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There are two new faces on the Aitkin County Sheriff's Office Top 10 Most Wanted list for the first month of 2017 Rachele Lynn Schroeder and Thomas James Vigness have been added to the list. They join Brandon Stuart Bearheart, Carla Maxine Cain, Paul Arthur Heimark, Steven James Iverson, Chris David Kujawa, Gary George Powers, Terry Thomas Olson and Kenneth Walker Jr. Kujawa and Powers have been wanted by Aitkin County since 1998 and others on the list have been wanted since the early 2000s.
A bit earlier than expected, Raelynn Christine Johnson decided to ring in the new year in grand fashion as the first baby born in Crow Wing County in 2017. Shakyra Johnson gave birth to Raelynn at 2:34 p.m. Sunday—New Year's Day—at Essentia Health-St. Joseph's Medical Center in Brainerd—a week ahead of her Jan, 8 due date. Raelynn, who was born with a full head of dark hair, was 7 pounds, 10 ounces and 21-inches long.
A murder and an attempted murder in north Brainerd in first days of 2015 culminated in a conviction and an acquittal for two suspects in the case. The crime and the subsequent manhunt for the two suspects had the city following social media and watching homes next door being searched on a cold January night. The two suspects were then identified as 23-year-old Tyler Allan Cronquist and 26-year-old Nathan David Becker, both of the Brainerd area.
The search for a missing 5-year-old Watkins girl involving several county sheriff's offices on Aug. 20—starting in Meeker County and ending in Cass County—received statewide attention as an AMBER Alert was issued and people followed the news on the whereabouts of the girl.
It was a story one would think they'd never read in the Brainerd Dispatch. Two baby alligators were found in the Brainerd lakes area within 10 days of each other this past July. Baxter resident Dan Fundingsland found the first 3-foot alligator on July 9 while biking on a paved Paul Bunyan Trail near Brandon Way in Barrows. The second alligator was located July 19 near the shoreline of Hardy Lake in rural Pillager.
Cullen Johnson Grade: Senior. Age: 17. Art focus: Brainerd High School Art. Adviser nomination: "Cullen is a creative and refined artist in both painting and pottery. She is one of those artists who works quietly and effortlessly on her art, putting her heart and soul into everything she creates. Cullen has a clear understanding in design, composition and art techniques. We in the visual arts department congratulate you as our Fine Arts Student of the Week."
They were raped. They were called names and were bullied. They attempted suicide, more than once. But they survived.
"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. "I can do all this through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:12-12 The Journey North Community Church Pastor Mark Bjorlo, and his wife Elizabeth, have always felt God's strength and have a strong faith.
As Chad Aanerud watched his mobile home being destroyed by fire Thursday morning, he was relieved he escaped injuries—but was devastated as he lost all the sentimental items of his late grandfather. "He was my best friend," Aanerud said of his grandfather who died about 3 ½ years ago. "I had his military flag, his Army picture from when he was in Vietnam and the last picture of him alive is in there ... Now it's all gone. This is hard to see ... You can't get any of this back."
PILLAGER—A Pillager woman was driven out of her home Wednesday after a dehumidifier started on fire, causing extensive smoke damage to the residence. Pillager Area Fire and Rescue was called at 8:51 a.m. to a house fire on the 900 block of West Second Street. The homeowner is Helen VanVickle.