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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Start filling those backpacks with school supplies, because the first day of the 2017-18 school year for area students is just around the corner. To help with the back-to-school preparation, the Brainerd Dispatch compiled basic information about some area school districts, including any new programs or changes for the upcoming year. Brainerd Public Schools Superintendent: Laine Larson. First day of school: Sept. 5. Estimated pre-K-12 enrollment: 6,780. What's new:
An organized search by volunteers and law enforcement Thursday uncovered a body police believe is that of missing Brainerd man John Greenwaldt. The Brainerd Police Department reported officers discovered the body at 4:50 p.m. Thursday in a wooded area near a trail, located close to the 300 block of Hattie Street. The area is south of Boom Lake. The body was transported to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office for autopsy to determine the cause of death. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is conducting an investigation.
In a seven-hour meeting Tuesday, the Brainerd School Board reviewed progress on the six-phase process of refining the district's comprehensive long-range facilities plan. The marathon meeting featured updates from district consultants and input from principals from each district school. The district hired Foster, Jacobs & Johnson Inc., for facilities program management services. The consultants are tasked with leading the district through a six-phase process Superintendent Laine Larson developed. The process includes: • Comprehensive district communications planning,
Almost half the residents of Brainerd lost power late Wednesday afternoon following a Brainerd Public Utilities power outage. The outage call came in at about 3:45 p.m. Thursday, said Scott Magnuson, BPU superintendent. Customers saw their power restored by about 5:30 p.m., he said. Despite getting customers back online, the utility isn't sure what caused the outage, Magnuson said. The problem has been narrowed down to an issue at the substation, he said, and crews will work to solve the problem.
The Brainerd School Board Monday night took the first step in revising district policy on school-sponsored student publications and productions. Superintendent Laine Larson reviewed the differences between the current and revised policies. The policy outlines differences between publications, like newspapers and yearbooks, and productions, like theater productions or audio broadcasts. The biggest changes come in section IV, review of publications and productions, she said.
The city of Brainerd recently honored a Brainerd native for his efforts in bringing free, accessible classical music to the Brainerd lakes area. Brainerd City Council President Dave Pritschet and Mayor Ed Menk July 30 presented the city of Brainerd's Tower Award to Scott Lykins, founding executive and artistic director of the Lakes Area Music Festival. Monday, Lykins said it was an honor to be recognized for something that has meant so much to him over the past nine years. Without community support from donors and volunteers, the festival wouldn't be possible, he said.
Visitors to Gregory Park this week may have noticed the return of a friend with a bubbly personality. In its 50th year, the Gregory Park fountain is running again, following an extensive repair project this summer. Parks and Recreation Director Tony Sailer found an issue with the water pipe below the fountain July 29, 2015. At the time, he indicated the fountain bowl and foundation will most likely need to be removed to fix the problem. The fountain was drained while city staff determined what to do.
The Brainerd City Council Monday night discussed concerns about the layout for the 2018 South Sixth Street reconstruction project. The project will reconstruct South Sixth Street between Highway 210 and Joseph Street in Brainerd and includes replacing water and sewer lines underneath the street. The project includes a three-lane design from Joseph Street to Quince Street, and a five-lane design from Quince Street to Highway 210.
The Brainerd City Council Monday night butted heads with a taxi cab business owner over where taxi cabs are parked. Ronnie Schnichels, owner of Grab-A-Cab LLC, owns and operates a three-vehicle taxi service. In November 2016, the Brainerd City Council issued a license for Schnichels to operate one taxi cab from her residence on South Ninth Street. Since then, she has added two more taxi cabs and moved her residence to a rental property on North Fifth Street.
The Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments results released Monday by the Minnesota Department of Education show little change from last year. Test scores may not be rising much, but they are only one way to measure student progress, said state Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius in a news release.