Saturday, December 12, 2009

Stepped-Up Patrols Planned in 13 Counties

(AP) Extra patrols are being planned by authorities in 13 counties that had more than half of Minnesota's alcohol-related deaths and serious injuries over the last three years. According to the Department of Public Safety, enhanced patrols in the deadliest counties have resulted in more thatn 13,000 DWI arrests in the last five years.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

5 Minnesota Cities Receive $41.3 Million For Water Projects

Bird Island, Clearwater, Cosmos, Grand Rapids and Redwood Falls are receiving a total of $41.3 million dollars from the Minnesota Public Facilities Authority for improvements to drinking water and wastewater systems.

Grand Rapids is expecting $30.2 million dollars to build a new wastewater treatment facility that will improve energy efficiency and water conservation. The package, which came from the Clean Water Revolving Fund, consists of a $28.5 million dollar loan at 2.9-percent interest over 20 years and $1.7 million dollars in principal forgivness. The loan will save the city $5.7 million dollars compared with market-rate financing.

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Longville Woman Killed in Pedestrian Accident

A 33-year-old Longville woman was killed in a car-pedestrian accident on Highway 200 Thursday morning. The Minnesota State Patrol reports that Jessine L Pike was walking in the west bound lane east of the Northern Lights Casino when she was struck just before sunrise.

The 1998 Taurus, also traveling west bound on Highway 200, was driven by a 57-year-old Longville woman. The State Patrol says the road surface was dry at the time.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thursday Night High School Scores

Little Falls 48, Willmar 27
Pierz 48, Crosby-Ironton 26

Boys Hockey:
Brainerd/Pierz/Pillager 7, St. Cloud Apollo 1
Northern Lakes Lightening 3, Wadena-Deer Creek 1

Girls Hockey:
St. Cloud Icebreakers 3, Brainerd/Little Falls 2

Boys Basketball:
Bertha-Hewitt 56, Verndale 22
Big Lake 67, Pierz 63 (OT)
Holy Family Catholic 64, Blake 35
Nevis 68, Pine River Backus 60
Staples-Motley 55, Pequot Lakes 49

Girls Basketball:
Bagley 65, Park Rapids 49
Bertha-Hewitt 61, Nevis 40
Browerville 48, Eagle Valley 45
McGregor 61, Albrook 45
Northland 75, Littlefork-Big Falls 30
Pequot Lakes 79, Pillager 33

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Break-In Reported Near Long Prairie

Sometime in the past couple of weeks, a break-in occured at the Charles Krause residence, located 4 miles west of Long Prairie. Guns, tools and two vehicles were among the items taken. The Tood County Sheriff's Office is investigating and asking anyone with information to contact their office.

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Wind Chills Blast Brainerd

Dangerous wind chills Followed the seasons first big snow storm. Wind Chill Advisories were in effect this morning for the Brainerd area, with values between 20 and 30 below. K-Lakes Meteorologist Tony Schumacher says it doesn't take long for exposed skin to freeze in conditions like that. He says we can expect a similar bout of cold again tonight.

Schumacher anticipates moderating temperatures this weekend that might get us back to normal by Sunday. But, another wave of cold is expected the first part of next week that may result in high temperatures only in the single digits.

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Cabin Owners Could See Big Tax Increases

Some cabin owners in the Brainerd Lakes Area may see their property taxes go up by as much as 30 percent, according to Crow Wing County Assessor Martyn Schmidt. He tells KLKS News the impact will vary as the benefit of the so-called Limited Market Value was phased-out. LMV was a cap on how much cabin and lakeshore owners would have to pay, if the difference between the actual market value and taxable value grew too fast.

Schmidt says everyone is at their estimated market value now. He says the most recent market values were set on comparable sales in the last three months of 2007 and the first nine months of 2008. Property taxes are payable in May 2010.

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Oberstar Backs PolyMet

The proposed PolyMet Copper-Nickel mine in St. Louis County has won the backing of Minnesota Congressman Jim Oberstar. The project has also won a draft Environmental Impact Statement determination of adequacy.

Oberstar says the project will produce some 300 construction jobs and 400 permanent jobs, with an annual payroll of $40-million. He says there should be 500 spin-off jobs worth an economic impact of $242-million.

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Brainerd Area Home Sales Up

Housing sales have increased in the lakes area by almost 12% over last year in the Brainerd Lakes Area, according to Edina Realty manager Jim Eisler. He attributes the increase in part to the federal tax credit. This view is also supported by Dr. Lawrence Yun Chief Economist of the National Association of Realtors. Yun says the credit helped stimulate real estate sales for first-time buyers and for move-up buyers.

Eisler expects the expansion of the tax credit will help the next segment of the market, the so-called move-up buyer looking at properties in the middle price bracket. The new $6,500 federal tax credit is available to all credit worthy buyers.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Meetings Tonight and Tomorrow About Proposed Polymet Plant

(AP) Even though there's been winter weather, two public meetings about the proposed Polymet copper-nickle mining project on the Iron Range will go ahead as scheduled. One meeting planned by government agencies is happening tonight at Mesabi East Schools in Aurora. There'll be another meeting tomorrow at the Schwan Center in the National Sports Center Complex in Blaine.

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Fazio Reacts to Extending Medicare Benefits

The Obama administration is said to be pleased that the senate is close to agreement on a public option in the health care reform debate. The proposal would extend medicare benefits to those as young as 55.

Dr. Charles Fazio spoke to the Rosenmeier Forum at Central Lakes College last night. He told KLKS News, while the medical plan is inexpensive to purchase, it would not support the costs of doctors and hospitals. He predicts people would migrate to the plan, and would change what hospitals and clinics are paid.

Dr. Fazio says such a plan could also result in a significant disruption to the private insurance market.

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The Ice is Beginning to Sing

There are ways to enjoy the forming ice, other than to risk venturing out on to it. Grand Rapids DNR Public Information Officer Jean Goad says just listen. You can hear the ice twang and splash as the ice gets thicker.

Goad says 4 inches of ice is needed to support people. It can be measured using an ice auger, ice chisel or cordless drill.

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Malmo Man, Hero

A rural Malmo man is a hero after saving the life of a 21-year-old Verndale woman Monday night.

Roy Berg was tending to his dog when he saw an auto accident on Highway 18 near his Aitkin County home. Kelly Stave swerved to avoid a deer and struck a tree.

Berg saw flames popping from the vehicle and heard the woman calling for help.

Unable to open the driver's door, Berg helped the woman out of the passenger side and across the road. Within a short period of time, the vehicle became fully engulfed in flames. Trooper Kevin Skalsky said it would have been fatal accident had it not been for the heroics of Berg.

Stave was taken to Riverwood Medical Center in Aitkin for ankle injuries.

State Patrol Sergent Curt Mowers says motorists should never swerve left or into on-coming traffic to avoid animals or objects on the road, and to always buckle up.

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Morrison County Looking for Burglary Leads

The Morrison County Sheriff's office is asking for help from the public in the investigation of four burglaries. Sheriff Michel Wetzel says they occurred in the southwest portion of Morrison County on November 28th. Responding deputies determined that the Jennie-O Turkey Store in Swanville, Michael's Trucking, and Leading Edge Cabinets in the City of Upsala, and the Bowlus Feed Store in the City of Bowlus had all sustained burglaries.

Anyone with information about any of the break-ins is encouraged to contact the Morrison County Sheriff's Office at 320-632-9233. Reporting parties can ask to remain anonymous.

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Tuesday Night High School Scores

Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale 48, Pelican Rapids 24
Big Lake 41, Little Falls 36
Browerville/Eagle Valley 45. Royalton/Upsala 31
Royalton/Upsala 44, Osakis 25
Detroit Lakes 40, Staples-Motley 21
Detroit Lakes 66, Crosby Ironton 14
Staples-Motley 67, Crosby Ironton 8

Boys Hockey:
Alexandria 4, Brainerd/Pierz/Pillager 2
Fergus Falls 6, Little Falls 3
Northern Lakes 10, Walker-Hackensack-Akeley/Cass Lake-Bena 1

Girls Hockey:
Alexandria 5, Brainerd/Little Falls 1
Detroit Lakes/Perham 7, LPGE/WDC 2
Thief River Falls 4, Park Rapids 1

Boys Basketball:
Blackduck 73, LaPorte 46
Holdingford 58, Royalton 39
Little Falls 56, Pierz 42
Menahga 70, Browerville 62.
Pequot Lakes 74, Deer River 46
Sawnville 70, Pillager 28
Verndale 48, Parkers Prairie 43
Wadena-Deer Creek 63, Pine River-Backus 49

Girls Basketball:
Aitkin 39, Moose Lake/Willow River 36
Alexandria 77, Little Falls 48
Bertha-Hewitt 65, Verndale 43
Brainerd 63, St. Cloud Tech 52
Crosby-Ironton 48, Detroit Lakes 29
LaPorte 60, Blackduck 58
Pequot Lakes 62, Staples-Motley 45
Upsala 60, Pillager 47
Wadena-Deer Creek 57, Park Rapids 26
Walker-Hackensack-Akeley 62, Northome/Kelliher 18

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CLC Shows Enrollment Gains

Central Lakes College, Brainerd and Staples, was the 22nd fastest-growing public, two-year college in the nation within its enrollment category in 2008.

The Community College Week newspaper on Nov. 30 reported that it had compiled data on the nation’s fastest-growing community colleges.

The Fall Enrollment Survey surveyed enrollment headcount increases from fall 2007 to fall 2008, which placed colleges in four enrollment categories for comparison. Central Lakes College showed a 15.4 percent increase. The year before, CLC had grown by 14.8 percent to rank 12th.

CLC's headcount went from 3,343 to 3,858, an increase of 515 students, among colleges with enrollments of 2,500-4,999. In the report, CLC was one of only two Minnesota two-year colleges in the Top 50, with Dakota County Technical growing by 14.1 percent.

In its third straight year of significant growth, the community and technical college is accommodating more students in 2009. On the 30th day of the current fall semester CLC reported a 7.5 percent increase from the same point in 2008, with a headcount of 4,010. On Dec. 7, the headcount was at 4,575.

CLC spring semester registration is under way, with enrollment data suggesting a potential 34-percent headcount increase over spring 2009. The spring term starts Jan. 11, 2010.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

State Senator Dick Day Resigns

(AP) Senator Dick Day, a veteran lawmaker, is resigning to push for State-sponosored gambling at two Minnesota racetracks. The long-time lawmaker will become President of a group that wants slot machines at Running Aces Harness park, and Canterbury Park. Racino is now funded by horse owners.

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Salvation Army Needs Bell Ringers

The Brainerd Lakes Salvation Army is still in need of volunteer bell ringers. Major Jeff Strickler says there are 737 volunteer hours of bell ringing that remain unfilled. They are almost one-third of the way to the Christmas kettle fund-raising goal of $103,000. Major Strickler is confident they can reach their goal despite a weak economy. He says many unemployed neighbors are counting on their help this Christmas Season.

The kettle season runs until Dec. 24, during which time volunteers will bell ring at eight Brainerd and Baxter locations every weekday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Kettle donations account for approximately one-fifth of the Brainerd Lakes Salvation Army’s annual operating budget. These funds help serve over 11,000 Brainerd Lakes residents every year.

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Winter Storm Hits Minnesota

A major snowstorm is sweeping across the Midwest through tomorrow. Meteorologist Tony Schumacher says the worst of the storm still looks to track from Iowa through southeast Minnesota, most of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan where 8 to 12 inches of snow will be likely. Around here, it appears we could pick up anywhere from 2 to 5 inches of snow. The 4 or 5 inch totals will be probably confined to the east-southeast part of our listening area.

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect through 6 p.m. Wednedsday for Crow Wing, Morrsion, Aitkin, and Mille Lacs Counties.

The worst of it for us will come after the snow with gusty winds tonight and Wednesday. Look for significant blowing and drifting of the fluffy new snow.

Bitterly cold air will dive into our region the next several days, with low temperatures possibly down to -10 by Thursday morning and wind chills as low as -30.

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Health Reform Tonight in Brainerd

The Gordon Rosenmeier Center for State and Local Government hopes to put some perspective on the health care reform debate tonight at Central Lakes College in Brainerd.

Dr. Charles Fazio is Chief Medical Director for Medica or Minnesota. He says providing insurance to more people is a good thing, because they will be more likely to seek medical attention when they need it. How we pay for, should also be of great concern.

Dr. Fazio says the health care debate shouldn't be just about insurance. There are other parts to medical care that should be reformed. He says Minnesota has done a much better job that other states.

The forum begins at 7 p.m. tonight in the John Chalberg Theater

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Monday High School Scores

Boys Basketball:
Crosby-Ironton 69, Pine River Backus 43
Isle 55, Hinckley-Finlayson 36

Girls Basketball:
Clearbrook-Gonvick 59, Nevis 57
Sebeka 68, Browerville 50

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Backus Man Charged With Damage To Trees

Cass County authorities arrested a Backus man Friday for damaging over 500 Red Pine trees that were sold at a public timber auction north of Backus.

51-year-old Stephen Louis was arrested when deputies executed a search warrant at his residence. Olson has been released on bail after being charged with Criminal Damage To Property in the First Degree.

Olson allegedly drove large nails into the trees on a tree plantation near Backus. The Cass County Sheriff's Office is continuing their investigation and additional charges may result.

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Two More H1N1 Flu Clinics

The Crow Wing County Health Division has a pair of upcoming H1N1 flu clinics scheduled. The first will be Wednesday, December 9th from 4:00 pm to 7:00pm at Pequot Lakes High School. The next clinic will be on Friday, December 11th from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm at the Cuyuna Range Elementary School located at 509 6th St NE in Crosby.

The target groups for these clinics are: children ages 6 months old to young, adults aged 24 years old; people aged 25 through 64 years old with a chronic medical condition; pregnant women; household contacts and caregivers of infants under 6 months old and health care providers or emergency medical personnel.

There is no charge for the H1N1 vaccinations. Additional clinics will be planned as target groups are expanded and more vaccine is received. For more information call 218-822-7022.

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Klobuchar Urges Vets to Become EMTs

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar is introducing legislation that helps reduce the shortage of much-needed emergency medical personnel in rural communities while simultaneously increasing job opportunities for returning veterans. The amendment, to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, would streamline civilian paramedic training for returning veterans who already have emergency medical experience as a result of their military service.

The Minnesota DFL-er says, "When emergencies happen, families in rural communities should not have to worry about the availability of medical personnel. She says there is an abundance of returning veterans who have significant medical training and experience. "They're an ideal talent pool to relieve the severe shortage of emergency medical personnel in rural communities."

The amendment would accelerate and streamline the transition to civilian employment for returning veterans who already have emergency medical training.

The amendment would authorize federal grants for universities, colleges, technical schools, and State EMS agencies to develop an appropriate curriculum to train these veterans and fast-track their eligibility for paramedic certification. A standard paramedic training program can take one to two years to complete.

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Winter Storm Heading Our Way

Looks like Minnesota is about to get its first blast of the winter season. Meteorologist says most of the heavy weather, Tuesday and Wednesday, should be 150 miles to the south of the Brainerd Lakes Area. Still, he says we will get 1-3 inches of snow and strong wind.

Schumacher says some portions of central Iowa could get 6 to 12 inches of snow.

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Gull Lake Man Rescued from Ice

A Gull Lake lakeshore owner had to be pulled from Wilson Bay Sunday morning after he broke through thin ice. The unidentified man was trying to get his dog off the ice. He laid a ladder on the thin sheet, when he and the ladder broke through.

The Pillager fire department and a neighbor pulled him out of the cold water. He was taken to St. Joseph's Medical Center for observation.

The dog was on the shore by the time rescuers arrived.

Crow Wing County Sheriff Todd Dahl tells KLKS News, it's important to keep pets off the ice this time of year. He tells KLKS News, he does not want to risk human life to save a pet.

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