Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.
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The bleats from all corners of the dusty pen are appropriately timed. "Maaa. Maaa. Maaa." On this Mother's Day, the ewes on the Vogeltanz farm north of Laporte are doing yeomen's work. For the second year in a row, Frank and Debra Vogeltanz have a set of quadruplet lambs, lots of sets of triplets and they've lost count of the twins. "We have 56 lambs so far," Debra says. None of the ewes have given birth to a single lamb in the last two years. They've all been multiple births. The mom of the quads started the birthing process at 1:30 a.m. on April 30.
A new state law went into effect Thursday changing the standards that counties, cities and towns must use in issuing variances to zoning ordinances. Gov. Mark Dayton signed House File 52/Senate File 13 into law. The bill, passed unanimously by both the House and Senate, says "practical difficulties" must exist in complying with an existing ordinance.
Central Specialties, Inc., of Alexandria has been awarded the Highway 34 renovation work between Park Rapids and Akeley. That may be good news to both the public and DOT engineers. The company raced through the South Highway 71 project last year, minimizing the length of detours engineers had anticipated would be necessary to complete the project. It was completed weeks ahead of schedule. Work is expected to begin May 23 on the Highway 34 project. "I was happy to see it," said project manager Darren Laesch. "They're a good contractor."
Hubbard County and the owners of a 5th Crow Wing Lake resort have appealed a district court ruling in the case of a variance issued a year ago. The parties, defendants in a lawsuit, contend a March 2010 variance granted by the county's Board of Adjustment was correctly awarded initially, and a district court judge erred in vacating that variance. Eagle's Nest Resort is converting to a residential planned unit development that will eventually have 11 summer homes.
Nevis firefighters battled a persistent grass fire south of the city Tuesday evening. Firefighters were called to a ditch off County Road 33 around 5 p.m. Recent high winds and sun have made fields and ditches tinder dry. The fire burned a patch of ditch, then, fanned by light winds, headed into a nearby stand of trees. Nevis firefighters were assisted by DNR Forestry firefighters
A Laporte man was transported to the Bemidji hospital Monday afternoon when the crawler crane he was doing demolition work on tipped, pinning him temporarily. There was no immediate condition on David Corson, 45. Eyewitnesses at the scene said after being rushed to Sanford Hospital, emergency crews used a pry bar to locate one of the work gloves Corson was wearing at the time of the accident.
Bid openings for the Highway 34 reconstruction project between Park Rapids and Akeley have been postponed. Because of some amendments to the contract that altered some specifications, project manager Darren Laesch said the new bid opening is May 6. That's when the public will learn how the project will be completed. Department of Transportation officials have left the details to the successful bidder, but tentative project dates are May 23 to Sept. 2. DOT officials have said they would add incentives and disincentives to the project to minimize the inconvenience to cities and motorists.
After a year of convalescing, extensive cosmetic surgery and rigorous rehabilitation, "Big Larry" returned to Moose Creek Village Tuesday morning. Big Larry is the name of the sculptured moose on Main Avenue that was vandalized one year ago downtown. The crime has never been solved. The moose's antlers and legs were crushed by vandals wielding weapons of mass destruction. Police theorize it was lassoed with either a chain or rope and ripped out of its stainless steel leg shafts that were cemented deep in the ground. Vandals had to have used a vehicle.
For many log homebuilders, the north woods' economic downturn spelled disaster. But for Bruce Beckley, it heralded in an opportunity to let his creative juices flow, and for his general contracting business to branch out. The builder of spec homes turned to making elegant but sturdy furniture and what has become his forte - timber shelters. Beckley has spent early spring doing the home and garden show circuit, from Minneapolis to Bemidji to Walker. "The economic turndown was refreshing," Beckley said.
A Litchfield man was taken to a Bemidji hospital Thursday noon following an ATV rollover north of Park Rapids. Brian Kormanik, 25, was riding in the ditch off Hammock Trail when authorities said a sign he was carrying in the front basket of the Arctic Cat four-wheeler was caught by the wind and blew into his face. He instinctively reached to cover his face and lost control of the ATV, rolling it, said Hubbard County Chief Deputy Scott Parks. The accident occurred in Arago Township. Kormanik suffered a suspected broken leg.