Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers Hubbard County, courts and breaking news.
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Last week I photographed a little red fox near Big Sand Lake. My colleague Gravy spotted something I'd overlooked - a thick fur mantle beginning to grow on the little guy's hindquarters. That may be an early sign of winter, but it's somewhat at odds with the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center. The Grand Forks office predicts an average to warmer fall with ample moisture. Then LaNina moves in, carrying lots of snow and cold, a typical Minnesota winter. Maybe that's what the fox is preparing for, but he sure will sweat out the fall. Let us know if you see any changi
As conservation easements spread and Legacy funding is increasingly being used for Minnesota land purchases, Hubbard County board chair Lyle Robinson wonders about the future. Representatives of the Leech Lake Area Water Foundation, who visited the board to spread the gospel of land acquisition for the public good, prompted a discussion of that future. The watershed foundation encompasses the northeastern third of Hubbard County.
An alarming epidemic of substance abuse is lurking behind every citizen's medicine cabinet and Hubbard County officials are trying to stem to tide. "Prescription drug abuse is the fastest-growing drug problem in the United States," wrote Sara Bowles, Hubbard County's chemical health coordinator in sounding the alarm. "Because prescription drugs are legal, they are easily accessible, often from a home medicine cabinet.
An environmental makeover is taking place below the Fish Hook River dam in Park Rapids. Hubbard County Master Gardeners have embarked on an ambitious project to remove noxious weeds and invasive plants at the river's edge and replace them with native growth. Armed with a $5,000 grant from Con Agra, the gardeners and volunteers fanned out below the DNR Fisheries building, pulling grasses and planting new. "We want native plants with deep fibrous roots to hold the soil and contain the water," said Master Gardener Evelyn Lindstrom, looking over two dozen potted plants while consulting her l
Two years of back to back job losses in the nation are being felt locally with ever increasing requests for public assistance. Monthly income maintenance caseloads jumped from 2,245 in May to 2,296 in June. Summer is usually the time Hubbard County Social Services gets a reprieve in requests for assistance, director Daryl Bessler told the Hubbard County board Wednesday. Although monthly intakes declined from May to June, from 245 to 193, the caseload trend continues upward. In June 2000, the department's eight case workers had an average case load of 146 files. In June 2010, 10 worke
As Hubbard County's population ages, how much should the geriatric set be accommodated to remain in their lakeshore residences? And who makes that determination? That was the weighty issue confronting the Board of Adjustment as two Gilmore Lake homeowners applied for an after-the-fact variance for a lakeshore shed they built last year well within the shore impact zone. They built it because homeowner Andrew Schneider suffered a back injury and is undergoing rehabilitation. He said he could no longer carry his 5-horse Johnson motor up and down the hill, so he needs a shed to store it in
The case of a Lake George man accused of nearly killing his estranged wife during a domestic dispute one year ago is set for a pretrial conference Aug. 16. John Wesley Defatte Sr., 70, is free on bail and was allowed to leave the state to visit an ailing son in California.
What may have been a hoax call tied up three law enforcement agencies unnecessarily Thursday night in Park Rapids and startled a residential neighborhood that has seen its share of pain lately. Park Rapids Police Chief Terry Eilers said sometime after 6:30 p.m.
One of the neatest programs around getting kids interested in nature is at Itasca State Park Wednesday mornings. Called "Circle Time Under the Pines," the program is targeted to the pre-school set, but babies and school kids can still come and learn something in a fun atmosphere. Naturalist Sandra Lichter does a terrific job teaching kids about nature's wonders. They play games, read stories, sing songs, color and make projects. It's a hoot. Especially Wednesday's program, "O is for Owls." Kids colored pictures of owls, learned about owl (and other bird) feathers, hugged a stuffed