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Baxter to host regional K-9 field trials

BAXTER — Police canine units from the Midwest and Canada will be arriving in Baxter in June as the Baxter Police Department hosts the U.S. Police Canine Association (USPCA) regional field trials.

With the field trials, police canine teams demonstrate the ability to work together effectively and safely. Expectations are for 75 to 90 canine teams to participate from Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota and Manitoba, Canada.

“This is a great event to bring to the area,” Baxter Police Chief Jim Exsted said. “I think it’s a great opportunity.”

The event, June 22-24, is free and open to the public. Baxter is taking its turn for the rotating event. Police officer Matt Maier and K-9 Gator are seeking donations of any size along with business and civic groups interested in helping as an event sponsor. Donations will be used to assist in building the equipment for the field trials and other expenses. The U.S. Police Canine Association is a nonprofit organization. Any donations are tax-deductible.

Maier noted the event is expected to draw not only competitors from the four-state area and Canada, but family members and friends.

“Our goal is to not only hold an outstanding trial that certifies canine teams but also showcase our beautiful and generous community,” Maier wrote.

The Baxter Police Department will also be hosting a free canine demonstration event on June 22 in addition to the trials themselves. Ten years ago the city co-hosted the event with Crow Wing County. That year, the demonstration event was at the Brainerd High School athletic field, which won’t be available this summer so the group will have to look for alternative sites. Baxter Council member Mark Cross said the event a decade ago was well attended.

Mayor Darrel Olson said the hesitation for the council has come in asking for money.

Sponsorships are available range from $100 for teams, $250 for field sponsors, $500 for event sponsors and $1,000 for trial sponsors. Donations may be sent to the USPCA Region 12, 13190 Memorywood Drive, Baxter, MN 56425.

“I’m glad Gator gets it on his home turf,” Cross said.

In other business, the council:

Noted the Government Finance Officers Association certificate of achievement for excellence in financial reporting presented to the city is thanks to work of Jeremy Vacinek, finance director, and Susannah Jensen, assistant finance director. This is the second consecutive year Baxter gained the certificate. Vacinek said the award is the highest form of recognition in the area of government and financial reporting with 100 municipalities gaining the recognition from a list of more than 800.

“We are very thankful for all your efforts keeping us on track day after day and year after year,” Olson said.

Approved a wage increase for intermittent officers from $19.75 to $21.50 per hour.

Approved plat extensions for Baxter Edgewood and Johnson Centre subdivisions.

Approved regular employment status for Baxter Police officer Lance Herbst after successful completion of his probationary period.

Approved a final plat for the Fairview Office Park to replat of an outlot first established as a future buildable lot. This allows for the construction of the fourth of eight office buildings in the Fairview Office Park.

Heard the bonding bill, which is together with Brainerd’s request for an extension to the local option sales tax, is moving through the legislative process.

Approved a contract for WSB & Associates to provide the city with special assessment and right-of-way/easement acquisition services for the plan to extend Isle Drive in 2015. In its proposal, WSB presented a base project fee of $39,600 for services from the public information meeting to appraisals and negotiations with optional services of appraisals for four parcels on Perch Lake required for utilities and legal assistance for potential eminent domain proceedings.

City Council member Rob Moser was on vacation and not in attendance Tuesday.

RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at 855-5852 or Follow on Twitter at

Renee Richardson
Richardson is a Pacelli High School graduate from Austin, Minn., who earned an applied science degree from the University of Minnesota, Waseca, with an emphasis in horse management. She worked extensively in the resort industry. She received an associate’s degree from Central Lakes College, where she was editor of the Westbank Journal student newspaper, as well as a summer intern at the Dispatch. She graduated from St. Cloud State University summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and interned at the St. Cloud Times covering business while attending SCSU. She's been with the Brainerd Dispatch since 1996.
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