Friday, July 1, 2011

Gazelka Frustrated

State Senator Paul Gazelka says he is frustrated a budget deal was not reached between the Governor and Republican legislative leaders to avoid a shutdown.

The Brainerd Republican says he does not know how long the shutdown will last, but is optimistic it will be settled within 30 days.  He says union contracts will be impacted after mid month, and the governor will be hearing from them.

The Health and Social Services portion of the budget has created the biggest area of disagreement.  The Governor wants to raise taxes on the wealthiest Minnesotans to avoid harsh impacts on students and vulnerable adults. 

The Republicans say no new taxes of any kind, and suggest a longer waiting period for those moving to Minnesota requesting welfare benefits, and block grants to welfare agencies requiring them to find a more efficient way to spend it.

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Some State Closures in Lakes Area

Many of the functions of the Department of Natural Resources have been shutdown as a result of the budget impasse in St. Paul. 

Sue Galligan of the Pequot Office of the Brainerd Chamber of Commerce tells KLKS News, visitors will notice some changes.  She says the Pequot fire tower is closed, and the Paul Bunyan Trail will not be maintained, although it will remain open.

Galligan says the Corps of Engineers campground in Crosslake Will be open as usual because it is a U.S. facility.

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MN State Patrol Still Patrolling

Despite the state government shutdown, the Minnesota State Patrol will be on duty during one of the busiest holidays of the season, according to Sergent Curt Mowers. 

Sergent Mowers the 911 system will also remain operational alerting them to emergencies.

The Brainerd Lakes Chamber, which jointly operates the Brainerd Lakes Area Welcome Center with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, will continue to operate the Highway 371 visitor information center and rest stop in the event of a looming state government shutdown.

The rest stop, which also houses offices for the Minnesota State Patrol, will remain open 24/7.

The Brainerd Lakes Chamber, with support of its members, will bear the costs of operating the facility throughout a government shutdown.

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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Man Charged In Shooting Death In Cass County

According the Cass County Attorney's Office, 73-year old Rolland Fred Kruckow of Backus, was charged Thursday with 2nd Degree Intentional Murder in the shooting death of his brother, 63-year old Christian David Kruckow.  According to the complaint, the younger Kruckow went to the home of Rolland Fred Kruckow on Thursday morning to borrow tools.  Apparently, an argument took place between the two men when the elder Kruckow used a .38 caliber handgun to shoot the victim. According to family members, there was no present animosity between the two. 

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ward Says Shutdown Likely

State Representative John Wards says it may be too late to avoid a state government shutdown. 

The Brainerd DFL-er backs the governor's plan to approve approve a complete budget, rather than a piece at a a time. 

The Biggest dispute between the DFL Governor and Republican legislative leaders is over health and social services spending. 

Ward says it is wise to complete all the spending packages at once, because they are all interrelated.

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DNR Prepares for Shutdown

If you need something from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources or any state agency, it is recommended you get it now.

Non Game Specialist Pam Perry says state workers are preparing for a government shutdown as legislative leaders and the Governor hassle over a new budget.

Perry suggests people with questions go to the MN DNR website and click on frequently asked questions.  However, that site will be inaccessible if the government shuts down. 

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Brainerd H.S. Vandalized

Two Brainerd men have been arrested for vandalizing Brainerd High School. 

Staff discovered the building had been broken into sometime Monday night or Tuesday morning.  Security cameras captured images of the pair. 

Brainerd police arrested two 21-year-old men; Cody Allen Benedict and Jamey Ray Waery.  They are being held in the Crow Wing County Jail pending formal charges.

Police report extensive damage to vending machines and offices.  Money was taken from the machines and other items of value were reported missing. 

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cass Co Man Arrested in Shooting Death of Brother

A 73-year old Cass County man has been arrested in connection with the shooting death of his brother.  Rolland Fred Kruckow is being held in the county jail in connection with the death of 63-year-old Christian David Kruckow of Backus.

Cass County Sheriff, Tom Burch, says the incident happened about 11:15am on Tuesday.  When officers arrived, the 63-year old victim was found dead of a gunshot wound.

An autopsy is pending.

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Gazelka on Budget Impass

State Senator Paul Gazelka is not convinced the governor and legislature will agree to a budget compromise before Friday.

The Brainerd Republican says the two sides agree on six funding areas.  However, the Governor has said he does not want to call the legislature into special session until they have an agreement on a complete budget. 

The biggest divide is over the health and welfare portion of the budget.  Gazelka says spending in that sector has grown by 22 percent, and his caucus  wants to limit it to six percent. 

Senator Gazelka will be in St. Paul Wednesday and Thursday hoping for a resolution.  If not, he would be willing to vote on the parts of the budget where there is agreement.  If that happens, another special session would be required when a compromise has been reached on social services funding.

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Day on the Shutdown

Former Republican State Senate Minority Leader Dick Day says there is a great divide between DFL Governor Mark Dayton and the Republican legislative majority over the budget impass.  He says they may not be able to overcome their differences to avoid a government shutdown Friday. 

Day tells KLKS News, when Minnesota went through a partial shutdown in 2005, there were veteran lawmakers in leadership positions.  He says that is not the case this time.

Day says if there is a shut down, it would be devastating to the economy, dumping 30 thousand state workers on the unemployment rolls.

Day is now working for the gaming industry, and claims if the state approves racino legislation, Minnesota could see up to $250 million dollars in revenues.

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Little Falls Accident Victims I.D,

Two Little Falls men killed in a fiery crash last week have been identified. 

Morrison County Sheriff Michel Wetzel says the driver was 29-year-old Ryan Roger Rebischke, and his passenger was 23-year-old Samuel Adrian Vorderbruggen.

The sheriff says alcohol played a role in the accident, but the extent to which it was a contributing factor won't be known until the accident can be reconstructed. 

The mishap happened last Thursday.

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Cass Lake Woman Fatally Shot

A 27-year-old Cass Lake man has been arrested in connection with the murder of a 22-year-old woman Sunday morning. 

Ross Songegahbow Littlewolf is being held in the county jail pending formal charges. 

He suspected of shooting the woman shortly after 3 a.m. Sunday morning.  Her identity is being withheld until relatives have been told.

An autopsy is planned.

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