Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers Hubbard County, courts and breaking news.
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Hubbard County recognized a small windfall last week as nearly $317,000 in unspent departmental funds was transferred into the county's general revenue fund. Auditor Pam Heeren requested the transfers. Department heads request payments for incidental expenditures from the general fund while accumulating small kitties of unspent funds in each office. Case in point: Hubbard County Sheriff Frank Homer requested $700+ dollars for radio equipment. Meanwhile, his department holds three miscellaneous accounts, one with $22,000 in it.
Park Rapids schools will close at 12:30 Monday as conditions in rural areas continue to deteriorate. Parent/teacher conferences will also be canceled tonight. Menahga and Nevis schools are running all day, according to the latest information available. Laporte school's weather line is not functioning, and school officials could not be reached for weather announcements.
Blustery conditions and poor visibility will persist in the Hubbard County region until well into tonight. "You should get an additional one to three inches of snow, with winds gusting to 35 mph," said National Weather Service meteor-ologist Geoff Grochocinski. Weekend snow totals fell short of the predicted 6 to 10 inches mainly because of the warm weather, Grochocinski said.
Should the Hubbard County Board of Adjustment give a variance break to a cash-strapped non-profit struggling to upgrade its lakeshore property? Should a homeowner have to atone for the environmental sins of a previous owner? Those were the issues facing the board at its first meeting of 2010. The answers were yes, and yes. In the case of the nonprofit, Camp Courage was seeking to upgrade a building on its Lake George site.
Hubbard County commissioners voted unanimously Wednesday to advertise for a full-time Veterans Service Officer. This follows nearly a year of wrangling over staffing the formerly part-time position, which had the added duties of Emergency Management. The Hubbard County Sheriff's Department will assume temporary oversight of the EM duties until a permanent solution can be determined. The county VSO will be staffed five days a week for now, with help from Fargo and retired VSO John Lombard taking the helm until a replacement is hired.
If the ice storm cometh, emergency personnel are ready. Park Rapids firefighters and Emergency Medical Technicians from North Memorial Ambulance spent hours Wednesday night cross training in first aid and auto extrications. "With nasty weather coming, we get these two-three car pileups and we'll need them to help us," EMT Bucky Johnson said of the fire department. That was the scene on Christmas Eve when a family of five collided head-on with a single motorist west of Osage on Highway 34. Dozens of emergency personnel responded to the scene.
Another one bites the dust. Eagles Landing Resort on 5th Crow Wing Lake will become a residential Planned Unit Development after the Hubbard County Board of Commissioners gave the plan a terse approval following a heated discussion Wednesday. Owners Dan and Donna Rehkamp said the resort is simply too much work to keep up. They will sell off the cabins and lots individually. Part of the resort burned in 2003. Rehkamps bought it in 2005, built one new cabin that they live in, and did renovations on the remaining five.
Goodbye beautiful hoarfrost. A pip of a winter storm is heading to Hubbard County, carrying a potpourri of precipitation, eventually culminating into 6-10 inches of snow. "Look for some freezing drizzle this morning," said National Weather Service meteorologist John Hoppes. "There should be more precipitation tonight starting with some freezing rain and sleet that will be changing over to snow probably by Saturday morning. "There could be a break Saturday and it will get going again Saturday night into Sunday," Hoppes said. "Sunday the winds will pick up.
Hubbard County commissioners voted unanimously Wednesday afternoon to advertise for a full-time Veterans Service Officer. This follows nearly a year of wrangling over staffing the formerly part-time position, which had the added duties of Emergency Management. The Hubbard County Sheriff's Department will assume temporary oversight of the EM duties until a permanent solution can be determined. The county VSO will be staffed five days a week for now, with help from Fargo and retired VSO John Lombard taking the helm until a replacement is hired.
In the ongoing, and what has become the highly politicized, high stakes gamble of which narrowband radio system Hubbard County should choose for the future, it's becoming apparent that a VHF digital system may provide comparable coverage at a much cheaper price. Radio equipment vendors are lobbying county commissioners to install VHF equipment or a system called ARMER, depending on what they can furnish to the county. "It's their winters in Hawaii," said one radio user at a meeting Thursday night in Park Rapids. The estimated $2 million conversion must be done by 2013, according to a Fed