Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.
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A longtime Hubbard County jailer/dispatcher is facing three felony charges in connection with her ex-husband's bank accounts and has been placed on administrative leave. Lana Jo-Lynn O'Bannon, 44, of Park Rapids, formerly known as Lana Jo Yliniemi, was charged last month by Becker County. She is charged with check forgery and theft of property, both punishable by a maximum of 5 years and/or a $10,000 fine and fraudulent use of a financial transaction card, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years and/or a $20,000 fine upon conviction. The charges stem from complaints made by Dale Ylin
The Laporte Area's first-ever Take a Kid Fishing tourney got a financial boost at Saturday's pancake fundraiser. The tournament is set for June 11 on Lake Garfield, for junior anglers ages 10-15. Mathew Miller was one such entrant signed up. His mom said he's been fishing since she could strap his car seat into a boat. Younger brother Kevin is too young to go angling but has a "best friend named Oscar" - a fish. "Our goal for this year is 50 kids," said co-organizer Dixie Powell. But more or less is OK, too.
Six weeks after Hubbard County's K-9 officer was placed on paid leave, Jeremiah Johnson has been terminated effective last Friday. Sheriff Cory Aukes referred all questions about the termination to county coordinator Deb Thompson. Thompson said Johnson was placed on paid administrative leave Feb. 25 pending an investigation. He was informed Saturday of his termination, sources said. Johnson's annual salary was $52,252, according to county records. He started work with Hubbard County March 30, 2005. The fate of Johnson's canine partner Vulcan remains in limbo.
As the acquisition of easements continues along Hubbard County 37 signs have popped up off the roadway, a testament to one of the county's longest and most bitterly fought projects. The grade work on the Natural Preservation Road that skirts the south side of Kabekona Lake will likely start sometime in July, county engineer Dave Olsonawski said. "They've been there for a long time," the engineer said of the plastic signs tied around the trunks of various trees along the route.
Hubbard County's K-9 officer has been terminated six weeks after being placed on paid administrative leave. Jeremiah Johnson, 34, has been with the Sheriff's Department since 2005.
North Memorial Ambulance personnel attended to the driver of a semi truck that slid off the roadway west of Park Rapids Monday afternoon. The eastbound truck apparently struck an approach two miles west of the city shortly after 1 p.m. and ended up in the south ditch of the busy highway. Hubbard County, and State Patrol and ambulance responded to the single vehicle accident. The 63-year-old driver was transported to St. Joseph's Area Health Services in Park Rapids for observation of possible neck injuries.
A tiny Hubbard County organic farm has joined a group of 60 family farmers and small seed producers in filing a lawsuit for protection against patent infringement, naming biotech behemoth Monsanto Company. Dewane and Anne Morgan, who operate Lakes and Valley CSA south of Park Rapids, filed the preemptive strike in U.S. District Court in Manhatten Monday to prevent being sued for saving organic alfalfa seed for re-use. They say it's a precaution against using seed contaminated by Monsanto's genetically modified alfalfa, due for release this spring.
A nasty April Fool's Day joke greeted many motorists Friday morning in the Hubbard County region. The Sheriff's Department's lone dispatcher was swamped with calls of accidents.
"Out with the old" isn't exactly the Park Rapids Fire Department's mantra these days, but the squad is steadily accumulating younger manpower and newer vehicles. As the 26-member department ages and more firefighters retire, "we're becoming a younger squad," said Fire Chief Donn Hoffman. "We could have two openings this spring." The department has just ordered a new custom-built engine, a $379,883 investment. It has all the bells and whistles. It doesn't whistle "Dixie," but probably could be programmed to. "Fire trucks don't have to be custom made," Hoffman said.
As the first police officer on the scene of last week's murder-suicide in Park Rapids, Mike Mercil must not only deal with his own memories, he must now explain to his young daughter why her beloved daycare provider is not around any more. For two communities grieving the loss of Greg and Dawn Anderson, both 45, and Kyle Vredenburg, 4, it will fall to the adults to help their children make sense of two tragic events. The Andersons died Tuesday night in a domestic incident on their front porch in Park Rapids. Kyle Vredenburg died two nights later when he was accidentally run over by his d