Tribes seek more options after judge denies request to block final link in Dakota Access pipeline

District Court in Washington, D.C., rejected the request from the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes, who argued that the project would prevent them from practicing religious ceremonies at a lake they contend is surrounded by sacred ground.Verizon’s move to unlimited data ups ante in wireless warWith this decision, legal options for the tribes continue to narrow, as construction on the final uncompleted stretch is currently proceeding.Last week, the U.S. Mexican cartel hitman was running Red River Valley drug ring, prosecutors claim Crews remove waste from the opposition camp against the Dakota Access oil pipeline near Cannon Ball, N.D., Feb 8, 2017. He said he expected more demonstrations around the country.Only a few hundred protesters remained, and crews have been removing tipis and yurts. In December, the Obama Administration denied the last permit needed by Energy Transfer Partners, but with Trump’s stated support of the pipeline that victory was short-lived for the tribes.The Army Corps has said it would close remaining camps on federal lands along the Cannonball River in North Dakota after Feb. 27, as the tribes seek an injunction ordering the Army Corps to withdraw the easement.Lawyers for the Cheyenne River Sioux and the Standing Rock Sioux wanted Judge Boasberg to block construction with a temporary restraining order on the grounds that the pipeline would obstruct the free exercise of their religious practices.”We’re disappointed with today’s ruling denying a temporary restraining order against the Dakota Access Pipeline, but we are not surprised,” Chase Iron Eyes, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, said in a statement.The company needs to build a 1,100-foot connection under Lake Oahe, part of the Missouri River system, to complete the pipeline in south central North Dakota.The line would run from oilfields in the Northern Plains of North Dakota to the Midwest, and then to refineries along the Gulf of Mexico, and could be operating by early May.Judge Boasberg ordered Energy Transfer Partners to update the court on Monday and every week thereafter on when oil is expected to flow beneath Lake Oahe.The company did not respond to requests for comment.Iron Eyes said during an earlier conference call that the pipeline would also cause economic harm to Native Americans.In his statement, he said the tribe was still seeking an injunction against the pipeline, which would also be heard in Boasberg’s court. They also are continuing to push for a full environmental impact statement that was ordered in the last days of the Obama administration.Josh Elliott out at CBS after sign-off controversy”We continue to believe that both the tribes and the public should have meaningful input and participation in that process,” he said.Thousands of tribe members, environmentalists and others set up camps last year on Army Corps land in the North Dakota plains as protests intensified. 13, denied a request by Native American tribes seeking to halt construction of the final link in the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota, the controversial project that has sparked months of protests by activists aimed at stopping the 1,170-mile line. federal judge on Monday, Feb. 22.Tom Goldtooth, executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, one of the primary groups protesting the pipeline, said people would continue to leave the main camp. Army Corps of Engineers granted a final easement to Energy Transfer Partners LP, which is building the $3.8 billion pipeline, after President Donald Trump issued an order to advance the project days after he took office in January.Another hearing is scheduled for Feb. The Standing Rock tribe has asked protesters to leave. At a hearing, Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. Terray Sylvester / ReutersWASHINGTON — A U.S.

Couples save by celebrating belated Valentine’s Day

Feb. Married to her husband for 33 years, she is not hung up on the actual date. Almost two in five Americans, or 39 percent, have celebrated their love after Valentine’s Day.What markups are they avoiding?Americans are slated to spend $2 billion on flowers this Valentine’s Day, according to the National Retail Federation, with 35 percent of us ponying up for a bouquet.Florists themselves pay more for stems during the mad scramble, and they pass the higher prices on to consumers.Hotel rooms cost an average of 25 percent more on Valentine’s Day than the same day a week prior, according to a study by travel site Hipmunk.com. But if you sense flexibility and interest in saving some money, then bring up the option and offer veto power over it.Take the length of the relationship into account”The newer the relationship, the less tolerance there is to celebrate love the day after,” advises Angel Melgoza, a financial planner in McAllen, Texas.If you have been together for a long time, though, you may have more leeway to try something a little different.Make it a bigger celebrationOne way to sweeten the pot for a late Valentine’s Day: Instead of a muted midweek celebration (this year the holiday falls on a Tuesday), you can wait for a weekend.”If they just want to be treated more special than usual,” said financial planner Jon Powell of Rockville, Md., “make the case to delay your plans and have a bigger weekend together when prices are more reasonable.” But what if you miss it on purpose? 13 to suggest a delay can seem thoughtless. On that day, reservations skyrocket by 520 percent, compared with a more typical day on the calendar.Younger Americans in particular are more amenable to a delayed Valentine’s Day, according to the Finder.com survey. In popular spots like New York City, rates are more like 70 percent higher.And when it comes to that romantic dinner for two, 71 percent of Americans plan to go out on Valentine’s Day, and 44 percent order pricier menu selections than they normally would, according to a survey by reservation website OpenTable.com. NEW YORK—When it comes to romantic screwups, missing Valentine’s Day is about as bad as it gets. 14 may come and go, but the post-holiday bargains are just too good to pass up.”For us, it’s fiscally smart,” said the Aiken, S.C., financial planner. Kathryn Hauer does that every single year. If you mention the idea relatively early, then you are demonstrating that you are thinking about your partner and are putting some effort into logistics and planning. “As a gal who loves the after-holiday sales, I’m all for scooping up deals for my husband.”Plenty of other people are following suit, according to a new survey by financial comparison site Finder.com. Almost half of millennials (46 percent) have done so, compared with 36 percent of Generation X and 32 percent of baby boomers.Just beware that a postponed Valentine’s Day can be emotionally dangerous territory. “Otherwise you could get yourself into some real trouble,” said Fred Schebesta, Finder.com’s founder and CEO.Gauge your partner’s reactionHolidays mean different things to different people. A few tips on saving a few dollars while keeping your significant other:Bring the idea up earlyWaiting until Feb. If your partner likes to celebrate on Valentine’s Day itself, then drop the idea altogether.

Woman dies after jumping from bridge over I-494

INVER GROVE HEIGHTS, Minn. — A woman jumped to her death Sunday afternoon, Feb. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Paul Pioneer Press is a media partner with Forum News Service.Body of missing man found near DuluthMexican cartel hitman was running Red River Valley drug ring, prosecutors claimCrews work to seal California spillway that forced evacuations The woman, who has not been identified, jumped from the Babcock Trail bridge onto the eastbound lanes of Interstate 494 at about 4 p.m., according to Inver Grove Heights police.The city’s police and fire departments went to the scene but were unsuccessful in saving the woman’s life. The incident temporarily closed eastbound lanes of Interstate 494.Police are asking anyone with information regarding the incident to contact the Inver Grove Heights Police Department at (651) 450-2525.The St. 12, from a bridge over Interstate 494 in Inver Grove Heights.

Judge denies tribes’ request to block final link in Dakota Access pipeline

Terray Sylvester / ReutersWASHINGTON — A U.S. federal judge denied a request by Native American tribes seeking a halt to construction of the final link in the Dakota Access Pipeline on Monday, Feb. Army Corps of Engineers last week granted a final easement to Energy Transfer Partners LP, the company building the $3.8-billion Dakota Access Pipeline, after President Donald Trump issued an order to advance the pipeline days after he took office in January.Lawyers for the Cheyenne River Sioux and the Standing Rock Sioux wanted Judge Boasberg to block construction with a temporary restraining order, saying that the line would obstruct the free exercise of their religious practices.”We’re disappointed with today’s ruling denying a temporary restraining order against the Dakota Access Pipeline, but we are not surprised,” said Chase Iron Eyes, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, in a statement.Verizon’s move to unlimited data ups ante in wireless warThe company only needs to build a final 1,100-foot connection in North Dakota under Lake Oahe, part of the Missouri River system, to complete the pipeline.The line is set to run from oilfields in the Northern Plains of North Dakota to the Midwest, and then to refineries along the Gulf of Mexico, and could be operating by early May.Iron Eyes said on an earlier conference call that the pipeline will also cause economic harm to Native Americans.In his statement, he said the tribe is still seeking an injunction against the pipeline itself; that, too, will be heard in Boasberg’s court. They also are continuing to push for a full environmental impact statement that was ordered in the last days of the Obama Administration.Josh Elliott out at CBS after sign-off controversy”We continue to believe that both the tribes and the public should have meaningful input and participation in that process,” he said.Thousands of tribe members and environmental activists have protested the pipeline setting up camps last year on Army Corps land in the North Dakota plains. The Standing Rock tribe has been asking protesters to leave.Mexican cartel hitman was running Red River Valley drug ring, prosecutors claim Only a few hundred protesters remain, and crews have been removing tipis and yurts. 22.Cleanup efforts continued in the main protest camp located on federal land over the weekend. District Court in Washington, D.C., at a hearing, rejected the request from the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes, who had argued that the project will prevent them from practicing religious ceremonies at a lake they say is surrounded by sacred ground.With this decision, the legal options for the tribes continue to narrow, as construction on the final uncompleted stretch is currently proceeding.The U.S. Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. Crews remove waste from the opposition camp against the Dakota Access oil pipeline near Cannon Ball, N.D., Feb 8, 2017. In December, the Obama Administration denied ETP’s last needed permit, but with Trump’s stated support of the pipeline, that victory was short-lived for the Standing Rock Sioux.The Army Corps has said it will close remaining camps on federal lands along the Cannonball River in North Dakota after Feb. 13, the controversial project that has sparked months of protests from tribal activists seeking to halt the 1,170-mile line.

“Wheaties” Wallin Spaghetti Dinner Feb. 14

Tickets cost $8 for adults and $5 for children age 12 and under. The annual Wayne “Wheaties” Wallin Scholarship Fundraiser spaghetti dinner is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. in the Pequot Lakes High School Cafeteria. 14, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Positively Beautiful: How to get full, youthful looking lips

But you’ll also need an outer layer of protection in the form of a good lip balm, since lips have no oil glands for protection.In the winter, the cold and wind can easily dehydrate our constantly exposed lips. Volbella, Juvederm and Restylane are our most popular lip-plumping treatments and can be used to define the lips, add volume and to minimize fine lines. Dr. If you want to give it a try, I like Lip Venom by Duwop.Do a DIY sugar scrubMix a teaspoon or two of sugar with coconut oil and a dab of honey, then massage into your lips to smooth and exfoliate.Hydrate and moisturize, but don’t lickKeep your water intake up to moisturize from the inside out. It can be an exciting investment, but it’s definitely not something to rush into.Do your research, talk to other women about their experiences, and talk to your physician to share your hopes and expectations and explore all of your options.SmileIt’s fun to explore makeup options, serums and medical advancements, yet at the end of the day, your genuine smile is the ultimate enhancement for your lips. Saliva contains digestive enzymes including amylase and maltase that break down the lip’s protective barrier, causing burning, flaking and dehydration.Consider injectablesAt my clinic, I use several types of fillers based on my patient’s needs. Lip tissue also has no melanin, so choose a balm with UV protection for daytime use.Licking your lips to moisten them actually makes them worse. Full youthful lips are one of the #1 requests at my clinic, especially from women in their 30s, 40s and beyond: “More, please!”With Valentine’s Day upon us, thoughts turn to love and kisses, and kisses make us think of lips.Not everyone wins the genetic lottery and gets blessed with Kylie or Scarlett lips.But there’s no need to pout. It’s a quick procedure that stings a bit.The effect is subtle and natural, and one injection lasts for six to twelve months.I sometimes use another injectable, Sculptra, to support the skin around the mouth, which softens folds and wrinkles, creating a more youthful appearance.Investing in any type of cosmetic enhancement — whether it’s an injection, a laser treatment, or something more invasive, like cosmetic surgery — is a very personal decision. Email her at info@catalystmedicalcenter.com. There are plenty of ways to subtly enhance your lips and create a plumper, more youthful appearance.Here are a few recommendations.Avoid dark lipstickDark lipstick tends to emphasize how “small” your lips are compared with the rest of your face.If you have light/fair skin, choose lighter lipstick shades — think: rose, peach and neutral tones, not deep, wine-colored reds.Use highlighting, contouring and other makeup techniquesWith a little bit of practice, you can use strategically-applied makeup to make your lips look significantly fuller. Susan Mathison, Positively Beautiful columnist1 / 2Young woman puckering lips, close-up2 / 2Celebrities like Kylie Jenner and Scarlett Johansson get almost as much attention for their lips as they do for modeling gigs, TV and film appearances. YouTube has some great tutorials.One really simple trick: place a small dab of clear gloss in the center of your lower lip. Because smiles are contagious, it’s good for others too.But maybe Audrey Hepburn gave the most important beauty advice, “For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.”Dr. The gloss will catch the light in the room, creating a sort of “magnifying glass” effect, and your lips will immediately look fuller.Try a lip-plumping serumLip serums typically look like a “normal” tube of lip gloss, but they’re packed with additional ingredients like cinnamon, menthol, hot pepper, or niacin, which is part of the B vitamin family.Once you swipe a few drops onto your lips, your lips will tingle and burn slightly, and there’s a subtle swelling/plumping effect.Some women can’t stand the sensation, and others don’t mind it. Susan Mathison created PositivelyBeautiful.com.

Man dies in snowmobile crash in Minnesota’s Clearwater County

When deputies arrived, they found Daniel John Stock, 59, of Mahnomen, dead at the scene, according to a release from the sheriff’s office. The Bagley Fire Department, the White Earth Police Department, the White Earth Conservation Department, and Bagley Sanford Ambulance all assisted at the scene. 12, about an accident along McKenzie Lake Road in southern Clearwater County. Sunday, Feb. BAGLEY, Minn.—A 59-year-old Mahnomen man was killed in a snowmobile crash Sunday in Clearwater County.The Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office received a call at 12:50 p.m. The accident remains under investigation by the Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office.

Missing Minnesota National Guard member found dead near Duluth

Sgt. Louis County Sheriff’s Office said Costa reportedly had his bags packed for his weekend drill duty but never showed.The Sheriff’s Office reported Sunday night that Costa’s body was found along with his vehicle at about 7 p.m. on a rural road north of Duluth. Friday, Feb. The cause of death is under investigation and will be determined by the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office. He was last seen in Superior, Wis., at about 11:30 p.m. Brandon Silgjord of the St. Joel CostaDULUTH — The body of a Minnesota National Guard member reported missing this past weekend has been found.Joel Costa, a 32-year-old National Guard member from Fredenburg Township, did not report for duty Saturday morning. Foul play is not suspected, the Sheriff’s Office reported. 10.

Body of missing Minn. man found near Duluth, foul play not suspected

Sgt. Joel CostaThe body of a Fredenberg Township man reported missing over the weekend has been found, authorities said.Joel Costa, a 32-year-old member of the Minnesota National Guard, did not report for duty Saturday morning, Feb. 11. Louis County Sheriff’s Office said Costa reportedly had his bags packed for his weekend drill duty but never showed.The Sheriff’s Office reported Sunday night that Costa’s body was found along with his vehicle at about 7 p.m. Friday. He was last seen in Superior at about 11:30 p.m. on a rural road north of Duluth.The cause of death is under investigation and will be determined by the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office. Foul play is not suspected, the Sheriff’s Office reported. Brandon Silgjord of the St.

Minnesota Legislature: Water quality efforts require collaboration

Farmers and landowners who voluntarily participate in the program will be eligible for direct payments for putting property into conservation easements. These farms have generated 531 new best management practices that are keeping 14.7 million pounds of soil on Minnesota fields annually. This year the administration has stepped forward with a proposal for monetary reimbursements to ag landowners. Sparks is a Democrat who represents District 27 in Minnesota. Mark Dayton has made water quality a hallmark of his administration. We have seen the most success on this issue when we collaborate with local governments and landowners to build consensus and support for clean water proposals. Those who implement and maintain approved farm management practices are certified, and obtain regulatory certainty for a period of ten years. Department of Agriculture for an additional 60,000 acres in the Minnesota Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program. It would instead engage local governments, farmers, scientists, environmental groups and business leaders in a collective effort to address Minnesota’s water quality challenges. The reimbursements would be for tillable acres converted to buffer strips, as well as $10 million in ongoing aid to help counties and watershed districts implement the buffer strips and address maintenance and ongoing issues.Additionally, the state recently signed an agreement with the U.S. Water is essential to sustaining life, and thus is incredibly critical to agriculture producers. The goal would be flexible, allowing local watershed regions to decide what issues to address, and which strategies to employ.There is still much to learn about this proposal, but focusing on voluntary efforts that allow local stakeholders the flexibility to address the issues they care about, and offers financial assistance to implement changes is a good place to start.Editor’s note: Sen. The program is a voluntary opportunity for farmers and agricultural landowners to take the lead in implementing conservation practices. As part of the certification process, producers can receive technical and financial assistance to implement practices that promote water quality.As of January 2017, 306 farms have been certified representing more than 175,000 acres of working lands. Through the Minnesota CREP, farmers and agriculture landowners can voluntarily enroll land in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and Reinvest in Minnesota Reserve easement program to create buffers, restore wetlands and protect wellheads for drinking water. A good example of this is the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program, which I authored in 2013. We view this as a big success, and a major step in the right direction.Unfortunately, our collaboration on water quality hit a snag in the past two years as we have worked through issues related to buffer legislation that did not benefit from the similar broad-based support. Minnesota Gov. These new conservation practices are also keeping 9.7 million pounds of sediment and 6,086 pounds of phosphorous from entering our lakes, rivers and streams annually. These additional resources are necessary for the buffer program to be successful.I am hopeful the lessons learned from the pushback on the buffer proposal are influencing the administration’s new water quality initiative, recently announced as the “25 by 25” Water Quality Goal, and that it will be more akin to the collaborative strategies of the past.The new “25 by 25” proposal would not add more regulations. Recent committee discussions about the program continue to question technical, financial and enforcement aspects of the law.There is hope for reconciliation, however. He recently served as the chair of the Jobs, Agriculture and Rural Development Committee and is now the caucus lead on the Commerce Committee.The Montana Legislation update is unavailable for February.

Six arrested after fatal shooting at Twin Cities hotel

— Six adults have been arrested in connection with a fatal shooting at a Brooklyn Center hotel on Saturday night. Police were called to the Quality Inn Hotel at 1600 James Circle N. She was pronounced dead at the scene.A subsequent investigation led to the arrests. at 8:45 p.m. to find an adult female victim with a gunshot wound. This was not a random crime, police said.The investigation continues, but no additional suspects are being sought. BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn.

Moorhead resident relaxing in recliner hurt when pickup smashes into home

  Sunday, a medical condition caused a driver to lose consciousness in a neighborhood south of The Meadows golf course.   – A Moorhead resident sitting in a recliner at home was hit when a pickup came smashing into the room.The Moorhead Fire Department said around 1:30 p.m. The pickup hit what’s described as a den area of the home.The person inside was taken to the hospital but is expected to be okay.The driver and his passenger were not hurt.Damage to the home is estimated around $30,000. MOORHEAD, Minn.

Grim’s Grub: Heirloom foods

This is because the strain of yeast that creates sourdough can be kept growing much like a plant. I’ve heard stories of people using these plants as literal heirlooms by passing along seeds, roots or cuttings from one plant to another.It is entirely conceivable that on a family farm in Minnesota today there is an asparagus plant descended from a root brought from Germany by an immigrant family before the great war. They are colonies of microbes that can be kept alive for long periods of time through careful care and tending. Most people are familiar with the concept of sourdough. You feed it, split it off, care for it and when it is time, you make food from a small portion and reserve the rest. You boil it before you use it, and you boil it every three days it isn’t in use (30 if you keep it frozen).The result is that each meat that is boiled in the liquid absorbs taste from the master stock, and the master stock absorbs the taste from the meat. These strains are unique and hail back to a yeast spore that was flying on a breeze before being captured by some human looking to make bread.Vinegar and kombucha “mothers” work the same way. This is because the strain of yeast that creates sourdough can be kept growing much like a plant. I don’t look at the “heirloom” quality as being representative of the monetary value of the item, but the family symbolism. Most would be amazed to learn there are some sourdough starters that have been cared for and have thrived for decades. Most would be amazed to learn there are some sourdough starters that have been cared for and have thrived for decades. This gives a wondrous meaning to the idea of heirloom varieties of plants.Heirloom plants are plants that have inherited the qualities of their forebears. The same could not be said for heirloom foods.Master StockCourtesy of www.goodfood.com.au/recipes/master-stock–chinese-20111018-29uz52-liter water bath1 cup light soy sauce1 cup shao xing wine (or dry sherry)150 grams rock sugar1/3 cup sliced ginger4 cloves crushed garlic6 spring onions, washed and trimmed½ teaspoon sesame oil4 star anise2 cassia bark or 1 cinnamon stick3 pieces dried mandarin peel or orange peelCombine all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. You feed it, split it off, care for it and when it is time, you make food from a small portion and reserve the rest.Very traditional families have their own strains of sourdough that come from a central origin (great-great-grandma?). The strains are different in the way that people are unique. Reduce heat to low and gently simmer 30 minutes to allow the flavors to infuse. Cool and store, or use immediately.Replenish stock as it is used by making smaller batches of the above broth and adding it to the original. There are usually stories involved in true heirlooms. Imagine the complexity of a stock that for 100 years has had meat, seasonings and other things boiled in it daily. Like strains of yeast, the kombucha and vinegar mothers are bound to make unique tasting final products.That is to say, a sourdough starter in Minnesota will make different bread from one in Seattle. The stock is kept clean and safe by boiling. I intend to have plants to pass on if I ever have children.Consider, then, that there are other foods that justify the “heirloom” label, though they are rare things of beauty from countries all over.Most people are familiar with the concept of sourdough. It’s almost symbiotic. The complexity would be impossible to reproduce.While I cherish the chautauqua rocking chair I inherited from my mother, who inherited it from my grandmother, I know it is not unique and it is replaceable. They are old, strong things that aren’t exactly perfect, but still perfectly valuable in their own right. The idea of inheritance gives it a value that cannot be reproduced simply. Those who experiment in using wild acetobacter for making vinegar sometimes report that they have “caught” several different strains within feet of one another; while one produces a sour vinegar, another produces a richer taste.Imagine the difference hundreds of miles can make.I’m most interested in a food introduced to me by an amazing recipe book. PineandLakes.com IllustrationHeirloom is a magical word.It’s often associated with jewelry, furniture and important items passed from family member to family member. It’s a Chinese ingredient called “master stock.” Master stock is like a sourdough starter in that some have been passed down among families for 100 years or so.A master stock starts as a flavored liquid used for boiling various meats. The meat is removed, the liquid boiled, the impurities separated out and the liquid is then reserved and cooled, maybe frozen. Each meat improves the flavor of the stock for the next meat.In a traditional kitchen, the stock will be used almost every day. Now that’s what I call an heirloom.

Pequot Lakes: Speech team takes sixth

4. The Pequot Lakes speech team includes Hannah Allen (front row, left), William Moe, Savannah Ellison, Katie Maschhoff and Naarah Neumann; Austin Evenson (second row, left), Ashley Mixer, Courtney Rock, Megan Buffington and Sydney Ellison; Elizabeth Blaeser (third row, left), Cole Kaneski, Tyler Flowers and Zach Bauer; Elena Grove (back row, left), Gabe Maske, Gray Gitchell and Allison Francis.The Pequot Lakes High School speech team placed sixth at the 56th annual Duluth Denfeld Rotary Speech Tournament on Saturday, Feb. The top six teams of the 22-team field were: Chaska, Forest Lake, Mounds View, Centennial, Walker and Pequot Lakes.Placing for the Patriots were: Savannah Ellison, fifth in discussion; William Moe, fifth in storytelling; Naarah Neumann, seventh in oratory; Megan Buffington and Courtney Rock, second in duo honor final; Sydney Ellison, third in oratory honor final; Ashley Mixer, fourth in poetry honor final; and Rock, fifth in prose honor final.Receiving ribbons of excellence were: Hannah Allen in creative, Mixer and Austin Evenson in drama, Cole Kaneski and Tyler Flowers in duo, Zach Bauer and Katie Maschhoff in great speeches, Elizabeth Blaeser in poetry, and Flowers in storytelling.Pequot Lakes was missing seven students due to the Section 6 One Act Play competition, Jazz Band and family obligations.The team will travel to Underwood on Saturday, Feb. 11, for its next competition.
Submitted Photo

Backus: Mayor donates to city

Reimbursement, in part, came from Minnesota Emergency Management.In other business Monday, Feb. DCIM100MEDIADJI_0178.JPGAfter receiving payment for his work to clear debris from the city of Backus following the July 12 storm, Backus Mayor Kurt Sawyer donated the $1,500 back to the city. 6, the Backus City Council:• Agreed to hire a new firefighter.• Approved 2017 fire contracts with no change.• Agreed to buy radios for the fire department and first response at a greatly reduced cost.• Decided to seek additional quotes for well inspection.

Crow Wing County: Sales tax revenue exceeds expectations

The months of April, October and November all returned revenues less than the cities’ top ends. “It has peaks. The other two bars are two projections used for comparison — the blue bar represents an inflated top end of sales taxes collected in the cities of Brainerd and Baxter, and the orange bar represents about 75 percent of that top end. “Next year might be a late spring, or a crummy summer, or no snow on the ground.”Bray said if the highway department planned to use every dollar collected in a given year, it might be forced to pull back on a project if the sales tax underperforms compared to expectations.When Bray presented on the sales tax in 2015, he told the board if it cut the $1.2 million construction levy, his department would continue to face a $1.4 million annual shortfall compared to the needs of the county transportation system. It has valleys. Rausch said although the state does not track a geographic breakdown of sales tax revenue, it’s reasonable to assume the economic activity in the northeastern part of Crow Wing County – where the Whitefish Chain of Lakes is located – accounts for much of the difference.July was the month accounting for the highest portion of the county’s revenue, with August and September next in line. In 2017, construction on County Highway 23 will be funded entirely by $2.5 million in sales tax dollars.”Most likely, if we didn’t have access to this money, we would certainly see less construction,” Bray said.Rausch said the county budgeted $4.2 million in expected sales tax revenue for 2017, a figure slightly above that suggested by the U of M. … A graph shows the county's revenue collected from its sales tax, compared to projections. Although the county collects sales tax across all of Crow Wing County, these two cities continue to represent the commercial centers – meaning the county sales tax was expected to track along a similar pattern.What this analysis found was Crow Wing County’s sales tax revenue exceeded projections in five of the eight months for which data is available. Our sales tax would be reduced from what we saw this year, and the amount that we have saved up, we could use that to fill that in so that we can continue to deliver the projects based on what (the highway department) wants to do.””We know that sales tax is the most volatile tax,” said Tim Houle, county administrator. The board joined a growing number of greater Minnesota county boards approving a sales tax, following the passage of a 2013 state law allowing local governments to collect the taxes for transportation needs without a voter referendum.At the overview meeting, Commissioner Paul Thiede noted the amount collected above projects mirrored the amount cut from the highway department’s property tax levy in 2017.”We have prepaid the levy shortfall that we cut in 2017,” Thiede said.When the county board approved the final property tax levy for 2016, the board also passed an amendment proposed by Thiede to eliminate the $1.2 million levy-funded construction portion of the highway department’s budget.Rausch said he preferred to view the revenue as a “nice fund balance.””I know you like to, but I don’t think of it the same way,” Thiede said. Data for December was not yet available.County Engineer Tim Bray, who spent much of 2015 analyzing how the sales tax could benefit a highway system he said is underfunded, said he is in no rush to go out and spend the higher-than-expected revenue.”We have to be able to go with the ebbs and flows,” Bray said. So we’re kind of guessing.”The projected revenue was not a shot in the dark, however; it was based upon a study conducted by the University of Minnesota Extension office. Source: Crow Wing CountyRevenue collected from a half-cent sales tax instituted last year in Crow Wing County exceeded projections by 60 percent in 2016.More than $1.3 million was collected beyond the $2.25 million expected, said Finance Director Jason Rausch, for a total of $3.6 million generated from the sale of goods and services in the county between April and October. “We don’t have the staff. These figures represented the highest combined tax dollars collected in Brainerd and Baxter in a given month, and were inflated in an attempt to estimate what the county might collect. Passed in December 2015 by the Crow Wing County Board, the local option sales tax funds county road and bridge improvements. “That’s why I’m pushing you.”Rausch pointed to the volatility of a sales tax to support his rationale of considering the revenue as a cushion.”I’m going to do a little future hypothesis on 2017,” Rausch said. This was based upon the U of M projection for sales tax revenue.Bray said it was difficult to say whether the additional revenue could be used to chip away at this shortfall.”It provides an avenue to get to it faster, however, there are some other limitations, too,” Bray said. We couldn’t, with the staff that we have, deliver 20 projects going on at one time.”Bray said one option for increasing productivity within the highway department would be hiring consultants to do some of the design work, currently completed in-house. We all of a sudden get 90 degrees in February, and tornadoes all summer long. We rely on vacationers. The sales tax revenue was the subject of an overview of the 2016 budget presented at a recent county budget committee meeting. Rausch added the finance department has conversed with representatives from the cities of Brainerd and Baxter, both of which also instituted local option sales taxes.”Crow Wing County is a much broader area, but they’re the closest entity we have that has the same sales tax,” Rausch said.”It’s the only historical data on which we can gauge the volatility,” Houle added.To make comparisons, the county gathered data on the top end of tax collection for each month of year. The green bar represents the actual revenue collected. “The winter falls short. Bray emphasized it was too early in the history of the tax to make any determinations about future spending, and the county board would be involved in those decisions, too.What is certain is the highway department increased its construction and road maintenance in 2016, thanks to the sales tax revenue. We don’t really know what the right average should be, because we’ve got no track record. And what we’re budgeting for is the average.

PR-B Family Center 20th Anniversary: Step up and offer your help

Stop by 245 Barclay Ave. You can call us at 587-4292. If it matters enough to you, you will find a way to deal with the issue. in Pine River for cup of joe.Kathleen Stephan is a volunteer at the Pine River-Backus Family Center who will contribute stories as the family center celebrates its 20th anniversary. Please pass the good word on and support us with your donation to P.O. Like they say, “The only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.”You need to be passionate about keeping the end result you want in view. We care about building strong families and strengthening our communities. I think it can also apply to being a good citizen of your community. Box 1, Pine River, MN 56474. Becoming involved as a volunteer or as a board member will give you the opportunity to make a difference.Psst … Do a little strategic thinking and develop a plan of action. Notice what works and what doesn’t, and change plans accordingly.This process is exactly what the Pine River-Backus Family Center goes through when new needs are brought to our attention. This phrase is usually used in conjunction with political actions, the military or voting. If you just want to complain, then no action results in no change.Start with baby steps. Break down the problem in detail. Volunteering includes a gift of personal satisfaction.We are so thankful for our supporters who understand the needs of our family center and support our mission. List how it affects your life. It is time to “step up” and be counted. It is easy to complain about unfair business practices, your neighbor’s dog or “kids today.” My question to them is, “So, what are you going to do about it?” The usual response is, “There’s nothing we can do.”Yes, there always is an avenue to register your complaint or steps you can take to resolve the issue. I have to share a secret.

Tiger Talk: Families benefit from collaboration, community partnerships

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when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.”Mattie Stepanek

Wow! A grant led to the purchase of skates and equipment for children to get active at the Pine River skating rink.2 / 2″Unity is strength … Despite the extreme temperatures we have had a fun and exciting session of Community Education classes.We are fortunate in the Pine River-Backus area to have so many remarkable, community-oriented citizens willing to brave the cold to share their talents and interests with each other. 21.An estimated 40 families, with children ages 4 to 14, gathered at the Pine River rink warming house to fit their children with free equipment – on loan for the entirety of their child’s skating lessons (or two-week rental). By purchasing quality equipment for our youth: 98 pairs of hockey skates, 40 sets of elbow pads and 40 helmets!Getting the grant was the first step. I feel fortunate to work with such dedicated, hard-working individuals. Adults and children alike enjoyed hot refreshments from Lifehouse Coffee and PR-B Community Ed while waiting for their turn to be fitted for new equipment.More wonderful things:Local, qualified ice skating coaches from Backus, Pine River, Pequot Lakes and Breezy Point have continued to build on the purpose of the grant by donating their time and expertise. Through continued collaboration, we were able to host our first skate fitting and equipment checkout Saturday, Jan. I would like to invite you to call PR-B Community Ed at 218-587-2080 and explore the opportunities in our community.For a complete listing of PR-B Community Ed classes, visit prbschools.revtrak.net or call 218-587-2080. What a wonderful winter season! If you took a class or taught one, if you made that extra trip into town so your child could be involved in an extracurricular activity or stayed and helped coach it, thank you!Community Education is only possible because of you and your willingness to share, teach and explore your interests and new ideas with others. It has certainly made this long winter richer for me and my family!Speaking of wonderful things, this past year the city of Pine River collaborated with PR-B Community Education and The Warehouse on a grant, offered through Essentia Health-St Joseph’s Foundation, which would focus on the health and wellness of the youth in our community.This project, led by Public Works Director Mike Hansen, would get kids outside and active during the long winter months. How? With a focus on youth health and wellness, these community volunteers enable us to offer free skating lessons on Sunday afternoons for 54 of our area children in a safe environment.A big thank you to all of the people who were involved in this project, and others like it. How to get them into the hands – or should I say feet – of the kids who needed them required a combined effort. Though the unseasonably warm weather prevented children from getting onto the ice that afternoon, good times were had by all.
A grant led to the purchase of skates and equipment for children to get active at the Pine River skating rink.1 / 2Submitted Photo

Backus brothers give HUGS to needy

backpacks went to the Backus First Responders in October with another 28 going to Cass County Health, Human and Veterans Services. Cole and Zack McAllister collected a mountain of donations and packed them into 48 backpacks to be given to children displaced by hardships. “We thought it would be nice to give them something to have.”At first, their mother helped them set a goal of 20 backpacks with a blanket, stuffed animal, coloring book, craft activities, toiletries, perishable snacks and other basics. Donations made them change their minds.”When we first started out we were just doing it for a school project,” Cole said. Our mom was a big part of helping us get ready. They have also given comfort bags to chemotherapy patients and helped sort books for a library.Carrie McAllister, the boys’ mother, said they were inspired by Psalm 91:4: “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge.” “We were close to 50 and donations kept coming. The first 15 H.U.G.S. has been unexpected. They called it "Operation H.U.G.S."Since September, twin brothers Cole and Zack McAllister, 12, of Backus, have been collecting items of comfort for those less fortunate than themselves. If you pray, he provides and helps you through everything,” Zack said.Operation H.U.G.S. Then there were 48 backpacks donated in total,” Zack said. There were just a bunch of donations. “Then it became a mission for us. She helped us contact people like the first responders. “We got our inspiration from my mom’s friend because when she was younger she was taken out of her home a lot due to bad circumstances,” Cole said.Thinking of children being displaced because of legal issues or tragedies like fire, the brothers started requesting donations from their local community, starting with their congregation at Pine Mountain Gospel Church in Backus and moving on to families at their school, Foothills Christian Academy in Backus.”They have been taken out of their homes and have nothing left,” Zack said. We had three bags extra and it was amazing. We got a bunch of stuff from local businesses.”After the donations came in, the whole family helped to pack everything into the 48 backpacks and prepare to donate them.They called it “Operation H.U.G.S.” with the abbreviation standing for Hope, Understanding, Grace and Shelter. Not only have the backpacks affected the intended children, it has grown.”We heard the Walker Christian students are doing this too and they will be giving it to some local places to help kids,” Zack said.The program is very personal to the brothers, and they look back on it as a success to build on.”I think we might do this again, maybe in the summer or maybe something else,” Cole said.”For me, it makes me feel happy to show me the grace and kindness God shows for everyone. is not the only charity Zack and Cole have helped. Five other bags were given directly to children in need.In addition to businesses, Cole wrote to his favorite author who helped him during hard times, and she sent five autographed books for the program.The impact of H.U.G.S. We bought a lot of things, but most of the things were from the Pine River and Backus community, which donated a lot of stuff.””Our original idea for backpacks was we were thinking about 50, but our mom talked us into going down to 20.
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