Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.
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Martha Vaerst waited until she'd attained just the right age of senior citizenship before moving into assisted living last July. She was 99. Sunday she returned to her hometown to celebrate her 100th birthday in near blizzard conditions. She and eight family members came up to Park Rapids the day before. "It's great to be here," she said, looking around the parish hall at Trinity Church filled with food, well-wishers and a pastel birthday cake almost as large as its recipient, topped by two "Happy 50th birthday" balloons.
Osage residents put on their games faces and moved the Dorothy Noeske Memorial Bluegill and Crappie Fishing Derby indoors due to a snowstorm. Would-be anglers packed the Osage Community Center, munching on hot dogs, hand-baked goodies and participating in the prize giveaways. This was the 25th annual event under the tournament named for Dorothy Noeske.
An amended complaint in the case of a Laporte man who had his pit bulls attack a Hubbard County deputy sheds light on the reason why the suspect fled - and how he may be funding his defense costs. Jesse James Johnson, 30, was arrested Feb. 8 following a high-speed pursuit that went down county roads and the Paul Bunyan Hiking Trail at speeds over 80 mph. Johnson's charges were upgraded last week to include a charge of 3rd Degree Assault, for allegedly inflicting "substantial bodily harm" to Dep. Dan May.
The long career of an esteemed Park Rapids surveyor came to a close Monday in Hubbard County District Court. Thomas Michael Miller, 65, pleaded guilty to one count of computer theft, for taking his old employer's records when he quit. As part of a civil suit settled last month, he agreed to relinquish his survey practice locally for 10 years. Miller was a longtime employee of a local surveying firm that was acquired in 2007 by Arro Surveying, which is based in Walker.
The fur was flying Saturday at Angie's Groom 'N Board and will be all this week. An overwhelming response to owner Angie Walther's charitable dog wash resulted in a steady parade of mutts, purebreds, pound puppies and dogs the size of mini horses barking their way in and out the door. It was supposed to be a one-day dog wash fundraiser for Headwaters Animal Shelter. "The response was so overwhelming we took appointments all through the next week through Saturday," Walther said. "It's a cause near and dear to my heart." To date, 80 baths have been booked.
The blizzard that wasn't left Hubbard County wind, but little snow. "You're not alone," laughed National Weather Service meteorologist Al Voelker. "From right around Sioux Falls into eastern Nebraska and Kansas we had a huge system of thunderstorms and those storms took a lot of moisture from the (your) system. The precipitation band, instead of being widespread, was more confined to a smaller area around the surface low.
The rapidly changing forecast has the Park Rapids area in a weather band that could see 12-18 inches of snow. A blizzard watch has been revised back to a winter storm watch, but National Weather Service officials say that could change in a hurry. Stay tuned to the Enterprise Facebook page for weather updates. Here's the latest forecast. Today: A 50 percent chance of snow, mainly after noon. Cloudy, with a high near 31. East southeast wind between 10 and 13 mph. Total daytime snow accumulation of less than one inch possible. Tonight: Snow. The snow could be heavy at times. Low around 25.
Hubbard County is on the eastern tip of a large area that could see blizzard conditions Tuesday and Wednesday and the largest snowstorm of the season, bringing a foot of new snow to the area. The National Weather Service in Grand Forks has been swamped with phone calls the last two days so the Enterprise was unable to speak to a meteorologist Monday morning. The area saw nearly 8 inches of snowfall Sunday. The forecast for the Park Rapids area calls for more snow and wind gusts up to 31 mph Tuesday.
Hubbard County, along with most of the north woods region and northern North Dakota, is in a winter storm warning. Heavy snow and light winds are contributing to poor visibility in open areas.
A reserve member of Hubbard County's Board of Adjustment found himself in an awkward conflict of interest Tuesday when he switched sides of the table and unsuccessfully lobbied for an after-the-fact variance at his own resort. Tom Krueger, who substitutes for member Lou Schwindt during the winter months, owns a resort-turned PUD called Sunny Point Estates on 2nd Crow Wing Lake. At Tuesday's monthly meeting, he removed himself from voting, but then represented a homeowner in his development that placed a large storage shed within the ordinary high water mark of the lake and without permissi