Last Saturday, October 15th, the Grand Rapids High School’s forestry program had six of their chain saws stolen at the school forest. The forest is located off of Itasca County Road 325 (not too far off of county road 49). These were Stihl chain saws, model numbers MS 290 and 066 with GRHS stenciled on them. Please contact Itasca County Sheriffs Department (218-326-3477), or Grand Rapids High School (218-327-5760) with any information or leads.
An Itasca County Grand Jury Thursday indicted 35 year old Joseph Christen Thoresen and 22 year old Kayleene Danielle Greniger, both Grand Rapdis Residents on two counts of Murder in the First Degree and two counts of Murder in the Second Degree in the death of 20 year old David Haiman.
The indictments are based on allegations that Thoresen and Greniger assaulted Haiman, kidnapped, and later assaulted Haiman with a baseball bat, a knife and a machete. Haiman’s body and head were found in the Ball Club area on June 21.
Thoresen’s next court appearance is set for October 21, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. Greniger’s next court appearance is set for October 21, 2016 at 10:30 a.m.
Minnesota Power has confirmed it is closing Unit 1 and Unit 2 at the Boswell Energy Center in Cohasset. Allete President and CEO Alan Hodnik said in a press release issued yesterday, “the decision to retire units 1 and 2, though difficult for our employees and host communities, is consistent with Minnesota Power’s EnergyForward strategy of diversifying its energy mix, reducing its carbon footprint and evolving away from smaller, older coal generators”.
Thirty employees are directly affected and the company said it is working to avoid layoffs through attrition and retirements.
The Itasca County Board of Commissioners took no action yesterday after the county health department asked for a county ordinance banning electric cigarettes, or e-cigs, from all spaces included in the Indoor Clear Air Act.
Commissioner Terry Snyder said the board has spent countless hours encouraging job growth. “The last thing I want to do is create hurdle”.
Board Chair Rusty Eichorn said he thinks the board felt it was a little premature to take any action right now.
A U.S. bankruptcy court Thursday approved a motion to terminate Magnetation LLC’s pellet purchase agreement with AK Steel, marking the end of Magnetation. A statement from Magnetation, LLC.
“Now, our focus shifts to safely shutting down the Pellet Plant and Plant 4 in order to preserve their value for a potential buyer of the plants,” said Magnetation President Matt Lehtinen in a statement. “We are grateful for the contributions of the hundreds and hundreds of people over the last five years on this pioneering effort. We are hopeful that a buyer of the plants will be secured so that all stakeholders can look forward to a better future.”
Magnetation filed for bankruptcy protection in May of 2015.
A Grand Rapids business man is expected to serve one year in jail and be placed on 10 year probation after being charged with one count controlled substance crime in the third degree. Sixty year old Steven Donald Storrs of Grand Rapids pleaded guilty as charged pursuant to a sentence agreement with the prosecutor. Storrs was arrested May 4th in Grand Rapids and about 42 grams of suspected methamphetamine were seized from his vehicle. Authorities were searching Storrs business, “The Hawg Pen”, when they saw Storrs driving near the business. A canine search indicated a controlled substance in the vehicle.
One man is in jail on charges of second degree burglary and theft after entering a home on 3rd Avenue South East in Grand Rapids and changing the locks. Tuesday, an unknown man entered the home and changed the locks. A resident of the house, who was outside at the time, asked the intruder what he was doing. He told the resident that the landlord had asked him to change the locks and that’s what he was doing. When the adult homeowner got home, the family was locked out. They called police.
Grand Rapids Police entered the home through an open upstairs window. Officers found the intruder sitting on the couch in the living room. With guns drawn and after multiple commands for him to lie on the floor, he did so. The homeowners don’t have a landlord and do not know the intruder.
He’s being charged with second degree burglary and theft.
The Grand Rapids Public Utilities Commission is warning residents about a suspicious person. A resident on South East 3rd Avenue had some one come to her door yesterday wearing a blue jumpsuit with Public Utilities on the shirt. This man asked for a child named “Lila”. There was no child there by that name. The man then left in a small silver car. Utilities personnel do not wear jumpsuits. Grand Rapids Police would like to talk with this person. If you have any information, please call 326-3464. If you are suspicious of a Grand Rapids utility worker, you can call the PUC to verify his or her identity.
24-year Itasca County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Bliss is back on the job- after an administrative law judge found his termination was unjustified. According to WDIO-TV, the administrator ruled Deputy Bliss did violate two department rules, but that was NOT sufficient to require termination.”
The incident regarding Deputy Anna Cass, and Deputy Bliss was central to Bliss’ termination. Sheriff Vic Williams, according to court documents, terminated Bliss in December citing thirteen instances of misconduct.
Documents say the arbitrator characterized the testimonies of Sheriff Williams, Chief Deputy Denise Hirt, and Cass as “not credible” and said that the three gave accounts that conflicted with all other witnesses.
In at least one instance the arbitrator said he believed the sheriff wasn’t truthful and that it “colors all of his testimony.”
Through an attorney, the Sheriff’s office declined to comment, saying it was a personnel issue.
Western Itasca County is being held captive- and its hurting businesses. Burlington Northern is the only rail road service serving western Itasca County- and the lack of competition is costing residents and businesses money. Matt Radzak, Renewable Fuels Coordinator at Minnesota Power, said Minnesota Power is looking at its options. During the “Polar Vortex” a few years ago, Minnesota Power had only a week’s worth of coal on hand, forcing it to purchase more expensive power. At the same time, Burlington Northern was too busy hauling coal to ship in coal. \
Minnesota Power, UPM Blandin, and Itasca County have already investing time and money in studies to determine whether the cost of putting in a rail line from Grand Rapids to Taconite- to meet a second carrier- is worth it. The entities involved are also still determining who would own the rail line if it is built.