WATCH OUT FOR ZEBRA MUSSELS IN BALL CLUB LAKE

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed zebra mussels in Ball Club Lake, located entirely within the Leech Lake Reservation. A DNR invasive species specialist and county staff found large populations of adult zebra mussels in several locations across the lake. Whether or not a lake is listed as infested, Minnesota law requires boaters and anglers to Clean watercraft and trailers of aquatic plants and prohibited invasive species; Drain all water by removing drain plugs and keeping them out during transport; and dispose of unwanted bait in the trash. Zebra mussels can compete with native species for food and habitat, cut the feet of swimmers, reduce the performance of boat motors, and cause expensive damage to water intake pipes.

BEMIDJI OFFERING BONUS BOXES

The City of Bemidji Parks and Recreation Department is offering Bonus Boxes to celebrate Park & Rec month. There are 4 different themed boxes: Beach, Campfire, Bike Challenge and Nature. Each box is jam packed with activities, supplies, crafts and other fun items. The boxes are delivered right to your door if you live within 5 miles of City Hall. For every program or event you sign up for in July you will be entered to win weekly prizes!! For more information or to purchase a box visit www.ci.bemidji.mn.us or call 218-368-0422.

SUMMER FITNESS CLASSES TO BE HELD

The City of Bemidji Parks and Recreation Department is holding some Summer Fitness Classes… Get in shape this summer while social distancing. All participants must pre-register, no drop ins will be taken on site with 15 participants per class. Register online at www.ci.bemidji.mn.us or call 218-368-0422. The cost for all classes stands at $25 per participant.

BELTRAMI COMMISSIONERS MEET TODAY

The Beltrami County Board of Commissioners will discuss the process for hiring a new administrator when they meet today. Earlier this year, County Administrator Kay Mack informed the board that she would be retiring at the end of 2020. As part of her retirement plan, Mack will assist in the hiring process for a new administrator and work reduced hours. The county will hire a firm to assist with the search. The work session begins at 3 p.m., and the regular meeting will be held at 5 in the County Board Room at the Beltrami County Administration Building on Minnesota Ave.

RAMP UP PLAN FOR MEAT AND POULTRY

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson of Minnesota and former Chairman Frank Lucas of Oklahoma, joined others, including Angie Craig of Minnesota, to introduce the Requiring Assistance to Meat Processors for Upgrading Plants (RAMP-UP) Act. This legislation would establish a program to make facility upgrade and planning grants to existing meat and poultry processors to help them move to Federal Inspection and be able to sell their products across state lines. The legislation will also require USDA to work with States and report on ways to improve the existing Cooperative Interstate Shipment program.

FIRE DANGER!

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources cautions everyone to be aware of elevated fire conditions, leaving fire danger high. An unintentional spark could ignite a wildfire. With the increased potential for wildfires, restrictions on open burning are in effect in several counties already. Campfires are allowed, but they are limited to no more than 3 feet in diameter by 3 feet high. Already this year, escaped campfires and fireworks have caused more than 40 wildfires in Minnesota. The DNR says when enjoying a campfire, keep a hose or water nearby. And remember, fireworks are not allowed in state forests, state parks, or any other state lands.

FORMER MINNESOTA INDIAN EDUCATION ASSOCIATION TREASURER HEADED TO JAIL FOR FRAUD

44 year old William Blackwell Jr. was sentenced on Tuesday in Beltrami County Court for theft and embezzlement stemming from his tenure as treasurer of the Minnesota Indian Education Association. Blackwell will serve 60 days in the Beltrami County Jail for a scheme involving nearly $140,000 of fraudulent payments to himself between December 2016 and June 2019. Blackwell is also the former director of the American Indian Resource Center at Bemidji State. He resigned from that position in August 2019. He must also pay restitution.

SANFORD HEALTH OUTLINES NEW VISIT RULES

Sanford Health updated its visitor restriction policy and visitor monitoring practices for area hospitals. Hospital visiting hours are now 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day. Pediatric and neonatal patients in any Sanford Health clinic or hospital are allowed up to two visitors per appointment, adult or minor. This includes parents, guardians or other support persons. Upon their arrival, visitors to the Sanford Bemidji Medical Center will now encounter the hospital’s new guest screening system, EasyLobby… an automated visitor management system that the Sanford Bemidji Medical Center has been using for third floor OB/GYN visitors since fall 2017, to accurately identify all who are in the hospital in real time.

SERVICE MASTER DONATION

ServiceMaster of Bemidji and Park Rapids presented a check of $4,000 to the Village of Hope this week in support of their work in providing shelter for families experiencing homelessness. The large donation resulted from a number of smaller gifts given by insurance agents and adjusters who attended continuing education classes offered by ServiceMaster. Each of the attendees were encouraged to support the Village of Hope in lieu of the standard fees. Each insurance professional is required to earn 24 hours of continuing education each two years to maintain their license. The donation means 434 meals or 290 hours of case management or educational classes for children and parents.

COVID GRANTS AWARDED

The Minnesota Department of Education announced that it will award $9.5 million in grant funds to organizations providing meals to children, families and adults experiencing increased food insecurity as a result of COVID-19. The state received the funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act Coronavirus Relief Fund. Minnesota nonprofits (including faith-based organizations), educational institutions, Tribal Nations and local governmental units are eligible to apply for the grants. The term of the grant period is September 1 through December 30. However, awards may be applied retroactively to July 1 to cover eligible expenses that meet reimbursement guidelines. The Request for Proposal can be accessed on the Minnesota Department of Education Competitive Grant Opportunities webpage.