National group pulls quick about-face over Warroad logo

After an initial threat of legal action, The National Coalition against Racism in Sports and Media has dropped its opposition to Warroad Public School’s use of an American Indian logo. Brandi Jewett of the Forum News Services reports that it’s all due to a proper education. On Aug. 15, the group sent the school district a letter calling use of the Warrior’s logo a violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Immediately, hockey legend Henry Boucha, who is an Ojibwe from Warroad, voiced his objection to the complaint. Coalition members invited Boucha to meet with its board and present the history behind the town and the logo. He told them the town’s name comes from the “war road” the Ojibwe traveled to battle the Sioux, and the American Indian community also helped design the logo. “They immediately felt that they made a mistake and didn’t realize how rich the culture and traditions were in the Warroad area,” Boucha said. In addition, the coalition asked Boucha to serve on its board of directors and he has accepted.

U.S. farm expenses continue to rise, meaning agriculture business management is more important than ever, a new report claims. Jonathan Knutson of the Worthington Daily Globe writes about a National Agricultural Statistics Service report that farm production expenditures nationwide totaled $367.3 billion in 2013, up 2 percent from $360.1 billion in 2012. U.S. farms averaged $175,270 in spending in 2013, up 2.3 percent from $171,309 a year earlier. Minnesota farmers spent $19 billion on expenses in 2013, up from $18.4 billion a year earlier. If crop prices don’t improve, some expenses, such as land rental rates, will come down eventually, experts say. Many farmers are locked into multi-year land rental agreements, but producers should take a hard look at whether to renew agreements, said Jack Davis, crops business management field specialist with South Dakota State University Extension.

The video of police action from Ferguson, Missouri, has renewed interest in what some call the militarization of local police. While the St. Cloud Police Department has taken possession of a mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle known by its acronym MRAP, St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson makes no excuses. In an interview with David Unze of the St. Cloud Daily Times, Anderson says, “There’s nothing in the rule books that say we have to be outgunned.” Since the federal government offers equipment at little or no cost, it just makes sense to accept it, he said. “We also have a fiduciary responsibility to our taxpayers, and if we can find a way to address our needs and be fiscally responsible, well, to me, that’s a win-win,” Anderson said. Unze writes that the MRAP has been used at standoffs, to serve “high-risk” search warrants, to block targets from potential explosive devices, and to track down a man who had fired shots at a Benton County deputy. Anderson said his department was one of seven in Minnesota to get MRAPs last year.

A fire early Tuesday morning caused damage to a historic building in Duluth, reports Brady Slater of the News Tribune. Firefighters extinguished a two-story blaze that blackened the Oliver G. Traphagen House, 1511 E. Superior St. An initial estimate placed damages “in excess of $150,000.” The Traphagen House was built in 1892. It was designed by Oliver Traphagen for his personal use. Mining magnate Chester Congdon purchased the home five years later and the Congdon family lived there until Glensheen Mansion was completed in 1908. The commercially zoned property was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. The building is owned by Howard Klatzky and houses HTK Marketing Communications and Ledingham Promotional Advertising. Klatzky restored the building before moving in his HTK Marketing Communications in 1987. The building has been up for sale.

The Wausau Paper Mill site in Brainerd has been sold and the new owner hopes to repurpose it into an industrial center, writes Jessie Perrine of the Brainerd Dispatch. New owner Mike Higgins said the name will be the Brainerd Industrial Center. There will be very little demolition at the site, and the buildings will be leased for light industrial and commercial uses. No tenants have been officially signed on, but there are some “definite maybes,” Higgins said. He wouldn’t disclose a sale price. Wausau Paper closed in April.

A bevy of musicians are coming to Turtle Lake to honor the town’s former mayor and music impresario Gary Burger, who died in March. According to Joe Froemming of the Bemidji Pioneer, more than 15 musical acts who have recorded at Burger’s studio through the years will perform at the 10th annual Turtle River Day on Saturday. “There are a lot more,” said Maggie Carlson. “He helped and recorded a lot of local musicians over the years.” Burger was also known for his 60s band, The Monks, that some say was one of the first punk bands. On stage, Burger would encourage the crowd to boo them. “It was part of their act,” said his wife, Cindy Burger. “The … tonsures and the robes — it was their act.” Burger was also the only Minnesota mayor to sign the Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, an agreement meant to be more effective than the International Kyoto Protocol. “One of the girls in town, environmentalism was her thing at the time, and she went to Gary and said ‘the Bemidji mayor won’t sign this, would you?’ and he smiled and said ‘Why not?’ ” Carlson said. 

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