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Two Vehicle Accident Seriously Injures Deer River Man

According to the Minnesota State Patrol, a Silverado pickup truck driven by 55 year old Timothy Dwyer of Grand Rapids was driving east bound on Highway 169. A Grand Prix, driven by 36 year old Andrew Francisco of Deer River, was driving east bound on Highway 169 on the shoulder and entered the lane, striking the Silverado. The truck lost control and rolled into the median. The Grand Prix lost control and went into the right ditch and rolled over, landing on its roof. Francisco was not belted and was found pinned in the rear seat of the Grand Prix, requiring extrication by the Fire Department. Francisco was airlifted to St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth. Dwyer was transported to Itasca Grand Hospital in Grand Rapids. A passenger in the Silverado, 42 year old Casey Dezelske of Cohasset, was was not injured.

By |October 4th, 2017|Blog, News|Comments Off on Two Vehicle Accident Seriously Injures Deer River Man|

Highway 2 Issues Complicated

Tuesday night, Grand Rapids City Engineer Matt Wegworth held a public listening session regarding access issues on State Highway 2, specifically the area between Cohasset and Grand Rapids. Some of the ideas included reducing the speed limit, adding some stop lights at various intersections, and even the possibility of going back to a 4 lanes. City Engineer Matt Wegworth said, “ we don’t really have a set plan, we need to talk through it more and determine what’s going to be best for everyone.” A long term solution was proposed of making it a 5 lane Highway with a turn lane in the middle. That is something that cannot be done quickly, so the next steps will be to determine what can be done to alleviate the problems in the short term, and then work towards a more permanent long term solution.

By |October 4th, 2017|Blog, News|Comments Off on Highway 2 Issues Complicated|

Itasca County Commissioner Primary

Unofficial results are in for the primary race for Itasca County Commissioner for District 5.
Ben DeNucci received 757 votes. Casey Venema earned 449. Roger Weber received 142 votes.
DeNucci and Venema will face off on December 12th during the Special General Election for the District 5 seat.
The seat was vacated by Mark Mandich during the summer.

By |October 4th, 2017|Blog, News|Comments Off on Itasca County Commissioner Primary|

Grand Rapids Highway 2 Issues

Grand Rapids City Engineer Matt Wegworth will host a public meeting to discuss access issues on Highway 2.
The meeting will be tonight at 6pm in the Grand Rapids City Hall Council chambers. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss access to Highway 2 on the west side of Grand Rapids. Representatives from the city, county, and the state will be on hand to discuss concerns and to brainstorm solutions. If you are unable to make the meeting, contact City Engineer Matt Wegworth.

By |October 3rd, 2017|Blog, News|Comments Off on Grand Rapids Highway 2 Issues|

Itasca Commissioner Primary Race

Today is primary election day in Itasca County District 5. Three candidates filed to fill the vacancy of Mark Mandich, who resigned his position for medical reasons.
Residents will narrow the field of candidates from 3 to 2 today. Voters will send two candidates to a special general election on December 12th. Vying for votes today are Casey Venema, Ben DeNucci, and Roger Weber.

By |October 3rd, 2017|Blog, News|Comments Off on Itasca Commissioner Primary Race|

Wellness Court Work

Wellness courts work. Ninth Judicial Disctict Court Judge the Honorable Kory Wahwasuck spoke to the Itasca Couty Board of Commissioner Tuesday during the regularly scheduled board meeting about the Wellness court.
Nationwide, 75% of drug court graduates remain arrest-free at least two years after leaving the program. Offenders must meet criteria to be eligible for the program and about half fail. Commissioners Trunt, Snyder, and Tinquist echoed the same statement, “This is how we can get ahead of the problem (of out of home placement).”
Judge Wahwasuck helped found and presided over the Leech Lake-Cass County-Itasca County Wellness Courts, the first joint tribal-state jurisdiction courts in the nation.

By |September 28th, 2017|Blog, News|Comments Off on Wellness Court Work|

Fire Departments Combine for Training

Five local fire departments collaborated last night in a training exercise. Grand Rapids, Cohasset, Trout Lake, Hill City and Warba fire all participated in a live burn drill at the former Kirby Vacumm Cleaner/C.H. Kleffman/Cake Kingdom building on the corner of Highway 38 and 5th street north west.
Grand Rapids Fire Chief Mike Liebel said the building was donated by the Grand Rapids State Bank. He also said the collaborative training was helpful to all involved. Next Tuesday night, between 5-10pm, the building will be burned to the ground.

By |September 20th, 2017|Blog, News|Comments Off on Fire Departments Combine for Training|

Shots Fired at Home and Police Squad Car

Press Release

[Grand Rapids, MN] The Itasca County Sheriff’s Department is investigating an incident in which a firearm was used to fire shots at a Grand Rapids Police squad car and the exterior of the officer’s home in Grand Rapids on Sunday night, September 10th. According to Grand Rapids Assistant Police Chief Steve Schaar, “At 9:51 PM off-duty Grand Rapids Police Officer Matt O’Rourke was at home with his family in a residential area of Grand Rapids when he heard multiple projectiles striking his marked police squad car parked in his driveway. Projectiles were also striking the family’s house. A vehicle was seen speeding away on the street in front of the house.

Officer O’Rourke gave chase, radioing on-duty Grand Rapids Police Officers. The suspect vehicle was found abandoned shortly thereafter, near Murphy Elementary school in Grand Rapids.” Grand Rapids Police K-9 Officer Gary O’Brien, with the assistance of his police dog “Radar”, located the two occupants of the vehicle a short distance away and took them into custody.

The two men are currently being held in the Itasca County Jail awaiting charging review by Itasca County Attorney Jack Muhar.

“We are grateful that nobody was hurt” said Schaar. “The vehicle was impounded by the police and since a Grand Rapids Police Officer and his family were the intended victims, this case was turned over to the Itasca County Sheriff’s Department for investigation. At this time, we do not have a motive for the shooting nor does the police department know the type of firearm that was used. That will be determined by the Itasca County Sheriff’s Investigator.”

Assisting in this incident were the Minnesota State Patrol, Itasca […]

By |September 11th, 2017|Blog, News|Comments Off on Shots Fired at Home and Police Squad Car|

Classic Bass Tournament Comes to Pokegama

There are a few more boats on Pokegama this week as the Classic Bass Tournament gets underway Saturday morning. Megan Christianson of Visit Grand Rapids said Pokegama is a great bass lake. The tournament will be live-streamed on Classic Bass dot com. The awards ceremony is Saturday afternoon at the Pokegama Golf Course.
As the anglers prepare, Christianson said many of them have been here all week, staying in our hotels, eating at our restaurants, and buying necessities. The public is invited to the awards ceremony, Saturday at 4:30 at the Pokegama Golf Course.

By |September 1st, 2017|Blog, News|Comments Off on Classic Bass Tournament Comes to Pokegama|

Solem Enters Guilty Plea

A former employee of the Undem Law Office pleaded guilty Wednesday to two counts of theft by check, after stealing in excess of $100,000 from the firm. According to the Itasca County Attorney’s office, 53 year old Debra Lynn Solem of Grand Rapids entered the plea August 18th. The charges arose in connection with Solem writing herself or a vendor unauthorized checks during the time period between 2012 and 2016.
The plea recommendations to the court call for Solem to be sentenced under a stay of imposition, serve 180 days in jail, pay restitution and be placed on supervised probation. However, the terms of the sentence will ultimately be determined by the judge.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled for October 6, 2017 at 1:30 p.m. If necessary, a restitution hearing will be held on November 15, 2017 at 1:00 p.m.
Mark A. Mitchell of the Crow Wing County Attorney’s Office is acting as a Special Assistant Itasca County Attorney in the prosecution of this matter.

By |August 24th, 2017|Blog, News|Comments Off on Solem Enters Guilty Plea|