SENATE DISTRICT 4 DFL ENDORSES CANDIDATES
Delegates from Senate District Four gathered in Walker today to endorse candidates for the Minnesota House of Representatives Districts 4A and 4B, and Senate District 4. Meg Bye, from Loon Lake Township in Cass County was unanimously endorsed as the candidate to run for House Seat 4B against incumbent GOP Representative Larry Howes. Nominations for District 4A included Representative John Persell from Frohn Township and Nicole Beaulieau of Bemidji. Senator Mary Olson received the required 60% vote on the first ballot and was endorsed.
Another Bank is Shuttered
(AP) Another bank has been shuttered by State Regulators. The FDIC has taken over receivership of State Bank of Aurora. Northern State Bank of Wisconsin has agreed to assume their deposits. State Bank's sole branch in Aurora will repopen Monday as a Northern State branch. Access to money by their customers can be made this weekend through credit cards, ATM's, or checks.
Spring Migration Has Begun
The real snowbirds are returning to the Brainerd Lakes Area. DNR Non Game Specialist Pam Perry says we are on the front edge of migration now. She has seen robins that have returned from down south, house finches and sand hill cranes.
Perry expects the waterfowl to return any day with the opening of the rivers.
Spring Begins Saturday
March has mostly provided a pleasant Spring preview. Spring officially begins 12:32 Saturday afternoon. K-Lakes Meteorologist Tony Schumacher says it may not feel like a new season. He says the low Saturday morning will be around 20, and Saturday's high will not make it out of the 30's. However, the mercury could approach 50 Sunday and Monday.
Schumacher says, despite a few flurries Friday, Spring should begin mostly dry.
A Second Cass Lake Man Charged in Shooting
According to the Cass County Sheriff's Office, a second Cass Lake man has been charged for his involvement in a shooting that occurred near the City of Cass Lake on March 4th. 23-year-old Anthony Cree has been charged with two counts, including Aiding and Abetting Attempted Murder in the 1st Degree. An investigation revealed that Cree was a passenger and owner of the motor vehicle which William Morris, age 22, was driving when Morris exited the vehicle and began shooting at a man and his child. The man was struck three times in the back, and is being treated at an area hospital for serious, but non-life threatening, injuries. The child was not physically harmed during the incident. The Honorable John P. Smith has set bail for Cree at $250,000 with conditions.
A Survey of Rural Bankers Shows Progress. . .but. . .
(AP) In a new survey of rural bankers in eleven midwestern and plains states, including Minnesota, it's indicated that there are signs of improvement--but still continued weakness in the agricultural industry. The over-all index for the Rural Mainstreet Economic Report released late-today shows an increase of over 10 points since February at 47.4. Any score below 50 suggests the economy will contract in the next few months--but that score is remarkably better than last March's reading of 18.7.
Good News in the Flood Fight
Those fighting the floods will get some help from mother nature in the next few days, according to K-Lakes Meteorologist Tony Schumacher. He says temperatures will fall below freezing at night for the next several days, that should slow the run-off and there will be very little precipitation.
Schumacher says Duluth set a record of 10 consecutive days with temperatures remaining above freezing for over-night lows.
PR Watershed Gets Grant
The Pine River Watershed Alliance received $35,000 in grants from three non-profit foundations and three citizens recently. The grants will allow the Watershed to conduct a soils phosphorus study to determine the historical and current land uses of lands in the Bungo Creek area.
This is the second phase of a multi-year program to identify the non-point sources of phosphorus flowing down the Bungo, into the Pine River and then into the Whitefish Chain of Lakes. This first phase of the PRWA research project determined the amount of phosphorus exported from Bungo Creek into the South Fork of the Pine River.
Possible Dognapping In the Area
Pet owners are being advised to keep an eye on their dogs when they are either running loose or chained out. According to Morrison County Sheriff Michel Wetzel, there is some indication that dog thieves may be active in Central and Northern Minnesota.
The Sheriff says there does not appear to have been any thefts within Morrison County, but a series of emails received by the Sheriff indicate that dogs may have been taken east and north of the county.
While not officially confirmed, the emails indicate that smaller breeds seem to be particularly vulnerable.
Students Admitt to Swanville Bomb Threat
Three Swanville students have admitted they were responsible for a bomb threat at the Swanville School March 9th. According to Morrison County Sheriff Michel Wetzel, deputies conducted numerous interviews with students; and during follow-up interviews with the the 9th grade suspects, they admitted to participating in placing a message on a bathroom wall stating the school was going to blow up.
The case file has been forwarded to the Morrison County Attorney's Office for a determination whether charges would be filed
Morrison County Flooding
The Morrison sheriff's office says water levels are rising along sections of the Mississippi River near Belle Prairie. The break up caused several ice dams to form in the Belle Prairie area, causing water to rise quickly.
No significant structural damage was reported, however, several residents reported their septic systems backed up into their basements.
In addition, crews from the City of Little Falls Public Works Department shut down a portion of Mississippi Boulevard near the Grace Covenant Church. Crews at that location utilized sand and plastic to protect a pumping station for the city's sewer system.
The Sheriff's office is requesting Minnesota Power and Light allow as much water as possible through the Little Falls dam to reduce the water level pool north of Little Falls.
Koering Town Hall Meetings
State Senator Paul Koering is holding two town hall meetings Saturday, March 27th.
The first meeting with the Fort Ripley Republican will be 8:30 AM to 10:30 AM at the Little Falls Chamber of Commerce.
The second meeting will be from 11AM - 1PM at Central Lakes College, Multi-Purpose Room E-101, Brainerd, MN 56401.
Closure on Highway 10 in Little Falls
The Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Minnesota State Patrol have closed Highway 10/east Mississippi River Bridge on the Little Falls by-pass due to an ice jam in the main channel, and erosion to the over-flow bridge. The road is closed at County Road 113 and County Road 76. MN/Dot crews and State Patrol Troopers are on the scene to direct traffic at the closure. The closure will remain in place until the floodwaters recede, and any necessary repairs to the bridge are complete.
Helmer Predicts Zig-Zaggy Market
The stock market has seen a 60% recovery from bottom a year ago. Bruce Helmer, President of the Wealth Enhancement Group, says the discussion now is, will the market be a "V" or a "W."
A "V" would be continued sharp upward movement for stocks, a "W" would be another decline. Helmer tells KLKS News, he doesn't think it will be either. He predicts will instead be a zig-zaggy line with lots of volatility, but a slight increase at the end of the year.
Helmer thinks there is opportunity for those who want to get back in the market.
Helmer will be in Brainerd Thursday to discuss the advantages of Roth IRA's at the Lodge in Brainerd, 4-6 p.m.
Ward Says Budget Balancing Problems Could Worsen
State Representative John Ward says if the Minnesota Supreme Court Rules that Governor Pawlenty's unalottment last spring was unconstitutional, it will have a devastating effect on the state.
The Brainerd DFL-er says cutting $2.7 billion on top of the $900 million they are currently trying to solve would be extremely difficult.
Ward tells KLKS News, lawmakers need a balanced approach to the problem, including tax increases, which the Governor says he will not approve.
The Brainerd City Council cut six full time fire department positions from the budget, Tuesday night, in anticipation of $680 thousand dollars in expected cuts from the state.
Crow Wing River Floods
(AP) The spring run-off is creating some trouble in the Brainerd Lakes Area.
A Pillager woman had to be rescued from her home Tuesday night as rising waters from the Crow Wing River threatened her home. Firefighters used a boat to rescue Mary Rudolph and her three dogs.
The river rose eight inches during the half hour the firefighters were at the Rudolph home.
The National Weather Service says more troubles are possible as ice makes its way from Lake Placid through the area, and dams-up water behind the ice jams.
Hecker Is In Contempt
(AP) Now Denny Hecker has been found in contempt of court for failing to pay alimony to his second ex-wife. He owes $8,200 to Sandra Hecker.
The fallen auto mogul says he has no money to pay her. However, if he doesn't, he faces 90 days in the Hennepin County jail.
Tuesday Night High School Scores
Section 6 2A
Staples-Motley 57, Morris 43
Section 8 2A
Crosby Ironton 53, Hawley 46
Section 5 1A
Isle 57, Barnum 49
Sebeka 68, Nevis 48
Section 8 1A
Cass Lake-Bena 86, Mahnomen 74
Redistricting Discussed at Brd Library
The Brainerd Lakes League of Women Voters Area will present a discussion on "Redistricting" Thursday at the Brainerd Public Library at 6:00 p.m.
Florence Hedeena of Park Rapids, will lead the discussion. Redistricting happens after each census. It is the process of redrawing the lines of the legislative districts. The eight Congressional seats for Minnesota may be seeing a change to align with the population distribution according to the 2010 Census.
The meeting is open to the public.
Ward Disappointed in Bonding Cuts
State Representative John Ward is disappointed the governor chose to delete two bonding projects in the Brainerd Area. He says the governor eliminated $320 million dollars from the bonding bill including the Cuyuna Area Trail and a multi use trail from Little Falls to Camp Ripley.
Ward says in an area where new jobs are important, the cuts are particularly painful.
Ward says this is a good time for projects, because the cost of materials and bids are lower. He says the Cuyuna Recreation Area bonding did make the cut, because it contained stimulus dollars.
Snow Mold On Your Lawn
Now that the snow pack has receded, snow mold is revealing itself. K-Lakes Meteorologist and Master Gardener Tony Schumacher says there are two kinds, gray and pink snow mold. The pink is the more serious.
Tony says unless it is serious, it should be left alone. He says it is certainly unsightly, but sunshine and warm weather is all your lawn needs.
Tony says to avoid it in the first place, do not use nitrogen on your yard in November. He says if it snows before the ground freezes, there will be lush growth underneath, promoting mold growth. He also says it is a good idea to remove dead leaves.
McElroy Says Employment Will Improve
The Minnesota Commissioner of the Department of Employment and Economic Development says the jobs picture will improve in the Brainerd Lakes Area, but it will take time. Dan McElroy says the area took a hit in construction and natural resources jobs.
McElroy tells KLKS News, there is room for optimism. He says job search firms are posting more jobs. He says the average number of hours worked has increased from 31 to 33 per week and that has made a big difference.
McElroy says the investment Wausau Paper is making in the Brainerd plant is another reason for hope. The expansion should be complete early next year.
Pequot Benefit Thursday
The Pequot Lakes High School Student Council is holding a benefit to help three area families struggling under weight of mounting medical bills. Student Council President, and Miss Nisswa, Renee Kardell says it is a spaghetti dinner. The event will be held at the Trailside Center-Pequot Lakes Baptist Church Thursday, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Money raised will go to the families of John Kloster, diagnosed with brain tumors; Robbie Newton who has been struggling with seizures, and Jared Brockway who suffered a brain aneurysm and stroke last summer.
Cost of the supper is $8 for adults, $5 for students and $3 for kids over 3. There will also be a silent auction.
Your Tax Refund
Between 75 and 80 percent of all Minnesotans get a federal tax refund, or about 2.1 million taxpayers. St. Paul IRS Spokesperson Carrie Resch says the refunds can be fairly hefty, between $2,200 and $2,500 and up to $2,900 with stimulus money.
Resch says taxpayers who wish to track their refunds may go to IRS.gov and click on "Where's My Refund." Taxpayers will need their social security number, filing status and the amount of refund expected.
Cuyuna Rec Upgrade in Doubt
Money to improve the Cuyuna Recreational Area may be in jeopardy. Governor Tim Pawlenty says he is willing to sign the bonding bill approved by the legislature. However, he is reserving the right to use the line item veto.
State Senator Paul Koering of Fort Ripley tells KLKS News, that could include all recreational requests.
Although, he says he does not know for certain if that includes the $1.2 million project.
Koering says he is certain that the troop support facility at camp Camp Ripley and a local truck station for the Minnesota Department of Transportation will make the cut.
Some MN Schools to Start Before Labor Day
(AP) Minnesota public schools are prohibited from starting the school year before Labor Day. The idea is to maintain strong late summer tourism, and keep the turn styles spinning at the Minnesota State Fair.
However, the Minnesota Department of Education has granted 25 school districts in southwestern Minnesota a exemption. The districts say they need the extra time to prepare their students for the high stakes tests come spring time.
Commissioner Alice Seagren granted the exemption under what's called a flexible learning year.
Oberstar Likely to Support Reform
(AP) Minnesota Congressman James Oberstar says he is likely to vote for the health care reform bill making its way through congress. The senior member of the Minnesota congressional delegation says he still needs to see how it impacts the budget and abortion. Oberstar is pro-life.
However, the lawmaker, who represents the Brainerd Lakes Area, says he is not an "Absolutist" and that a single issue is not likely to make him vote no.
Supporters of health care reform still need to round up support to pass the bill.
Republicans are widely expected to vote no.
Crosslake St. Patrick's Day Parade.
Despite gray skies and temperatures shy of 40, the 36th annual St. Patrick's Day Parade brought throngs of people to Crosslake, Saturday.
The spectators were as well festooned as those in the parade, with green face paint, green hair, red beards and of course hats, lots of hats. A number of spectators stuffed their small family dogs into their coats for a little extra warmth.
Parade organizers estimated between 10 to 15 thousand might crowd into town for the annual rite into spring.
Seagren Okays Plan for Pre-Labor Day Start for Some Schools
(AP) Alice Seagren, Minnesota Education Commissioner, has approved a plan that would let school districts in southwestern portions of Minnesota start the next academic year on August 23rd. Starting school before Labor Day is forbidden by State Law, but the districts say the early start could help improve test scores.