Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.
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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.
Itasca State Park could fall victim to a government shutdown if Minnesota lawmakers can't agree on a budget by June 30. The Highway 34 reconstruction project from Park Rapids to Akeley could halt mid-lane. "We all should be very concerned about a government shutdown," said Sen.
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.
You could call it a going-out-of-business sale if it had ever been in business. Laissez-faire policies of live and let live at Hubbard County's Henrietta Mall have changed, ending the free flow of potentially valuable solid waste to profiteers. "The county board has set in place a policy for folks that need a part or piece to fix something and it is simple policy," solid waste superintendent Vern Massie said. "The policy doesn't and never was intended for folks to make a living out of the scrap metal pile.
One of Lake George's most recognizable cornerstone businesses will re-open June 4 after a two-year hiatus that seemed endless to visitors. The Wigwam, purveyor of Native American crafts and quirky tchotchkes (small toys), comes to life in its original form on the corners on Highway 71 and Hubbard County 4 after being purchased last year by Jean Kruft. Kruft grew up in Dorset and taught many years in North Carolina before returning home last fall. She's a special education teacher in Bemidji, with family in the Park Rapids, Dorset and Lake Peysenske areas. "There's been lots of communit
Two Twin Cities area men received electronic home monitoring Monday as punishment in a Hubbard County case that involved poaching deer and growing marijuana on leased hunting land. Stephen Battin, 61, of Big Lake, and Donald Cook, 61, of Bloomington, entered into plea deals in April that substantially reduced the crimes they were facing and the time they could have spent behind bars. Battin pled guilty in April to a Third Degree Controlled Substance crime, for which he will serve 75 days of EHM and five years of probation.
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