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Minnesota legislators expected to finish final part of $46 billion budget, with tax cuts, bonding bill

Lower South Long Lake Improvement District meeting planned

Fourth of July:

Deadliest day of the year on the road

The Fourth of July is the state’s deadliest day of the year on the road, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety.

In the last three years, Independence Day racked up 15 traffic deaths, topping May 22, which had 13, May 23, which had 11 and July 10, which had 11 for the deadliest 24-hour period.

DPS officials are emphasizing that motorists should buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention and plan ahead for a sober ride for the holiday.

Fourth of July travel periods — 78 hour period surrounding the holiday from 2009–2011 — had 21 deaths of which 14 were a result of an alcohol-impaired crash and 1,536 driving while impaired (DWI) arrest.

“The spike in drinking and driving deaths during the Fourth of July is a clear and simple reminder why Minnesotans need to plan ahead for a sober ride.” said Donna Berger, director of the DPS Office of Traffic Safety, in a news release.

Consequences of a DWI include thousands of dollars in costs, increased insurance rates, loss of license and possible jail time. Repeat DWI offenders, as well as first-time offenders arrested at 0.16 and above alcohol-concentration level must use interlock in order to regain legal driving privileges, or face at least one year without a driver’s license. Offenders with three or more offenses are required to use interlock for three to six years, or they will never regain driving privileges.

Ignition interlock requires the driver to provide a breath sample below 0.02 alcohol-concentration in order for the vehicle to start. Learn more about ignition interlock at

Absentee ballots

available for primary

The Crow Wing County Auditor-Treasurer’s Office, announces that absentee ballots for the primary election are now be available from the office for Crow Wing County residents. For those who are unable to vote on Aug. 14, primary Election Day, because of absence from the precinct, illness, physical disability or other eligible reasons, you are eligible to vote by absentee ballot.

People may vote absentee ballot by mail, or they may vote in person at the County Auditor-Treasurer’s Office where an election booth is set up. In compliance with the Help America Vote Act, an Accessible Voting Technology device will also be available to assist voters in marking their ballot if they so choose.

In addition to regular hours, the elections office will be open Aug. 11, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. An application for absentee ballot may be obtained by visiting the Crow Wing County website at or by contacting the Crow Wing County Auditor-Treasurer’s Office at 824-1045. Requests should be in as soon as possible to ensure receiving the ballot in ample time.

East River Road open again

The two-block portion of East River Road — between Washington Street and Front Street that was closed this past weekend — was scheduled to be back open sometime during the afternoon of Monday July 2, Brainerd City Engineer Jeff Hulsether said.

Hulsether said city crews analyzed the site where a sink hole developed late Thursday and found that the sink hole was caused by the heavy rains the area received last week. Hulsether said the soils have recompacted and shouldn’t be a problem anymore.

“We’re filling it back up and it should be open by this (Monday) afternoon,” Hulsether said around 3 p.m. Monday. “If we have another rain event, we will keep an eye on it.”

City crews did emergency borings Thursday to help address the issue. The city closed the road as crews were concerned about the area around the sink hole as it is close to the railroad tracks and the sink hole developed over large sanitary sewer lines.

“The sewer lines are fine,” said Hulsether.

Equestrian competition planned

Mounted Eagles and Spirit Horse Center will host the Special Olympics District 5 Equestrian Competition show on Sunday at Spirit Horse Center, 8386 59th Avenue, Brainerd. Registration is at 7:30 a.m. and opening ceremonies are at 9 a.m. First class is at 9:30 a.m. with the “estimated” last class at 5 p.m.

For more information, contact Lynn Fairbanks at 454-3228, Option 2 or via e-mail at

Lower South Long Lake Improvement

District meeting planned

The 2012 annual meeting of the Lower South Long Lake Improvement District will be at 9 a.m. Aug. 4 at the Long Lake Town Hall on Highway 25 in Brainerd. All property owners living within 1,000 feet of Lower South Long Lake are encouraged to attend. One position on the board is up for re-election. The 2013 budget will be voted on and approved.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
(218) 855-5889