Around Cook County
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has announced that it will offer a limited bulls-only hunting season this fall.
The DNR explained that although hunting mortality of bulls is not a significant factor in the moose population decline, the state's moose plan, which addresses habitat, climate change, disease and other moose population factors, identifies specific thresholds when moose hunting should cease. The DNR is following that plan by closing two hunting zones in northeastern Minnesota, but continuing to allow limited hunting in other zones.
Minnesota's moose population is estimated at 4,230. This compares to last year's estimate of 4,900 and is down significantly from the 2006 estimate of 8,840. The DNR estimates about 50 bulls will be taken by state hunters this fall.
Erik Thorson, acting DNR big game program leader, said the DNR's limited hunting season will have no significant impact on the moose population. That's because the bull-cow ratio is sufficient to ensure that all cows can be bred, thereby creating the next generation of moose. The state's moose management plan recommends using bull-cow ratios as a measure to determine whether a bulls-only hunt should continue. DNR biologists base the harvest level on 5 percent of the estimated bull population.
The announcement means Minnesotans who want to hunt bull moose this fall can now apply for 87 available licenses. The state's moose hunting season is open to residents age 10 or older. Application deadline is Friday, May 4.
Anna Deschampe and Alan Aubid are the parents of two young sons. They live on the Grand Portage Reservation in northern Minnesota. In this segment of WTIP's ongoing series "Anishinaabe Way: Lives, Words, and Stories of Ojibwe People," they discuss raising children to have traditional values while living in mainstream society, and the role of the community and elders in parenting. They also share the lessons they've learned along the way and the dreams they have for their kids.
Cook County Highway Department buildings are in dire need of replacement, according to Engineer Betts. At a Tuesday, April 24 work session, Betts told the county board that the main building is rusting at its foundation and doesn’t provide nearly enough working space. Contractors come in for pre-construction meetings and have to sit on countertops. The meetings cannot easily be held elsewhere because they refer to documents and computer programs that are housed at the Highway Department. “Pure and simple, we need at least twice the space we have in the office right now,” Betts said
The shops in Hovland and Tofte are “falling down around them,” said Betts. The sewer gas at Hovland is “overwhelming” and “the ceiling is hanging,” he said. “There’s no clean space to have computers at either of the buildings. ...They are actually going to fall down if we don’t do something.”
The department is not able to store salt properly, and much of its equipment sits outside where it is vulnerable to the elements. The Goble building has so much moisture in it that the employee break table gets wet, Betts said. The fuel stations need to be replaced. Employees are getting sprayed with fuel when they fill up their trucks.
“How much good money do you throw after bad?” said Klegstad. He said making day-to-day plans is difficult without knowing what the long-term plan is.
Betts said fixing all three sites would cost over $6 million. “I’ve been told it’s not the right time, but I question when is the right time.” He said he has some funding ideas that include using some of their state aid.
No decisions were made, but the group discussed the possibility of bonding to fund the improvements.
Beginning today Superior National Forest Managers will allow public use in all but a small portion of the area in the BWCAW that was affected by last year’s Pagami Creek wildfire.
The decision to adjust the closure area is based on recent field assessments of conditions in the fire area and rehabilitation work that was accomplished by crews this spring.
Some campsites are posted closed as well as portages accessing Horseshoe, Brewis, Harbor, North and South Wilder Lakes and the Pow Wow Trail and Pow Wow Trail Entry Point.
The Forest Service is warning campers to beware of snags. Standing trees may look solid but the root system may have been burned away and they could fall at any time.
Firewood is also limited, so using a cook stove is advised. Some of the campsites may not have sufficient trees to hang a food pack. An alternative such as a bear resistant food container is suggested.
The ISD166 school board has voted to try a different calendar for the 2012-13 school year. Cook County Schools – and consequently students at Great Expectations – will experience longer days, a number of four-day weeks and some combined additional vacation times. The administration says the move saves money and improves instruction.
If you have kids in school, what do you think?
Join Jay Andersen with WTIP’s First Thursday Community Conversation on May 3 for “Hybridizing the School Year.”
Each month we choose a topic for discussion, invite guests into the studio and invite you to join in the conversation. This month our guests include Superintendent Beth Schwarz, Great Expectation’s Administrator Peter James, teacher and union representative Mitch Door and you. Join the conversation by calling 387-1070 or 800-473-9847. Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Hybridizing the School Year” -- First Thursday Community Conversation, 6 to 7 p.m. May 3rd. Only on WTIP North Shore Community Radio.
With $1.7 million of the county’s growing 1 percent
recreation and infrastructure sales tax revenue still uncommitted, new
groups are coming forward with requests for the county board. On
April 24, two groups were sent away empty-handed after the board
refused to make any promises for the balance of the $20 million (plus
the cost of bonding) that can be collected in coming years.
Cook County Mountain Bike System
Tim Kennedy and Mark Spinler of the Superior Cycling Association asked
two things of the board: to make an application for funding from
Minnesota’s Parks and Trails Legacy Grant Program on behalf of the
association and to consider using 1 percent funds for a 25 percent
match on a grant of up to $500,000. This would amount to $125,000 or
6¼ percent of the $20 million.
Tim Kennedy told the board that areas in the region that have invested
in single-track mountain bike trail systems are seeing significant
increases in visitors, and those visitors tend to be prosperous. He
cited statistics showing the average mountain biker’s household
income to be $94,000.
Commissioner Bruce Martinson said he could support committing $50,000
of 1 percent funding for the project. “It would have been nice to
designate it from the start,” he said.
However, such a motion was not made. The county board passed a motion
supporting the association in an application for Legacy funds but made
no commitment of funds.