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.
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The Forestview Middle School future problem-solvers team this year received international acclaim for its problem solving skills. At the 2017 International Conference at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, the team took home first place in the presentation of action plan competition. The team competed against teams from across the United States, as well as China, India, Israel, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and others.
The city of Brainerd portion of the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport utility extension project missed its final completion date of June 2. In order to make sure the project is completed correctly, the Brainerd City Council Monday night approved a fee amendment for engineering services with Short Elliott Hendrickson and Widseth Smith Nolting.
The Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport commission June 14 awarded two low bids for upcoming construction projects at the airport. One project helps clear the way for the planned construction of a new general aviation terminal building, while the other makes sure pavement at the airport stays up to snuff. The airport's consulting engineer for both projects, as well as the general aviation terminal project, is Mead & Hunt.
The Brainerd City Council Monday night decided to deny the pending apartment license application of a downtown Brainerd property, following the recommendation of an appeals board. The Brainerd rental dwelling license board of appeals recommended revoking and not renewing the license of DBM Two Partnership LLC, the owner and license holder for 12 apartment units at 217 S. Seventh St. The license is for the period of June 23, 2016, through May 31, 2017.
A presentation on southeast Brainerd Tuesday night at Harrison Elementary School outlined the neighborhood's past, as well as a vision for its future. Chuck Marohn spoke to a group of about a dozen people as part of Brainerd History Week. Marohn, a Brainerd native, founded Strong Towns, a media organization focused on challenging the way American cities are built, according to its website. Marohn gave a presentation last year during Brainerd History Week about downtown Brainerd and was asked to do a presentation this year about southeast Brainerd.
Brainerd Public Schools has completed an investigation into how a Brainerd High School student's violent comments about President Donald Trump made it into the 2016-17 BHS yearbook. The Brainerd School Board Monday night fielded questions from two community members during the public comment portion of the board meeting.
A unique tour Thursday night showed how the Mississippi River shaped Brainerd's past and how early settlers used the river for a variety of purposes. The close look came from a community paddle organized as part of Brainerd History Week. Participants piled into canoes and kayaks, launching at the Evergreen Cemetery landing and ending up at Kiwanis Park.
Despite the threat of stormy weather, Brainerd History Week continued Tuesday with another walking history tour of downtown Brainerd. About 20-25 people joined local amateur historian Carl Faust on the tour, which featured history on many buildings in downtown Brainerd. Faust helped develop the tour in 2008. Thanks to a grant from the Legacy Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, spiral-bound books detailing the historical spots in the tour were created in 2011. About 20 of the books are available for checkout from the Brainerd Public Library.
The fourth annual iteration of Brainerd History Week kicked off Monday, opening with a few tours of local landmarks. There were tours of Brainerd City Hall and the Crow Wing County Historic Courthouse, as well as walking tours of downtown Brainerd and the Mississippi River. For the river-themed tour, participants gathered in a parking lot south of the North Star Apartments and proceeded to Kiwanis Park, Buster Park and around Boom Lake.
The Brainerd School Board is reversing a previous decision to potentially close its committee meetings to the public. The board Monday night held the second reading of district policy 213—School Board Committees. The board held the first reading of the revision at its May 8 meeting. The version of the policy at the first reading, under section IV, paragraph A, stated the newly revised committees would not be subject to Minnesota open meeting law, outlined in state statute chapter 13D.