Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois Johnson
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Sheriff: Beware of cell phone scam


Cell phone owners have been receiving calls recently that are a scam, reported Carlton County Sheriff Kelly Lake to the Carlton County TRIAD group at a meeting on Wednesday, February 5.

Sheriff Lake explained that the calls originate from a country outside of the United States, and the caller will let the phone ring once. When the person who has been called tries to call the number back, that person is charged an expensive fee.

Sheriff Lake warned cell phone users not to answer calls with unfamiliar phone numbers from other countries.

People have also been getting calls asking for donations. "Police Protection" appears on the Caller ID. Sheriff Lake said those calls are scams. There is no such organization affiliated with legitimate law enforcement.

A member of the group told of calls that have been received that tell the person they will receive a certificate for $3,000 in groceries if the person switches to another credit union.

Sheriff Lake also advised people to keep a winter survival kit in their cars and to carry a charged cell phone to call 911 in an emergency. No provider of cell phone service is needed to call 911.

Moose Lake Police Chief Bryce Bogenholm added that the Moose Lake Police Department has several used cell phones for people that do not have phones that can be used for calling 911.

The problems associated with the propane shortage were discussed. Sheriff Lake said that Brian Belich, the Emergency Manager, is working with Carlton County Human Services about the problem. The State Emergency Assistance Hotline can also be called at 1-800-657-3710, and Lakes and Pines can provide financial assistance for those who cannot afford to pay for propane.

Carlton County Commissioner Bob Olean said that many people are installing stoves to burn wood because of the propane shortage. He advised people to contact a professional to make sure that the stove is installed safely.

Sheriff Lake reported that some people are using their ovens for heat in the home, which can be dangerous.

One member reported that he has used an electric heater but shuts it off when he leaves his home or before he goes to bed.

Chief Bogenholm added that there is enough propane available for users in Carlton County.

He said that he also heard of a call where a 100-pound propane tank was stolen. He warned that there will probably be scams because of the shortage and high prices for propane.

Sheriff Lake reported the state TRIAD group has finalized plans for medical information cards, File of Life, that will be available to be carried in a wallet or purse, in the vehicle or in a plastic sleeve attached with a magnet to the refrigerator in the home. Medical information, such as medication lists, emergency contact information and the name of the doctor and clinic, can be written on the cards for use by emergency responders.

The plan is to make the cards available free of charge. Grants are being applied for to fund the purchase of the cards by the TRIAD groups throughout the state.

The group passed a motion to order 1,000 File of Life kits. The kits will be made available at senior citizen centers, through Carlton County Volunteer Services, and at the Carlton County Fair.

More cards can be ordered when needed, it was said.

“Eventually we want to see everyone in the county have a File of Life,” said Sheriff Lake.

Donations can also be given for the File of Life kits. Contact Sheriff Lake at the Carlton County Sheriff’s Office at (218) 384-3236 for information about donating.

Information about the program will be brought to the countywide fire chiefs and EMS groups to make the emergency responders aware of the File of Life information that people may have.

Those that have the File of Life will place yellow dots at a prominent place, such as on the door to the home, to notify emergency responders that the information is available in the home or on the person.

Chief Bogenholm announced that Mugs and Hugs will be held at the Moose Lake Emergency Response Center on Saturday, February 22. Parents can bring their children to see the fire trucks and other displays. Packets with fingerprint kits and kits to obtain DNA samples from the child will be distributed to parents in the event that the information is needed in an emergency with the child.

Participants will receive mugs of root beer floats.

The program is provided by the Grand Lodge of the Masons.

Jamie Jungers, an experienced investigator, has joined the Moose Lake Police Department after Officer Becky Benson left to take another position, reported Chief Bogenholm.

Cathy Halverson, a former employee of the county attorney’s office, has been hired as the administrative assistant, a new position, for the police department. She began her duties on February 3.

There have been many weather-related accidents, and many calls for domestic problems, due to depression, said Chief Bogenholm.

“We are proactive with people with depression and are suicidal,” he added. “We’ve had training. Call 911 if anyone is experiencing symptoms related to depression and are threatening suicide.”

Sheriff Lake reported that the jail administrator had retired, and that Paul Coughlin, who has been a deputy with the department for 17 years, is the new jail administrator.

“He has been making good changes,” said Sheriff Lake. “And he’s eager to learn.”

She also reported that the jail is crowded. A group, Carlton County Justice Partners, made up of representatives from all branches of law enforcement, justice and the county board, is studying the problem to find solutions.

Commissioner Bob Olean said that people are working for change in the methadone clinics but the Legislature would have to make the changes in the law.

Sheriff Lake said that her office is receiving applications for permits for carrying a concealed firearm.

“We have people on staff that work with Conceal and Carry,” she said. “There were applications for 20 permits just this week. There are more people who are prohibited from obtaining permits than there have been before. We have to look at their records. It takes a lot of work.”

The next meeting of Carlton County TRIAD was set for Wednesday, March 5, at 10 a.m. tentatively at the Carlton County Transportation Building. Dave Hall from Carlton County Human Services will be the speaker.


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