Richardson is a Pacelli High School graduate from Austin, Minn., who earned an applied science degree from the University of Minnesota, Waseca, with an emphasis in horse management. She worked extensively in the resort industry. She received an associate’s degree from Central Lakes College, where she was editor of the Westbank Journal student newspaper, as well as a summer intern at the Dispatch. She graduated from St. Cloud State University summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and interned at the St. Cloud Times covering business while attending SCSU. She's been with the Brainerd Dispatch since 1996.
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It's been a decade since monthly single-digit foreclosures were the norm, but 2014 managed to produce a few months to match those small figures. After staggering and historic numbers of foreclosures in Crow Wing County during the Great Recession, the number of people losing their homes in the aftermath of the financial crisis has steadily decreased since 2010. In 2010 - the worst year for foreclosures - 388 homeowners lost their homes. That is compared to 39 foreclosures all year in 2001.
Bonnie Cumberland's sudden death on Feb. 3, 2014, shocked the community. Her death at home was discovered when Cumberland, Brainerd City Council president, was uncharacteristically absent from a regular Monday night council session. When she didn't appear for the council session, police officers were dispatched to her northeast Brainerd home. After finding her car parked there, officers ended up breaking down the door. They found her inside. Cumberland was born in Minneapolis.
Hashtag worst winter ever. That was a repeated message during the bitterly cold winter of 2013-2014. As spring approached, the message sign at Insty Prints in Brainerd, read, "We survived the Polar Vortex." It could have been a best-selling T-shirt. Last winter was one for the record books and popularized knowledge of the polar vortex beyond the most nerdy of meteorological circles. The deep freeze created an epidemic of frozen water lines. Residents in cities across the state, including Brainerd, ran a stream of water the size of a No.
Gas prices haven't been this low since May 1, 2009. Prices at the pump fell to $1.99 across Brainerd and Baxter Tuesday. "It's the 96th day in a row the average price has gone down per gallon, which is quite amazing," said Mark Peterson, AAA public relations, noting it translates to more disposable income for consumers.
After a mild Christmas and one of the warmest Decembers on record, 2014 may be departing with a big chill. "Very cold wind chills from 25 to 35 below zero are expected across parts of the region" tonight and Tuesday morning, the National Weather Service in Duluth reported. The forecast calls for a cold week and crisp New Year's Day. As sunshine makes its return, the clear skies are also plunging the region into the coldest daytime temperatures of the winter season.
Watching the space age living of "The Jetsons" seemed incredible. The family phone calls included a screen in the home where they could sit and talk and see each other at the same time. Amazing. A robot did things around the house. People traveled on moving sidewalks. Today's technology is changing how Americans live in equally amazing ways. The Hanna-Barbera cartoon debuted in 1962, airing in primetime and episodes are still available online and DVD.
Numbers of those in the labor force without jobs dipped into shallows not seen in the area in nine years. Crow Wing County's lowest unemployment rate in 2014 was 4.1 percent in October, matching lows in the community in 2006. Jobless numbers across the counties rose in November, which is typical for the seasonal nature of the region. When the year started, Cass and Mille Lacs counties were still hitting double-digit unemployment. Aitkin, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties all ranged between 7 to 9.6 percent at the start of the year.
Warm winter temperatures are creating havoc for outdoor ice rinks. Just when students are off from school, the warm-up into the upper 30s and even 40s destroyed the progress the cities were making to open the rinks. "We were close to being ready for skating," said Tony Sailer, Brainerd Parks and Recreation director, adding the well-used rink at Gregory Park in north Brainerd was supposed to be open last Monday. As temperatures warmed, snow-covered melted revealing green grass. "We are back down to dirt," Sailer said of the ice rink. "We will start flooding again Friday.
With mere hours left before Christmas last minute shoppers looking for meaningful gifts still have options. Whether it's a desire to add to traditional gift-giving, to find an alternative, or to expand a child's sense of Christmas beyond the commercial, there are ways to put an emphasis on the spirit of the day. Gifts that don't fit a regular box There are many options for non-traditional gifts with a bonus of making gift-giver and receiver feel the joy of the season while helping a complete stranger find a better life.
With the countdown to Christmas down to a couple of day, retailers are pulling out the stops to lure consumers. Extended hours, sales and specials are all on the table. Kohl's extended store hours to be open 24 hours a day leading up to Christmas. Other stores are opening early or closing late as shoppers rush to get their lists complete as time runs short. And J.C Penney brought out a keepsake not typically seen after Black Friday.