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Becker County Administrator Jack Ingstad is retiring at the end of the year, and the County Board has launched a search for his replacement. The county has hired Springsted/Waters, an executive search firm and consultant Sharon Klumpp briefed the board recently in a telephone interview. She said the position has been advertised on a number of websites, including the National Association of Counties, the International City/County management Association, the Association of Minnesota Counties and the League of Minnesota Cities.
Don't look now, but some rural Minnesota counties are quietly changing the way health care for low income people is handled — and in a lot of ways it's for the better. Rural hospitals and dental clinics are being saved and strengthened. Counties have more operational flexibility, and their health and human services departments can more easily work together to help vulnerable residents, or to target local problems.
Doctor's still haven't figured out why 8-year-old Jessy Haberman died. "He had an unknown syndrome, very rare, he was in and out of hospitals his whole life," said his mother, Heather Haberman of Wyndmere, N.D., near Wahpeton. He died in February and doctors are still running tests to try to diagnose the syndrome. "They think it has something to do with blood," she said.
The Russia investigation has people concerned again: Protesters in Detroit Lakes say nobody should be able to control an investigation into their own possible criminal behavior. But President Trump has essentially done that by firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions and replacing him with his chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, who once suggested the investigation is a "witch hunt." The move brought out protesters around the country on Thursday, including Detroit Lakes.
Rep. Paul Marquart of Dilworth has defeated Republican challenger Jason Peterson of Cormorant. With 82 percent of precincts counted at 12:30 a.m. Wednesday Marquart was leading 59 percent to 41 percent. Marquart will get to enjoy at least two years in the majority, as DFLers won at least 15 new seats to take the Minnesota House. They needed 11 to win the House majority, which they last controlled four years ago. Speaker Kurt Daudt conceded the House majority Tuesday night. Republicans retain control of the state Senate.
Becker County residents were fired up to vote this year: The county saw a nearly 77 percent voter turnout for the midterm election. In local election news: - In Lake Park-Audubon, five people were elected to the school board: Marvin Vareberg received just over 20 percent of the vote, or 1,232 votes, Skye Bjerke got just under 20 percent (1,220 votes), as did Becky Mitchell (1,219 votes), and David O'Connell received 16 percent (963 votes). Bryan Wetli missed the cut with 13 percent of the vote, as did Christopher J. Skjold with 11 percent.
Despite a 17-page petition signed by some 300 people against Dollar General building a store near Cormorant village, the Becker County Board approved the project 4-1 on Tuesday. The planning commission had recommended approval. Only Commissioner Barry Nelson, who represents the area, voted against granting the conditional use permit needed to build the dollar store at 10315 County Road 5, between the Cormorant Inn and Pelican Lake Zorbaz. The request had been tabled after it failed to win support at an earlier Becker County Board meeting.
Becker County Sheriff Todd Glander easily won reelection Tuesday, defeating challenger Al Fowler 82 percent to 18 percent, or 11,492 votes to 2,547 votes. There were 36 write-in ballots. Glander, who has a long career in Becker County law enforcement, won every precinct in the county. "I'm glad it's over," he said. "I'm extremely happy with the results." He said it was a clean campaign and he didn't expect anything else. "I wish Al and his family the best," he said.
Voters in the Frazee-Vergas School District approved Question 3 Tuesday night, a $3.5 million property tax levy to raise $3.5 million for elementary school improvements. Under the plan, the 1966 wing on the elementary school will be remodeled and upgraded with new windows, flooring and other improvements, and the heating, cooling and ventilation system for the whole building will get a badly-needed upgrade. The yes vote was 55 percent to 45 percent. The other two questions involving improvements at the Frazee-Vergas high school were defeated.
With 27 of 48 precincts reporting in Becker County (including all three wards in Detroit Lakes): - Becker County Sheriff Todd Glander looks to be cruising to a big victory. He leads challenger Al Fowler 82 percent to 18 percent. - The sales tax referendum to build a new police station in Detroit Lakes passed by a big margin, 66 percent to 34 percent.