Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.
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A Friday morning fire believed to have started from the ember of a Weber grill caused extensive damage to a Hubbard home. Park Rapids Fire Chief Donn Hoffman said grills "have no place" on house decks. It's just too unsafe. "He would have been OK but the wind probably sparked one of the embers," Hoffman said. The fire extensively damaged the home's vinyl siding, then crept up into the eaves, where it did more damage. "You just don't know what's beneath your deck," Hoffman said.
An 18-year-old woman was taken by ambulance to St. Joseph's Area Health Services Wednesday morning following a one-vehicle accident just west of Hubbard. The accident occurred around 10:35 a.m. The eastbound vehicle either swerved to miss something on Highway 87 or officers at the scene questioned whether the driver had turned around to check on a baby in the back seat. The woman suffered facial injuries from the air bag deploying, and possibly striking the rear view mirror, authorities at the scene said. She was not wearing a seat belt.
The Hubbard County Sheriff's Department will soon resemble most area motorists, drivers of pickup trucks. The county board approved the purchase Wednesday of two pickups and a new squad car. Sheriff Cory Aukes said with the winters the region has seen lately, "four-wheel drives are invaluable." On numerous occasions last winter, Aukes said squad cars and deputies behind the wheel had to be rescued by larger departmental vehicles in heavy snow. Pickups are a better deal than SUVs or cars, the department has concluded, with a higher potential resale value. Commissioner Dick Devine, a f
Two additions to Hubbard County's revised variance ordinance, one concerning county access to private property, could raise some hackles at the upcoming public hearing June 15. They did with the county board Wednesday. One provision gives county employees access to private property "for the purposes of administering and enforcing the pertinent (shoreland) ordinances." "I don't want someone on my property without permission," objected commissioner Cal Johannsen. Trespassing issues have frequently arisen when county employees such as appraisers have stepped on private land to fulfill a p
Eminent domain proceedings have begun against six landowners with 10 parcels of property along Hubbard County 37, but bids will still be let for the project June 14. The legal proceedings will only slow access to those properties, said Hubbard County engineer Dave Olsonawski. The plan is to begin grading the natural resource road after the July 4th holiday.
As Day 2 dawned, Park Rapids residents woke up to aching backs and plenty of sunshine. But that sun carries a heavy price of what was lost in Monday night's EF-1 tornado, which struck older sections of the city. "Good grief we lost a lot of beautiful trees," said Minnesota Power line crew supervisor Carl Thesing. Whole sections of shade trees toppled in high winds west and north of the downtown area. Linda Eischens' front yard west of the courthouse will have no shade whatsoever.
The National Weather Service has confirmed that an EF-1 tornado packing wind speeds of 105 mph hit Park Rapids at 10:30 Monday night. It was accompanied by a microburst. "The first sign of touchdown was approximately 5 miles southwest of Park Rapids where a prefabricated home was destroyed," the report states.
Hubbard County's Park Rapids transfer station will stay open until 7 p.m.
A powerful overnight storm hit Park Rapids and Hubbard County overnight, sucking trees out of the ground, ripping roofs off structures and toppling power lines and poles like pickup sticks. The National Weather Service planned to do a site assessment this afternoon to see if it was a tornado that struck. Much of Park Rapids and the county were without power or phone service Tuesday morning.
We'd put out a call last week to take a peek at unique bird feeding stations in the area. Beverly Bethel brought in photos of a gem. She lives about a mile from Vagabond Village in Hubbard County. Bedeviled by gray squirrels, her setup is clever and effective. Gray squirrels would walk out to the end of tree branches, wait until the branch slowly dipped down, then drop onto her squirrel baffle. Then they'd slide underneath and gorge themselves. She cut a tree limb off and they'd still shinny up a pole.