Spenser Bickett covers the Brainerd City Council and education. A native of the Twin Cities, Bickett attended the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he majored in journalism with a minor in political science. After graduation, he worked for the International Falls Journal as a staff writer before coming to Brainerd.
- Member for
- 2 years 4 months
The lights are coming back on for Brainerd lakes area residents who lost power after a line of powerful thunderstorms rolled through early Wednesday morning. The storm hit the area about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday and downed numerous trees. The National Weather Service in Duluth received reports of multiple trees down in Nisswa, Aitkin, Pequot Lakes, Breezy Point, Crosslake, Fifty Lakes and Jenkins.
Wade Bendson of Staples won't stand out Sunday when he runs a 5K race in his full gear from the Staples Fire Department. He'll run from the foot of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel in New York City to where the twin towers once stood before being destroyed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The Tunnel to Towers 5K Run and Walk retraces the steps of New York City firefighter Stephen Siller, who ran in his full gear to the site of the attacks before losing his life.
The Brainerd City Council Monday night settled on a slight increase for the 2018 preliminary property tax levy. The council set a preliminary levy of $5,561,860, which is a 3.5 percent increase from 2017. This creates $188,000 in additional revenue for the city.
Gov. Mark Dayton Tuesday announced a series of appointments to the Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board. Heidi Hahn was one of the 11 appointments to the board. Hahn is the director of special education for the Paul Bunyan Education Cooperative. Hahn said she was honored and excited to accept the appointment. It is her first time serving on a state government board or commission. "I'm very passionate about what the work ahead will be," Hahn said.
A Reichert Bus Service safety drill performed Sept. 8 had one parent concerned parents weren't notified of the drill beforehand. In a Facebook message to the Brainerd Dispatch, the parent said the drill was performed at the Reichert Bus Service lot. The parent said the students were evacuated from the bus during the drill.
The Brainerd School Board Monday night learned what it would take to move lacrosse from a club sport to a Minnesota State High School League sport. Charlie Campbell, activities director at Brainerd High School, presented a feasibility report to the board outlining the costs of providing lacrosse as an MSHSL sport. The board decided to review the data and take action on the issue at the October board meeting.
Brainerd Fire Chief Tim Holmes is heading to Florida to help with the emergency management response to Hurricane Irma. Gov. Mark Dayton Friday authorized a team of 16 Minnesota emergency management professionals to leave for Florida. The Minnesota All Hazards Incident Management Team will be deployed to Florida from Sept. 8-25. Holmes, a member of the team, said he was notified earlier this week he would be sent to Florida to help. The team includes fire chiefs, emergency managers and fire service personnel with advanced incident management training, he said.
The bug to work in construction bit Paul Esser while he was working at his parents' liquor store in high school. A part-time employee got a job at Nor-Son Construction and raved about how nice it was to work outside, Esser said. "Back when I was 18 I thought that was a great idea," Esser said. Esser worked for local construction company Kuepers Inc. for five years, during a time when the housing market was booming, he said. It was a bit of an odd fit, he said, because he never took a woodshop class in high school, but he did take metal and welding classes.
For more than a century, the paper mill site in northeast Brainerd turned timber from throughout the area into paper. Today, the paper mill is now the Brainerd Industrial Center, where GreenForest Recycling Solutions processes paper and sells it to companies who repurpose it for a wide variety of uses, including insulation and ceiling tiles. It's a coincidence owner Jeff Grunenwald said he thinks about a lot. "It just seems like it was meant to be," Grunenwald said.
CROSSLAKE—Another local brewery is bellying up to the bar in the Brainerd lakes area this summer. The 14 Lakes Craft Brewing Company started brewing beer at the end of July with the plan to open the doors by Labor Day. The company's name is an homage to the nearby Whitefish Chain of Lakes, which contains 14 lakes.