MNDOT RELEASES WINTER STATS

The MNDOT winter maintenance report has now been released, and it shows that the Minnesota Department of Transportation spent nearly $133 million dollars to clear roads during the 2018-19 winter season and crews faced some of the most severe weather in the state in a decade. The statewide snowfall average was 97.2 inches, the result of 31 snow events during the 2018-19 winter season. Those storms created a statewide Winter Severity Index score of 154, nearly 40 points higher than during 2017-18 and the most severe since MnDOT began tracking a severity level this way. Drivers worked more than 198,000 hours of overtime during the 2018-19 winter.

YOUTH HUNT PLANS UNVEILED

Lake Bemidji State Park will hold a Special Youth Deer Hunt October 18-20. The youth hunt is open to youth ages 12 to 15. Youth must be accompanied by an adult mentor over 18. Mentors must have parental approval and may not carry firearms themselves. A mandatory hunter orientation will be held Thursday, October 17, at 6pm at the park’s visitor center. The youth hunter must have a Firearms Safety Certificate and purchase a youth hunt license. The hunt is either-sex with a bag limit of two. More details can be found in the Special Youth Deer Hunts section in the 2019 Hunting Regulations booklet or online at mndnr.gov/hunting/deer. The deadline for applying for the hunt is August 16.

FELONY FRAUD CHARGES LEVELED AGAINST BUSINESS OWNER

The Minnesota Department of Revenue announced that felony charges have been filed against Jeffrey McKenzie of Hastings. Investigators have charged Hastins with three felony counts of knowingly aiding in the preparation of tax returns that were fraudulent or false. McKenzie co-owns 61 Marine & Sports, Inc. in Cottage Grove. According to the complaint, Mr. McKenzie was in charge of providing the monthly sales tax collection information to the business accountant who filed the sales tax returns on their behalf. The complaint alleges that McKenzie knowingly underreported the monthly taxable sales for the business to the accountant who then filed the false sales tax returns for the business. Through his actions, Mr. McKenzie allegedly defrauded the state of about $3.2 million in tax, penalty, and interest. Each of the three felony charges carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $10,000 fine, or both.

BEMIDJI BUSINESS DEAL INKED

A business deal in Bemidji, has resulted in the acquisition of Davis Drywall by Swanson & Youngdale … a Twin Cities-based contractor. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Swanson and Youngdale has paint and drywall operations in Minneapolis and satellite operations in Duluth. Under the terms of the deal announced so far, Davis Drywall will retain its name. Brad Davis, owner of Davis Drywall, said in a release, that manpower is tough nationwide and this is a huge boost for our area. Davis has been in business for 30 years.

LAKESIDE FLEA MARKET OPEN FOR THE SEASON

The Sanford Center and VenuWorks are proud to announce the final Lakeside Flea
Market for the 2019 season. The Flea Market is a part of The Sanford Centers Home Grown Initiative, bringing events to the Northern Region that are self sustaining and help increase the quality of life in our area, not only for those of us who live here, but for our out of town guests as well. The Lakeside Flea Market on August 20 th has been labeled ‘Food Frenzy’. The event will have more food vendors then the June and July events. Everything from jewelry and purses, to cast iron pots and lawn ornaments. There will be a bouncy house, and special activities for kids to enjoy. They will also be able to sign up for the
Beaver Kids Club while they are at the Lakeside Flea Market. If you would like to be a vendor, call 218.441.4004. For more information visit www.thesanfordcenter.net.

BELTRAMI RATED HIGH FOR HIGH SPEED INTERNET

Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Office of
Broadband recently released new broadband availability maps. Beltrami County is rated number one in wireline access to Internet speeds of up to a Gigabit per second. 98.78% of Beltrami County now has access to those speeds. The map can be found online at mn.gov/deed/assets. Currently only 24.58% of the state has access to those speeds. There are nine counties where no high speed access exists at all.

NEW BILL AIMED AT RURAL BIRTHING CARE

U.S. Senator Tina Smith of Minnesota, has introduced a bipartisan bill that would help ensure that new and expecting moms living in rural communities get the care they need. Sen. Smith—a member of the Senate Health Committee—said that this is especially a problem in rural areas across Minnesota. Approximately a third of Minnesota’s rural counties don’t have a hospital where women can give birth, and more than half of rural counties nationwide lack hospitals with labor and birthing services.

WOOD BAT TOURNAMENT THIS WEEK

The 2019 Baseball Little League Wood Bat Tournament is this week for Little League aged teams. Before it all ends, a record 50 teams from around the Twin Cities metro area will play over 80 games, and each team competing in the tournament will exclusively be using wood bats. This year Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer has selected the games as one of his “69 Days of Giving” charities to receive $10 for every strikeout he records during the 2019 season. So far Bauer has struck out 185 batters which translates to $1,850. The Wood Bat Tournament is now in its 15th year.

CHANGES THIS YEAR FOR DEER HUNTERS IN MINNESOTA

Hunters can start planning ahead for significant changes to deer season regulations, including a youth deer season that’s expanded statewide, expanded deer feeding and attractant bans, and other updates related to managing chronic wasting disease. The 2019 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping regulations handbook is now available at mndnr.gov/hunting/deer. Hunting licenses go on sale Thursday and are available at any DNR license agent, by telephone at 888-646-6367, or online at mndnr.gov/buyalicense.

CULTURE CAMP PLANNED BY RED LAKE CHIPPEWA INDIANS

The Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians will host a Language and Culture Camp on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, August 7 to 9 from 9am to 6pm for the seventh consecutive year. The three-day camp will feature, lacrosse, moccasin game, rock painting, sand art, tobacco pouch making, and more. The location will again be at the Ponemah Round House. It’s free and open to the public. If you need more info, call 218-554-7425 or 218-679-1462.