Your Monday News Brief: October 9

By: News Director Larissa Donovan at 8:55 a.m.

FEATURED PHOTO: Edevold Family donates to support Bagley ambulance. From left to right: Seth Tramm, manager Sanford Bagley EMS Operations; Marvin Edevold, Jeanne Edevold Larson, and Rob Belanger, Sanford Bagley director. Submitted.

POLK COUNTY– A Bemidji man was involved in a beet-truck accident Saturday morning. According to a release from the Polk County Sheriff’s office, 38-year-old Gregory Lundin of Bemidji was operating the beet truck when he allegedly failed to yield the right of way to a Chevy Equinox, driven by 65-year-old Jade Rude of Thief River Falls. The report states that both vehicles sustained significant damage. Rude was transported by Altru Ambulance to the Altru Hospital, and both vehicles were removed from the scene. The Minnesota State Patrol and the East Grand Forks Fire Department also assisted at the scene.

PARK RAPIDS– Four Park Rapids residents were injured in a two-vehicle crash in Hubbard County Saturday evening. According to the report from the Minnesota State Patrol, a Jeep Grand Cherokee, driven by 77-year-old Allen Henderson, was turning onto westbound Highway 34 when it collided with an eastbound Chevrolet Chevelle, driven by 73-year-old Ralph Sanquist. The two drivers, as well as their passengers 70-year-old Sharon Sanquist and 70-year-old Patricia Henderson, were taken to the St. Joseph’s Hospital in Park Rapids for treatment of their non-life-threatening injuries. Alcohol is not believed to be a factor in the crash, and the Hubbard County Sheriff’s office assisted at the scene.

BEMIDJI– A Park Rapids man was sentenced to 62 months in prison Thursday for bringing a prostitute to Bemidji. According to the criminal complaint, the crimes took place over a year ago on September 15, 2016. Bemidji Police Department detectives made contact with a woman, identified by the initials “K.D.” who informed them that a man named “Cruz”, later identified to be 45-year-old David Cruz Velazquez, brought her from Duluth to Bemidji to perform sexual acts with men for money. In an unrelated case, Velazquez was sentenced to an additional 15 months in prison for attempting to solicit what he believed to be a minor for prostitution. Bemidji Police detectives placed an ad in September of 2016 on backpage.com, and secured a hotel room all the while texting Velazquez that they were a 15-year-old girl offering to perform sexual acts for money. When Velazquez arrived at the hotel, he was greeted by Bemidji Police Department officers and arrested. Velazquez will receive credit for 138 days served in the Beltrami County jail.

David Cruz Velazquez.jpg
David Cruz Velazquez. Courtesy of the Beltrami County Jail.

BEMIDJI– “Success is in the eye of the beholder,” according to Bemidji City Finance Director Ron Eischens. A prepared comparison report published in the city’s weekly newsletter, shows that event centers like the Sanford Center are operated across the state by a variety of means. Some use lodging, sales or hospitality taxes to supplement their centers, and some are managed by the municipality, by a management company or a combination of both. Bemidji’s event center has an annual operating loss of over $700,000; compared to Grand Forks’ loss of $400,000, Rochester’s $1.2 million, and Mankato’s $2.2 million. Centers like these use taxes to cushion center losses and capital replacement costs, with the exception of Bemidji, which uses taxes towards construction costs. Mankato generates over $6 million in taxes, Bemidji over $2 million, Rochester $1.5 million and Grand Forks’ $8.9 million. Eischens noted that, “All cities listed lose money on Event Center operations, suggesting their definition of success does not include profit as a priority.”

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