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Grand Rapids Area Held Captive

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.

By |September 13th, 2016|Blog, News|Comments Off on Grand Rapids Area Held Captive|

Magnetation Settles Overtime Pay

A federal judge has approved a $750,000 settlement agreement between Magnetation Executive Officers Larry and Matt Lehtinen and Magenetation employees who alleged that they were not paid in full for overtime. The payment is in addition to the $804,000 already paid for unpaid overtime.
A seldom-used provision of the federal overtime laws provides that corporate officers may be held personally liable for the corporation’s overtime violations if the officers played a direct role in establishing the corporation’s employment terms.
Magnetation has been in Bankruptcy since May of 2015.
According to the Operating Engineers Local 49 web site, a “global” bankruptcy settlement was approved that will potentially allow Magnetation to cease operations later this year and sell off its remaining assets. Magnetation’s initial bankruptcy filings in May 2015 listed liabilities in excess of $1 billion and assets worth less than half that amount.

By |September 9th, 2016|Blog, News|Comments Off on Magnetation Settles Overtime Pay|

Beacon Hill Opens

Yesterday was the grand opening of Beacon Hill, a 48-unit affordable rental housing development. While this development doesn’t solve Grand Rapids affordable housing crisis, it does show how nine agencies- working together- can build a community.
Minnesota Housing authorized housing infrastructure bonds for the $8.6 million project. Beacon Hill, built and designed by D.W. Jones, features 48 units, 20 of which are supportive housing and 28 two and three bedroom townhome style units. Twenty one-bedroom apartments will serve those with some type of disability or someone transitioning from GRACE House.

By |August 25th, 2016|Blog, News|Comments Off on Beacon Hill Opens|

Horn Bridge Closed until Friday

Residents who use the Horn Bridge in Grand Rapids will have a slightly longer commute. The Horn Bridge is being repaired.
The intersection of 5th Street North and 1st Avenue NE (Fire Department) will be closed for reconstruction starting August 29th, and will be closed for approximately 3 weeks.

By |August 24th, 2016|Blog, News|Comments Off on Horn Bridge Closed until Friday|

Two Jailed In Home Invasion and Armed Robbery

According to a press release issued by the Grand Rapids Police Department, one man entered a home on northwest 17th Street and pointed a gun at female at gun point demanding to know where cash and suspected drugs were located in the home. He was wearing a mask and brandishing two semi-automatic pistols. He reportedly held the female at gunpoint for close to half an hour.
A second male remained in a vehicle parked outside.
A third male entered the home and confronted the gunman. During the struggle, the two females were able to escape and one of the pistols discharged. No one was injured. The gunman fled on foot and was located by officers running through the neighborhood. Two pistols were found on the suspect.
The second male, who stayed in the vehicle, was later arrested by law enforcement in Aitkin County.
Grand Rapids Assistant Police Chief Steven Schaar said this was not a random crime.

By |August 4th, 2016|Blog, News|Comments Off on Two Jailed In Home Invasion and Armed Robbery|

Jenkins Pleads Guilty

38 year old Emery James Jenkins entered a plea of guilty to an amended charge of manslaughter in the first degree- malicious punishment of a child. According to the Itasca County Attorney’s office, Jenkins stated he was innocent but agreed that the evidence against him would be sufficient for him to be found guilty if there were a trial.
Manslaughter in the first degree is committed when a person causes the death of another while committing the crime of malicious punishment of a child. The maximum penalty is 15 years in prison and/or a $30,000 fine.
According to a criminal complaint, Jenkins’ 3 month old son died Oct. 18, after two days in the hospital. The boy had biting injuries on his chest, hands, fingers, feet and toes. Jenkins allegedly told police that he dropped the baby on his head and the neighbor’s dog attacked him. The boy’s mother later told police that she and Jenkins made up the story before calling 911.

By |July 29th, 2016|Blog, News|Comments Off on Jenkins Pleads Guilty|

Cliffs Promises DRI Plant at Essar

Cliffs Natural Resources CEO Lourenco C. Goncalves promised the Direct Reduced Iron plant that Essar Steel Minnesota couldn’t. Tuesday, 150 people gathered at the Cloverdale Town Hall to hear Governor Mark Dayton pledge the state’s support to Goncalves and Cliffs. Goncalves told the steelworkers that three and a half years after he gets his hands on the Essar plant, he will be producing steel.
Essar Minnesota, current owner of the half constructed plant in Nashwauk, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy minutes before the Governor directed the Department of Natural Resources to terminate Essar’s state mineral rights.
Essar General Counsel Mitch Brunfeldt told the Itaca Regional Rail Authority on Tuesday that the state does not own the Essar company and that the state mineral leases are in the Essar bankruptcy estate.
Minnesota Congressman Jason Metza said he expects the issue to end up in court.

By |July 13th, 2016|Blog, News|Comments Off on Cliffs Promises DRI Plant at Essar|

Deer River Hit Hard by Storm

Thousands remain without power today as severe storms hit the area. The city of Deer River was hard hit- with trees overturned and some buildings flattened. Local residents who need assistance can find food, water, shelter, and information at the Deer River Fire Hall.

By |July 6th, 2016|Blog, News|Comments Off on Deer River Hit Hard by Storm|

Bail Set for Grand Rapids Man Accused of Murder

Bail was set at $2 Million for a Grand Rapids man charged with second degree murder. Itasca County Attorney John J. Muhar reports on today’s date, 35 year old Joseph Christen Thoresen of Grand Rapids, appeared in Itasca County District Court. Thoresen is charged with one count of Murder in the Second Degree. The charge stems from allegations that Thoresen assaulted 20 year old Dylan Haiman of Hibbing with a baseball bat, a knife and a machete and caused the death of Maiman on or about June 21,2016.
At the hearing, upon the recommendation of the prosecutor, the court set bail in the amount of $2,000,000 without conditions or $1,000,000 with conditions. Thoresen’s next court appearance is set for July 5,2016 at 9:00 a.m.

By |June 29th, 2016|Blog, News|Comments Off on Bail Set for Grand Rapids Man Accused of Murder|

Thorsen Charged in Death of Haiman (GRAPHIC)

(Warning: details are graphic)

Officials say a 20-year-old Iron Range man accused of rape was decapitated by the woman’s boyfriend, who’s been charged with murder. The Star Tribune reports that 35-year-old Joseph Thoresen of Grand Rapids ambushed and cut off the head of 20-year-old David Haiman from Hibbing with a machete last Tuesday or Wednesday after they smoked marijuana and methamphetamine together in Deer River. The incident occurred after Thoresen’s girlfriend said she had been raped by Haiman. Authorities found Haiman’s head and torso near where the decapitation occurred on Sunday.

By |June 29th, 2016|Blog, News|Comments Off on Thorsen Charged in Death of Haiman (GRAPHIC)|