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Action by officials with the University of Minnesota Extension Service has made Becker County commissioners so angry that they are withholding payment for the newly hired 4-H coordinator position. But state 4-H director says the university did nothing wrong, followed the proper procedures and hired the same way it always hires Extension employees. The country pays for the 4-H position, but the coordinator is a state employee and is paid by the state. Becker County Commissioner Barry Nelson said district Extension officials essentially walked all over the county's search committee, thumb
Gasoline prices are high for this time of year, but they should be dropping in the next few weeks, according to an analyst with Gas Buddy.com, which tracks gasoline prices across the United States and Canada. In Minnesota, the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline was $3.92 on Tuesday. That was 6 cents higher than the national average. "In the next month or so, I could see it dropping to $3.65 to $3.85," said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com in Chicago.
Becker County commissioners approved a 3 percent general fund levy hike for 2013, and they again declined to raise the EDA levy -- but neither vote was unanimous on Tuesday. Board Chairman Larry Knutson voted against the proposed levy after other commissioners agreed to add $50,000 to the general fund budget, tentatively to be used against aquatic invasive species. Knutson believes the board acted out of "political expediency" after the president of the Lake Detroiters Association, Barb Halbakken-Fischburg, pressured commissioners, asking why no money was in the 2013 budget to fight aquati
A new $900,000 clinic in Frazee is expected to open next spring. The new Essentia Health St. Mary's-Frazee Clinic will be located at 300 Main Ave. East. The clinic is expected to open next spring, and will replace the existing clinic at 114 W. Main St. Dr. Paul Hendrickson, a long-time Family Medicine physician in Frazee, will continue to staff the clinic. This October, he'll be joined by Nurse Practitioner Karin Halvorson.
The way Medicare and Medicaid health care is delivered -- and paid for -- is changing, and Essentia Health is in the thick of it. It's the beginning of a change (from fee-for-service to payment based on patient outcome) that bodes well for both patients and the federal pocketbook. A new approach Basically, the coordinated care program involves keeping a close eye on the most vulnerable patients -- poor and elderly people who qualify for both Medicaid (for the poor) and Medicare (for the elderly). "These are very complex, frail patients -- a very high-cost population because of high-cost
Lee V. Byberg, 50, is running against U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson on the Republican ticket this fall. Byberg, a firm believer in small government and personal and corporate tax cuts to spur growth, says Peterson, a Democrat, has been in office too long. "He's been there nearly a quarter of a century," he said. "We are facing such serious problems -- this goes beyond being Democrat or Republican. "We look at the leadership he has been part of for the past 22 years-plus and where we are as a nation. We're borrowing 40 percent of our spending.
Minnesota's got a good thing going with its elections: Same-day registration, easy absentee voting, mail-in rural ballots, almost non-existent fraud and one of the highest turnouts in the nation on a regular basis. Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie says that all changes if voters approve the "Voter ID" constitutional amendment on the November ballot. In its place, the state will get controversial provisional ballots, thousands of disenfranchised voters and brand-new oversight by the U.S.
Unhappy with the current volunteer-based system, area lake associations say it's time to ratchet up the effort to keep zebra mussels and other aquatic invasive species out of lakes. The Height of Land Lake Association wants to close the east public access on that lake because it can't "mount a sufficient access inspection program due to the small number of shoreline residents," Dick Hecock, president of the Becker County Coalition of Lake Associations, wrote in a letter to the Becker County Board. At the August COLA meeting, several member lake associations made it clear they want to go f
Becker County commissioners have offered the county administrator's position to Jack Ingstad, who served in the role in good times and bad in Colorado and California, worked as an attorney and TV journalist in North Dakota, and served in the North Dakota State Legislature. Becker County commissioners decided to offer the job to Ingstad after interviewing him and two other finalists on Thursday. "He is excited (about the offer) and looking forward to the next step," said Becker County Human Resources Director Nancy Grabanski. Ingstad will next meet with a county committee to work out a sa
Ben Grimsley and Craig Fontaine have won the District 2 Becker County Board primary and will advance to the general election Nov. 6. With all the votes counted, Grimsley came in first with 160 votes, Fontaine was second with 117 votes and the third candidate, Mark Hagedorn, received 75 votes. "There wasn't a lot of voter turnout, but I'm definitely happy to take first place," Grimsley said late Tuesday evening. "I'm just going to reach more voters between now and (the general election).