Saturday, March 26, 2011

Perham Boys in 2A Championship Today!

In prep hoops, the Perham boys defeated Waterville-Elysian-Morristown 45 to 41 in a very exciting double-OT match-up.  Rochester Lourdes downed Redwood Valley 48 to 42 yesterday, so the two final teams will go head-to-head at 2 p.m. this afternoon for the Championship at the T.

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Mother of Dru Sjodin Honored

The mother of Minnesota native Dru Sjodin is being honored by the FBI for her work in helping create the national sex offender's database.

Linda Walker was recognized Friday at FBI headquarters in Washington.

Sjodin was 22 when she was kidnapped from a North Dakota shopping mall parking lot in 2003.  Her body was discovered months later near Crookston, Minnesota.

Since then, Walker has traveled nationwide to raise awareness about violence against women and children.  She helped Congress create Dru's Law, which requires convicted child molesters to be listed on a national database.

Ralph Boelter, the outgoing head of the FBI in Minneapolis, says the FBI and Walker hope the work done in her daughter's memory will lead to greater protection for the most vulnerable citizens. 

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Howes Wants Carp Barrier in Coon Rapids

State Representative Larry Howes wants to remove $60 million worth of state bonding projects from the books that have have already been approved.  He says the projects are not ready, and is urging backers to come back to the legislature when they are.

There is one bonding project the Walker Republican supports; the Coon Rapids Dam as a fish barrier.  He says without it, Asian carp will get into the Whitefish Area Lakes.

Howes says the invasive species has gotten into an Illinois river so thick, you can almost walk across the water on them.

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Green Acres Bill Passes House

The so-called Green Acres bill passed the state house this week.

The measure offered by State Representative Mike LeMieur of Little Falls would tax farm land for agricultural use only, and not on its potential value for private development. 

The Republican freshman said he's glad they got it done before the May 1st deadline so farmers have certainty when filing their taxes.

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Ice Becoming Less Safe

Morrison County Sheriff Michel Wetzel is asking area residents to exercise extreme caution while venturing on to the ice.

Wetzel says after the snow has melted off the ice, it becomes particularly attractive to ice skaters and late season fishermen. Unfortunately, the two feet of ice that cover many lakes now is not as strong as the two feet of ice that covered them in February.   He says melt water percolates down through the ice, and combined with the increasing strength of the sun, the weight-bearing strength of that ice is significantly diminished. Two feet of January ice will easily support a vehicle where two feet of late March ice might not.

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Obamacare Anniversary Draws Praise & Ire

Top Minnesota DFL-ers are marking the first anniversary of federal health care overhaul with praise. 

Senator Al Franken, Representatives Betty McCullum and Keith Ellison will join Minnesota Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger for a news conference.

Survivors of cancer, AIDS and other diseases will share their stories. 

However, the political rift the reform has created continues. 

8th District Congressman Chip Cravaack released a statement claiming, "Obamacare puts government between doctors and patients," even though there is no government option, and all insurance is administered by the private sector.  The freshman Republican goes on to say the legislation "Is harmful to job creating entrepreneurs and small business owners, and has been ruled unconstitutional in (some) federal courts."

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Perham Mourns the Loss of Students

(AP)  A String of tragedies in the west central Minnesota town of Perham has left residents stunned.

Funerals have been set for two teens killed in a murder-suicide.

Visitation will be held Sunday for 16-year-old Tabitha Belmonte in Perham.  The funeral is scheduled for Monday.

Services for 17-year-old Dylan Cox will be held Saturday.  Police says Cox shot Belmonte several times, then turned the gun on himself. 

Students at Perham High School, where Belmonte was a sophomore, held a candlelight vigil last evening.  This morning an assembly will be held so that law enforcement can address rumors.

Amidst the sorrow, the Perham boys basketball ball has advanced to the state basketball tournament. 

At halftime tonight, a tribute will be given to those who have helped in the recovering of Zack Gabbard, a star player on the team, who collapsed during a game earlier this year.  Gabbard has been recovering from open-hear surgery.

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Car-Train Crash in Randall

Some scary moments for a Fort Ripley teenager during the height of the storm early Wednesday morning. 

The Morrison County Sheriff's Office says 17-year-old Rebekah Zoe-Maree Schilling was crossing the Burlington Northern Railroad tracks on East Sixth Street in Randal just after midnight when her vehicle became stuck.  Shortly after she got out, it was struck by a train and pushed about 50 yards into the ditch and caught on fire. 

The sheriff's office says the vehicle was a total loss.  Fortunately, there were no injuries.

The Randall Fired Department put out the blaze.

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Park Rapids Couple Killed in Murder-Suicide

Park Rapids was been rocked by a murder suicide Tuesday night.

Police say Dawn Anderson was found dead on the deck outside her home, her estranged husband also dead from what appears to be a self inflicted gunshot wound.

Mrs. Anderson called 911 Tuesday night to report that Greg Duane Anderson was threatening to kill her.  Park Rapids Police Chief Terry Eilers says dispatchers could hear a loud noise in the background before the phone went dead.  One of the couple's two sons called police to say their father had a hunting rifle.

Greg Anderson had been living at a halfway house in the Moorhead area.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

MNDot Advising Winter Driving Care

Driving conditions throughout west central Minnesota remain extremely hazardous due to icy roads, limited visibility and blowing and drifting snow.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation is advising motorists not to travel unless absolutely necessary and should use extreme caution and slow down when traveling.

MnDOT reminds motorists to be patient while snowplow operators work to improve driving conditions.

  • During a storm motorists should stay back at least five car lengths behind the plow, far from the snow cloud; snowplow operators will pull over when it is safe to do so to allow traffic build-up to pass.
  • Stay alert – Snowplows turn or exit frequently and often with little warning; they may also travel over centerlines or partially in traffic to further improve road conditions.
  • Slow down – Snowplows typically move at slower speeds.


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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bracing for Major Winter Storm

The Brainerd Lakes Area is bracing for a powerful winter storm. 

KLKS Meteorologist Tony Schumacher says up to a foot of wet heavy snow could fall through Wednesday morning.  Adding to the misery will be strong Northeast winds, up to 30 miles per hour which will result in blowing a drifting snow.

Schumacher says the Winter Storm Warning covers the entire Brainerd Lakes Area and is in effect until 7 p.m. Wednesday.

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Dahl Urges Driving Care

Crow Wing County Sheriff Todd Dahl says there has been plenty of notification on the early spring storm.  While the extreme conditions may not last long, the Sheriff suggests extreme caution is advised for the next two days.

Sheriff Dahl says state tournament storms should come as no surprise to anyone,  and suggests the best plan may be to stay off the roads until they improve.

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Howes Proposes Bonding Cuts

State Representative Larry Howes, Chairman of the House Bonding Committee, is proposing to eliminate $60 million in bonding projects that go back as far as 1994, but have not begun. 

The Walker Republican hopes for some savings as lawmakers tackle a $5 billion revenue shortfall.  He hopes refinancing bonding projects at a lower rate could save up to $60 million.

Howes says one of the projects they want to eliminate is the construction of a new Minneapolis Planetarium, because there is no place to put it.

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Cravaack Hires Local Office Manager

Congressman Chip Cravaack hired Sheldon Anderson as his new District Director. The District Director position manages all staff and activities in the Congressman’s 8th district offices.

Anderson has served as Mayor of Wyoming and as a private sector appointee to Governor Pawlenty’s ‘Corrections Strategic Management Operations Advisory Task Force. Sheldon has also been a small business owner for the past 20 years.

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Essentia Sponsors Baxter Komen Race

Susan G. Komen Brainerd Lakes Race for the Cure® says Essentia Health will be a presenting sponsor for the Race.

The agreement makes Essentia Health the sole local presenting sponsor of the Susan G. Komen Brainerd Lakes Race for the Cure scheduled for June 25 at Forestview Middle School in Baxter.

St. Joseph’s Medical Center, Brainerd Medical Clinic and seven regional clinics, are part of the Essentia Health system, which stretches across four states and is headquartered in Duluth.

Jani Wiebolt, president of Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center says  the Susan G. Komen Brainerd Lakes Race for the Cure is a terrific event that brings the community together to fight a battle against breast cancer.

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Brainerd Man Pleads Guilty To Child Porn

A 52-year old man who once was named Brainerd's Citizen of the Year has pleaded guilty to child pornography charges.

Steven "Gus" Augustinack pleaded guilty Monday to 18 counts of felony possession of pornographic computer videos involving a minor.

In court Augustinack admitted to possessing the pornographic files on his computers and that he knew what their content was.

A plea agreement call for 180 days in jail and five years supervised probation.  Sentencing is set for June 2.

Defense attorney Charles Halverson says removing the possibility of prison time wsas the main reason Augustinack agreed to the deal.

Last October, Augustinack was named the 2010 Brainerd Citizen of the Year but declined to accept the award after the charges were filed. 

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Northern Lakes Lightening Take 3rd Place

The Northern Lakes Lightening 12U hockey team took 3rd place in the state tournament over the weekend. 

The Junior High School girls from Pequot Lakes, Pine River, Crosslake, Crosby Ironton and Aitkin beat Elk River in the 1st round, lost an overtime thriller to Chisago Lakes in the semi finals, and beat Red Wing to earn 3rd place.

This is the best finish for any team in the Northern Lakes Lightening history.

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