Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers Hubbard County, courts and breaking news.
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Hubbard County doesn't have multi-lane interstate highways, clogged with bumper-to-bumper traffic and multi-vehicle pileups. It has something much more lethal: two-lane roadways that are more hazardous to human life than any interstate. And Hubbard County Road 9 could well be the deadliest. A Road Safety Audit Report performed for Hubbard County and released in January 2008 indicated 70 percent of Minnesota fatal crashes occurred on rural roadways. "For this reason, the Hubbard County Public Works Department chose to seek additional resources and assistance in identifying and addressin
Fish have fins and they're flippy and floppy. And the furry ones are the best. It's OK for moms and grandpas to come into the fish house if it's too dark and scary for the pacifier set. Icicles aren't to be used as swords, tempting as it might be. And what do you catch in the fish house? "Walleye!" was the universal answer. Itasca State Park's bi-weekly program for kids 5 and under focused Thursday on fish and the wonders of ice.
The vexing problem of animal control - specifically dogs - will see another chapter written Monday in Hubbard County District Court. That's when a rural resident, Russell Patrick Olson, 44, will enter into a plea agreement in a dog shooting case. Initially facing a felony charge of cruelty to animals, Olson likely will plead to a misdemeanor charge of criminal property damage. The felony will be dismissed. "I would prefer the county having some dog control" ordinances, said Hubbard County Attorney Don Dearstyne.
The Park Rapids SuperAmerica convenience store closed its doors Friday evening. A fixture on the busy corner of Highway 34 and County Road 6, also known as Henrietta Avenue, the gas station was the scene Friday of a constant parade of food and beverage vendors picking up unsold inventory, and regular customers saddened by the station's demise. Some used up the remaining benefits on their Speedy Rewards cards. Owners Tim and Stacey O'Mara were not available for comment Friday. In an interview during deer hunting season, Stacey O'Mara admitted the business of gas stations was a tough one
Two brothers will likely spend 18 years in prison for their involvement in a drunken shooting rampage that culminated in a four-hour armed standoff with 20 officers in Park Rapids Dec. 17. Allen Gene Bloom Sr., 39, and Brian Jon Bloom, 31, was each charged with three counts of First Degree Assault.
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.
Winter returned to Hubbard County over the weekend after a "spring rain" left an icy, dangerous mess for motorists and power crews. "We had 33 power outages affecting 1024 people," said Itasca-Mantrap president Mike Monsrud. "Crews were out all weekend." Rains compounded the misery, he said. Linemen got soaking wet. "We use man-lift trucks so we didn't need to have people climbing icy poles," Monsrud said.
Kirsten Evavold sat quietly through Hubbard County District Court proceedings Monday. Like all crime victims, she wanted to see justice done. She vows to follow the cases that affect her through to the end. But unlike others affected by crime, it is the Evavolds' dogs Kirsten wants justice for. Two neighborhood men in her rural Hubbard County subdivision, Andrew James, 23, and Dustin Kako, 21, were arraigned on animal cruelty charges Monday for allegedly killing another neighbor's dog with a rifle and shooting Evavold's English Lab Jake with a bow and arrow last fall.
A tearful teenager was sentenced Monday to seven days in jail in the 2009 death of a Park Rapids motorcyclist, and she was ordered to begin serving her sentence on the anniversary of his death. Brittany Ann Sayler, 19, entered into a plea bargain that resulted in her pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of failure to yield the right-of-way. A second misdemeanor charge of careless driving was dismissed in the April 2009 death of 42-year-old John Kisner.
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.