Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.
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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
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
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.
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.
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.