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Grand Rapids “Stand Down” is Thursday

A stand down in military terms means a time for soldiers to stop, catch their breath, do a welfare check on each other, regroup, and go from there. The Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans is hosting a Stand Down at the Grand Rapids National Guard Armory this Thursday from 8am to 2pm. Itasca County Veteran’s Service Officer Hugh Quinn said he hopes to see as many veterans as possible on Thursday. He said he would also like to meet people who may have fallen through the cracks- and aren’t being served by his office, especially homeless veterans.
There will be food, clothing, medical, legal and mental health assistance, job counseling and referral, and most importantly, companionship and camaraderie. It is a time for the community to connect with the homeless veteran population and address this crisis that affects each and every town, city and state in this country. The hand up — not a handout — philosophy of Stand Down is carried out through the work of hundreds of volunteers and organizations throughout the nation.

By |September 24th, 2014|Blog, News|Comments Off|

Child Protection

Though Minnesota ranks among the top five states in child well-being, Governor Mark Dayton says the state falls short when it comes to following through on suspected cases of child abuse. The Governor established a new Task Force on the Protection of Children.
Becky Lauer, of Itasca County’s family Service division said her department welcomes the assistance. There will be more accountability, training, a look at caseloads, and monthly random screenings in all counties. She said the oversight is better sooner than later.
Dayton says in Minnesota 29-percent of suspected abuse cases are accepted for further review, but nationwide that number is 62-percent. The new governor-appointed Task Force will make recommendations this upcoming legislative session for improvements to the state’s child protection system.

By |September 24th, 2014|Blog, News|Comments Off|

Grand Rapids is Growing!

Through the end of August, $14.85 million has been spent on building construction within the city of Grand Rapids. The projected total is near 20 million dollars for all of 2014 between commercial, residential, and government spending. There is also an addition of 15 new single family homes in the city of Grand Rapids.
Also at last night’s Grand Rapids City Council meeting, a grant from 2015 Toward Zero Deaths was accepted for $69,501 and a grant from Minnesota Board of Firefighter Training and Education for $10,000 was accepted for the Grand Rapids Fire Department/Hazmat Team. The next Grand Rapids City Council meeting will be October 14th at 5 O’clock.

By |September 23rd, 2014|Blog, News|Comments Off|

Furman Family Sentenced

Thirty-eight year old Travis John Furman of Grand Rapids and 38 year old Sulimita Furman were sentenced Monday in Itasca District court. Travis was sentenced to 57 months for felony second degree sale of a controlled substance. Sulimita was sentenced on charges of 5th degree possession of a controlled substance and 3rd degree DWI. Her sentence was stayed for 5 years on the possession charge. On her DWI charge, she was sentenced to 12 months, with credit for time served.

By |September 23rd, 2014|Blog, News|Comments Off|

Overdose Death Brings Murder Charges

A 49 year old Grand Rapids man has been charged with murder in his wife’s death. Terry Wayne Richards appeared in District Court Monday. He is being held without bail on charges that he bought a Schedule 2 drug, provided it to his wife, and that his wife died as a result. Richards told investigators he bought a Fentanyl patch, extracted the drug, and he and his wife injected the drug. Richards told investigators he and a friend tried to revive her when she appeared to have overdosed. They called 911. First Responders transported her to Grand Itasca Clinic and Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. His wife is identified only with her initials, K.L. R. Richard’s next court appearance is set for October 6th.

By |September 23rd, 2014|Blog, News|Comments Off|

Grand Rapids Swimming continues to roll

Grand Rapids Thunderhawks swim team followed a big win at an invitational in Hibbing with a dominating win over the Bluejackets on Tuesday in the pool at Elkington school. The Thunderhawks with 11 1st place finishes in 12 events including double 1st place finishes for Katie Welshinger in the 200 and 500 freestyle and Annalie Marinucci in the 50 and 100 freestyle. The only event going to Hibbing was the 100 breaststroke where Grand Rapids took 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. Final team score was Rapids 117 – Hibbing 69. Grand Rapids also won the JV meet 107-77. Next up for Grand Rapids swimming is a home dual meet vs Cloquet on September 23rd.

By |September 17th, 2014|Blog, Sports|Comments Off|

Wood Pleads Guilty

On Tuesday, twenty-four year old Devin Michael Wood pleaded guilty to the sexual assault of a 15 year old. Wood was working as a corrections officer at North Homes Juvenile Correctional Facility in Grand Rapids when the assault occurred. Wood’s pleaded guilty to three counts of criminal sexual conduct in the Third Degree. The assaults took place in April of 2014.
The plea agreement calls for Wood to receive a 100 month executed prison sentence. The sentence is consistent with the Minnesota sentencing guidelines. The plea agreement also calls for Wood to register as a predatory offender, pay fines in the amount of $225, provide a DNA sample and be subject to lifetime conditional release. The plea agreement is subject to the approval of the court.
Following his guilty pleas, Wood’s bail was revoked and he was remanded to custody pending sentencing. Wood is scheduled to appear for sentencing on October 27, 2014 at 2:00 p.m.

By |September 17th, 2014|Blog, News|Comments Off|

Grand Rapids State Bank Expands

The Grand Rapids State Bank is expanding. Wilcox Bancshares Inc., which owns Grand Rapids State Bank, purchased west metro lender Crow River State Bank Sept. 12 and plans to rename it Minnesota Lakes Bank. Founded in 1982, Crow River State Bank has branches in Delano and Mound and a mortgage loan production office in Buffalo. The bank had 27 full-time-equivalent workers at the end of June, according to regulatory records. Wilcox Bancshares President and CEO Noah Wilcox said he met with each employee and that “the majority” will stay on. According to, Crow River State Bank had $84 million in assets and was well capitalized at the end of the first half of the year, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. figures show. The bank posted a $684,000 profit last year.

By |September 16th, 2014|Blog, News|Comments Off|

Vandalism at Alliance Church

The Grand Rapids Alliance Church was vandalized sometime last Thursday night. Two juveniles were arrested in the case.
Police were called to the Alliance Church Friday morning. Someone had spray painted graffiti inside the church and left a pair of shoes. Police tracked the shoes to those given to a resident of North Homes. The two juveniles were located riding spray-painted stolen bicycles on Pokegama Avenue. They were arrested.

By |September 16th, 2014|Blog, News|Comments Off|

Lots of Students!

Independent School District 318 has exceeded the projection of student enrollment for the fall of 2014. If this growth of students continues, it will lead to future discussion on district buildings.
Also at last night’s District 318 school board meeting, board members approved an Independent Provider Application for the Grand Rapids Gymnastics Academy and set the date for the Truth in Taxation Public Meeting for December 15th. The next ISD 318 School Board meeting will be on Tuesday October 7th in Bigfork with telepresence set up in the Administrative Services Building Board Room.

By |September 16th, 2014|Blog, News|Comments Off|