Around Cook County
Another issue with tennis courts in Cook County was discussed at the county commissioners’ meeting on Tuesday, July 16 as well as the Tofte town meeting on Thursday, July 11. The Birch Grove Community Center issue, where the new tennis court slopes away from the centerline, could have been avoided if the Cook County Tennis Association had been consulted, association member Rod Wannebo told the county board on July 16.
Wannebo said he said he had provided Birch Grove tennis court architect Tim Meyer a manual on proper construction of tennis courts, which if followed would have precluded the court from sloping away from the centerline in both directions.
Commissioner Bruce Martinson said that Meyer was proposing that the cost to fix the court be split among his firm (Meyer Group), Tofte Township, Cook County, ORB Management, and court designer Mateffy Engineering.
At press time the town of Tofte had not yet made any decision on how to handle the flawed tennis court, but Tofte Supervisor Paul James told the Cook County News-Herald, “it might come down to talking to our attorney and to our constituents and see what they would like to do. It looks like it might come down to litigation or arbitration, but we’ll just have to wait and see.”
The Tofte town board meets again on Thursday, August 8 at 7 p.m. at the Tofte Town Hall.
In the summer of 2012, a coalition of Minnesota conservation groups calling themselves Mining Truth started a public dialogue surrounding the proposed Polymet and Twin Metals mines near Lake Superior and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
A year later, the campaign is entering its next phase, and the coalition is initiating a public debate over four questions they feel Governor Dayton and mining companies should be able to answer before allowing the mines to proceed. (Click here to hear an interview with Frank Moe of Conservation Minnesota and Aaron Klemz of Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness.)
Those questions are:
1) Will Minnesota’s water stay safe and clean?
2) Are there safeguards in place for when things go wrong?
3) Will the company leave the site clean and maintenance-free?
4) Will Minnesota’s taxpayers be protected?
Mining Truth coalition members have stated that unless Governor Dayton and the mining companies are each able to demonstrate to the people of Minnesota that the answer to these four questions is an unqualified yes, the mines should not be allowed to move forward.
Mining Truth coalition members are currently meeting with Minnesotans around the state to encourage them to sign an online petition that will urge Governor Dayton to take these questions into account when it comes to deciding on the mining proposals.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota bear researcher remains under orders to remove radio collars from bears he's studying by the end of the month, but will be allowed to appeal.
Bear researcher Lynn Rogers sounded optimistic after a meeting with Governor Mark Dayton and Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr on Monday.
But Landwehr said afterward he does not plan to lift his decision to rescind Rogers' permit to keep tracking collars on bears in the Ely area. He says there's usually no appeal from that kind of decision, but he has decided to let Rogers present his case to an administrative law judge.
The DNR says Rogers' hand-feeding of bears makes them too accustomed to humans. The agency also says Rogers has failed to publish his research.
Rogers denies both claims. He says his research is available to all at www.bear.org.
At the July 16 county board meeting, commissioners discussed an overlooked consequence of the parking lot being built outside the new Cook County Community YMCA – the loss of accessibility to the public tennis courts.
The driveway leading to what will be a new parking lot above the tennis courts cut into the area around the north courts, and according to the architectural drawings, would require people to step down off a curb into the roadway to go from one set of courts to the other. This would make accessibility very difficult for people with mobility problems who play or watch tennis. There are some people in the community who play wheelchair tennis.
At the previous county board meeting, Project Manager Wade Cole of ORB Management estimated that the cost of restoring a walkway and dealing with an erosion problem that was created when the area around the north courts was excavated would be about $15,000-20,000. This week, the estimate had increased to $20,000-25,000.
Cole said it had gotten more involved than what was previously discussed. After consulting with several people with stakes in the project, such as Community Center Director Diane Booth and Cook County Tennis Association members, Cole said, the design had grown to include steps leading from the east-west walkway currently between the courts down to the parking lot, in addition to a handicap-accessible sidewalk leading down from the north end of the courts.
The parking lot has been built according to the architectural drawings created by JLG Architects, but no one noticed that it would cut into the area around the courts as much as it did. Cole said JLG told him they did not know this would be an issue.
Because of their flat hulls, canoes and kayaks can navigate just about any body of water, but did you know there are trails specifically designated for these types of activities?
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources manages the first and largest water trails system in the nation, which started 50 years ago. A variety of opportunities is available, ranging from placid rivers ideal for beginners to challenging whitewater rapids to sea kayaking the North Shore of Lake Superior. In fact, there is a state water trail within an hour of most homes in Minnesota.
The state has more than 4,500 miles of routes mapped and managed for canoeing, kayaking, boating and camping. There are 33 state water trails with a network of more than 1,400 public water accesses, campsites and rest areas. Remote camping on state water trails is generally free and non-reservable. There are also 34 state parks and recreation areas on state water trails where people can reserve a campsite for a fee.
Free maps, river level reports and other trip planning information can be found on the DNR’s website at www.mndnr.gov/watertrails.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Despite a record late ice-out, spring waterfowl surveys show that Minnesota's breeding duck population has improved from last year.
The Department of Natural Resources estimates the state's breeding duck population at 683,000 compared with 469,000 last year. This year's estimate is 10 percent above the long-term average.
This year's Canada goose population is estimated at 250,000, considerably less than last year's 416,000. The DNR says cold temperatures and April snowfall combined with a late ice-out reduced nesting success. But DNR wildlife section chief Paul Telander says the goose population remains higher than managers want it to be.
So Minnesota will hold its first-ever August Canada goose season from August 10th through 25th in a special zone in west-central Minnesota.