Your Wednesday News Brief: March 7

By: News Director Larissa Donovan

CASS LAKE– Beltrami County authorities are investigating after a candidate running in the Leech Lake Tribal Council Election received a suspicious letter. Seventy-one-year-old Donald Finn of Cass Lake reportedly told authorities Monday that he opened a letter that contained a threatening message and a white powdery substance. The Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI and the Minnesota Chemical Assessment Team took custody of the letter. Finn is running for the Office of the Secretary/Treasurer for the Leech Lake Band and told authorities he felt the suspicious letter was related to his candidacy. Finn reported that neither he nor his family had any ill effects from the substance in the letter. The item was sent to the state department of health for analysis.


BEMIDJI– Superintendent of Bemidji Schools Dr. James Hess recently published a message concerning school safety in light of recent events in Florida. Dr. Hess said that the districts’ administration and staff stand for “calling for meaningful measures to adequately address gun violence, school safety, and mental health support for young people.” In recent weeks, a school walk-out was planned by a faculty member and later cancelled. The Bemidji High School Student Council is planning a meeting with state legislators, according to Dr. Hess’ message.


BEMIDJI– The Beltrami County Board of Commissioners approved a new emergency communications ordinance during their regular meeting Tuesday. The ordinance cleans up language and allows for the adoption of new technology as it becomes available or needed. The Commissioners also heard updates from the Income Maintenance Unit, Natural Resource Management, and the Beltrami County Historical Society. The Historical Society is currently working on the design of a new County Flag, which Executive Director Gary Rozman hopes to bring to the birthplace of Giacomo Beltrami in Italy this fall.

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One of many designs being considered for the Beltrami County Flag. Photo courtesy of Beltrami County Historical Center Director Gary Rozman.

MAHNOMEN– The Minnesota Chippewa Tribe Tribal Executive Committee will hold a special meeting tomorrow to exonerate or censure both White Earth Tribal Chairman Terry Tibbetts and Secretary Treasurer of the White Earth Tribe Tara Mason. The meeting will be held at 9 a.m. at the Shooting Star Casino in Mahnomen. At a previous meeting in January, the two filed motions to censure each other for various violations of the Tribal Constitution. White Earth and five other reservations are under the umbrella of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, and the Tribal Executive Committee is made up of the tribal chair person and secretary treasurer of each tribe. If the TEC votes to censure either Mason or Tibbetts, an official notice will be sent for a removal or recall election.


BEMIDJI– The work of two Bemidji State researchers will be featured on a “Prairie Sportsman” episode airing March 31 on Lakeland Public Television. Dr. Andy Hafs, assistant professor of biology, and Katti Renik, a biology graduate student from Bridgeport, Neb., are conducting a two-year study in northeast Minnesota on the relationship between beavers and brook trout. Hafs worked as the primary investigator while Renik has led the study’s field research. With more than 1,500 miles of designated trout streams in the region being studied, Renik is sampling and measuring conditions in about 80 streams and beaver ponds through next summer. The analysis will help natural resource managers determine which, if any, beaver dams need to be moved.


CASS LAKE– Off-highway vehicle restrictions will go into effect March 15, 2018, across the Chippewa National Forest. Off-highway vehicle use is not allowed on any forest service roads from March 15 through May 01, 2018. Any vehicle not licensed for highway use is considered an off-highway vehicle, which differs from the state of Minnesota’s Class II and Class III OHV classification. All forest service roads are closed to all OHV use during this time period.

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