Saturday, May 28, 2011

Area Memorial Day Services

Memorial Day services will be held on Monday, May 30 at Noon at the Nisswa American Legion. Guest speakers include State Senator, Paul Gazelka and Nisswa Mayor, Brian Lehman. Everyone is invited to attend.

The Backus American Legion will host Memorial Day ceremonies on May 30 beginning at 10:00am with the Ponto Lake Service to begin at approximately 11:00am. Guest speaker will be State Representative, Larry Howes of Walker.

Jenkins VFW Post No. 3839 and Pequot Lakes American Legion Post No. 49 will host a Memorial Day program at 10 a.m. Monday at the Pequot Lakes High School Auditorium. Lunch will follow at the Jenkins VFW.

Memorial Day services in Brainerd will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Laurel Street bridge. A wreath will be tossed into the Mississippi River. There will be a march to the All Veterans Memorial next to the Crow Wing County Courthouse. In honor of veterans of the Bataan Death March, a brief ceremony will be conducted at the Bataan Memorial, next to the National Guard Armory on Wright Street. The Memorial Day parade will begin at 10 a.m. at First Avenue Northeast, then east on D. Street to Third Avenue Northeast and progressing to evergreen Cemetery.

The Crosslake-Fifty Lakes American Legion Post No. 500 will host a Memorial Day ceremony at 10 a.m. Monday at the Crosslake Pinewood Cemetery. More than 120 veterans are buried at the cemetery, and their graves will be identified with American flags. The ceremony will include a wreath laying and full military honors by the color guard.

Finley Cemetery in Hackensack will be site of Memorial Day ceremonies by the American Legion Sunday at 1 p.m.. A Memorial Day service and a parade will be held on Monday at the city park at 9:30 a.m. Services are scheduled for 10 a.m. at Hillcrest Cemetery.

The Pine River American Legion is hosting Memorial Day Services at 9:30 a.m. on Monday at the Pine River Dam. Following the service the Legion will proceed to the Pine River Cemetery around 10:15 a.m. Another service will be held at 11 a.m. at Swanburg Cemetery, rural Pine River.

Memorial Day ceremonies will be 10 a.m. Monday at the Pillager High School auditorium followed by a short ceremony at Wildwood Cemetery and Gull River Cemetery.

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Fun Racing at BIR

The ChumpCar World Series, featuring unique race cars affectionately known as $500 hunks of screaming junk, returns to Brainerd International Raceway this year, bringing its wacky brand of road racing for a Dual Event Weekend with the Bracket Drag Racing Series.

Try to imagine teams of four drivers, one $500 “crap can” and a pair of seven-hour endurance races. That’s what is in store for fans June 4-5 on BIR’s 2.5-mile Competition Road Course. The event includes endurance races on both Saturday and Sunday, as the drivers split their time between driving and wrenching on their cars to keep them running. The cars can’t be valued at more than $500 before the safety equipment is installed, so for most teams, the event involves more wrenching than driving. Regardless, the event is expected to provide entertaining racing for fans.

While the road course is busy with the ChumpCars, BIR’s drag strip will be buzzing with the Bracket Drag Racing Series. It’s the second race in the five-race series, featuring dragsters, cars, trucks, bikes, snowmobiles and junior dragsters. More than 300 racers will be competing for series points and prize money on their way to a series championship. An open Test & Tune is scheduled for Friday, with qualifying on Saturday and eliminations on Sunday.

The ChumpCar racing starts at 9 a.m. Saturday and ends at 4 p.m. On Sunday, racing runs from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., with an awards ceremony at 3:30 p.m. The ChumpCar organization has adopted the Boys and Girls Clubs of America as this weekend’s beneficiary.

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Delay in Bear Lottery

Hunters who applied for a 2011 Minnesota bear hunting permit will have to wait a little longer to determine if they were successful in this year’s lottery. That’s because the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is rerunning the bear lottery due to a computer-related error.
Though no bear hunting licenses have been issued, the DNR reports some hunters may be under the mistaken impression they have been selected as a winner because they viewed incorrect content on the agency’s website before the error was detected.
“The message to bear hunters is that we’ll get the word out when correct lottery results are available,” said Dennis Simon, DNR wildlife section chief. “We regret any inconvenience this misinformation has caused.”

New lottery results will be posted on the DNR website in early June and successful hunters will also be notified by mail later in June.

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Woman Dies Trying To Stop Runaway Truck

Police say a Crosslake woman has died after she tried to stop a rolling pickup truck that her 2-year old nephew was in.

Police Chief Bob Hartman says the 32-year old was killed on Thursday.  The toddler was not hurt.

Hartman says the boy was playing inside the pickup when the truck began rolling backward down a hill.  The woman jumped on the truck's running board and was reaching inside to put it in park when the vehicle sideswiped a large tree.

The woman got caught between the truck and the tree.  A witness and emergency responders performed CPR but the woman was pronounced dead at the scene.

The victim's name has not been released.

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Todd County Murder Suspect Taken Into Custody

According to Todd County Sheriff Peter Mikkelson, on Friday, authorities arrested 52-year old Jeffery Allen Brooks of Alexandria for the murder of Diane Fortenberry which occurred on Friday, May 20.

51-year old Diane Fortenberry was found dead in her home last Friday by her son.  Officials say it appears she stopped home after lunch and walked in on a burglary and was assaulted.  Preliminary autopsy results show she died of blunt force trauma.

Brooks will be held at the Todd County Detention Center and will be arraigned next Tuesday on charges of second degree murder.

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State Campsites in High Demand

Vacationers looking for a Minnesota getaway this Memorial Day weekend should act quickly if they want to camp at a Minnesota state park.

Reservable campsites are filling up fast, according to the Department of Natural Resources, but up to 30 percent of campsites at Minnesota state parks are nonreservable and available to campers on a first-come, first-served basis.

To increase the chance of getting a non-reservable campsite on a holiday weekend, the DNR advises arriving early (possibly as early as Thursday morning) or arriving Sunday afternoon, when some campers begin to head home, freeing up campsites.

Another option, often overlooked, is to reserve a group camp. Groups camps, $30 to $75 per night, have multiple campsites clustered together. Anyone planning to spend the weekend with friends or family may have better luck finding a group camp than multiple sites in a park’s main campground.

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MnDOT Expects Delays in Elk River

Motorists will encounter single-lane traffic and access closures with detours through Elk River beginning Wednesday, June 1, as crew resurface the Highway 169 southbound overpass at the Highway 10/169/101 interchange.
The project will be completed in three stages. The project should be completed June 30 th, weather permitting.

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

MnDOT Enhanced 511

As Memorial Day weekend approaches and summer construction roadwork around the state begins, the Minnesota Department of Transportation urges motorists to use extra caution while driving through highway work zones.

By visiting or calling 5-1-1, motorists can plan their trips with the latest statewide traffic, construction, weather and travel information.

While the department will suspend work on many projects during the long weekend, motorists may still encounter detours and traffic restrictions as well as rough road surfaces and narrowed traffic lanes.

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Gazelka Chides The Governor

State Senator Paul Gazelka of Brainerd held a news conference in St. Paul to respond to recent criticism from Governor Mark Dayton. Gazelka claims Gov. Dayton has repeatedly characterized members of the Legislature’s freshmen class as “extreme right-wing caucus members.”

The Freshman Republican said, “I’m a small business owner myself. I’ve felt the impacts of the recent economy just as much as every other small business owner. I’ve always felt that government, like my business, like my family, shouldn’t spend more than the resources we have. Our state government has more money than it had last biennium and living within in the resources we have is not far-right, but a mainstream approach and I think it is unreasonable to label us as extremists simply because we don’t want to increase the size of government by 15% like Governor Dayton does.”

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Pillager Votes Yes on Bond Referendum

The voters in the Pillager School District Tuesday easily approved a $13.9 million bond referendum with 64% of the vote.

The vote authorizes the district to issue school building bonds. These bonds will finance funds for the acquisition and improvement of school sites and facilities, including remodeling of existing facilities and a secondary addition.

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No Charge for Military At Lunkers Games

The Brainerd Lakes Area Lunkers, in partnership with a local real estate firm, will allow all Military servicemembers, current and former,  to attend all 35 baseball games this season free of charge.

Opening Day is Wednesday, June 1, when the Lunkers take on the Alexandria Beetles at 7:05. Special Guest Camp Ripley Post Commander Col. St. Sauver will be on hand to throw out the first pitch. Also, the first 500 fans will receive an American Flag and their will be a post-game fireworks show sponsored by Mills Fleet Farm.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Jury Convicts Crosslake Man In Crash That Killed Boy

(AP) A jury has convicted a 68-year old man who was driving a van that struck and killed a 3-year old boy in Merrifield two years ago.  Jurors on Wednesday found Sherman Frederick of Crosslake guilty of criminal Vehicular homicide.  Frederick also was found guilty on a lesser charge of careless driving.

Authorities say Frederick drove on the right shoulder to get around cars that were waiting for several children to cross the road in May of 2009.  That's when authorities say he struck and killed Jack Larson of Buffalo, who was visiting his grandparents for Mother's Day weekend.

The defense argued that Frederick has medical issues - he suffers from sleep apnea and diabetes - that may of led to the crash.

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Howes says Shutdown Not So Bad

State Representative Larry Howes predicts a 50-50 chance of a state government shutdown the end of June.  Minnesota will see a shutdown if the Governor and Republican controlled legislature can't agree on a solution to a $5 billion revenue shortfall.

The Republicans want to cut spending to control the budget, the Governor is asking for a tax increase on the top 2 percent of wage earners.

Howes says if the Governor raises the tax on rich Minnesotans, many will move out of the state and taxes would have to be raised on the middle class to cover the increased costs of government.

Howes tells KLKS News, a shutdown wouldn't be that bad, except that it could actually increase the deficit.

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Ship Named After Former Congressman

(AP)  A Great Lakes freighter has been rechristened the Hon. James L. Oberstar.

The carrier, used to shuttle taconite pellets from Minnesota to steel mills near Detroit and Chicago, has been renamed to honor the commitment Oberstar had to the Great Lakes during his 18 terms in congress.

The ship was sent on its way in the Duluth harbor after Obeerstar's wife smashed a champagne bottle across the bow.

The 76-year-old DFL-er says never imagined having his name on a vessel of this significance.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Klobuchar Talks Tourism

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar is spearheading a bipartisan effort to increase the U.S. share of tourism.  She says they are promoting overseas using private dollars. 

Tourism here is down 20 points since 9-11.  Each point represents 160,000 jobs.

The Minnesota DFL-er tells KLKS news, says is thinking about the Brainerd Lakes Area too, by trying to keep the cost of gasoline down.  She is putting pressure on the Commodities Future Trading Commission to limit the impact of speculators in the price of oil.

Senator Klobuchar is also supporting home grown fuels such as North Dakota oil, bio fuels, wind, solar and nuclear.

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Local Legislators Comment on Session's End

The spin is underway as to why the legislature and Governor could not come to a budget agreement before the end of the session Monday night.

Republican Mike LeMieur of Little Falls says Governor Dayton forced a special session by not giving input into bills passed by the legislature.  He says spending will increase by six percent, and the Governor should be happy with that.

DFLer John Ward of Brainerd has a different take.  He says Republicans refused to compromise with the Governor.

Representative Ward says the Republican budget is a disaster for senior citizens, education and property taxes.

The Republicans want to resolve budget shortfalls with cuts alone, the governor wants to raise taxes on the wealthiest two percent of Minnesotans to raise an addition $1.8 billion.

The two sides must come to an agreement by the end of June to avoid a government shutdown.

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Legislative Leaders Fly into Brainerd

Senate and House Republican Leaders will travel around the state today to promote their budget package and encourage Governor Dayton to sign their bills into law.

Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch (R-Buffalo), Speaker of the House Kurt Zellers (R-Maple Grove), Senate Deputy Majority Leader Geoff Michel (R-Edina) and House Majority Leader Matt Dean (R-Dellwood) will host media availabilities at six stops throughout the state.

The group of legislators will hold a news conference at the Brainerd regional airport at 3:15 p.m.

Governor Mark Dayton has hinted strongly he will veto the Republican package, indicating the two sides need to compromise.  He says he has come half way, but the legislative leadership has not.  The Republicans say $34 billion is enough state spending, and will not authorize any more.

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MnDOT Says Clear the Ditches

The Minnesota Department of Transportation is asking citizens to keep unauthorized signs and other objects off the state highway right of way.  MnDOT says it is illegal and can distract drivers and obstruct their vision.

"With summer right around the corner, we are already seeing an increase in advertising signs and items for sale placed illegally along state highways to attract the attention of passing motorists," said Steve Lund, MnDOT's state maintenance engineer. “Signs created to attract a driver’s eye can easily distract motorists from paying full attention to driving, which can lead to crashes.”

Placing signs or objects in highway right of way is a misdemeanor violation punishable by a maximum $1,000 fine and/or 90 days in jail. Highway rights of way include driving lanes, shoulders, ditches, clear zones and sight corners at intersections.

Unauthorized signs include, but are not limited to—real estate open houses, garage sales and signs for various public and private events and activities.

Large items commonly found in rights of way include cars and other vehicles, boats and motors, campers and travel trailers, commercial stands and large bales of hay.

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Lunkers Sign Pitchers

The Brainerd Lakes Area Lunkers of the Northwoods League have signed right-handed pitcher Thomas Hoenshell and outfielder Andrew Letourneau of California State University Bakersfield to contracts to play for the Lunkers this summer, according to general manager Dustin Anaas.

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Dahl Urges a Storm Plan

Following killer tornadoes in Minnesota and Missouri Sunday, Crow Wing County Sheriff Todd Dahl is urging area residents to have tornado plan.

Dahl tells KLKS news, the county has a good warning system and plan in place, but he says there is also a need to heed your sixth sense.  He says the time to get in the basement is at first warning.  Once a tornado has been sited, it can be too late.

Sheriff Dahl recommends vacationers, especially campers, ask for the storm plan at check in. 

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