Around Cook County
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.”
Every Thursday morning the Senior Center in Grand Marais hosts open cribbage from 9:45 a.m. -11:15 a.m. All levels of cribbage players are welcomed. Come once or come every Thursday! The cost is free! Assistant Director Kristen Anderson said, “We hope you will join us soon for a fun and social morning of Cribbage!”
In response to the dramatic rise in local courthouse violence across the nation, Minnesota’s U.S. Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar have introduced the Local Courthouse Safety Act. The legislation is a reaction to a shooting in December at the Cook County Courthouse in Grand Marais during which a prosecutor and witness were wounded.
Join WTIP’s Jay Andersen at 6 p.m. on April 5 for “Courthouse Security: public safety in public spaces,” -- this month’s First Thursday Community Conversation.
Each month we choose a topic for discussion, invite guests into the studio and invite you to join in the conversation. The number to call is 387-1070 or 800-473-9847. Our email address is email@example.com.
This month studio guests include Cook County Sheriff Mark Falk, County Attorney Tim Scannell, Commissioner Jim Johnson and Steven K. Swensen, Director of the Center for Judicial and Executive Security.
“Courthouse Security: public safety in public spaces,” First Thursday Community Conversation, 6 to 7 p.m. April 5. Only on WTIP North Shore Community Radio.
Applications for this fall's bear hunt will be accepted from Monday, April 2, through Friday, May 4, at any Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) license agent and online at www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense. They also are available at the DNR License Center in St. Paul or by phone at 888-665-4236.
A total of 6,000 licenses are available in 11 permit areas. This year's bear hunt will run from Sunday, Sept. 1, to Sunday, Oct. 14.
Hunters selected in the annual lottery must purchase their licenses by Wednesday, Aug. 1, so licenses that aren't purchased can be made available to other hunters. After this year's Aug. 1 deadline, any eligible hunter may purchase any remaining licenses starting at noon, Monday, Aug. 6.
In 2011, hunters purchased 5,684 licenses by the deadline. Those hunters were chosen from a pool of 19,170 applicants for the available 7,050 permit area licenses. The remaining 1,336 permits were sold after the deadline passed. Hunters harvested a total of 2,131 bears.
Bear licenses cost $38 for residents and $200 for nonresidents. The bag limit is two bears in the no-quota area and one bear in all quota permit areas.
Complete information on the fall bear hunt is available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/bear.
Two North Shore hockey players were selected for the District 7 Select 16 team after tryouts during the weekend in Grand Rapids.
Grand Marais goaltender Alex Murray and Silver Bay defender Jordan Fralich received the honors. Both play for the Silver Bay-Cook County Mariners’ high school team.
The District 7 team is made up of the top skaters from a geographical area that goes all the way from International Falls down to the northern suburbs of the Twin Cities.
Murray and Fraylich will join their team in the Reebok Select 16 Festival in the Twin Cities. The Festival action starts on Saturday, April 14.