Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.
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Hubbard County's south side transfer station returns to summer hours this week. The station, off Henrietta Avenue in Park Rapids, will now be open Monday through Saturday 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. The north side station's hours will remain 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
A new solid waste ordinance is aimed at curbing Hubbard County hoarders. But the new ordinance, if enacted, will refer to them in a more genteel fashion: collectors. And scroungers, the precursor to hoarders, had better clean up their act, too. It truly is illegal, and has been all along, to pilfer the contents of the solid waste transfer station one by one and move them to your back yard in the name of "recycling." You must get permission first. The public hearing on the proposed changes is May 4 at 9:30 a.m.
A loon! Lower Bottle/Emma saw and heard its first loon at noon Tuesday. It sounded especially mournful because both lakes are iced over and there's nowhere to swim, much less nest. Ice has pushed up onto the shore where the loons usually nest on Bottle if they don't climb on the manmade nest in that lake's bay.
The Hubbard County neighborhood woke up to a 4-inch blanket of heavy wet snow Saturday with some residents reporting up to six inches. Parts of North Dakota saw 11 inches, said National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Kaiser, "We're gonna see some light stuff yet this morning possible" in Hubbard County, he said. "But we should be pretty much done with this system." Grand Forks got seven inches of snow; Fargo got two.
Come fall, Louise Safratowich will walk out of her front door and directly under a high voltage power line. As progress moves forward on the 115kV line that will service the Potato Lake area of Hubbard County, residents are getting an up front and personal look at how close the lines will come to them. It may be too close for some. "They were going to put it across the road," Safratowich said of her 141st Avenue home.
The remaining days of the historic Kabekona fire tower seem numbered. Perched high above a ridge off Highway 200, it is scheduled to be demolished in the future to make way for a high tech radio tower. And that pending demolition is making some local residents nostalgic. The tower sits atop one of the highest ridges in Hubbard County. "When I was a kid growing up all the kids used to go up there and party and that's when it was still used as a fire tower," said Hubbard County commissioner and former deputy sheriff Cal Johannsen.
Lake George firefighters responded Tuesday morning to a grass fire north of the town. Almost simultaneously DNR firefighters responded to a timber fire near Lake Alice. Although much of the county remains in swampy wet conditions there are patches of dry spots, fire officials warn. "The annual spring fire season is just getting under way now," said Terry Novak of DNR Forestry in Park Rapids. "The grass is dead from last year and it responds pretty quickly to rain. Not only does it soak up water quickly, but it lets water off quickly.
The importance of Hubbard County's waters came into clarity Wednesday as Assessor Bob Hansen unveiled the economic clout lake properties wield. Of the county's 23,796 real estate parcels, 8,949, or 37.6 percent, are "water influenced," meaning they're on a lake, river or pond. That 37.6 percent of parcels comprises 60.6 percent of the taxable market value (TMV) of all Hubbard County properties with some minor exceptions. Hanson's staff prepared a township-by-township, lake-by-lake look at where the county's wealth lies, excluding tax information.