Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers Hubbard County, courts and breaking news.
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Paving has begun on Highway 34 between Park Rapids and the Dorset corner and with minor exceptions, the resurfacing and turn lanes should be done by the July 1 deadline. There may be some items such as striping that won't get finished, said DOT project supervisor Larry Randall. But it's a quick turnaround for the Alexandria contractor who one week ago was expressing doubt his company could meet the deadline. Allan Minnerath did not attend the weekly contractors meeting Thursday.
The tornado-damaged grandstand at the Hubbard County fairgrounds is coming down, but the show will go on - the whole show. Fair board members determined the grandstand was structurally unsound after tornado force winds peeled the ceiling and boards from the supporting walls off the structure.
If you have a driver's license renewal coming up, better get on it. Ditto for a July wedding. Get the license now. As Minnesota moves closer and closer to a government shutdown, county offices that perform state functions are preparing for the worst and asking questions they aren't getting answers to. Loretta Mattson wants to know if county personnel can even take driver's license photos in Hubbard County and send them into the state, pending test results. They know they cannot administer the tests. Are we essential or not?
Accounting transparency is coming to Hubbard County, compliments of its newest commissioner. Businesswoman Kathy Grell, since taking office in January, has questioned public donations to various county programs, such as K-9, Explorers and Sentence to Serve. "The donations and expenditures are not reflected in the budget," Auditor Pam Heeren agreed. "They're kept in a little slush fund," Grell suggested. "Let's not call it that," Heeren responded. The donations have been segregated into separate accounts, from which program expenditures are taken, but Grell has pushed for those funds
As Hubbard County's Board of Adjustment continues to fine tune the granting of variances, it loosened the time limit for public input on projects due to pressure from lake activists. Two weeks ago the county's Planning Commission tried to enforce a strict three-minute time limit for members of the public to voice their objections or support on various projects.
A Fergus Falls woman who led officers on a high speed chase through Park Rapids Tuesday after dragging a police officer nearly two blocks with her car was arraigned Thursday on five charges, including three felonies. Marchelle Kim Ceryes (pronounced Sears) faces charges of Fourth Degree Assault on a Peace Officer, Fleeing, two counts of Criminal Vehicular Operation and Theft. "Her actions that day created a significant risk to the citizens of Hubbard County and a risk to the officers of Park Rapids," said Hubbard County Attorney Don Dearstyne. Judge Robert Tiffany set bail at $75,000 unc
Use an alternate route. That was the mantra state and county engineers repeated over and over Thursday at the weekly project meeting for the Highway 34 construction. But the problem is, the state cannot show the way. As frustration and delays mount on the roadway between Park Rapids and the Dorset corner, highway officials are urging the public to travel north, taking either County Road 18 or County Road 40 to Nevis. "Don't use County 81," Hubbard County engineer Dave Olsonawski urged.
A Little Sand Lake resort will join a growing legion of conversions to permanent residential lake communities. Wednesday the Hubbard County board approved the Conditional Use Permit to convert the former Northern Star Resort to Little Sand Bay Villas, a Planned Unit Development, after a lengthy public hearing overseen by an armed deputy. The resort is on Little Sand Lake north of Dorset. The hearing at times was contentious but the debate was mostly civil.
Amendments to the county's Shoreland Management Ordinance came under scrutiny Wednesday at a public hearing when members of COLA suggested citizens be given the right to view projects requesting a variance or Conditional Use Permit. Citizens have the right to view projects when a quorum of county board members go as a whole to site visitations.
A Laporte man has been found guilty of two felony sex crimes involving a minor child. Boyd Dean Beck, 59, was convicted Wednesday evening of two counts of Second Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct by a Hubbard County jury. Even though Judge Paul Rasmussen would not allow videotaped testimony by the child victim to be played in court, the jury found that Beck engaged in sexual contact with the girl between November 2009and March 2010. Prosecutor Erika Randall had asked Rasmussen to remand Beck into immediate custody but the judge denied the request. Beck's sentencing is set for Aug. 15.