Deadly winter on the ice
This winter of 2012-13 is on track to be the deadliest season on the ice in more than five years, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
So far, five people have died tragically after going through the ice on Minnesota lakes. A sixth person is missing and presumed drowned. In the 2006-07 winter season, eight people died in ice-related incidents.
“There could be several reasons why so many people have died this year,” said Kara Owens, DNR boat and water safety specialist. “It could be there are more people out on the ice because we have had a cooler winter and more snow.”
All of this year’s fatalities have been the result of a snowmobile or vehicle breaking through the ice or crashing into open water.
Owens urges Minnesotans to remain vigilant about safety as the end of the season nears and temperatures rise.
“The bottom line is it’s crucial that people do not let their guard down and recognize ice is never 100 percent safe,” she said. The DNR also recommends that anglers and others measure ice thickness before venturing out on a lake, or contact a local bait shop or resort to ask about ice conditions.
Lake Connections schedules community informational meetings
Lake Connections will be holding three March meetings to update residents on the progress of the county-wide fiber optic network currently under construction.
The initial meetings are scheduled at the Duluth Town Hall on March 5, Silver Creek Town Hall on March 7, and Knife River Rec Center on March 14. All of the meetings begin at 7 p.m. More meetings will be scheduled in the spring.
“We owe it to residents in our service area to tell them where we are today and where we are headed—and to address their questions and concerns as best we can,” Project Manager Jeff Roiland said.
The $70 million Lake Connections broadband project is funded by a $10 million federal grant, $3.5 million from Lake County and a low-interest loan to be paid by subscribers of the service over a 19-year period. For a current progress report, go to the “Gaining Speed” page at www.lakeconnections.com.
Bill introduced to stop wolf hunt
The ongoing debate over the hunting and trapping of wolves has prompted some Minnesota lawmakers to take action.
Last week legislation was introduced to place a five-year moratorium on Minnesota’s wolf hunting season and call for other options for wolf population control.
Sponsors of the bill include Sen. Chris Eaton, DFL-Brooklyn Center, Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, Sen. David Senjem, R-Rochester, Sen. Terri Bonoff, DFL-Minnetonka and Sen. Sandra Pappas, DFL-St. Paul.
That five-year delay was supported by a wolf task force, the Department of Natural Resources and the 2000 Minnesota Legislature, but was overridden by the Legislature in 2012.
Under the Senate bill, there would be no wolf hunting until July 1, 2018. Thus far the House has not responded by introducing a similar bill.
The legislation comes one week after wolf advocacy groups filed suit in federal district court against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, asking that the feds retake control of Minnesota wolf populations to prevent overkill under current state law.