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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Less than 1 percent. That's how much the total property taxes collected to support Crow Wing County government operations has risen in the last decade. The county board Tuesday, Sept. 27, passed its preliminary property tax levy, marking the seventh consecutive year of establishing a levy either with no increase or a decrease. Local governments are required to set a preliminary levy by Sept. 30, indicating how many tax dollars they believe must be collected to support their annual budgets.
In the Brainerd lakes area's corner of the world, water is a way of life. At a laboratory near the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport, analysis of what that water contains is the focus of three women. Certified by the Minnesota Department of Health, A.W. Research Laboratories offers testing of drinking water, industrial and municipal wastewater, stormwater, groundwater and surface water in lakes and rivers. The water is tested with techniques ranging from hands-on sampling and lab work to high-tech analysis with complex machinery.
LITTLE FALLS—Earlier this summer, Krystal Katzenberger tried bok choy for the first time. Her family received it as part of a community-supported agriculture share, along with a recipe suggesting how to cook the Chinese cabbage. Weeks later, Katzenberger and her 12-year-old daughter Kylee Charpenter learned to prepare peach salsa using ingredients from local farmers. "I'm not scared to try new things," Katzenberger said. "It's taking food that you would never think to put together, and you put them together. It's better ideas, a healthier way."
The 45-year-old Thirty Lakes Watershed District is likely in its final days. The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) hosted a public hearing Tuesday night, Aug. 16, at Lake Edward Town Hall. About 20 residents attended the hearing and none disagreed with the recommendation to disband the district, said Chris Pence, Crow Wing County land services supervisor and advisory member of the watershed district board.
For the second time this summer, Crow Wing County declared a state of emergency in the wake of a severe storm. The county board Tuesday passed a resolution declaring the state of emergency after John Bowen, emergency management director, told commissioners the county sustained enough damage to seek state disaster aid.
LAKE SHORE—As Lake Shore Police Chief Steve Sundstrom drove along the city's back streets Thursday morning, he expressed disbelief at the extent of storm damage. "I've been in Lake Shore almost 19 years," Sundstrom said. "This is the worst that I've seen Lake Shore get hit by a storm since I've been here."
Tension between a state council and Crow Wing County over a recently approved trail system ultimately hurts the county's 62,500 residents, County Administrator Tim Houle said. Houle offered his reaction to a recent decision by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council to seek a legal opinion on the county's approval of designated trails on the Mississippi River Northwoods property. The council also signaled its distaste to consider a proposed land exchange with the county while questions on the legality of the trails remain.
Crow Wing County tried something new when it came to assessing the value of properties—warning property owners first. Gary Griffin, land services supervisor, told the county board at its recent committee of the whole meeting the decision to send out notification postcards reflected customer comments. A survey of customers showed a high satisfaction rate—95 percent—with the performance of assessors, but many expressed a desire for prior notification. "Some said, 'It's kind of weird that you just pop up and I didn't know you were coming,'" Griffin said.
When severe weather is approaching, the wail of emergency sirens is one of the ways people are warned of potential danger. But thousands of Crow Wing County residents do not live within earshot of one of these sirens, including the populous area between Baxter and Nisswa known as Unorganized Territory. John Bowen, Crow Wing County emergency management director, said the installation and maintenance of emergency sirens is up to the governments of each jurisdiction. Bowen presented on the matter to the Crow Wing County Board Tuesday at its committee of the whole meeting.
Some residents on Ruth Lake in Emily are asking to pay higher taxes. The Crow Wing County Board received a petition Tuesday, July 12, from the Ruth Lake Improvement District requesting a change in its per property assessment, from $90 to $180 annually. The funds would be used toward costs associated with Eurasian milfoil and zebra mussel control on the lake.