Around Cook County
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Court of Appeals is considering whether to allow a proposed 450-foot cell phone tower that would be visible from inside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.
AT&T wants to build the tower east of Ely just outside the BWCAW. The Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness sued to stop the project, saying the flashing lights would mar the night skies and scenic vistas. A judge ruled in their favor last summer, saying a shorter, unlit tower would work nearly as well. AT&T appealed, and an appeals panel heard arguments Wednesday.
The appeals judges are weighing a basic question: does Minnesota law protect scenic vistas on public land even if the intruding structure is on nearby private land? They are expected to rule within 90 days.
Cook County Higher Education in collaboration with Lake Superior College is pleased to offer continuing education training for the Power Limited Technician on April 12. This course is designed for persons holding the Power Limited Technician licensure who need continuing education units.
The course is offered in a 4-hour or 8-hour option, and will focus on applicable articles of the National Electrical Code, important elements of the laws and rules, electrical safety, and specific technical topics.
Each session is offered via interactive television with instructor Dick Johnson from Lake Superior College. The classes are being held on Thursday, April 12 at the North Shore Campus in Grand Marais. Each session begins at 8:00 a.m.. The cost for .4 CEU’s is $125 or attend all day and pay $225 for .8 CEU’s. No book purchases are required.
For more details on the sessions and for registration instructions, please email email@example.com or call 387-3411. Please register by April 6.
The seventh season of Native Report continues at 8:30 p.m. April 5 with features on Andy Wells, Spirit Little Cedar Tree, and Barrow Whalers of the North (Part 3).
The popular show, seen locally on WDSE PBS North 8, Duluth, will introduce viewers to entrepreneur Andy Wells; highlight the Grand Portage Band of Ojibwe and explain the significance of the Spirit Little Cedar Tree; and continue with part three of Barrow Whalers of the North, a visit to the northernmost city of the United States, where we watch the community come together to help in the harvest of a bowhead whale.
Native Report is an entertaining, informative magazine style series that celebrates Native American culture and heritage, listens to tribal elders, and talks to some of the most powerful and influential leaders of Indian Country today.
Consistent with the state's moose management plan, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has announced that it will offer a limited bulls-only hunting season this fall.
Although hunting mortality of bulls is not a significant factor in the moose population decline, the state's moose plan, which addresses habitat, climate change, disease and other moose population factors, identifies specific thresholds when moose hunting should cease. The DNR is following that plan by closing two hunting zones in northeastern Minnesota, but continuing to allow limited hunting in other zones.
"Our approach is based on the scientific and social considerations brought forth by experts on the legislatively created Minnesota Moose Advisory Committee," said Erik Thorson, acting DNR big game program leader. "Committee members envisioned a time when hunting would become an issue. That time has come. We're implementing a reasoned and responsible plan."
Minnesota's moose population is estimated at 4,230. This compares to last year's estimate of 4,900 and is down significantly from the 2006 estimate of 8,840. The DNR estimates about 50 bulls will be taken by state hunters this fall.
Thorson said the DNR's limited hunting season will have no significant impact on the moose population. That's because the bull-cow ratio is sufficient to ensure that all cows can be bred, thereby creating the next generation of moose. The state's moose management plan recommends using bull-cow ratios as a measure to determine whether a bulls-only hunt should continue. DNR biologists base the harvest level on 5 percent of the estimated bull population.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota House members approved a bill Tuesday that moves next month’s fishing opener up a week and establishes a wolf hunting and trapping season on the same dates as deer hunting season.
The bill was approved 82-49 by the House of Representatives despite warnings that the American Indian community may challenge the wolf hunting and trapping provisions in court. The bill also is opposed by some conservationists who fear that too many wolves will be killed if the season is held at the same time as deer season.
Rep. Kerry Gauthier, DFL’er from Duluth, said he thinks Ojibwe tribes are gearing up for a court fight.
Bill sponsor Rep. Tom Hackbarth, Republican from Cedar, said no tribal representatives testified against the wolf provisions, even though it was well-publicized.
Up to 400 Minnesota wolves could be taken by hunters under the bill. The Department of Natural Resources reports 3,000 wolves live in Minnesota.
Similar wolf hunting and trapping provisions are in a Senate bill expected to be debated this week.
The wolf hunt was among many issues representatives debated during a lengthy discussion about game and fish issues. Among them was approval of a “mom’s amendment,” allowing fishing a week earlier than normal next month.
Rep. David Dill, DFL’er from Crane Lake, offered the measure, called the “mom’s amendment” because the opener otherwise would fall on Mother’s Day weekend. The provision, approved on a voice vote, would apply this year only.
On March 27, 2012, several county department heads asked the county board to authorize an expenditure of $187,000 for high-resolution aerial photographs of 775 square miles of county land.
The county paid for a set of images back in 2009, and GIS Analyst Kyle Oberg recommended that the county start replacing these images every three years. The proposed coverage area includes all private lands, Lake Superior shoreline within Cook County, the county road network, and other land considered of special interest to the county, such as gravel pits. The work would be done before the leaves are out.
The images, taken from a plane by people who specialize in this type of work, provide much more detail than satellite images already available on the Internet. The company that provided images three years ago is phasing out old equipment and replacing it with equipment that shows much finer detail. The difference in clarity, according to Assessor Mary Black, is “like night and day.”
The department heads gave examples of how this type of imagery is useful in their work. Assessor Black said it helps her staff be more equitable in assessing properties. Planning & Zoning Director Nelson said they can sometimes avoid having to go out into the field to answer questions for people asking about specific properties. Sheriff Mark Falk said this imagery helps his staff prepare for safer high-risk entries and for search and rescue missions. Highway Department Engineer David Betts said the imagery helps his crew know where to go when a caller requests service on a certain portion of a road.
The public would be able to access the imagery on the county’s website. Sam Parker, a property assessor, said, “This is probably as much benefit to the private sector as the public sector.”