Saturday, July 28, 2012

Woman Released in P.R. Man's Death

A woman who had been taken into custody in connection with the death of a Pine River man has been released pending further investigation.  Cass County authorities have identified a male suspect, who is currently in custody in another facility on unrelated charges.

Cass County Sheriff Tom Burch says the woman remains a person of interest in the case.

The remains of 27-year-old Mark Andrew Huesman were found in a shallow grave near the Pine River area Wednesday. Huesman had been reported missing earlier in the week. The Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office is conducting an autopsy.

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Clinton Endorses Clark

The campaign of DFL 8th District congressional candidate Tarryl Clark says former President Bill Clinton has endorsed her campaign.

Clinton was impressed that Clark's focus for almost 25 years had been improving Minnesota and would bring the common sense solutions to Washington.

Clark's campaign says the former president’s endorsement is particularly significant given that she is one of three candidates running in the DFL primary election on August 14th.  The former President has planned an Aug. 4th, trip to Minnesota when he will be the keynote speaker at the DFL’s Humphrey-Mondale Dinner.

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MDH Says Limit Fish Consumption

The Minnesota Department of Health is reminding anglers that they can reduce potential health risks by following the state's current advice on safely consuming fish. 

The state's fish consumption guidelines are updated annually, and are produced jointly by MDH, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. This year's edition includes guidelines for limiting consumption of specific sizes and species of fish from 1272 lakes and 93 river fishing sites statewide. The guidelines are designed to help people limit their exposure to safe levels for contaminants like PCBs, perfluorochemicals, and mercury. 

In addition to providing fishing-site-specific advice in the guidelines, MDH also offers more general advice for avoiding exposure to contaminants in fish, regardless of where they were taken.

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Celebrate Gull Lake Dam

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is hosting a centennial celebration for its Gull Lake Dam at the Gull Lake Recreation Area Aug. 4 at 1 p.m.

Gull Lake Dam, located on the Gull River about one-half mile below the outlet of Gull Lake, was the last of six Headwaters dams built by the St. Paul District as part of the nation's first reservoir system. The reservoir system was originally authorized by Congress to regulate water levels for navigation purposes. However, its impact on navigation was short lived. Mississippi River channel modification undertaken after 1907 and the series of locks and dams built in the main river channel in the 1930s more efficiently regulated water levels.

During this time, recreational use of the Headwaters lakes and rivers by fishermen, hunters, campers and boaters greatly increased. Resort and lakeshore property owners became as concerned about water levels as Minneapolis flour millers had been 40 years earlier. Farmers, wild rice growers and northern Minnesota paper mills and sawmill owners also added their voices to the management of Headwaters lake water levels.

The celebration will recognize the past 100 years at the Gull Lake Dam and Recreation Area and highlight the many changes that have occurred. It will include the signing of a partnership agreement between the Corps and the Confidence Learning Center of Brainerd, Minn. The Gull Chain of Lakes Association will also present the Minnesota Governor's proclamation, naming July 30, 2012, as "Gull Lake Dam and Chain of Lakes Centennial Day" to Corps staff.

Following the commemoration, the Corps will host a medallion hunt for kids. The winner will receive a St. Paul District commemorative coin and all participants will receive a Gull Lake Dam souvenir. Confidence Learning Center will provide an opportunity to view numerous reptiles up close. The event is free to the public.

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Friday, July 27, 2012

A Mille Lacs Landmark Preserved

It's more than just a rest stop, and now it's about to receive a 2012 Minnesota Preservation Award from the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota. The Garrison Concourse on Mille Lacs Lake was selected to receive one of 10 awards out of 50 nominations.

State Representative John Ward “This is a great honor for a great piece of history and beauty in our area."

In 2010, the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota listed the Garrison Concourse as one of the 10 Most Endangered Historic Places. The concourse was originally constructed between 1936 and 1939 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, one of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal programs to combat the Great Depression. The concourse is also considered to be one of the finest roadside rest areas ever built in Minnesota.

After decades of wear and weathering, stone was being lost to the lake and its structural integrity was being undermined. Thanks to state and federal funding, a fall 2010 operation retrieved stone that had fallen into the lake over the years and a full rehabilitation began in May 2011. Masonry specialists managed to restore the wall to match what was used in the concourse’s original construction.

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Cravaack to Cut Coast Guard out of Mille Lacs

A U.S. House Committee has passed the "Mille Lacs Lake Freedom to Fish Act" on to the full House floor for consideration.

The legislation authored by 8th District Congressman Chip Cravaack is designed to cut red tape from the Coast Guard.

The Freshman Republican does not like that in March of 2010, the Coast Guard began requiring fishing guides on Lake Mille Lacs to acquire a so-called federal “six-pack” boating license.   He says the certification is difficult to obtain and can cost individual fishing guides up to $2000 in fees, training, and travel costs. The policy change was based on a 1981 Army Corps of Engineers determination that the lake had been used in the 1800s for logging.

Cravaack says the state has been conducting effective oversight for over 100 years, and the Coast Guard’s action negatively impacts the local fishing industry

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The Remains of Huesman Found

The remains of 27-year-old Mark Andrew Huesman of Pine River MN were found in a shallow grave near the Pine River area Wednesday.

Huesman had been reported missing earlier in the week. Foul play is suspected. The victim was taken to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy.

Cass County Sheriff Tom Burch says one female suspect is currently being held in the Cass County Jail in conjunction with the death. The suspect’s name is being withheld pending formal charges. The incident remains under investigation by the Cass County Sheriff’s Office and the MN Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

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Charges Against Two Former Browerville Athletes

(AP)  Two Browerville High School graduates face serious charges from Todd County.

Seth Kellen of Browerville is accused of third-degree criminal sexual conduct.and Connor Burns of Clarissa is accused of a lesser crime while they were active in Browerville sports.  Both are 18-years-old and recent graduates.

Kellen's attorney, Chris Karpan, calls the charges ridiculous.  He said the "inappropriate hazing activities" have gone on at the school for a long time. 

Todd County  prosecutor Chuck Rasmussen says the case is not about hazing.  He also says there's no indication school officials knew about the incidents, two of which allegedly occurred during this year's state basketball tournament.

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Missing Man Found Buried In rural Pine River

PINE RIVER, Minn. (AP) — Authorities say the body of a missing 27-year-old Pine River man has been found buried in rural Pine River, and a 20-year-old woman is jailed in his death.
Cass County Sheriff Tom Burch says the body of Mark Huesman  was found late Tuesday in a shallow grave in rural Pine River.

Huseman was last seen in the Pine River area about a week ago. Burch says that the suspect and Huseman were acquaintances.

Authorities are not aware of any motives in the killing. The sheriff expects there may be more suspects involved in Huseman's death.

The Cass County sheriff's office and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension are investigating.

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Achermann Gone for Three Years

 It has been three years since the disappearance of Peter Achermann, of Staples.  The investigation continues and the reward for information has been extended.

 The 82-year-old Achermann left his residence to run errands on July 24, 2009 and was last seen on Warner Rd, by the Crow Wing River bridge between 12:00-1:00 PM. His light blue 1995 Chevrolet Caprice Wagon, was located off County Rd. 32, at the end of a minimum maintenance road on July 25th. Despite extensive searches of the area, no trace of Achermann has been found.

Sheriff Tom Burch says his Office is working closely with the MN BCA.  While several leads have been followed, there hasn’t been anything substantial to help solve the case.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Cass County Sheriff’s Office at (800) 450-2677 or (218) 547-1424 or to call 911.  The reward for the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the disappearance is up to $20,000.00.

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Dayton Appeals FEMA Denial of Aid

Governor Mark Dayton is directing Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Kris Eide to appeal the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s denial for individual assistance for recent floods in northeast Minnesota. Earlier today, FEMA denied Minnesota’s request for individual assistance to homeowners and businesses.

The Governor said it was the wrong decision, and said he was deeply disappointed. Work on an appeal will begin immediately.

Senator Amy Klobuchar, Al Franken, and 8th District Congressman Chip Cravaack support Governor Dayton’s action to appeal the decision to deny individual assistant and say they will be urging FEMA to swiftly consider this appeal. The three say they will continue to work with federal, state and local officials to help families and businesses in northeast Minnesota recover

Earlier this month, at the urging of members of the Minnesota delegation including Klobuchar, Franken and Cravaack, President Barack Obama approved federal assistance to help Minnesota communities repair public infrastructure damaged by recent flooding.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

More High Speed Coming from TDS

TDS Telecommunications says that construction is underway on its American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus project surrounding Pequot Lakes. 

Once complete, nearly 900 customers in the area will gain access to TDS’ high-speed Internet services. [NOTE: See TDS’ Arvig Telephone Company project map by clicking the hyperlink.]

TDS has hired MP Nexlevel out of Maple Lake, MN. to do the outside construction work on this project. Once the outside work is finished, TDS will complete the inside work. The project is scheduled to be done in summer 2013.

TDS is receiving funding for the project from the United States Department of Agriculture’s  Rural Utilities Service.

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Anderson Heads MNDOT District 3

MnDOT's District 3, which includes the Brainerd Lakes Area, has a new District Engineer. 

Dan Anderson has been selected to the district which encompasses 13 counties in central Minnesota.

Anderson began his career with MnDOT as a graduate engineer in 1983. Since then he has served in a number of key positions, including hydraulic design and traffic engineering.
District 3 has two full service offices, located in Baxter and St. Cloud, and maintains over 1,600 miles of highway and more than 400 bridges.

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Woman Burned in Camping Accident

A gust of wind has turned a camping experience into a nightmare. 

A 44-year-old woman, identified as Kristi Kooima Stroeh from Luverne MN,  camping in Scandia Valley Township was burned over a large portion of her body last evening.  Witnesses said the woman had been using camping fuel to light a camp fire.  A gust of wind blew fuel on to her and she caught fire.

Morrison County Deputies and Scandia Valley First Responders were called to the scene and arranged to have Stroeh airlifted to Hennepin County Medical Center.

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Bogus $20 Bill in Pine River

The Pine River Chamber of Commerce reports that counterfeit $20 bills have been circulated in the Pine River area. Three have been found to date in Pine River businesses.

The serial number is identical on all the bills: I 424776653 A.  If you find a bill with that serial number, it is counterfeit. If you can remember who might have given you that bill or perhaps what kind of car they were driving or anything else that would help law enforcement, you are asked to call the Pine River Police Department at 218-587-3333. The first of these bills in Pine River was found last Thursday.

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Crosslake Man Dies in Plane Crash

An airplane accident on Upper Whitefish Lake Sunday morning has claimed the life of a 55-year-old Crosslake man.  A 61-year-old passenger in the small plane is hospitalized at Cuyuna Range Medical Center.  Names are being withheld until relatives have been told of the accident.

Crow Wing County Sheriff Todd Dahl tells KLKS news, reports indicated the float plane was taking off when it veered off to the left and went nose first into the water about 75 feet from shore.  The Sheriff indicated it was a violent crash with debris washing up on shore.

Cause of the crash is unknown.  The FAA is investigating.  Records indicate it was a 2008 amateur built Skystar Kitfix 4 fixed wing, single-engine plane.

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Fish Kill on Big Sandy

(AP)  First flooding waters and now a fish kill on Big Sandy Lake north of Aitkin. 

The DNR says the heavy rains last month washed a lot of decayed organic material into the lake.  Microbes  from the material consumed the dissolved oxygen in the lake that fish need to survive.

Dead northern pike, perch and crappies have washed up on shore.  The DNR says bass and sunfish are able to deal with the depleted oxygen levels.  All fish populations should rebound without much intervention.

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