UPDATE: Changes, closures and cancellations due to COVID-19


The following is a list of postponed or canceled area events known to the Brainerd Dispatch.

Anyone with information to share about an upcoming event may email . This list will be continuously updated as needed.

New as of March 29

Brainerd Garden Club cancels meeting

The Brainerd Garden Club board canceled its meeting scheduled for April 10.

Tapped and Corked event postponed

The Brainerd Sports Boosters Board of Directors announced the rescheduling of the Tapped and Corked event originally set for April 18.

The event will be set when it is safe to do large events.


All sponsorships and all tickets already purchased will be honored at that time. For those who purchased a ticket electronically and would like to have it refunded, go to the Eventbrite site for instructions.

For those who purchased a paper ticket and would prefer to have the ticket purchase refunded, mail the ticket to Brainerd Sports Boosters, P.O. Box 2535, Baxter, MN 56425.

2020 Susan G. Komen Brainerd Lakes Race for the Cure has changed to a virtual race on Mother’s Day

Due to the progression of COVID-19 and the risk to the health and safety of participants, volunteers and sponsors, the Susan G. Komen Brainerd Lakes Race for the Cure Committee has decided to not have the 21st annual Brainerd Lakes Race for the Cure as a physical event on June 27.

Instead, the committee will partner with a parent affiliate, Susan G. Komen Minnesota, and field a Brainerd Lakes Team for the virtual Twin Cities Race for the Cure on Mother’s Day, May 10.

Race information and registration details are available on . When registering, choose to join a team and select the Brainerd Lakes Team from the list. All race T-shirts and bibs will be mailed this year.

Ruby’s Pantry cancels food distribution for April

Due to precautionary measures surrounding the COVID-19 virus, Ruby's Pantry canceled food distribution for the month of April at both Aitkin and Baxter locations.

Brainerd Lakes Area coronavirus announcement submission form


New as of March 27

Great American Think-Off deadline extended

NEW YORK MILLS — The Great American Think-Off committee extended the deadline for essays for the 2020 Great American Think-Off to April 15.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect daily lives, it is the organizers’ hope that while everyone adjusts to a new normal, this allows ample time for people to submit an essay answering this year’s question: “Which is more important: to win or to play by the rules?”

“Everyone likes to win, but at what cost?,” a news release stated. “What if the rules aren’t fair? What do you think? The 2020 Think-Off committee wants to know.”

The essay of 750 words or less is based on personal observation and experience. A person could win one of four $500 cash prizes, plus an all-expense-paid weekend in New York Mills for the live debate on June 13.

People of all ages and backgrounds are encouraged to submit an essay. There is no fee to enter. Submitting an essay can be done online at , via email at or mail responses to Think-Off, c/o Cultural Center, P.O. Box 246, New York Mills, MN 56567. Essays must be submitted/sent/postmarked by April 15.

Four finalists will be selected by a volunteer committee who reads the essays with all personal information redacted to ultimately select two finalists on each side of the debate. These four finalists will participate in three rounds of live debate on June 13 at the New York MIlls School Auditorium. The individual who makes the best argument will be selected by audience vote as “America’s Greatest Thinker” for 2020.

Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling 218-385-3339. For more information, visit or call the Cultural Center at 218-385-3339.

Grassroots Concerts cancels remainder of season

NISSWA — Organizers with the Grassroots Concerts in Nisswa canceled the remainder of their spring concerts with Ellis on April 10 and John Gorka on May 1.


“We hope to reschedule these artists in our fall 2020 season,” Dawn Stattine, artistic director, stated in a news release.

For more about the nonprofit, all-volunteer Grassroots Concerts go to or see the series’ Facebook page.

Blood drives rescheduled

Blood drive dates in Brainerd have been rescheduled to 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 2-3 at the Brainerd VFW, 309 S. Sixth St.

To make an appointment, call Sterling Molby at 218-851-1148 or the Red Cross at 800-733-2767.

More details can be found at .

Range Disposal to close office, trash pickup continues

Due to the governor’s shelter in place announcement, Range Disposal will close its office to the public Friday, March 27, until April 13.

Employees will be working but will have no contact with customers. Refuse routes will stay the same and there will be not interruption on service, except drivers will not get out of the truck to touch any additional bags until the order has been lifted.

A payment drop box is located at Super One Foods in Crosby. It is located through the doors on the way out of the building on the right.


Those with cash payments who are not comfortable leaving cash in the drop box, call 218-546-5200 and employees will help.

Lakes Area Alano Association to remain open

BAXTER — The Lakes Area Alano Association announced it will remain open for recovery meetings after Gov. Tim Walz’s stay at home order goes into effect.

New as of March 26

Crow Wing County services continue during governor’s ‘stay-at-home’ order

Crow Wing County services will continue for residents during the two-week “stay-at-home” executive order by Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, who asks all Minnesotans to remain at home unless they have essential reasons for going out like a doctor’s visit, groceries or medication.

Those exempt from the Wednesday, March 25, executive order are workers considered “essential,” which include those in the area of health care and public health; law enforcement, public safety and first-responders; child care; and food and agriculture.

“Although county buildings are not open for walk-in traffic, staff remain ready to provide services online and by phone,” Crow Wing County Administrator Tim Houle stated in a news release.

Other essential workers exempt from the order include providers of home care and human services, mental health and substance abuse therapy, or who are otherwise caring for a client, as well as workers providing or supporting home-based care for adults, seniors and children.

“I also want to assure our residents that our dispatchers will continue to take 911 calls. Our deputies will still respond to emergencies. Our jail staff will continue to work in our jail. Our probation agents will continue to check on clients,” Houle said.

The stay-at-home executive order starts 11:59 p.m. Friday, March 27, and lasts until 5 p.m. April 10. The governor also extended the closure of bars and restaurants until May 1, and schools will continue distance learning until May 4.


“Our social workers will continue to help families and check on our older population. If we get more snow, our plows will be out. County staff are committed to serving the public every day, and under these circumstances it isn’t any different,” Houle said.

“We shouldn’t focus on fear. We should focus on being there for each other, even from a distance. We are in this together, and we will take care of each other.”

Crow Wing County Fair Board of Directors meetings canceled

The monthly meeting of the Crow Wing County Fair Board of Directors, scheduled for April 13 has been canceled.

The board will continue to follow county and state protocol regarding meetings and gatherings.

Crow Wing County Mental Health offers COVID-19 resources

Fear and anxiety about the coronavirus and COVID-19 can be overwhelming and cause tension in adults and children. Some may be feeling run-down from the changes that are happening at work, isolation from social distancing, leaving our homes to provide essential work or feeling overwhelmed with meeting individual or family needs.

Crow Wing County Mental Health staff is offering these resources for those feeling overwhelmed with sadness, depression or anxiety, or feeling suicidal:

  • Call 911 only if you or someone is in danger and an immediate response is required. 911 should only be used for emergencies (police, fire or medical).

  • Call the Crisis Line at 218-828-HELP (4357) or 800-462-5525 if you need to talk to a trained mental health volunteer who can also connect you with a mental health professional as well as the Mobile Crisis Team, which are available around the clock.

  • Text "MN" to 741741 to connect with a crisis counselor. The Crisis Text Line is free, 24/7 support for those in crisis or those who are feeling anxious or stressed.

  • Call the Warm Line at 844-739-6369 between 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. every night to talk to a peer recovery support person.

Those with pre-existing mental health conditions should continue with their treatment and be aware if they are experiencing new or worsening symptoms. Many local mental health providers are offering tele-health services and will continue to serve existing as well as new patients.
Call Crow Wing County Community Services at 218-824-1140 and ask to speak to Mental Health Intake for more information on mental health services or providers.

GRA closes its retail and onsite galleries

LITTLE FALLS — Great River Arts has made the decision to close its retail and onsite galleries through April 14. All onsite events, including adult and youth classes, art gallery receptions and performances scheduled throughout this time will be canceled. Additional updates to programming after this date will be made at that time for the same care and concern for our staff, artists and community.


Any questions contact the gallery at or 320-632-0960.

LAMF concerts postponed

Due to concerns over COVID-19, the Lakes Area Music Festival's Harmonious Harp concerts originally scheduled for this week have been postponed.

Brainerd Lakes Area coronavirus announcement submission form

New as of March 25

Judicial center in Crow Wing County closed to public

Crow Wing County Attorney Don Ryan, Sheriff Scott Goddard and court staff decided to close the judicial center in Brainerd to the general public starting at noon Monday, March 23, to protect the public’s health and slow the rate of transmission of COVID-19.

Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea recently directed all court filings to be done by electronic or digital means. All services for courts will be conducted online or by phone.

For transactions and documents that cannot be processed digitally, a drop box has been set out at 213 Laurel St. for those wishing to drop off items for the courts.

Some in-person court proceedings will still proceed, so the front security area will be staffed. Judicial center visitors will be asked their reasons for visiting.

Persons with a court case scheduled in Crow Wing County District Court in March should call court administration at 218-824-1310 to determine if the case will be heard or rescheduled.

Parties to actions where a hearing has been canceled may be contacted by court administration or their attorney regarding their hearing.

Hands of Hope reschedules concert

The Hands of Hope Resource Center’s benefit concert “I Am, He Said” starring Matt Vee and the Killer Vees, a celebration of Neil Diamond music, has been rescheduled for Aug. 21. The

concert originally was scheduled for March 27.

Tickets purchased for the March 27 concert are valid for the Aug. 21 benefit concert. Remaining

tickets will be available in a short period of time. The proceeds from the rescheduled concert will be used to help fund emergency assistance and the violence prevention program.

For more information, contact Steve Meyer at

Hands of Hope Resource Center advocates, educates and promotes societal change for those affected by crime and abuse. The agency provides free and confidential services for those affected by domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse and other general crimes in Morrison County and Todd counties.

Dentists available for dental emergencies

As Minnesota dentists follow a mandate by the governor’s office to temporarily suspend non-emergent and elective procedures in order to lessen transmission of COVID-19, many dentists remain available to provide emergency care – and they urge people to seek that care by contacting a dentist if they need it.

“Oral health is an integral part of overall health,” Dr. Stephen McDonnell of St. Paul and president of the Minnesota Dental Association stated in a news release. “Severe pain, bleeding or swelling should be taken seriously at all times, even now when most dental offices are closed for routine care. Minnesota’s dentists remain available for patients during this public health crisis and have instituted additional measures and protocols to provide emergency care.

“We cannot stress this enough. Patients needing urgent care should not delay treatment, nor should they go to hospital emergency rooms already stretched thin by this crisis. If you need emergency dental treatment, contact a dental office first – they stand ready to help.”

If a person is experiencing any of the following symptoms, it may constitute an emergency:

  • Severe, persistent toothache. If a person feels a toothache has become overwhelming and in need of immediate relief, they should seek care from a dentist as soon as possible. Otherwise, symptoms could worsen and other complications could arise.

  • Tooth knocked out or loose. Timing is essential when a tooth has been knocked out. The faster a person is able to see a dentist, the more likely they will be able to save your natural tooth.

  • Broken tooth. A broken tooth accompanied by severe pain requires emergency attention. This not only causes tooth pain and facial swelling, it can also leave you more vulnerable to bacteria and infection that can threaten overall health. If a tooth is slightly chipped or broken and presents no significant pain, treatment can be postponed until regular care can be administered.

  • Dental abscess (tooth infection). If a person suspects a dental abscess, they should seek immediate treatment. Infections could become life-threatening when they spread throughout the body or close your airway. This type of infection may cause significant discomfort that can radiate into your jaw, ear or neck and may cause headaches. Common symptoms include swelling of your mouth or face, fever, a buildup of pus, a foul taste in your mouth and swollen glands.

If a person is unsure about their symptoms they should seek counsel from their dental office. For more information about your oral health during the coronavirus pandemic, visit the American Dental Association’s public awareness website at .

Local co-op temporarily closes in response to COVID-19

The Board of Directors of the Countryside Food Co-op, Hackensack, decided Monday, March 23, to temporarily cease all operations for an indefinite period, in response to the diagnosed community spread of Covid-19 in Cass County.

“We are very concerned for the health and welfare of our volunteers,” said Bob Hankey, Co-op president, in a news release, “most of whom fall within the ‘most vulnerable’ age group identified by the CDC.”

“It was a difficult decision as theCo-op provides food in the local community, but we believe it is the right one and we will reopen just as soon as we can determine it is safe to do so,” he continued.

Perishable food in the store will be donated to local food shelves and nonperishable food will be safely stored. The Co-op does not sell any personal paper products or sanitizing gel.

The notice of the co-op’s temporary closure went up on itsFacebook page and website Monday, March 23.

Updates to this closure will be posted there as well.

New as of March 23

Salvation Army temporarily closes

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Salvation Army across the state is taking additional steps to help mitigate the spread of the virus among its clients, staff and volunteers.

The Salvation Army Family Stores in Minnesota and North Dakota — including the one in Brainerd — will temporarily close effective Monday, March 23. This effort follows other steps taken previously suspending group gatherings at their service centers to prevent possible virus transmission.

“We’re taking these steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 among our clients, many of whom we consider to be particularly vulnerable,” Lt. Col. Lonneal Richardson, commander of The Salvation Army Northern Division, stated in a news release. “At the same time, programs centered on food distribution, housing and emergency assistance will continue to provide help to those most in need.”

The Salvation Army expects more people will need help as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, and they are gearing up food, housing and emergency service programs for an expected increase. Businesses and individuals can help by donating nonperishable food, bread, paper products like paper towels and toilet paper, and sanitizing products.

“The Family Stores are an important source of financial support for our many programs, but we felt closing them now was necessary and important to protect both clients and staff,” Richardson stated. “Regardless, The Salvation Army stands ready to serve as many people as possible, in the safest way possible, now and well into the future.”

To help support local Salvation Army’s efforts, visit to donate or for more information.

Crossing Arts updated closure

As of Friday, March 20, The Crossing Arts Alliance announced the organization made the decision to remain closed to the public through April 30.

It may be extended further depending on the status of COVID-19 in the region.

The scheduled exhibit “Young at Art,” Second Saturday events, Studio Wednesday classes, Featured Artist events, workshops and all other events at Crossing Arts are canceled until further notice.

New as of March 20

Groups can post coronavirus-related announcements on Dispatch website

Groups and organizations can now post their own announcements related to coronavirus postponements and cancellations at the Brainerd Dispatch at .

As always, announcements are also welcome to be emailed to the Brainerd Dispatch at .

Contact the Dispatch at 218-829-4705 for more information.

CRMC Care Center and Heartwood limiting visitors in end-of-life situations

Following Minnesota Department of Health guidelines, Cuyuna Regional Medical Center’s Care Center and Heartwood are limiting the number of visitors in end-of-life situations at one time to two people.

Facilities are required to restrict visitation of all visitors and non-essential health care personnel, except for certain compassionate care situations, such as an end-of-life situation. CRMC’s Geriatrics Medical Director Dr. David Goodwin has defined the end-of-life situation as a life expectancy of less than one month or actively dying.

All visitors entering the facility will be required to perform hand hygiene, use a face mask and complete a screening, which includes symptoms of illness, fever or respiratory symptoms. Those with symptoms of a respiratory infection (e.g., fever, cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat) will not be permitted to enter the facility at any time, even in end-of-life situations. Visits will be restricted to the resident’s room.

Visitors should refrain from physical contact with residents and others while in the facility. For example, practice social distances with no handshaking or hugging, and remaining 6 feet apart.

Extension in-person events canceled through May 15

University of Minnesota Extension has extended the cancellation of all face-to-face events, meetings and courses through May 15.

The decision was made to help safeguard public health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously, Extension canceled events through March 31.

The extended cancellation period applies to all in-person Extension-sponsored events, including:

  • All local 4-H club meetings and events, in addition to county, regional and state gatherings.

  • All Extension Master Natural Gardener and Master Naturalist events and meetings.

  • Nutrition programs offered via SNAP-Ed, the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program and Cooking Matters, including those offered in conjunction with local partners.

  • Educational workshops and programs in agriculture, natural resources, food safety, and community vitality and development.

  • Programs conducted through the Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships.

While all state and regional Extension offices are closed, faculty and staff are working remotely and reachable via email and phone. When possible, Extension staff will transition programs to an online setting and offer other alternative instruction.
This is a fluid situation and Minnesotans are asked to check for frequent updates. Extension staff also are working to update program participants.

“This has been a difficult but necessary decision in light of the unprecedented need to protect public health. Our staff is working hard to develop alternatives when possible and we ask that our stakeholders be patient as the coming weeks bring new developments and opportunities,” said Extension Dean Bev Durgan, in a news release.

Westgate Mall closes

In light of the continued environment, the Westgate Mall made the decision to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization recommendation of closing for a period of time.

The Westgate Mall closed effective 3 p.m. Friday, March 20.

The mall plans to reopen Friday, March 27.

TJ Maxx closes

“Our hearts are with people around the world who have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak,” stated Ernie Herrman, CEO and president T.J. Maxx, in a news release.

T.J. Maxx made the decision to do its part to help prevent the further spread of this virus by temporarily closing all stores globally as of Friday, March 20, for the next two weeks in the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia.

The company is also temporarily closing its online businesses, and during this time, as well as its distribution and fulfillment centers and offices, with associates working remotely when they can.

Faith in Action is open

Faith in Action is open.

If anyone hears of people in need of food, medication or meal delivery or rides to essential medical appointments, have them call Faith in Action at 218-675-5435.

There is a select group of volunteers working to continue necessary services.

Interfaith Volunteers to expand services

Interfaith Volunteers has been providing rides and building ramps for the elderly and disabled in the Brainerd lakes area for 20 years.

Due to the recent crisis, they are expanding services to offer phone calling to the lonely, homebound and isolated who may be in need of social contact.

Interfaith Volunteers will also deliver groceries, medications, run errands or help in other ways.

Call Interfaith Volunteers at 218-820-7454 for assistance or for those interested in volunteering.

New as of March 19

Little Falls City Hall and Police Department closes

LITTLE FALLS — Little Falls city facilities will be closed to the public through March 31.

City council and committee meetings will be conducted remotely or postponed until further notice.

Prescription medication collection will be suspended and late fees on utility bills due April 5 will be waived.

Crow Wing County Landfill remains open

The Crow Wing County Landfill is open for business while taking extra precautions to protect staff and the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Proper solid waste disposal is crucial to ensure the safety of all county residents and the environment,” environmental services supervisor Ryan Simonson stated in a news release.

To help ensure everyone’s safety, all customers bringing material to the landfill for disposal must remain in their vehicles. Landfill staff will come out of the main office to assist customers if needed.

“We can’t afford to let waste pile up with no outlet for disposal, and we are committed to staying open through this tough time,” Simonson said.

Household hazardous waste and recycling services are still open at this time. It is important to note things may change over time based on the latest COVID-19 safety recommendations.

Crow Wing County Adult Services operates remotely

Crow Wing County Adult Services continues to offer services remotely via phone, email and/or mail.

MnCHOICES Assessments are being completed. For questions about accessing services, call 218-824-1140 and ask for adult social service intake.

To make an adult protection report through the Minnesota Adult Abuse Reporting Center, call 1-844-880-1574.

For specific questions or concerns, email the county’s adult services team:

  • Questions regarding seniors/long-term care/elderly waiver/alternative care/personal care assistant, contact Gina Heyer at .

  • Questions regarding adult mental health, treatment or assessments for substance use, or adult protection related questions, contact Nathan Bertram at .

  • Questions on home and community-based Service waivers, disability services or adult foster care, contact Trish Exsted at .

The county buildings will remain closed to the public until March 31. This may be subject to change.

Lakes Area Habitat for Humanity closes ReStore

Lakes Area Habitat for Humanity announced Thursday, March 19, it will close its ReStore home improvement store and office on Wright Street to visitors.

Officials stated in an email the nonprofit will be suspending any contact with the general public including pick-ups, drop-offs and salvages until at least April 1.

For those with a drop-off, pick-up or salvage, call 218-828-8517 for updates on what decisions are being made or watch the nonprofit’s Facebook page for updates.

Play for Patrick event in Baxter in May canceled

BAXTER — The second annual Play for Patrick at Forestview Middle School in Baxter on May 2 has been canceled.

The event was hosted by Cuyuna Regional Medical Center and the Patrick Schoonover Heart Foundation. The free health screening was to include family health history, height and weight measurements, blood pressure, electrocardiogram, echocardiogram and discussion with a physician or cardiologist.

Bethel Lutheran Church to postpone services

Bethel Lutheran Church will be postponing all services for the immediate future as suggested by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America guidelines.

Trinity Lutheran Church cancels services

Until further notice, there will be no services and church activities at Trinity Lutheran Church in Brainerd.

This includes Sunday services, Wednesday night services and all youth and adult activities throughout the week.

The Trinity Children’s Center will be open as usual.

Pre-recorded services will be posted on the website and will air on KVBR 1340 on Sundays at 9 a.m.

The office will be open Monday-Thursday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For questions, call the office at 218-829-5147.

South Long Lake Church to cancel Sunday service

South Long Lake Church will not have a service Sunday, March 22.

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church suspends services

PEQUOT LAKES — All services at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church are suspended through April 4. Those with questions may call 218-820-5077.

Bethlehem Lutheran Church services canceled

Bethlehem Lutheran Church has canceled all services with the exception of a weekly live streamed service on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. Visit to view the service.

Operation Sandwich is back up and running out of Bethlehem. For those in need of food immediately, message the church Facebook page or call Bridges of Hope. For those who want to donate, drop off items or monetary donations at the church office at 418 Eighth Ave. NE, Brainerd.

For questions, call the office at 218-829-3330, email or visit .

Brainerd BN Credit Union to close lobby

Brainerd BN Credit Union has decided beginning Friday, March 20, until further notice, to close the lobby except for scheduled appointments, for the safety and well being of staff and members.

Staff will be available to assist with transactions by phone at 218-829-9065. Drive-up will be available 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. for members to make deposits, withdrawals, transfers and other transactions.

The credit union encourages its members to use online and mobile banking for monitoring balances, transferring funds, viewing transactions, paying bills and remotely depositing checks.

Guidelines initiated by the city of Pequot Lakes

PEQUOT LAKES — In an effort to protect the health of residents and city personnel, the following guidelines will be initiated by the city of Pequot Lakes effective Friday, March 20, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pequot Lakes City Hall and Public Works Facility will be closed to the public until further notice; however, city personnel will continue to report to work following their normal schedule. Alternative means for contacting city personnel and conducting business are as follows:

  • Utilize drop boxes on the outside of city hall and in the city hall parking lot to leave information.

  • Call 218-568-5222 to speak to city personnel.

  • Email with requests.

  • Utilize the city’s website at to make online payments and gather information.

The Pequot Lakes Library is currently closed and will remain as such until further notice.
Use of the Cole Memorial Building for events and/or meetings is suspended until further notice.

For more information, contact city hall at 218-568-5222 or .

Cascade United Methodist Church services suspended

DEERWOOD — Out of sacrificial love for each other and the continued good health of the congregation and community, Cascade United Methodist Church in Deerwood has suspended services for the remainder of the month.

Westgate Mall hours shortened

The Westgate Mall’s operating hours will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday until further notice.

In addition the mall doors will only open one hour before the scheduled time.

All mall events are canceled for the month of March.

Some stores in the mall have closed. Call individual stores for hours.

2020 Tour of Lakes for June 6 expected to proceed

Paul Bunyan Cyclists leadership is closely monitoring the coronavirus pandemic and its potential impact on the 2020 Tour of Lakes.

At the time of this posting, the June 6 tour is expected to proceed. The group will continue to monitor the situation and post updates as they are available.

For those registered for the 2020 tour, if the event is canceled, you will be automatically registered for the 2021 Tour of Lakes.

For more information, visit .

17th annual Good Samaritan Bowl events postponed

For the health and well-being of the Brainerd community, the Good Samaritan Society has decided to postpone the Good Samaritan Bowl events in Brainerd and Pine River.

This annual fundraiser was originally scheduled for May 3-4. The organization stated it continues to monitor the situation and will announce the new date at a later time.

For questions about the Brainerd event, contact Sheen Ziegler at or 218-825-2505.

For questions about the Pine River event, contact Tonya Vanvickle at or 218-587-4423.

For those who want updates about these events, visit .

Morrison County closes walk-in traffic

LITTLE FALLS — Morrison County Chairman Mike LeMieur Thursday, March 19, declared a local state of emergency regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

The most significant change is the closing of the Morrison County Government Office to walk-in traffic beginning at 8 a.m. Friday, the county stated in a news release.

“It has been the intent for the Government Center to remain open and accessible to the public, however, due to increased walk-in traffic as a result of surrounding Government Center closures, we have been forced to make this decision,” LeMieur stated.

Employees will continue to be available to help the public via email, phone, online and drop box.

Appointments will be accepted for citizen and client transactions that cannot be postponed.

Call 320-632-2941 or email for further assistance and to

conduct business.

The 7th Judicial District access will still be available via the main south entrance from First Avenue in Little Falls.

St. Scholastica extends virtual classes through the semester; commencement canceled

In response to experts’ recommendations on halting the spread of the coronavirus, the College of St. Scholastica announced classes will be taught online for the rest of the spring semester, and commencement exercises will not go forward as planned.

In an announcement Thursday, March 19, to faculty, staff and students, President Barbara McDonald said the college will not resume in-person classes for the rest of the spring semester. Instead, classes will be offered online or in other alternative formats. Previously, St. Scholastica had announced online and alternative classes would be in session at least through April 8.

“With the uncertainty of COVID-19’s spread, we want to be proactive and make this decision early to reduce anxiety and uncertainties for our students, faculty and staff,” McDonald wrote in a news release. “We will be monitoring the situation and will provide updates regarding the summer session as we learn more.”

Students who left residence halls will be able to retrieve their belongings from March 20-30.

McDonald’s announcement also included the news that spring commencement exercises will be canceled.

“Based on the most recent recommendations regarding limits to gatherings and to protect the health of our graduates, their families, alumni, and employees, we will not hold this year’s on-campus Commencement events scheduled for May 10,” McDonald wrote. “Instead, we are exploring alternative solutions to honor our graduates, whether that means a rescheduled date in the future or an alternative virtual experience.”

All other campus events for the rest of the semester will be canceled as well, including arts and entertainment events on the Spotlight calendar. This follows an announcement earlier this week that Saints Athletics has canceled its spring season.

All St. Scholastica employees will work remotely starting on March 23, except essential employees with campus-specific duties. College-sponsored domestic and international travel have been suspended until further notice.

Airport commission meeting canceled

The Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport Commission meeting scheduled for April 2 is canceled.

New as of March 18

Baxter City Council closes city facilities

The city council voted to close all city facilities — city hall, park facilities and the public works building — to the public through April 7, following recommendations by the state health department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to limit the spread of COVID-19.

“While city facilities will be closed during this time, city employees will still be working diligently to provide residents and businesses with city service with minimal interruption,” the city reported.

Individuals are encouraged to pay their utility bills by; mail to City of Baxter, P.O. Box 2626, Baxter, MN 56425, via the city’s website at or by dropping payments in the drop box outside city hall.

Anyone needing to conduct other city business during this time should contact city staff by phone to 218-454-5100 or by email to .

In an effort to further limit potential exposure to the public and city employees, the city elected to temporarily suspend the following non-essential services:

  • All recreation programming until further notice,

  • Rentals of park facilities (for example the kitchen or pavillion) through April 30,

  • Rental inspections for the next 30 days except for emergencies,

  • Water and/or sanitary sewer work orders related to matters within a building/structure will be limited to emergency situations only.

The matter is fluid and subject to change, the city reported, adding updates on operations will be provided via news releases, the city website and social media. “The city thanks everyone for their patience and understanding during these trying times.”

Essentia Health postpones routine appointments, elective procedures

Essentia Health started postponing Wednesday, March 18, all routine appointments and elective procedures for two weeks.

The decision affects appointments and elective procedures scheduled at any Essentia hospital or clinic from March 18 to April 1. Decisions about appointments and procedures after April 1 will be made later.

  • Routine clinic appointments are being rescheduled unless a physician or advance practice provider sees a need for an office visit. Patients will be called or receive a message through Essentia MyHealth to reschedule their appointments.

  • Patients may be offered a telephone visit, an e-visit or an online video visit through MyHealth. If these options don’t work, office appointments are expected to be rescheduled in four to six weeks.

  • Elective surgeries and procedures will be postponed for two weeks if the delay will not adversely impact a patient’s condition. Patients will be called or receive a message through Essentia MyHealth to reschedule their surgeries and procedures.

  • Incoming requests for elective surgeries and routine appointments will be scheduled in four to six weeks unless a patient’s condition warrants one sooner.

The decision was made to protect patients and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Dr. Peter Henry, Essentia Health’s chief medical officer. The decision also allows Essentia Health to deploy staff and resources to prepare for expected infection outbreaks in communities it serves.
“We recognize that postponing routine appointments and elective procedures is disruptive to our patients and staff but we always put safety first,” Henry stated in a news release. “We want to be ready to provide the care that our communities need in this unprecedented time.”

Postponing nonessential appointments and elective procedures is in line with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as recommendations from the surgeon general and the American College of Surgeons.

Cass County limits public access to buildings

WALKER — Cass County will not allow public entry into its county buildings effective Wednesday, March 18, through at least April 7.

Courtrooms and court proceedings shall remain open to the public. Nonessential visits to the courthouse are discouraged. Cass County remains open to serving the public and will do so through telephone, email, U.S. mail and online services available through its website at .

Cass County Board Chairman Neal Gaalswyk and Sheriff Tom Burch will continue to work together to provide information to the public consistent with the county’s emergency operations and continuity of operation plans.

Crow Wing County Genealogy Society suspends all meetings

The Crow Wing County Genealogy Society has suspended all of its meetings until further notice due to the Covid-19 situation and lack of suitable meeting locations.

Any questions, call 218-828-9178 or 218-851-4819.

Brainerd License Office temporarily suspends face-to-face services

For the welfare of the staff beginning Wednesday, March 18, Brainerd License Office face-to-face services will be temporarily suspended.

According to a news release, the office will do their best to continue processing motor vehicle and DNR transactions via phone at 218-855-5169, email or by mail 623 NW Fourth St., Brainerd, MN 56401 or dropbox 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the entryway.

Dealers and banks will be allowed to drop off or request pickup for their transactions.

All driver’s license services are postponed.

For more information, visit l .

Duluth Diocese announces additional measures to stem COVID-19

In a directive Wednesday, March 18, the Rev. James B. Bissonette, diocesan administrator for the Diocese of Duluth, announced additional temporary measures to help stem the spread of COVID-19.

In the new directive, all public Masses are suspended through April 20, effective Friday, March 20. Priests may celebrate a private Mass without a congregation. In addition, the diocese has canceled all gatherings of more than 10 people and said even in smaller gatherings, those vulnerable or showing any signs of illness should stay home, and all present should practice good hygiene and “social distancing” policies such as remaining 6 feet apart.

The document also contains guidance for Holy Week liturgies, as well as questions regarding first Communions, confirmations and funerals.

Father Bissonette said confessions and office hours should continue to made available on a regular basis, churches should be open for an extended period each day so people could come individually and pray, and reiterated guidance for keeping Sundays holy when Mass is not available. He said the clergy and faithful should continue to visit and care for the sick, including through providing the sacraments.

"I do not take these temporary measures lightly and I strongly encourage you, the Faithful and the Clergy, to do the same," Bissonette wrote. "Let us pray that I will be able to lift them soon, that we will remain safe and well as we stand with Mary at the foot of the Cross during this time of crisis, and that we will be able quickly to resume the public sharing of the Gospel and our Catholic faith."

He noted the measures could extend beyond April 20, or should conditions improve more rapidly than expected, they could be lifted at that time.

First Lutheran Church cancellations

Due to COVID-19, all church activities at First Lutheran Church, Brainerd, have been canceled until further notice.

The sermon by Interim Pastor Loren Anderson-Bauer, for Sunday, March 22, will be available on the church Facebook page and .

As of March 17

Mann Theatres to honor tickets

Mann Theatres, owners of the Lakes 12 Theatre in Baxter, noted all its locations are closing effective Tuesday, March 17 until further notice.

If customers purchased their tickets directly from Mann Theatres, the tickets will be honored for a later screening.

“We are deeply saddened to announce that public officials in Minnesota have asked Mann Theatres to close in a continuing effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Stephen Mann, CEO, stated in a news release. “ … When we re-open after this unprecedented time you can be assured that all theatres will have been thoroughly deep cleaned and disinfected with recommended sanitizing products meeting CDC guidelines. … This news is devastating. To our customers, colleagues and friends — we are grateful for your continued support, we wish you the best, and we look forward to serving you again soon. Thank you.”

Go to for more information.

Crow Wing Power closes lobbies

Beginning Thursday, March 19, Crow Wing Power, Crow Wing Power Credit Union and

People’s Security Company lobbies will be closed to the public until further notice to protect the health and well-being of members and employees as part of its coronavirus, COVID-19, preparedness plan.

Employees will still be working and available by phone. Crow Wing Power and the Credit Union

employee regular hours are 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. People’s Security

employees are available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Additionally, Crow Wing Power and the credit union’s drive-thru windows will continue to

be open 8:30 a.m. to noon Saturdays.

“We are encouraging members to pay bills online, pay by phone, mail, use our dropbox or drive-thru window,” the company reported in a news release.

For more information, call 218-829-2827 or 1-800-648-9401.

WSN to minimize in-person meetings

Widseth Smith Nolting reported it is providing work from home options to employees to meet individual circumstances and minimizing in-person meetings, recommending no unnecessary travel between offices, and following limits on gatherings. Whenever possible, WSN reported meetings will be conducted by video conference or telephone.

“As for public hearings, we are still researching this topic with the relevant agencies and will update you as we learn more,” stated Kevin Donnay, president, in an update. Donnay also noted the company is continuing to conduct its annual companywide food drive for local food shelves.

Cass County adds screening procedure for 911 medical emergency calls

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cass County Sheriff’s Office reported it has adjusted its operational procedures and reports it is ready to respond to public safety needs.

One procedure change is when calling 911 for assistance. In the event of a medical emergency, callers will be asked some screening questions pertaining to symptoms, as well as recent

travel, during a set of pre-arrival instructions.

“These questions are important to help first responders determine the needs of the medical situation,” the sheriff’s office reported.

Contact the sheriff’s office by dialing 911 for emergencies or 218-547-1424 for non-emergencies or non-emergency email to Additional contact information is available online. The sheriff’s officer reported its around the clock operations will continue.

The Detention Center will be limited to off-site video visitation. Extensive cleaning and sanitizing of facilities and vehicles is ongoing, the department reported.

Mid Minnesota Federal Credit Union to close lobbies beginning March 18

Mid Minnesota Federal Credit Union reported in the interest of safety for members and the community, the credit union is closing its lobbies beginning Wednesday, March 18, except for scheduled appointments.

Staff will be available to assist with regular transactions, emerging needs and if people are facing financial difficulties.

Customers can make deposits, cash withdrawals, transfer documents and other in-person transactions through drive-up at all credit union locations.

For all personal and business needs, call the credit union Member Resource Center 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and open until 6 p.m. Thursdays. For more information, call 218-829-0371. Mobile banking has 24-hour access.

Services available with online and mobile banking include monitoring balances, transferring of funds from one account to another, viewing transactions, stopping payments of checks, monitoring your credit score, paying bills online, and remotely depositing checks via your cellphone.

“We also encourage you to remain diligent in protecting your personal and financial information,” a news release from Miranda Anderson, vice president of marketing and communications, reported. “Unfortunately, there have been fraudulent websites and emails in regard to this pandemic. MMFCU will not ask for any personal information via telephone or email that you have not initiated. If you are unsure if a phone call, email or text is legitimate, call your local MMFCU Office.

“We are committed to working together with you and our communities to come through these times of uncertainty and social distancing and find stability through the relationships we have now and for the future.”

CentraCare cancels elective procedures

Due to the presence of COVID-19 in our community, CentraCare will be canceling and rescheduling patients who have elective procedures, surgeries or physicals/well exams.

Patients with the following will be contacted to be rescheduled:

  • Elective patient procedures/surgeries,

  • Most physicals and well exams, including pediatrics,

  • Chronic visits that can be postponed or carried out by phone or video,

  • Many outpatient rehab appointments.

Starting Wednesday, March 18, CentraCare will screen patients at the front door before they enter clinic locations. After entering, patients must practice social distancing, keeping a distance of at least 6 feet from others, if possible. CentraCare facilities will work to separate patients with symptoms of respiratory illness from other patients.
Those with symptoms of respiratory illness, are asked to do one of the following:

  • Visit CentraCare eClinic for online, phone or video visit, 24/7; screening is free of charge

  • Call CentraCare Connect at 320-200-3200 to speak with a nurse, 24/7

Crow Wing County veteran and land services offices open for online or phone services only

The veterans service office will be restricted and doors will be locked until March 31. Transportation to the Brainerd VA Clinic, St. Cloud VA and Minneapolis VA are still active at this time.

Restrictions and precautions are being taken, and veterans are being asked to confirm their appointments and reschedule if able. The VA’s transportation program is a volunteer program and rides are not guaranteed.

Those with questions or concerns about VA benefits may call 218-824-1058.

The Land Services Building is also closed to public traffic through March 31. Visit the land services department's website for a list of services that can be accessed online or by phone.

Items that can be completed online include:

  • Land use permits .

  • Homestead applications — These are available online to print and fill out. They will then need to be mailed to the office at the address below.

  • eRecording of documents — These can be filed online.

  • Vitals - Birth, death, and marriage certificate applications are available online and will need to be mailed to the office for completion at the address below.

  • Marriage licenses — These can be applied for online at and within 90 days it is required to come into the office to pay the fee and sign the application.

Taxpayers who do not have their tax payments escrowed and paid through their mortgage company have a variety of payment options:

  • Online via e-check, debit, or credit card. Visit , click on Online Services, and select “Make a Payment” under Land Services.

  • By mail via check or money order. Send to 322 Laurel St., Suite 15, Brainerd, MN 56401. Tax payments sent by mail must be postmarked no later than May 15 to avoid late penalties. (Taxpayers are advised to drop their payment in the mail at least three days prior to the May 15 deadline.)

  • Delinquent Taxes — Call before mailing payment for current balance.

Contact the land services department with questions at 218-824-1010, by email at , by mail at Crow Wing County Land Services, 322 Laurel St., Suite 15, Brainerd, MN 56401.

Kitchigami Regional Library branches closing

All branch libraries of the Kitchigami Regional Library System, including the Brainerd Public Library, will close Wednesday, March 18. Bookmobile services will operate as a pick-up service only at stops. Fees associated with overdue materials will be waived during this period. Patrons are encouraged to view the library system's collections for 24/7 access to materials.

Social Security Offices is closed to the public

The Baxter location of the Social Security Office is closed to the public. For limited service, contact the office directly at 866-331-9087.

“This decision protects the population we serve — older Americans and people with underlying medical conditions — and our employees during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. However, we are still able to provide critical services,” according to a statement on the federal website.

Patrons can still contact the Baxter office by telephone for the following critical conditions:

  • Dire need benefit payments, which include if a person did not receive a benefit payment, presumptive payments, or if a person needs his or her benefit payments reinstated.

  • Severe disability, blindness and terminal illness cases.

  • Dire need SSI and 1619B eligibility decisions required for urgent Medicaid approval.

Crosslake City Hall closes to the public

CROSSLAKE — The city of Crosslake reported Tuesday, March 17, that city hall will be closed to the public until further notice.

Deliveries can be left at the door.

Call 218-692-2688 for immediate help or more information

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church suspends services

PEQUOT LAKES — All services at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church are suspended through April 4. Those with questions may call 218-820-5077.

Legacy Chorale cancels spring concert series

The Legacy Chorale of Greater Minnesota has canceled its spring 2020 concert series, which includes concerts April 18 in Pequot Lakes, April 21 in Brainerd and April 26 in Willmar.

Solid Waste Committee meeting canceled

The Crow Wing County Solid Waste Committee meeting scheduled for this Friday has been canceled.

Lord of Life suspending programming

BAXTER — Effective immediately, Lord of Life Lutheran Church is suspending all programming, including Sunday and Wednesday worship.

The church council will reassess the situation on an ongoing basis. Plans are moving forward to begin livestreaming worship. Lord of Life will follow CDC recommendations regarding group sizes, including funerals and all other activities.

The building will be closed, but staff members are available by phone at 218-828-9374, email at or by appointment.

Salvation Army suspends Sunday services, other events; food shelf still available

In light of the recent recommendations from the CDC and the state governments regarding public gatherings over the next few weeks, the Brainerd Lakes Salvation Army announced it is suspending Sunday services at the Corps, youth councils and all midweek meetings.

“Above all, we want to remain calm and always trusting in God, who brings peace in the storms of life,” a news release stated. “It was no coincidence that the Army theme for Lent this year is ‘Embracing the Uncertain,’ and we have every confidence that God is in control.”

The food shelf will be available but people must call ahead at 218-829-1120, 8 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Food boxes will be prepared and made available for pickup. Other services will require appointments.

St. Francis Health, St. Francis Music Center closes

LITTLE FALLS — St. Francis Music Center and St. Francis Health & Wellness Center in Little Falls are closed until March 30 due to concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19.

Morrison County Motor Vehicle closes

LITTLE FALLS — Morrison County Motor Vehicle will close due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as recommended by the governor.

The county will work to determine whether solutions are available to meet social distancing requirements and yet provide service.

The Morrison County Government Center will be open for business in a limited capacity. Gatherings greater than 10 people or transactions that cannot meet social distancing requirements will not be allowed.

People are encouraged to call ahead of time at 320-632-2941 to determine if the service they need should be provided in person or if an alternative option exists. People with questions also may email .

Morrison County activates Department Operation Center

LITTLE FALLS — Morrison County Public Health is announcing the activation of the Department Operation Center in response to the current COVID-19 outbreak. The DOC is operating in a monitoring phase in the hours of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Morrison County Public Health is working closely with emergency management to monitor the situation and is encouraging the public to practice social distancing, stay home when you are sick, cover your cough, and wash your hands well.

Any general questions about COVID-19 call the Minnesota Department of Health hotline at 651-201-3920.

Baxter Cafe offers weekend meals for kids

BAXTER — In partnership with Raboin & Francis Law Office and Pan-O-Gold Baking Co., Baxter Cafe will offer free weekend lunches for students under 18.

Call 218-829-1739 between 8-10:30 a.m. Saturday or Sunday to have an order ready for pickup by 11:30 a.m.

Brainerd Public Schools offers meals, updates public

Free breakfasts and lunches will be available for all kids 18 and under to pick up from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. March 18-27.

Meals can be picked up at the following locations:

  • Washington Educational Services Building, southeast door.

  • Riverside Elementary School, main entrance.

  • Forestview Middle School, north entrance.

  • Garfield Elementary School, main entrance.

Parents and students can request as many meals as they need. A breakfast for the following day will be provided with every lunch. No pre-order is necessary.
Those in critical professions who qualify for child care must fill out the community needs assessment, available here: . An enrollment form will then be sent out.

District facilities will be open from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, March 19-20, for families to pick up items from their children’s schools. Only a limited number of people will be allowed in the building at a time.

Families of middle school students will get information soon about how to pick up devices from Principal Jon Anderson.

Families will be notified about how to access distance learning materials for March 30.

BHS postpones prom

The Brainerd High School is postponing prom, which was scheduled April 4, as the uncertainty of when school sponsored large events would be resumed.

Wadena County Sheriff’s Office announces changes

The Wadena County Jail and public lobby are closed to visitors. This includes both professional and private visitiations.

Steps are being taken to enable off-site video visitation for inmates and their friends and family, Sheriff Michael Carr said in a news release Tuesday.

Jail programming is also suspended during this time, including Sentenced to Serve and Work Release programs. Public fingerprinting is also suspended.

Permits to acquire and permits to carry handguns will be accepted via U.S. Mail and processed accordingly. For questions on what documentation and/or fees need to be sent, call 218- 632-6059 or 218-632-6063.

Civil process will be accepted through the U.S. Mail also. Questions on fees can be directed to the same phone numbers above.

These measures will be in place until at least April 6 are subject to change as the sheriff’s office receives recommendations and guidelines from state and federal partners.

Non-essential visits to all county buildings are discouraged. Wadena County remains open to serving the public and will now do so through telephone, email, mail, and online services available at .

People should call before going to any Wadena County buildings.

“As your Sheriff, I want you to know that we are still here for you 24 hours a day. Our response may change on certain calls, as well as jail operations, but I want you to know you can still call us in your time of need,” Carr said in the news release. “This is an unprecedented situation that we are all working through, but the thing to remember is that we WILL get through this, and it too shall pass.”

New as of March 15-16

Crow Wing County cancels 2nd Amendment public hearing

Crow Wing County officials announced Monday, March 16, the cancellation of Thursday's public hearing in front of the county board regarding the county becoming Second Amendment-dedicated.

“While circumstances may dictate the need to make this adjustment, I remain committed to bringing this issue to a vote of the full county board,” County Board Chairman Paul Koering stated in a news release.

Koering scheduled the controversial topic to be on the agenda at the board's regularly scheduled meeting April 14 at the Crow Wing County Historic Courthouse in Brainerd.

“County board members have already received a lot of correspondence and phone calls regarding this issue, and I expect that will continue until we do vote on it,” Koering said.

Contact information for all board members, as well as a detailed map of each of their districts, is available at .

Ruttger’s cancels 2 events

DEERWOOD — Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge, Deerwood, canceled the maple tapping weekend scheduled for April 3-5, and Easter Brunch on April 12.

The resort reported this decision was made in adherence to the recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to avoid all gatherings of 50 or more people.

“Our number one concern is the health and safety of our guests and employees,” Ruttger’s

President Chris Ruttger stated in a news release. “Though these events are fun, and will be missed, nothing is as important as doing our duty to help halt the spread of COVID-19.”

BLAEDC cancels annual meeting set for March 24

Due to the recent recommendations to limit large work-related meetings amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corp. Board reported it decided to cancel the 2020 annual meeting.

Refunds will be issued in the coming weeks to those who paid to attend.

A “virtual” annual meeting is expected in the coming days with an email regarding highlights from the past year and to recognize local leaders in economic development.

Bremer Bank closes lobbies, keeps drive-thrus open

In an effort to mitigate the community spread of COVID-19, Bremer Bank announced Monday, March 16, it would close all lobbies and keep the drive-thrus open throughout its three-state footprint of Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin.

Bremer’s ATMs and night deposit boxes will also stay open. The closures will begin Wednesday, March 18, and will continue until further notice.

Bremer reported the school closures and confirmed cases of community spread went into the decision.

“Experts are repeatedly stating that the most effective way to mitigate this pandemic is to practice social distancing,” said Jeanne Crain, Bremer president and CEO, in a news release. “Through these actions, Bremer will continue to serve our customers while also taking part in our collective responsibility to ‘flatten the curve.’”

Bremer will continue to offer its full menu of financial service products during the lobby closures. Bremer has committed to continue to pay its hourly workers at their typical rate during this period. Bremer will continue to post updated information on its page.

Pequot Lakes Community Ed cancels classes

PEQUOT LAKES — Pequot Lakes Community Education announced it will cancel all classes and activities until further notice.

Brainerd Public Library cancels programming

Kitchigami Regional Library System events, classes, storytimes and programs are canceled until further notice. All branch libraries, including the Brainerd Public Library, remain open at this time.

HSO cancels its spring season

In an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Heartland Symphony Orchestra has canceled its 2020 spring season.

The spring season includes concerts scheduled April 2 in Crosslake, April 4 in Little Falls and April 5 in Brainerd.

The organization stated all sponsorships and advertising revenue already received for the 2020 spring season will be listed in the program booklet for the 2020-21 season. For people who already purchased tickets for the spring season, Heartland Symphony Orchestra will exchange the tickets for its upcoming 2020-21 season performances. People also may donate their ticket.

The orchestra will share live performances through video rebroadcasts and livestreams.

Organization leaders stated they hope to reschedule the premier of Symphony in C Major by Quinn Mason, winner of the 2020 Composer’s Competition, once the crisis is over.

For more information, check the website at .

Excavators, contractors safety meeting canceled

The Brainerd Area Damage Prevention Meeting scheduled Wednesday, March 18, at the Brainerd American Legion is canceled.

The annual safety meeting was intended for excavators and contractors and sponsored by local utilities in the Brainerd area along with Gopher State One Call and The Minnesota Office of Pipeline Safety.

Breath of Life postpones annual spring tea

The second annual Breath of Life Spring Tea scheduled for Saturday, March 21, will be postponed until a date yet to be determined. Call Breath of Life with questions at 218-822-3296.

Cybersecurity class session canceled

A cybersecurity class planned for Wednesday, March 18, at the Pine River United Methodist Church has been canceled.

Zion Lutheran Church cancels all activities and services

Until further notice, there will be no services and/or activities at Zion Lutheran Church, Brainerd.

This includes Sunday services, Monday night services and Lenten services.

There will be no Lenten meals served.

The office will be open 9 a.m. to noon each day. For questions, call the office at 218-829-4317.

Cuyuna Range Women’s Club cancellations

The Cuyuna Range Women's Club canceled its April meeting and the May luncheon.

This decision was based upon recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health over concerns due to the coronavirus.

The club plans to resume meetings in September.

Parkinson’s Disease Support Group meeting canceled

BAXTER — The Parkinson’s Disease Support Group meeting planned for April 2 at Lord of Life Church in Baxter has been canceled due to the coronavirus.

For questions, call 218-829-4017.

Nisswa Women’s Club meeting canceled

NISSWA — The Nisswa Women’s Club meeting scheduled for Thursday, March 19, has been canceled due to the current health crisis.

The Center is closed

The Center, 803 Kingwood St., Brainerd, will be closed until further notice beginning Tuesday, March 17.

Doughnuts will not be for sale.

Nisswa Garden Club meets and programs canceled

NISSWA — The Nisswa Garden Club has canceled all of its March meetings and programs.

Morrison County Jail closes to public

LITTLE FALLS — The Morrison County Jail suspended all public visiting with inmates until further notice.

The public may visit remotely by going to during normally scheduled times 8:30-11 a.m. Tuesday and Friday and 8-11 a.m. Saturdays.

The jail also has suspended public fingerprinting until further notice.

Any questions, call at 320-631-2880 or 320-632-0197.

Grand Casino announces temporary closure

ONAMIA — Grand Casino announced a voluntary, temporary closure of casino operations at Grand Casino Mille Lacs and Grand Casino Hinckley, which began 4 p.m. March 16 to help fight the spread of COVID-19.

The initial plan was for a 14-day closure, but conditions will be reassessed before a firm reopen date is announced, a news release stated. While there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 at either property as of Monday, Grand Casino said it sees this as a responsible, proactive decision that places the well-being of its associates, guests and local communities at the forefront.

Crossing Arts Alliance to temporarily close

The Crossing Arts Alliance made the decision to close to the public beginning Tuesday, March 17.

At present, this closure is effective through March 30, however it may be extended further depending on the status of COVID-19 in the region.

During this time, the staff will continue working behind the scenes, sometimes remotely, and can be reached via email with questions or concerns.

Events/workshops affected include:

  • Studio Wednesday, March 18 and 25;

  • Needle felted nest workshop, March 21;

  • Brainerd Area Art Guild meeting, March 26;

  • Art Share, March 27;

  • Mixed media book workshop, March 27 and 28;

  • Mark Christy, April Featured Artist Meet and Greet, postponed until a date to be determined;

  • Opening reception for “Young at Art”, postponed until April 24; and

  • Private events, birthday parties, etc.

The Crossing Arts Alliance will continue to assess in the days ahead. They will begin processing refunds for classes and events and plan to have this completed by the end of next week.
They will continue to share resources, virtual opportunities to connect with the arts, and ideas for creative activities to do at home. Connect with them via Facebook @crossingartsalliance and Instagram @crossing_arts.

Any future changes will be communicated through the website, email and social media platforms.

Initiative Foundation postpones community events

LITTLE FALLS — The Initiative Foundation in Little Falls will be open, but its community events will be postponed or rescheduled.

Any in-person meetings for staff — external or internal — will be structured as photo or video calls and staff will work remotely from their homes and will not travel for work projects.

The foundation’s community rooms also will be closed for the duration and will resume only when the remove work transition is lifted. Go to for more information.

Youth on Stage Open mic canceled

Youth on Stage Open Mic event scheduled March 23 at the Brainerd Eagles Club is canceled.

Brainerd Elks Lodge 615 sponsors the event through an Elks National Foundation grant and by the Brainerd Eagles Club No. 215.

YMCA to close all areas, non-essential programs

The Brainerd Lakes YMCA will close all areas and non-essential programs except for licensed child care and emergency kids camp Wednesday, March 18.

This means the YMCA will not have group fitness classes, sport leagues, swimming, open gym or other activities. The YMCA stated it will put memberships on hold by request, but it is asking members to consider assisting in the organization’s efforts to continue providing child care during this time.

“We ask that you join us in the effort,” a news release stated. “We ask that you continue to pay your membership fee so that we can use this revenue to ‘do good’ during the time of uncertainty.”

The YMCA also stated it’s working on providing members with the opportunity for on-demand workouts within the next couple of days.

Presentation by professor canceled

A presentation by Professor Gary Payne of Central Lakes College on Ethiopia and Somalia hosted by the Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Fellowship was canceled.

The event was to take place 10:30 a.m. Sunday, March 22, at the Tiny Sprouts Daycare, Pequot Lakes.

Senior dances canceled

Senior dances planned for Wednesday, March 18, at the Brainerd Blue Room and Friday at the Deerwood Legion are canceled.

All future senior dances are canceled until further notice.

Power of Aging Expo postponed

CROSSLAKE — The Power of Aging Expo originally scheduled April 25 at the Crosslake Evangelical Free Church was postponed until further notice.

Eggs and Issues postponed

After consulting with area legislators, and in light of Minnesota Department of Health guidelines, The Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce decided to postpone its annual legislative event, Eggs and Issues, which had been scheduled for Friday, March 20, at Arrowwood Lodge at Brainerd Lakes in Baxter.

“The legislators were looking forward to connecting with our local business community, but they have to remain ultra-focused on the important tasks at hand,” stated Matt Kilian, chamber president, in a news release. “My hope is that we will be able to reschedule the event sometime after the legislative session wraps up in May.”

TheShop closed until further notice

TheShop, the Brainerd-Baxter area youth center, will close its doors.

The organization will be making a plan to provide food to youths and will announce more later in the week.

Message TheShop on Instagram or the business page on Facebook (TheShop-BBYC) if anything is needed.

Essentia Health announces visitor restrictions

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Essentia Health reported it has made the difficult decision to restrict visitors at its hospitals.

“Our top priority is the safety and wellbeing of our patients, staff and the communities we are privileged to serve,” Essentia reported in a news release. “This is being done to protect patients and staff, and prevent the spread of this virus.”

No visitors are allowed, except in the following circumstances:

  • Inpatients: Visitors only will be allowed based on compassionate-care needs. Family members are advised to call the hospital/unit before coming.

  • Emergency department: One visitor for pediatric, vulnerable adult, trauma or other patient requiring communication to a health care team on their behalf.

  • Pediatric patients: One adult visitor will be allowed per patient.

  • Labor and delivery patients: One adult visitor will be allowed per patient.

  • Neonatal intensive care unit: One parent is permitted to visit at a time.

All other visitors will be asked to leave the hospital.
Additionally, no visitors who are ill will be allowed.

“We encourage family and friends to use alternative methods of communication with patients, such as phone calls, FaceTime, Skype or other digital channels,” the medical provider stated, noting it appreciates everyone’s understanding. “We recognize this change will be difficult, but we believe it is necessary to protect our patients and staff from spreading illness.”

This policy went into effect at noon Monday, March 16, and will continue indefinitely.

Just For Kix postpones all dance classes

Just For Kix in Brainerd will follow Gov. Walz and Brainerd Schools and postpone all dance classes starting Monday, March 16. The dance company will reevaluate March 27 to see when it will open its doors back up.

JRK also will extend its studio season into May to make sure all the missed classes are covered. The spring show also will be moved to a later date in May, to be determined.

League of Women Voters cancels program

The League of Women Voters Brainerd Lakes Area announced it is canceling its March 19 presentations originally scheduled at Central Lakes College. The presentation with Betty Folliard, Minnesota Equal Rights Amendment founder, may possibly be moved to this fall.

Faith formation programs suspended

Brainerd Lakes Catholic Churches will suspend all faith formation programs for students in kindergarten through 11th grade effective Sunday, March 15.

Programs include sacramental preparation for second graders and their parents on Monday nights, all Sunday School classes and Wednesday night faith formation programs will not take place until at least through March 27, as the church follows the guidance of the Brainerd Public Schools and its decision to halt school for this time period.

Wadena County Historical Society closes museum

WADENA — The Wadena County Historical Society board of directors has decided to close the Wadena County Museum and Bookstore to the public until March 31. The historical society will regularly reassess this temporary closure.

The health and safety of our guests, staff, volunteers, and community is our highest priority. WCHS will continue to monitor the news and federal and state health officials’ recommendations and communicate further changes as they occur.

In the meantime, staff is continuing to work on the business of preserving and protecting the history and resources of Wadena County.

Weyerhaeuser memorial museum closes

LITTLE FALLS — The Charles A. Weyerhaeuser Memorial Museum will be closed from March 15-31.

Staff will reassess the situation at that time in order to determine the best course of action moving forward.

Museum staff will be checking email and phone messages through this time. If anyone has questions about research or county history, call 320-632-4007, email or visit the website at .

Morrison County Government Center open, but discourages non-essential visits

LITTLE FALLS — The Morrison County Government Center will remain open for business during regular hours.

However, in response to the recommendations of the Minnesota Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morrison County Government Center is discouraging non-essential visits. For people who need assistance or who need to conduct business, contact the government center via email at or call 320-632-2941.

“Morrison County is trying to do our part to help respond to this emerging public health threat,” County Administrator Deb Gruber stated in an email release. “We are actively encouraging sick employees to stay home and are offering them flexibility with their work schedules to take care of family members. We are asking the public to please be patient as some services may take longer than normal due to limited staffing levels.

Employees have been directed to take extra precautions and practice social distancing, good hand hygiene, and appropriate cough and sneeze etiquette. Our staff is also working very hard to routinely clean frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, restrooms and doorknobs for the public and our staff.”

Local governments

Crow Wing County cancels meeting

County officials canceled the Tuesday, March 17, committee of the whole meeting. The information-only meeting of county commissioners typically occurs the third Tuesday of each month beginning at 9 a.m. on the second floor of the Crow Wing County Historic Courthouse.

Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office suspends jail visits

County officials announced Friday, March 13, the suspension of jail visitation to protect the public’s health and slow the rate of transmission of COVID-19.

All programs in the jail are suspended and volunteers are no longer coming in at this time.

Staff are following recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health to help reduce transmission of the virus to protect residents, families and employees.

“This is not a time for panic, but it is time for prudent precautionary steps to limit transmission such as social distancing,” County Administrator Tim Houle stated in a news release.

The sheriff’s office is limiting access to critical areas of their operation; county officials have already implemented increasing disinfecting of public and employee work surfaces; and county staff will implement more social distancing among employees.

County staff will be limiting access to critical areas of operation. Staff are working to determine which functions of county government could be performed remotely.

Wadena open house/public meeting on Highway 10 postponed

The Minnesota Department of Transportation will indefinitely postpone all scheduled public meetings and project open houses statewide, effective immediately.

This includes the open house for Highway 10 in Wadena previously scheduled 4-6 p.m. March 17.

Public engagement on transportation and construction projects remains a priority, according to MnDOT. MnDOT will explore alternatives, such as virtual and remote options for participation, and will provide updates as they become available.

Health care and senior living facilities

CRMC restricts visitors

CROSBY — Cuyuna Regional Medical Center will put new visitor restriction standards starting Monday, March 16, at its facilities to protect patients, residents and staff.

No visitors will be allowed in CRMC’s facilities except for instances of compassionate care and those must be arranged. Obstetrics, outpatient surgery and emergency patients will be allowed one support person.

Children and individuals requiring support may have one person with them. No children are allowed at this time except as a patient. Only approved clergy and vendors will be allowed in the facility.

The only access to CRMC will be the main entrance 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily; Entrance B 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekday; and through the emergency department when emergency care is needed.

People at risk of illness are encouraged to have a healthy person pick up prescriptions or call Cuyuna Lakes Pharmacy at 218-545-2345 to have their medications delivered. Pharmacy customers will be allowed in the facility but will be screened.

Several CRMC community events, classes and support groups have been canceled for everyone’s safety. Visit or for updates.

Essentia Health announces free e-visits relating to COVID-19

To support health and wellness in the community, Essentia Health is waiving the fee for e-visits for the purpose of screening and evaluation of respiratory symptoms and concerns related to COVID-19.

To start an Essentia Health e-visit, fill out a short questionnaire. Answers will be reviewed by an Essentia provider, who will make a diagnosis and create a personalized care plan.

Those 18 or older and live in Minnesota, Wisconsin or North Dakota can use this online service. Participants don’t have to be an Essentia patient to have an e-visit. Start an e-visit at .

CHI St. Gabriel’s Hospital restricts visitors

LITTLE FALLS — CHI St. Gabriel’s Hospital is also not allowing visitors to its facilities.

The Little Falls-based health care provider issued a news release that stated: “Patients and families should discuss special arrangements with their care team. Thank you for understanding as we work to ensure a safe environment for our patients and our workforce.”

Tri-County Health restricts visitors

WADENA — Tri-County Health Care reported Friday, March 13, visitors are not allowed effective at noon Friday.

This includes all clinics. Exceptions for special situations are only allowed with prior approval from the care team supporting that patient.

“Thank you for your understanding as we work to ensure a safe environment,” Tri-County Health reported in a news release.

Lakewood Health System restricts visitors

STAPLES — Starting Friday, March 13, no visitors are allowed to enter Lakewood Health System facilities until further notice.

An exception will be made for special circumstances. For those circumstances, visitors should expect a simple screening for symptoms to minimize the risk of exposure of this illness within the facility.

Lakewood Health System in Staples added many people are concerned and wondering about the spread of the coronavirus and how that impacts the medical facility. “Ensuring the health and safety of our communities is our top priority,” Amber Houselog, communications coordinator, noted in a news release Friday. “Therefore, we are following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and taking steps to reduce the potential for the coronavirus to enter our building.”

Specific restrictions include: Hospital/emergency department — no visitors, except for birthing partners and medically necessary hospital patient visits; clinics — no visitors, except medically necessary caregivers and guardians; Care Center, Lakewood Pines, Lakewood Manor, Behavioral Health Unit (Reflections) — no visitors, except for end-of-life visits.

Those with questions or who feel a visit to one of these facilities is necessary, may call the respective numbers; Hospital/emergency department/clinics, 218-894-1515; Care Center, 218-894- 8345; Lakewood Pines, 218-894-4460; Lakewood Manor, 218-894-2124; or Behavioral Health Unit (Reflections) 218-894-8200.

There is a free virtual visit available for those who have coronavirus symptom concerns. Visit the Click Care site at .

Additional coronavirus related information may be found on Lakewood’s website at .

Edgewood Senior Living reduces visiting times

Edgewood Senior Living in Brainerd announced it is implementing visiting time windows — 10 a.m. to noon and 4-6 p.m.

Guests are advised to sign in and out. In the event of two or more COVID-19 cases in any city in which an Edgewood community is located, the company stated it will move toward restricting all visitors.

Diamond Willow Assisted Living restricts visitors

BAXTER — Diamond Willow Assisted Living in Baxter is restricting visitors for the next 30 days to protect its vulnerable elderly residents.

All doors are locked and staff will let in those entering into the homes to assure proper protocol can be completed.

For family members with loved ones in critical imminent health changes or on hospice with critical changes, the organization will allow visiting. Spouses are also allowed. All who enter will be required to fill out a questionnaire on each visit, and temperatures may be requested. All entertainment and non-essential services to the homes are canceled.

The company stated it purchased commercial electrostatic sprayers for additional protection. These reach all areas more effectively than traditional manual cleaning systems with wipes and sprays, according to a news release.

Entertainment and other public events

St. Patrick’s Day parades canceled

Both St. Patrick’s Day parades in Crosslake and Brainerd scheduled for Saturday, March 14, are canceled.

“For those who will be in the area, please remember that the vast majority of our member businesses are still looking forward to welcoming customers,” stated Cindy Myogeto, Crosslake Chamber of Commerce director. “Overall, we strongly encourage everyone to be Lakes Proud and make every effort to support your local businesses and organizations.”

Pageant postponed until April

The 2020 Minnesota United States Pageant has been postponed until April.

The pageant was originally scheduled for Saturday, March 14.

Leech Lake Frostfest canceled

WALKER — The Leech Lake Area Chamber of Commerce announced the cancellation of

the Leech Lake Frostfest.

Those with tickets may donate what they spent to help offset the costs of the event and to benefit local youths in conjunction with Deep Portage Learning Center. Otherwise, ticket holders can credit their purchase toward next year’s event or receive a full refund.

For additional information, email .

CLC Performing Arts Center cancels season

After the directive from Minnesota State Chancellor Devinder Malhotra to cancel all events and gatherings with more than 100 people until May 1, the Central Lakes College Performing Arts Center announced Friday the cancellation of all events for the remainder of the season.

The events affected are:

  • “Neither Wolf Nor Dog,” March 17-18.

  • “Farewell Angelina,” March 21.

  • “Laurence Juber,” March 26.

  • “Big Friendly Giant,” April 3-4.

  • “The New Standards,” April 17.

  • “I Am…He Said: A Neil Diamond Celebration,” April 24.

  • “The Outgoing Tide,” April 30-May 2, May 7-9.

Those who have already purchased tickets to any of these events have three options:

  • Credit for purchased tickets can be applied to future events (any ticketing fees already paid cannot be credited),

  • Donation of the ticket price to the CLC Performing Arts Center, or

  • Refund (less service fees).

“We humbly ask that you consider option No. 2, as the organization will have a substantial financial loss as a result of these actions,” stated Patrick Spradlin, director of the CLC Performing Arts Center, in a news release. “If you opt for a refund, please understand that processing refunds may take some time, depending on the method of payment you initially used and when the purchase was made. And, we are able to refund only to the original purchaser of the ticket(s).”
Box office staff will contact ticket holders for each event via phone or email to discuss the options. They will work with each event on a chronological basis, beginning with “Neither Wolf Nor Dog.”

Spradlin urged ticket holders to be patient. More than 1,600 people need to be contacted.

At this time, the events are canceled, not postponed. If any events can be rescheduled, the public will be notified, though there is not a timetable for possible rescheduling.

LAMF postpones Nisswa concert

The Lakes Area Music Festival Friday, March 13, announced it will postpone the “Harmonious Harp” concert set May 17 in Nisswa.

Rosenmeier Forum on the census is postponed

The Rosenmeier Forum on the 2020 Census scheduled March 17 was postponed because of the extension of Central Lakes College’s spring break through next week.

Steve Wenzel, executive director of the Gordon Rosenmeier Center for State and Local Government, offered his apologies. He said the group will reschedule the event at a later date.

Grassroots Concerts postpones upcoming concert

NISSWA — Grassroots Concerts canceled its Claudia Schmidt’s March 20 concert and will reschedule the concert to a later date.

All concerts are in Nisswa at the Live Well Nightclub and Coffee Bar at the Journey Church. The organization will make an announcement in the next week or two regarding the remaining spring concerts scheduled April 10 and May 1.

Everything Expo postponed, other chamber events under consideration

The Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce postponed the Everything Expo previously scheduled for March 20-21.

The chamber said it is also in the process of contacting area legislators regarding the Eggs and Issues event on March 20.

“If it’s not advisable to meet in person, we will consider postponing to a later date and/or broadcasting the discussion in an interactive, online format,” according to the chamber.

Decisions on whether to proceed with or postpone Business After Hours events will be made several days in advance. The next one is scheduled for March 24 at Elite Industries in Pequot Lakes. Decisions on whether to proceed with or postpone Blue Ox Business Academy trainings will also be made several days in advance. This includes the Leadership Experience, XCORE Leadership, Supervisor Advantage and Success Series workshops.

At this point, the chamber stated it plans to keep its normal business hours with staff on site at its four locations. The release stated chamber leaders will “convene a meeting of area leaders next week to share information across sectors and coordinate coronavirus resources.”

Stage North postpones upcoming production

Stage North Theatre Co. of Brainerd announced Friday, March 13, it is postponing its upcoming production “Anything Goes,” originally scheduled March 26-28 and April 2-4 at the Franklin Arts Center in Brainerd.

Concert postponed

LITTLE FALLS — Hand of Hope Resource Center third benefit concert Hope Rocks, which was scheduled March 27 at the Falls Ballroom Banquet and Catering Services in Little Falls, was postponed and rescheduled.

All tickets purchased will be valid at the rescheduled concert. The date and time has not yet been set for the benefit concert, “I Am, He Said,” a celebration of Neil Diamond music starring Matt Vee and the Killer Vees. The proceeds from the rescheduled concert will be used to help fund Emergency Assistance and the Violence Prevention Program.

Those with questions may contact Steve Meyer at or call 320-632-1657, ext. 201.

Hands of Hope Resource Center exists to help victims of domestic, sexual and general violence seek help.

Sprout Growers & Makers Marketplace event canceled

LITTLE FALLS — Sprout MN canceled the Growers & Makers Marketplace on Saturday, March 28.

Just For Kix postpones TWD competitions in March

Just For Kix made a decision to postpone all Together We Dance competitions in March.

The dance company is working to reschedule them in late April or May. At this time, JFK plans to host its April events, but some of them could possibly get shifted. Some classes are postponed and may go into May or June.

Nonprofit organizations

Food packing events postponed

NISSWA — The Outreach Program of Brainerd Lakes, a Nisswa-based humanitarian food aid organization, announced its food packing events scheduled March 14-April 30 are postponed.

“We have a small inventory of packaged food on hand, and we will continue to supply this to local area food shelves as requested,” the organization stated on its Facebook page. “The need for food aid will be monitored and we will package upon demand if necessary. When/if we do that (during the March 14-April 30) time frame, we will seek volunteers that are healthy and able to package meals.”

AARP tax assistance events suspended

The AARP announced all of its tax preparation assistance events currently scheduled are canceled until further notice.

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