Sarah Nelson Katzenberger
Crystal. Ice. Crank. Dope. Glass. Tik. Meth by any name is dangerously addictive and according to area law enforcement, still a big problem in Crow Wing County. “Right now, unfortunately, there is more use in this community now than I’ve seen in 25 years of working here,” said Sgt. Joe Meyer of the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Department. Meyer leads Crow Wing County’s Lake Area Drug Investigative Division (LADID).
No one grows up saying, “Someday I’m going to be a meth addict.” But meth addiction happens every day and it ruins lives. Methamphetamine use in Crow Wing County has not gone anywhere. It’s here, and according to those who see it most, it’s getting worse. We found out firsthand how pervasive meth addiction is in the lakes area when an area family appeared on our front page after losing its home to a house fire one week and appeared again just a few days later with drug charges — among them meth possession.
While legislators met in St. Paul Tuesday to discuss a proposed expansion of the 2011 Minnesota Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Youth Act, area leaders met to discuss the area impact of the legislation. Tuesday’s meeting was sponsored by the Minnesota Safe Harbors Coalition and the North Central STOP Coalition and attended by area law enforcement and social services groups. Under current law, at-risk youth who were being trafficked often end up in the juvenile justice system prosecuted for criminal activity rather than receiving needed support services.
LITTLE FALLS — Rick Grammond calls it like he sees it. And Grammond has seen everything. For the past 25 years Grammond has made it his life’s duty to tell the story of Pierz sporting events as the “Voice of the Pioneers.” Grammond started his announcing career with the Pierz football season of 1988, but he said his calling to give the play-by-play started long before that. Grammond, a life-time resident of the tiny town of Grey Eagle, said he has always loved sports and grew up listening to Jack Peck, “The Voice of the Flyers”, in near by Little Falls.
The mercury is climbing back toward bearable temperatues but winter isn’t over yet. According to the National Weather service, the big one is on its way. The National Weather Service in Duluth has issue a winter storm watch for much of Minnesota, including the Brainerd lakes area, from late Saturday through Monday afternoon. The watch includes Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties, and stretches as far north as International Falls.
The mystery of the damaged awning Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport has been solved. Airport Manager Jeff Wig said the driver of one of the airport’s regular vendors hit the awning causing moderate damage in several places. Wig said the driver, who was not identified, didn’t realize he had collided with the awning and did not report it right away to his employer. Once he realized the damage he had caused, the driver came forward and spoke to Wig about the incident. “It’s in motion now to take care of the damage,” Wig said.
Little Alexis doesn’t say much. She is, after all, barely 18 months old. But the one word everyone in her family is grateful Alexis knows to say is “smoke.” Kellie Townley said she was asleep as the attic of her Merrifield home caught fire, billowing smoke into the other end of the home where she lives with her fiance, daughter and granddaughter, 18-month-old Alexis. As Alexis’ mother searched for a source of the smoke, Alexis went to the other side of the home and found Townley sleeping. “She said, ‘Smoke, smoke,’” Townley recalled. “She’s our little hero.”
Airport manager Jeff Wig has been on the job less than two weeks and things are already getting interesting. It was discovered Tuesday that someone had run a vehicle into the awning that hangs over the sidewalk in front of the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport. Who would do such a thing? That’s exactly what Wig wants to know.
It seems like there might be something in the water at the Gunsbury home in Nisswa. Eighth-grader Claire Gunsbury outspelled 15 other students to win the Brainerd district spelling bee Wednesday at Forestview Middle School. Gunsbury is not the first in her family to show her spelling prowess — her brother Connor won the district bee two years in a row and placed 19th in the National Bee in 2011. Claire Gunsbury’s winning word — “brachiosaur.”
A suspected car thief is on thin ice with area law enforcement after he led police officers from three different departments on a chase that ended on the frozen surface of Rice Lake in Brainerd. Just after 6 p.m. Monday, Brainerd Police officers were advised from the Crosby Police Department that a black Ford Explorer had been reported stolen from in front of the Subway restaurant in Crosby. Crosby Police gave a description of the male seen taking the vehicle and reported the vehicle was believed to be traveling west on Highway 210 toward Brainerd.