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Monthly Archives: April 2014


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This is Distracted Driving Week

Today kicks off a state-wide 10 day distracted driving enforcement and educations campaign. Officers will be watching closely for people texting and driving. As part of the campaign, Assistant Grand Rapids Police Chief Steven Schaar and Sargent John Carlson of the Grand Rapids Police Department have recorded radio messages for our stations.
Twenty-five percent of all crashes are related to distracted driving. Tickets for texting while driving are $130 each.

By |April 14th, 2014|Blog, News|Comments Off on This is Distracted Driving Week|

Grand Rapids Man Charged with Child Pornography

An arrest warrant has been issued for a Grand Rapids man accused of possessing child pornography.

48 year old Daryl Wayne Phelps was scheduled to make an initial court appearance on 7 felony counts of possession of pornographic work involving minors on Monday, but failed to appear.  That’s when the warrant was issued.

In July of 2012, a Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigation downloaded a file containing child pornography, which was traced back to Phelps IP address.  In November of 2012, Phelps computers were confiscated.  39 suspected child pornography videos were found.

Each of the 7 counts against Phelps carry a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison and a $5000 fine.

By |April 10th, 2014|Blog, News|Comments Off on Grand Rapids Man Charged with Child Pornography|

Madsen Pleads Guilty

The final defendant in the local church burglary case has pleaded guilty.  42 year old Danny Edward Madsen has pleaded guilty to six count of felony second degree burglary, one count of felony attempted second degree burglary, and two counts of felony third degree burglary.  Erin Autio, an accomplice, pleaded guilty to a number of burglary charges two weeks earlier.

By |April 9th, 2014|Blog, News, Newsroom|Comments Off on Madsen Pleads Guilty|

Couple Charged with Drug Possession

Two Grand Rapids residents, a husband and wife, were arrested Sunday for possession and sale of meth amphetamine.  Travis Jon Furman and Sulamita Furman, made their first court appearances in Itasca County District court on Tuesday.  They’ve been charged with a variety of misdemeanor and felony drug charges stemming from possession and sale of methamphetamine.

The arrests were part of a 2 month on-going investigation conducted by the Itasca County Sheriff’s office.

By |April 9th, 2014|Blog, News|Comments Off on Couple Charged with Drug Possession|

School Bully Bill

The anti-bullying bill in the legislature does not have funding attached to it.  ISD 318 school board member Pat Medure said during Monday’s school board meeting that he was following the bill and that it looked like another unfunded mandate that school districts will have to pay for. The school board did not take any action but will wait to see how the bill coincides with ISD 318’s existing anti-bullying statute.  In other news, the board notified a number of teachers that their contracts will not be renewed, discussed plans to bring instant alert into the transportation system, and the search for a superintendent continues Tuesday morning with interviews.

By |April 9th, 2014|Blog, News|Comments Off on School Bully Bill|

Synthetic Drugs

Just because it’s man-made doesn’t mean it is safe.  The city of Grand Rapids and Itasca County have been pro-active in keeping drugs like synthetic marijuana and bath salts out of local retail stores, but the drugs are still here.  Itasca County Sheriff Vic Williams told members of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce on Monday that it made sense to have laws already in place to discourage any local business from carrying them.  Grand Rapids police Chief Jim Denny said one local business was selling these items.  He said the business owners decided on their own the pull the product, after seeing the negative impacts the city of Duluth went through.  Lieutenant Steve Stracek of the Duluth Police Department and Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crime Task Force was the presenter at the Chamber meeting.  He said Duluth was wrong when the Last Place on Earth opened and the police department ignored the threat and hoped it would just burn itself out and go away.

Currently, Itasca County and the city of Grand Rapids have ordinances regulating the sale of synthetic marijuana and products like bath salts, but law enforcement is hoping the state will put more teeth into statewide laws.


By |April 9th, 2014|Blog, News|Comments Off on Synthetic Drugs|

ISD 318 Superintendent Search

Five finalists have been picked for Grand Rapids-Bigfork school district’s superintendent vacancy. Finalists were selected from a pool of 16 applicants based on criteria established by the school board. The finalists include:
■ Michael Cary, Principal, Bismarck High School, Bismarck, N.D
■ Matt Grose, Superintendent, Deer River School District, Deer River, Minn.
■ Bradley Johnson, Superintendent, Hermantown Community Schools, Hermantown, Minn. (formerly Hill City principal and school district superintendent at Hill City)
■ Kathleen Mortensen, Director of Schools, Brainerd Public Schools, Minn.
■ James Smokrovich, Principal, Grand Rapids High School, Grand Rapids-Bigfork Schools, Minn.
The school board has set a schedule for interviewing the finalists on Tuesday, April 8, beginning at 8:30 a.m. in the Administrative Services Building Board Room at 820 Northwest First Avenue.
All interviews are open to the public.

By |April 4th, 2014|Blog, News|Comments Off on ISD 318 Superintendent Search|

Texting While Driving Accident

Driving while texting was responsible for a one vehicle roll-over Tuesday afternoon on Pokegama Avenue South.  The driver was reading a text while driving, according to the Grand Rapids Police Department.  The vehicle hit the curb and flipped over.  There were no apparent injuries to the occupant.  The vehicle, after being right-sided, appeared to have not sustained any damage, and the driver was allowed to continue driving, after being issued a citation.

By |April 3rd, 2014|Blog, News|Comments Off on Texting While Driving Accident|

ISD 318 Board Seat

School board members of Independent School District 318 will begin accepting applications to fill the open school board seat on April 7th- and close the process on April 21st.  The person chosen by the board will fill the next 8 months on the board, then the seat will be up for election in November.  Applications will be available in the districts administration office.


By |April 3rd, 2014|Blog, News|Comments Off on ISD 318 Board Seat|

Ely April Fool’s Day

The Ely Chamber of Commerce has done it again.  The chamber announced it would start a new 24-hour TV channel promising “all Ely- all the time”.  The network would include shows like “Iron Range Chef”, “Sauna Wars”, and a sing-along call-in show called “Campfire”.  The chamber told callers to ask their cable provider for details.  On a related note, Monday was April Fool’s Day.

In past years, the Ely chamber announced it was being annexed into Canada, that it was bidding for the 2016 Olympics, and that Dairy Queen has purchased naming rights to the Boundry Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

By |April 3rd, 2014|Blog, News|Comments Off on Ely April Fool’s Day|