Local state parks have busy winter
Due to steady snow and temperature conditions, both Gooseberry Falls and Split Rock Lighthouse State Park have had a good winter season this year. Candlelight ski and snowshoe events were held at Gooseberry and Split Rock Lighthouse in February, both of which were well attended by the public. An estimated 750 visitors participated in the events, which featured bonfires at various trail locations, luminaries to light the pathways, and refreshments.
For the 2012 calendar year, Minnesota State Parks and Trails overall attendance exceeded 8.9 million. Gooseberry was one of the busiest parks in the system and had 598,889 visitors, while Split Rock Lighthouse totaled 304,576. These two parks are among the top five tourist attractions in the Northeast Tourism Region. Tettegouche is also in the top five. It is estimated that visitors return about $25 per person, per day to the local economy.
Highway 61, Scenic 61 detours coming in April
The city of Duluth’s efforts to extend the Lakewalk trail system farther east will result in traffic detours starting next month.
City officials said today that Lakewalk extension work will include a pedestrian tunnel that allows users to safely cross under Highway 61. Starting April 1 the city will close Congdon Boulevard north of 61st Avenue East.
Highway 61 and Scenic 61 traffic will be detoured to East Superior Street at 60th Avenue East. A temporary traffic signal will be installed at that intersection. Construction of the pedestrian tunnel will be completed and the detour removed by June 19.
The closure will cause traffic congestion and delays. Drivers are advised to take alternate routes around the construction.
Call (218) 730-5104 or e-mail Matt Decur at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Second chance to help Minnesota’s wildlife
Minnesotans who forgot to donate to the line with the loon on their state tax forms now have a second chance to help the state’s bald eagles, trumpeter swans, blue herons, peregrine falcons and bluebirds, the Department of Natural Resources said.
To donate to the DNR nongame wildlife program, visit the website at www.dnr.state.mn.us/eco/nongame/checkoff.html.
The nongame wildlife program receives 80 percent of its funding through donations.
Franken promotes newly enacted law that protects women
U.S. Sen. Al Franken appeared at Minneapolis City Hall with Minneapolis Police Chief Janet Harteau to discuss provisions of the newly reauthorized Violence Against Women Act.
“Women in Minnesota and around the country should be free from domestic and sexual violence and our nation’s laws should do everything possible to make that a reality,” Franken said. “The Violence Against Women Act is an important part of the fight to end violence against women and I’m pleased that it includes two provisions I wrote to protect victims of these terrible crimes,” said Franken.
The legislation now includes the Survivors of Sexual Assault Act which ensures that victims of sexual assault do not have to pay for forensic evidence collection kits, also called rape kits. It also includes the Housing Rights for Victims of Domestic and Sexual Violence Act, which make it unlawful to evict a woman from federally supported housing because she is a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
“The Violence Against Women Act has been a catalyst to help our collaborative efforts and enables us to raise awareness in the community to stop violence against women and children,” said Harteau. “Because of VAWA and Senator Franken’s support and efforts with this act, we have been able to fund innovative programs necessary for us to work more effectively with victims. We are also now better equipped to protect our community in breaking this cycle of violence.”
Lillehaug appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court
Last week, Gov. Mark Dayton announced that he has appointed former U.S. Attorney, David Lillehaug to replace Justice Paul Anderson on the Minnesota Supreme Court. Anderson will retire in May.
Lillehaug has worked closely with Minnesota Democrats, including Gov. Dayton during the recount of the gubernatorial race against Tom Emmer in 2010, but he says this will not influence his decisions as justice.
“Like other lawyers who have joined this marvelous court, my life has changed for good,” Lillehaug said. “I will leave behind the world of advocacy and I will swear a solemn oath to be fair and impartial. I will swear to apply the law without fear or favor.”