Mike O'Rourke began his career at the Brainerd Dispatch in 1978 as a general assignment reporter. He was named city editor in 1981 and associate editor in 1999. He covers politics and writes features and editorials.
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Sen. Karin Housley, R-St. Mary's Point, has no reluctance describing herself and her running mate, Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Honour, as relative political newcomers. She said her status as a neophyte is an asset. "I'm not tainted," she said. The first term senator, whose district runs along the state's east border and includes Stillwater, Bayport and Forest Lake, thinks Minnesotans are ready for candidates who are different. "The way we've always done it doesn't work," she said. Housley campaigned throughout central Minnesota this past week, stopping in Brainerd on Tuesday.
Brainerd High School Spanish language students' Fourth of July effort to set a world record for the most party poppers popped petered out, but organizers are willing to give it another try this fall. Cathy Saxum, a mother of one of the students and an organizers of the fundraiser, said she believed that 154 people gathered at the Lincoln Educational Building's playground on Fifth Street to attempt to break the Guinness World Record of 743, set in Great Britain in July of 2013.
Brainerd Community Action Director Nancy Cross has her own mantra she's been reciting throughout the rainy spring and summer. "I started Jan. 1," she said. "Hot and dry for the Fourth of July. Hot and dry for the Fourth of July." The longtime chief organizer of Brainerd-Baxter Fourth of July Celebration is likely to get her wish if the National Weather Service forecast for today - mostly sunny with a high temperature near 80 degrees - holds true. "I was sweating bullets there for a little while," she said Thursday.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., on Monday heard Brainerd area business people weigh in on multiple concerns during a tour of Stern Assembly, a rotational molding facility in the Brainerd Industrial Park. The plant, a part of Stern Companies, employs about 50 employees on two shifts and 65 people company-wide. One of the major concerns expressed was related to the uncertainty of the depreciation tax credit. "It's outrageous," she said of the failure of Congress to pass a depreciation credit that would give businesses the ability to plan ahead and make decisions on possible investments.
Marking 10 years of recognizing philanthropy in the Brainerd area, the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation will feature former Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson as the keynote speaker at its July 24 Award in Philanthropy Dinner. The dinner and program is at 6:30 p.m. July 24 at Gull Lake Center at Grand View Lodge in Nisswa. It will be preceded by a 5:30 p.m. social hour. Bill Brekken, director of the foundation, said the organization will celebrate 10 years of giving with a look back at area philanthropists who have been honored by the organization.
Fourth of July celebrants like to make noise in a big way and this year Brainerd High School (BHS) Spanish language students are hoping to set a record and raise money for their Peru trip while they add to the holiday din. Third- and fourth-year Spanish students are selling buttons that allow the contributors to participate in an attempt to break a Guinness World Record for "most people popping party poppers" on the Fourth of July. Party poppers, for the uninitiated, are celebratory noisemakers that sometimes release confetti when they're popped.
Improving Minnesota's job climate was listed Friday as a top priority by the Republican-endorsed Minnesota lieutenant governor candidate, Bill Kuisle of rural Stewartville. A full-time farmer who lives in the Rochester area, Kuisle served in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 1997-2005. He was chosen as a running mate by endorsed GOP candidate Jeff Johnson, a Hennepin County commissioner. The ticket faces three other Republican gubernatorial candidates in the Aug. 12 primary: former Rep.
As the first Brainerd History Week draws to a close it immodestly occurred to those of us who work at the Brainerd Dispatch that much of this city's history was recorded by the ink-stained wretches whose names have graced these pages over the years. Since 1996, the Dispatch's version of "history on the run" for this community has also been online at www.brainerddispatch.com . The Dispatch wasn't the city's first newspaper but it outlasted the Brainerd Tribune, which first published in 1872. The first issue of the Brainerd Dispatch was published Dec. 22, 1881, by J.W. Riggs and A.E. Pernell.
Nasir Hussain learned a great deal during his 2012 U.S. State Department-sponsored visit to Brainerd. In addition to taking classes at Central Lakes College (CLC), the Pakistani government employee spent time with a political candidate and interned with the Brainerd city planner. So what was one of his most memorable recollections about Minnesotans? "Everybody talks about the weather," he said Thursday while on a return trip to visit friends at the college and in the community.
Curiosity may have killed the cat but it never seemed to hurt my dad, Jim O'Rourke. Maybe the reason I chose a profession where one asks questions for a living can be traced to my dad's ceaseless curiosity. Dad never had the chance to go to college, but he was the most well-read man I've ever known. He would constantly put me to shame by asking if I'd read this or that news story. It's not like the opportunity to keep up on current events wasn't available to me.