Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers Hubbard County, courts and breaking news.
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A proposal to streamline state government by shifting responsibilities for many functions to counties continues to roil Hubbard County commissioners. The 10-point plan was proposed last month by the Association of Minnesota Counties and came as a surprise to counties in the region, which reacted angrily to suggestions counties could take over road maintenance of state highways, state patrol duties of those same highways and localize functions such as the courts and jails to save the state $945 million. "The AMC just stabbed us in the back," said commissioner Dick Devine at the board's Marc
The vernal equinox was a sunny day, but one that struggled to get above the freezing mark. That brisk weather didn't stop kids of all ages from participating in a Spring Activity Day at Itasca State Park. The park featured Do It Yourself nature projects at affordable prices. Kids smeared peanut butter on pinecones - and themselves - then rolled them in birdseed to make tiny but charming feeders for chickadees and nuthatches. Volunteer Don Norwood was in charge of this project, and the cleanup.
Bail for a Hubbard County man charged in the Feb. 26 robbery of an Akeley branch bank has been raised. Friday Hubbard County District Judge Robert Tiffany ordered the bail increase following recommendations of the county probation department.
One of every nine people in Hubbard County is in need of public assistance, according to the steadily rising figures released by Social Services personnel. Of the county's official population of 18,861 people, by last month, 2,213 residents had active case files seeking income maintenance benefits of cash, food stamps and medical assistance. But that actually may be lower than the nation's poverty measure, which hovers between 13 and 17 percent of the population, using income and welfare statistics to base those figures on. It is, however, a source of concern to Social Services Director
Pooling risk, spreading it as widely as possible, is the basic theory behind how insurance companies survive and thrive. Government insurers are no different, even though company representatives insist they have no incentive to raise rates, but are simply trying to maintain the status quo. The Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust is reassessing whether it can continue to insure community action agencies profitably, a decision that worries the local Mahube Community Council, Inc. Formerly called the Minnesota Counties Insurance Trust, the entity insures 411 groups including 81 of Mi
Some members of the Hubbard County commission took their own variance board to task for a quirky decision the Board of Adjustment made Monday that was contrary to procedures and without the factual basis to support granting a variance. "This is one of the worst decisions ever by that variance committee," said board member Don Carlson.
A Laporte man has been convicted by a Hubbard County jury of a Felony Violation of a Protection Order from an incident Oct. 5, 2009. The jury found Casey Donald Christiansen, 30, guilty March 18 following a daylong trial. Christiansen was charged with a felony because he has two prior domestic violence convictions within the last 10 years.
Without the factual basis to support a variance, a confused Board of Adjustment nevertheless did just that, granting a resort-turned-PUD more than three times the recommended boat slips. A deeply divided board OK'd the request for eight additional boat parking spots at Eagles Landing Resort on 5th Crow Wing Lake, over the objection of DNR Fisheries supervisor Doug Kingsley. Resort owners Dan and Donna Rehkamp were previously granted permission to convert the resort to a Planned Unit Development that entails a four-tier residential plan in the southwest corner of the lake.
A Virginia-based telecommunications giant is proposing a Chicago to Seattle broadband network that would traverse Hubbard County. "We're proposing actually building what's called a broadband backbone," said Kristin Shulman, XO Communications Inc.'s vice president for external affairs. "Right now as we understand it, the fiber optics in the ground along that route are pretty old, essentially running out of capacity, and even if the companies that own that wanted to upgrade it, the glass that's in the ground isn't really capable of handling the latest electronics," Shulman said.
Saints usually evoke benevolent thoughts of Mother Theresa surrounded by lepers. But every March, Menahga hosts a boisterous weekend to celebrate a giant sainted Finn with an even more ginormous grasshopper impaled on a pitchfork. All hail the festival of St. Urho, underway this weekend. His saintness is alleged, in Finnish folklore, to have eradicated a locust of grasshoppers feasting on the country's sparse grape crop. This year's royalty, anointed honorary Urho and spouse, were Bobby and Janis Hillstrom. "We got crowned," Bobby said Saturda.