Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.
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Ten days after Gov. Mark Dayton signed a new law into effect regulating the granting of variances, Hubbard County's Board of Adjustment is once again at loggerheads with the local Coalition of Lake Associations. And once again, the Environmental Services Office is tweaking the criteria for its board to analyze in granting or denying variances. Monday, the BOA and COLA differed frequently over variance analysis during the monthly meeting. COLA representatives accused the beleaguered board, the defendant in a pending lawsuit, of being inconsistent in upholding its own shoreland ordinances.
A $1,000 reward is being offered for information leading to a conviction in the case of two timber wolves left dead on a highway north of Park Rapids May 8. The reward money is being offered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, said Minnesota DNR Conservation Officer Sam Hunter. The wolves were dumped on U.S. Highway 71 north of Park Rapids. Hunter believes the animals were shot, possibly at another location. They were found south of Little Mantrap Lake near Hubbard County 41. Hunter is asking for any information about the "illegal taking" of the wolves and those responsible.
After a lousy, but typical start to the Minnesota Fishing Opener, it ended with a burst of warmth and sun. But come rain or shine, the walleyes were biting. Many happy anglers left the Park Rapids area after filling their limits both Saturday and Sunday.
Nearly two years ago Hubbard County invested in an architectural space needs plan that didn't seem to work for anyone. But as those space needs get more immediate, board chair Greg Larson said a workable plan is imminent. The board met in a work session last Wednesday to discuss items it hasn't been able to get to during regular board meetings. "Social Services, we have twice as many people there than we should," he said. Several factors are edging the plan forward. "We have need, space available and cost," Larson said. "We certainly have the need.
Park Rapids' quest to host the 2012 Governor's Fishing Opener fell short Saturday night when Waconia was chosen. But Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Katie Magozzi said it was Waconia's fourth attempt, so Park Rapids just needs to stay in the hunt. Magozzi and a group of Park Rapids boosters attended this year's Opener in Grand Rapids. "The governor said he wanted to see our application on his desk next year," she said. "He wanted to keep it in the Metro area next year." Red Wing was the third finalist this year besides Park Rapids and Waconia.
It's opening fishing weekend and we want to give a special shout out to the lake associations for all they are doing to combat Aquatic Invasive Species. Armed with the ammunition indicating the hefty economic clout our lakes have on the Hubbard County tax base, lake residents are getting serious about the weekend company. Don't bring it, is the message. What's "it"? AIS, of course. From boat washes to inspectors, Hubbard County lakes are gearing up to do battle with boat owners. It will be a lesson in diplomacy.
Hubbard County's population bubble, comprised of aging residents and kids leaving the nest permanently, is cause for concern, Census data suggests. That means as the Baby Boomers add to the senior population, and a sparsely populated generation ages behind them, who will take care of the county's old fogies? "They will put a demand on the county and assisted living services," said Cliff Tweedale, Executive Director of Headwaters Regional Development Commission at a county board work session Wednesday. As U.S.
The swollen Fish Hook River dam in Park Rapids was the place to be during the opener - it was coughing up walleyes like crazy. But the anglers also started early, come hell and high water. "There were about 30 of us here at midnight," said Jason Neumayer. "I caught a walleye and a northern." By Saturday morning the riverbanks were lined with anglers, hoping to repeat Matthew Rog's luck. Rog, from New Brighton, held up a string of walleyes grinning.
It's supposed to rain on the opener but it won't rain on the parade. As anglers pulling boat trailers form a steady stream into Park Rapids, merchants are getting ready for the weekend. "We plan on being really busy later," said Debbie Lempola, co-owner of Delaney's Sports Store in Park Rapids. The bait was stocked, the licenses were ready to issue. Baitman Tim Englund has been harvesting minnows in area lakes all week in preparation for the big day. Tomorrow Park Rapids will find out if it will host next year's Governor's Opener. And some anglers, like Steve Malm, plan to wait unt
Central Specialties, Inc., of Alexandria, has been awarded the Highway 34 renovation work between Park Rapids and Akeley. That may be good news to both the public and DOT engineers, especially since the contractor bid the estimated $7.8 million project for $6.788 million. The company raced through the South Highway 71 project last year, minimizing the length of detours engineers had anticipated would be necessary to complete the project.