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What's next for the Brainerd School District, after voters approved all three referendum questions in last week's special election? "We have a boatload of work to do and we need to get going," said Kevin Donnay, Widseth Smith Nolting president, to the Brainerd School Board Monday.
Law enforcement officers in the Brainerd lakes area have another tool to help them on calls—an app they hope will help save lives. The Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office and six police departments—Baxter, Brainerd, Crosby, Cuyuna, Emily and Pequot Lakes—have been trained to use the Vitals Aware Services app. The app is a service designed to improve interactions between law enforcement and people living with intellectual, behavioral and developmental conditions.
"You girls deserve better," "I am sorry to do this to you," "I love you." These final handwritten words—by a father, a husband—are words the family will never forget and are heartbreaking to read. The afternoon of Jan. 10 of this year is one of pain and sorrow, leaving so many questions left unanswered for the family of Tom J. Johnson of Baxter. Why did he take his own life? Why did he feel like his family deserved better? What happened that day? What was he thinking? How long did he feel this way?
It's the winter that doesn't seem to want to end. Just two days after the Brainerd lakes area received almost 11 inches of snow, another 2-4 inches of snow is expected to drop between the afternoon of Monday, April 2, into Tuesday morning. All after the first day of spring—March 20—has come and gone.
Brainerd High School sophomore Jake Haapajoki was known to always have a smile on his face. He was always joking around, smiling and laughing, BHS juniors Noah Ebinger and Noah Sundberg said of their friend, brother and teammate on the BHS varsity soccer team. Sixteen-year-old Jake died Feb. 21 at Essentia Health-St.Joseph's Medical Center in Brainerd by death by suicide. Members of the soccer team wanted to do something to honor Jake's life—more than just raising money. They wanted to do something to help people, like Jake, who may be feeling like there is no other alternative than death by suicide.
PINE RIVER—Her family called her "Buggie." She loved Halloween, loved dressing up. She had a strong love for playing the violin. She was a caring and compassionate teen, who always wanted to help. She was 13-year-old Vienna Peterson—with big brown eyes and long brown hair. And she was struggling with depression. Family members and counselors tried to help Vienna, an eighth-grader in the Pine River School District, but on the night of Oct. 1, 2015, she took her own life.
A mother and her adult daughter escaped injuries Wednesday, March 21, night when fire quickly filled their mobile home, south of Pillager. The Pillager Fire Department was called just after 9:30 p.m. to a fire on the 1200 block of Crow Drive Southwest in Sylvan Township. The home is owned jointly by Roxanne Bock and her daughter Rebecca Shearer.
The Brainerd High School lost two students this school year to death by suicide, and Forestview Middle School has seen an increase in suicidal concerns among all its students in fifth through eighth grades. "We have had a difficult school year," BHS Principal Andrea Rusk said Monday at a Brainerd School Board meeting. "Two weeks ago we gathered (about 30) people to look at mental health services in the district. ... I feel fortunate that we have a lot of support in place."
The Brainerd School District got the green light from the Minnesota Department of Education on its voter-approved bond referendum. And just in time as the school district's special election set April 10—when voters will be asked to approve a $145.8 million bond referendum.
Brainerd lakes area residents who didn't like the recent snowfall will be pleased to hear the rest of the week appears to be mainly snow-free. Snowfall began late Sunday night and didn't stop until early Tuesday morning, dropping over a foot in some cities in the lakes area. Residents Tuesday were still digging themselves out of their driveways and snowplow drivers continued to clean up the roadways after Mother Nature pounded most of the state with snow.