Drug and Gang Task Force Makes Arrests

A 27-year-old Albany woman and a 31-year-old Long Prairie man have been arrested in Long Prairie on drug charges. The Central Minnesota Drug and Gang Task Force collared Danielle Sandberg and Donald Terwey on a charge of first degree sales of a control substance.

The Todd County Sheriff's Office says they were caught with $2000 worth of methamphetamine in Long Prairie

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Successful BLH Food Drive

The Brainerd Lakes Health employees located at the Brainerd Medical Campus recently conducted a Salvation Army Food Shelf Challenge to collect food donations. All together, the employees collected over 1088 lbs of food and more than $400.

The employees were divided into nine teams made up of clinic departments; the teams competed to collect the most food. The challenge was won by the Business Office and Patient Accounts group which collected 389lbs of food.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Former Crow Wing County Prosecutor Enters Race

(AP) A former Crow Wing County prosecutor who currently lives in Canada, plans to move back to Minnesota to run as a Republican for Attorney General in 2010.

John "Jack" Graham has already filed campaign paperwork. He said Monday that he is bothered that the Attorney General's office "has become the political property of one party."

Democrats have held it for almost four decades, with sitting Attorney General Lori Swanson three years into her first term.

The 69-year old Graham has run for the job beforfe. He unsuccessfully sought the GOP endorsement in 1998. He served as Crow Wing County Attorney in the early 1990's as part of his 42-year legal career.

Graham's bid for the office involves re-establishing residency in Minnesota. He now lives in Quebec.

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Koering Predicts Big Deficit

State Senator Paul Koering is expecting "A couple hundred million dollar deficit" when state finance officials update revenue collections Wednesday. The Fort Ripley Republican tells KLKS News, life has changed, and local units of government and school districts cannot expect the state to raise taxes to fund lost state aid. He says there may have to be layoffs, including teachers.

Senator Koering says there is no urgency forcing Governor Tim Pawlenty to cut spending on his own this time, as he did at the end of the last legislative session. He expects the Governor to wait until the legislature reconvenes in February.

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Sheriff Dahl says Stay Off Ice

The first days of December will be turning decidely colder than the mild days of November. That means, ice will be forming on area lakes and ponds. Crow Wing County Sheriff Todd Dahl is issuing his annual plea that there is no such thing as safe ice. He says the water is constantly moving under the ice. The Sheriff says the ice can be a foot thick in one spot and razor thin in another.

Sheriff Dahl says parents need to remind their children to stay off the ice. That goes for pets too. He say says he is reluctant to risk human life to save an animal.

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A December Chill is in the Air

As we flip the calendar from November to December, we will be turning the page on the mild weather. K-Lakes Meteorologist Tony Schumacher says a couple of cold fronts are scheduled to blow through the Brainerd Lakes Area tonight and tomorrow night. He says return to temperatures at or below normal.

Schumacher says we could see a dusting of snow today and tomorrow. The best chance for a few inches of snow will be along the Canadian border.

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December DWI Crackdown

December brings the final Driving While Impaired focus for law enforcement agencies in 2009. This year, officers will be focusing, not only DWI, but also on unbuckled motorists, including child restraint use.

Weekends will get extra emphasis. Several law enforcement agencies in the Brainerd Lakes Area will be participating including: The Minnesota State Patrol, Crow Wing County Deputies, and officers from the police departments of Brainerd, Baxter, Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Deerwood, Emily, Crosby, Cuyuna, Crosslake and Breezy Point.

According to Deputy Chief Corky McQuiston of the Brainerd Police Department, "In 2008 alone Crow Wing County had at least 589 arrests for DWI and at least 1 alcohol-related traffic death". McQuiston adds, "Motorists should not be as concerned about getting caught by the police as they are getting caught in a crash."

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