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PR American Legion Community Dinner Info

Like everything else this year, the Park Rapids American Legion Community Christmas Dinner will be a little different and the Legion posts 212 is looking for volunteers to help deliver a delicious Christmas meal around the area.  Since in-person dining is not an option this year, all meals need to be ordered in advance.  Don't worry, it's easy.  Just call Lori Cannon at 218 732-2981 or Lynn Spillman at 320 333-6522 by December 22.  

Meal deliveries will start Christmas Day at 11 am, curbside pick is also available from 11:30 am to 1 PM.  The meal is free, but donations are welcome.

The Community Christmas Dinner is open to all. There is no charge for the meal, but freewill offerings are welcome.  If you would like to contribute monetarily, checks can be sent to the Community Christmas Dinner Fund, c/o American Legion Post 212, PO Box 143, Park Rapids MN 56470.  Any donations left over after the dinner will go toward nonprofits in the Heartland Lakes area.  

Available to help deliver meals?  Please call Lynn Spilman at 320-333-6522.

Red Cross Blood Donation Opportunities

Stay healthy this flu season and make an appointment to donate blood by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.
In thanks for making time to donate, the Red Cross will send those who come to give Oct. 15-Nov. 11 a $5 Gift Card via email, courtesy of Suburban Propane. Plus, those who come to give in October are automatically entered for a chance to win a $1,000 Gift Card. Five lucky people will win. (Restrictions apply. Additional information and details are available at
Important COVID-19 information for donors
The Red Cross is testing blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies. The test may indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to this coronavirus, regardless of whether an individual developed COVID-19 symptoms. Red Cross antibody tests will be helpful to identify individuals who have COVID-19 antibodies and may now help current coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma transfusions. Convalescent plasma is a type of blood donation collected from COVID-19 survivors that have antibodies that may help patients who are actively fighting the virus.
COVID-19 antibody test results will be available within one to two weeks in the Red Cross Blood Donor App or donor portal at A positive antibody test result does not confirm infection or immunity. The Red Cross is not testing donors to diagnose illness, referred to as a diagnostic test. To protect the health and safety of Red Cross staff and donors, it is important that individuals who do not feel well or believe they may be ill with COVID-19 postpone donation.
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive and are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.
Upcoming blood donation opportunities Oct. 22-Nov. 15:

Park Rapids

11/2/2020 11:30 AM - 5:45 PM St. John's Lutheran Church, 803 1st St. West

11/3/2020 8 AM - 2 PM St. John's Lutheran Church, 803 1st St. West
11/2/2020: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., St. John's Lutheran Church, 324 3rd St. NW
11/3/2020: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m., St. John's Lutheran Church, 324 3rd St. NW
Hill City
11/6/2020: 8 a.m. - 2 p.m., Hill City Assembly of God, 102 Lake Ave.
11/4/2020: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., Community Center, 41442 Highway 65 N
Detroit Lakes
10/28/2020: 1 p.m. - 7 p.m., Christian Fellowship Church, 28048 Meadow Drive

11/2/2020: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., Pillager Legion, 207 Virgil Ave.
10/23/2020: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., Northland Arboretum, 14250 Conservation Drive
10/29/2020: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Brainerd VFW 1647, 309 S. 6th St.
11/6/2020: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Brainerd VFW 1647, 309 S. 6th St.
11/5/2020: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., Light of Cross Church, 27170 Monroe St.
11/13/2020: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m., Clow Stamping Company, 11592 Half Moon Drive
Pequot Lakes
10/22/2020: 12 p.m. - 5 p.m., Legion Conference, 9252 Breezy Point Drive
10/23/2020: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Cornerstone Church, 202 7th Ave. E.
10/26/2020: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., VFW 7902, 701 E. 8th Ave.
Elbow Lake
11/3/2020: 1 p.m. - 7 p.m., United Lutheran Church, 10th Ave. SE
11/2/2020: 1 p.m. - 7 p.m., Herman Community Center, 416 Atlantic Ave. S.
Little Falls
10/26/2020: 8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m., First United Church, 1000 First St. SE
10/27/2020: 1 p.m. - 7 p.m., First United Church, 1000 First St. SE
10/28/2020: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., First United Church, 1000 First St. SE
11/4/2020: 8 a.m. - 2 p.m., American Legion Royalton, American Legion Hall

Battle Lake
10/22/2020: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., First Lutheran Church Battle Lake, 505 W. Holdt
11/12/2020: 1 p.m. - 7 p.m., Bluffton Community, 202 Center St.
Fergus Falls
11/10/2020: 1 p.m. - 7 p.m., First Lutheran Church Fergus Falls, 402 South Court St.
11/13/2020: 8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., VFW Post 612, 420 E. Washington Ave.
11/11/2020: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., Community Center, 607 2nd St.
Pelican Rapids
11/13/2020: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., Pelican Rapids High School, 310 S. Broadway
10/29/2020: 2 p.m. - 7 p.m., Underwood High School, 100 Southern Ave. E.
Long Prairie
10/22/2020: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., First Baptist Church, 401 Fourth St. S.
10/28/2020: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., Community Center, 425 4th St. NE
About blood donation
Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at or use the Blood Donor App.

Minnesota Officials Confirm First COVID-19 Death of a Hubbard County Resident

PARK RAPIDS, MN (September 22, 2020) –CHI St. Joseph’s Health Community Health reported today the first confirmed death of a Hubbard County resident in their 70’s due to COVID-19.

“We are sad to report the first death from COVID-19 in Hubbard County. Our condolences go out to the family and friends of the resident,” said Community Health Director, Marlee Morrison. “We’ve all watched the reports of COVID-19 related deaths throughout the state, but this death reminds of how important it is to take precautions to protect our community.”

“Hubbard County has seen an increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases in the last week” Morrison continued, “and community spread of COVID-19 is present. With schools and businesses open, it is important for residents to remain vigilant. Stay close to home as much as possible. Wear a mask when out in public and wash your hands frequently. Avoid large gatherings, or any gathering where 6 feet of social distance cannot be maintained. Stay home when you are sick, or if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19. Contact your healthcare provider for guidance.”

CHI St. Joseph’s Health Community Health is the public health agent for Hubbard County, and has been working in collaboration with local, regional, and state partners in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wadena Police Dept - False Social Media Post Sept 10

***Public Announcement 09-11-2020 ***

The Wadena Police Department was made aware of a Facebook posting regarding an incident that allegedly occurred in the City of Wadena yesterday afternoon, Thursday, September 10, 2020 in Burlington Northern Park, Aldrich Avenue SE.

Upon learning of this Facebook posting, law-enforcement knew immediately that there was never a call into dispatch for us to respond as this fictitious post indicates. So we investigated further into this allegation.

Officers have now spoken to the original person who created this post on Facebook and it was acknowledged that it was false and never happened.
We will be submitting this report to our prosecuting attorney's office for review of charges against the individual who originally posted this fictitious incident.

Our agency would like to strongly remind everyone to be cautious when sharing posts from random people on Social Media platforms. Had a situation like this actually occurred in our City, our agency personnel
would have notified the public immediately, and shared that information through our Facebook page and our local Media resources as well.



Pine River MN – Fatality Crash Investigated

Cass County Sheriff Tom Burch reports that on Thursday, September 10th 2020 at 8:00 PM, the Cass County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a one vehicle crash on 26th Ave SW in Pine River Township, rural Pine River MN. Deputies and responders arrived on scene and learned that a 1995 Cadillac Deville was southbound on 26th Ave SW when it left the roadway, flipping and rolling several times. A female, age 16, was ejected from the vehicle. Lifesaving efforts were immediately initiated; however, she was deceased on scene. The investigation shows that a male, age 16 of Backus MN, was the driver of the vehicle and was treated on scene for unknown injuries and transported to a Brainerd MN hospital. Three other passengers, two 16-year-old males and one 16-year-old female were treated on scene for minor injuries. The investigation indicates that speed was a factor in the crash and that alcohol does not appear to be involved. An autopsy is scheduled with the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office. Due to victims being juveniles, names will not be released. The crash remains under investigation with the assistance of the Minnesota State Patrol.

Assisting at the scene was the Pine River Police Department, Pine River Fire and North Memorial Ambulance.


Walker MN - Hit and Run Leads to Severe Injury, Arrest

Cass County Sheriff Tom Burch reports that on Wednesday, August 19th 2020 at 2:26 PM, the Cass County Sheriff’s Office received a report that a person had been run over by a vehicle at the Orton’s Y Mart Convenience Store in Turtle Lake Township, rural Walker MN. 

Deputies arrived on scene and found several individuals providing medical aid to a male victim, age 60 of Walker MN, that had been struck by a vehicle in the parking lot. Witnesses described the vehicle and stated that it left the scene after running the victim over. Medical aid was provided, and the male was transported to a Fargo, ND hospital with serious life-threatening injuries.

Deputies quickly located the vehicle believed to be involved in rural Turtle Lake Township. A male driver, identified as Merrill Cloud, age 48 of Walker MN, was arrested on numerous charges and transported to the Cass County Detention Center. Alcohol is believed to be involved in the incident. The investigation continues. Assisting at the scene was North Memorial Ambulance and North Memorial Air Care. 


Suggested No Wake on Cass County Waterways

Cass County Sheriff Tom Burch reports that the Cass County Sheriff Office is suggesting no or slow wake on Cass County lakes, rivers and waterways due to unusually high-water levels.

This summer, several areas in Cass County have received several inches of rainfall creating high water issues on area waterways. The Sheriff’s Office asks that boaters exercise restraint, good judgment and common sense while operating on area lakes, especially those experiencing high water. Boat operators should reduce their speed while travelling in these sensitive areas. The Cass County Sheriff’s Office thanks boaters in advance for their cooperation.


Hubbard County August 7th Storm Damage Ruled an EF1 Tornado.

13-Aug-20 PRESS RELEASE from Hubbard County Sheriff's Office

The National Weather Service – Grand Forks has determined the storm damage that struck Hubbard County on August 7 th was an EF1 tornado.

As the storms moved across southern Hubbard County, they caused widespread property damage. Damage assessment performed by The National Weather Service – Grand Forks found multiple weak funnels and brief EF-0 touchdown was likely 3 miles WNW of Park Rapids at 730 pm on August 7 th .

The storm moved to the east and between 8:05 – 8:25 pm a likely rain and downburst windwrapped EF-1 tornado running from roughly 3 west of Nevis to around 3 ESE Nevis touched down. There were no injuries reported with either of these two tornados.

The Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office & Emergency Management reminds all residents to monitor severe weather alerts and updates. You can also register for our Emergency Notification System online at or by calling 218-732-2503 and leaving your name, address, and contact information.

HLDC Announces COVID – 19 Business Assistance Program

From a 8/6/2020 Press Release:

Applications Now Being Accepted

Heartland Lakes Development Commission has created the Hubbard County COVID – 19 Business Assistance Program to provide emergency financial assistance for businesses that are experiencing financial hardships due to COVID – 19 related restrictions.  The program is funded through participation agreements with local governments within the County that have received Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) resources provided to State, Territorial, Local and Tribal Governments under section 601(a) of the Social Security Act, as added by section 5001 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”).

The goals and objectives of this program are:

  • To provide emergency financial assistance for businesses that are experiencing financial hardships due to the COVID – 19 related restrictions.
  • Allocate CARES Act resources to this program from governmental units that have received excess funding.
  • Ensure that this assistance will be beneficial to the business and in compliance with the Federal appropriation.
  • Facilitate business survival, especially for small businesses during this pandemic.
  • Enhance, to the greatest extent possible the retention of jobs throughout the County.

In order to be eligible for the funding, a business must be able to demonstrate that they were directly and adversely affected by COVID – 19  by documenting at least a 30% reduction in revenues as calculated by monthly sales from the period March 1, 2020 through June 30, 2020 compared to the prior year sales for the same time period.  In addition, the business must have a physical commercial location in Hubbard County, be registered with the Minnesota Secretary of State, be able to demonstrate financial viability and be current on all financial obligations as of March 1, 2020.

The maximum amount of assistance available is $20,000 which will be determined by the actual economic injury to the business, financial need and availability of grant funds.  The deadline for submitting applications is Friday, August 21st. 

Applications may be submitted through the online portal at or by completing an application form.  Applications are available at several locations throughout the County or by contacting Mary Thompson, Executive Director of Heartland Lakes Development Commission at (218) 368-7980 or

Missing Person Investigation in Outing MN

Press Release from Cass County Sheriff's Office:

Cass County Sheriff Tom Burch reports that the Cass County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating a missing person’s case in the Outing, MN area, near Eastburn Road. 

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office requests the public’s assistance in locating an adult male, Jamie Lucas, age 38, of Brainerd MN.  Lucas was last seen on Friday, July 3, 2020.  Lucas is described as a 6’4”, 180 lb. male with brown hair and blue eyes.  Lucas fled on foot during a traffic stop. 

The immediate area was extensively searched by officers and K9.   Anyone with information about Lucas’ whereabouts is asked to contact the Cass County Sheriff’s Office at 218-547-1424 or 1-800-450-2677.  No picture is available at this time.



Community Invited to Celebrate New Mural - August 7

by Lu Ann Hurd-Lof

Eighteen months after Ray Carlson, the new owner of Aunt Belle’s Confectionary, floated the idea of replacing a 15-year-old mural on the side of his building, a new painting will enhance the wall. 

Muralist Lili Payne of Minneapolis and a crew will begin the work Monday, Aug. 3 and, weather permitting, will finish Friday, Aug. 7. A steering committee representing several community organizations have collaborated on the project, working with the artist on a design that would welcome people Downtown and convey the vitality of our shops, restaurants and the arts community.

Heartland Arts, the Park Rapids Downtown Business Association and our funders invite the community to join us in celebrating this new art work at 1 p.m. Friday, Aug. 7 along the sidewalk north of Aunt Belle’s.

For 17 years Payne has built a business as a scenic artist and muralist, her most notable clients being Macy's Special Events (Minneapolis and Chicago), the Loews Hotel Minneapolis, Split Rock Studios museum services, a 2017 feature film ("Wilson") and numerous public art commissions. Her murals are installed in businesses and organizations all over the country, but mainly concentrated in Minnesota.

Payne is a founding member and vice president of the Guild of Scenic Artists, a non-profit working to foster community, provide educational resources, and help with the industry challenges of professional Scenic Artists. For more about her work, go to

This activity is made possible, in part, by the voters of Minnesota, through a grant from the Region 2 Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Additional funding is from Aunt Belle’s Confectionary & Grandpa’s Cabin, the Park Rapids Downtown Business Association, Enbridge, Precision Pipeline and Viking Mat Company. Paint is being provided by Benjamin Moore and Cwikla Ace Hardware. Thanks also to the Park Rapids Lions Club for providing volunteers to paint the base coat.

Missing Girls Now Safe

07/12/2020, 7:15am CDT
By Press Release from Pauline Fahey

It was reported that on Saturday July 11th 2020 the Cass County Sheriff’s Office received a report of two missing juvenile females from a residence in Sylvan Township, rural Pillager MN.

The two juvenile sisters were believed to have left voluntarily on their own on foot in the evening hours of July 10th or early morning hours of July 11th. 

Sheriff Tom Burch reports that both girls were located safe. The Cass County Sheriff’s Office and Pillager Rescue thank the many individuals from the Pillager area for their assistance in the search efforts. 

Longville ATV Crash Results in Fatality

06/23/2020, 10:00am CDT
By Press Release from Cass County Sheriff's Office

Cass County Sheriff Tom Burch reports that on Sunday, June 21st 2020 at 8:10 PM, the Cass County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a medical emergency at a residence in Woodrow Township, rural Longville MN. EMS arrived and began treating an adult male. It was learned that the male had been involved in an ATV crash earlier in the evening. Deputies arrived and continued the investigation. Lifesaving efforts were performed, and the victim was pronounced deceased. The identity of the male, age 57 of Eden Prairie, is being withheld pending notification of family members. An autopsy is scheduled with the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Assisting at the scene was North Memorial Ambulance, North Memorial Air Care and the Longville Fire Department.

Minnesota Officials Confirm Case of COVID-19 in Hubbard County

05/23/2020, 11:30am CDT
By CHI St. Joseph's Press release

Minnesota Officials Confirm Case of COVID-19 in Hubbard County

PARK RAPIDS, MN (May 23rd, 2020) The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has confirmed the first case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Hubbard County.

The resident of Hubbard County is recovering at home and has no known travel history.

MDH informed the county of the confirmed case on May 23, 2020.

“The resident has been instructed to quarantine per Minnesota Department of Health guidelines and monitor for worsening symptoms.” said Marlee Morrison, Public Health Director for CHI St. Joseph’s Health and Hubbard County.

CHI St. Joseph’s Health Community Health is the public health agent for Hubbard County, and has been working in collaboration with local, regional, and state partners in response to COVID-19.

“Community spread of COVID-19 is present in Minnesota and our community, and statewide positive case numbers continue to increase. As our businesses open, we still encourage our residents to practice social distancing. Stay close to home. Wear a mask when out in public and wash your hands frequently. Stay home when you are sick and contact your healthcare provider for guidance. Avoid gatherings of 10 or more people from outside your household and avoid any gathering where 6 feet of social distance cannot be maintained” said Morrison.

Brian Halbasch, Hubbard County Emergency Manager, agreed, stating “Hubbard County Emergency Management is working collaboratively with Public Health, as well as regional and state partners to respond and keep our residents safe and healthy. We encourage the community to follow public health recommendations.”

If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, please contact your healthcare provider to arrange for a test. Do not delay care for any urgent medical needs, COVID related or otherwise.

Tri-County Health Care to Distribute Free Face Masks

05/11/2020, 3:45pm CDT
By Taylor Lunemann, Communications Specialist

Tri-County Health Care will host a community mask distribution on Wednesday, May 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Wesley parking lot. This initiative will provide free reusable masks to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in local communities, according to a TCHC news release.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing cloth face masks in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as in grocery stores and pharmacies.

“Our goal is to ensure and prioritize the safety of our patients, staff, friends, families and communities,” said TCHC Foundation executive director Ryan Damlo in the release. “Providing these face masks free of charge is another important step toward achieving our goal of stopping the spread of COVID-19 and protecting public health in our communities.”

Distribution of the face masks will be done via a drive-thru line so community members will not need to leave their vehicles. The Wesley parking lot is located at the corner of NE Elm Ave. and NE 1st St. in Wadena. There will be signs directing traffic to the mask distribution location.

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