When the days get shorter and colder, many people get, well, lazier. It happens to me every year. The summer months wrap up and I don’t want to do anything. My winter laziness is a far cry from my active summer life. Every morning before work, I’d wake up just as the sun started to rise and go mountain biking for an hour. After work, I’d head out on the trails again or pack up the kayak and explore one of the many mine pits near Riverton and Crosby.
Flu cases have hit widespread status statewide, and the same can be said for the Brainerd lakes area. Area hospitals say there’s an uptick in flu cases recently — a spike that is hitting a little earlier than usual. “We saw this early spike last year, but it typically peaks in mid-February to March,” said Kari Russell, registered nurse and infection preventionist at Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center. “This is the second year to see the spike now. It’s hard to say — it might be the new norm.”
Sustainable living is the lesson. Hope for the future is the vision. It’s all part of this year’s Back to Basics event sponsored by Happy Dancing Turtle (HDT), Pine River-Backus Community Education and Central Lakes College. “It’s about making your life more resilient, either on the personal level or for the greater world at large,” said Quinn Swanson, sustainability programs coordinator with HDT. “It could be from spending less money to having a healthier diet.”
CROSBY — New developments are moving forward for biking trails — both paved and not — in Cuyuna country. The progress was discussed Tuesday at an Unlimited Learning event at Heartwood Senior Living Community in Crosby. The first development is with the Cuyuna Lakes State Trail, a paved seven-mile trail that now runs from Riverton to Crosby. It now has a master plan to expand all the way to Aitkin and down to Brainerd, totalling 40 miles.
A new name will be given to the ISD 181 Learning Center, but it won’t be too much of a change. The building will now be called Brainerd Learning Center. The Brainerd School Board unanimously approved the change at its meeting Monday. The tweak in the name comes parallel with the rest of the district’s new branding, which was presented last fall. Brainerd Learning Center (BLC) principal Jessica Haapajoki said since the rest of the schools in the district were moving away from the “ISD 181” wording, BLC should follow suit. “The timing was right,” she said.
A spark of passion for the outdoors first ignited in Katie Kaufman as a child during fishing and camping trips with her dad. Today, that passion for nature has brought Kaufman to the Brainerd Parks and Recreation Department, where she started last week as the new recreation specialist. Kaufman replaces Bonnie Muzik, who recently retired after 33 years with the city. Kaufman was taught at a young age to appreciate both the land and sports. It’s what helped her pick a career in parks and recreation.
Three local landmarks are turning 100 this year, so a small group of history lovers want to celebrate — Brainerd style. The celebration is rolling out in the form of a week-long string of events dubbed History Week. It runs June 16-20. The week could be extended into the weekend, as well. “There’s a charm and mystique to Brainerd. It’s still there — we just have to bring it out,” said Mary Koep, History Week Committee member and Brainerd City Council member. She added, “It’s our job to make people see that (mystique).” Enter History Week.
A higher deficit spending level than originally identified is projected in the Brainerd schools 2013-14 budget. The preliminary budget was passed by the board at its June meeting. Now, as the school year progresses and more budget pieces become solid, staff is able to see a clearer picture of the district’s finances. That clearer image shows a deficit spending level of $1,153,399. That’s a jump from the preliminary number in June of $779,510. That’s mostly because of an increase of expenses, more specifically staff contracts.
The deadline to clean his property has come and gone for the owner of an “illegal flea market” on Pine Street in Brainerd. What’s next for property owner Chad Ross is still up in the air. Office staff from misdemeanor prosecutor Matthew Mallie said “the matter is pending as far as further action,” but could not detail what that action might be or if Ross will see jail time. Mallie did not respond directly to several interview requests.
Brainerd officials will not support a request from Wausau Paper for the state to waive repayment of benefits the company received. Wausau Paper officials are asking the Department of Revenue to waive the repayment of two years worth of benefits the company received in regard to the Minnesota Job Opportunity Development Act, or JOBZ Act, for franchise tax, sales and use tax, and job creation credits. According to a letter from Sherri Lemmer, Wausau senior vice president and CFO, the facility closed, citing an unforeseen change in industry trends.