Regional and Local Briefs: August 2014




By Luke Taylor, Minnesota Public Radio

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Lyz Jaakola, one of

Classical MPR’s 2013-2014 Class Notes Artists, won a Sally Award for

Education at the 22nd annual event at the Ordway Center for the

Performing Arts in St. Paul, Minn.

She received the award in honor of her

work in raising awareness and appreciation of Native music and

culture throughout Minnesota.

The Sally Awards are described on the

Ordway’s Web site as follows: “Since 1992, the Sally Awards have

honored individuals and institutions that strengthen and enrich our

entire state with their commitment to the arts and arts education.

The awardees’ talents and determination help make Minnesota’s quality

of life excellent and its culture unique and rich.”

The Sally Award is based on the "First

Trust Award" presented in 1986 to Sally Ordway Irvine, whose

initiative, vision and commitment inspired the creation of Ordway

Center for the Performing Arts.

Each winner receives a cash prize.

As one of Classical MPR’s Class Notes

Artists, Jaakola visited a number of schools throughout the state,

teaching children about Ojibwe/Anishinaabe music and culture through

live performance.



ST. PAUL, Minn. – Four additional

Minnesota counties have agreed to provide satellite election offices

on Indian reservations in Minnesota, according to Bret Healy,

consultant with Four Directions voting rights group.

Cass and Itaska counties will provide

absentee voting and late registration for Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe,

while White Earth Nation will be served by Becker and Mahnomin


Officials in Cass County are looking

forward to implementing their new office for Leech Lake Band of

Ojibwe, according to Auditor/Treasurer Sharon K. Anderson, who runs

elections for the county. “As I sought input from key people prior

to making this decision, I received nothing but positive feedback,”

Anderson said.

Healy lauded the county election

officials for their enthusiasm and cooperation and the Minnesota

secretary of state for supporting the effort and helping with

technological assistance where necessary.



DULUTH, Minn. – The City of Duluth and

the Fond du Lac Band went back to court on July 28 to argue their

case over the Carter Hotel.

City Attorney Gunnar Johnson says

Duluth filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to stop the band

from putting the Carter Hotel into trust, because that would mean it

would no longer be on Duluth tax rolls.

The city told the court when the Fond

du Lac Band and the City came to a legal agreement in 1986 that

allowed the band to open the Fond Du Luth casino, a clause said no

new property would be put into trust without city consent. Johnson

says the city did not give consent for this move.

Fond du Lac Tribal Chair Karen Diver

has said the band wants to expand the Fond du Luth Casino into the

Carter Hotel which the tribe bought in 2010.

The Band filed motions to dismiss the

complaint and to dismiss the city’s non-abrogation claim, which was

the promise of the parties to not undermine their agreement using

political means. The city alleges the band broke its contract when it

asked the National Indian Gaming Commission to reverse its prior

approval of the casino contracts.

Duluth filed a federal lawsuit against

the Fond du Lac band for its efforts to expand Indian trust land in



ST. PAUL, Minn. – The federal

government added 24 Minnesota counties and two tribal governments to

the president’s disaster declaration on Aug. 1.

The Red Lake Band of Chippewa and

Prairie Island Indian Community are now eligible for federal

assistance to address recent flooding.

Altogether, 32 counties and two tribal

governments have been included in the declaration and approved for

federal assistance. In late July, a major disaster declaration was

announced for Chippewa, Freeborn, Jackson, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone,

Renville and Rock Counties.

Six flood-affected counties are still

under review by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, including

Dakota, Hennepin, Lyon, Ramsey, Watonwan and Wright counties.

Under a presidential disaster

declaration, FEMA will fund 75 percent of approved costs. The state

of Minnesota will fund the non-federal share. Eligible work can

include debris removal, emergency services related to the disaster

and repair or replacement of damaged public facilities such as roads,

bridges and recreation areas.

On Aug. 1, the U.S. Department of

Transportation also announced it will give $5 million to repair

Minnesota roads damaged by June’s widespread flooding.



GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Blandin

Foundation of Grand Rapids announced July 29 that it has awarded six

grants totaling $123,190 that assist rural Minnesota communities in

advancing high-speed Internet access and use in their communities,

including a grant to the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe.

LLBO will begin deployment of a

wireless network across the reservation to provide quality broadband

to tribal members, with support of a $50,000 Blandin Foundation


The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and the

Blandin Foundation previously were successful with a Feasibility

Study that supports the broadband community project. The Blandin

Grant of $50,000 is the first leveraged funds that will kick start

the Leech Lake Band’s project to provide broadband services

(Internet in the home) first to the communities of Cass Lake and Bena

utilizing towers owned by the Band.

“Broadband will produce increased

access to health and education, spur growth in rural economies,

including ultimately alleviating the hardship of long distance fees

for what should be local dialing in tribal lands,” Sally Fineday,

Leech Lake Telecommunications Company business manager said. “This

innovative partnership with Blandin Foundation means success for the

Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe with its broadband network within its

tribal lands.”

As part of a five-year build-out plan,

the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe will utilize their five existing towers

plus three casino towers and build eight additional towers to provide

wireless broadband service throughout its tribal lands including

communities like Ball Club, Inger, S Lake, Cut Foot, West Winnie,

Prescott, Oak Point, Sugar Point, Federal Dam, Kego Lake, Mission,

Cass River and Onigum, where broadband services were not previously

available. The towers also will boost mobile service coverage along

major highways throughout the tribal lands.

“Rural leaders know that connected

communities are vibrant communities,” said Dr. Kathleen Annette,

CEO of Blandin Foundation. “We are delighted to see Leech Lake Band

of Ojibwe pull resources together to plan for access to and use of

high-speed Internet so critical to work and life today.”

Since making rural broadband use and

access a focus in 2003, Blandin Foundation has partnered with leaders

in more than 69 communities and 106 organizations across the state to

support sustainable broadband adoption to enhance quality of life and




WELCH, Minn. – A New Germany, Minn.,

woman was arrested on July 27 at Treasure Island Resort and Casino

with approximately 47 grams of methamphetamine in her purse,

according to a complaint filed in Goodhue County District Court July


Amy Mae Seefeldt, 27, is charged with

felony first-degree drug sale of 10 grams or more of methamphetamine

and felony first-degree possession of 25 grams or more of

methamphetamine, which both carry a maximum sentence of no less than

four years and no more than 40 years’ jail time and a $1 million


Prairie Island tribal police received

information that Seefeldt, who had a felony warrant out for her

arrest, was at Treasure Island Casino, according to the complaint.

Officers approached a woman, who

matched the Driver and Vehicle Services photo for Seefeldt, on the

floor of the casino and when asked if she was Amy Seefeldt she told

officers she was Amy’s sister, Ashley, and didn’t have any

identification card to verify her name, the complaint states.

Seefeldt was informed she was under

arrest and upon a search of her purse officers found three bags of a

crystal-like substance which later tested positive for

methamphetamine, authorities said, along with a black spoon with

white residue.

Upon intake to the Goodhue County

Adult Detention Center, the intake officer found another bag in

Seefeldt’s purse which tested positive for meth and weighed just

less than one gram, the report states. The total weight of

methamphetamine found in Seefeldt’s purse weighed 47.05 grams,

according to the complaint. The complaint does not list the weights

of the first three bags of methamphetamine.

In 2012, Seefeldt was convicted of

felony fifth-degree drug possession – not small amount of marijuana

in Scott County.

Seefeldt was also charged with giving

a peace officer a false name, a gross misdemeanor which has a maximum

sentence of one year in prison and a $3,000 fine, and possession of

drug paraphernalia, a petty misdemeanor with up to a $300 fine.



BEMIDJI, Minn. – Two chairmen were

seated at the Beltrami County Board of Commissioners meeting table on

Aug. 5 for a joint meeting between the two government entities.

Red Lake Tribal Chairman Darrell G.

Seki, Sr. joined Beltrami County Board Chairman Jim Lucachick and was

accompanied by Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians regional

representatives, Tribal Secretary Don Cook, Sr., Hereditary Chief

George King, the band’s administrator and members of New Beginnings.

Oshkiimaajitahdah (New Beginnings) is a skills development department

on the reservation located in Redby.

A project centered around

Oshkiimaajitahdah was the primary focus of the meeting. The

organization and Beltrami County’s Health and Human Services

Department are spearheading a program that will bring a health and

human services presence back to the reservation.

The project, called the Shared Service

and Access Pilot aims to support access to Minnesota Family

Investment Program services in the Red Lake Nation, which is

approximately 30 miles from the county seat of Bemidji. The pilot

will establish a video telepresence to connect people on the Red Lake

reservation with an eligibility intake staffer in an electronic

face-to-face interview. Information could then be faxed directly to

Beltrami County Health and Human Services electronic files.

Programs anticipated to improve under

the project include employment services referral, diversionary work

program eligibility, child care assistance program eligibility, food

support and expedited food support.

The outcome of the Shared Service and

Access Pilot project will be a transition of Red Lake Nation to a

direct relationship with the federal government and the Minnesota

State Department of Human Services. The Beltrami County Health and

Human Services department is assisting with training.

Jerry Loud, director of New

Beginnings, said a trial test for a video conference is scheduled for

Aug. 14. The Red Lake Internet Technology department has already been

testing the video system with the county. Beltrami County

commissioners and the Red Lake Tribal Council plan on holding a

second meeting in Red Lake to address additional concerns shared by

the reservation and county.