NEWS 04/25/2017

Three people have been sentenced in federal court for a large-scale heroin distribution conspiracy. Acting U.S. Attorney Gregory Brooker announced that Raymond K. Walker, age 30, Luis Martinez, age 30, and Miranda Morrison, age 26, all pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin throughout Bemidji and the Red Lake Indian Reservation. According to the statement, Walker, the leader of the trio, conspired with Martinez and Morrison to distribute the drugs and collect thousands of dollars. Upon Morrison’s arrest after an 8-thousand dollar heroin transaction, law enforcement recovered 12-thousand dollars from her vehicle as well as 2.19 kilograms, or 4.38 pounds, or heroin and digital scales.

Garisson Keillor performed at the Beaux Arts Ballroom Monday night as part of his “Gratitude Tour”. The show was a 2-hour plus monologue of Keillor’s stories, songs, poems, limericks and even an extended segment of “News from Lake Wobegon”. Bemidji’s choral abilities were showcased as Keillor insisted that the audience sing songs from Elvis and the Beatles to choral hymns. The former Prairie Home Companion star is nearing 74, and reminisced on his illustrious writing and broadcasting career, and ultimately expressed his gratitude for having the chance to do it all.

Local Senator Justin Eichorn met with Enbridge and Blandin to discuss tax cases that are allegedly threatening counties’ financial stability throughout northern Minnesota. While no decisions were made with the energy company representatives, Eichorn says that the meeting was to inform legislators about the scale of the issues, and provide ideas on how to fix the problem. These tax cases stem from rulings that energy companies paid too much in taxes. Since the taxes were collected in the counties, it is the counties who are responsible for repayment should a ruling from a judge determine that the energy companies were overtaxed.

A 56-year-old Sebeka man and a 21-year-old Sebeka woman have been charged in Hubbard county court after being found with over 30 grams of methamphetamine. According to the criminal complaint, Jeffery Blaha and Shelsy Meidinger were in possession of a large bag of methamphetamine, hypodermic needles, a digital scale, and several small baggies typically used for drug distribution when stopped by a Minnesota state trooper just north of the Hubbard/Wadena County line on Saturday, April 22. Meidinger had a previous drug conviction, according to the complaint, and is currently in the Hubbard county jail.

The Bemidji Public Works Department is currently reviewing plans for private development, according newsletter submission from City Engineer Craig Gray. Tim Horton’s, the Watermark Arts Center, Sanford Health Cancer Center, Up North Sports, Hazelton Dentistry, and Enbridge have all submitted plans to the city. Roadwork on Highway 197 will begin downtown at 3rd Street and continue all the way to Lueken’s South. The project is not expected to start until July 10, but Gray says that the impact to traffic will be significant.

Previous Bemidji State football coach Jeff Tesch will resign on May 31, after an agreement with the University. According to a joint statement, Tesch will help improve the relationship of the BSU athletic department with alumni and the community, and will retire from BSU afterwards to pursue other careers. Tesch was placed on leave after allegedly making racist comments during a football practice. Tesch apologized for his (quote) “regrettable mistake” in the statement. Brent Bolte, the current interim head football coach, will continue as head coach for the upcoming season.

The Beltrami Electric Cooperative Trust Board for Operation Round Up met recently and awarded 21 grants to area nonprofit and community organizations totaling $26,142. Operation Round Up is a charitable program unique to electric cooperatives and is designed to give members a means of working together to use their change to make an impact in their local communities. The Trust Board for Operation Round Up meets quarterly to review applications for grants and disburse funds. Funding guidelines and grant applications are available at the BEC office or by visiting their website. The next quarterly application deadline is June 30.

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