The Latest News From News Channel 1300
4th December 2013
The Beltrami County Board of Commissioners finalized an ordinance Tuesday night that regulates the sale and use of so-called electronic cigarettes. The language was changed since the public hearing of the of issue two weeks ago, dropping the most controversial provisions of the new law. The ordinance, as adopted, will allow customers to sample non-nicotine products in dedicated shops--something the original language would not have allowed.
A similar proposal to compromise on the sampling issue was voted down by the Board last month 3-2, but in a surprising turnaround, all five members voted unanimously to allow it Tuesday night.
Dave Bewely, co-owner of Northern Vapes, an e-cigarette store in Bemidji, called the move "common sense."
3rd December 2013
The Bemidji City Council passed an ordinance on Monday night that prohibits the use of coal-tar based sealants on asphalt surfaces.
Runoff from the coal tar based sealants has been shown to pollute waterways with harmful chemicals. But the ordinance change doesn't mean that driveways in town will go unpatched; petroleum-based sealants are still allowed. The statewide ban goes into effect in 2014.
The Minnesota legislature passed a statewide ban on the coal tar sealants last session.
2nd December 2013
A building in Liberty Township, north of Bemidji, was completely lost to fire yesterday, according to Bemidji Fire Chief Dave Hoefer.
The shop on Spencer Road NW was completely engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived on the scene after 5 a.m on Sunday morning. They were able to quickly contain and extinguish the fire, but the building and its contents were a total loss.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, but Hoefer says it appears to be accidental in nature. Nobody was injured in the fire.
25th November 2013
An 18-year-old is in jail in Roseau after allegedly stealing an airplane and taking it for joy-rides around the region.
The Grand Forks Herald reports that Geoffrey Biteman is a self-taught, unlicensed pilot who stole the single-engine plane from the Roseau airport and had been flying it around Northwestern Minnesotal all summer. He once flew the plane to North Dakota and landed it at night on an unlight highway. Biteman has also been charged in Clearwater and Pennington counties on separate theft charges not relating to airplanes.
21st November 2013
The Beltrami County Board of Commissioners held a public hearing on Tuesday regarding a proposed change to the county's tobacco ordinance that would regulate the use of so-called electronic cigarettes.
The most controversial part of the ammendment would place a ban on sampling tobacco products, including the liquids used in e-cigs, even in stores devoted primarily to those products.
Eighteen people spoke at the hearing, including Matt Bewley, the owner of Northern Vapes in downtown Bemidji. Bewley told the commissioners that such a ban on sampling would essetially, "cripple my business."
Proponents of the ordinance including a representative from the American Lung Association also spoke at the meeting.
The board passed the ordinance on a 3-2 vote with commissioners Lucachick and Sumner voting against. It was the second reading; the third and final reading is scheduled for the next meeting after which it would become law.
19th November 2013
The Bemidji City Council passed an amendment to its tobacco ordinance last night that would regulate and license the sale of electronic cigarettes.
The new version of the law, which goes into effect in about a month, requires that the devices must be sold according to the same restrictions that apply to tobacco, meaning they cannot be sold to minors and stores that sell them will be subject to compliance checks.
The amendment passed on a 4-3 vote with council members Thompson, Hellquist, and Erickson voting against the measure. Council members Olson, Johnson, and Meehlhause joined mayor Rita Alrecht in voting in favor of the ordinance.
The Beltrami County Board will hold a public hearing tonight on the issue of e-cigarettes, and unlike the City, the proposed new county rules would regulate how and where e-cigarettes can be used.
18th November 2013
Cass county sheriff Tom Burch reports that two people were arrested last week in connection to a string of robberies in the Outing area.
43-year-old Carl Raba of Deerwood and 31-year-old Celeste Neslson of Brainerd are in custody after deputies went to a Meadowbrook Township residence to carry out a warrant.
At the residence, deputies spotted several items that were suspected stolen including ATVs, trailers, tools, and several hundred additional items. A substance police suspect is methamphetamine was also found at the scene. Formal charges against Raba and Nelson are pending, and police are working to return the stolen items to their rightful owners.
15th November 2013
Police in Bemidji have received complaints about a financial scam being propogated through email and text messages, according to Police Chief Mike Mastin. In a press release, Mastin said that detectives have confirmed the messages are a scam.
The messages purport to be from a bank or financial institution and ask recipients to call a phone number to verify their account information. Mastins says no legitimate financial institution will ask for information this way.
Mastin advises people who receive these messages to contact their bank through other means and not to use the phone number or email provided in the fake messages.
6th November 2013
A large deficit in the highway budget is forcing Beltrami County to consider new sources of revenue to cover its costs. County Administrator Kay Mack told the Board of Commissioners last night that the county faces approximately $80 million in repair costs on over 400 miles of highway.
Mack recommends to the board that the county increase the sales tax by one-half% as the best means for addressing the long term costs of highway repairs. The alternative to increasing the sales tax would be an increase in the property tax levy by nearly 12%.
If the county does go forward with the sales tax increase, Mack says that the county would do away with the wheelage tax passed last year that brings in about $350,000.
Public meetings on the issue are tentatively set to be held at the Roosevelt Community Center on November 18, the Blackduck Senior Center on November 20, and the Grant Valley Town Hall on December 2. A public hearing is scheduled for December 3 at the County Administration Building in Bemidji. Those locations and dates are subject to change.
4th November 2013
The Bemidji City Council will hold a public hearing tonight of a proposed ordinance change would regulate the licensing and sale of so-called electronic cigarettes.
The controversial measure would regulate the licensing and sale of the devices. Opponents to the proposed changes in the City's tobacco ordinance say it should not go through because the devices produce no actual smoke and that the city should wait for regulations that are likely in the near future at the county and federal levels.
Tonight will be the second reading of the new ordinance. The hearing will come as part of the regular city council meeting, which will be held at City Hall at 7 pm.