By: News Director Larissa Donovan
ST. PAUL– A Redby man pleaded not guilty Monday to killing his infant son. According to federal court documents, Gary Wayne Jackson, Jr. is charged with second degree murder. In interviews with investigators, Jackson denied killing the 23-month-old child in early January, but also stated several times that he was responsible for the child’s death. An autopsy was performed by the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office, with the manner of death ruled a homicide by blunt force trauma to the head and thorax. Jackson will next appear in court in March in the federal courthouse in Duluth.
AKELEY– Authorities in northern Minnesota are requesting public assistance in locating a missing pregnant woman. According to a release from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, 27-year-old Kara Blevins was last known to be walking along Howard Lake Road in Akeley on February 2. Ms. Blevins is 5’9″, 170 pounds with blue eyes and reddish blonde hair. She is believed to have no phone, car, money or extra clothing in her possession, and was last seen wearing a light grey winter coat with a white scarf and dark pants. Authorities are concerned for her welfare due to her medical condition and the cold weather. Anyone with information on Ms. Blevins should contact the Cass or Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office, or call 9-1-1.
BEMIDJI– The Bemidji City Council discussed the future of the city’s water supply during a work session Monday. Two of Bemidji’s wells are currently not in use, due to the amount of a chemical called perflourocarbons, commonly referred to as PFCs, detected in the wells. PFCs are associated with various coatings such as Teflon, and firefighting foam used at the city’s airport, where six of Bemidji’s wells reside. Brian LeMon, senior engineer for Barr Engineering in Minneapolis, presented the council with their options. The Council elected to move forward with drilling for a new well to solve the short-term water situation, but will possibly need to address treatment options for the existing wells, as the state Department of Health’s acceptable levels of PFCs lowers.
BEMIDJI– Beltrami County Sheriff Phil Hodapp will not seek re-election this fall. According to a release, Hodapp is currently in his third term as the county sheriff and has served 42 years in law enforcement. Hodapp’s letter says that the sheriff’s office has reduced crime in the county’s neighborhoods and improved safety on the roads during the last eleven years. There are not yet other candidates for the County Sheriff seat, but Hodapp has encouraged his chief deputy, Ernie Bietel, to run for Sheriff.
BEMIDJI– The Bemidji School District is currently seeking licensed bus drivers to address a critical driver shortage. According to an email from superintendent of schools Dr. James Hess, the district may be forced to cancel field trips and athletic activities, combining regular routes, or canceling regular routes altogether. Information on becoming a bus driver is available on the school district’s website.
RED LAKE– Red Lake’s Little Rock District Representative Richard Barrett, Sr., recently passed away, according to a social media update from the Red Lake Council. Barrett served the district as a representative for many years. Chairman Darrell Seki, Sr. has ordered all flags at the Red Lake Nation Government Center, Tribal Programs and Tribal Entities to be flown at half-staff in honor of Representative Barrett.