Jessie covers the Brainerd City Council and the Brainerd School Board.
Born and raised in southern Minnesota, Jessie attended Winona State University, where she majored in journalism with a minor in women and gender studies.
She worked at the Winona Daily News, Tomah Journal and the La Crosse Tribune before starting at the Dispatch in 2012.
- Member for
- 1 year 10 months
Brainerd City Council member Gary Scheeler says he will make a public push and motion at the council for an all volunteer fire department. Scheeler's announcement comes the day after the city council unanimously approved keeping firefighter Cory Zeien on staff. In 2013, after the city's request for renewal of the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant was turned down, the council laid off the two firefighters who were hired under the grant. Zeien, one of those laid-off firefighters, came back to work at the city's request to cover for Charlie Dunemann, another firef
To eat lutefisk or not to eat lutefisk? Eat it, a slew of staffers at the Brainerd Dispatch decided. Stemming from a challenge handed down by the Bemidji Pioneer, Dispatch staff sunk their teeth into the stinky, lye-soaked fish Wednesday. The Dispatch, in return, challenged the Duluth News Tribune and Wadena Pioneer Journal to taste the Jell-O like dish, as well. The whole thing, which is dubbed the Lutefisk Challenge, started Dec. 4, when the Grand Forks Herald started the challenge and asked The Forum and Bemidji Pioneer to do the same. Too scared?
A possible new fee structure in the city's storm water utility ordinance could make future rate changes simpler and produce more money for later improvements. At a Brainerd City Council meeting Monday, the group held the first reading of a proposed storm water utility ordinance change. The second reading is scheduled to be held at the council's first January meeting. If approved, fee adjustments could start for the February 2015 Brainerd Public Utilities billing cycle. The average single family residential lot is about 7,000 square feet (or 1/6th of an acre).
Brainerd residents will pay more on their taxes next year. At the Brainerd City Council meeting Monday, the group approved the 2015 levy at $4,898,835, with $116,550 for the Housing and Redevelopment Authority. That's about a 10 percent increase over last year. The council also adopted the 2015 budget. Voting against both motions were city council members Mary Koep and Gary Scheeler. The Brainerd City Council has met in several special budget workshops since July to both cut expenditures and to look for ways to increase revenues. Koep said the 2015 budget is still "too much," noting she
A local business owner won't receive the tobacco licence he applied for, the Brainerd City Council agreed. At the council's meeting Monday, the group unanimously decided to deny Risky Business owner Ronald Beattie Jr. a license to sell tobacco, tobacco products and tobacco devices. The reason: Beattie has 35 convictions for charges in regard to the business, including failure to report, document and pay or collect taxes.
Two separate fundraising efforts at Brainerd High School have pulled in extra holiday cheer. Nearly 50 area families and students in need will have a Christmas celebration, thanks to both of the efforts. To help 38 students and families, the Climate Committee, a staff organization, pulled in $1,700 in cash, with another $500 from the senior class, $200 from student council, and $275 in gift cards. To help an additional 10 families, the senior class raised about $2,000 during the last four years. For both groups, the donations are above average. Each high school class starts raising money
Funding for facilities, programs and adequate staff levels were key issues discussed by area state representatives and local school leaders. At the Brainerd School District's Legislative Committee meeting Thursday, leaders from Brainerd, Pequot Lakes and Crosby-Ironton school districts met with local representatives to have a discussion on what issues they see as important before the representatives head to St. Paul. At the meeting were Sen.
Fifty-seven area kids will get gifts under the Christmas tree this year thanks to the ninth-graders at Brainerd High School south campus. The students hold a drive each year for the Salvation Army angel tree, but this time is special, teachers say. This year, students doubled their normal contributions, pulling in a total of more than $1,400. Maybe it's just a special group of kids, the teachers speculated. Maybe they know what it's like to not have presents.
This holiday season, Brenda Jonak is thankful her daughter and her family are alive. "I would probably be planning funerals instead of buying Christmas presents. No words can express the gratitude I feel," she wrote in a letter to the city, thanking them for actions taken by a rental inspector. It all started with a boisterous alarm in the home of her adult daughter, Toni Jonak. It was about 1:30 a.m.
One Brainerd resident raised questions over the steep increase on his proposed taxes for next year. At a truth and taxation public meeting for the proposed 2015 budget, Max Day was the only resident to attend and speak to the council. He raised issue with the extra $100 he'll likely be spending on his city taxes for 2015. "Why can't we come down to a cost of living increase on the city?" he asked. The Brainerd City Council has met in several special budget workshops to get the proposed levy down to the previously approved preliminary levy, which was recently set at $4,898,845, with $116,55