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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Although the tax omnibus bill is expected to include an increase in county program aid, Crow Wing County's share is expected to drop by almost $55,000 compared to this year. The bill in conference committee at the Minnesota Legislature would increase state aid to counties by $6.1 million, for a total of $214.5 million divided among the state's 87 counties. To determine how much each county receives, a complex formula taking into account several statistics is meant to demonstrate need.
How much do the elected Crow Wing County commissioners earn in a year? Between $29,000 and $39,000, depending on which commissioner's earnings are under consideration. In addition to their annual salaries, the five county commissioners are compensated for attending meetings and for job-related expenses, and are also eligible for health insurance.
Of 175 miles of Crow Wing County roads and highways planned for improvement through 2021, 43 of those miles will be funded by the countywide local options sales tax. County Engineer Tim Bray highlighted the impact of the sales tax during his presentation Tuesday on the five-year highway improvement program. With $53.8 million planned for investment into the road system during the next five years, $14 million will be collected from the half-cent sales tax passed specifically to fund transportation needs.
PINE RIVER—Inclusion of the Crosby library into the Kitchigami system stalled Thursday after board members voiced concerns over financial impact on the library in Brainerd. The action comes after nearly two years of consideration and countless hours of discussion, ending in a 4-4 tie vote with one member abstaining. The tie vote meant a motion to accept the library failed.
The database used to track all the parcels in Crow Wing County is about to join the 21st century.
Representatives from two of the oldest lake improvement districts in Crow Wing County offered five-year reports to the county board Tuesday. Attorney Mark Severson and Ron Duy Jr. of Central Minnesota Aquatics appeared on behalf of Lake Ossawinnamakee, and Mike Valentine discussed the report for Crow Wing Lake. "Lake Ossawinnamakee ... is an example of how you can successfully not only save a lake, but create a healthy environment for a lake," Severson said.
A long-troubled rock dam regulating flow between Big Pine Lake and the Pine River in Crosslake will be removed. The Crow Wing County Board Tuesday heard the future plans for the dam, the subject of numerous repair projects in the 47 years since its construction. County Engineer Tim Bray told the board the most recent maintenance completed was already breached by water flowing from the lake to the river. Erosion along the river bank over time led to the loss of trees.
Revenue collected from a half-cent sales tax instituted last year in Crow Wing County exceeded projections by 60 percent in 2016. More than $1.3 million was collected beyond the $2.25 million expected, said Finance Director Jason Rausch, for a total of $3.6 million generated from the sale of goods and services in the county between April and October. The sales tax revenue was the subject of an overview of the 2016 budget presented at a recent county budget committee meeting.
Twin Cities attorney Scott Anderson will represent the Crow Wing County Board during the lawsuit it faces from County Attorney Don Ryan. Anderson is a founding shareholder of Rupp, Anderson, Squires and Waldspurger P.A. in Minneapolis. A biography of Anderson on the firm's website notes he is a senior litigator with 28 years of experience, and his primary client base is counties.
BRAINERD, Minn.—A married couple, victims of the shooting rampage Friday at a Florida airport, have longtime Minnesota lakes area ties. Mike Oehme, 57, and wife Kari Oehme, 55, of Council Bluffs, Iowa, were on their way to a Caribbean vacation on a cruise ship when both were shot at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Mike Oehme was killed in the attack when alleged gunman Esteban Santiago opened fire in the baggage claim area. Kari Oehme was shot in the shoulder and will survive, according to Omaha television station WOWT.