Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.
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The Helga Township Planning Commission took a fledgling step Wednesday to regulate development along the steadily growing U.S. Highway 71 corridor leading to and from Bemidji. It voted 3-1 to send a zoning plan to the township board that would create two separate commercial districts along the highway. Helga's town supervisors will take up the matter Tuesday night. The controversial proposal creates a commercial district called C-1 from North Plantagenet Road to South Plantagenet Road, using a quarter mile wide strip down each side of the highway.
Hubbard County officials finalized a lean and mean budget Wednesday that will result in a 2.6 percent levy increase. But because the county's tax base has seen an overall reduction of 5 percent, most Hubbard County residents were not happy when they got their 2011 tax notices in the mail. For many, taxes went up 10 percent and more.
A medication disposal program began Wednesday in Hubbard County to collect unused or expired pills. Called "Take it to the Box," the program aims to get dangerous medications out of home medicine cabinets and possibly out of the wrong users' hands. The collection point is a locked metal box at the Hubbard County Sheriff's Department at 301 Court Avenue in Park Rapids. Drugs, both prescription and over the counter medications, are one of the most sought-after items targeted in break-ins, said program instigator Sara Bowles. The county's chemical dependency coordinator enlisted pharmacis
Thirty firefighters and ten trucks from Nevis, Akeley and Park Rapids fought a blaze that gutted much of the Whitetail Tavern and Velvet Antler Restaurant/ lounge on Highway 34 late Tuesday night. Nevis Fire Chief Kerry Swenson said the efforts saved the building from total loss. The fire is believed to have started in the kitchen area around 10 p.m.
It's time to empty your pockets, purses, wallets and check under the seat cushions. Tonight's annual Jingle Bells Drawing for the top prize of $5,000 begins at 6 p.m.
A Wolf Lake man was treated and released from the Park Rapids hospital following a home fire Tuesday afternoon. Wolf Lake fire chief Bret Anderson said Chad Pikula was taken to St.
Thirty firefighters and ten trucks from Nevis, Akeley and Park Rapids fought a blaze that gutted the Whitetail Tavern and Velvet Antler restaurant/lounge on Highway 34 Tuesday night. Nevis Fire Chief Kerry Swenson said the efforts saved the building from total loss. Nevis was called to the scene by a passerby, then called in mutual aid. The fire is believed to have started in the kitchen area around 10 p.m. The lounge and restaurant had closed about an hour before, Swenson said. The kitchen area is between the two adjoined structures, Swenson said. "We got lucky," Swenson said.
Winter has settled in and our winter bird routines begin. Food, food, food. Wednesday I spent what will be many lunch hours at Deane Park communing with the growing population of trumpeter swans that has increased to three dozen. They've become quite social and eagerly honk for corn instead of scooting down the river away from people. They've always been an aggressive bunch.
A district judge has ordered Hubbard County to turn over documents in an environmental lawsuit against its variance board and to pay the costs of the plaintiffs who were seeking the documents. Meanwhile, a shift in policy has taken place at monthly Board of Adjustment meetings that may reflect repercussions from the suit. Environmental Services Officer Eric Buitenwerf said in October the change was to comport with a 2008 Minnesota Supreme Court ruling that defines the criteria to use for finding a "practical difficulty," and hence, a variance. It is unclear if the county is backing away
John Wesley Defatte turned rejection into revenge. That was the finding of a Hubbard County District Court jury Friday as the 70-year-old Lake George man was convicted of three of five counts in connection with the June 2009 assault on his ex-wife, Diana. The 12-member jury deliberated three hours after the four-day trial. Defatte was convicted of the most serious charge, breaking into his ex-wife's rural home and lying in wait for her that night.