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The Crow Wing County Board of Commissioners received a rundown of what a Housing Redevelopment Authority is and what an HRA can do at an informational meeting Tuesday. Brainerd HRA and County HRA Executive Director Jennifer Bergman gave an update at the committee of the whole meeting at the Historic County Courthouse on Laurel Street in Brainerd. "We are a local unit of government ... governed by state statute," Bergman said. "HRAs are created by cities or counties in the state of Minnesota, and we have 155 across the state."
Whether smaller, Class 1 all-terrain vehicles should be permitted to operate on road shoulders in Crow Wing County was the subject of discussion for the county board Tuesday. Land Services Director Gary Griffin discussed a proposed ordinance regulating the use of ATVs in county road right of ways at the committee of the whole meeting. "I think there's a strong support from our ATV clubs that they would like to see this," Griffin said.
The Brainerd lakes area escaped the brunt of a snow system predicted days ago to add more snowfall accumulation Sunday, but the area may not remain so lucky. William Leatham, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Duluth, said Friday's forecast for Sunday called for 4 to 6 inches of snowfall in the Brainerd lakes area, but was revised to 1 to 2 inches of accumulation Sunday morning.
Hope turned to sorrow for those searching for a missing pregnant woman found Saturday night in the Chippewa National Forest by Cass County Sheriff's Office personnel. The body of Kara Blevins, 27, of Akeley, was located in the wooded area of Shingobee Township in Cass County at 8:15 p.m. Saturday. "We have positive identification that was made by the medical examiner," Burch said Sunday about the body's discovery near Akeley, where Blevins was last seen almost two weeks ago. An autopsy was scheduled with the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office.
Curling is king in Brainerd and on TV—at least for the moment—while the Brainerd Lakes Curling Club plays host to a national championship and with the Winter Olympics well underway. Some of the best curling teams throughout the nation are in town, culminating in the national title finale at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Brainerd as part of the club association's first-time hosting the USA Curling's Club National Championships.
It was a good year for Crow Wing County Land Services—at least when its director requested approval of the 2017 tax-forfeited surplus apportionment at Tuesday's county board meeting. The recommended distribution is in accordance with past practice, and the highest revenue and largest surplus amounts in the past 15 years according to Land Services Director Gary Griffin. "It was a really significant year in the land sale world—sold over a million dollars in the land sale area and over a $1.1 million in the timber sales," Griffin told the board of commissioners.
Crow Wing County Commissioner Paul Thiede once again topped the list of board members in total earnings for salary, per diem, phone stipend, mileage and other claims for last year. Commissioner Doug Houge also claimed the least again in total earnings for 2017, with only a phone stipend, which was $60 less than what was paid to the others, in addition to his salary.
The official website for Crow Wing County set a record with about 1.3 million views in 2017, according to officials, a trend for the fourth straight year. For the first time, mobile device users topped 60 percent of the website traffic and continue to grow at a higher pace than residents searching the county website using a desktop computer. "That shows us that citizens are confident in finding the information they need while on the go," website coordinator Marcus Cadena said in a news release.
I'm a film buff—about the only time the word "buff" has ever been used in association with me—but I have an unadulterated passion for movies that's second only to writing and, lately, working for the Brainerd Dispatch, covering Crow Wing County and writing features for the newspaper. And so I opened my big mouth not too long ago and suggested at a reporters' huddle—it's like a corporate meeting but arguably, some would say, even less fun—and blurted out that I would like to tackle penning a Valentine's Day-related features column about one of my loves.
IDEAL TOWNSHIP—Almost nothing gets their hearts going like the sight of one another—even after more than 50 years—but Bill and Sharon Wortham share more than a love for the ages. For the Ideal (Township) couple, their pacemakers-defibrillators—his third, her first—is another thing they have in common that has helped keep their love for each other alive all these years.