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Town Hall Meeting Tonight

Governor Dayton will be present tonight at the Nashwauk Township Community Center to discuss the future of the Nashwauk mining and pellet plant and project.

Governor Dayton, IRRRB Commissioner Mark Phillips, DNR mining officials, and Mesabi Metalics CEO Gary Heasley will be present.

All area residents, contractors, and interested persons are invited to learn more about the future of the plant.  The town hall meeting starts at 7pm.

By |September 24th, 2018|Blog, News|Comments Off on Town Hall Meeting Tonight|

Arbitrator Backs Sheriff’s Office

Former Itasca County Sheriff’s Deputy Brian Johnson was fired with just cause by the Itasca County Sheriff’s Department.  That was the ruling from the arbitrator hearing the union appeal.

According to the ruling, “The presumptive finding was that the Grievant (Johnson) did display a pattern of deceit and dishonesty in his efforts to “cover” up his erroneous entries, characteristic of a “web of deceit.”

The initial firing stemmed from false time card entries.  The arbitrator ruled that it was what happened after the erroneous entries were discovered that justified Johnson’s firing.

Arbitrator James A. Laumeyer ruled that two outside investigators, who arrived at similar conclusions found “a pattern of documented untruths.”

Johnson’s union, American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees Council 65 Local 639A contested the firing and Johnson’s placement on administrative leave.

Johnson and Itasca County Sheriff Vic Williams are running against each other in November for the elected position of Itasca County Sheriff.  Johnson claims political motivation for his firing after he ran against Williams in 2014.  That claim was dismissed by the arbitrator.

Laumeyer wrote, he “found no influence or malicious act by Sheriff Williams in this matter,”


By |September 18th, 2018|Blog, News|Comments Off on Arbitrator Backs Sheriff’s Office|

Ruby Slippers Recovered



[Grand Rapids, MN] The Grand Rapids Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are today announcing the recovery of the “Ruby Red Slippers,” The slippers, one of at least three other known existing pairs used in the filming of “The Wizard of Oz”, were stolen in 2005 from a Grand Rapids museum, the Judy Garland Museum located at 2727 Pokegama Avenue South. Grand Rapids is the birthplace of Frances Gumm whose stage name was Judy Garland. Garland starred as “Dorothy” in the 1939 film. The slippers were on loan to the museum by a private collector, Michael Shaw, as part of a ten-week travelling tour.

Sometime between 5:45 PM on August 27th and 9:45 Am on August 28th, a burglar broke a window in the museum’s back door and entered. The thief smashed a Plexiglas case resting on a wooden podium in the museum’s gallery and made off with the slippers that were insured for 1 million dollars. The alarm did not sound to a central dispatch station. No fingerprints were left behind.

“The police department really had no evidence and no clues to work with,” said Grand Rapids Police Sergeant Robert Stein. “All we had was a single sequence that had fallen off one of the slippers. The investigator assigned to the case was fearful that the thief might destroy the slippers if he believed the police were on his trail. Therefore, when rumors developed that local wayward youth were most likely responsible for the theft and had tossed the slippers into the Mississippi River or in one of the many water filled iron ore pits that dot the […]

By |September 4th, 2018|Blog, News|Comments Off on Ruby Slippers Recovered|

Ted Foss Move Over Weekend

In April, the Minnesota House on a unanimous vote passed a bill to broaden the “Ted Foss Move Over Law”, requiring drivers to slow down when encountering emergency, maintenance, utility or construction vehicles on the side of roads with only one lane in the direction they’re going. Bill sponsor, Preston Representative Greg Davids, said this bill will save lives. State Trooper Ted Foss was struck and killed by a semi while conducting a traffic stop in August of 2000 on Interstate 90 near Rochester. Law enforcement will be out on the roadway this weekend watching for vehicles that don’t move over for emergency personnel.

By |August 30th, 2018|Blog, News|Comments Off on Ted Foss Move Over Weekend|

IMCare Finds $73,000 in Incorrect Billing in 2018

Every IM Care employee is a fraud investigator. Jason Johnson of IMCare said, so far this year, IMCare employees have detected over $73,000 worth of discrepancies. Johnson briefed the Itasca County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday. He said the department can only investigate provider fraud, not member fraud. Most of the provider over-charges come from medical coding errors. Johnson also said not every mistake is an attempt at fraud.
In 2017, only $7000 worth of mis-billing was reported. Johnson said he believes staff caught much more, but only the $7000 was “officially” reported. The department has an investigator who deals with member fraud.

By |August 29th, 2018|Blog, News|Comments Off on IMCare Finds $73,000 in Incorrect Billing in 2018|

Please Don’t Flush Wipes

The Grand Rapids City Council met in regular session Monday. Julie Kennedy, Director of the Grand Rapids Public Utilities, was in for a report on the PUC. Utilities pump out about 1 million gallons of water a day and take in 6 million gallons a day in waste. Kennedy also warned the public about disposable wipes. They are not flushable. “Disposable does not mean flushable. Those wipes do clog our pipes and are very expensive, and increase costs which turns around into our rate”
Also at Monday’s city council meeting, Fire Chief Mike Liebel’s retirement was announced, after 20 years on the force.

By |August 29th, 2018|Blog, News|Comments Off on Please Don’t Flush Wipes|

Individual Cited for Tampering with Vehicles

Grand Rapids Police Department

[Grand Rapids, MN] Last week, a number of vehicles in the northeastern portion of Grand Rapids were entered and articles stolen from these vehicles. Shortly after midnight, on August 19th, Grand Rapids Police Officers detained an 18-year-old man in the neighborhood. The man was in the company of a 15-year-old boy. Both are from Grand Rapids.

According to Police Sergeant Jeff Carlson, “At 12:20 AM Officers received a call from a witness who saw an individual enter his unlocked car. He then saw two individuals leaving the area.” Officer Bill Saw, only four blocks away from the call in the 700 block of Northeast 2nd Avenue, arrived shortly thereafter. He found two people dressed in dark clothing and wearing backpacks. The witness was following them. “When questioned, both the adult and teenager denied that they had been inside any vehicle.” The witness and a second witness placed the 18 year old as having been in the vehicle. When questioned further by Officer Gary O’Brien, the teen later confirmed this telling O’Brien that he acted as the “Lookout”. A search of the backpacks did not reveal any stolen property. The 18 year old was ticketed for “Tampering with a Motor Vehicle.” “The Police Department’s investigation into this matter is continuing,” stated Carlson.


By |August 20th, 2018|Blog, News|Comments Off on Individual Cited for Tampering with Vehicles|

Burglary Suspect Arrested


[Grand Rapids, MN] At 9:30 AM on August 19th, a resident in the 900 block of Northeast 11th Avenue reported to Grand Rapids Police Officer Matt O’Rourke that she had returned home to find that someone had forced entry into her residence and stole jewelry, prescription medication and a mountain bike. As O’Rourke began an investigation, he and Officer Jeff Roerick received a call of an unwanted man in the backyard of a residence in the 800 block of Northeast 11th Avenue. According to Grand Rapids Police Sergeant Bob Stein, “Upon arrival at the house they found a man in the woman’s backyard. He was later identified. He was in possession of two bags and a backpack.” Jewelry and medication bottles with the victim’s name were found within the bags and backpack. “He admitted to the burglary and was jailed in the Itasca County Jail pending formal charging review by County Attorney Jack Muhar,” stated Stein.

By |August 20th, 2018|Blog, News|Comments Off on Burglary Suspect Arrested|

Man Missing in Cass County

A Ham Lake man has been reported missing in Remer.
Authorities say 60 year old Dave Rickbeil’s vehicle was found abandoned in Cass county near the Lake Washburn Road. Anyone with information about Rickbeil is asked to contact the Cass County Sheriff’s office at 218-547-1424.

By |August 6th, 2018|Blog, News|Comments Off on Man Missing in Cass County|

Grand Rapids Woman Appears in Court on Drug Charges

The Grand Rapids Police Department and agents of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) concluded an investigation of the sales of controlled substances. This culminated in the arrest of 39-year-old Jessica Sue Bumgarner of Grand Rapids. Bumgarner was charged in Itasca County District Court on Wednesday.

Officers of the Grand Rapids Police Department along with agents of the BCA purchased 1,777 prescription pills from the woman, including Schedule II and Schedule IV controlled substances with a street value of over $3,000.

“This offense, First Degree Sale of Controlled Substance, is a very serious charge,” said Grand Rapids Police Investigator Ashley Moran. “Thankfully we were able to get these substances off the streets before reaching our community and impacting lives of our residents.”

Bumgarner’s next court appearance is scheduled for August 21.

By |August 2nd, 2018|Blog, News|Comments Off on Grand Rapids Woman Appears in Court on Drug Charges|