Friday, July 16, 2010

Road Work Continues in Baxter

Crews continue to work on resurfacing the Highway 210 mainline, including turn lanes, from Cass County line to Golf Course Road in Baxter. Motorists need to slow down and watch for lane closures/shifts and flaggers controlling traffic at accesses.

Work/lane closures planned for the intersection of Highway 210/371:

* Saturday morning, July 17, from approximately 5 a.m. to 9 a.m.
* Monday afternoon, July 19
* Tuesday morning, July 20

During each scheduled timeframe crews will pave a different travel lane through the intersection. State Patrol troopers will be on site to direct traffic. Motorists are asked to take alternative routes to avoid travel delays. Crews plan to work all day, Saturday, July 17 on the project, to make-up for time lost earlier this week from broken equipment and bad weather. The entire project is scheduled to be complete by July 29.

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Saturday Storms Possible

We could me moving from a fine Friday into a stormy Saturday, according to KLKS Meteorologist Tony Schumacher. 

Scattered thunderstorms are expected to develop across Central and Northeastern Minnesota Saturday afternoon. 

Schumacher says the real concern is the potential of a squall line developing over western Minnesota Saturday evening and over-night as a cold front slams into warm humid air.  He says there is the possibility of tornadoes and one to two inches of rain an hour as the system passes through.

Schumacher says there will be about six to eight hours which could be dicey.  He says the weather should be much better after midnight and into Sunday.

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Breezy Birdies Become Hawkeyes

Minnesota Power has "Adopted" a dozen osprey chicks from the Brainerd Lakes Area for relocation in Iowa.  The raptor chicks came from nests atop transmission structures north of Deerwood.

After a long day of climbing poles and banding birds, 12 osprey chicks were trucked southward, where they were taken to their new habitat on waterways in northwest and west-central Iowa.  For more than a decade, MP has been helping Iowa Department of Natural Resources officials
import wild ospreys, fish-eating raptors that thrive in northern and central Minnesota but were driven out of Iowa decades ago by the use of chemical pesticides.

The plan is that the Minnesota-born osprey chicks “imprint” on their new surroundings and return each spring to nest in Iowa.

A field team consisting of six Iowans, an avian biologist and bird conservationist with the Minnesota Audubon Society and linemen and environmental specialists from Minnesota Power worked a remote area of lakes and forests north of Brainerd, Minn. to obtain the chicks. Bill Fraundorf, an environmental compliance specialist with Minnesota Power, had scouted by land and by helicopter osprey nests in the preceding week.

The young birds came from transmission lines near Breezy Point and Riverton.

Federal and state permits granting MP and Iowa permission to remove the chicks, require that at least one chick must be left in each nest.

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Franken Staff To Hear Senior Needs in Brainerd Today

The staff of Minnesota Senator Al Franken will be in Brainerd this afternoon talking to seniors about the challenges they face during retirement years.

Franken aide Mark Kimble tells KLKS News, they are interested in hearing about issues that affect Minnesotans during their retirement years. He says next year marks the first year that baby boomers start retiring.

Kimble says they want to hear from seniors about those services that are important in their lives, such as nutrition, transportation and the independence to remain in their homes.

Franken serves on committees that will reauthorize the Older Americans Act, which funds many of the local services used by seniors.

Sen. Franken’s staff will be meeting with seniors at the Lakes Area Senior Center, 803 Kingwood St., Brainerd at 2:00 p.m. today.

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MN Incumbents Lead Fundraising

Minnesota Congressman James Oberstar continues to attract big dollars to his reelection campaign.  In the latest federal filing, the 8th District DFL-er was sitting on $1.2 million.

However, Oberstar's war fund is dwarfed by Republican Representative Michele Bachmann's fundraising efforts.  The controversial lawmaker has piled up $2.3-million.  Her DFL opponent, State Senator Tarryl Clark has collected $910 thousand.

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Oberstar Cautious On BP Cap

Congressman Jim Oberstar says the news the oil spill in the Gulf has been stopped should be treated with caution. The 8th District DFL-er says it will take several days of monitoring before it’s know if the cap will hold.

Oberstar is Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, which has jurisdiction over the U.S. Coast Guard’s response to oil spills. Since the spill started he has held several hearings on the issue and has introduced legislation to prevent future spills. That bill is expected to pass the House by the end of the month.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Hwy 371 & 210 Road Work Friday

The Minnesota Department of Transportation will be resurfacing the Highway 210 mainline, starting at the west end of the project, and working at the intersection of Highway 210 and 371 on Friday morning, July 16, from approximately 5 a.m. to 11 a.m.

The project was delayed by one day to Friday, because of equipment failure.

State Patrol troopers will be on site to direct traffic through the intersection during this work.

Due to already high traffic volumes in that area, motorists are urged to consider taking an alternate route to avoid the intersection during this time.

Crews began working on Highway 210 in Baxter on June 28th as part of a $1.2 million road and safety improvement project.

The project is scheduled to be completed by July 29, weather permitting.

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Staples Woman Arrested on Meth Charge

A 31-year-old Staples woman is expected to be arraigned today following a drug raid on her apartment Tuesday.

Lisa Ann Mertens was taken into custody on controlled substance charges.  Officers say they recovered a small amount of methamphetamine and other items they believed were used in the sale of the illegal, highly-addictive narcotic.

The raid was conducted by the Central Minnesota Drug and Gang Task Force, and the Staples Police Department.

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Relief Funds for Wadena Businesses

The Initiative Foundation of Little Falls will administer a $150 thousand emergency loan fund to help Wadena County businesses keep their doors open after the June 17th tornado damage.

In partnership with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and the Blandin Foundation, the Initiative Foundation is offering low-interest loans to provide working capital until businesses are able to resume normal operations.

Small loans of up to $20,000 will be available at 3 percent interest over a four-year period, with payments deferred during the first year.

Wadena Development Authority Executive Director Dean Uselman will qualify loan requests and work with business owners on their loan applications. He estimates that about 34 businesses employing 400 people were impacted by the tornado.

Only Wadena County businesses in operation on June 17 can apply for the loans, which are intended to help with tornado-related costs and not to replace loans from other lenders. Individuals are not eligible for the funds.

For more information or to apply for the foundation’s emergency loan funds, contact Dean Uselman at (218) 631-7710 or

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DNR To Track Gulf Bound Loons

(A.P.)  The Department of Natural Resources wants to know what will happen to Minnesota loons that winter down south.  The biologists want to know if the Gulf oil spill will harm the state bird.

The DNR will be attaching GPS devices to 10 loons to determine if they winter on the Gulf or Atlantic coast.

Nongame Wildlife Program Supervisor Carrol Henderson says most loons go to the Gulf Coast, many right to the area where the oil is coming ashore.  He says they migrate in October and November.  Adults return in April, but young loons stay for two years before winging back to Minnesota.

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Minnesota Blueberries are Ready for a Bowl Near You

(A.P.)  Minnesota blueberries are bursting with flavor and health benefits and are now ripe for the picking, according to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. 

The Ag  Department says the berries should be ready for harvest in the southern part of the state.  While the northern farms may have to wait just a bit longer.

Several farms in the Grand Rapids to Eveleth area should be ready for pickers soon.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Pentel Bikes to Brainerd

The Minnesota Ecology - Democracy candidate for governor is peddling his ideas in Brainerd, literally. 

Ken Pentel is peddling his bicycle from Staples to Brainerd today promoting his ecology -  economy platform.  He tells KLKS News, under his program, the economy would be measured by the health of the natural resources; the better the water quality, the better the economy. 

Pentel says he will be putting his canoe into the Mississippi River at Kiwanis Park in Brainerd Thursday at 9 a.m., and invites supporters to join him.

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DNR Kills Weeds to Establish Trees

Herbicides will be applied to approximately 147 acres of state land in the Backus area and approximately 192 acres of state land in the Park Rapids area in an effort to control vegetation and help establish new forests. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says the applications will begin around mid July and end about Aug. 15. All sites treated with herbicides will have signs posted.

The DNR plants trees on state lands to reforest harvested areas, provide wildlife habitat, protect watershed values and maintain the quality of state forests. Professional foresters determine the tree species appropriate for the site. The DNR hires private contractors to do the actual planting.

Conifers are the major species planted. About 800,000 white pines are planted on Minnesota’s forests annually. Many other native tree species are also planted. Oak and other hardwoods, for example, are widely planted in the state forests of southeastern Minnesota.

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A Red White and Blue Day in Pequot

The Stars and Stripes Days celebration in Pequot Lakes and Breezy Point have been deemed a success, according to Chamber spokesperson Sue Galligan.

The parade float winners include Pine River State Bank for Best Commercial Float, Boy Scouts Troop #102 for Best Youth, Sharon Swenson of the Pequot Lake Lakers Car Club 1930 Model A car for Most Original. Other winners from the parade are the Pequot Lakes Brush Pilots Snowmobile Club for Most Patriotic and Merle Weaver from Backus with his 1954 Ford Pickup for Best Classic Car.

This year’s parade judges were; Pastor Diane Ciesluk from Grace United Methodist Church, Pastor Mark from Pequot Lakes Baptist Church, and Pastor Jim Roger from Open Door Community Church.  The Parade M.C. was KLKS morning personality Bob Bundgaard.

Karaoke Winners were Aaliyah Lee singing “Teardrops on my Guitar” by Taylor Swift in the youth category, Kyle Heino singing “Come Together” by the Beatles in the Adult category, and Nate and Jeanne Thompson singing “Summer Nights” by Rascal Flatts in the Group category.

The Pequot Lakes Women’s Club sponsored the kiddie parade. The first place winners were Tommy and Stella Ordahl and Garett and Lydia Dahlen on the Stars and Stripes Drum Corp Float. In second place is Olivia Peterson as Miss Land O’ Lakes and, in third place, are Braelyn and Ainsley Jones as the Ladies of Liberty.

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FHNB Needs Boat Captains

Fishing is an unpredictable venture with an unknown outcome. But the annual Brainerd Lakes Fishing Has No Boundaries event is about as predictable as it gets; everybody always has more fun than they thought possible.

Now in its eighth year, the fishing event will again feature over 120 anglers with physical or developmental disabilities having a great day of fishing on Gull and Sylvan lakes. This year’s event will be held on August 27 and 28.
All that great fishing fun over the years would not be possible without the work of hundreds of volunteers and sponsors from the Brainerd Lakes Area. “This event is such a great time and the support and enthusiasm of the community is what has made this event what it is today, but we are always in need of volunteers, sponsors and boat captains and this year is no exception,” said Scott Roesner, chairman of the Brainerd Lakes FHNB chapter.

Those interested in volunteering should go to the Brainerd Lakes FHNB website at or call 218-828-2344

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Body Pulled from Bay Lake

The body of a 59-year-old Minneapolis man has been recovered from Bay Lake. 

A dive team from the Crow Wing County Sheriff's office pulled Thomas Robert Fife from about 50 feet of water about 10 a.m. Tuesday.  His body was transported to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy.

The search for Fife began Friday when his pontoon boat washed ashore about 3:35 p.m.  The swim ladder was still in the water and gate was left open. 

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Brainerd P.D. Looking for Laundromat Bandit

Brainerd police a looking for a bandit who robbed the Giant Wash Laundromat Monday. 

Police Chief Corky McQuiston says an armed man entered the business  at south east Oak street just before 5 p.m. demanding cash.  He fled with an undetermined amount of money. 

The suspect is described as a pale skin male of medium build, wearing a hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans. 

Anyone with information is asked to call Brainerd police at (218) 829-2805.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

No Through Traffic on Co Rd 4 in Breezy

Road construction continues on County Road 4 south of Breezy Point.

Breezy Point Police Chief Kevin Merschman says non-residents are sneaking through the construction zone. The road is closed and citations can be written, says the Chief. Wednesday begins major dirt work and the roadway will become very difficult to traverse because it will become sugar sand.

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Beltrami Woman Dies in ATV Mishap

(A.P.)  The death of a 31-year-old Turtle Lake Township woman is under investigation. 

The Beltrami County Sheriff says Angela Gilbert Newby was found in a steep ditch.  She sustained massive injuries, and was declared dead at the scene. 

The woman was last seen alive Saturday morning at her home.  She had gone for a ride on an ATV.  The machine was found near her at the accident scene.

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Nothing But Bikes at BIR

It's all bikes at Brainerd International Raceway this weekend.

On the drag strip, a variety of drag bikes will be racing a quarter mile at a time. Everything from street bikes to Pro Stock bikes that crank out speeds over 180 mph will be competing. In all, more than 150 bikes are expected to come from throughout the Midwest.

On the 2.5-mile, 13-turn Competition Road Course, the Central Roadracing Association will showcase its brand of Superbike racing, where riders scream around the track on two wheels and a knee. They average speeds over 80 mph during super-competitive racing action. The action will include an all-women’s race, in honor of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.
In addition to the racing on both tracks, fans will see a stunt show at 2 p.m. Saturday by the Squidwheelies Sportbike Freestyle Team. At noon on Saturday and Sunday, the CRA is hosting a “Drive the Track” fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Fans can drive the road course with the CRA, which is accepting donations.

It’s a Dual Event Weekend, meaning that one ticket gets you in to see both forms of racing. Racing will go on rain or shine, and daily admission is $10 for adults, $5 for kids. On-site camping is available.

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Minneapolis Man Missing On Bay Lake

(AP) A Minneapolis man, swimming from his pontoon boat on Bay Lake in Crow Wing County, according to the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office.  Officials say the man's boat washed up on the south shore of the lake Friday afternoon.  Sgt. Scott Goddard say the 59-year old man owns a cabin on the lake.  His name has not been released. 

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Road Work on Hwys 371 & 210 Today

The Minnesota Department of Transportation and the city of Baxter want to caution motorists that crews will be resurfacing the Highway 210 mainline at the intersection of Highway 210 and 371 this afternoon, from approximately 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Due to usual high traffic volumes in that area, motorists are asked to consider an alternate route.
Crews began working on Highway 210 in Baxter on June 28th as part of a $1.2 million road and safety improvement project.
The project is scheduled to be completed by July 29, weather permitting.

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N.D. Man Pleads The Death of Pierz Man

(AP)  A North Dakota man has pleaded not guilty in the death of a former Pierz man. 

27-year-old Nicholas Caspers is accused in the February 20th death of 30-year-old Paul Varner at Varner's home.  The medical examiner says Caspers punched Varner in the face, breaking bones that caused him to suffocate.

Caspers' attorney says it was a case of self-defense. 

Varner was originally from Pierz, south of Brainerd, and was working at Wisheck Livestock sales, which is owned by his father Joe. 

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Little Falls Man Drowns Saturday

(AP)  A 19-year-old Little Falls man drowned while wading with two other men below the Platte River Dam.  He has been identified as Alexander Kokett.

 The Morrison County Sheriff's office says he drowned when he stepped off the edge of a drop off Saturday and was swept away by the current.  His friends tried to reach him, but were unsuccessful.  A dive team recovered the body in 13 feet of water.  Efforts to revive him failed, and Kokett was pronounced dead at the scene.

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Seniors to Hear From Franken's Staff Friday

The staff of Minnesota Senator Al Franken will be in Brainerd Friday talking to seniors about the challenges they face during retirement years. 

Senator Franken says, “From home foreclosures, to health care, to retirement security, hundreds of thousands of Minnesota seniors, especially those in rural areas, are dealing with issues that affect their well-being. ”

Franken serves on the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging as well as the Subcommittee on Retirement and Aging of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Next year, both of these panels will reauthorize the Older Americans Act, which funds many of the local services used by seniors.

Sen. Franken’s staff will be meeting with seniors at the Lakes Area Senior Center, 803 Kingwood St., Brainerd at 2:00 p.m. Friday, July 16.

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