Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.
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Wednesday was a day of hellos and goodbyes at the Hubbard County board meeting. Commissioners consoled Sheriff Frank Homer on his election loss earlier this month. Homer seemed in good spirits and told the board he will take some time to do some "soul searching" while putting out feelers on a new job. His appointment with Hubbard County ends Dec. 31. His chief deputy Jerry Tatro also leaves office that day. Tatro was hired in March 1985.
When Jennifer Keranen needs to meet with a client, she has to go on a treasure hunt to find a vacant office first. Or a closet where she can assure that client confidential communications. Trouble is, the closets are being converted to office space. The conference room - the small one - was recently converted into offices. Keranen, a Hubbard County social worker, has four office mates within feet of her. She uses a drawstring curtain to cover up confidential client files when a non-staff member enters the office.
A pending state recount of votes for Minnesota governor drew the ire of Hubbard County officials Wednesday just as GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer sought a recount delay via a court filing. The recount is scheduled to begin locally Nov. 29 at 9 a.m. Emmer wants the Minnesota Supreme Court to look into vote reconciliation during the general election, claiming in some precincts people may have cast more than one ballot. It was unclear by press time if that would delay the statewide recount.
Cougar sighting After the Wolf Lake cougar sighting, which was site verified by the DNR, Jane Brevik called with her own story. She lives on the Straight River south of Park Rapids. "I was looking out window one day last spring and one walked right by," she said of a cougar. "I called DNR. They kind of brushed it off. I've seen tracks in our yard. This was last spring. It walked really slow. It had that big fat tail," she reports. That was not her first sighting.
Hubbard County Sheriff-elect Cory Aukes has tapped Park Rapids police officer Scott Parks to be his new chief deputy when he takes office in January. That was one of two moves Aukes made Thursday. He also said the department will pursue grants for the state radio system called ARMER that Sheriff Frank Homer had rejected. Most of the counties in Minnesota are going with ARMER except a bloc of counties in the northwest section of the state.
Joe Peterson's work life is spent with the most serious criminals Hubbard County produces, yet he still wakes up every day looking for the good in people. "It's challenging," said the state corrections agent who is stationed in Park Rapids. "You don't get to see the day-to-day. Like somebody building a house. You can see the progress.
An environmental association suing Hubbard County's Board of Adjustment formally asked that body to change its procedures Monday to include internal recommendations from the county's Environmental Services Offices in the public meetings. Attorney Chuck Diessner, one of the lawyers representing the Hubbard County Coalition of Lake Associations, made the request during an application for a home addition variance, maintaining in his research, the Board frequently votes counter to the ESO's recommendations. "My request goes beyond this particular application," Diessner said.
A former nurse entered a plea of guilty Monday to possessing her disabled patient's pills. In return, a count of theft of those medications was dismissed against Celeste Anne Kruft, 31. The Menahga woman has moved to South Dakota since her arrest March 14 for taking pills that were prescribed for a severely disabled boy she was the caregiver for. The felony charge carries a maximum penalty of 5 years and/or a $10,000 fine upon conviction.
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has issued a permit for a bitterly contested high voltage power line through the heart of Hubbard County. The PUC granted Great River Energy's application for a 7.25-mile line that would eventually transmit 115 kV of power from a proposed new substation on U.S.