Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers Hubbard County, courts and breaking news.
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Rep. Brita Sailer (DFL-Park Rapids) has registered a campaign committee with the state to run for re-election to the Minnesota Legislature in 2010. In District 2B, Darrell Auginash of Bemidji, a minister and a member of the Red Lake Band of Ojibwe, has also registered to run. He is a member of the Independence Party.
An Osage man who battled cancer of the nervous system on and off throughout his life has died. Erik Ludwinski's CaringBridge site indicated he passed away Tuesday night. He was diagnosed, at age 6, with stage 4 high-risk neuroblastoma, then went into remission for 13 years after successful treatment. In May 2005 when he was 20, Erik was diagnosed with recurrent neuroblastoma in his bone marrow. That year he was the first patient in the world to successfully undergo total bone marrow irradiation.
A possible regionalization of the state's district court system may be a decade down the road, but Hubbard County commissioners would like to see into the crystal ball a bit sooner than that. "The trend we're looking at in the court system is cities and regionalization," said Hubbard County commissioner Greg Larson, the former county attorney. He tracks court developments closely. "The plan I've heard would have Hubbard County as a regional center," Larson said.
Improving the county's health has not only absorbed public health officials, but also an out-of-state university conducting a county-by-county health ranking. Hubbard County public health officials are bracing for a third wave of H1N1 flu and hoping they are wrong about it hitting. "Our flu activity has been pretty quiet but we are still vaccinating," said public health director Chris Broeker at last week's Hub-bard County board meeting. Children and infants ages 6 months to 9 years are getting second rounds of vaccinations for H1N1. Broeker said surprisingly, there's been almost no re
Six months after the Cash for Clunkers program ignited a frenzy in the auto sales market, the program's long-term effects are now being assessed. And Park Rapids auto dealers say it's a mixed picture. Sure, the short-term sales were good for the industry, but in 2010, dealers are now coping with a shortage of affordable used cars and parts. "We've had a half-dozen people in here lately looking for something in the two, three, $4,000 range," said Mark Andersen of Park Rapids Auto Centre. Last week, a couple looked over the lot, asking for something in the $2,000 range.
It might be hard to think of biking and running when the ground has a fresh coating of white powder, but organizers of the 3rd Annual Lakes to Pines Triathlon are doing just that. The May 15 Park Rapids event is approaching quickly, even though wintry conditions may make it seem like it'll never come. "Will the snow be gone by then?" laughed Glen Goebel, one of the event's organizers. "Actually we thought that last year, too." And the year before. The triathlon features a 500-yard swim, a 14.7-mile bike ride through Park Rapids and north into the county and a 5K run.
It sure feels like way more than 6+ inches on the shovel. That's the National Weather Service's best guess for snow totals I the Park Rapids area, since the Hubbard County region doesn't have cooperating weather observers in the vicinity. But the area was alive and noisy with the sound of plows Monday, as heavy Super Bowl snows slowed school buses and motorists alike. "It looks like you're out of the woods for now," said NWS meteorologist Dan Riddle. "The skies cleared out overnight. "This week you may see some flurries but that's about it.
Park Rapids buses are running two hours later Monday morning after several inches of new snow blanketed the area Sunday and overnight. Nevis buses were on schedule; so were Menahga. Laporte's weather-related announcement line was not functioning. "The buses left on time but could be running a bit behind," said Dave Oja of the Menahga district's fleet. "The roads aren't real good out there." Plows were out through-out Hubbard County, but some lesser traveled roads were in relatively poor driving condition.
"As the world goes greener, we go leaner," is Vern Massie's mantra these days. The Hubbard County solid waste administrator presented the board with a bleak picture of a recycling and waste industry hit hard by the economy. People simply aren't generating much trash anymore, he said. That's a mixed blessing. "We've lost some big businesses lately, and with the economy, we're just not generating the waste we used to," Massie said, listing off Pamida, Potlatch Industries and the Teamworks businesses in the Hubbard County region that have either closed or drastically scaled back. "Groce
Hubbard County hired an Emergency Manager Wednesday with little fanfare and a relatively quick vote. Part-time deputy, jailer and dispatcher Brian Halbasch will take the helm of the county's emergency preparedness efforts.