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Itasca County VSO Quinn Resigns

Itasca County Veteran’s Service Officer Hugh Quinn submitted his resignation to the county board during last week’s board works session. Quinn said his immediate plans are, “to go to work.” Quinn submitted an application at the Veteran’s Service Administration, but, in a different capacity. He said the position wouldn’t be in a direct service role. Quinn’s last day will be January 31. But, he was quick to point out that the core of the service in the V.S.O office will remain. “There are three gals that work for me are fantastic. They’ll take care of everything.”

This week’s acting board chair,Leo Trunt, said he wished Quinn well and said applications for the position aren’t available yet. He thanked Quinn for his service. “The vets loved him and he did a great job. We just hope we can find a qualified candidate who can rise to his level.”

By |November 14th, 2017|Blog, News|Comments Off on Itasca County VSO Quinn Resigns|

IRA Civic Center Improvements

The city of Grand Rapids held a public meeting last night at the IRA Civic Center regarding an expansion and renovation project. City Administrator Tom Pagel introduced the architects behind the proposed renovations. They discussed multiple options, including hockey needs, as well as a day care center. Right now there are 4 partners involved, however that could change. Pagel told the audience, “We should know if they the go forward with the bonding bill sometime in May, whether or not we were successful. At that point, we would really start to define who is in and whose not.”

By |November 10th, 2017|Blog, News|Comments Off on IRA Civic Center Improvements|

UPM Blandin to Close Plant 5

UPM Blandin plans to permanently close paper machine 5, eliminating approximately 150 people. According to a press release this morning, the decision was made in light of the global market situation for graphic papers, and to sustain its competitiveness and leading position in the market.
UPM Paper ENA also plans to optimize operations at its UPM Nordland Papier and UPM NorService units in Dörpen, Germany, Europe’s biggest fine paper site. Streamlining internal processes and investing in automation will enable a sustainable improvement of the fixed cost structure.

UPM Blandin’s Plant 5 closure is expected to be completed by end of quarter 1 2018, at the latest. Paper production related to paper machine 6 is planned to continue at the Blandin site.

UPM will recognize restructuring charges of approximately EUR 35 million as items affecting comparability in its 4th quarter results. The planned actions will result in annual savings of approximately 30 million euros.

By |October 24th, 2017|Blog, News|Comments Off on UPM Blandin to Close Plant 5|

Greniger Sentenced

Kayleene Danielle Greniger was sentenced Monday in Itasca District court to over 30 years in prison. Greniger pleaded guilty in February to one count of murder in the second degree in the death of David Alexander Haiman of Hibbing. Greniger admitted in court that she and Joseph Christian Thorsen assaulted Haiman with a baseball bat, knife, and a machete on June 21, 2016. Thorsen was sentenced to life in prison. Greniger’s sentence of 367 months in prison is consistent with state sentencing guidelines.

By |October 18th, 2017|Blog, News|Comments Off on Greniger Sentenced|

Two Vehicle Accident Seriously Injures Deer River Man

According to the Minnesota State Patrol, a Silverado pickup truck driven by 55 year old Timothy Dwyer of Grand Rapids was driving east bound on Highway 169. A Grand Prix, driven by 36 year old Andrew Francisco of Deer River, was driving east bound on Highway 169 on the shoulder and entered the lane, striking the Silverado. The truck lost control and rolled into the median. The Grand Prix lost control and went into the right ditch and rolled over, landing on its roof. Francisco was not belted and was found pinned in the rear seat of the Grand Prix, requiring extrication by the Fire Department. Francisco was airlifted to St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth. Dwyer was transported to Itasca Grand Hospital in Grand Rapids. A passenger in the Silverado, 42 year old Casey Dezelske of Cohasset, was was not injured.

By |October 4th, 2017|Blog, News|Comments Off on Two Vehicle Accident Seriously Injures Deer River Man|

Highway 2 Issues Complicated

Tuesday night, Grand Rapids City Engineer Matt Wegworth held a public listening session regarding access issues on State Highway 2, specifically the area between Cohasset and Grand Rapids. Some of the ideas included reducing the speed limit, adding some stop lights at various intersections, and even the possibility of going back to a 4 lanes. City Engineer Matt Wegworth said, “ we don’t really have a set plan, we need to talk through it more and determine what’s going to be best for everyone.” A long term solution was proposed of making it a 5 lane Highway with a turn lane in the middle. That is something that cannot be done quickly, so the next steps will be to determine what can be done to alleviate the problems in the short term, and then work towards a more permanent long term solution.

By |October 4th, 2017|Blog, News|Comments Off on Highway 2 Issues Complicated|

Itasca County Commissioner Primary

Unofficial results are in for the primary race for Itasca County Commissioner for District 5.
Ben DeNucci received 757 votes. Casey Venema earned 449. Roger Weber received 142 votes.
DeNucci and Venema will face off on December 12th during the Special General Election for the District 5 seat.
The seat was vacated by Mark Mandich during the summer.

By |October 4th, 2017|Blog, News|Comments Off on Itasca County Commissioner Primary|

Grand Rapids Highway 2 Issues

Grand Rapids City Engineer Matt Wegworth will host a public meeting to discuss access issues on Highway 2.
The meeting will be tonight at 6pm in the Grand Rapids City Hall Council chambers. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss access to Highway 2 on the west side of Grand Rapids. Representatives from the city, county, and the state will be on hand to discuss concerns and to brainstorm solutions. If you are unable to make the meeting, contact City Engineer Matt Wegworth.

By |October 3rd, 2017|Blog, News|Comments Off on Grand Rapids Highway 2 Issues|

Itasca Commissioner Primary Race

Today is primary election day in Itasca County District 5. Three candidates filed to fill the vacancy of Mark Mandich, who resigned his position for medical reasons.
Residents will narrow the field of candidates from 3 to 2 today. Voters will send two candidates to a special general election on December 12th. Vying for votes today are Casey Venema, Ben DeNucci, and Roger Weber.

By |October 3rd, 2017|Blog, News|Comments Off on Itasca Commissioner Primary Race|

Wellness Court Work

Wellness courts work. Ninth Judicial Disctict Court Judge the Honorable Kory Wahwasuck spoke to the Itasca Couty Board of Commissioner Tuesday during the regularly scheduled board meeting about the Wellness court.
Nationwide, 75% of drug court graduates remain arrest-free at least two years after leaving the program. Offenders must meet criteria to be eligible for the program and about half fail. Commissioners Trunt, Snyder, and Tinquist echoed the same statement, “This is how we can get ahead of the problem (of out of home placement).”
Judge Wahwasuck helped found and presided over the Leech Lake-Cass County-Itasca County Wellness Courts, the first joint tribal-state jurisdiction courts in the nation.

By |September 28th, 2017|Blog, News|Comments Off on Wellness Court Work|