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Plumes of greyish-black smoke were visible for miles off U.S. Hwy. 71 Wednesday afternoon as numerous firefighters battled a blaze at the Blueberry Pines Golf Club. The Wadena County Sheriff's Office received multiple 911 calls around 3:55 p.m. from passersby reporting the fire. The golf club and restaurant is located eight miles south of Park Rapids or three miles north of Menahga. Menahga Fire Chief Dave Kicker estimates it took 300,000 gallons of water to quash the fire.
As of 9 p.m. Wednesday night, firefighters remain at the scene of a fire at the Blueberry Pines Golf Course.
Darla Olson's online request for ice-fishing assistance went viral. The Menahga resident has Stage II emphysema and loves to fish, but needed a helping hand. She posted her inquiry on Park Rapids and Menahga/Sebeka "swap and sell" Facebook pages. Her appeal was then shared on Minnesota fishing forums. Tim Schmid, a lifelong Park Rapids resident who founded Walking on Water Outdoors (WOW), was called into action.
It was a banner year for the 30th annual Community Christmas Dinner. "I'm sure we served well over 1,000 people this year," said co-organizer Lori Cannon. She and sister Sara Gallus partner with their dad Dennis Anderson and Lynn Spilman to plan the meal. The holiday feast's motto is "no one should spend Christmas Day hungry or alone" — and the Park Rapids American Legion was packed with hungry guests in festive sweaters. There is seating for 200. Cannon said, "I think that we turned over the dining room two to three times. It seemed busier this year."
The Menahga City Council held a closed special meeting Dec. 21 to consider allegations against an individual subject to its authority. Menahga Police Chief Scott Koennicke, 50, tendered his resignation and the council accepted it, according to City Administrator Gina Ellingson. The city council authorized city staff to post the job opening and Wadena County Sheriff to act as temporary chief law enforcement officer for the interim. "There isn't much I can say now, but, trust me, there'll be much to say in the future," Koennicke said in a phone interview.
An exodus of Hubbard County Social Services employees prompted the Minnesota Teamsters Local 320 to get involved. Roger Meunier, a business agent for Minnesota Teamsters Local 320, represents the 44 social services workers in Hubbard County. "In the last year-and-a-half, 26 people have left because of, and I quote, 'administration and that the way that they are operating.' Four have left to work close to home, and four were fired because they wouldn't comply while still under probation," he said.
The Park Rapids Minnesota Deer Hunters Association (MDHA) chapter collected 969 deer hides this hunting season. MDHA's Hides for Habitat Program is designed to take donated deer hides, provided by deer hunters and market those hides. On Monday, local chapter members loaded the salted hides onto a semi truck headed for North American Fly, Limited in Strum, Wis.
Vacationaire Resort withdrew their after-the-fact variance request for a 4,040-square-foot vehicle parking lot and a second variance request to add another 3,000-square-foot parking lot between existing blacktop and a new motel. Owners Tim and Nikki Clancy appeared before the Hubbard County Board of Adjustment on Monday. Initially, they asked the board to table their variance until the spring of 2019 or when the existing snow cover is gone. Their shoreland ordinance violations are yet unresolved, however. Illegal parking lot
On Tuesday, the Hubbard County Board terminated its memorandum of agreement to develop a Leech Lake River One Watershed, One Plan.