Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.
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Hubbard County officials reviewed the way the county appropriates money for economic development and how donated money is spent at Wednesday's board meeting. The issue of donations arose when Randy Griess, the county's Sentencing to Service supervisor, requested permission to enter into a Joint Powers Agreement with the Minnesota DNR for cleaning up area public accesses. The STS program has performed the work for several years. Last year state cuts to the STS program halved its operating revenues locally.
A Big Mantrap Lake couple's anniversary didn't quite go as planned Tuesday, although there were ceremonial flames. Arden and Betty Severson's chimney caught fire and extensively damaged the Steamboat Bay home by the time Nevis firefighters had arrived on the scene about 7 p.m. The couple, with the help of neighbors, was able to salvage the kitchen stove and dining room table. Arden Severson said the couple, from Cokato, had come to the lake to make repairs after the recent heavy snowfall, which collapsed the gas line to the home. "We needed heat so I lit a fire," he said.
The Hubbard County Board of Adjustment has been sticking to a tighter script lately and that is meeting with the approval of lake activists who sued it last year over a variance decision. Monday morning board member Charles Knight greeted Coalition of Lake Associations president Dan Kittilson as "the defender of the lakes." Kittilson addressed the board after the monthly meeting to once again stress that the two groups' mission was the same - to protect the shoreland ordinances. "You're there with us," Kittilson said.
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.
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.
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.