Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.
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More than 1,750 people, dressed like a casting call for the movie "Fargo," surged out onto frozen Fish Hook Lake Saturday for the 13th annual Park Rapids Community Fishing Derby. With volunteers, their numbers easily surpassed 2,000 on ice. The catch and release festival registered 286 fish that anglers were willing to take to the weigh station. Hundreds more, many as small as the live bait used, were chucked quickly back into the drink. "Are you kidding me?" said one man eyeing a two-inch perch on his line. Then he thought better of it and asked his girlfriend to snap a photo.
The future of emergency radio transmissions is quietly going up in a snow-covered field in Henrietta Township. Workers are installing the first of a series of 330-foot ARMER radio towers, the acronym for the Allied Radio Matrix for Emergency Response. A multi-million dollar statewide conversion to narrowband radio equipment is underway that will transition all systems by Jan. 1, 2013.
Minnesota State Patrol officers said it was "a miracle" no one was injured when two vehicles collided east of Snellman Monday afternoon. Officers on the scene were trying to piece together how the accident occurred just before 3 p.m. on Highway 34. The vehicles ended up more than one-eighth of a mile apart on the north shoulder, both facing east. Firefighters from Carsonville, North Memorial Ambulance personnel and troopers from Park Rapids and Detroit Lakes responded.
A town of anglers 2,000 strong materialized on Fish Hook Lake Saturday as Park Rapids' 13th annual Community Fishing Derby kicked off. Funny hats, minnow swallowing and yes, fishing, characterized the massive annual event that gives away more than $100,000 in prizes. Platoons of cheerful volunteers, it seemed like one for every participant, drove school buses, served pancakes, acted as parking lot attendants and shuttle drivers as the annual event ran smoothly. Kids and adults stood in line to register puny and respectable sized fish. For more, and a complete list of prizewinners, pick
Brian Halik shudders to think what might have happened if he hadn't gone bowling Tuesday night. After arriving home, he heard his fireplace crackling. Only it wasn't the fireplace. It was the walls of his Lake Peysenske home. The fireplace had ignited them. Three-dozen firefighters and trucks from Park Rapids and Nevis descended on the home at 12:25 a.m. Wednesday. Temperatures were 20 below zero with wind chills nearly 40 below. The home, at the intersection of Evening Drive and Evening Lane in south central Hubbard County, was totally engulfed.
Hubbard County commissioners and county department heads are increasingly scrutinizing how money is spent and business is conducted - and finding areas of disagreement that could bring about change. The microscopic inspection began Wednesday with the first presentation of a monthly overtime report at the request of new commissioner Kathy Grell. The Sheriff's Department, including the jail and dispatch center, accounted for 245 of the 247 hours reported for January.
A faulty electrical baseboard heater is being looked at as the cause of the December fire that destroyed much of the Whitetail Tavern on Highway 34. And owner Mike Erickson said he's still not sure if the restaurant and tavern will be rebuilt.
A Guthrie man who pled guilty to growing marijuana will spend eight days in jail and 180 hours building homes for charity. Perry Raymond Eddy, 51, was found to have 200 growing marijuana plants at two locations in northeast Hubbard County. Judge Paul Rasmussen sentenced Eddy Monday to 10 days in jail with credit for two days served and 180 hours of community service, which Eddy will spend at Habitat for Humanity. The organization builds homes for needy residents. Sentencing will be stayed for five years while Eddy remains on probation. He was arrested last fall.
An irrigation clinic Thursday in Park Rapids illustrated how far beyond a sprinkler system the practice has evolved. Irrigators learned about global markets, maximizing yield, protecting water resources, minimizing adverse impact on the environment, how to leverage crop insurance and how to survive in the volatile futures market. The long and short of it is that agriculture is a booming business that farmers can thrive in, provided they use technology to their advantage. "You have to keep up on everything going on," said Wes Benjamin, a Hubbard County organic farmer voted Irrigator of th