St. Francis students raise over $52,000

Our sincerest thanks to all involved.”Before the raffle began Jan. St. “Congratulations to all the students, parents, faculty, administrators and neighbors who have helped make this program such an unqualified success. When so many good folks get together for a worthy cause, great things happen. Francis stays in Brainerd.”Again this year, our Catholic Schools Raffle is proving to be one of the largest fundraisers for parochial education in the Upper Midwest. Francis to use in supporting their educational mission,” Catholic United President Harald Borrmann said in a news release. While the annual fundraiser involves more than 80 schools in three states and raised over $1,066,450 in 2017, every dollar raised by St. Video, photos and a list of prizewinners and results will be available at Francis of the Lakes Catholic School set a fundraising goal. Francis of the Lakes Catholic School in Brainerd helped raised $52,455 for the school through the 2017 Catholic Schools Raffle. Francis provided the volunteers, energy and creativity to make the most of the six-week program.The raffle wrapped up March 9 with a prize drawing ceremony broadcast live on the Catholic United Financial website. The prizes, valued at more than $40,000 total, included a 2017 Jeep, vacation and travel packages, iPads, Amazon Fire TVs and more.Catholic United also rewarded the hard work of student ticket sellers. Sponsor Catholic United Financial provided all promotional materials, raffle tickets and prizes for the program at no cost. The combined effort of students, families, staff and the community surrounding St. The top-selling student at St. 13, the staff at St. Francis won a Kindle Fire tablet, and the top-selling class won a pizza party.The annual Catholic Schools Raffle and Catholic United Financial have raised more than $6 million for Catholic schools in Minnesota and the Dakotas since 2009. To date, over $6 million has been raised, and we are incredibly proud that 100 percent of that total has gone directly to schools like St.

Grim’s Grub: Lent is a special time

It also happens to be the one time of year that going without meat during a meal can seem like a major inconvenience for Catholics.During an average day, meat is an option in my food choices that I can take or leave, depending on what food I feel like eating. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer before adding cheeses. While hot, pour over pasta and mix to coat.For non-Catholics, or non-fasting days, mix in sausage.Midnight Sammich3-6 strips side pork per person2 slices bread per personAmple soft butterLettuce (optional)Seasoning saltAccurate clockFry side pork in a deep pan with a splatter guard (this stuff throws grease all over). If not those items, then toast and tuna come to the rescue.But on those days it seems like you would willingly pay a high price if you could be given a pass to eat a steak without judgment.I remember growing up with parents determined to figure out Lent-friendly foods. Simmer briefly to barely cook broccoli (broccoli should be hot, but still crunchy).Serve over cooked noodles.Smoked Cheddar Mac and CheeseSauce modified from cups dry macaroni3 tablespoons unsalted butter4 tablespoons flour1 cup warm milk½ cup shredded smoked cheddar½ cup shredded onion cheese (or more smoked cheddar)Pinch salt1 chopped and browned medium Italian sausage (for after midnight)Cook macaroni using your preferred method and drain.Melt butter over medium heat in a small saucepan. Yes sirree, a greasy burger never sounded so good as when you are not supposed to have it.Of course, there are countless alternative options, whether in the grocery store, in my home or out to eat. Dig in at 12:01 a.m. or later. Come Ash Wednesday and Lenten Fridays, I become a dang carnivore.Those days where I am actively trying not to eat meat are the days when I have meat DT’s. Illustration.It’s that time of year between getting ashes smeared on your forehead while being reminded you will die and watching children search for rabbit eggs. Salt well with seasoning salt. Pour in cream, garlic, salt, pepper and oregano. Tasty pastas don’t need to end there. Place finished strips on a pile of paper towels to drain.Smear soft butter on untoasted bread and then sandwich three slices of side pork between two pieces. Add lettuce, if desired. I would recommend fancy macaroni and cheese dishes. So being the forgetful person I am, I have to keep vigilant lest I partake in the forbidden meats.When I was in college, I remember at least one meat-free Lenten meal at Applebee’s with its delicious Broccoli and Shrimp Alfredo. Tasty pastas don't need to end there. Add cooked shrimp and broccoli. Yes, indeed, Lent is special. I would recommend fancy macaroni and cheese dishes.Copycat Applebee’s Broccoli and Shrimp AlfredoSauce courtesy of stick butter2 cups heavy whipping cream3 cloves garlic, minced¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese¼ cup shredded white American cheese¼ cup shredded Asiago cheeseSalt and pepper to taste1 teaspoon oregano1 large head of broccoli, or 2-3 cups florets2 cups peeled and cooked shrimpFettucini or preferred noodles   In a large saucepan, melt butter. Stir until cheese melts and allow to simmer 8 minutes. Remove sauce from heat and stir in cheese. Whisk in flour to make a roux and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute.Whisk in milk and bring to a simmer. Delicious Broccoli and Shrimp Alfredo. Tuna hot dish, egg salad sandwiches, tuna sandwiches, fried fish, cheese pizza and other meat-free meals graced our plates once a week. Everyone has the makings for a grilled cheese and tomato soup dinner, and most people probably have a blue box of noodles and cheese lying around the house. Do not fry like crispy bacon, but only until the edges are crispy and the thickest meaty sections are firm enough to tear apart. Add salt and cook until sauce is thick. We didn’t go hungry, but there were days we would stay awake past midnight just so we could dig out a package of side pork to fry up into sandwiches just because we wanted it so badly.To make things worse in this day and age, I work a second job around steaks, pans full of bacon and every variety of meat known to man.

Minding our Elders: Feeling useful integral to emotional health

— MeghanDear Meghan: Your love for your dad comes through clearly. Rheumatoid arthritis had damaged all of her joints and her hands had curled in on themselves. How can I help him feel better about himself? Mom explained to me that grandma wanted to do this because it made her feel useful. Something as simple as helping with the laundry and taking care of the trash can legitimately help you and may make him feel better.Your dad might also benefit from a diversion. You might also save fairly simple fix-it jobs for him so that he can feel the accomplishment of making something whole again. Dad used to be very physical and now there are so many things he can’t do. You just need to put yourself in his place and realize that contributing helps him maintain his dignity. He claims to be happy enough living with our family, but he says that he’s not contributing anything. Adopting an older pet is something that everyone could feel good about, and older pets are often easier to handle than very young ones so your dad could help out quite a bit.Bird feeding and/or pets aren’t for everyone. He has a lifetime of knowledge to share so having the family recognize that would be wonderful for you all.Finding the right mix won’t be easy, because if you ask your dad to do something that he can no longer handle he may feel as if he is letting you down. He’s finally trying to follow the advice his doctors have given him which is helping some, but he’s forgetful. Ask him if he’d be willing to help you set up a feeder in the backyard and then take over feeding the birds for you.You could take that further and ask him if he would be able to help the family care for a pet bird or even a small dog or a cat. Living with younger generations can be fun, but many seniors need and appreciate contact with others of their generation as well.Carol Bradley Bursack is the author of a support book on caregiving and runs a website supporting caregivers at Even when dad’s feeling fairly well physically, though, he seems vaguely depressed. I’m simply offering a springboard to help you develop ideas of your own that suit your family life as well as your dad’s interests.In addition, you may want to look into activities at a local senior center to see if he can be involved in more social interaction with peers. You could begin by mentioning to your dad that you’d love some birds in the backyard but you don’t have time to take care of their needs. Finding tasks for your dad and helping him develop hobbies suited to his health and interest should help immensely.When I was young, my grandmother came to live with us. Asking him to show you how to do something is also good. I felt terrible at first because I knew that any of us could have quickly cleaned up the kitchen. I know that he gets bored, but I wish he could just accept that he doesn’t have to do more. Grandma insisted that she would do the breakfast dishes each morning. Perhaps your dad could benefit from his own version of grandma’s dishwashing.Can he do some light yard work? Carol Bursack, Minding Our Elders columnistDear Carol: My dad suffers from the effects of poorly controlled diabetes. I understood Mom’s explanation then as well as a pre-teen could, but I understand it far better now. He has developed problems with his feet, so I watch his diet and pills. She can be reached at Take a small risk and ask him to do some carefully selected work outside.

Fielding Questions: Rabbit damage can ruin evergreens

Evergreens don't often survive winter rabbit damage; replacement is typically the best option in a case like the one pictured. Special to The Forum1 / 2Don Kinzler, gardening columnist
If the area receives shade, choose a blend that contains creeping red fescue.Kentucky bluegrass seed begins to germinate when spring soil temperature warms to about 60 degrees, beginning in late April and early May. Also, what causes brown tips on leaves of my pothos plant?—Richard Leinen, Wahpeton, N.D.A: Systemic insecticides are an effective way to control insects on indoor plants. All questions will be answered, and those with broad appeal may be published, so please include your name, city and state for appropriate advice. It could be reapplied in fall when you return the hibiscus indoors.The brown leaf tips on pothos and other houseplants are caused by low humidity, warm air drafts or most commonly by salts, chlorine or fluoride in water.If you have a gardening or lawn care question, email Don Kinzler at I’m afraid rabbits have destroyed the shrub, and replacement is now the best option.Most deciduous (leafy) shrubs can survive a rabbit attack, because they can be pruned back nearly to ground level and rebound better than ever, provided rabbits didn’t gnaw the bark completely down to the roots. The label usually describes how often to apply, but many of the products protect for up to two months.The insecticide imidacloprid is great for houseplants, but its systemic nature means that the pesticide is also present in the flowers of blooming plants. 2 / 2Q: Rabbits severely chewed an evergreen shrub in the corner of our courtyard this winter. Evergreens are not capable of such grow-back.Rabbits can cause severe winter damage. That’s why it’s not recommended for outdoor flowers because it can make pollen toxic to bees.Because hibiscus produces nice large flowers that are attractive to bees, it would be a good idea to discontinue the applications of the systemic at least two months before the plants would be moved outdoors, so the insecticide dissipates before bees visit the flowers. Should I continue when it’s outside? If seeded too early before conditions permit germination, grass seed can blow away in spring wind or be eaten by birds. The surest deterrent is to encircle the base of susceptible shrubs with chicken wire or woven fencing in fall.Q: I plan to downsize my garden and I’m wondering if now is a good time to seed grass. Do you think it will grow back?—Jerry Luebke, Fargo

A: Your photos show a “before “picture of a beautiful globe arborvitae. I’m currently applying a systemic houseplant insect control containing imidacloprid once a month. Grass seed packages list the quantity to use, but the general rule is to spread two to three pounds of seed for every 1,000 square feet.Q: I have a hibiscus plant that I’ll set outside when it warms up. In the “after” photo, the evergreen foliage is nearly gone, and the bark has been deeply chewed from all branches. The granular product is applied to soil, absorbed by the plant and protects from inside-out, killing insects as they feed. The area is 12 feet by 12 feet.—Gary Klemisch, Moorhead.A: The best lawn seed mixes for our region contain high percentages of Kentucky bluegrass. The ingredient label usually lists several named varieties of Kentucky bluegrass, and the higher the combined percentage, the better.

Planning the spring garden calendar

Michael Vosburg / Forum News Service1 / 3Trees and shrubs are best pruned before new growth begins. Michael Vosburg / Forum News Service2 / 3Don Kinzler, gardening columnist Following recommended dates for yard tasks improves gardening success.
It mellows heavy clay soil and improves the moisture-holding ability of light sandy soil.• Begin spring lawn raking when the ground is dry enough to kneel on the lawn without getting a wet spot on your jeans. They can be planted earlier if not in full leaf, which makes them susceptible to spring frosts.• Universities recommend delaying spring lawn fertilizer application until Memorial Day for healthiest grass structure.• Power rake (dethatch) lawns after they’ve been mowed several times.• The 10 days between May 15 and May 25 are the prime window for the majority of spring planting including bedding plants, vegetable gardens and containers. Frost is certainly still possible, but less likely.Don Kinzler, a lifelong gardener, worked as an NDSU Extension horticulturist and owned Kinzler’s Greenhouse in Fargo. Readers can reach him at also blogs at ” target=”_blank”> Let’s take a walk around the yard and plan our approach to spring tasks.Late March• Prune fruit trees before bud-break, which is the term for buds beginning to expand.• Deciduous (leafy) trees and shrubs are best pruned in March and April before new growth begins. (See late May.)Mid-to-late April• Apply preemergent crabgrass preventer to lawns before crabgrass seeds sprout, which begins when soil temperature reaches 60 degrees one inch deep. And gardening and springtime go together like Martha and color-coordinated garden hose. 3 / 3Have you ever wondered why Martha Stewart is always so perky? It’s because she enjoys gardening. If soil remains in a mudball, it’s structure can be harmed by tilling when too wet.• Improve garden and flowerbed soil by incorporating a three-inch layer of peatmoss, compost or bagged manure. The herbicide could lose effectiveness if applied too early and won’t work if applied too late.• Begin early outdoor gardening by planting cool-season vegetables like pea, radish, lettuce, onion, carrot, potato, cabbage and broccoli.• Plant bareroot trees, shrubs and roses.Early May• Start squash, pumpkin, cucumber and melon seeds indoors in peat pots May 1.• Sow grass seed. Wait to prune evergreens until May and June.• Rejuvenate overgrown, leggy shrubs like dogwood, lilac and spirea by pruning back to six to twelve inches above ground level before they leaf out, to stimulate bushy new growth.• Fertilize houseplants monthly now through August. They sense the longer days of spring, and fertilizer provides nutrition to support and encourage healthy new growth.Early to mid-April• Sow seeds of tomato and marigold April 1.• Loosen or remove winter protective mulch from perennials.• Before their new spring growth begins, cut back tops of perennials and ornamental grasses that were left intact during winter.• Uncover tender roses, but keep protective mulch close in case temperatures below 20 degrees are forecast.• Prune roses that suffered cane dieback. Soil must warm before Kentucky bluegrass seeds sprout.• Divide perennials whose bloom season is mid-summer through fall, like hosta and mums, as new growth is just barely visible.• Remove tree wraps for the growing season.Mid-to-late May• Plant potted trees, shrubs, roses and perennials. It’s recommended that power raking, also called dethatching, be delayed until May, because tender grass can be injured if done too early.• Delay lawn fertilizer applications. Dead cane portions are dark brown-black and lack the inner live, green cambium layer seen by scratching the outer bark.• Rototill garden soil when a handful of squished soil will crumble apart.

Lakes Area Music Festival to present ‘Spanish Nights’ in Pequot Lakes

1 / 2Submitted Photo
Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Opera, Juilliard School and more.For more information about the Lakes Area Music Festival, visit Soprano Bergen Baker, who has instructed students at Aitkin and Brainerd high schools through Lakes Area Music Festival's Music Mentors Project, will peform at LAMF's Spanish Nights concernt Saturday, March 25, in Pequot Lakes2 / 2During a Pequot Lakes concert titled “Spanish Nights,” the Lakes Area Music Festival will announce the repertoire and performers to be featured in the 2017 summer festival season. Saturday, March 25, in the Pequot Lakes High School auditorium.As with all Lakes Area Music Festival concerts, no tickets are required, but freewill donations are accepted.”Spanish Nights” is the third of a four-concert winter series and will feature past festival musicians Jonathan Magness, violinist; Bergen Baker, soprano; Claire Gunsbury, flutist; and Scott Lykins, pianist. The collaborative roster includes talent from ensembles and conservatories such as the Minnesota Orchestra, St. The concert will take place at 7 p.m. 20 in the lakes area and will feature more than 130 musicians from around the country. The ensemble will also welcome guitarist Maja Radovanlija from the University of Minnesota faculty.The program will include a variety of short, contrasting works by Spanish composers like Pablo de Sarasate and Manuel de Falla.A first showing of “Spanish Nights” will take place at 7 p.m. Friday, March 24, at the Woman’s Club of Minneapolis, where the Lakes Area Music Festival is currently Artists in Residence.The Lakes Area Music Festival will take place July 30-Aug.
Submitted Photo Violinist Jonathan Magness is Lakes Area Musica Festival veteran who will perform at LAMF's Spanish Nights concert Saturday, March 25, in Pequot Lakes.

As I See It: Enemy of whom?

I thought the use of many unflattering photos of both of them by the parties, media and action committee ads was tasteless. Add the body language component on TV, and you can do even more damage.Neither President Trump nor Secretary Clinton is that photogenic. Much has been made of President Trump’s recent comments about fake news and the media being the enemy of the people.As usual, far too many people in the media and other organizations chose to take this the wrong way instead of looking at how and when it could be true. If what you do is morally wrong or you should have done something but failed to do it, that’s likely a sin. The media knows how to use words better than most and are experts at damning people with faint praise.If they were required to quote full sentences or paragraphs instead of the snippet or sound bite, it would certainly cut down on their ability to make anyone they choose look like an idiot, criminal or misinformed. I don’t quite understand why those who should be informing us with the whole truth choose to hide it, change it, disguise it or flat ignore it.The enemy of the people label is accurate as far as I can tell.Well, that’s the way I see it. Not in defense of priests, but in the spirit of truth, do you know what five categories are the worst abusers? Too often, legitimate debate and truthful reporting is shoved into the background when a nasty picture or film can be used to discredit an individual or group.Why is it that one negative (often misleading, untrue or totally fabricated) story gets repeated virtually verbatim by every other media outlet without anyone checking the facts? Just like this missive, the pieces contain the author’s interpretation of items or events, and hopefully they have taken facts as the basis for their view of things.But in the news sections we should expect to read articles about the who, what, when, where, how and why of events. Some other religious denominations are much worse than Catholics, and none is free of this problem.Is some focus on church justified? And then when the mistake is identified, apologies are lukewarm at best or nonexistent because there’s already another juicy tidbit that can be used to further discredit or destroy something or someone.The success of a democracy relies on an informed electorate. On radio, voice inflection or accents can convey an, “I’m saying this but I don’t believe it,” attitude. They are, in order: fathers, teachers, sports coaches, Boy Scout leaders and priests. Seems simple and straightforward enough, but this is where the bias of reporters and reporting ranges from blatantly apparent to very well camouflaged.If you are familiar with sin, you should know there are sins of commission and omission. Just about every newspaper has an opinion section. If someone only reports one side of a story or fails to include pertinent details that provide context or clarification in a story, who suffers? Too often, they favor liberal progressive issues, candidates, judges and whatever else falls in there.For the past decade or so, you can’t avoid initially thinking that every Catholic priest is a predator. Actually, we all do. Sadly, I believe it’s been true for quite a while, and it’s more pervasive than we believe or will admit. I guess that’s just not as exciting, or who knows?The English language is one of the richest in the world with a vocabulary that makes using words to say exactly what you mean fairly easy – especially if you know the words and definitions. The content usually includes editorials, columns and letters that are specifically written to complain or persuade the readers about items or events the author believes are important. If a reader makes a conclusion based on lies or misleading reporting, shouldn’t the reporter or publisher bear most of the responsibility?Despite the Pontius Pilate act that every major media outlet tries to play, they are biased – some mildly and some blatantly. Yes, but what about the media not highlighting the actual magnitude of the entire problem? Unfortunately social media – which is almost beyond control – is the worst purveyor of this trash.

PR-B Boy Scouts visit State Capitol, meet with Rep. Layman

Sandy Layman, Logan Wipper, Matthew Melberg. Scoutmaster. is Scoutmaster for Troop 73. Denton Newman Jr./Brainerd Dispatch4 / 7The freshly restored interior domed ceiling in the State House Chambers. Denton Newman Jr./Brainerd Dispatch3 / 7The newly restored inside of the second largest self-supporting marble dome in the world. Denton Newman Jr./Brainerd Dispatch2 / 7Not quite finished yet, as evidenced by the crane at the rear of the building, scaffolding on the roof along with the debris containers in front, Minnesota's State Capitol building shines against the blue Minnesota sky. The State Capitol looks brand new again. Front: Darren Nelson, Rep. Our future leaders!”After the State Capitol tour the Scouts walked to the Minnesota History Center and visited four of the current museum exhibits – “The Greatest Generation,” Then, Now, Wow,” “Grainland” and “Weather Permitting.”On the way back home the group stopped at Cabela’s in Rogers to view the aquarium and big game exhibits and also tried their luck in the “Northwoods Shooting Gallery.”Troop 73’s annual pancake breakfast fundraiser will be held April 9 (Palm Sunday) at the Pine River American Legion. The water stains on the ceilings are gone. Denton Newman Jr./Brainerd Dispatch5 / 7One of the four newly cleaned and restored murals by John LaFarge inside the State Supreme Court Chamber features Moses receiving the ten commandments. Smart kids, great questions. Back row: Darren Deplazes, Asst. The marble, granite and wood have been cleaned and polished. Later that day the representative posted a photo taken with the Scouts from Troop 73 on her Facebook page with the accompanying message: “Saturday at the Capitol with Pine River/Backus Boy Scouts, Troop 73. Pine River-Backus Scout Troop 73 meets with its state representative on the steps near the State Capitol rotunda. Scoutmaster, Clyde Oliver Asst. Middle row: Marshall , Corbin Knapp, Malachi Wipper, Cody Deplazes. Denton Newman Jr. The community is invited to come and meet all the scouts and ask them about Boy Scouts, which provides a learning and growing experience for ages 11-17.For more information on all the Scouting opportunities in the area – Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Venturing – visit Newman Jr. /Brainerd Dispatch6 / 7Two Pine River-Backus Boy Scouts, Darren Nelson (left) and Corbin Knapp find out just how hard oxen or horses worked to pull a plow for early Minnesota farmer settlers in an interactive exhibit at the Minnesota History Center. Not Pictured: Denton Newman Jr., Scoutmaster.1 / 7Representative Sandy Layman discuses the legislature and answers questions from the Scouts in the restored and remodeled State Capitol basement, now open to the public. Denton Newman Jr.7 / 7Seven Boy Scouts and three Scout leaders from Pine River-Backus Troop 73 made a day trip to the Twin Cities on Saturday, March 18.The first stop of the day was a tour of the newly restored Minnesota State Capitol building where they were struck by the difference since their last visit (two years ago), when the Capitol building was covered with scaffolding, plywood and plastic while undergoing restoration. The colors of the interior mural paintings, stencil work and original wall paint colors are much more vibrant than previously (when they were under 100 years of grime and cigarette smoke).Outside, the exterior marble, limestone and gold has been cleaned and now gleams against the blue Minnesota sky on a sunny day.The Scouts met in the Capitol with their area’s state representative, Sandy Layman, R-Cohasset, and were treated to an explanation of the legislative process along with a lengthy question and answer period where Layman answered numerous questions from the Scouts, including some on her experiences as a newly elected representative and on a few pieces of current and proposed legislation this session.In an informal hand poll after a question regarding cell phone use in cars, Layman asked the Scouts if cell phone use should be limited to hands-free only, and the Scouts unanimously signaled yes.In response to one question, Layman told the Scouts they were the very first Boy Scout Troop she has met with since being elected.

Nisswa: Edna Lake Road work won’t be done now – Council delays action

Bailey said he was happy to report that Lake Edward Township suggested the fire contract group members contribute an additional $10,000 per year into a truck fund for the next few years, with the contribution also allocated according to land and building values within each entity.Total contract amounts for 2017 are: Nisswa, $85,820; Lake Shore, $72,399; Lake Edward Township, $60,368; Pelican Township, $5,165; Pequot Lakes (Inland Trails area), $1,657.Firefighters responded to five fire calls, one rescue call and 16 medical calls last month.In February, police had 44 agency assists and 308 calls for service, issued seven criminal citations, 64 traffic citations and 175 traffic warnings, and made two arrests.Liquor DepartmentTerry Wallin, manager of the city-owned Pickle Factory, said the new state law allowing liquor stores to be open Sundays beginning July 1 won’t affect the off-sale part of the Pickle because the bar is already open Sundays. The council is researching whether to hire an administrator/clerk.Council member John Ryan said sending Wentler to the training would show support for and dedication to staff training, especially when considering employee retention since the city has had three staff members resign this year.It was a budgeted expense, he said, noting the council should put a vote of confidence in employees, and they in return would learn better service and more efficiency through training.With the aid of scholarships to cover the $450 registration fee, the training is estimated to cost the city $650 for hotel, mileage and meals.In other business March 15, the council:• Heard from the city attorney that the city received a revised lease for the Spirits of Nisswa building from Schaefer’s Foods, which owns the building. The council did accept a feasibility report from city engineer Mark Hallan, of Widseth Smith Nolting, that includes the proposed costs to improve Edna Lake Road and a short section of Parkway Drive. The mayor asked how many in the audience were there for Edna Lake Road discussion, and about a dozen people raised hands. Contract amounts are based on land and building values within each entity served, and include the cost of the Firemen’s Relief Association.Fire Chief Shawn Bailey said the contracts include 3 percent increases because the department needs a new truck. The council had authorized the report.City policy as of last September is to assess property owners for road improvements, with residents paying 30 percent of improvement costs and all city taxpayers paying the remaining 70 percent.Edna Lake Road is the first proposed road improvement under the new policy, which endured much debate before being passed last fall on a split vote.Under the policy, for a road improvement to happen, citizens would have to petition for the improvement, or the council would have to authorize an improvement on a four-fifths vote. In light of a city commission being formed to study how best to pay for road improvements in Nisswa, the city council on Wednesday, March 15, decided not to proceed with Edna Lake Road improvements at this time. But it will affect the city-owned Spirits of Nisswa municipal liquor store.Wallin said Brian Farrell, Spirits manager, will meet with the Liquor Committee, but a couple of employees are interested in working Sundays.Heidmann asked if the council must approve Sunday hours for its municipal off-sale liquor stores, and the council will take that up in April.Deputy clerk trainingAfter discussion, the council ultimately agreed to send Maggi Wentler, deputy clerk, to training May 1-5 in Plymouth.Heidmann had suggested holding off on this training until the council decides how to replace the city clerk position, saying the new employee may benefit from the training. When asked if they had changed their minds about being assessed for the project, no one raised a hand.Council member Ross Krautkremer suggested the council table the Edna Lake Road feasibility report until deciding whether it will change its funding policy.”Doing the road is right for the city and for the citizens,” he said, but not until the new city commission does its research on how to fund improvements and the council upholds or changes the assessment policy.Heidmann agreed, saying it’s not a question of maintaining city roads; rather it’s a question of how to fund improvements.Council member Don Jacobson said the council should receive the feasibility report, giving the council the ability to talk about it after a decision is made on how to fund road work.”We have the documents and they are paid for, so we might as well receive them,” he said.Council member Gary Johnson was absent from the March 15 meeting.Public safetyThe council approved 2017 fire contracts with Nisswa, Lake Shore, Pequot Lakes and Lake Edward and Pelican townships. Heidmann said the city has verbally committed to another five-year lease.• Approved ordinance amendments relating to: temporary signs in residential districts; and to linear LED or neon architectural or sign accents, which are not allowed on any buildings.• Asked the city attorney to research what the city can do about the Sportland Corners building, which is in disrepair. A public hearing would be required before the council could authorize a road improvement.Mayor Fred Heidmann noted the city has a petition from Edna Lake Road residents who oppose being assessed for the project.Three citizens asked questions about the feasibility report.

Police Blotter – March 25, 2017

of a theft on Edna Lane. of a theft on Airport Road.Nisswa Police DepartmentBURGLARY: Report on March 19 at 7:32 p.m. of a burglary on County Road 3 in Merrifield.Breezy Point Police DepartmentTHEFTS: Report on March 17 at 5:57 p.m. Pequot Lakes Police Department: TRAFFIC ARREST: Report on March 18 at 11:45 p.m. of a property damage crash on East Clark Lake Road.THEFT: Report on March 14 at 5:38 p.m. of a property damage crash on Wooddale Road.Report on March 16 at 10:47 p.m. of a theft on First Street.Cass County Sheriff’s DepartmentCRIMINAL SEXUAL CONDUCT: Report on March 16 at 2:04 p.m. of a traffic arrest for a felon in possession of a firearm, open bottle, carrying a pistol while under the influence of alcohol and carrying a pistol without a permit on State Highway 371 in Jenkins. of criminal sexual conduct on Fifth Street in Pine River.Crow Wing County Sheriff’s DepartmentBURGLARY: Report on March 17 at 5:15 p.m. IllustrationPequot Lakes Police DepartmentTRAFFIC ARREST: Report on March 18 at 11:45 p.m. CRASH: Report on March 12 at 7:18 p.m. of a traffic arrest for a felon in possession of a firearm, open bottle, carrying a pistol while under the influence of alcohol and carrying a pistol without a permit on State Highway 371 in Jenkins. of a theft on Breezy Point Drive.Report on March 18 at 1:33 p.m. of a fire on Morehouse Drive.THEFT: Report on March 17 at 2:01 p.m. of a property damage crash on State Highway 371 and County Road 16.FIRE: Report on March 17 at 11:47 a.m. of a burglary in progress on Hyland Avenue.CRASHES: Report on March 13 at 5:30 p.m. of a property damage crash on County Road 13.Report on March 18 at 12:05 a.m.

Columnist comes out, reveals he’s WGFWAF

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Florida, tweeted, “Get a clue, @SteveKingIA. I wanna be me. In it, he decries diversity as something bad, not reflective of righteous lessons that are “blithely ignored by many in society,” for he, like his ancestors, says he was born into a “real family”: two married parents, which is what it takes “to raise well-adjusted children,” just like himself.This reader also comes out as WGFWAF, a white guy from a well-adjusted family. foreign policy becomes mishandled, estranged and convoluted by a politically inexperienced alpha-male celebrity thinking the world must follow him.Responding to Rep. In his latest column, “The logic escapes me,” Pete Abler doesn’t think so. Diversity is our strength. Steve King’s, R-Iowa, comments on “somebody else’s babies,” Rep. Life can be perfect. It can even be privileged to a point it can’t be beat. Make sense? All others are taken.”Steve Olson,Baxter Abler by bursting his perfect bubble. It can be all of the above or none of the above, depending on who you were, who you are, or who you want to be, now that you are here, and what you decide to do about it. People have identity conflicts, like wanting to fly an airplane but can’t afford the expense, or wanting to be an alpha male or feminist but struggle to play those parts.People argue, they fight, they become estranged, separated, they get divorced, go to prison, or they die early. Later married, divorced. But sorry to disappoint Mr. This isn’t a perfect world where we live; life isn’t perfect for all.People marry too young or don’t get married; spouses evolve into imperfect matches. All looking alike is such a waste. A travesty. Single father. It can be sweet. Wars start, sometimes for faulty reasons by well-meaning but misguided presidents; U.S.

Pequot Lakes Community Education classes listed

Mondays, April 3 and 10, Pequot Lakes High School. This two-day class will teach the basic stitches of crocheting. Fee: $50.This yoga class will keep a gentle pace and is ideal for all levels of experience or those new to yoga. All grades are based on the 2016-17 school year. Swat, stretch and strengthen all in one workout. Fee: $56 for eight classes, $112 for 12 classes.Participate in a unique mix of pilates plus yoga inspired movement. No weights, no bulk, just core results. There will be a food concession area as well.The Festival of the Arts was started in 1982, featuring art talent in the Pequot Lakes, Breezy Point and Crosslake area.• PiYo: 3:45-4:45 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, March 27-May 17, Pequot Lakes High School cafeteria. Pequot Lakes Community Education announces the following upcoming events and classes. Mondays, April 3-May 1, Eagle View Elementary School upper gym. The instructor is Jessica Waytashek..• Gentle Yoga: 5:30-6:30 p.m. Performing artists, dancers and musicians will be on the stage in the high school auditorium. Registration forms are available on the Pequot Lakes School website under “Community Education” or in the Community Education office. Students and community artists will have visual arts displays in the high school gym. Registration and payment can be done online at plan for summer ball is to start in late April and run through late June to mid-July, depending on level. All fitness levels are welcome. Bring a yoga mat and water bottle. Call 218-568-9200 to register..• Festival of the Arts: 5:30-8 p.m. Participants will go home with a bag.Participants must bring two skeins of cotton yarn, size H-8 crochet hook, scissors and a bag to hold supplies. Classes focus on yoga for daily well-being and include flowing and held poses and simple meditation and breathing practices. Fee: $10.This is a class for those who want to learn to crochet and is geared toward beginners to those who know a little. Bring a mat or blanket and dress comfortably. Thursday, March 30, Pequot Lakes High School. The instructor is Amber Hunt, certified yoga instructor.• Youth Sports: Registration for spring/summer ball for girls and boys in grades K-6 will close Thursday, March 30. For more information, contact the youth sports office at 218-568-9342.• Beginner Crocheting: 7-8 p.m.

Higher education bills call for Minnesota State tuition freezes

Maureen McMullen / Forum News ServiceST. “Given the targets we were given, we did put together a solid bill.”Legislators’ total higher education bills lag behind Dayton’s budget plan, which proposed $3.4 billion over two years The House proposed a total of $3.22 billion, while the Senate proposed $3.1 billion.Higher Education Commissioner Larry Pogemiller said he was disappointed by the committees’ appropriations for state grants, which cover interstate tuition reciprocity and work-study programs.Appropriations for grants in the Senate bill, Pogemiller said, only cover about one-third of the increases Dayton proposed.The House bill allocates about $36 million less to the grants than Dayton, and the Senate bill allocates about $52 million less.”It’s just real clear that the right way to help students afford whichever campus they decide to go to is a smart investment,” Pogemiller said. Mark Dayton’s budget proposal.Laura King, Minnesota State vice chancellor, said tuition freezes could aggrevate existing financial struggles for the system, which faces a 10 percent student population decrease”The target in your bill, in combination with language preventing tuition increases, will have very visible impacts in communities across Minnesota,” she said during a committee hearing. Michelle Fischbach, Senate higher education chairwoman, penned a bill that would block state colleges and universities from raising tuition from 2016-2017 rates for two years.The House bill would limit the tuition freeze to the system’s two-year community and technical colleges. Larry Pogemiller, Minnesota higher education commissioner, testifies at a Senate higher education hearing on a funding bill he said falls well below the amount Gov. Sen. Mark Dayton's wants. “To be blunt, the targets in this bill are simply too low, and will have a significant impact on every campus.”House Higher Education Chairman Bud Nornes, R-Fergus Falls, said that although the freeze will benefit students, effects of a freeze two years ago means many colleges “still harbor challenges financially.””I’m not sure what we’ll wind up with this time,” he said. PAUL — Another tuition freeze could be on the horizon for students at Minnesota State colleges and universities.Finance bills from the state House and Senate call for a halt to rising tuition costs within the Minnesota State system. “I wish our (spending) target was larger. Since our target’s a little lower than projected, a freeze for anybody means it’s going to be challenging just to figure out how to do it.”Dayton’s proposal allotted nearly $1.5 billion in funding for Minnesota State over two years, a $150 million increase over 2016-2017 appropriations.The House bill would allocate $1.44 billion, about $40 million more than the system would receive under the Senate bill.Legislators’ bills also would appropriate less funding to the University of Minnesota than Dayton’s $1.35 billion proposal, a nearly $94 million increase over 2016-2017 appropriations.Under the Senate bill, the University of Minnesota would receive $1.28 billion, about $47 million less than what the House proposes.UMN students are less likely to see a tuition freeze than those at Minnesota State campuses.The state Constitution allows legislators to recommend a tuition freeze, but not require one.Nornes said his bill “highly suggests” a freeze, “but they have never listened to us.””They’ve told us now, too, regardless of how much money they get from the state, they still plan a tuition increase,” he said.Fischbach’s bill will head to the full Senate after the Senate Finance Committee approved it Friday, March 24.”I would have liked to see more money in this target; we’re talking about a lot of workforce issues and attempts to keep tuition down,” she said. “It goes directly to students, and so he thinks that a balanced approach to that, but probably three times the amount that Senate bill allows.” The colleges would be required to establish a tuition freeze for the 2017-2018 academic year, followed by a 1 percent tuition decrease the following year.Both bills include language barring schools from offsetting tuition changes with student fees.The legislation would not apply to the University of Minnesota.The proposed freezes likely come as good news to Minnesota college students, but school administrators said tuition increases may be necessary to make up for funding that falls well below Gov.

Keep or dump MNsure, or is there an alternative?

Don Davis / Forum News ServiceST. insuranceMNsure sells insurance, and pretty much nothing else.Minnesotans, people who testify at the Legislature and even some lawmakers do not understand what MNsure is. Now, Minnesota leaders also are looking at a middle ground that would keep a state insurance sales program, but turn much of the work over to private business.The proposal by Sen. MNsure executive Allison O'Toole tells reporters Nov. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, said Jensen’s bill is “very thoughtful in keeping what works.” Change is needed, she said, because “the pain is clear.”MNsure CEO Allison O’Toole told a Senate health committee Thursday, March 23, that the marketplace’s rollout three years ago was not smooth, but things have improved since then.Kiffmeyer and other Republicans say MNsure is a waste of taxpayer money. MNsure only signs people up for the programs, but does not govern them.MNsure sells policies to small businesses for their employees and to people who need individual policies because they do not have insurance available where they work or via a government program. Many want MNsure to die, leaving Minnesotans to buy individual insurance from a federal-government sales program.On the other hand, Democratic Gov. The move is intended to save money, Dean said.Democratic committee members criticized the plan, saying that it is imprudent to direct people toward the federal system while the federal government’s position on maintaining it is uncertain, especially in light of MNsure’s record enrollment this year.Several Duluth residents told a Senate committee about their fear of losing MNsure.”Insurance illiteracy is being replaced by insurance literacy,” Karen Walter of Community Action Duluth said. Both small businesses and those who need individual policies also may buy them from insurance agents, but individual policy subsidies from the federal government would not be available.In many states, a federal website provides the services Minnesotans get from MNsure. Matt Dean, R-Dellwood, told the Health and Human Services Finance Committee that he leads.Dean’s legislation would repeal the marketplace and have the state opt into the federal system that currently services many states. “It is not MNsure’s fault that rates are going up.”O’Toole said MNsure, and subsidies available through it, are the reason Minnesota’s uninsured rate has dropped dramatically in the past three years.The decision about what to do with MNsure may not be made until May, or even later if lawmakers and Dayton do not agree quickly on a budget for the next two years.The three options, and any others that arise in the next few weeks, remain possible.A House committee voted to drop MNsure, requiring Minnesotans to sign up on a federal exchange for individual insurance policies.MNsure was too big of a project that was rolled out too quickly and doesn’t do what it promised, Rep. Mark Dayton said MNsure works and should remain.”MNsure is performing very well,” Dayton said. “I see MNsure working for Minnesotans every day.”Megan Halena of the Insure Duluth Coalition said she works with Minnesotans who use MNsure and Wisconsin residents who use the federal sales program. It is the state Commerce Department that does that, and Commerce is a separate agency. But the subsidies are set by the federal government, not MNsure.Minnesotans can get state-subsidized insurance on MNsure, such as the free-to-the-customer Medical Assistance (Minnesota’s version of Medicaid) for the poor and the inexpensive MinnesotaCare for those who can pay reduced-cost premiums. To put it simply, it is a state-run program that sells individual health insurance policies from insurance companies.MNsure does not write its own policies and has no control over policies it offers.The 3-year-old MNsure does not set insurance rates, or have anything to do with it. She said Minnesotans “are less likely to fall into a gap” and they get better service through MNsure.Southwestern Minnesota farmer James Kanne said he knows many people who benefit from the “one-stop shop” MNsure offers.Many farmers rely on individual health insurance policies such as MNsure sells because they do not have employer-provided insurance.MNsure vs. 3, 2016, that her agency sold more health insurance policies the first two days they were available than it did by Thanksgiving a year earlier. Commerce also regulates other aspects of the insurance industry.People who buy insurance on MNsure are eligible for subsidies. Scott Jensen, R-Chaska, somewhat resembles a route MNsure itself is considering, but enough questions remained at week’s end to make it unclear how much chance it has.”I think MNsure has been a tool to bring us to a certain point in time,” Jensen said, adding that “we can sharpen the pencil and decide where we want to go.”Jensen’s bill would seek proposals from businesses to take over the insurance sales program, along with communicating with customers, insurance agents and others involved with individual insurance policies.Sen. PAUL — The debate is familiar to Minnesotans: Keep or dump MNsure, the controversial state-run program that sells individual health insurance policies.

Peterson’s demands too pricy for some NFL teams

He pleaded no contest to a lesser charge of misdemeanor reckless assault. Kirby Lee / USA TODAY SportsFormer Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is reportedly asking for a premium price on the open market, and teams are not willing to meet the demand. Running back Adrian Peterson poses for a photo on the red carpet at the ESPN the Party event Feb. 7 overall pick of the Vikings in the 2007 draft missed all but three games in 2016 after undergoing right knee surgery in September. 3 in the Houston arts district. Peterson remains unsigned during free agency and ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported Friday that it is because the asking price is too high.A source from a team in the market for a running back told ESPN that Peterson wanted more than $8 million in the first year of a contract.Eddie Lacy was one of the first running backs signed in free agency, accepting a one-year deal with the Seattle Seahawks worth up to $5.5 million that includes a weight clause.The Vikings announced last week that the team would not re-sign Peterson, who turned 32 on Tuesday. He has 11,747 career rushing yards with 97 touchdowns in 10 seasons—16th on the NFL’s all-time list. Peterson totaled 72 yards on 37 carries.Peterson would have made $11.75 million in base salary with a $6 million roster bonus had his option been picked up by the Vikings.The Green Bay Packers have interest in Peterson but a meeting might not happen until after next month’s draft, according to ESPN.Peterson, a native of Palestine, Texas, also has been linked to rumors going to the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants.In 2014, the NFL suspended Peterson for violating the league’s personal-conduct policy. He was indicted on a felony charge of injury to a child for using a wooden switch to discipline his 4-year-old son earlier that year. The four-time All-Pro had seven 1,000-yard rushing seasons in nine years, including the second-best total in NFL history of 2,097 yards in 2012 but battled injuries the past few seasons.Peterson also led the NFL in rushing in 2015 with 1,485 yards, along with 11 touchdowns. He is 565 yards behind Jim Brown for 10th place.The former Oklahoma standout and No. The Vikings did not pick up Peterson’s option year and instead signed former Oakland Raiders running back Latavius Murray in free agency.Peterson left the Vikings as one of the best players in franchise history.

State Fair doughnut fry leads to political fray

The measure has more than two dozen Republican co-sponsors in the House. “Dark money” is what politicos call sources of political cash that are not fully revealed to the public.Asch said there’s nothing secret about the State Fair doughnuts. The doughnut committee does not contribute to candidates or other campaigns.Last year alone, the doughnut booth reported bringing in $206,000 from the “Sale of donuts at fair market value at the Minnesota State Fair,” according to campaign finance reports, and $121,000 in expenses.Asch, the doughnut-maker turned committee chairman, shrugged at the suggestions from Republicans that the DFLers are doing something nefarious.”I don’t understand the obsession,” he said. A similar measure in the Senate has five Republican sponsors.The measure being proposed is only one paragraph long and makes no mention of the State Fair, or fried foods or the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party. Does the end justify the means? PAUL — For local Democrats, there’s always money in the mini-doughnut stand.Over the last 50 years, or so, a group of Democrats from Ramsey County has organized volunteers to run a doughnut booth at the Minnesota State Fair. 11, 2016Polk County deputy injured after Clearbrook man shoots at helicopter Officer shoots, kills suspect in downtown Alexandria
Additional Articles Recommended by Pineandlakes Echo JournalPolice Blotter-Aug. Tim O’Driscoll, R-Sartell, told the panel when he wondered whether his State Fair doughnut purchases should be tracked and reported.”I’m not a doughnut eater,” Rep. Asch, who served a term in the Minnesota House in the early 1990s, started making doughnuts in 1987 at the State Fair before moving up to dough-maker and manager. Now he runs the political action committee.But Republican lawmakers say the booth is unlike any at the Great Minnesota Get-Together.Instead, said Rep. Jason Isaacson, DFL-Shoreview, also sees an upside to the legislation.”I am pleased to see a Republican, for the first time ever — even if it is misguided — to attempt to address dark money,” Isaacson said. Is it right to deceive people making a purchase and then having it become a political contribution?” Jessup said.He is offering a bill, one of 10 the freshman representative has sponsored this year, that would require the mini-doughnut booth’s operators to ” disclose to each purchaser, prior to a sale, that proceeds may be used to make a contribution.”It would also limit where the proceeds could go. The group, which has been registered as the “10th Ward & Rural Ramsey County (fka DFL Donut Booth)” since 1977, then contributes the profits to local Democratic-Farmer-Labor groups. Randy Jessup, R-Shoreview, it is a “black stain” at the State Fair.”I ask all of us: Do you want to defend this type of an operation? Indeed, they were so clear they felt the need to discuss their emotions about doughnuts.”I like doughnuts,” Rep. Jim Nash, R-Waconia, declared, adding that his family does buy mini-doughnuts and may have bought them from what he called the “dishonest” booth.The doughnut booth brings in some serious dough for Democratic Party groups.Since 2001, the doughnut proceeds allowed the 10th Ward & Rural Ramsey County political committee to donate at least $270,000 to DFL state Senate and House party groups. That, he said, has been good for business.”We enjoy the coverage because every time we get exposed, our business increases and we make great doughnuts,” he said.Sen. But Jessup, who treats the bill as seriously as any other measure to come before the Legislature, is clear: He’s talking about doughnuts.The members of a committee where he presented his bill were clear on that point, too. Every few years, Asch said, a Minnesota news outlet will investigate the association between the doughnuts and the politics and the booth will get all sorts of attention for a time. ST. “I don’t understand why these guys have their undies in a bunch over this.”He said the booth has no sign that proclaims its political aims, but it’s not a secret. 11, 2016Polk County deputy injured after Clearbrook man shoots at helicopter Officer shoots, kills suspect in downtown Alexandria The not-so-secret secret ingredient?”There’s a little nutmeg in it,” he said.The Pioneer Press is a Forum News Service media partner.Additional Articles Recommended by Pineandlakes Echo JournalPolice Blotter-Aug. “It operates like any other booth at the Fair,” said the group’s chairman, Marc Asch. The booth even posts its recipe for all to see.

It’s back: Minnesota Senate has plan to revive Real ID

Three weeks ago, the Republican-controlled Senate rejected a bill to make the state’s driver’s licenses compatible with federal requirements that will go into effect next year. Mark Dayton would like the Real ID bill to grant him the rule-making authority to implement them but said he would sign a Real ID bill without that. “In the end, I think pressure has been growing on all legislators to get something done.”Rep. PAUL — Senate leaders think they’ve struck a deal to revive a defeated measure to bring Minnesota into compliance with federal Real ID standards. Ann Rest, DFL-New Hope, the Senate is planning to vote for a new bill.”We are talking about taking out the rulemaking all together,” said Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, a Republican from near Nisswa.Doing that would win enough Democratic votes, Bakk said, for it to pass the Senate.The revised measure could come up for a full Senate vote as soon as next week. The Senate’s language was in between the two, but Democrats still felt it went too far in preventing the future issuance of undocumented immigrant driver’s licenses.But now, after a suggestion from Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, and Sen. 18, 2016. The House Republican Real ID bill contains explicit language barring licenses for undocumented immigrants. The final vote was 29-38.One of the biggest issues for many Democrats was not about the federal driver’s license security standards but the tangentially related question of driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants. Mark Dayton.Even if the Senate manages to pass the new version of the bill, there still could be trouble ahead: Republicans in the House of Representatives might refuse to vote for any bill that doesn’t include a legal ban on licenses for undocumented immigrants.”The House has to understand that the Senate can’t pass a bill with that in there,” said Bakk, DFL-Cook.Gazelka acknowledged the House-Senate divide is a concern.”That’s the art of politics,” Gazelka said. Minnesota Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, pictured on Thursday, Aug. All the Senate’s Democrats and five of the Senate’s Republicans voted against the measure. If Minnesota doesn’t change its licenses by then, residents may need to bring other identification, like a passport or a state-issued enhanced driver’s license, for federal purposes.The Pioneer Press is a Forum News Service media partner.Additional Articles Recommended by Pineandlakes Echo JournalOfficer shoots, kills suspect in downtown AlexandriaFamily on way to missionary training killed in crashPolice Blotter: July 29, 2016
Additional Articles Recommended by Pineandlakes Echo JournalOfficer shoots, kills suspect in downtown AlexandriaFamily on way to missionary training killed in crashPolice Blotter: July 29, 2016 That would allow House and Senate negotiators to come up with a joint measure to approve and send to DFL Gov. DFL Gov. Dennis Smith, the chief sponsor of the House Real ID measure, said he is confident that the Legislature will be able to pass a Real ID bill this year. Don Davis / Forum News ServiceST. The Legislature will come up with a “creative solution that will address all the issues and it will be something all the Legislators can support,” the Maple Grove Republican said.The federal Department of Homeland Security has said that next year it will stop accepting driver’s licenses that are not Real ID compliant as valid identification at airports and other federal checkpoints.

Audit: Minn. welfare programs have lax eligibility checks

House races in national spotlightPolk County deputy injured after Clearbrook man shoots at helicopter Math, reading scores stall in latest round of Minnesota testing
Additional Articles Recommended by Pineandlakes Echo JournalSome Minnesota U.S. PAUL — A review by Minnesota’s legislative auditor has found that some of Minnesota’s welfare programs do a poor job of ensuring benefits don’t go to ineligible people — a finding that could have political implications as lawmakers shape the state’s budget. She also said the department would work to make sure elderly and disabled Medical Assistance cases were reviewed.”We are encouraged by the progress we’ve made in our internal control environment; this is the fewest findings and recommendations we have had in a single audit since 2001,” Piper said. TANF is funded by the federal government, not by state taxpayers.The Department of Human Services’ own review process — bolstered after a similar finding in an earlier audit — later identified and corrected these mistakes. House races in national spotlightPolk County deputy injured after Clearbrook man shoots at helicopter Math, reading scores stall in latest round of Minnesota testing remaining findings are all prior year issues, which we have been unable to resolve.”The audit did not review the state’s major public health programs because it had been directed not to by the federal Office of Management and Budget, which conducts reviews of its own. Republicans who control the state House and Senate have called for big cuts to the Department of Human Services’ budget. The audit recommended the department work harder to educate county workers to prevent these mistakes in the future.The audit also identified errors made by county workers in determining whether elderly and disabled Minnesotans were eligible for help under the state’s Medical Assistance or Medicaid program. The department didn’t disagree in principle, but questioned how much savings could be achieved by a tighter eligibility review. ST. A 2014 audit had found shortcomings in how DHS verified eligibility for these programs, and this time “the department acknowledged that it had not fully resolved most of the findings of our earlier audit of the eligibility determinations in the Minnesota eligibility system.”Republican lawmakers used error rates found in the 2014 audit to call for a major review of eligibility for public programs, in hopes of identifying people wrongly receiving state benefits. The state had a previous review system for catching these mistakes but “discontinued these case reviews in October 2015.” Medical Assistance costs are split between the state and federal governments.In a response, DHS Commissioner Emily Johnson Piper agreed with the findings and said the department would redouble its efforts to identify efficiencies and improve training for county workers. For these programs, the legislative auditor reviewed the Department of Human Services’ processes, and checked a random sample of cases to identify errors.It found significant error rates in the Temporary Assistance For Needy Families program, which provides cash and other benefits to low-income families with children. “However, we are disappointed that the … Four of 40 tested cases were given Medical Assistance benefits they weren’t eligible for because they had too much income or too many assets. This program is directly administered by workers in counties, not by the state, and the audit found eight of 24 families it reviewed weren’t eligible for benefits they received. One big area Republicans have identified for potential savings in the past is tightening the state’s eligibility requirements for public programs — a push driven by a similar audit.The audit released Friday reviewed several major federally funded programs aimed at helping low-income, elderly and disabled Minnesotans. Republican budgets predicted $300 million in savings over two years, while the department said a more realistic savings estimate was around $150 million — and that would come only after the program had a few years to ramp up.The Pioneer Press is a Forum News Service media partner.Additional Articles Recommended by Pineandlakes Echo JournalSome Minnesota U.S.

Minn. vice principal arrested on suspicion of soliciting a child for sex

He also previously worked as a teacher at Northern Elementary School. Bjerknes also said the conversations took place between January and March 2017.Investigators also made contact with the victims, one of whom said she began speaking to Brett Larson “a couple of years ago, but had only re-engaged in communication with him in February 2017.”The complaint states that information on Bjerknes’s phone shows the conversation with the two victims occurred throughout March 2017.The sheriff’s office also released a separate statement Friday requesting that parents ask their children about any contact with “Brett Larson.” If so, parents are encouraged to contact the sheriff’s office at 218-333-9111.Bemidji Area Schools released a statement on Friday morning that said the district received a complaint regarding Bjerknes on March 20 and that he was immediately placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.The statement also said, “As always, the priority for Bemidji Area Schools is to provide a safe and welcoming environment for all students. He stated that he created the account and all of the Snapchat contact had been done through his “Brett Larson” Snapchat account. Friday he was no longer listed on the Beltrami County Jail roster, but is scheduled to appear in court again on Monday, April 17.Additional Articles Recommended by Pineandlakes Echo JournalOfficer shoots, kills suspect in downtown AlexandriaLawsuit fights for rights of disabled citizensPolice Blotter: July 29, 2016
Additional Articles Recommended by Pineandlakes Echo JournalOfficer shoots, kills suspect in downtown AlexandriaLawsuit fights for rights of disabled citizensPolice Blotter: July 29, 2016 — Bemidji Middle School’s assistant principal was charged with two felonies Friday after allegedly posing as a 13-year-old boy on social media in order to have sexual conversations with minors. According to the criminal complaint filed Friday, Bjerknes had been using the name “Brett Larson” on Facebook, Snapchat and email accounts, and claiming he was a student at a Duluth school. All complaints regarding school district employees are taken seriously and will work with all appropriate agencies to ensure that a comprehensive investigation is completed.”Bjerknes became the assistant principal at the middle school in 2014 after being promoted from dean of students. The Beltrami County Sheriff’s Department began investigating a Facebook account for “Brett Larson” in January 2017.Facebook provided the IP address, and on March 20 the sheriff’s department learned it belonged to Midcontinent Communications and was associated with the address assigned to Brandon Mark Bjerknes.The sheriff’s department sought and executed a search warrant at the 8300 block of White Oak Street NE on the same day and Bjerknes admitted he created the Facebook account. Investigators found conversations with two separate juveniles, ages 13 and 14, that were relating to or describing sexual conduct, including text and photo.The sheriff’s department informed Bjerknes that they had viewed the the photos and text on Snapchat and Bjerknes admitted he knew the victims were younger than 15. Bail for Bjerknes was set at $5,000 with conditions and $50,000 without conditions. As of 7:30 p.m. Brandon Mark Bjerknes, 34, was arraigned Friday afternoon after being charged with two counts of engaging in electronic communication relating to or describing sexual conduct with a child. Brandon Mark BjerknesBEMIDJI, Minn. He also admitted that he accessed the account on multiple devices.On March 21, the sheriff’s department searched the cellphone that was seized from the property and found conversations on Snapchat under the username BrettLarson6969.

Boudreau won’t be resting Wild stars

If we’re tired, then maybe we’re not the athletes we think we are.”Goalie Devan Dubnyk shared similar thoughts, uninterested in making excuses despite the fact that his team will end up finishing the season with 20 games in 35 days.”You know, every team in the league is playing this many games,” Dubnyk said. Then, maybe it’s fine, I guess. Minnesota Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau looks on from the bench against the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center in Washington on March 14, 2017. That, coupled with the fact that it is looking doubtful that the Wild can catch the Chicago Blackhawks at the top of the Western Conference standings, now trailing by eight points, means it might be time to start thinking about giving players games off with eyes on the playoffs.Would players be open to something like that?”I don’t know,” Coyle said. Yeah, it’s difficult for everybody. “We’ve had that before, where we can’t move in the standings in the last one or two games of the season. We want to make sure we have that energy.”Boudreau was insistent after Thursday’s game that his players have to find that energy from within themselves.”I mean, coaches can yell, they can cajole, they can pat on the back, they can kick in the butt,” he said. “Then we’ll start talking about different things.”His players seemed to embrace the time to recharge, with many players not participating in the on-ice portion of Friday’s practice.”It’s tough, especially this time of the season, because we’d like to get a practice in to work on our game and we also want to have legs for the game,” Charlie Coyle said. We have to find chemistry with each other. “If we had a few days off, they would’ve been skating.”That said, Boudreau isn’t ready to sit any of his players, concentrating instead on Saturday’s game against the Canucks and Sunday’s road game against the Detroit Red Wings.”We want to win the next game,” he said. … “As far as whatever (the coaching staff) see fit going forward, I’m sure has been talked about, and it’s up to them. “In the end, we don’t go out there and skate. It’s like this every season. “So, is it difficult? His rationale was simple: It gave his players, particularly his veterans, a chance to recharge rather than playing in fairly inconsequential regular-season games. We have to find our team. PAUL — Don’t expect Wild coach Bruce Boudreau to channel his inner Gregg Popovich anytime soon.Popovich, the longtime NBA coach who has overseen the San Antonio Spurs dynasty the past two decades, essentially patented the concept of resting star players over the course of an 82-game regular season. So I don’t think that would work right now.”Eric Staal, meanwhile, will leave that decision up to the coaching staff.”We come to the rink every day to perform,” he said. Popovich rarely has brought along his best lineup to Minnesota to play the Timberwolves for awhile now.Although he took some heat for the policy early on, Popovich has seen coaches follow suit, with the practice becoming almost customary in the NBA.It isn’t so customary in the NHL, though maybe it should be, considering the regular season features the same 82-game grind as the NBA.Boudreau was perplexed following the Wild’s lethargic 3-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night. Geoff Burke / USA TODAY SportsST. I’m not sure that’s what we need right now. Vancouver), so it’s really not conducive to skate them hard today,” he said. “We have a back-to-back coming up, a couple of day games. It’s part of our job.”Still, it’s realistic that an 82-game regular season can start to feel like a grind over time. He blamed “fatigue” for his spiraling team’s sixth loss in seven games.”It looked like we had no energy or life or whatever,” he said.Boudreau responded by making Friday’s practice optional, having players instead watch film of their recent struggles.”We have an afternoon game (at 1 p.m. Saturday vs. As players, we have to come to the rink, be a professional, be ready to play, and not use any excuses about doing our job.”The Pioneer Press is a Forum News Service media partner.