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Sheldon Willis

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Essar Proposes Legislation

Essar Steel has proposed legislation to our representatives in the Minnesota House that would give the company seven years to pay back its $67 million loan to the state of Minnesota and Itasca County taxpayers.
State Representative Tom Anzelc said the company is asking for the authority to “go in the direction of reduced iron ore pellets and/or steel- if market conditions are suitable”.
Problems Representative Anzelc has with the request include making sure taxpayers are protected and the ownership of the infrastructure.
Representative Anzelc said, at this time, he is not comfortable introducing the legislation. He says that may change if conditions improve.

By |March 6th, 2015|Blog, News|Comments Off on Essar Proposes Legislation|

Explore Minnesota Tourism Dollars

Two years ago, the Minnesota Legislature appropriated money for tourism advertising. This year, state Senator Tom Saxhaug is author of the Senate bill re-authorizing marketing money for Explore Minnesota. According to Explore Minnesota, leisure and hospitality in Minnesota generate $10 billion in gross sales annually and that more than $600 million is generate in state sales tax. Minnesota’s leisure and hospitality industry employs more than 235,000 workers.
The marketing bill came before Senator Dave Tomassoni’s Environment, Economic Development and Agriculture Budget Division Committee this week. Senator Saxhaug said Terry Madsen (marketing for the city of St. Paul), Megan Christianson (of Visit Grand Rapids), and Doug Killian (marketing for the Mall of America) testified before the Environment, Economic Development, and Agriculture Budget Division Committee. Committee deadlines are still a few weeks away.

By |March 5th, 2015|Blog, News|Comments Off on Explore Minnesota Tourism Dollars|

ISD 318 Looks at Facilities

Space is still is an issue that won’t be going away anytime soon for ISD 318 schools. At last night’s Independent School District 318 school board meeting, Cohasset Elementary was the focus of the facilities update. The video found on the school districts website highlights the issue of space the district is facing in all elementary schools.
There is a special school board workshop this evening (Tuesday 3/3/15) from 4-8pm in the district board room, focusing on facilities and what the future is looking like for the buildings. The meeting is open to the community.
Also at last night’s meeting, Assistant Superintended Rochelle VanDenHeuvel gave a technology update. She told board members that the original 1 to 1 initiative plan is being altered to get all high school students iPads this fall.
The next regular ISD 318 school board meeting is March 16th at 7 o’clock.

By |March 3rd, 2015|Blog, News|Comments Off on ISD 318 Looks at Facilities|

Clinton Township Overdose

Six people over-dosed last weekend in Duluth. Another two cases were reported in Clinton Township on Monday. Duluth police issued a warning over the weekend that there the eight drug-related overdose cases in the previous 24 hours.
This one was fatal. A 42 year old woman died from the over-dose and a 60 year old man received medical treatment.
Police are concerned for opioid users and warn of the risk of using these drugs as their content and purity is often unknown and can cause overdose deaths.
The cases remain under investigation. One of the most popular and common opioid drugs is heroin.

By |March 3rd, 2015|Blog, News|Comments Off on Clinton Township Overdose|

David Thrasher Guilty

A Bovey resident was found guilty yesterday of a controlled substance crime and obstructing the legal process. An Itasca County jury found 61 year old David Vincent Thrasher guilty as charged. The charges stem from a search warrant executed at a residence in Taconite June 26th. Law enforcement found 3.5 pounds of Spice (synthetic cannabinoids), Adderall pills, and methamphetamine residue.
Thrasher is being held in the Itasca County jail until his sentencing hearing April 7th.

By |February 27th, 2015|Blog, News|Comments Off on David Thrasher Guilty|

Tradesmen and Women Needed- in 20 years

Not every student is a good fit for a four year college. If we intend to ramp up manufacturing and industry, we’ll need trained people to run the equipment. Over the next 20 years, northern Minnesota is going to be seriously lacking in qualified tradesmen. Roy Smith, of the Applied Learning Institute, told Greenway School Board members last night that there are and will be good paying jobs here in northern Minnesota. He said we just need to make sure we have enough skilled tradesmen to fill the available jobs.

ALI programs available in north eastern Minnesota include: Industrial Tech, Pre-engineering, Construction Trades, Medical Systems, and Healthcare. Classes are available through local high schools in northeastern Minnesota through MNscu and IRRRB.

By |February 26th, 2015|Blog, News|Comments Off on Tradesmen and Women Needed- in 20 years|

Redby Man Pleads to Group Home Assault

A Redby man entered a guilty plea in Itasca County Court on Wednesday. Eighteen year old Jerod Marquee Beaulieu appeared in both Itasca County Juvenile Court and Itasca County District Court. He was charged with four counts of assault in an assault on a staff member at a group home in Grand Rapids in December. One of the other assailants has already pleaded guilty.
Beaulieu agreed to transfer his case to adult court and plead guilty of one count of assault in the first degree. It’s anticipated that Beaulieu will be sentenced to 74 months in prison. The sentence is consistent with state sentencing guidelines. He is being held without bail in the Itasca County Jail. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 16th.

By |February 5th, 2015|Blog, News|Comments Off on Redby Man Pleads to Group Home Assault|

Richards Sentenced

A Grand Rapids man has been sentenced to five and a half years in prison for the murder of his wife. Forty-nine year old Terry Wayne Richards pleaded guilty Monday in Itasca county district court to the amended charge of Manslaughter in the second degree. He was originally charged with Murder in the third degree and controlled substance crime in the third degree. The charges are based on allegations that Richards bought Fentanyl, a schedule 2 drug, sold some of it and provided it to his wife. She died as a result of an overdose. The court committed Richards to the Commissioner of Corrections and imposed an executed sentence of 68 months in prison.

By |February 3rd, 2015|Blog, News|Comments Off on Richards Sentenced|

Adult in Group-Home Attack Pleads

A Bemidji man is expected to be sentenced to one year in county jail and ten years supervised probation for an assault at the Grand Rapids group home. Eighteen year old Dakota Geoffrey Smith pleaded guilty Monday to one count of assault in the first degree. He was originally charged with four counts of assault. The charges stem from allegations that Smith and three juveniles assaulted a staff member at a Grand Rapids group home with multiple weapons in December. The staff member has to be taken to the hospital for his injuries. It is expected that Smith will be sentenced to a stayed 206 months of prison term. Sentencing is scheduled for April 20th

By |February 3rd, 2015|Blog, News|Comments Off on Adult in Group-Home Attack Pleads|

Kortekaas resigns as Fire Prevention Officer

The City of Grand Rapids has no major road projects scheduled for the year 2015. The Crystal Lake Boulevard Project was substantially completed last year, and will be finished by June of this year. The project also received honorable mention for the City Engineers Association of Minnesota’s project of the year.
Also at last night’s Grand Rapids City Council meeting, the resignation of Adam Kortekaas as the Fire Prevention and Education Officer position was approved and the Grand Rapids Police Department accepted a donation from Hawkinson Construction to be used towards a K-9 behavior shaping device. The next Grand Rapids City Council meeting is February 9th at 5 o’clock.

By |January 27th, 2015|Blog, News|Comments Off on Kortekaas resigns as Fire Prevention Officer|