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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|

Fire Departments Combine for Training

Five local fire departments collaborated last night in a training exercise. Grand Rapids, Cohasset, Trout Lake, Hill City and Warba fire all participated in a live burn drill at the former Kirby Vacumm Cleaner/C.H. Kleffman/Cake Kingdom building on the corner of Highway 38 and 5th street north west.
Grand Rapids Fire Chief Mike Liebel said the building was donated by the Grand Rapids State Bank. He also said the collaborative training was helpful to all involved. Next Tuesday night, between 5-10pm, the building will be burned to the ground.

By |September 20th, 2017|Blog, News|Comments Off on Fire Departments Combine for Training|

Shots Fired at Home and Police Squad Car

Press Release

[Grand Rapids, MN] The Itasca County Sheriff’s Department is investigating an incident in which a firearm was used to fire shots at a Grand Rapids Police squad car and the exterior of the officer’s home in Grand Rapids on Sunday night, September 10th. According to Grand Rapids Assistant Police Chief Steve Schaar, “At 9:51 PM off-duty Grand Rapids Police Officer Matt O’Rourke was at home with his family in a residential area of Grand Rapids when he heard multiple projectiles striking his marked police squad car parked in his driveway. Projectiles were also striking the family’s house. A vehicle was seen speeding away on the street in front of the house.

Officer O’Rourke gave chase, radioing on-duty Grand Rapids Police Officers. The suspect vehicle was found abandoned shortly thereafter, near Murphy Elementary school in Grand Rapids.” Grand Rapids Police K-9 Officer Gary O’Brien, with the assistance of his police dog “Radar”, located the two occupants of the vehicle a short distance away and took them into custody.

The two men are currently being held in the Itasca County Jail awaiting charging review by Itasca County Attorney Jack Muhar.

“We are grateful that nobody was hurt” said Schaar. “The vehicle was impounded by the police and since a Grand Rapids Police Officer and his family were the intended victims, this case was turned over to the Itasca County Sheriff’s Department for investigation. At this time, we do not have a motive for the shooting nor does the police department know the type of firearm that was used. That will be determined by the Itasca County Sheriff’s Investigator.”

Assisting in this incident were the Minnesota State Patrol, Itasca […]

By |September 11th, 2017|Blog, News|Comments Off on Shots Fired at Home and Police Squad Car|

Classic Bass Tournament Comes to Pokegama

There are a few more boats on Pokegama this week as the Classic Bass Tournament gets underway Saturday morning. Megan Christianson of Visit Grand Rapids said Pokegama is a great bass lake. The tournament will be live-streamed on Classic Bass dot com. The awards ceremony is Saturday afternoon at the Pokegama Golf Course.
As the anglers prepare, Christianson said many of them have been here all week, staying in our hotels, eating at our restaurants, and buying necessities. The public is invited to the awards ceremony, Saturday at 4:30 at the Pokegama Golf Course.

By |September 1st, 2017|Blog, News|Comments Off on Classic Bass Tournament Comes to Pokegama|

Solem Enters Guilty Plea

A former employee of the Undem Law Office pleaded guilty Wednesday to two counts of theft by check, after stealing in excess of $100,000 from the firm. According to the Itasca County Attorney’s office, 53 year old Debra Lynn Solem of Grand Rapids entered the plea August 18th. The charges arose in connection with Solem writing herself or a vendor unauthorized checks during the time period between 2012 and 2016.
The plea recommendations to the court call for Solem to be sentenced under a stay of imposition, serve 180 days in jail, pay restitution and be placed on supervised probation. However, the terms of the sentence will ultimately be determined by the judge.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled for October 6, 2017 at 1:30 p.m. If necessary, a restitution hearing will be held on November 15, 2017 at 1:00 p.m.
Mark A. Mitchell of the Crow Wing County Attorney’s Office is acting as a Special Assistant Itasca County Attorney in the prosecution of this matter.

By |August 24th, 2017|Blog, News|Comments Off on Solem Enters Guilty Plea|

Hutchinson Man Found

Grand Rapids Police Officer Justin Edmundson pulled over a man driving 38 miles an hour in a 30 mile zone Friday near midnight and discovered the man was in need of help. The driver, identified as Darwin Mathews of Hutchinson believed he was only 10 minutes from Hutchinson. He explained that he left to get groceries 30 minutes ago and was almost home. Officer Edmundson contacted the man’s family and discovered the man was last seen 7 hours ago and his family had notified police that he was missing. Mathews was taken to Grand Itasca Clinic and Hospital for an evaluation.
Grand Rapids Police Chief Scott Johnson, in an email, said, “if not for Officer Edmundson, the outcome could have been tragic. A job well done.”
Mathews’ family arrived around 6am Saturday and picked up Mathews and his vehicle at Grand Itasca.

By |August 21st, 2017|Blog, News|Comments Off on Hutchinson Man Found|

DNR Open Public Comment on Polymet

The Department of Natural Resources has opened a 30-day public comment period, Aug. 11 until Sept. 12, on draft water appropriation permits for the proposed Poly Met Mining, Inc. (PolyMet) NorthMet mining project in northeastern Minnesota.
State law directs the DNR to manage water resources to provide for reasonable use while ensuring long-term sustainability and natural resource protection.
The proposed NorthMet project would require six water appropriation permits for various construction and operation activities at the mine site and plant site. In addition to these six water appropriations permits, the project would also need six additional DNR permits, as well as several other state, federal and local permits and approvals in order to proceed.
The DNR recently completed its comprehensive review of the company’s six water appropriation permit applications and considered input from state, local and tribal governments. These applications are consistent with rates and volumes evaluated and discussed in the NorthMet Environmental Impact Statement.

The DNR is now seeking public review and input on draft permit language before making any permitting decisions.

This public comment period concerns only the six draft water appropriation permits. The DNR’s review of PolyMet’s other pending applications – dam safety, public waters work, and permit to mine – is ongoing and there will be future public comment opportunities.

The DNR will accept written public comments on the draft water appropriation permits from Aug. 11 until Sept. 12. Commenters should include the words “NorthMet Water Appropriation” in the title of their comment emails and letters.

Written comments may be submitted by email to or by U.S. Mail to:

MN Department of Natural Resources
ATTN: PolyMet NorthMet Project
500 Lafayette Road N, Box 45
St. Paul, MN 55155-4045

The DNR will not […]

By |August 11th, 2017|News|Comments Off on DNR Open Public Comment on Polymet|

Classic Bass Championship Comes to Rapids

Visit Grand Rapids announced Wednesday that the Classic Bass Champions Tour championship is coming to Pokegama Lake in Grand Rapids September 1st. At the end of the day, one of the 24 Tour anglers will win a new Skeeter boat- and bragging rights as Tour Champion. Megan Christianson of Visit Grand Rapids said, “We couldn’t be more excited that the Classi Bass Champions Tour chose Grand Rapids and Lake Pokegama for the site of their first ever championship.” Visit for more information.

By |August 10th, 2017|News|Comments Off on Classic Bass Championship Comes to Rapids|

Hibbing Man Held in Infants Death

A 24 year old man was arrested following the death of an 11 month child in Tower on Wednesday morning. According to details released by the St. Louis County Sheriff’s office, the Hibbing man is in custody in Virginia and expected to be charged with second degree manslaughter, child neglect, auto theft, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of narcotic paraphernalia.
The body of 11 month old Bentley Joe Lewis Koski was found after firefighters extinguished a home fire at 813 3rd Street North in Tower. The cause of the fire is under investigation. The suspect’s name will be released after he is charged.

By |August 3rd, 2017|Blog, News|Comments Off on Hibbing Man Held in Infants Death|

Motorcycle Speed

A motorcycle, clocked at 111 miles an hour, attracted the attention of the Itasca County Sheriff’s Office on Monday night. According to a report from the Grand Rapids Police Department, the rider traveled from Nashwauk to Bovey to Grand Rapids around 5:57pm with deputies in pursuit. The rider drove around 4th Street and Pokegama Avenue before heading west on North West 4th Street. The rider traveled west to Cohasset, then south on County Road 62 and finally to Walker Minnesota. The rider turned around and traveled up Highway 6 to just south of the Itasca County line. The Itasca County Sheriff’s Office tracked the bike with a fixed wing air craft.

By |August 2nd, 2017|Blog, News|Comments Off on Motorcycle Speed|