By: News Director Larissa Donovan
WALKER– The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe held their annual State of the Band Address Friday. While the band has its share of social issues, such as drug abuse, domestic violence, homelessness and unemployment, the band has hopes for a strong year in 2018.
Last summer, the band decided to phase out land leases to non-tribal members, a move that was met with some strong opposition. The band’s decision, according to Chairman Faron Jackson Sr., was to address the needs of the band’s people.
Secretary Treasurer Archie LaRose said that the band has many social issues, but the tribal council is making moves to address them, such as the construction of a new Palace Casino.
“When we address those social issues, things get better for us as a whole,” said LaRose.
The band also recently entered into a class-action lawsuit against big pharmaceutical companies, in hopes to recoup some funds exhausted to address the opioid epidemic.
Tribal chairman Jackson says that during the next year, the band will need to work together to achieve these goals.
BEMIDJI– A 70-year-old Bemidji woman was injured following a two-vehicle crash near Bemidji Saturday.
Officials report the crash occurred near Cardinal Road and Highway 2 Saturday morning, where a Chevy Silverado, driven by a 25-year-old Lengby woman, slid while turning onto Highway 2, striking a Chevy Tahoe, driven by the 70-year-old woman. The Silverado also slid into the guard rail before it stopped in the ditch, while the Tahoe went into the center median.
The injured woman was taken to the Sanford Medical Center for treatment of what were described as non-life-threatening injuries. The Silverado occupants were uninjured. Alcohol is not believed to be a factor in the crash, according to the state patrol.
CASS COUNTY– Two were injured in a Cass County crash Sunday. Officials report that a GMC Acadia, driven by a 66-year-old Wadena woman, was westbound on Highway 210 when it was rear-ended by a Ford F150, driven by a 64-year-old Staples woman.
The F150, after rear-ending the GMC, went into the north side ditch and launched over a road approach, hitting a power pole in mid air until it finally landed in a private field.
The F150 occupants were treated for their non-life-threatening injuries at Essentia-St. Joseph’s hospital, while the GMC occupants were uninjured. Alcohol is not believed to be a factor in the crash, and the Cass County Sheriff’s Office assisted the state patrol at the scene.
BEMIDJI– The Bemidji Fire Department is urging residents to make 2018 a healthy and fire-safe year. According to data from the U.S. Fire Administration, 83-percent of fatal fires occur in homes. Helpful tips for fire safety include keeping good batteries in smoke detectors, be mindful of heat and flames while cooking, and to keep smoking materials such as cigarette lighters and matches out of the reach of children.