Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers Hubbard County, courts and breaking news.
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Hubbard County entered into a participation plan that will eventually result in purchasing the state radio system, reversing a preference for upgrading the VHF emergency radio system. The switch came about at Wednesday's board meeting when radio consultant GeoComm made a presentation on the ARMER (Allied Radio Matrix for Emergency Response) system. The county has been involved in numerous meetings over the past two years to determine if it should go with the northwest district it belongs in, upgrading its VHF, or going with ARMER to comply with a nationwide mandate to convert to narrowband
A small electrical fire brought legions of emergency personnel to the Holiday Station store around 7 p.m. Wednesday. "It was just a small fire," an employee said. "They all came out here," he said of the platoon of deputies, police, ambulance personnel and firefighters that converged on the store on Highway 34 in Park Rapids. "There was nobody injured." But the incident prompted numerous calls and inquiries to the Enter-prise, as the show of force attracted a crowd."Oh yeah, we had quite the crew up here," the clerk said.
The American Legion Auxiliary members have sold thousands of poppies over the years to benefit disabled or hospitalized veterans. From left, Katy Hochstatter, Paulette Lombard and Evie Hagen have many decades of service selling the crepe-paper flowers. The poppies are made at a vet center and can be the sole source of income for disabled veterans, along with funding special projects. Hochstatter is contemplating retiring as co-chair after 43 years. The poppies are exchanged for contributions. Last year the Park Rapids chapter raised $2,200.
After a lousy, but typical start to the Minnesota Fishing Opener, it ended with a burst of warmth and sun. But come rain or shine, the walleyes were biting. Many happy anglers left the Park Rapids area after filling their limits both Saturday and Sunday.
Ten days after Gov. Mark Dayton signed a new law into effect regulating the granting of variances, Hubbard County's Board of Adjustment is once again at loggerheads with the local Coalition of Lake Associations. And once again, the Environmental Services Office is tweaking the criteria for its board to analyze in granting or denying variances. Monday, the BOA and COLA differed frequently over variance analysis during the monthly meeting. COLA representatives accused the beleaguered board, the defendant in a pending lawsuit, of being inconsistent in upholding its own shoreland ordinances.
A $1,000 reward is being offered for information leading to a conviction in the case of two timber wolves left dead on a highway north of Park Rapids May 8. The reward money is being offered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, said Minnesota DNR Conservation Officer Sam Hunter. The wolves were dumped on U.S. Highway 71 north of Park Rapids. Hunter believes the animals were shot, possibly at another location. They were found south of Little Mantrap Lake near Hubbard County 41. Hunter is asking for any information about the "illegal taking" of the wolves and those responsible.
Nearly two years ago Hubbard County invested in an architectural space needs plan that didn't seem to work for anyone. But as those space needs get more immediate, board chair Greg Larson said a workable plan is imminent. The board met in a work session last Wednesday to discuss items it hasn't been able to get to during regular board meetings. "Social Services, we have twice as many people there than we should," he said. Several factors are edging the plan forward. "We have need, space available and cost," Larson said. "We certainly have the need.
Park Rapids' quest to host the 2012 Governor's Fishing Opener fell short Saturday night when Waconia was chosen. But Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Katie Magozzi said it was Waconia's fourth attempt, so Park Rapids just needs to stay in the hunt. Magozzi and a group of Park Rapids boosters attended this year's Opener in Grand Rapids. "The governor said he wanted to see our application on his desk next year," she said. "He wanted to keep it in the Metro area next year." Red Wing was the third finalist this year besides Park Rapids and Waconia.
It's opening fishing weekend and we want to give a special shout out to the lake associations for all they are doing to combat Aquatic Invasive Species. Armed with the ammunition indicating the hefty economic clout our lakes have on the Hubbard County tax base, lake residents are getting serious about the weekend company. Don't bring it, is the message. What's "it"? AIS, of course. From boat washes to inspectors, Hubbard County lakes are gearing up to do battle with boat owners. It will be a lesson in diplomacy.
Hubbard County's population bubble, comprised of aging residents and kids leaving the nest permanently, is cause for concern, Census data suggests. That means as the Baby Boomers add to the senior population, and a sparsely populated generation ages behind them, who will take care of the county's old fogies? "They will put a demand on the county and assisted living services," said Cliff Tweedale, Executive Director of Headwaters Regional Development Commission at a county board work session Wednesday. As U.S.