Spenser Bickett covers the Brainerd City Council and education. A native of the Twin Cities, Bickett attended the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he majored in journalism with a minor in political science. After graduation, he worked for the International Falls Journal as a staff writer before coming to Brainerd.
- Member for
- 2 years 5 months
The Brainerd City Council Monday night decided to contribute one fund to the Brainerd Lakes Area Development Corp. unified fund. The council approved a motion to designate BLAEDC as the city's local development organization and to contribute the city's federal Minnesota Investment Fund dollars to the unified fund. The revolving loan fund's cash balance is $463,207. A revolving loan fund offers gap financing for businesses. The business owners pay back those dollars to the fund, which can in turn be used to fund other businesses.
Morrison County Commissioner Duane Johnson died Thursday in Randall at the age of 66. Johnson was first elected to the Morrison County Board in 2006. He was re-elected in 2010 and 2014, both times unopposed. He took great pride in representing the people of district 5, Commissioner Jeff Jelinski said. "Duane was very caring, very caring for his people that he represented in his district," Jelinski said. "If someone had something to say, he went to their house to listen, and would listen."
Despite nearing final completion, a dispute still hangs over the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport utility extension project. The project brought Brainerd Public Utilities water and sewer service to the airport, at a contract amount of a little more than $8.5 million. Tom's Backhoe Service is responsible for installing water and sewer lines from the city of Brainerd to the airport property boundary. A recent memo from Brainerd City Engineer Paul Sandy and City Attorney Joe Langel updated the Brainerd City Council on the project's progress toward completion.
The Brainerd School Board Monday night decided to purchase property south of Riverside Elementary School, in case of future expansion at the school. Steve Lund, director of business services, presented the details of the sale to the board. The 1.5-acre property has been listed for sale since December 2016, during which time there have been two price reductions. The purchase price is $230,000 and is subject to attaining a clear title, successfully rezoning the property to permit schools as an allowable use and soil testing for possible contaminants.
Brainerd High School students will have a new varsity sport to try out this spring, once the snow melts on Adamson Field. The Brainerd School Board Monday night approved offering lacrosse as a varsity sport for boys and girls, starting with the spring 2018 season. The club sport will now be offered as a Minnesota State High School League sport.
A blast from the past will be landing at the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport in 2018. Thursday, the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport commission learned the American Barnstormers Tour will be coming to Brainerd in July 2018. The tour last landed in Brainerd in 2012. Recreational pilot Mike Peterson, dressed up in a throwback pilot's outfit complete with leather jacket, silk scarf, goggles and leather cap, told the commission about the opportunity. The tour includes vintage airplanes, period costumes, historical information about the airplanes and other vintage props.
Members of the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport commission Thursday spoke out against national anthem protests in the NFL while discussing air travel during the upcoming Super Bowl in Minnesota. Airport director Steve Wright recently attended a meeting with the St. Cloud Regional Airport about planning for the upcoming Super Bowl. Planners are making sure the Metropolitan Airports Commission can handle the increased air traffic associated with the Super Bowl, he said.
The Brainerd City Council Monday night took a step toward joining the Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corporation unified fund. About a dozen local municipalities have pools of money in local revolving loan funds. These funds can be a helpful aid for businesses looking for gap funding as they work with lenders for projects. Sheila Haverkamp, BLAEDC executive director, has presented an idea to combine these funds into a unified fund. Instead of navigating multiple application processes for multiple funds, there would be a single streamlined application process.
Licensed liquor establishments in the city of Brainerd will now be able to sell alcohol two hours earlier on Sundays. The Brainerd City Council Monday night unanimously adopted ordinance ordinance 1473, amending section city code section 1200.03 regarding Sunday sales of intoxicating liquor. The change allows licensed establishments to start selling liquor at 8 a.m. Sunday, two hours earlier than the current 10 a.m. start time.
On Nov. 7, Pillager School District will ask voters to decide on a bond referendum designed to add classrooms and a public performing arts center while addressing deferred building maintenance. The one-question referendum, totaling $13,220,000, would add two new early childhood classrooms, five new elementary classrooms, two new elementary special education classrooms, a new elementary music room and enlarge two existing classrooms and two existing restrooms.