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The process of seeking a local option sales tax is again under way after the Cloquet City Council unanimously approved a measure to that effect on Tuesday. In light of the city's budget crunch (see separate story on A2), and its recent regionally-focused projects, now is the time to consider it, according to Cloquet Mayor Bruce Ahlgren. "I've heard Hutchinson is going after it," he said. "Time is of the essence." The local sales tax likely would be a half-percent, Ahlgren said.
We can't move forward until you mail it back. So goes the slogan for the 2010 census, in which the aim is to count every living person in the United States and Puerto Rico - starting this month. With so much fanfare about why we should do it - it determines our state's federal funding, it affects the number of seats our state occupies in the U.S. House of Representatives and it's mandatory, for example - perhaps the best part about doing it seems to have been lost in the fray.
A Cloquet man faces felony domestic assault charges after an incident which allegedly sent his girlfriend to the hospital emergency room on Sunday. Kevin Adam Liebeck, 27, was charged Monday in Carlton County Court with felony domestic assault by strangulation, felony third-degree assault, interfering with a 911 call, and misdemeanor domestic assault. According to the complaint, Liebeck went to his girlfriend's home in Cloquet on Sunday, and after starting an argument, he hit her, causing her to fall into a coffee table.
A Carlton resident went to prison this week for his involvement in the armed robbery of a Mahtowa convenience store last year. Zachary Scott Moehrke, 19, will serve three years in prison with credit for 93 days served at the Carlton County Jail. He may also have to pay restitution, which had not been determined as of this week. On Nov. 29, Moehrke used a handgun to rob TJ's Country Store of an undisclosed amount of cash.
Cloquet City Council members, city administrators and members of the public attended a special meeting Monday afternoon to discuss strategy regarding the Governor's 2010 proposed $405,000 budget cuts to the city. City officials already dealt with $449,000 in cuts to the 2010 budget announced last year and the way they see it now - the latest proposed cut is another symptom of a larger problem. "We need to prepare for the idea that local government aid (LGA) may go away altogether," said City Administrator Brian Fritsinger.
The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club member arrested in Carlton last summer pleaded guilty to a felony as part of a plea agreement last week. Jeffrey Paul Amato, 43, of Larchmont, N.Y., pleaded guilty to felony fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance and had charges of receiving stolen property, refusing to submit to a chemical test and driving under the influence dismissed in court last Wednesday.
Food Farm's fresh organic vegetables, grown by John, Jane and Janaki Fisher-Merritt of Wrenshall, are already well-known around Carlton County and the Duluth area. Thanks to their "outstanding farming practices," some 2,700 organic farmers around the world are now aware of them too. Last week, John, Jane and Janaki Fisher-Merritt were presented with the 2010 Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) Organic Farmer of the Year award during the annual MOSES Organic Farming Conference in La Crosse, Wis.
Cloquet resident Jessica Tuttle understands what people go through when one of their family members is deployed by the military. Tuttle is engaged to Andy Hayes, a mechanic with the Air National Guard in Duluth who has been deployed twice, which was difficult for her, to say the least. "I was an emotional basket case," she said with a smile. "It's a little embarrassing, actually to think about it now.
A Level 3 predatory offender who reported a change of address last year was arrested on a parole violation and is back in prison, according to Carlton County Sheriff Kelly Lake. Christopher Steven Ash, 36, wasn't living where he said he was living, according to Lake. Ash, who is required to report his address, told authorities last year that he had moved from Esko to Central Hall Road in Sawyer Township.
On any normal day, Carlton County Sheriff Kelly Lake would not be found plunging into the frigid waters of Lake Superior. But on Saturday, she hardly noticed the cold. "It was the first time I've done it, but I'm already looking forward to next year," she said. Lake took a leap into the water as part of the Polar Bear Plunge, a fundraiser for Special Olympics Minnesota.