News Briefs: April 9-10

By: News Director Larissa Donovan


ST. PAUL– Anglers fishing Upper Red Lake this spring will again be able to keep four walleye of which only one may be longer than 17 inches, continuing the same regulation that was in place this past winter and the previous 2017 open water season.  Harvest under the four-fish bag limit, one-over-17 regulation resulted in about 152,000 pounds for the winter season – a record high for winter harvest since reopening walleye fishing in 2006 – and the DNR says there remains room within the target harvest range to allow this regulation to continue into the open water season.

PARK RAPIDS– Four were injured after a three vehicle crash in Hubbard County Sunday. The state patrol says the driver of the Ford Expedition fell asleep at the wheel as he was heading north on HIghway 71. The Expedition driver crossed the centerline and struck a southbound Dodge Ram pulling a boat trailer. After the collision, the boat trailer broke free and the debris struck a southbound Chevy Silverado. The occupants of the Expedition and the Dodge Ram were transported to St. Joseph’s in Park Rapids for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. The Silverado occupants were unharmed. Alcohol is not believed to be a factor in the crash.

GRAND RAPIDS– A 38-year-old Grand Rapids woman was recently charged with seven felony counts of stealing controlled substances. According to a release from Itasca County Attorney John J. Muhar, Bobbi Jo Vandorn is accused of stealing drugs while she was an employee at the Grand Village Nursing Home in Grand Rapids and stole narcotics from residents over an extended period of time. According to the criminal complaint, Vandorn told law enforcement that she targeted residents who had daily narcotic needs and limited memory capacity. She has worked there since 2015. Vandorn will make her next court appearance on April 23.

ROSEAU– A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Roseau-based Polaris Industries, alleging the company knew or should have known about a serious defect in several of its models that poses a serious fire hazard.  It comes three days after the announcement that Polaris will pay more than 27 million dollars for allegedly not telling the Consumer Product Safety Commission that some models of its R-Z-R off-road vehicles manufactured between 2013 and 2016 could catch fire.  Federal regulators say Polaris had received reports of 150 fires, including one that killed a 15-year-old passenger.  The company agreed to an “enhanced compliance program” and says it is “continually… bolstering its safety and quality practices.”

BEMIDJI– The Bemidji City Council will discuss two topics during their work session tonight: the city’s budget and an easement with Paul Bunyan Communications. According to city documents, the city is considering granting the communications company an easement so they may expand their fiber optic broadband network. The company needs an easement of about 800 feet and plans to cross the recreational trail along the south side of Paul Bunyan Drive. The financial management plan for 2019, according to Finance Director Ron Eischens, may have a few cost issues including the possible Rail Corridor development and the future of the Nielson Riese arena. The city will revisit the budget during a June work session, so no action on the matter is likely this evening.



BEMIDJI– A local judge has approved the sale of the Country Inn and Suites in Bemidji. In a multi-party lawsuit that includes various creditors such as Security Bank USA and the City of Bemidji, a hearing was held just over a week ago, where Access Point Financial, another creditor to the hotel, made a motion to prevent the sale, which totals $8.35 million. Judge Shari Schlucter overruled APF’s motion and granted the sale to New Heights Hospitality LLC and Zavadil Limited. The receiver, the Lighthouse Management Group, may not distribute any of the sale proceeds until another order from the court is filed. The hotel is about $13-million in debt, so the sale proceeds will not be enough to pay back all creditors.

BEMIDJI– Severe weather awareness week is being observed in Beltrami County. According to a release, the week is designed to remind citizens of the various summer weather faced in this county, as well as across the state. Monday’s weather impact topic was alerts and warnings, while today’s topic focuses on storms, hail and lightning. Wednesday will focus on floods, Thursday Tornadoes, and Friday will be centered around the dangers of extreme heat. Beltrami County’s Emergency Management Facebook page has more information to coincide with this week’s awareness campaign.

BEMIDJI– The Bemidji Fire Department recently announced the results of their most recent ISO review. ISO uses a 1 to 10 number system for its classifications with “1” representing the best. Bemidji Fire was ranked at Class 4 for properties within 5 road miles of a recognized fire station and within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant, class 10 to properties over 5 road miles of a recognized fire station, and improved in ranking for properties beyond 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant but within 5 road miles of a fire station. Bemidji Fire went from a Class 7 to a Class 4 in this area.

ST. PAUL– Applications for bear hunting licenses are being accepted now through Friday, May 4, wherever Minnesota hunting and fishing license are sold, online and by phone. A total of 3,350 licenses are available in 13 permit areas. Bear licenses cost $44 for residents and $230 for nonresidents, and there is a $5 application fee. The season is open from Saturday, Sept. 1, through Sunday, Oct. 14. More bear hunting information is available on the DNR’s website.

BEMIDJI– The Carnegie Task Force will hold two community meetings at Bemidji City Hall.  The  meetings will gather public input on various construction alternatives for the project to save the historic Carnegie Library.  The meetings will be held Tuesday, April 17 and Wednesday, April 18 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.

Bemidji State University will begin an 18-month celebration of its 100th birthday with a series of Centennial kickoff activities on April 12. BSU’s Centennial Celebration, which will continue through Sept. 2019, will start with performances by the Bemidji State University Choir, an Honor Song performed by BSU students and a historical video interspersed with instrumental, choral and dance performances celebrating 100 years of the university’s history. The kickoff celebration begins at 11 a.m. in the Main Theater of BSU’s Bangsberg Fine Arts Complex.


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