Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.
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In the end the decision came down to "just plain folks." A husband and wife team of designers won the right to oversee the redesign of the county's Law Enforcement Center's second floor to accommodate Hubbard County Social Services offices. Steve and Roz Johnson said they didn't see a problem completing the project within the $800,000 budget the county laid down. Their firm, VJA (Vetter Johnson Architects) of Minneapolis, ousted the other two Minneapolis-area firms that had previous dealings with the county and seemed to have the inside track. But VJA demonstrated a unique and extensiv
Snow-starved Minnesotans could see a weather band that brings another half a foot of white stuff to the Park Rapids area this weekend. "Right now in the Park Rapids area our current forecast calls for somewhere in the neighborhood around 4-6 inches, but that's subject to some more revisions in the next few days," said National Weather Service meteorologist Jeff Makowski. "We'll have a better handle on the track of the system," he added.
Hubbard County liquor establishments that flout the law may have to answer to a new sheriff in the land - the Hubbard County Board of Commissioners. Last week Sheriff Cory Aukes asked the board to consider implementing administrative penalties if an establishment breaks the law, a consistent way of dealing with compliance failures. Currently, only clerks and bartenders who break the law are subject to criminal penalties, Aukes said. The establishments as a whole can still have its annual liquor license renewed unless there's been egregious conduct.
The county is still recovering from a serious budworm outbreak in its jack pine population that started seven years ago, Hubbard County Land Commissioner Mark Lohmeier told the board last week. He requested an increase in the tax forfeited land apportionment, which the board granted. In 2011, the total proceeds were $353,000 and change.
Hubbard County is in for 3-5 inches of snow overnight, the National Weather Service predicts. Light snow began falling around 3 p.m. in the Park Rapids area. "We should see intermittent to moderate snow overnight tapering off tomorrow mid-morning to noontime," said NWS meteorologist Jim Kaiser, "with three to five inches in the total. "With the temperatures hovering in that 34 to 35-degree range, accumulations are going to be slow at first until temperatures cool a little bit.
Walker's version of "a festivus for the rest of us" is underway this weekend as the 33rd annual International Eelpout Festival got off to its raucous start. Think of the wacky holiday made famous in the Seinfeld TV series. Then multiply it by 10,000 characters. Eelpout appeals to those with a terminal case of arrested development. On a beautiful weekend, the rowdy festival attracted the young, old, even some actually fishing for the state's ugliest fish - the eelpout. "I've been coming since 1989 and this is the most perfect weekend I can remember," said Tim Swanson of Clear Lake.
An Akeley man convicted of assaulting a state trooper last fall was sentenced to 44 months in prison, with a lengthy probationary period and the chance of an immediate extra 12 months in jail if he makes even a minor misstep. Elijah Lee Knowles, 26, angered Judge John Smith when he said he thought he was going to be shot during a DUI arrest last fall, so he fled at a high rate of speed leading a posse of officers through Nevis and other high traffic areas until he crashed his car. "You're a lucky man," Smith said from the bench. "You're still alive. All officers used complete restraint.
Hubbard County commissioners gave the thumbs up to moving forward on a bike trail from Park Rapids to Itasca State Park without the state's help. "We'd been seeking Legislative authority as a state trail," said Hubbard County Land Commissioner Mark Lohmeier. "The state has 27 unfunded (but planned) state trails ahead of us." Commissioners reasoned the delay in getting a state partnership and funding would take a decade or so to extend the current Heartland Trail system. "If we do it as a regional trail system it would go faster," Lohmeier acknowledged.
Disappointment with a St.
A pending federal investigation into the way Minnesota administers Medicaid programs, and the rates insurers charge for programs for the indigent, got a swift reaction from Hubbard County commissioners Wednesday. The scope of the federal investigation isn't clear but it is believed to be conducted by the U.S. Centers for Medicaid/Medicare Services.