Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers Hubbard County, courts and breaking news.
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The 23 miniature horses on Keith and Sue Swanson's ranch are docile, gentle creatures. They don't snort, jump or rear their heads, unless a new mother feels her colt is being threatened. Mostly, they're a soothing presence on the farm northeast of Park Rapids. "They were my antidepressants, my therapy," Sue said. Sue's lifelong love of horses began as a kid. Her family owned a riding stable on Long Lake for many years. She's always had horses, but she and Keith laugh at how they've "downsized" their herd. Not in numbers, mind you, but in actual size.
Larry Harsha would have taken special delight in the fact that his obituary photo featured him wearing a shirt that read, "In dog years I'm dead." He was unapologetically politically incorrect.
Tom Carew has spent a lifetime with flowers. And the reluctant subject of this story apologizes for the brown tones throughout his flowerbeds - in early April. Who among us has blooming flora in early spring? But if 2010 is anything like 2009, those beds surrounding the back entry of Tom and Rita Carew's home on Long Lake will come alive with vibrant color and an elegant but casual appearance, one he spends about two hours daily to achieve. "Really, I'm not a gardener," he protests. His home seems like an appendage to the stunning flower gardens filled with annuals and perennials.
A standard sheet of plywood is 4 feet by 8 feet. So, in order to save lumber, Hubbard County commissioners will hold a public hearing May 19 to revamp the county's campaign signs law. It's likely unconstitutional, advised Hubbard County Attorney Don Dearstyne. "The primary intent of the ordinance is to regulate signs of a commercial nature," said a memo drafted by assistant Hubbard County Attorney Michael Plante for the board to review. And with the Minnesota Legislature also moving the primary election to Aug.
Twice a week on average, a Hubbard County squad car pulls up to St. Joseph's Area Health Services in Park Rapids to transport a mental health patient to a treatment facility. If the county is complying with state law, the car is unmarked, the officer in plain clothes. But that's not always the reality. Sheriff Frank Homer said if his transport officer is not available or is already busy, he either has to call in an officer and pay overtime for the transport, to Bemidji, Wadena, Fargo, Brainerd or the Twin Cities, or pull a patrol car off the road, leaving the county one officer short.
Hubbard County's new Emergency Management Director, in two months, has nearly become fully certified. Brian Halbasch surprised county commissioners Wednesday when he reported of 30 classes needed for certification, he has already taken 25 necessary. And he saved the county time and travel expenses by taking the coursework online, he said. "I'm really impressed," said Sheriff Frank Homer, whose department absorbed the Emergency Management responsibilities earlier this year when they were split off from the Veterans Service Officer position, which was filled full-time by Gregory Remus. C
The Hubbard County Board of Adjustment is under new leadership. Longtime member Lou Schwindt has resumed chairmanship, taking over from Charles "Chick" Knight. Board member Jerry Cole has assumed the vice chair duties.
Sgt. Cory Aukes' quest to become Hubbard County's next sheriff has launched into cyberspace. Aukes has set up a Facebook page for his run against Sheriff Frank Homer in the fall election. He already has numerous fans, 352 to date, some of which may not be able to carry the day for him. John Snelling wrote: "You are the man for the job.
One month after the Hubbard County Board of Adjustment issued a controversial variance to allow nearly three times as many dock slips as the law permits to a Nevis resort turned PUD, a lawsuit has been filed on behalf of Fifth Crow Wing Lake residents seeking to overturn that decision. And it puts county commissioner Don Carlson, a member of the Middle Crow Wing Lake Association, in the awkward position of suing the governmental body he represents. Carlson, also a member of the county Planning Commission, said he would remove himself from any future votes over Eagles Landing Resort, but de
A vacant rural home southwest of Park Rapids was engulfed in flames when Park Rapids firefighters arrived on the scene at 10 p.m. Monday. Assistant fire chief Terry Long said he does not know who owns the home, but was told it had been recently occupied. The fire destroyed an addition to the wood shingle home and caused extensive damage to the interior. The state fire marshal was on the scene Tuesday morning and called firefighters back. "It had rekindled along the roof line," Long said. In all, 22 firefighters responded.