Chelsey Perkins grew up in Crosslake and is a graduate of Pequot Lakes High School. She earned her Bachelor's degree in professional journalism from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. Perkins has interned at the Lake Country Echo and the Rochester and Austin Post-Bulletins and also worked for the student-run Minnesota Daily newspaper as a copy editor and columnist during college. She went on to intern at Utne Reader magazine, where she was later hired as the research editor. Before joining the Brainerd Dispatch, Perkins worked as a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal.
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There will be no new trial in the case of stray voltage impacting a Pine River dairy farm operation, a Cass County judge ruled Wednesday. Lawyers for Brainerd electrical cooperative Crow Wing Power, which last October was ordered to pay Randy and Peggy Norman $6.3 million in economic and nuisance damages, sought a new trial, claiming irregularities in the court proceedings, misconduct and excessive damages. For nearly 20 years, the Normans claimed to have experienced mysterious health issues with their dairy herd that eventually led them to shutter their business in 2012, following privately
Fulfilling a campaign promise, County Recorder-elect Mark Liedl entered into an agreement with the Crow Wing County Board on Tuesday, Dec. 30, to retain his role as land services director while eliminating the recorder's salary from the county budget. The move, which will save the county $107,096 in salary and benefits, will translate into a reduction in the property tax levy next year, said Tim Houle, county administrator. "If you're going to reduce expenses, you're still going to bring in the same amount of fees presumably," Houle said.
The Crow Wing County Board approved the merger of two county committees into a new Natural Resources Advisory Committee at its Tuesday, Dec. 30, meeting. The Parks and Trails and the Lands and Forestry advisory committees share mutual interests and maintaining separation between them represented an "old way of thinking," said Mark Liedl, land services director. "It's just cumbersome to have separate and not integrated committees," he said. "We look at it more holistically.
Returning elected Crow Wing County officials will receive a 2 percent salary increase in 2015, the county board decided Tuesday, Dec. 30. Tamra Laska, human resources director, said the increase matches the general wage adjustment for those county employees not participating in performance-based pay. The highest paid elected county official is County Attorney Don Ryan, who is set to make $117,684 in 2015.
Four Crow Wing County employees are retiring after a combined 115 years of service. The county board recognized Auditor/Treasurer Laureen Borden and Recorder Kathy Ludenia, who both chose not to run for re-election in 2014.
The Crow Wing County Board certified its finalized property tax levy for 2015 Tuesday, Dec. 16. The action makes it official: For the fifth straight year, Crow Wing County has reduced its tax burden on residents. Based on preliminary data from the 87 counties in Minnesota, Crow Wing is one of three to lower its levy from the previous year. The county will collect $34,464,912 in taxpayer dollars next year, which will cover approximately 50 percent of its overall budget.
Who lives next door is becoming increasingly difficult to decipher for many Crow Wing County residents as the popularity of single-family vacation rentals escalates. For a group of concerned property owners, what goes on at some of these dwellings is likewise becoming increasingly difficult to bear, and in July they asked the Crow Wing County Board for help at a public forum. Complaints centered on one rental property in particular, located on Lake Hubert in Nisswa, that neighbors say is consistently a nuisance.
The bells are back. The Brainerd Lakes Salvation Army kicked off its annual Red Kettle Campaign on Thursday, Nov. 20, with a goal to collect $130,000 this holiday season. Scott Strissel, captain of the local Salvation Army branch in Brainerd, said the organization has seen an increase in need over the past year and is hoping the generosity of lakes area residents can help to meet it. In 2013 and so far this year, the need in the community has outperformed total income, he added. "We see an increase in people we are serving monthly," Strissel said.
Neighbors of a tract of riverfront property voiced concerns about the impact of the property owner’s request to amend Crow Wing County’s zoning map, allowing for smaller lots. The 19-acre property is in Mission Township, west of County Road 11 and on the east shore of the Pine River. Owner Brian Bittner asked Crow Wing County Land Services to change the property’s rural residential designation to allow for 2.5-acre lots instead of 5-acre lots.
Prefer navigating the slopes to the throngs of discount shoppers? Mount Ski Gull in Nisswa will open at 9 a.m. Nov. 28, the Friday after Thanksgiving, just in time for those seeking outdoor winter fun over retail pandemonium. For the last few years, the nonprofit skiing facility has aimed for the last Friday of November as its target opening date for the season. Man-made snow is currently in production for 24 hours a day in preparation. "After (Monday, Nov.