Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers Hubbard County, courts and breaking news.
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Thursday's rain was a welcome respite for dusty Hubbard County. But in many areas, especially in town, that rain simply runs down into groundwater off parking lots and directly into the Fish Hook River untreated. Tuesday Park Rapids joined a legion of cities around the state establishing a storm water utility fund. Council members passed a first reading allowing formation of the fund and the collection of fees. The second and final reading will be next month. "The days of it running to the river and streams are gone," said council member Dave W. Konshok.
Park Rapids' geriatric system of shallow wells could topple like dominos in the coming years, much like senior citizens on wobbly walkers. Nitrate levels continue to creep to dangerous levels in two more wells. Tuesday, Park Rapids City Council members, less than a year after taking a well out of service, learned a second one has failed a quarterly test of nitrate levels.
Larry Harsha would have taken special delight in the fact that his obituary photo featured him wearing a shirt that read, "In dog years I'm dead." He was unapologetically politically incorrect.
The 23 miniature horses on Keith and Sue Swanson's ranch are docile, gentle creatures. They don't snort, jump or rear their heads, unless a new mother feels her colt is being threatened. Mostly, they're a soothing presence on the farm northeast of Park Rapids. "They were my antidepressants, my therapy," Sue said. Sue's lifelong love of horses began as a kid. Her family owned a riding stable on Long Lake for many years. She's always had horses, but she and Keith laugh at how they've "downsized" their herd. Not in numbers, mind you, but in actual size.
The second of two Hubbard County men charged in an animal cruelty case last fall has been sentenced to 30 days in jail. Dustin Lee Kako, 22, pled guilty to Third Degree Criminal Damage to Property Monday for shooting a yellow Lab through the torso last fall with a bow and arrow. The Lab, owned by Robert and Kristin Evavold, who live in a rural subdivision near Menahga, underwent emergency surgery at The Ark Animal Hospital to save his life. Co-defendant Andrew Eugene Leece James, 23, entered a plea April 5 to Fourth Degree Damage to Property in the firearm shooting of another Lab belongi
Hometown heroes aren't always those who march off to war on foreign soil. They frequently live among us, coming to our needs in our most desperate hours. Sunday Laporte honored its hometown heroes in a uniquely Minnesota nice way: a feast of meatballs, mashed potatoes and gravy. The community came together to hold a fundraiser for the Lakeport Area First Responders. The lure?
Tom Carew has spent a lifetime with flowers. And the reluctant subject of this story apologizes for the brown tones throughout his flowerbeds - in early April. Who among us has blooming flora in early spring? But if 2010 is anything like 2009, those beds surrounding the back entry of Tom and Rita Carew's home on Long Lake will come alive with vibrant color and an elegant but casual appearance, one he spends about two hours daily to achieve. "Really, I'm not a gardener," he protests. His home seems like an appendage to the stunning flower gardens filled with annuals and perennials.
Twice a week on average, a Hubbard County squad car pulls up to St. Joseph's Area Health Services in Park Rapids to transport a mental health patient to a treatment facility. If the county is complying with state law, the car is unmarked, the officer in plain clothes. But that's not always the reality. Sheriff Frank Homer said if his transport officer is not available or is already busy, he either has to call in an officer and pay overtime for the transport, to Bemidji, Wadena, Fargo, Brainerd or the Twin Cities, or pull a patrol car off the road, leaving the county one officer short.
A standard sheet of plywood is 4 feet by 8 feet. So, in order to save lumber, Hubbard County commissioners will hold a public hearing May 19 to revamp the county's campaign signs law. It's likely unconstitutional, advised Hubbard County Attorney Don Dearstyne. "The primary intent of the ordinance is to regulate signs of a commercial nature," said a memo drafted by assistant Hubbard County Attorney Michael Plante for the board to review. And with the Minnesota Legislature also moving the primary election to Aug.
Hubbard County's new Emergency Management Director, in two months, has nearly become fully certified. Brian Halbasch surprised county commissioners Wednesday when he reported of 30 classes needed for certification, he has already taken 25 necessary. And he saved the county time and travel expenses by taking the coursework online, he said. "I'm really impressed," said Sheriff Frank Homer, whose department absorbed the Emergency Management responsibilities earlier this year when they were split off from the Veterans Service Officer position, which was filled full-time by Gregory Remus. C