Your Thursday News Brief: July 12

By: News Director Shawn Campbell

MAHNOMEN MN – The Mahnomen man who claimed he was assaulted by three man admitted to investigators he made the story up. Brian Smith, age 28, requested to speak with authorities conducting the investigation. Smith admitted he set fire to his vehicle in an attempted suicide, causing the burns to his body, he also admitted to falsely reporting the assault. Smith is cooperating completely with authorizes, and charges will be issued after his mental health and other medical needs are addressed. A GoFundMe page set up by his family has been taken down and they are trying to determine how to return the money. If they are unable to return the money it will be donated to a burn center and earmarked for the support of children with burns.

BEMIDJI MN – Northwest Technical College invites anyone interested in exploring careers in the growing, high-tech field of commercial refrigeration to a July 23 open house, where visitors can explore the college’s new Commercial Refrigeration/HVAC diploma program. The open house will be held from 4-6 p.m. at NTC’s Sustainable Energy Technologies Center, located at 808 Paul Bunyan Drive SE in Bemidji. NTC admissions office staff will be on hand to answer questions and help with applications. Students who already have been admitted to NTC’s Commercial Refrigeration/HVAC program for Fall 2018 may also attend the open house and register for fall classes.

BEMIDJI MN – Weather has caused a delay and the Bemidji Transfer Station main self-haul lanes will now be closed 12 July due to construction. Residents will not be able to drop off:  Appliances, Construction Debris, Furniture, Batteries, House Hold Hazardous Waste, Electronics, or Non-Burnable Items. Residents can use the BY-PASS Lane to drop off Household Garbage and Recycling Containers.

ST.PAUL MN – The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) awarded 35 grants totaling more than $19 million for rehabilitation and infrastructure projects in Greater Minnesota. The Small Cities Development Program is part of the Community Development Block Grant Program administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and is funded by Congress. The program helps pay for rehabilitating housing and commercial buildings and updating public infrastructure in small cities and counties. To be eligible for Small Cities funding, a project must meet one of three objectives: benefit people of low and moderate incomes, eliminate slum and blighted conditions, or eliminate an urgent threat to public health or safety. Cities and townships with populations under 50,000 and counties with populations under 200,000 are eligible for grants under the program. Projects must be completed within 30 months, depending on size and scope. Some towns in our listening area that are receiving DEED grants are Mahnomen, who will get over $354,000 for rental rehabilitation and Menahga, who will get over $236,000 for owner-occupied housing rehabilitation and commercial building rehabilitation.

FORT RIPLEY TOWNSHIP MN – Two people are seriously hurt after a crash on Highway 371 on Wednesday around 11:29AM. According to the Minnesota State Patrol, Colleen Epeneter, 69, of Backus, and Brenda Epeneter, 41, of Bemidji, were traveling west on Koering Road in a Toyota Corolla. As they approached the southbound side of Highway 371 it entered into the highway’s southbound lanes and was hit by a semi-truck driven by Gabriel Rybaski, 41, of Pierz. RyBaski sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to St. Gabriel’s Hospital in Little Falls. Brenda Epeneter, was also taken to St. Gabriel’s and Colleen Epeneter was taken to North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale. All three people involved in the crash were wearing seat belts and alcohol was not a factor.


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