Your Wednesday News Brief: April 4

By: News Director Larissa Donovan

BEMIDJI– The Beltrami County Board of Commissioners discussed several topics during their work session Wednesday. County assessor Joe Skerik informed the board of the 2018 property valuations for taxes payable in 2019. Overall, the county is up 3.2-percent in taxable property value for 2018, with over $3.4-billion in taxable value. The board also heard a presentation on the DNR’s proposed “border-to-border” backroad trail. The trail will consist of gravel roads across northern Minnesota, and will cross Beltrami County south of Blackduck and Puposky. Drivers of highway vehicles are the target for the trail network, for those seeking quiet, scenic routes for photo opportunities.


CASS LAKE– Cass County authorities recently identified the man killed in a house fire over the weekend in Cass Lake. According to an updated release, 79-year-old Hubert Braman’s body was found after firefighters extinguished the blaze on Second Street east early Saturday morning. The Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office determined carbon monoxide poisoning from smoke inhalation was the cause of death. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.


BEMIDJI– A Maplewood man was recently charged for a fatal motorcycle crash in Beltrami County. According to the original report from the state patrol, 34-year-old Michael Bahl crashed on Highway 89 last August after fleeing from a traffic stop. Bahl sustained life-threatening injuries, while his passenger, 32-year-old Nicole Hahn, was killed. New court documents state that Bahl was driving 88 miles an hour and increased to 100 miles an hour when he noticed the state trooper attempting to stop him. Bahl told responders he had used methamphetamine prior to driving, and that he did not have a valid license. Bahl made his first court appearance on the criminal vehicular homicide charges14 in mid-March, and will next appear at the end of April.


CASS LAKE– Six were arrested after a bust by the Leech Lake Tribal Police in Cass Lake. According to a release, officers received information on drug activity near the Cass Lake Elementary School and executed a search warrant on March 28. Officers found methamphetamine in the possession of Arthur Oehler, and he was arrested for the drug crime. Five others in the residence were arrested on warrants: Brandi Brown, Hobart Huffman, Tara Cournoyer and Andrew Oehler, all of Cass Lake, and Britni Lattergrass of Bemidji.


MINNEAPOLIS– A Red Lake man will spend almost seven years behind bars for an assault against a forestry employee. According to a release from the United States Attorney Gregory Brooker, 27-year-old Richard James Smith struck an employee of the Red Lake forestry department in the head with an aluminum bat last June. The forester was at Smith’s mother’s residence for a work-related matter when Smith attacked him from behind. The employee sustained a severe traumatic brain injury and intracranial hemorrhaging, and was hospitalized for over three weeks. In addition to 82 months in prison, Smith will spend three years on supervised release.

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