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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Longtime Brainerd City Attorney Dwane (D.A.) Larson, who died Monday at age 86, was remembered by colleagues Wednesday as an outstanding lawyer and a genuine person. Larson, who was city attorney from 1962 until his retirement in 1992, was elected to the post multiple times until the position became an appointed one later in his career. "Dwane was such a genuine, nice man - always a gentleman," Tom Fitzpatrick, a former law partner who succeeded Larson in the city attorney post, said. "He was the best partner anyone could ask to have. A kind man, even tempered, patient.
Dan Severson, the Republican Party's candidate for Minnesota secretary of state, wants to make voting as easy as a quick trip through a grocery store's express lane. Making his second bid for the office after losing to incumbent DFL Secretary of State Mark Ritchie in 2010, Severson campaigned in Pequot Lakes and Brainerd last week. Long voting lines, particularly in the Twin Cities area, pose an obstacle for time-pressed voters, he said.
BAXTER - GOP gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson said Friday the loss of Preferred One, MNsure's largest health insurance provider, is more than a "hiccup" as the MNsure board chair described it. "It's huge to thousands of Minnesotans," he said after a fundraiser involving Republican House District 10A candidate Josh Heintzeman at the Holiday Inn Express. Preferred One, which generally offered lower premiums, had signed up nearly 6 in 10 consumers who purchased plans on the MNsure exchange. The Hennepin County commissioner said Minnesotans were better off before MNsure and Obamacare and ou
Gov. Mark Dayton enters the home stretch of his first re-election bid and his last statewide campaign with a lengthy liberal record and a 100 percent name recognition factor. The 67-year-old Democrat's first statewide race was in the 1982 - more than 30 years ago - when he unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate. He later served one term as Minnesota state auditor and one term as U.S.
Keeping 1,000 guests happy, particularly when everyone seems to get hungry at about the same time, three times every day, takes preparation, planning and a dedicated staff. Yet, the most noticeable surface vibe to observers at Grand View Lodge Golf Resort and Salon on a recent August morning was one of serene relaxation. Guests ambled around the beautiful grounds in front of the main lodge with cups of fresh brewed coffee in their hands. A mother and her children played bocce ball while two kids tried their hand at shuffleboard.
EAST GULL LAKE - When the Kavanaugh family decided to close its popular restaurant and remake its business model with an ambitious building and remodeling project for its resort side in 2005, there was an element of risk. A family business since 1969, Kavanaugh's Sylvan Lake Resort was where all six sons of Sherm and Mae Kavanaugh grew up working at the resort or in the restaurant. Today, four brothers, John, Mark, Dave and Tom, are hands-on owners who live on the grounds, splitting responsibilities such as desk work, sales, maintenance, and housekeeping.
Eighth Congressional District candidate Stewart Mills III took to the farm Friday and criticized Rep. Rick Nolan's vote on Tuesday against a measure that would limit the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding water regulations. Using the Fort Ripley area farm of Rosanne and Bruce Caughey as a backdrop, Mills said a proposed rule by EPA would treat farm ditches and ponds as navigable waters.
That much needed cup of coffee that stirs many Brainerd residents into action each morning has been a little more difficult to obtain in the wake of the city of Brainerd's precautionary boil order for water issued Thursday afternoon. One west Brainerd coffee establishment, Grab-A-Java, closed Friday and Saturday - their two biggest days of the week - as they scrambled to adjust to the order. Co-owner Carla Stall estimated her business lost about $700 because of the lost days and it would have been more had there been a hockey camp taking place at the nearby Essentia Health Sports Center.
Noted Brainerd area philanthropist Fran Holden, 94, died Sunday at Good Samaritan Society-Bethany in Brainerd. Along with her late husband, Clarence, she was instrumental in contributions that led to the construction of the Brainerd Family YMCA's aquatics center in 2000 and the curling arena at the Crow Wing County Fairgrounds, which is named in her honor, along with many other charitable donations. In 2012, Brainerd Mayor James Wallin presented her with the city of Brainerd's highest award, the Tower Award. Wallin said the couple gave back a tremendous amount to the Brainerd area.
Brainerd Public Utilities (BPU) on Thursday afternoon issued a precautionary boil order for those people drinking or cooking with Brainerd water. The order is in effect for 24 hours or until the all clear is given. A drop in water pressure, that resulted from a broken water line near Kiwanis Park and was unrelated to Thursday morning's thunderstorm, prevented the water tower at the site of the former Brainerd State Hospital from filling up overnight. BPU Finance Director Todd Wicklund said the BPU first urged residents to conserve water Friday morning.