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The Latest News From Minnesota Daily News Dot Com

17th April 2015
news

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has issued Beltrami County a large trap range grant toward development of the Northland Regional Shooting Sports Park located off Highway 89 south of Jackpine Road. 

The $419,732 grant was the largest grant awarded to any facility across the state as part of a statewide effort to promote the development and enhancement of trap shooting facilities.

The Minnesota Legislature last year authorized more than $2 million for matching grants to recreational shooting clubs for developing or rehabilitating trap shooting sports facilities for public use, with an emphasis on enhancing youth participation opportunities.

“It’s great to see greater Minnesota receive this money. This is a fantastic opportunity to move forward in developing the Northland Regional Shooting Sports Park,” said Dick Moore, Beltrami County land commissioner and director of Beltrami County Natural Resources Department. “This is a result of a lot of hard work by so many local people dedicated to moving this project forward.”

The Northland Regional Shooting Sports Park is part of the Northland Regional Sports Park, which will be a multi-use sporting facility that promotes outdoor recreation. The Shooting Sports Park facility will serve as a firearms training center and provide a venue for youth and families to learn how to shoot, compete in local and statewide shooting sports events and develop hunting skills that ensure the future of the hunting and shooting sports tradition. It will provide safe, family-friendly recreational shooting opportunities to northwest Minnesota.

“The DNR grant, combined with a generous gift from the George W. Nielson Foundation and donations from individuals and businesses, will allow the project to break ground in 2015,” said Mark Farabee, chairman of the Headwater Shooting Sports Association. “We’ve still got a ways to go with the fundraising efforts, though.”

Farabee adds that additional funding is still required in order to complete the project’s two-year, Phase 1 range infrastructure plan. Tax-deductible gifts or pledges can be made to the Northland Regional Shooting Sports Fund through the Northwest Minnesota Foundation (www.nwmf.org).

Additional information on the Shooting Sports Park can be found at www.bemidjishooters.org and www.bemidji.trap.skeet.org.    

Development of the DNR trap grants program follows a significant rise in youth trap shooting, especially by high school students who are part of a statewide league. Existing trap ranges sometimes struggle to meet demand.

“This is great news for the Bemidji High School clay target team, as well as other school districts in the region,” said Bryan Hammitt, Bemidji High School Clay Target team coach. “Greater Bemidji area teams will be able to use the facility to compete in sectional and invitational high school clay target league matches.”

Hammitt added that the growth of the high school clay target team, now in its second year, has been phenomenal and the team has quickly become highly competitive in the statewide league.

 



14th April 2015
news

The Beltrami County Sheriff's 911 Center received a 911 call at 5:23 AM on Monday, April 13, 2015, reporting that the Blackduck Trestle, also known as the M & I Trestle and areas of the swamp surrounding it were burning. The Trestle is located on the east side of the City of Blackduck. 

Immediately responding to the fire were the Blackduck Fire Department, Beltrami County Sheriff's Office, Blackduck DNR and First Responders.  The bridge was fully engulfed.  After control of the fire was achieved, it was discovered that 200' of the 701' long trestle was completely destroyed by the Fire.

The State Fire Marshall was called to the scene and subsequent investigation involving the Blackduck Police Department, Beltrami County Sheriff's Office, Blackduck Fire and the Fire Marshall revealed the cause to be arson.  The investigation continues in this case.   

The Blackduck Trestle was built between the years of 1901-1902 by Frank O'Brien for use by the M & I Railroad, originally a subsidiary of the Northern Pacific, which was incorporated to provide a rail link between Bemidji and International Falls.   This trestle is significant for its method of construction and the considerable length required to span Coburn Creek and the surrounding marsh.  It is the longest structure on the former M & I line and is recognized as the most difficult railroad that was built.  In 1996, MN DOT took over the ownership of the trestle.  They were currently in the process of transferring ownership to the MN DNR.  

Because of the historical significance and due to the efforts of the City of Blackduck, the trestle was determined to be eligible for membership in the National Register of Historic Places.  The trestle was inducted into membership on February 5, 2014. 

 

The current value of the bridge is estimated to be $500.000.00. A picture is enclosed in this press release. 

Chief John Wilkinson, Blackduck Police Department, is asking for the public's assistance in locating the person or persons responsible for this act of vandalism that has effectively destroyed a public landmark and the use of the bridge by those who are enjoying recreational activities in the Blackduck area.  Please call 218-333-9111 if you have any information pertaining to this crime. 

Questions regarding the history of the bridge should be directed to the City Clerk, Blackduck City Hall, 218-835-4803.



13th April 2015
news

The Bemidji Fire Department and Minnesota DNR responded to four wildland fires in the Bemidji area on Saturday.  Bemidji Fire Chief Dave Hoeffer said that one of these fires destroyed a home on 149th Ave in Fern Township.  Firefighters arrived on the scene to find the home engulfed in flames, one outbuilding immediately threatened and a rapidly spreading grass fire.  Firefighters were able to contain the fire to the house and about 5 acres of grassland burnt.  The sole occupant of the home was able to escape the fire with no injuries.  Several agencies were on the scene for about 3 and a half hours.  The fire caused an estimated $73,000 in damage to the structure and its contents.  Hoefer says the cause of the fire appears to be accidental in nature and is currently under investigation.



13th April 2015
news

Congressmen Rick Nolan and Collin Petersen were at the Bemidji Regional Airport Friday afternoon, meeting with local government and business leaders, talking about Essential Air Service – a federal subsidy program that is facing an uncertain future.  The legislators heard from several local leaders about the importance of essential air service and what it would mean to Bemidji if we did not have air service located here.  Nolan said that in Bemidji, there are 43-thousand people coming in and out of Bemidji on airplanes every year and the lion’s share of those are business people.  He said that there have been business people that have said, without the air service, they would move to another city or region.  Air service, he said, is something that the region has to have.  Nolan said, there is a fight brewing over this in Washington, but there is some good bi-partisan support and they are going to fight hard to preserve it.



13th April 2015
news

The Bemidji Fire Department and Minnesota DNR responded to four wildland fires in the Bemidji area on Saturday.  Bemidji Fire Chief Dave Hoeffer said that one of these fires destroyed a home on 149th Ave in Fern Township.  Firefighters arrived on the scene to find the home engulfed in flames, one outbuilding immediately threatened and a rapidly spreading grass fire.  Firefighters were able to contain the fire to the house and about 5 acres of grassland burnt.  The sole occupant of the home was able to escape the fire with no injuries.  Several agencies were on the scene for about 3 and a half hours.  The fire caused an estimated $73,000 in damage to the structure and its contents.  Hoefer says the cause of the fire appears to be accidental in nature and is currently under investigation.



13th April 2015
news

Congressmen Rick Nolan and Collin Petersen were at the Bemidji Regional Airport Friday afternoon, meeting with local government and business leaders, talking about Essential Air Service – a federal subsidy program that is facing an uncertain future.  The legislators heard from several local leaders about the importance of essential air service and what it would mean to Bemidji if we did not have air service located here.  Nolan said that in Bemidji, there are 43-thousand people coming in and out of Bemidji on airplanes every year and the lion’s share of those are business people.  He said that there have been business people that have said, without the air service, they would move to another city or region.  Air service, he said, is something that the region has to have.  Nolan said, there is a fight brewing over this in Washington, but there is some good bi-partisan support and they are going to fight hard to preserve it.



3rd April 2015
news

Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle and MnDOT engineers announced today a list of 290 transportation construction projects that are getting underway this construction season. There are a number of projects included for District 2, which covers the Northwest portion of the state.  Crews will begin work this spring to add passing lanes, turn lanes, bypass lanes and culverts on Highway 2 from Cass Lake to Deer River.  This summer, MnDot will begin at project at Highway 2 and 89 West of Bemidji that includes a new bridge and turn lanes to make that intersection safer.  Also this summer, MnDot will be resurfacing Highway 371 from Walker to just south of the railroad crossing in Cass Lake. MnDot officials say projects scheduled for this year will help preserve and maintain state highways, bridges and other transportation infrastructure. A full list of those projects is available here.

While this year’s program provides some significant maintenance work for the state transportation system, MnDOT officials note that planning for future years indicates less revenue will be available under current funding levels, and much more work is needed to address the long-term challenges facing Minnesota’s transportation system.



3rd April 2015
news

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will use a new firefighting aircraft, the FireBoss, during the 2015 fire season. The state fire program recently transitioned from CL-215 planes to the new FireBoss in order to keep pace with changing technology and efficiencies. The DNR has four FireBoss planes on contract at airports around the state.



31st March 2015
news

The Bemidji School Board last night voted to enter into a purchase agreement with the Beltrami County House and Redevelopment Authority to purchase acreage for the new 4th and 5th grade elementary school.   Superintendent Jim Hess said that they evaluated a couple of pieces of property for the new school and concluded the location near Bemidji Middle School, referred to as the Gordon Property, was the best location.  Hess said that among the reasons, the Gordon Property is more centrally located, it’s in close proximity to Bemidji Middle School, transportation services, & playing fields, and it’s connected to the community by several major streets.  Hess said that the purchase price for the roughly 30 acre parcel is $760,000.   Board member Jeff Haack said that he has been asked by people in the community why the district is looking to buy property instead of building the new school on district-owned land near Bemidji High School.  He asked that the information – clear comparisons - be made available on the district’s website for the public so everyone has the same information that the board has.  Superintendent Hess said that they will do that right away. 

Also last night, the board voted to sell the Deer Lake School Property to Cedar Path Holdings for a purchase prices of $550,000 with stipulation that the property cannot be used as a K-12 school that would be in competition with Bemidji Area Schools for students or resources. 

In other news from last night’s Bemidji School Board meeting, Superintendent Jim Hess presented the board a rough estimate of some budget adjustments that would be made to address a potential $1.8 to $2.3 million budget deficit the district could be facing, due in part to the addition of programs and staff aimed at closing the achievement gap.  Some of the potential ideas that Hess presented were re-opening open enrollment at the elementary level, holding off on some one-time expenditures, and enacting some staffing adjustments.  The board is expected to discuss more detailed plans at a meeting in April.



31st March 2015
news

A fire early Monday afternoon at Meyers Auto Service caused about 78-thousand dollars in damage.  Bemidji Fire crews were called out just after noon yesterday to the automotive repair shop in the 13-hundred black of Miles Avenue SE.  Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze.  No injuries were reported.  The cause of the fire appears to be accidental in nature and is currently under investigation by the fire department.




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