Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.
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The saga of two best friends who couldn't handle their alcohol ended July 3, 2010 with one going to the grave; the other to jail. Monday Luis Candelaria, 48, was formally sentenced to 18 months in jail in the death of Richard Allen Hoskins of Park Rapids. Hoskins' funeral program said he passed away at "41 years, 6 months & 11 days." The men had spent the holiday drinking, boating and sunning, Candelaria testified in January. Their alcohol-fueled argument escalated like tinder by nightfall. Punches were exchanged. Hoskins lay dead in Candelaria's Park Rapids lawn with a head injury.
The Hubbard County Board of Adjustment granted two variances Tuesday and kept itself from compounding its miseries. The board, a defendant in a lawsuit filed by lake activists, decided against conditioning a variance on a landowner's promise never to subdivide her property. Misreading the site plan and under the assumption there was only 66 feet of lake frontage, interim board chair Jerry Cole asked Island Lake landowner Gae Veit for a promise not to put more pressure on her natural environment lake by subdividing.
A former Park Rapids teacher who resigned under pressure late last year makes his initial appearance on a charge of bringing a weapon onto school grounds. Scott Christopher Eischens, 38, was an industrial education teacher at Park Rapids Area High School for 12 years. He was placed on paid administrative leave when school officials found a hunting rifle in the bed of his pickup late last year. He resigned in December 2010. He is set to appear Feb. 28 in Hubbard County District Court. He faces a felony charge of possessing a gun on school property.
As a rural pizzeria renewed its 2 a.m. closing license, Hubbard County commissioners discussed whether the board should review the county's closing time for establishments that sell alcohol. But that state law only pertains locally to Zhateau Zorbaz in Dorset. The Whitetail Tavern, which also had a 2 a.m. closing time, burned in December. "I don't remember when we OK'd it but I don't think it's a very good idea," said commissioner Dick Devine, a retired highway trooper.
Diana Defatte got a life sentence in her own assault Wednesday. Her ex-husband and abuser will serve four years in prison for the June 2009 brutal attack on his then wife in her Lake George home. She suffered a broken orbital bone and bruises from head to toe. An emergency room doctor had to staple her head back together where it was split open with an axe handle. "I got the sentence and I'm going to continue to have the sentence," she said Thursday. "I'll do my best not to let it haunt me the rest of my life but as soon as he's out from behind bars I don't know what's gonna happen.
Transition of many low-income Hubbard County residents into the new state Medicaid program begins in 10 days as Minnesota's General Assistance Medical Care program ends. The announcement by Hubbard County Social Services Director Daryl Bessler coincided with a similar announcement by Gov.
Hubbard County could see 2 to 4 inches of new snow this weekend as a winter storm bears down on the area. Much of the heavier snow will settle south of the Park Rapids area. Wind chills, however, will be dangerously cold, dipping to 20 below. Blowing and drifting snow will complicate travel, according to the National Weather Service in Grand Forks, which has the immediate region in a hazardous weather outlook. Here is the forecast for the Park Rapids area Today: A 20 percent chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 18. East wind around 6 mph.
GRAND FORKS - Corporate leaders of American Crystal Sugar Co. met behind closed doors with shareholders Wednesday morning in Grand Forks and Fargo to talk about the ongoing battle over genetically modified sugar beets. CEO David Berg talked to the shareholders but had to leave town after the meetings and wasn't available for comment Wednesday evening, said Jeff Schweitzer, American Crystal spokesman.
The ice dams cometh. Warming temperatures may be good for the soul, but they're a pain on the roof. From the Metrodome to downtown main streets, including Park Rapids, roofs, porches and awnings are falling victim to mounds of winter snow. That's only part of the hazard. "We've had several calls of people falling off their roofs," acknowledged a Cass County dispatcher, including a man in Walker who fell this past weekend clearing snow from a roof. Hubbard County has had no such reported incidents, authorities say.