Friday, March 23, 2012

Over $2.5 Million Raised for Special Olympics

More than 14,000 brave Plungers raised a record $2.85 million this winter for Special Olympics Minnesota by jumping into frozen water earlier this month.  

Over $73 thousand was raised when 379 brave souls took the nippy dip in Big Pelican Lake in Breezy Point March 3rd.  A similar dip in Mille Lacs raised $30 thousand.

The money raised supports the Special Olympics programs in Minnesota.

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Cass Co. Man Charged with Murder

A 20-year-old Cass County man has been charged with second degree murder in the stabbing death of a 22-year-old Walker man.  Sheldon James Smith is being held in the Cass County Jail on $750 thousand bail.

Cass County Sheriff Tom Burch said deputies responded to the incident Wednesday night in the Onigum area. The victim, a 22 year old Walker man, died of apparent stab wounds to the chest while en route to the hospital.  The Sheriff says Smith was with a group of friends that confronted another group when the altercation occurred.  Following the stabbing, Smith fled the scene with friends.

Smith's next court appearance is April 2nd.

The name of the victim is being withheld until relatives have been informed first.

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Photo ID Before the MN Senate Today

The Minnesota State Senate is about to take up the Voter ID bill, which would ask voters to change the constitution requiring voters to provide ID at the polls.

The State House has already approved the legislation and the Republican controlled Senate is expected to follow suit. 

State Senator Paul Gazelka of Baxter supports the effort.  The Republican lawmaker told KLKS News, he didn't know if such an amendment would evolve voting from a right to a privilege. But, he says it would only affect about one percent of the voters.

Liberal groups oppose the legislation feeling it could make voting difficult for up to 500 thousand Minnesotans, including students, the disabled and the elderly who often vote for Democrats.

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An Early Start to the Storm Season

Minnesota saw its first tornado of the year earlier this week when an EF-0 spun through Elysian ripping roofs off buildings.

KLKS Meteorologist Tony Schumacher says it likely will be a busy a tornado season in the gopher state because it is getting off to an early start.

Schumacher suggests that because the storm season has gotten off to an early start, we may see more twisters in northern Minnesota.

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Walker Man Stabbed to Death Wednesday

A 22-year-old Walker man died of stab wounds last night.

Cass County Sheriff Tom Burch said deputies responded to the incident about 10:15 PM in the Onigum area.   The victim, a 22 year old Walker man, died of apparent stab wounds to the chest while en route to the hospital.  

The suspect, 20-year-old Sheldon James Smith was taken into custody by Cass County authorities and is being held in the Cass County Jail pending formal charges. 

Sheriff Burch reports the incident remains under investigation with an autopsy pending.   The identity of the victim is being withheld pending notification of family members.   

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Nisswa Man Charged in Stand-Off

A 46-year-old Nisswa man is in the Crow Wing County Jail following a stand-off with lawmen Wednesday morning.

Mark Mundem has been charged with assault with a dangerous weapon and disorderly conduct.

Crow Wing County deputies were called to a house in Lake Edward Township during the early hours of March 21st on a domestic disturbance call.  When they got there, Mundem was allegedly brandishing a gun.  A woman was safely removed from the house and taken to the hospital for treatment.

The county tactical team was called to the scene and successfully talked into leaving the house on his own.

County Road 13 between Lake Hubert and Lake Edward was closed during the stand-off.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

DNR Seeks License Fee Increases

The MN Department of Natural Resources is seeking an increase in hunting and fishing licenses.  The cost of deer hunting tag would hike up from $26 to $30 and a fishing license would increase from $17 to $22.

Gary Drotts, Area Wildlife Supervisor tells KLKS News, serious cuts are likely without additional revenue.

Drotts says his duties were increased when he assumed the Supervisor role for Aitkin County, in addition to Crow Wing and Cass Counties, as a way to save department money.

He indicated not all area legislators are willing to increase the fees to avoid the cuts.

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Arsenic and Old Lace This Weekend

Pequot Lakes Community Theater opens Arsenic and Old Lace this weekend in the high school theater.

It's a comedy about a pair of sweet old ladies and the dispensing of arsenic.  Director Erick Steen tells KLKS News, the cast has had a great time rehearsing for the show.

The play runs weekends through April 1st.  Showtimes are Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.  Reserve tickets by calling 568-9200.  Tickets can also be purchased a half hour before each show.

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Co Rd. 13 Reopens East of Nisswa

A stand-off with lawmen in a house east of Nisswa has ended without further incident.  County Road 13 between Lake Hubert and Lake Edward has reopened to traffic.  It had been closed for a few hours.

A domestic dispute triggered the incident early this morning.

Crow Wing County Sheriff Todd Dahl tells KLKS News, deputies were called to the residence after 2 a.m. this morning.  When they entered the house, they were confronted with a man holding a gun.  An injured woman inside was safely removed from the house and taken to the hospital.  The man remained inside.

Sheriff Dahl said they had been in telephone contact with the man, and were able to convince him come out on his own.  He is in custody.

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Pillager Man Faces Charges from Weekend Fight

A Pillager man faces felony assault charges following a St. Patrick's day fight outside a bar in Lakeshore.

25-year-old William R. Kussulker was arrested after punching 22-year-old Adam C. Stonacek of Pine River.

Police say Kussulker was escorted out of Zorbaz for being disorderly.  While in the parking lot, Kussulker allegedly confronted Stonacek and a fight ensued.  Only one punch was thrown by Kussulker.  However, when Stonacek went down he struck his head on concrete.  He was taken to St. Joseph's Medical Center, then airlifted to St. Cloud.  He has since been released.

Kussulker, who practices mixed martial arts, has been released on bail.  He faces a maximum sentence of  20 years in prison and up to a $30 thousand fine. 

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Big Crowds For St. Pat's in Crosslake

A record-breaking crowd turned out for the 38th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Celebration in Crosslake.

Crosslake Public Works Director Ted Strand estimated between 15,000 and 20,000 people were in town for the festivities. He said every road leading into Crosslake had vehicles parked on both sides extending for a half-mile past the parade route.

There were more than 100 parade entries, which included multiple vehicles, floats and walkers, for the two-hour event in the record-high temperatures.

Crosslake Fire Chief Chip Lohmiller reported serving more than 450 people, a record number, at the pancake breakfast. He noted the Crosslake First Responders were stationed along the parade route and reported no incidents.

The 2012 Best in Float honors were awarded to Moonlite Bay, first place; Emily Greens, second place; Lake Country Crafts & Cones, third place, and Girl Scouts Troop 650, first place, youth division. The first place traveling trophy will be presented to Moonlite Bay on March 24 at the St. Patrick’s Day Raffle Drawing Party at Maucieri’s, 34650 County Road 3, Crosslake.

This year’s parade float judges were the former Ms. Blarneys: 2008 Colleen Murray, 2009 Dana Buranen, and 2011 Anna Anderson.

The Pot O’ Gold Treasure was found about 9:40 a.m. Saturday, about 40 minutes after the last clue was posted, by Nathan, Jennifer, Ella, and Lauren Krause, and David and Judy Jackson, of Cottage Grove. They earned $100 in Chamber Bucks for finding the treasure on the Sunrise Island Bridge of Echo Bay.

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Ward Fights Voter I.D.

State Representative John Ward of Brainerd opposes placing a constitutional amendment before the voters requiring voter ID.

The DFL-er says it would jeopardize the voting rights of about 500 thousand Minnesotans.  At risk would be the elderly, students and military serving outside the district.

Representative Ward says an alternative would be an electronic polling book, which would provide a visual I.D. at less cost.

The State House was scheduled to vote on the constitutional amendment later today.  It is expected to be approved along party lines.

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Brainerd Musician Loses Cello

(AP)  A local man is trying to get back a prized cello.

Scott Lykins had the $40 thousand dollar instrument stolen from an SUV last week. 

Lykins is artistic director for the annual Lakes Area Music Festival in Brainerd.  He was in Minneapolis celebrating his 26th birthday when the cello was taken from the vehicle.

The string instrument was insured, but Lykins was looking forward to playing it when he attends an audition in Rochester New York tomorrow.

Lykins has been scouring the Internet for any sign of someone attempting to sell it on-line.

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Monday, March 19, 2012

The Warm Winter Ends

While it may feel as though winter left some time ago, today is the last day. 

KLKS Meteorologist Tony Schumacher says it will go down as one of the warmest on record.  Temperatures averaged about seven degrees warmer than normal, while precipitation was about 20 percent less than average.

Schumacher says spring will pick-up where winter left off with mild temperatures.  However, there is some moisture in prospect that could help moisten the dry landscape.

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More Motorcyclists on the Road

Crow Wing County Sheriff Todd Dahl says motorcycles are on the road earlier that ever, due to the unusually warm weather.  So, he is asking motorists to be on the look-out for them.

Sheriff Dahl tells KLKS News, cyclists can easily get into blind spots.  It is important to look over your shoulder before changing lanes, and not rely solely on mirrors.

Sheriff Dahl says small cars can also get caught in blind spots.  He also is asking motorists to be on the look-out for walkers and bicyclists.

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CLC Takes 4th in Ntl Tourney

The Central Lakes College men's basketball team went into half time trailing Brookdale of New Jersey 43-34 Saturday.  At stake was fourth place in the NJCAA Division III tournament.

The Raiders rallied in the second half, outscoring the Jersey Blues 51-32.  The final score 85-75. 

The Raiders finish the season 29-4.

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