Friday, May 6, 2011

Nine Arrested On Drug Charges In Morrison County

Morrison County Sheriff Michelm Wetzel reports that nine people are in custody following an investigation by the Central MN Drug And Gang Task Force with the assistance of the Morrison County Sheriffs Office and the Little Falls Police Department.  Among those arrested, the list includes  26-year old Benjamin Anthony Tschida,  27-year old Jeremy Douglas Schumann, and  22-year old James Charles Stache, jr. all of Little Falls, 19-year old Colton Michael Burton and 27-year old Mare Anne Poole of Pillager and 20-year old Jacob Eric Pikula of Brainerd.  All nine are in jail pending various felony level drug charges. 

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Cravaack Applauds De-listing the Grey Wolf

Minnesota Congressman Chip Cravaack is among those who feel we could do with a few less timberwolves in the state. 

Cravaack said he was pleased Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar plans to remove the gray wolf from its list of threatened species in Minnesota.  

The 8th District Republicans says, "There can be no argument that wolves have experienced a dramatic comeback in Minnesota were we now have more wolves than the rest of the lower 48 states combined."  He goes on to say, "With no predators and not enough natural prey, gray wolves now pose a serious threat to cattle ranchers and sheep herders in the Eighth District. Federally de-listing the gray wolf will allow better management at the state level and create a healthier wolf population, all while reducing the amount of contact and conflict between humans and wolves.”

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LeMieur Backs Voter ID

The Minnesota State House has approved the Voter ID bill.  Voters would be required to show a legal ID before they could cast a ballot.

The measure passed along party lines.  In the majority was State Representative Mike LeMieur a Republican from Little Falls who says Minnesotans have to show an ID to buy cough syrup and to rent a movie.

LeMieur says the long held tradition of vouching for voters without ID has got to stop.

The measure passed mostly along party lines.  DFL-ers say the measure would discourage seniors, students and the low income from voting.

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Carlson Supports Const. Marriage Amendment

A constitutional amendment banning gay marriage continues to make headway through the Republican control state legislature. 

Among those backing the plan is State Senator John Carlson of Bemidji.  He tells KLKS News, citizens ought to be given the right to determine the issue, not lawmakers nor the courts.   He says if the voters reject the so-called Marriage Amendment, then lawmakers should repeal existing law that already bans gay marriage.

Senator Carlson and State Senator Paul Gazelka disagree on this point.  The Republican from Brainerd who is spearheading the gay marriage ban, says he would still oppose lifting existing law even if voters reject the proposed constitutional ban. 

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Some Fire Restrictions Lifted

The Department of Natural Resources is lifting some open burning restrictions in central Minnesota.

Beginning at 8 a.m. on Friday landowners in Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Morrison and Todd counties may request burning permits.
Wildfire Prevention Coordinator, Larry Himanga says cooler and wetter weather conditions we experienced the past several weeks and the ability of forestry personnel to regulate burning on a daily basis with our electronic burn permit system allows for earlier lifting of restrictions.
Restrictions will remain in effect for most of northern Minnesota, even though recent precipitation has lessened fire danger. The cooler weather has slowed the green-up process. As spring progresses northward, additional counties will have restrictions lifted.

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Cravaack Supports Continued Abortion Restrictions

8th District Congressman Chip Cravaack voted in favor of the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. The legislation establishes a permanent, government-wide prohibition on taxpayer subsidies for abortion and abortion coverage.

Cravaack claims the Hyde amendment, which prevents certain types of taxpayer funding for abortion is effective but incomplete.  The new legislation would put in place a permanent, government-wide prohibition on taxpayer subsidies for abortion and ensures no abortion will receive special tax treatment.

Cravaack says it does not affect how women with extenuating circumstances are able to pay for their care.  It does not apply to abortions in cases of rape, incest or life-threatening physical condition of the mother. It also does not apply to treatment of injury, infection or other health problems resulting from an abortion.

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Bemidji Get New DNR HQ Director

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has named Lori Dowling as director of its regional headquarters in Bemidji, which serves 23 counties in northwestern Minnesota.  She replaces Mike Carroll, who has become an assistant DNR commissioner for field operations and community outreach.

Dowling’s job will focus on community outreach. She will work with local units of government, tribes and cooperators in promoting a unified DNR effort to enhance the economic, recreational and conservation uses of Minnesota's natural resources.

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Klobuchar to Revisit Wadena

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar will be in Wadena on Friday to participate in the groundbreaking ceremony for a new Wadena-Deer Creek High School to replace the one that was destroyed by a tornado that ripped through the community last summer.

The new Wadena-Deer Creek High School is being built on the same site as the former high school.

The new school is expected to be ready for classes by fall 2012. In the meantime, students have been attending classes at an elementary school and at M State Community and Technical College.

Last year on June 17, a series of 48 tornadoes stormed across Minnesota, setting a one-day record for tornadoes in Minnesota. Three people were killed, including two near Almora and Mentor in northwestern Minnesota and one near Albert Lea in southern Minnesota.

Wadena was the hardest hit community, with more than 200 homes and buildings destroyed.

According to the National Weather Service, the Wadena tornado was rated as an EF4, with peak winds estimated to 170 mph. This tornado made its initial touchdown about 3 miles south-southwest of Wadena around 5:00 p.m., and produced a continuous damage path through Wadena before lifting about 7 miles north-northeast of the town by 518 p.m.

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Russ Carlyle Dies

Breezy Point has lost a local celebrity.  Big band leader Russ Carlyle has died at the age of 96.  He died at the Veteran's Hospital in St. Cloud Tuesday morning.

Russ had a rich career in entertainment.  His music career began in 1935 on WJAY Radio in Cleveland.  He hired on with the Barron Orchestra in 1936.  In 1943 he was drafted and teamed up with Joey Bishop to entertain the troops.  Eventually he had his own band, The Russ Carlyle Orchestra.

Russ was an enthusiastic summer resident in Breezy Point, writing and performing a song just for the town.  He married Patty Clayton in the 1970's.

No funeral services will be held.  A private family memorial will be held.  The burial will in Ohio next to his parents.

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Bear Problems Reported

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has been getting lots of bear complaints lately.  As bruins wake from a long winter's nap, they will eat about anything.

Conservation Officer Nikki Shouts tells KLKS News, stop feeding them.  She says removing bird feeders and garbage usually solves the problem.

Shouts says application for bear hunting permits is due Friday.  Hunters need to know what area they will be in.  The season opens September 1st.

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Sexual Predator Moves into Brainerd

A predatory offender is expected to be released from custody May 12th and is expected to move into Brainerd, according to the Minnesota Department of Corrections.

Authorities says 23-year-old Joshua Matthew McMillen intends to be living on the 600 block of Laurel Street.  McMillen has a history of sexual contact with children male and female between the ages of nine and 14.

A community notification meeting will be held Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Brainerd Police Department.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

MN Redistricting Begins

A proposed Republican redistricting plan would dramatically change the political boundaries for the Central Brainerd Lakes Area.  This district, which is now part of 4B, would become 5B.

If approved, the district would run from central Crow Wing County through Cass County and into Wadena County. 

State Representative Larry Howes says the district would fall outside of his influence.

DFL-ers have already objected to the plan.  The Governor will have his own proposal. 

Representative Howes says they tried to word the redistricting in the same way the courts might approach it, because they will more than likely have the final say.

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Another Hecker Auction

The Feds will continue to lighten Denny Hecker's load by holding another auction of his personal things.

A Federal Bankruptcy judge is looking to raise more funds to pay the bill as a result of fraud charges from his failed auto empire. 

The auction will feature Rolex watches, a fur coat, fancy luggage and other luxuries.  Previous auctions have raised $785 thousand, a drop in the bucket compared to what he owes.

The 58-year-old Hecker is serving 10 years in a federal prison in Duluth for bankruptcy fraud and wire fraud.

At one time Hecker was the largest auto dealer in Minnesota, including two in Baxter.

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Area Lakes Test Safe

The big area walleye fisheries are healthy, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Fish taken in 2010 from nine of Minnesota’s 10 largest walleye lakes including Mille Lacs, Leech, Winnibigoshish, Cass and Upper Red Lake had levels of perfluorooctane sulfonate that were either very low or undetectable, suggesting those lakes have very little or no contamination from perfluorochemicals.

That is one of the early findings from new data for fish contamination recently received by the Minnesota Department of Health, DNR and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
The results of the PFC testing mean that advice on how much fish can be eaten safely from those walleye lakes will not be impacted by PFCs. That’s good news for Minnesotans who like to catch and eat fish from those waters, said Pat McCann, MDH fish advisory program manager.

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Monday, May 2, 2011

Hwy 371 Road Work Begins Wednesday

It may not seem like it, but the summer construction season is upon us, and motorist on Highway 371 between Baxter and Nisswa will see the effects of it beginning Wednesday.

MnDOT will begin preparations for resurfacing operations on the busy roadway with lane closures and reduced speeds.  The project will also involve constructing shoulders and turn lanes, upgrading traffic signals and closing median crossovers.  MnDOT says the road will be safer with improved mobility when completed.  Access to local business will be maintained.

In an effort to alleviate congestion, crews will be working from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. from the railroad tracks south of Highway 210 to just north of Nisswa.  There will be no construction work during the weekends. 

The $8.4 million dollar project will be completed by Anderson Brothers of Brainerd.  Weather permitting, the work should be complete by mid-August.

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Franken Reacts to bin Laden's Death

Minnesota Senator Al Franken reacting to the news a U.S. military operation had killed Osama bin Laden said, "This is a great day."

The DFL-er said our hearts are full of pride and gratitude for all those responsible for bringing Osama bin Laden to justice, with sadness as we remember that horrific day ten years ago, and with hope as we go forward in our fight against radical jihadism.

Senator Franken said the president was wise to remind us of how unified we felt as a nation after 9/11 and how we can achieve anything we put our mind to if we work together.

Republican Congressman Chip Cravaack of the 8th District offered the following statement, "I applaud the amazing men and women of our military and our intelligence agencies who have worked for almost 10 years to make sure Osama bin Laden – the perpetrator of the worst terrorist attack in American history – was finally brought to justice for his heinous crimes. This may not end the threat posed to us by global terrorism, but it is a clear victory for America and freedom loving people throughout the world.”

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