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12th September 2014

Zebra mussels have been confirmed in Cass Lake. According to the Department of Natural Resources, a citizen discovered the zebra mussels earlier in the week while collecting shells on the beach on the southeast corner of Cedar Island. Samples were collected and tested by the DNR. Following the identification, DNR staff conducted a search on Cass Lake around the northwest and southeast points of Cedar Island. The crew inspected more than 200 items along 565 feet of shoreline and 2,500 square feet of lake habitat and found zebra mussels in a variety of sizes. DNR officials say this is the first confirmed adult zebra mussel find in the Bemidji area. Cass Lake will be designated as zebra mussel infested. The reach of the Mississippi River between Cass Lake and Lake Winnibigoshish will also be designated as zebra mussel waters with this discovery. Lake Winnibigoshish was designated as infested with zebra mussels in 2013 due to the discovery of zebra mussel veligers. Buck Lake, Andrusia Lake, Wolf Lake, Pike Bay, Pug Hole Lake, Kitchi Lake, Little Rice Lake and Big Rice Lake and their respective connecting rivers will also be designated as zebra mussel infested. While no zebra mussels have been found in these lakes, they are heavily used by boaters traveling from Cass Lake. The DNR reminds everyone that preventing the spread of invasive species takes personal responsibility. Before leaving any water access or shoreland boaters must remove all aquatic vegetation, dispose of bait, drain water by removing drain plugs and keep drain plugs out while transporting watercraft. More information is available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/ais.

10th September 2014

Governor Mark Dayton met with propane suppliers and consumers yesterday in an effort to avoid shortages similar to last year’s, which drove prices sky-high and left some rural residents without needed fuel. “During last winter’s propane shortage, this group worked to ensure the safety of all Minnesotans,” said Governor Dayton, who first convened propane stakeholders and state regulators last January. “Working together in the months ahead, they will do everything possible to prevent shortages, reduce drastic price increases, and provide all Minnesotans with fuel for the fall harvest and for their winter comfort and safety.”

Minnesota’s propane industry is working to expand and increase production. And it’s urging people to buy their propane early. 

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, as of August 9, propane supplies in the Midwest were 1.9 million barrels higher than last year, but still 1.6 million barrels below the five-year average. Despite these increased supplies, Governor Dayton has expressed concerns to the federal Surface Transportation Board about the transport of those supplies and farm products to Minnesota residents and businesses given the backlog on the state’s crowded railways.

The Governor has pledged to continue working in the months ahead with the propane industry, railroad companies, the federal government, Minnesota’s congressional delegation, and neighboring states to ensure Minnesotans who need propane this winter, have access to it at a reasonable price. 

9th September 2014

Minnesota state park and trail visitors will soon be seeing red and orange and yellow and countless other shades of autumn as the leaves and prairies grasses put on their annual show.  To help travelers plan their fall hikes, bike rides, paddling trips and scenic drives to coincide as closely as possible with peak color, staff at Minnesota state parks and recreation areas will update an online fall color finder at www.mndnr.gov/fallcolor every Thursday through October. This online trip-planning tool includes a map showing where to find peak color across the state, a link to fall color programs and special events, a slideshow and a photo uploader that provides an easy way for people to share their favorite fall color images.

25th August 2014

On Sept. 1, changes to Minnesota's immunization law take effect that require students to receive certain vaccinations or submit documentation of a legal exemption. Among the changes, seventh graders will now need to receive the meningococcal and tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) vaccines. Health officials expect that the requirement will help boost rates for those vaccines.

According to Kristen Ehresmann, director of infectious diseases for the Minnesota Department of Health, "Meningococcal and Tdap vaccines have been recommended for 11-12 year olds for a while, but vaccination rates have not been as high as we'd like," Ehresmann said. "The new requirement will help us make sure adolescents are protected from these diseases. We've already seen the rates increase as students get ready for the upcoming school year, but we have a long way to go."

The MDH Immunization Program is working to educate parents on the importance of these adolescent vaccines through a new website http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/immunize/adol/index.html, social media messages, awareness campaigns, and outreach at the Minnesota State Fair. Ehresmann noted that these efforts are also letting parents know about other vaccines recommended for adolescents, such as influenza and the HPV vaccine, which protects against certain types of cancers caused by the human papillomavirus.

For parents who are concerned about the cost of immunizations, the Minnesota Vaccines for Children Program provides free or low cost shots for eligible children through 18 years of age: www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/immunize/mnvfc/basics.html.

School immunization data for counties, districts and schools is available on the MDH website at www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/immunize/stats/school/index.html.

22nd August 2014

Governor Mark Dayton took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge at the Minnesota State Fair on Thursday, while participating in an interview on ESPN 1500’s “Garage Logic” with Joe Soucheray. Governor Dayton was nominated to take part in the Ice Bucket Challenge by Minnesota Twins owner Jim Pohlad. After taking the challenge, the Governor nominated U.S. Senator Al Franken to do the same. 
ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. While rare, ALS is a fatal disease. Currently, an estimated 30,000 Americans and 500 Minnesotans are living with ALS.

21st August 2014

Timothy Lance Scott 33, of Grygla, MN, was arrested at approximately 10PM on August 19th, 2014, after leading authorities approximately 30 miles on a high speed chase reaching speeds of around 90 miles per hour.  A Minnesota State Trooper patrolling west of Wilton on Hwy 2, spotted Scott's pickup driving east bound at 84 MPH in a 65 MPH zone.  When the trooper attempted to stop the vehicle, Scott increased his speed and began fleeing east toward Wilton.  Scott turned his vehicle north on HWY 89 and continued driving at speeds over 90 MPH.  Scott continued driving at a high rate of speed and in a reckless manner northbound on HWY 89 toward Red Lake.  As Scott drove onto the Red Lake Reservation, Tribal Police Officers deployed stop-sticks and took over the chase from the State Patrol Trooper and Beltrami County Deputies. With a deflated tire, Scott continued to drive until he lost control of the vehicle and drove into the north ditch of HWY 1 near the Tribal police Department.  As tribal officers and deputies pulled their vehicles around Scott's truck, Scott accelerated his truck and drove right at a Beltrami County Deputy who had just stepped from his patrol car in an attempt to strike the officer.  Two gun shots were fired at Scott's vehicle by the deputy as he moved to get out of the path of Scott's oncoming vehicle when another deputy crashed Scott's truck with his squad car to stop him.  Scott got out of his vehicle and grabbed a logging chain when he was subdued by officers. Scott was taken into custody by Beltrami County Deputies and Red Lake Officers.  No officers or citizens were injured and Scott suffered minor scrapes and abrasions during his apprehension.  Scott was transported to Beltrami County Jail where he is being held on potential charges of 1st Degree Assault, Felony Fleeing of a Peace Officer and DWI.  The case will be reviewed the Beltrami County Attorney's Office for formal charges once the investigation has been completed.

19th August 2014

Lake Bemidji State Park has opened a Nice Ride station, located near the park office building. It’s a pilot project designed to increase biking in Bemidji by both residents and visitors. There are 200 bikes available for residents and visitors to rent in Bemidji, including 10 bikes at the station at the park. “Lake Bemidji State Park is the perfect place to host a Nice Ride Bemidji station,” said Pete Harrison, park manager. “It contains more than 6 miles of trail within the park, connects with the trail system around Lake Bemidji, and is the northernmost trailhead for the Paul Bunyan State Trail, which travels more than 115 miles all the way to Crow Wing State Park.” Nice Ride Bemidji is a standard rental service offering bike rentals at a flat fee by the hour, day or week. The station offers visitors staying at the park another option for travelling into town or around the lake. They can also plan an entire weekend around riding the Bemidji area trails.  Find more information online at bemidji.niceridemn.org

11th August 2014

Three people from northern Minnesota died in a plane crash in Canada last Friday, according to the Itasca County Sheriff's Office. 41-year-old Nickolas Rajala, and 40-year-old Teresa Rajala of Cohasset, and 37-year-old Lynn Bohanan of Grand Rapids died when their plane went down in an Ontario Lake.

Canadian authorities are investigating the crash and no further details were available at this time.

5th August 2014

The Bemidji City Council Monday night voted 4-2 to contract with Lake and Woods Realty to help sell 16 acres of land on the south shore of Lake Bemidji. The City has been looking to sell and develop the land since the construction of the Sanford Center. Lake and Woods beat out Mark Dickinson at Century 21 and Real Living First Realty to gain the contract, after what councilmembers called a difficult decision owing to the similar qualifications of the companies. The property to be sold includes parcels near the lake as well as the former site of the MnDOT office. Mayor Rita Albrecht and Councilmember Roger Hellquist were the two no votes.

23rd July 2014

More information this morning on the shooting in Eckles Township north of Bemidji on Monday Night. According to a press release from Beltrami County Sheriff Phil Hodapp, police received a 911 call around 10 p.m. from a 17-year-old girl who said she had been shot several times while she was standing on the deck of her home.

Deputies arrived and administered first aid until ambulances took her to the hospital in Bemidji where she was stabalized. She was then flown to a hospital in Duluth.

With help from the Minnesota State Patrol, deputies canvassed the area searching for a suspect and soon arrested 40-year-old Chad Eric Pickering for 1st degree attempted murder. Pickering lived just blocks away from the victim and gave a statement to police subsequent to his arrest.

The identity of the victim is being witheld because of her age.

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