Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers Hubbard County, courts and breaking news.
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Park Rapids police officer Justin Frette couldn't believe his eyes Wednesday night. Parked near the intersection of Highways 71 and 34 in Park Rapids, he observed a car go by and crash in the blink of an eye. It was just after midnight. "Surprisingly he wasn't injured," Police Chief Terry Eilers said of the driver. "Both airbags went. He claimed he was doing 100 mph." Dale Allen Peterka, 40, Park Rapids, was taken into custody on a Fourth Degree DWI charge. "He swerved to turn north on 71," Eilers said.
Hubbard County's Board of Commissioners backed off scrutinizing a 2 a.m. closing time for bars when they learned there are rowdier spots in the city that close earlier. Zhateau Zorbaz near Dorset had voiced some concerns when commissioner Dick Devine mentioned last board meeting it seemed counterproductive to conduct stay sober campaigns on the highways while allowing bars to remain open later. Sheriff Cory Aukes debunked that notion. "It's not an issue," he said of calls to Zorbaz, the only establishment in the county open until 2 a.m. "We get calls out there, yes.
An emotional three-decade-old argument against paving County Road 37 along the south side of Kabekona Lake, took voice again Wednesday. Members of an extended family, most of them seasonal residents, have been fighting the proposal to widen and eventually pave the natural preservation road.
A 45-year-old Menahga man pled guilty Friday in U.S. District Court to possessing more than 300 images of child pornography. Brent Michael Freeman pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography. Freeman was indicted on March 18, 2010. In his plea agreement, Freeman admitted that on July 9, 2007, he knowingly possessed "visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct, those images having been transported via a computer," according to the criminal complaint. Freeman faces a potential maximum penalty of ten years in prison. Judge John R.
Hubbard County lake activists have won a lawsuit challenging a variance granted for a Crow Wing Lake planned unit development. District Judge Paul Rasmussen ruled Feb. 23 the county's Board of Adjustment did not correctly or completely assess the factors for granting 11 boat slips to Eagles Landing Resort, which is converting to a PUD on 5th Crow Wing Lake.
A former Park Rapids schoolteacher made his initial appearance Monday in court on a charge of bringing a hunting rifle onto school grounds. Scott Eischens, 38, Ponsford, was released on his own recognizance on the felony charge. He told Hubbard County District Judge Paul Rasmussen he was in the process of retaining private counsel. Eischens resigned under pressure in December after an internal investigation into the incident was sent to the County Attorney's office for prosecution. A student reported seeing an uncased rifle in the back seat of Eischens' Volkswagon on Nov.
The saga of two best friends who couldn't handle their alcohol ended July 3, 2010 with one going to the grave; the other to jail. Monday Luis Candelaria, 48, was formally sentenced to 18 months in jail in the death of Richard Allen Hoskins of Park Rapids. Hoskins' funeral program said he passed away at "41 years, 6 months & 11 days." The men had spent the holiday drinking, boating and sunning, Candelaria testified in January. Their alcohol-fueled argument escalated like tinder by nightfall. Punches were exchanged. Hoskins lay dead in Candelaria's Park Rapids lawn with a head injury.
The Hubbard County Board of Adjustment granted two variances Tuesday and kept itself from compounding its miseries. The board, a defendant in a lawsuit filed by lake activists, decided against conditioning a variance on a landowner's promise never to subdivide her property. Misreading the site plan and under the assumption there was only 66 feet of lake frontage, interim board chair Jerry Cole asked Island Lake landowner Gae Veit for a promise not to put more pressure on her natural environment lake by subdividing.
A former Park Rapids teacher who resigned under pressure late last year makes his initial appearance on a charge of bringing a weapon onto school grounds. Scott Christopher Eischens, 38, was an industrial education teacher at Park Rapids Area High School for 12 years. He was placed on paid administrative leave when school officials found a hunting rifle in the bed of his pickup late last year. He resigned in December 2010. He is set to appear Feb. 28 in Hubbard County District Court. He faces a felony charge of possessing a gun on school property.