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Joe Gigliotti

Joe Gigliotti

Pokegama Water Recedes

Good news if you live on Pokegama Lake, the Mississippi, or Big Sandy lake in McGregor.  US Army corps of Engineers water management officials say the water levels have crested and water should begin receding.  The Corps original forecast for additional rain for Big Sandy never materialized, so water levels are expected to resume normal summer levels in the next few weeks.

By |May 22nd, 2014|Blog, News|Comments Off|

Madsen Sentenced

Forty-two year old Donny Edward Madsen of Grand Rapids will serve 12 months in the Itasca County jail for a string of church burglaries between August and December of 2013.  Madsen was sentenced yesterday on six counts of felony attempted second degree burglary.  He also received a 57 month stayed prison sentence and was placed on ten year probation.   The issue of restitution will be addressed by the court on June 30th.

Churches robbed include:

Grace Community Church in Bigfork, Calvary Pines Baptist Church, Independent Apostolic Church in Deer River, Bigfork Assembly of God Church, West Cohasset Chapel, Balsam Bible Chapel in Bovey, Crossroads Family Church in Penguilly, and Itasca Bible Church in Grand Rapids.

By |May 20th, 2014|Blog, News|Comments Off|

Aitkin Accident

A two car accident Saturday evening on Highway 47 in Aitkin left one person injured.

A vehicle driven by Derek Simonson of Aitkin was north-bound Highway 47 when Simonson attempted to pass a vehicle preparing to turn left.  That vehicle, driven by 16 year old Emma Plagge of Aitkin, was hit in the driver’s door.  Plagge sustained non-life threatening injuries.  Her passengers, 16 year old Taylor Bright of Aitkin and 46 year old Marie Gordon was not injured.  Simmonson and his passenger, 31 year old Gina Isaacs, also of Aitkin, received no apparent injuries.


By |May 19th, 2014|Blog, News|Comments Off|

Pokegama to Rise

If you live on the Mississippi river, get ready for rising waters.  The US Army Corps of Engineers has cut water releases from the Pokegama Dam to reduce rising waters over the flood stage at Aitkin.   As a result, the Corps anticipates Pokegama Lake levels will rise an additional 6 inches before cresting in approximately 10 days.   The current Mississippi River stage at Aitkin appears at or near the crest. Additional precipitation may require a revision of these forecasts.  The current Mississippi River stage at Aitkin appears at or near the crest.  Additional precipitation may require a revision of these forecasts.

Corps staff at Big Sandy Lake Recreation Area, near McGregor, recorded 3.18 inches of precipitation during the past seven days.  This rainfall fell directly on the entire watershed and will increase the lake levels on Big Sandy. The Corps has the dam fully open in an effort to lower the lake level.



By |May 19th, 2014|Blog, News|Comments Off|

Facilities an Issue for School District 318

Independent School District 318, like most schools in the area, is facing a number of challenges.  Superintendent Bruce Thomas said both the aging elementary facilities and technology will be something the district must focus on.

The latest improvements are at the Robert J Elkington middle school.

The school board meets in regular session tonight at 7pm at the Administration building.

By |May 19th, 2014|Blog, News|Comments Off|

Itasca County Vets Not Having Same Trouble as National Vets

The National Veteran’s Affairs office  is under scrutiny for poor service to veterans, long waiting lists, and even hidden waiting lists.  In some states, veterans may have to wait up to 2 years for a claim to be processed.  In Minnesota, wait times for claims to be processed are about 90 days, according to Itasca County Veterans Service Officer Hugh Quinn.  Quinn said last fall, there were about 10,000 cases shipped into the Minneapolis VA office.   Those cases were at the 2 year mark.

The Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs took those old claims from other states and sent them to the regional office Minnesota office in Minneapolis.  While the Minneapolis VA worked to help other state’s backlog, Minnesota claims were put on hold.  The Secretary of the VA will probably do that again.  Even so, Quinn urged any veteran who has questions about claims, procedures, or services to contact his office.

The Itasca County Veterans Service office serves almost 4800 vets.

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

Community Cafe Fundraiser

Twice a week, the Community Café serves free meals in Grand Rapids and Deer River.  In 2013, the Café served up 22,000 meals.  Every Tuesday and Thursday from 4:30-6:00, free meals are served up in Grand Rapids at the IRC and in Deer River at the Golden Age Center.

The Community Café is hosting a charity golf outing this Saturday.  John Webber, Executive Director of the Community Café said the golf fundraiser is this Saturday, May 16th with a shotgun start at 4:30pm.  Call the Community Café or Blueberry Hills Golf Course to sign up a team.

By |May 15th, 2014|Blog, News|Comments Off|

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness month and this week (through Sunday) is Mental Health Awareness Week in the City of Grand Rapids. Grand Rapids Mayor Dale Adams proclaimed this week Mental Health week at Monday night’s City Council Meeting.

One in four adults, approximately 61.5 million Americans experiences mental illness in a given year.

For a list of resources and activities relating to Mental Health Awareness go online to

By |May 15th, 2014|Blog, News|Comments Off|

Grand Rapids Puts City Tax on Ballot

The City of Grand Rapids is one step closer to implementing a 1% local sales tax.  The Grand Rapids City Council approved adding a 1% local sales tax used for city road infrastructure on the November ballot during last night’s city council meeting.  The sales tax will be voted on as a referendum by city residents this fall, and, if it passes, it must be approved by state legislature. The first of many informational meetings will be on Wednesday May 21st at 4:30 in City Hall.

By |May 13th, 2014|Blog, News|Comments Off|

May is Mental Health Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and NAMI- or National Alliance for Persons with Mental Illness, is holding a number of events to raise awareness of the illness.  Holly Downing, President of the local NAMI chapter, said there are a number of events going on in Grand Rapids that you may want to get involved in.  One of them is tonight at 7pm at the Blandin Foundation focusing on eating disorders.

Next Wednesday May 14th, Sue Adberholden, Executive Director of NAMI Minnesota will be in Grand Rapids for a program titled “First Episode Psychosis and Early Intervention”.  That program will be May 14th at 7pm at the Blandin Foundation.

For more information, visit name

By |May 8th, 2014|Blog, News|Comments Off|