Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.
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The Hubbard County neighborhood woke up to a 4-inch blanket of heavy wet snow Saturday with some residents reporting up to six inches. Parts of North Dakota saw 11 inches, said National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Kaiser, "We're gonna see some light stuff yet this morning possible" in Hubbard County, he said. "But we should be pretty much done with this system." Grand Forks got seven inches of snow; Fargo got two.
The remaining days of the historic Kabekona fire tower seem numbered. Perched high above a ridge off Highway 200, it is scheduled to be demolished in the future to make way for a high tech radio tower. And that pending demolition is making some local residents nostalgic. The tower sits atop one of the highest ridges in Hubbard County. "When I was a kid growing up all the kids used to go up there and party and that's when it was still used as a fire tower," said Hubbard County commissioner and former deputy sheriff Cal Johannsen.
Come fall, Louise Safratowich will walk out of her front door and directly under a high voltage power line. As progress moves forward on the 115kV line that will service the Potato Lake area of Hubbard County, residents are getting an up front and personal look at how close the lines will come to them. It may be too close for some. "They were going to put it across the road," Safratowich said of her 141st Avenue home.
Lake George firefighters responded Tuesday morning to a grass fire north of the town. Almost simultaneously DNR firefighters responded to a timber fire near Lake Alice. Although much of the county remains in swampy wet conditions there are patches of dry spots, fire officials warn. "The annual spring fire season is just getting under way now," said Terry Novak of DNR Forestry in Park Rapids. "The grass is dead from last year and it responds pretty quickly to rain. Not only does it soak up water quickly, but it lets water off quickly.
The importance of Hubbard County's waters came into clarity Wednesday as Assessor Bob Hansen unveiled the economic clout lake properties wield. Of the county's 23,796 real estate parcels, 8,949, or 37.6 percent, are "water influenced," meaning they're on a lake, river or pond. That 37.6 percent of parcels comprises 60.6 percent of the taxable market value (TMV) of all Hubbard County properties with some minor exceptions. Hanson's staff prepared a township-by-township, lake-by-lake look at where the county's wealth lies, excluding tax information.
The past week when time allows, I've been riveted to the Decorah Eagle webcam, watching three eaglets hatch in Iowa - along with 25 million others viewers. The Raptor Resource Project gives a live view of an eagle's nest overlooking a fish hatchery in Decorah. Three of the cutest "puff balls," to use the scientific term the RRP director used on NPR the other day, are just captivating to watch when the parents aren't sheltering them. At night an infrared camera picks up their activities. Apparently this is not something the eagles can see or sense.
Hubbard County residents and seasonal visitors now have an added incentive to be law abiding. Staying in the county-owned B&B will now cost defendants $10 per day. The Hubbard County board approved a "Pay to Stay" program for the county jail Wednesday. It not only allows the county to seek reimbursement for a day's occupancy in a cell, but also for medical and dental expenses. Commissioners worried that collecting the money might be more of a hassle than it's worth, but Sheriff Cory Aukes said such debts can be attached to items like income tax refunds. "Most of them don't work or fi
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, known as Lana Jo Yliniemi, was placed on paid administrative leave March 18, one day after being charged by Becker County. She is accused of 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 ch
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