Your Tuesday News Brief: November 28

By: News Director Larissa Donovan

BEMIDJI– The ability to use historical tax credits is uncertain in the federal tax reform bills currently working their way through the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The Carnegie Library Committee has raised over $1.36-million through grants, donations and pledges and was hoping to apply for historical tax credits, which on a state and federal level could add an additional $475,000 in available funds for the $2-million project.

The House’s version of the Tax Reform Bill eliminates federal historical tax credits entirely, while the Senate version cuts them in half. Legal counsel has advised the Bemidji City Council to postpone applying for federal tax credits for 30-90 days.

City Attorney Alan Felix said Monday that the project could still continue despite the postponed application for credits.

Felix said that “the responsibility falls ultimately on the city, but the hope is that money will continue to be raised to reduce the deficit, and hopefully eliminate it.”

The Friends of the Carnegie Library will continue to work on the documentation needed to bring the project to bid, with hopes that the project will begin in the Spring.

BEMIDJI– The Bemidji City Council hopes to bring all ice-stakeholders together for a group meeting to discuss the proposed Sanford Wellness Complex.

In a series of talking points distributed during Monday’s work session, the City believes that the construction of new and the retirement of old ice require community conversations including ice owners and managers at the school district, Bemidji Community Arena, Bemidji State University, the City, Curling Club and user groups.

Mayor Rita Albrecht said she is uncertain that hospitality tax dollars should be used for more ice. “Word on the street is that the city is against this project,” she said. “That is not true. I am 100-percent for the entire project, but using a hospitality tax to pay for ice is where I have pause.”

The City introduced its own version of a hospitality tax plan earlier in the year, but never made it to the legislature due to a lack of community support. The Sanford Family Sports and Wellness Complex organizers have proposed a 2% hospitality tax, with one-third being given to the city to offset the Sanford Center deficit, and two-thirds to support an Amateur Youth Sports Commission. City staffers will investigate to see if such a use of that tax would even be legal.

WASKISH– The Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office is investigating after two bodies and an all-terrain vehicle were recovered from the waters of Upper Red Lake. Authorities believe the bodies are those of two anglers who fell through the ice while riding their ATV over the weekend. The male, a 28-year-old man from Stacy, and the female, a 29-year-old woman from Princeton, rented a sleeper fish house from Roger’s Resort in Shotley Township through noon Sunday, when they were reported missing. The pair were last seen fishing Saturday.  Searchers used aircraft equipped with thermal imaging to find the pair. More information is expected to be released today.

WHITE EARTH– Five pounds of marijuana were seized after a six-mile pursuit last Friday on the White Earth Reservation. According to a release from the reservation’s business committee, a White Earth tribal officer attempted to make a traffic stop when the suspect vehicle approached sped off on Becker County Road 21. After about six miles of pursuit in the vehicle, the suspect stopped the car and fled into the woods. A K-9 Unit assisted in the on-foot pursuit, and after six-and-a-half miles of dog track, Cody Eagle Feather was found and taken into custody. A search of Eagle Feather’s vehicle netted roughly five pounds of suspected marijuana, multiple drug paraphernalia, and small amounts of other possible drugs. Eagle Feather is in the Becker County Jail awaiting formal charges.

RED LAKE– An extensive search continues for two missing Lower Red Lake fisherman. Searchers drilled ten thousand holed in the lake in an attempt to find the pair. The search for the 29-year-old man and 17-year-old boy is now in its fourth week. The two disappeared when their Red Lake Fisheries boat capsized on Lower Red Lake. A third man on the boat was able to swim to shore and survived.

CLIMAX– A northwestern Minnesota collector got to show off his treasures to the hosts of “American Pickers.” John Vraa’s brother contacted producers of the show which was going to be in the area. The Climax man can’t give many details until the show airs in a few months, but he did end up with two itemized bills of sale and a check for 32-hundred dollars.

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