Two Aitkin residents were injured in a two car accident Thursday afternoon. According to the Minnesota State Patrol, a pickup driven by 62 year old Mark Bill of Aitkin was west-bound on Highway 210 and stopped to make a left hand turn onto Highway 6. A vehicle driven by 69 year old Jacqueline Walen of Port Wing Wisconsin didn’t notice that the Bill vehicle had stopped and rear-ended the vehicle. Injured in the accident were Walen and a passenger in the Bill vehicle, identified as 98 year old Margaret Bill of Aitkin. Injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.
Independent School District 318’s school board met in regular session Monday night. Superintendent Dr. Thomas reminded the public that early voting for the two new elementary schools referendum is available at the court house, and voting will take place on November 3rd.
The district will hold a federal food audit this spring. The board approved a new vending machine contract which better clarify that the district vending options do meet USDA requirements. The district has already has been working on other requirements on the food audit list.
Liberty Township is no more. Tuesday, Itasca County commissioners voted to finish off what voters of Liberty Township residents put in motion in November of 2014.
Voters of the northern township voted 11 to 9 to dissolve the township and allow Itasca County to take over governmental services. County Commissioner Terry Snyder praised county staff for creating a plan to make that happen. Monies left over in the Liberty fund will be used to benefit Liberty residents
Independent School District 318 set their 2015-2016 goals last night. The board approved the four goals which include: continuing to address the facility needs, continuing to make sure our students are getting a 21st century education, furthering our collaboration with other area schools and organizations to better serve our students, and also addressing how to better help our students with mental health needs over the next few years.
The board also reminded the public of the special election for the referendum is on November 3rd, and absentee ballots are available at the courthouse. The next ISD 318 School Board meeting is October 19th at 7pm.
Can a defendants prior acts be admitted in court? That’s up to a judge. Monday, Robert Schwirtz appeared in Itasca County District court. The state asked the judge to amend the complaint to add two additional counts of terroristic threats. The court denied the motion.
The state also asked to enter into evidence prior acts by the defendant. Judge Maturi ordered the state and defendant to present their arguments. The state’s evidence is due by October 13th- the defendant’s by October 23rd.
Schwirtz is charged with assault in the 2nd degree, terroristic threats, and possession of a small amount of marijuana.
Schwirtz next court appearance is scheduled for November 16th. He remains in the Itasca County Jail on $100,000 bail.
The Greenway School Board last night voted to levy maximum dollars for their 2015 preliminary payable in 2016 levy, which will still result in a decrease to local residents. Randi Jurgenson, the district’s business manager briefed the board on school finances. The $2.8 Million dollar levy is still down slightly from last year’s $2.9 Million.
Board members Fred Tanner and Bob Schwartz were absent from Wednesday’s meeting.
Emery James Jenkins will stand trial, charged with First and Second Degree Murder, in the death of his son.
Jenkins lawyer had filed a motion to dismiss the charges and Itasca County District Judge Cory Wahwassuck denied the motion. The defense then filed a petition with the Minnesota Court of Appeals seeking review of the judge’s order.
The Court of Appeals determined that after a thorough review of the grand jury transcript it was determined that “substantial admissible evidence was presented to establish probable cause to believe that (Jenkins) committed these crimes”.
The court set a pre-trial hearing on November 17th and set a jury trial on January 25th. Jenkins is currently being held in the Itasca County Jail.
Two juveniles are in custody after a high speed chase last night that exceeded speeds of 125 miles an hour Sunday night. According to the Grand Rapids police department, the two suspects ran away from Northland Recovery Center, stole a vehicle from the River Road Market, and led police on a high speed chase between Grand Rapids and Deer River. Stop sticks were deployed in Deer River. The occupants pulled over by Fred’s Bait and fled on foot. They were arrested and charged with fleeing on foot and motor vehicle, motor vehicle theft. Both are in custody.
Another fraud complaint was reported from a Grand Rapids resident Tuesday. According to the complaint, a Grand Rapids resident received a letter from a financial institution claiming she was one of the second prize winners for a consumer sweepstakes. She received a check for almost four thousand dollars. She was instructed to call her claim agent at a 1-877 or 1-760 number. The resident brought both the check and the letter to her bank and found out the check was a scam.
Investigators believe the scam came from outside the country.
According to the National Fraud Information Center at fraud dot org,
A) If someone gives you a check or money order and asks you to send money somewhere in return, it’s a scam. Real sweepstakes don’t ask you to send money back. And, if you haven’t registered for a sweepstakes drawing- you can’t win.
B) A familiar name doesn’t guarantee that it’s legitimate. Crooks often pretend to be from well-known companies to gain people’s trust.
C) The check or money order may be fake even if your bank or credit union lets you have the cash. Verifying a real check may take weeks.
D) When the check or money order bounces, you will have to pay the money back to your bank or credit union.
E) The old story of a family member stuck in Canada/Mexico or the Bahamas who needs money and pleads with you not to call family members and check out the story- is a thief.
Tuesday, the Itasca County Board of Commissioners approved a preliminary 2016 levy increase of 7.99%. County Auditor/Treasurer Jeff Walker said the $2.7 Million dollar increase is due in part to rare occurrences.
“Every 12 years, there is a 26th payroll for the county. That’s $1.2 million dollars. That’s one payroll.”
Another $415,000 of the increase is because the county is not using reserves to pay down its debt. County employees are also assumed to receive a 2% raise next year. County employees, who haven’t seen an increase in the health care premiums in several years, will see an 8% increase next year.
Overall, according to Walker, because of the increased tax capacity of the county, a home valued at $100,000 will see an increase of $17.00.