Spenser Bickett covers the Brainerd City Council and Brainerd School Board. 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 interned for Sun Newspapers in Osseo and later worked for the International Falls Journal as a staff writer.
- Member for
- 1 year 10 months
The Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport commission Thursday morning took another step in preparation for an upcoming redevelopment project. The commission approved an agreement with consulting engineer Mead & Hunt for engineering services for the planned general aviation redevelopment project at the airport. The project includes relocating Federal Aviation Administration antennas, which in turn allows for the construction of a new general aviation arrival and departure facility. It also includes the replacement and relocation of an aging fuel system.
Brainerd City Administrator Jim Thoreen is meeting the expectations required of his position, but still shows room for improvement. The Brainerd City Council Monday night conducted Thoreen's annual performance review, which included a summary of his performance as well as outlining goals for the coming year.
A plan to revise how the city of Brainerd handles parking on city streets during winter snow removal stalled Monday night. A motion to hold the final reading of ordinance 1462 to amend City Code 1315 pertaining to street cleaning and snow removal failed on a 2-5 vote, with council members Kelly Bevans and Jan Lambert supporting the motion. The council held a public hearing on the ordinance prior to taking action on the final reading. A few people took the opportunity to speak in opposition to the ordinance.
The Brainerd Economic Development Authority Tuesday learned about a plan to combine various local revolving loan funds into a single, larger fund. Sheila Haverkamp, executive director of the Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corporation, presented her idea for a "BLAEDC Unified Fund" to the EDA. There's more than a dozen smaller revolving loan funds throughout Crow Wing County, Haverkamp said. These funds are held by a variety of entities, including cities, EDAs and utility providers, she said, and funded from a variety of state, local or federal sources.
The Brainerd City Council Monday night learned more about a plan to repurpose the former Brainerd Hotel and Conference Center. The council approved the first reading of ordinance 1463, which adds the definition for boarding schools to the zoning code and adds boarding schools as a conditional use in B-4 general commercial districts.
After 30 years of service to the city of Brainerd, city Engineer Jeff Hulsether is calling it quits. The Brainerd City Council Monday night received Hulsether's resignation for purposes of retirement. His last day will be June 9. "It has been an honor and a privilege to have served the residents of the city of Brainerd over these past 30 years," Hulsether wrote. "And I want to take this opportunity to thank the city for that tremendous career opportunity."
It's been nearly three years since two girls were raped following the Brainerd High School prom on April 26, 2014. Ryan Mark Hall, 21, Brainerd, was sentenced Friday in Crow Wing County District Court for his crimes against one of the girls that night.
Marc Welzant's 50th birthday is today. His 10 siblings would love nothing more than to celebrate the occasion with him, but Marc went missing on Oct. 26, 2014. Dave Welzant, 59, was his brother's guardian and still thinks about Marc every day. "I was pretty close with him," Welzant said. "He was more like my son rather than my brother, I took care of him." Welzant, a developmentally disabled adult, left his group home the afternoon of Oct. 26, 2014. He was last seen on video at the Holiday Gas Station on South Sixth Street in Brainerd shortly before 3 p.m.
CAMP RIPLEY—About 110 young outdoors enthusiasts descended upon Camp Ripley this week for the first statewide Conservation Corps Minnesota Academy wildland fire training. Camp Ripley, a state of Minnesota National Guard training facility near Little Falls, played host for the training, which serves as a conduit toward future work in the natural resources field.
About 2,800 area high school students from 21 school districts descended upon the Central Lakes College Brainerd campus Friday for the 10th annual Bridges Career Academy & Workplace Connection Career Exploration Day. More than 250 businesses set up shop at the college Friday morning, showcasing the careers students could experience in a wide variety of fields.