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Bonds issued by Becker County now have a AA rating from Standard and Poors, the rating company's second highest bond rating. County Administrator Jack Ingstad says that speaks to the county having a "very strong" capacity to meet its financial commitments. At the close of 2015, the county's most recently released audit reports a combined ending fund balance of more than $25 million, an increase of about $470,000. "The increase was due to conservative budget practices in both revenues and expenditures," said Ingstad.
Rep. Paul Marquart wants law enforcement officers to know that the state is behind them all the way. Marquart says his No. 1 priority is "keeping our communities safe, and with that is providing strong support and resources to our law enforcement officers so they can protect our communities and protect themselves." Marquart says he gets upset at law enforcement officers being constantly disrespected and second-guessed.
Becker County Commissioner Ben Grimsley is gunning for Paul Marquart's seat in the Minnesota House. Grimsley, 29, is a sixth-generation resident of Detroit Lakes, where he was born and educated. He earned a bachelor's degree in business finance from Minnesota State University Moorhead. His top priority if elected is "to make health insurance more affordable and actually work," he said. "We had 93 percent coverage and now it is closer to 96 percent, but the insurance many people are paying for isn't even fit to be called insurance."
Are immigrants a threat or a boon to rural Minnesota? And what can be done to help newcomers assimilate? At a forum Thursday in Detroit Lakes, candidates were asked about diversity and immigration. A key element is education, said Rep. Paul Marquart, a DFLer from Dilworth "It starts with education," he said. "A very strong system is needed from pre-kindergarten through college—Minnesota has always done a good job of bringing people together and teaching them to succeed."
Republican legislative candidates did their best to bloody DFLers over the skyrocketing cost of insurance on MNsure, the state's online health insurance exchange, at a forum Thursday in Detroit Lakes. "Don't let the incumbents get away with this," said James Leiman, the Ada city administrator running against DFLer Kent Eken for a Senate seat. "It's MNsure and the Affordable Care Act — we've created our own supply and demand paradigm ... we need to get rid of MNsure at once and join the federal exchange."
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed zebra mussels in Maud Lake in Becker County and Sybil Lake, south of Vergas in Otter Tail County. In both cases, the zebra mussels were found on boat lifts when they were removed from the water. According to the DNR, both incidents serve as good reminders for citizens to check equipment as they remove it each season.
After a young bald eagle died last week after befriending the residents of Turtle Lake, the Department of Natural Resources picked up the body. But the story doesn't end there. The bird was sent to the National Eagle Repository, a one-of-a-kind facility operated and managed by the Office of Law Enforcement, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and located at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge northeast of Denver. For hundreds of years, natives have used eagle feathers for religious and cultural purposes.
Mahnomen County is considering a three-year contract to board a limited number of inmates in the new Becker County Jail. The jail is expected to cost about $18 million and hold 157 to 170 inmates, both maximum and minimum security. It will be built on Highway 59 just north of Detroit Lakes. The county has asked the city to annex the land so that it can provide city sewer and water. A proposed timeline calls for the jail to open August of 2018. Commissioners from Mahnomen and Becker County met Tuesday to discuss a potential contract.
An influx of outdoor mice has area homeowners on the verge of mouse madness. Mouse traps and mouse bait have been selling at record levels, exterminators are staying busy and people who have never had house cats before are bringing in "mousers" to join the fight. On our Facebook page, this newspaper asked if people were having worse-then-usual mice problems this year. More than a dozen people quickly responded, with several saying they had killed between two and four dozen mice so far this year. Mice have been spotted inside houses, garages and even vehicles.
Hunters preparing to hit the water this fall in pursuit of ducks, geese and other wild game are reminded to include life jackets on their hunting gear checklist. "Hunters in Minnesota are trained from a young age to always put safety first. For duck and goose hunters, that means always wearing a life jacket on the water, no exceptions," said Lt. Col. Greg Salo of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Enforcement Division.