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Two Semi/Train Collissions Wednesday

Two semi-train accidents were reported this week.
The first, in Grand Rapids, Wednesday afternoon, bent the semi in half, spilled the entire trailer of wood, but no one was injured. The semi was traveling southwest in the parking lot on the west side of UPM Blandin when a train backed into it, according to the Grand Rapids Police Department. The semi was crossing the tracks and did not see the train. A brakeman on the rear of the train did have to jump off to avoid the collision. The train, traveling about 9 miles an hour, struck the middle of the semi and pushed it about 30 to 40 feet. The trailer was a total loss. The driver was not identified.

The second semi-train accident occurred Wednesday in Mountain Iron. According to the St. Louis County sheriff’s Office, 67 year old James Saatela of Iron was driving the tractor trailer. Saatela had just completed an inspection and was pulling out of County State Aid Highway 7 as a train approached. The train sounded its horn and warning lights were flashing when Saatela began to cross the tracks. The truck was dragged several hundred feet. Saatela suffered minor injuries.

By |January 22nd, 2016|Blog, News|Comments Off on Two Semi/Train Collissions Wednesday|

ISD 318 School Board Accepts Award

Facilities remain an issue for Independent School District 318. At last night’s school board meeting, Superintendent Dr. Bruce Thomas shared with the board that a study of maintenance costs of existing elementary schools was being prepared for the February meeting.
Board members attend a number of meetings each month. Some of the information shared between district board members included how to continue the facilities discussion with the public.
The board was presented an Award of Distinction by the Minnesota School Board Association.
The board welcomed 8 foreign exchange students to the district from Germany, Trinadad, Zimbabwe, and Japan.
The board accepted the resignation of Forest Lake Elementary School Principal Sherry Colter, who will move to the high school as a Special Education teacher.
Custodian Marvin Helbert submitted his retirement after 31 years.
The district’s annual Endowment dinner is scheduled for February 11th at the Timberlake Lodge. Tickets can be purchased from the district.

By |January 20th, 2016|Blog, News|Comments Off on ISD 318 School Board Accepts Award|

Grand Rapids Police Promotions

The Grand Rapids Police Department has a new Police Sergeant and a new Police Investigator. At last night’s city council meeting, Andy Morgan was named to the Sergeant’s position and Kevin Ott named as Investigator.
The city agreed to accept a matching grant of $140,000 for two new electric Zambonis for the IRA Civic Center, entered into a $50,000 a year contract with Ross Consulting Golf, and passed a pay adjustment for the mayor and city council. The last time the council received a raise was in 2009.

By |January 12th, 2016|Blog, News|Comments Off on Grand Rapids Police Promotions|

Stolen Vehicle Recovered

Thanks to On-Star and quick thinking police officers, a local resident recovered a stolen car in 20 minutes. A resident left his car running when he went into a convenience store. When he came out- he saw a man get into his car and drive away. Grand Rapids police were called. They notified outlying law agencies and On-Star. On-star located the vehicle in Deer River. Deer River Police, Itasca County Sheriff’s Deputies, and the State Patrol recovered the unoccupied vehicle. Grand Rapids Police Sergeant Jeff Carlson reminds residents that while it may be convenient to leave a vehicle running for a quick trip into the store, don’t. He says, “It takes a thief only seconds to slide behind the wheel and drive off”.

By |January 7th, 2016|Blog, News|Comments Off on Stolen Vehicle Recovered|

McGrath Fatal Car Accident

Four people died in a head-on collision Saturday on Highway 65 in Aitkin County. According to the Minnesota State Patrol, a vehicle driven by 45 year old Christopher Moe of Columbia Heights was traveling south on 65 when he lost control of his Mazda Tribute, veered sideways, and struck a vehicle driven by 26 year old Nicholas Meyer of McGregor. Moe and three passengers in his vehicle were killed including 40 year old Rae Moe, 14 year old Samantha Moe and 12 year old Anthony Moe. Three people in the Meyers’ vehicle, including the driver, were seriously injured including 22 year old Sarah sample, 2 year old Jackson Sample, and 25 year old Kevin Meyer. Two of the passengers in the Meyer vehicle were not injured.

By |December 28th, 2015|Blog, News|Comments Off on McGrath Fatal Car Accident|

Cohasset Allows $1.5 Million Tax Abatement

The Cohasset City Council Tuesday night approved the rezoning of property located between County Road 76 and County Road 63 from light industrial to heavy industrial. The property is owned by the Itasca Economic Development Corporation. About eight local residents from County Road 76 spoke to the council during the public hearing. Mark Zimmerman, President and CEO of IEDC, petitioned the council for the change, telling the public that the property is more marketable if it is zoned heavy industry. On a 5-0 vote, the measure passed.

The council also passed a one and a half million dollar, seven year tax abatement for the proposed Itasca Energy Center a$300 million project that will be part of the city’s industrial park. The project proposed by Navasota Energy is for a natural gas-fired power plant.

By |December 23rd, 2015|Blog, News|Comments Off on Cohasset Allows $1.5 Million Tax Abatement|

Grand Rapids Police Give Away More

The Grand Rapids Police Department will be again giving back this holiday season. Yesterday, Grand Rapids City Council held a special meeting and a donation of ten fifty dollar Target gift cards were donated to the police department to give away at their discretion. It is the second monetary donation given to the police department to give away this holiday season.
Also at the special meeting, new bylaw changes were approved for the Grand Rapids Fire department’s Relief Assassination. The city council also discussed their 2016 City Council Outcome Goals, which will be voted on during the next Grand Rapids City Council meeting on January 11th at 5 o’clock.

By |December 23rd, 2015|Blog, News|Comments Off on Grand Rapids Police Give Away More|

City Sets Legislative Goals

The Grand Rapids City Council set the city’s legislative priorities for the year 2016 last night. During last night’s work session, ten priorities were re-established from 2015. The top five priorities for the city are the pedestrian bridge, the I-R-A Civic Center, fiscal disparity, local government aid, and dedicated funding for city streets with distribution of production tax of local areas.
Also at last night’s Grand Rapids city council meeting, the 2015 Tax Levy (payable in 2016) and the city budget was approved. New members were appointed to the Arts & Culture Commission and the Library Board.
The next Grand Rapids City Council meeting is January 11th at 5pm.

By |December 15th, 2015|Blog, News|Comments Off on City Sets Legislative Goals|

Itasca County Levy Set

Itasca County Commissioners set the county levy at 6.99% on Wednesday night. The good news is that number is below that 7.99% sent out in property tax statements in October. County Auditor/Treasurer Jeff Walker presented the county’s budget for 2016. Itasca County Commissioner Terry Snyder.
The budget includes one full payroll for Itasca County. Every twelve to fifteen years, there are twenty-seven paychecks in one year. That accounts for $1.5 million dollars. Health care costs are also up.
Your property tax statement itemizes where your dollars are spent, township, city, county, school district, and even legislative changes after your property tax bill.
Following the presentation, commissioners voted to pass the levy at 6.99%.

By |December 10th, 2015|Blog, News|Comments Off on Itasca County Levy Set|

Northland Teacher Killed in Car Accident

One man was killed and a woman injured in a two car collision Wednesday morning on Highway 6 in Cass County. According to the Minnesota State Patrol, a vehicle driven by 68 year old James Johnson of Remer was traveling north on Highway 6. A second vehicle, driven by 56 year old Laura Figgins of Cohasset, was traveling south. Figgins’ vehicle spun out, crossed the center line and was struck broadside by Johnson’s vehicle. Both vehicles ended up in the ditch.
Figgins’ passenger was killed in the accident. He’s been identified as 60 year old Timothy Budrow of Bovey. Figgins’ injuries are being described as serious. Both Budrow and Figgins taught at Northland Elementary School.

By |December 2nd, 2015|Blog, News|Comments Off on Northland Teacher Killed in Car Accident|