Brainerd and St. Cloud School Districts Face Penalties
(AP) A State penalty of $25 per student is being assessed against some larger Minnesota School Districts because they failed to reach an agreement on teacher contracts before midnight last night. Brainerd, St. Cloud, Minneapolis, and Edina were among the districts that had not settled their teacher contracts by last evening.
Brainerd Still Without Teacher Deal
Some large Minnesota school districts, including Brainerd, face financial penalties if they don't reach agreement on teacher contracts before a state deadline of midnight Friday. Education Minnesota, the state teachers union, says that 29 locals had not settled their two year contracts as of early Friday evening. Districts that don't reach a deal with their teachers by the deadline are penalized $25.00 per student by the state of Minnesota. The Minneapolis Public Schools announced late Friday that they could not reach agreement with the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers before the deadline. Brainerd faces a $200-thousand dollar penalty.
More Bank Closures
Regulators have shut down two small banks in Illinois and Minnesota. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation took over St. Stephen State Bank in St. Stephen, Minnesota and Town Community Bank And Trust in Antioch, Illinois. First State Bank of St. Joseph, Minnesota agreed to assume the assets and deposits of St. Stephen State Bank in Minnesota.
Green Week at CLC
Central Lakes College is inaugurating Green Week January 19-22.
Co-sponsors are the student-driven Green Club and the faculty- and staff-led Green Team.
Activities include the Recycling Challenge to see who can collect the most cans and bottles to win free pizza, car pooling to win gas cards, a clothing drive and giveaway, solid waste sorting in the cafeteria, posted tips for going green, and a free showing of "Wall-E" with popcorn.
The Green Club at CLC is planning "Power-Off Day," a February event to demonstrate how the college is doing its part in the Minnesota Schools Cutting Carbon initiative.
Old holiday lights were collected for recycling at the Brainerd campus. More than 150 pounds were received, according to Sandra Kaplan, a Green Team member.
Kaplan said that adult clothing and outerwear not procured by students during Green Week will be donated to a non-profit used clothing outlet.
Central Lakes College is a co-sponsor of the Jan. 30 Back to Basics event at the Pine River-Backus School, which offers numerous workshops and exhibits related to energy efficiencies and renewable resources.
The Brainerd campus of CLC on April 24 will host the Living Green Expo.
Olson Snowmobile Listening Session
State Senator Mary Olson of Bemidji held listening sessions in Pequot Lakes and Hackensack via snowmobile Thursday. The District 4 DFL-er from Bemidji says she logged about 50 miles on the Paul Bunyan Trail, and wished to thank the volunteers who maintain them.
Olson told KLKS News, she heard from constituents who wanted to see a leaner state government, with more efficiencies; and others who thought the tax burden was too high on the middle class. She believes both can be achieved.
The legislative session begins February 4th. KLKS will feature interviews with area lawmakers during the session.
Thursday Night High School Scores
Mille Lacs 64, Hinckley-Finlayson/Pine City/East Central 12
Royalton/Upsala 41, Pierz 23
Staples-Motley 43, Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale 24
Park Rapids 51, Crosby-Ironton 23
Park Rapids 55, Walker-Hackensack-Akeley/Nevis 19
Brainerd/Pierz/Pillager 5, Alexandria 4
Fergus Falls 6, Little Falls 3
Park Rapids/Menahga/Nevis 6, Wadena-Deer Creek 0
Brainerd/Little Falls 2, Alexandria 1
Detroit Lakes/Perham 10, LPGE/WDC1
Aitkin 55, Onamia 33
Eagle Valley 70, Verndale 37
Grand Rapids 72, Pequot Lakes 47
Nevis 47, Pine River-Backus 40
Oasakis 55, Browerville 48
Rockford 73, Pierz 71
Sebeka 73, Henning 44
Staples-Motley 51, Perham 46
Upsala 63, Royalton 38
Wadena-Deer Creek 74, New York Mills 55
Brainerd 54, Fergus Falls 45
Crosby-Ironton 64, Aitkin 37
Esko 74, McGregor 31
Hawley 62, Wadena-Deer Creek 43
Isle 58, Hinckley-Finlayson 40
New York Mills 76, Menahga 37
Pillager 55, Verndale 41
Rush City 34, Royalton 27
Sebeka 76, Henning 37
Willmar 78, Little Falls 32
Pokegama Dam Getting a Face-lift
(AP) Work began on January 6th on the Pokegama Dam, located in Grand Rapids. Renovations will include improving six existing slide gates, the removal and replacement of all wooden stop logs and existing handling system; erosion repair of one abutment wall, and more. The work is being done by Wiebolt Electric Company of Bemidji. The project is being funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and was awarded to Wiebolt by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The work is expected to continue into the Fall of 2010.
Vikings' Arctic Blast Returns To Mille Lacs Lake
The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and the Minnesota Vikings have teamed up again for the annual Arctic Blast Snowmobile Rally, which will be held this year on February 13 and 14 at Mille Lacs Lake. Participants will snowmobile with current and former Vikings players and cheerleaders and have the chance to win $30,000 in prizes. The weekend will kick-off with a community pancake breakfast on Saturday, February 13, from 9 a.m. to noon at the GC Mille Lacs Events & Convention Center. Activities will include autographs and pictures with current Vikings' players, visits from the Vikings' cheerleaders and mascot, inflatable interactive games, football toss and kick contest, face painting, and prize drawings. Tickets to the breakfast are $8 for adults and $5 for children 12 years and under. For every meal purchased, one dollar will be donated to the Mille Lacs Band Community Youth Foundation, and the Vikings will donate an additional $1,000 to the foundation. The event also supports the Vikings' Children's Fund.
Warm January Creates Some Road Hazards
"Tree snow" greeting morning commuters today. That's snow that falls from trees that have collected frozen fog. Minnesota State Patrol Sergent Curt Mowers says that, along with other winter conditions, have created some slippery surfaces around the Brainerd area. Bridge decks and shaded road surfaces tend to be the worst.
Despite those conditions, there hasn't be a surge in accidents. He says area drivers have been practicing their best winter driving skills.
Donating to Haiti
Brainerd area people who wish to aid those in earthquake stricken Haiti may do so by making a contribution to the Christian based organization Feed My Starving Children.
Spokeswoman Christine Hallenbeck tells KLKS News, they have a million prepackaged meals on the island now, and another million on the way. She says each meal costs 17 cents to produce.
Hallenbeck says a Mobile Pack event will be held on the Staples campus of Central Lakes College February 6th and 7th. It is an opportunity for volunteers to package the meals. She says it is a powerful hands-on effort to touch children in other parts of the world.
For those interested in making a contribution, go to the website WWW.fmsc.org.
More Trouble for Hecker
(AP) The legal troubles for bankrupt auto dealer Denny Hecker continue to pile-up. He is now being sued by a court trustee.
The lawsuit alleges concealed assets, including a luxury condo in Aspen, expensive club memberships and cash held in a safe.
The 57-year-old Hecker filed for personal bankruptcy in June after his auto empire collapsed. Two of his dealerships were located in Baxter.
Koering Has another District 12 Opponent
Brainerd Native Taylor Stevenson says he will announce his candidacy for the State Senate District 12 seat Friday.
Stevenson began exploring a run to be the DFL candidate for the Brainerd area State Senate seat last August. He says. "The stakes are simply too high to not put forth a fresh vision for Central Minnesota."
Referring to the 1971 Minnesota Miracle, Stevenson says incumbent State Senator Paul Koering and his Republican opponent Paul Gazelka, have worked to stall progress and undo policies that for decades helped Central Minnesota families.
Senator Koering says he will run for reelection.
Oberstar Reacts to Haiti Earthquake
Minnesota Congressman Jim Oberstar describes the earthquake in Haiti as a human tragedy of unimaginable proportions. He says there was abject poverty and distress in Haiti prior to the earthquake, and "I can only imagine how horrid the situation is now."
The 8th District DFL-er says Haiti lacks good roads and bridges, hospitals and emergency services to aid its citizens in a disaster like this. Haiti is a nation of nine million people, living in an area the size of St. Louis, Lake and Cook counties in Northeast Minnesota, and this nation lacks the most basic services necessary to recover from a disaster of this magnitude.
As the richest nation in the world, Oberstar says "The U.S. have a moral responsibility to help the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere in such a time of such dire need. However, there are practical considerations in our own national interest for assisting Haiti as well."
"This is a pivotal moment for democracy in Haiti. President Rene Garcia Preval has established stability, continuity and trust in government."
Oberstar cautions, "If the Haitian government fails in this humanitarian crisis, the political turmoil will be unimaginable, and will plunge the country into another decade, or more, of even worse distress."
Todd County Has Charges Pending Against Burglars
On December 10th, 2009, the Todd County Sheriff's Office received a complaint that a home and out-building belonging to Charles ahd Phyllis Krause of rural Long Prairie had been broken into. It was reported that motor vehicles, along with a large amount of personal property, including firearms, had been taken. The value of the property stolen was valued at $30,000. Following an investigation, a good portion of the property was recovered from a number of pawn shops, residences of the accused, and residences of friends of the accused. Charges are pending against Joseph Ferrian, Gary Hayes, Randy Leibeg, and Justin Dellwo. Assisting in the Todd County Sheriff's investigation were the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office, and Mille Lacs County Sheriff's Office, among others.
Ban the Bug Comes to Brainerd
The old Book World store at the Westgate Mall in Brainerd, will become the site of the Ban the Bug flu clinic Friday.
Nurse Manager Gwen Anderson of the Crow Wing County Health Department says 10 percent of the county population has been vaccinated against the H1N1 strain, so far. She tells KLKS News, they have enough vaccine to treat 30 percent. If they are successful, she says the rest of the unvaccinated population will benefit from reduced exposure.
The clinic Friday runs from noon to 4 p.m. It is for anyone 6 months and older, and is free.
Northern Owls Visiting the Area
Bird watchers may have something new to see this time of year, besides the typical chickadee, nuthatch or wood pecker. DNR Non Game Specialist Pam Perry says some winter owls are coming in from Canada, such as the Great Grey, Snowy and Northern Hawk owl. She says the Northern Hawk owl is a medium sized owl that acts more like a hawk than owl.
Perry says the Great Horned owl is just starting its courtship now, and should be on the nest in February.
Perry reminds taxpayers to look for the loon check-off on the tax form. Proceeds go to non game species.
DFL Retreat In Breezy this Weekend
DFL activists from Congressional Districts 6, 7 and 8 will gather for a retreat in Breezy Point this weekend for political workshops strategy sessions. The event will also give potential gubernatorial candidates time to garner support.
Candidates that attend will give speeches and answer sessions between 10 am and 4pm on Saturday.
Guests include Franni Franken, wife of U.S. Senator Al Franken.
Saturday evening includes a banquet with guest speakers Congressman Jim Oberstar and Former State Senator Becky Lourey. The registration fee for the daylong event and dinner is $25.
Death Row Inmate Charged in Baxter
(AP) A former Ohio death row inmate has been arrested in Baxter after striking his son with a baseball bat.
45-year-old Kenneth Thomas Richey is accused of assaulting Sean Richey at the younger man's home on January 6th. The fracas allegedly grew nasty after the pair had been engaged in a friendly wrestling match.
The elder Richey was freed on $3000 bond.
Richey had been convicted of setting a house fire in 1986 in which a 2-year-old girl died. A federal appeals court released him from death row finding that his lawyer had mishandled the case.
Tuesday Night High School Scores
Aitkin 35, Ogilvie 34
Detroit Lakes 38, Park Rapids 27
Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus 42, Blackduck/Cass Lake-Bena/Indus 36
Eden Valley-Watkins 35, Pierz 34
Pierz 45, Rockford 21
Brainerd/Pierz/Pillager 5, Bemidji 4
Little Falls 6, Pairie Centre 3
Moose Lake 5, Northern Lakes 4
Detroit Lakes/Perham 2, Crosby-Ironton/Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus 0
Fergus Falls 4, Brainerd/Little Falls 1
Park Rapids 6, LPGE/WDC 3
Bertha-Hewitt 65, Menahga 41
Braham 79, Aitkin 48
Cass Lake-Bena 98, LaPorte 54
Cromwell 55, McGregor 47
Crosby-Ironton 68, Wadena-Deer Creek 61
Henning 57, Pillager 48
Isle 66, Onamia 35
Little Falls 77, Sartell 53
Milaca 63, Mora 50
Northland 70, Bigfork 57
Pequot Lakes 72, Park Rapids 35
Sebeka 81, Verndale 32
Staples-Motley 80, Detroit Lakes 67
Walker-Hackensack-Akeley 65, Clearbrook-Gonvick 40
Braham 78, Isle 28
Browerville 40, Royalton 26
East Central 81, Aitkin 61
Pierz 44, Maple Lake 33
Pine River-Backus 44, Wadena-Deer Creek 40
Princeton 66, Milaca 29
Walker-Hackensack-Akeley 72, Clearbrook-Gonvick 51
Two Pequot Lakes' Students Nominated for "Triple A Award"
Activities Director at Pequot Lakes High School, Marc Helmrichs, announced today that Kirstin Noska and Silas Lydeen, both seniors, have been nominated for the Section 6A Triple "A" Award. The award is sponsored by the Minnesota State High School League. The award goes to high school seniors who have a "B" or better grade point average, and who participate in League-sponsored athletic and fine arts activites. League officials will announce the four award recipients at an on-court ceremony coming up on Saturday, March 27th. Each award recipient will receive a four-year $1,000 scholarship.
Local Counties Request Ag Disaster Aid
Crow Wing, Cass, Aitkin and Wadena Counties are among 18 Minnesota counties seeking agriculture disaster status from Governor Tim Pawlenty in a letter today to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack
Farmers in these counties have experienced significant crop losses in 2009 due to difficult growing conditions. While northeastern Minnesota counties experienced severely dry weather, several north central counties experienced cold, wet growing conditions coupled with an early frost that prematurely ended the growing season.
Loss Assessment Reports indicate that farmers experienced crop losses of 30 percent or more to corn, soybeans, canola, sunflowers, flax, barley, oats, blueberries, honey, dry edible beans, rye and sugar beet crops.
Wadena Man Appointed to EMS Board
Governor Tim Pawlenty today announced the reappointment of a Wadena man and four others to the Emergency Medical Services Regulatory Board. All five are appointed to four-year terms that expire on January 6, 2014.
Gary S. Pearson, of Wadena, is the director of outstate ambulance operations and support services for North Memorial Ambulance Service, where he has administrative responsibility for eight ambulance regions and 17 ambulance bases.
The Emergency Medical Services Regulatory Board makes recommendations on improving access, delivery and effectiveness of the state’s EMS delivery system and establishes procedures for investigating, hearing and resolving complaints against EMS providers.
Klobuchar Tours Park Rapids Plant
Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar will stop in Park Rapids today as part of her travels throughout Minnesota this week to highlight the job creation potential of energy efficiency and homegrown energy, especially with small businesses.
Klobuchar is co-author of the American Renewable Energy Act, which would establish a national renewable energy standard to stimulate innovation and investment in homegrown energy. The DFL-er also serves as chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Competitiveness, Innovation and Export Promotion.
Klobuchar is scheduled to review new energy efficiency features at the Lamb Weston/RDO Frozen food plant in Park Rapids at 4 p.m. today.
Monday Night High School Scores
Cromwell 54, McGregor 35
Deer River 60, Hill City 13
Northland 72, Cass Lake-Bena 33
Pierz 53, Sauk Rapids-Rice 42
Scams on the Increase
Crow Wing County Sheriff Todd Dahl says he is getting an increase in the number of scams reported. He says the scams often request money to get a loved one out of a foreign country and to the U.S. Often they prey on sympathies for the military.
Sheriff Dahl says these crimes are difficult to investigate, because they often cross international borders. He says once they narrow where the headquarters are, the culprits have already left. Dahl says it's best to donate money locally to known charities.
Nice Ice for Breezy
Breezy Pointers and visitors know, ice can be fun. Hundreds had fun during the annual Ice Fest celebration on the bay in front of Breezy Point Resort Friday night and Saturday.
There were ice slides to thrill, fireworks to amaze and ice drilling to admire.
The Pequot Lakes-Breezy Point Lion's Club hosted the Power Ice Auger World Championships Saturday afternoon. A crowd estimated at 200 spectators watched 35 participants turn 18 inches of ice into Swiss cheese.
There were trophies and prizes for the winners, including ice-fishing gear supplied by Strikemaster, Vexilar, Clam Ice Fishing, Gander Mountain, and gift certificates from local area restaurants.
The winners were:
Kid's Ages Under 8:
1st, Dawson Rickard, Time: 1:19
2nd, Ryan Bekken, Time: 2:56
Kid's Ages 8-11:
1st, Landon Carty, Time: 1:34
2nd, Jory Ness, Time: 1:47
3rd, Avery Donovan, Time: 1:48
Kid's Ages 12:
1st, Dillon Schofield, Time: 41.75
2nd, Bailey Donovan, Time: 44.01
3rd, Taylor Bekken, Time: 1:14.63
Women's Hand Auger:
1st, Kimberly Greenagh, Time: 25.54
2nd, Jill Carty, Time: 28.71
Men's Hand Auger (two holes):
1st, Tryg Waterhouse, Time: 16.77
2nd, Mark Kiemer, Time: 18.34
3rd, Brian Wallin, Time: 18.52
Women's Power Auger (two holes):
1st, Sylvi Olson, Time: 10.0
Antique Auger (two holes):
1st, Watson, Time: 19.21
2nd, Dave Guenther, Time: 29.28
3rd, Scott Holman, Time: 1:20.27
Men's Power Auger (three holes):
1st, Brian Wallin, Time: 16.33
2nd, Dave Guenther, Time: 16.47
3rd, Tony Binda, Time: 16.47
Due to the tie, they had an ice off. First one out wins and Dave won second.
The last exhibition was by Strikemaster’s modified ice auger drilling 6 holes in record time.
Money raised from the Power Ice Auger World Championships goes to the Pequot Lakes-Breezy Point Lions Club. To learn more about the club, call 218-820-3281.
More Muskies May Be Coming to Brainerd Area
(AP) A few Brainerd area lakes may see the introduction of a Minnesota monster. The Department of Natural Resources is considering stocking muskies in Roosevelt, Upper South Long and Lower South Long Lake.
The DNR says it is in response to increased interest among anglers.
Signs will be posted at the lakes' public access, and hearings will be taken this summer and fall. If there is enough interest, the lakes will be stocked in 2011.
The muskie is among Minnesota's biggest game fish, know for a high level of ferocity.