Around Cook County
Moose and wolves have coexisted on Isle Royale for some six decades, but wolf numbers are down and researchers think there may only be one or two females left, putting the populations of both species at risk.
Dr. Rolf Peterson is one of those researchers. A world renowned wildlife ecologist at Michigan Tech, Peterson has been studying the wolves and moose of Isle Royale since 1970. He spoke with WTIP reporter Carah Thomas.
(Click on "attached file" below to hear the interview.)
The application period for this fall's bear hunt began Friday, April 1, at Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) license agents and online at mndnr.gov/buyalicense.
New this year is a requirement that hunters who are selected in the annual lottery purchase their licenses by Friday, July 29. After that date, the remaining licenses will be made available to other hunters.
Applications for this year's bear hunt, which runs from Thursday, Sept. 1, to Sunday, Oct. 16, will be accepted through Friday, May 6. Applications also are available at the DNR License Center in St. Paul or by phone at 888-665-4236.
A total of 7,050 licenses are available in 11 permit areas. Although almost 2,500 fewer bear licenses are available this year over last year's total of 9,500, the drop isn't as dramatic as it appears, said Dan Stark, DNR wildlife specialist.
Until this year, DNR adjusted the number of licenses available upward because about 30 percent of successful applicants did not purchase a license. By implementing the purchasing deadline and allowing unclaimed licenses to be sold, the number of licenses is expected to better reflect the actual number of bear hunters.
"Historically, unclaimed licenses went unused because only successful lottery applicants could buy them," Stark said.
In 2010, 7,086 hunters actually purchased a license. Those hunters were chosen from a pool of 18,647 applicants for the available 9,500 permit area licenses. Hunters harvested a total of 2,699 bears.
Loan funding is available for a limited time in 2011 on a first-come-first-serve basis for upgrades to existing systems. Landowners are encouraged to call Cindy Gentz in the Soil and Water office at (218) 387-3648.
These funds come from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture in an effort to reduce bacteria pollution. The program is called the Agriculture Best Management Practices Loan Program or AgBMP. Loans are 3% interest with a 5-year term.
Gentz encourages anyone facing a septic system repair or replacement to call. “The important thing to remember, if that if we do run out of funding, it’s important to be on the waiting list. There may be other funding opportunities,” said Gentz.
The majority of people who have contacted Soil and Water know they have a problem with their septic system. But for a property owner who is unsure, the county can assist. Environmental Health Officer Mitch Everson can inspect and determine if a septic system needs an upgrade.
Gentz noted that mounds and trenches are expensive investments. She said you could prolong the life of any type of system with a professional inspection and pumping every one to three years. Systems connected to garbage disposals should be pumped annually. All systems depend on bacterial digestion, so limit the use of bleach and anti-bacterial products, practice water conservation, and do not pour poisons such as cleaners, paints, and pesticides down the drain. Don’t forget about those seasonally used systems – they need frequent pumping as well.
Sexual violence affects millions of men, women, and children in the United States and across the globe every year. To help combat this ongoing and devastating problem, the month of April is designated as national Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
“The theme of the 2011 national Sexual Assault Awareness campaign is “It’s Time to Get Involved.”
That’s Jody Yuhasey, of the Violence Prevention Center in Grand Marais.
“You know, we witness behaviors every day, and some of it is great," says Yuhasey. " We see someone showing kindness to another person, being respectful to another person; acknowledge that. Also holds true is if you see a behavior that bothers you. Chances are if it isn’t hitting you the right way it may not feel comfortable to the other person, and it’s really hard to speak out. But sometimes just checking in with someone to see if they’re ok. So again, the campaign this year is “It’s Time to get Involved,” and we encourage everyone to get involved and be supportive of everyone who’s been affected by sexual violence.”
But what is sexual assault? And who are the perpetrators?
“Sexual assault occurs when someone touches any part of another person’s body in a sexual way, even through clothes, without that person’s consent. It’s anything that’s unwanted.”
That’s Kayla O’Brien, also from the Violence Prevention Center in Grand Marais.
“The assailants are often acquaintances, friends, or family members,” says O’Brien. “Assailants commit sexual assaults by way of violence, threats, coercion, manipulation, pressure, or tricks. Whatever the circumstances, no one ever asks or deserves to be sexually assaulted.”
April 15 is the deadline for paying our income taxes. But income taxes in Minnesota are only one leg of a three-legged stool, according to one Twin Cities think tank. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with Minnesota 2020’s director John Van Hecke about who pays how much tax.
OK, let’s say there is no budget deal in Washington and the government shuts down the end of the work day Friday. What does that mean to us in Cook County?
First, the Post Office stays open. Second, essential federal personnel stay on the job, so you can expect the Border will remain in government hands. The Coast Guard will continue patrols as well. If you’re expecting a refund check from the IRS, you may not get it on time. However you’ll still need to get your tax forms in on time – postmarked no later that April 18.
Our U.S. Forest Service stations have not been notified yet if their personnel will be sent home. The state’s five National Parks and recreation areas would be shuttered. That means Grand Portage National Monument and Voyageur’s National Park.
If you’re due in Federal Court, you might be able to appear within the next couple of weeks as they continue to operate with funds on hand. Medicaid and federal food aid programs will likely continue, but Medicare payments to providers may slow down after a week or so.
Of course all educational, construction and military funding that comes from the federal government will cease.
In any shutdown, the government does not completely cease functioning. Activities that are essential to national security, like military operations, can continue. Air traffic control and other public safety functions are exempt from shutdowns. Federal prisons still operate; law enforcement and criminal investigations can continue.
During the shutdowns of 1995 and 1996, cleanup work on toxic waste sites was halted because contractors could not be paid and Environmental Protection Agency officials could not monitor cleanup work. Work on more than 3,500 bankruptcy cases was suspended, and the government took a break from going after deadbeat dads. Tens of thousands of passport and visa applications went unprocessed. The December 1995-January 1996 shutdown was the longest and lasted 21 days.