WOTUS rule postponed nationwide

Here’s a conversation on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals staying the implementation of the controversial Waters of the US Rule (WOTUS):

 

WOTUS

The EPA’s implementation of the Waters of the US Rule was stayed nationwide by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals today. (Photo from alaskapolicyforum.org)

The Sixth Circuit has just stayed the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule nationwide, by a 2-1 vote, until it determines whether it has jurisdiction over the petitions for review.  The majority found a substantial possibility of success on both merits grounds (that the rule does not comport with even Justice Kennedy’s Rapanos opinion) and procedural grounds (that significant changes in the rule were never put to notice and comment).

The order is, “The Clean Water Rule is hereby STAYED, nationwide, pending further order of the court.”

A stay has the same practical effect as an injunction – it prevents the EPA/Corps from implementing the rule.

Expect the stay to last until the 6th Circuit makes a decision regarding the jurisdictional issue, which is expected sometime in November.

Here’s the link to the story on KLGR radio’s website:

http://www.myklgr.com/2015/10/09/6th-circuit-court-stays-wotus-rule-nationwide/

Here’s a video from the Kansas Farm Bureau featuring Paul Schlegel, the Director of Environment and Energy Policy at the American Farm Bureau Federation in Washington, D.C.

 

Food prices down from last year

 

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 28, 2015 – Lower retail prices for several foods, including whole milk, cheddar cheese, bacon and apples resulted in a slight decrease in the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Fall Harvest Marketbasket Survey.


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The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals was $54.14, down $.12 or less than 1 percent compared to a survey conducted a year ago. Of the 16 items surveyed, 10 decreased and six increased in average price.

Higher milk and pork production this year has contributed to the decrease in prices on some key foods.

“Energy prices, which affect everything in the marketbasket, have been quite a bit lower compared to a year ago. Processing, packaging, transportation and retail operations are all fairly energy-intensive,” said John Anderson, AFBF’s deputy chief economist. Lower energy prices account for much of the modest decrease in the marketbasket.

The following items showed retail price decreases from a year ago:

  • whole milk, down 17 percent to $3.14 per gallon
  • bacon, down 11 percent to $4.55 per pound
  • apples, down 7 percent $1.45 per pound
  • shredded cheddar, down 5 percent to $4.56 per pound
  • flour, down 4 percent to $2.37 per five-pound bag
  • bagged salad, down 4 percent to $2.46 per pound
  • vegetable oil, down 3 percent to $2.61 for a 32-ounce bottle
  • Russet potatoes, down 3 percent to $2.64 for a five-pound bag
  • white bread, down 1 percent to $1.69 for a 20-ounce loaf
  • chicken breast, down 1 percent to $3.42 per pound

These items showed modest retail price increases compared to a year ago:

  • eggs, up 56 percent to $3.04 per dozen
  • orange juice, up 7 percent to $3.43 per half-gallon
  • ground chuck, up 6 percent to $4.55 per pound
  • toasted oat cereal, up 3 percent to $3.09 for a nine-ounce box
  • sirloin tip roast, up 3 percent to $5.67 per pound
  • sliced deli ham, up 1 percent to $5.47 per pound

“As expected we saw higher egg prices because we lost so much production earlier this year due to the avian influenza situation in Iowa, Minnesota and some other Midwestern states,” Anderson said.

Price checks of alternative milk and egg choices not included in the overall marketbasket survey average revealed the following: 1/2 gallon regular milk, $2.21; 1/2 gallon organic milk, $4.79; and one dozen “cage-free” eggs, $4.16.

The year-to-year direction of the marketbasket survey tracks closely with the federal government’s Consumer Price Index (http://www.bls.gov/cpi/) report for food at home. As retail grocery prices have increased gradually over time, the share of the average food dollar that America’s farm and ranch families receive has dropped.

“Through the mid-1970s, farmers received about one-third of consumer retail food expenditures for food eaten at home and away from home, on average. Since then, that figure has decreased steadily and is now about 16 percent, according to the Agriculture Department’s revised Food Dollar Series,” Anderson said.

Using the “food at home and away from home” percentage across-the-board, the farmer’s share of this $54.14 marketbasket would be $8.66.

AFBF, the nation’s largest general farm organization, began conducting informal quarterly marketbasket surveys of retail food price trends in 1989. The series includes a Spring Picnic survey, Summer Cookout survey, Fall Harvest survey and Thanksgiving survey.

According to USDA, Americans spend just under 10 percent of their disposable annual income on food, the lowest average of any country in the world. A total of 69 shoppers in 24 states participated in the latest survey, conducted in September.

 

 

 

 

I need to vent: you need to read

I need to vent.

Apathy is a word I’m becoming a lot more familiar with as I venture further into the world of journalism. I have never been more concerned about the direction of the United States of America than I am at this moment in time. Evidently, I’m one of the few that are.

I offer up a local county in my part of Minnesota as a microcosm of what’s happening in this country.

This small county might be what most would think of when they picture rural America. But this small county is being hit with allegations of government corruption. And they aren’t just allegations, but they’ve been proven. I have seen the paperwork, I’ve seen the secret emails, and I’ve seen all the relevant documentation. These accusations have even been proven in court.

Local law enforcement started a “diversion program” as a way to deal with traffic violations, which, on paper sounded like a good thing. The legality of the program was questioned immediately. The cliff notes version is this: Traffic tickets were torn up if violators paid money to the county to take a class. The tuition money stayed in the county budget. But state statutes say local law enforcement officials don’t get to change enforcement standards (i.e. tear up tickets) because state government has authority in this situation.

I won’t pretend to be an expert, but I have done some extensive research and this looks like local officials found a way to bypass the state statutes to keep all the money raised from traffic violations in their coffers. I’d be glad to admit I was wrong if someone could show me I was, but state law very specifically states how the fine money is to be split between the state and local levels. It states that very clearly.

Did the little county find a way to bypass state law, or did they put something together that stayed within the law?  I’ll let you decide, but a local district judge said “nope.”

So, the program was declared illegal, and documents provided by the same law enforcement office show that traffic tickets have dropped by half since the program was taken off the board. From the outside looking in, it looks like officials have lost their motivation to write tickets since they don’t keep the money. Do I know that for sure? I don’t know that myself, but the paperwork from that very office seems to suggest it.

Now, people who paid money to take the class have hit the county with a class action suit. They want their money back. The county doesn’t want to pay it. They still say it was a “diversionary program,” even though a local district judge said no. So that means, more litigation, which means more cost to the taxpayers.

It also means the county will be on the hook for roughly $500,000 if they lose the lawsuit. Where does the money come from? It’s a pretty small tax base.

Here’s the thing: No one seems to care. There are no serious signs of local outcry. There is no sense of holding elected officials accountable for their actions. In fact, there seems to be a lot of playing the victim card happening in local circles. Elected officials are tossing around the word vendetta.

Why doesn’t government corruption bother people? Why is it just “expected?” Why is it excused? And it isn’t just in this small county either.

This is going on all over the country. As a member of the media, I find it nauseating that my national colleagues seem to be in bed with some of the worst dregs of humanity imaginable. You really can’t single out either of the two major parties anymore, either. Fox News’ handling of the Republican debate has convinced me that there are no reputable TV news outlets left.

The American people have played right into the hands of some of the most corrupt people in the country. Politicians are playing the “Sheeple” like fiddles. We spend more time arguing with each other over the stupidest things because politicians bring it up on the very news outlets they’re in bed with. Cecil the Lion, anyone? That’s called the strategy of distraction. Get us looking one way, so we don’t hold these crooks accountable for what’s really going on.

Am I being too harsh when I call our nation’s leaders crooks?

I offer Martin Luther King as an example. He said the very definition of tyranny is making laws for others that you don’t have to live under yourselves. Can you say Obamacare? That seems to fit the definition, doesn’t it? The only ones who are exempted from this national disaster seem to be in government. I didn’t get an exemption. Did you get one?

Is it just easier not to care? Is it easier not to put the work in to save our country before it’s too late?

What’s the old saying? The surest way for evil men to prosper is for good men to do nothing?

Evil men are prospering. How much longer do we wait before it’s too late?

 

 

 

 

 

Class action lawsuit against Wabasha County

Wabasha County

Wabasha County, located in SE Minnesota, faces a class action lawsuit over it’s now illegal safe driving program. Early estimates put the county on the hook for almost $500,000 dollars if it loses in court. (photo from en.wikipedia.org)

Wabasha County, Minnesota government is once again embroiled in controversy. The County created a Safe Driving Course back in 2003, and the legality of the model was questioned immediately. In January of 2014, Judge James Fabian of the Third District Court brought the program to a halt with a summary judgment.

Now, a class action civil lawsuit against the County has been filed on behalf of those who paid fees to take the class. The big question is: where does the money come from if the county loses the legal battle?

Wabasha County started the Safe Driving Course as a way for divers pulled over for minor moving violations to avoid large fines, a court appearance, and to keep the violation off their driving record. Although Wabasha created the program, at the time it was declared to be illegal, 36 cities and counties offered the program in similar formats.

The safe driving class had numerous concerns. Did the count have the legal authority to create and run the program? Most of the questions involved what happened to the money people had to pay to take the class. The original cost of the class was $75, and later was raised to $125.

In 2003, then-State Representative Steve Smith sent a letter of inquiry to the state Attorney General’s Office questioning the legality of a county program that “imposes administrative penalties upon person violating state laws and local ordinances.” The response from the AG’s Office was 7 pages long, and listed several ways the program was in violation of state laws.

One of the notable ways the program was in violation of state law was the discretionary behavior of law enforcement. Smith stated in his letter that local law enforcement officials were “holding tickets for certain traffic offenses to give drivers a chance to sign up for the Class. If the driver signed up for the class in time, the ticket was torn up.”

The response from Assistant AG Ken Raschke said, “Cities are empowered to regulate certain areas of local interest, and to supplement state statutes in many areas. However, local governments may not redefine the nature or level of criminal offense as specified by state statute, or modify statutory procedures for enforcement or penalties for an offense.”

Because the program was started at the city and county level, there was also some question as to whether or not local officials had the authority to make that decision. Raschke’s response answered the question by stating, “It is not consistent with state and public policy for local officials to direct or urge that city peace officers not enforce the law of the state to the best of their ability.”

Raschke did say that county officials and peace officers to have substantial discretion in making arrest and charging decisions.

“But, these decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis in terms of the evidence available, the culpability of the offender, and the nature of the offense, rather than the offender’s willingness to make a payment to the city,” he said.

In 2004, another letter from the State Auditor said, “This office believes the class is an effort to issue county penalties for traffic offenses that are regulated by State law. The State has entered the arena of traffic regulation through Chapter 169 of the Minnesota statues, and the county needs to use the uniform traffic ticket for violations of state traffic laws and adjudicate those violations through the state court system”

In other words, no holding of tickets, and no tearing them up once the drivers have taken the course. But the Safe Driving Class continued on.

The other question is what happened to the money drivers paid to take the class and avoid the court system?

In 2009, new legislation was enacted which required a person successfully completing a diversion program for a violation of Chapter 169 (Again, covering traffic violations) to pay a $75 surcharge. It laid out distribution of the proceeds as well: $65 was to go to the state general fund; $9.75 for the peace officer training account; and $0.25 to the game and fish fund.

During the early years of the program, Wabasha County was keeping all revenues from the Safe Driving Class. Even after the 2009 letter from the Office of Minnesota Management and Budget outlining the distribution of revenues, Wabasha County continued to keep all the money and sent nothing in to the state.

The warnings from state government continued through 2013. In August, a lawsuit was filed against Wabasha County over the Safe Driving program. The suit actually included 2 of Wabasha County’s Commissioners. The County response stated they felt it was a legal “diversion program.”

Third District Court Judge James Fabian issued an injunction, which stopped the program.

“State Statutes didn’t allow the program,” said Erick Kaardal, of the Mohrman, Kaardal, and Erickson Law Firm in Minneapolis, who represented the plaintiffs. “The concern was, rather than following through on a traffic ticket, they offered violators a chance to pay tuition to the class. The tuition money was going to the department’s budget, but ticket revenue was to be split between the state and the county.”

After the first suit was won, Kaardal and his firm represented plaintiffs who filed petitions to the court for tuition reimbursement. They filed for a class action suit statewide, but the Third District Court said no to that. The Court of Appeals then rejected a conditional review of the case.

“What was left open by the original district court,” said Kaardal, “was doing a suit county-by-county. So we’re representing plaintiffs on a countywide basis who want their tuition money back.”

He added, “Some of the early estimates indicate the refund amount my top $400,000 dollars in revenue.”

He said the goal was to stop county sheriffs from having a financial incentive to write tickets.

Wabasha County Sheriff Rodney Bartsch did end the program as soon as the injunction was granted. He felt the Safe Driving Program was a benefit to the county, and it was run as a legal diversion program.

Sheriff Rodney Bartsch

Wabasha County Sheriff Rodney Bartsch tells a Minnesota House committee Tuesday, March 18, 2014, that the public likes the option of taking classes rather than pay tickets. (photo from republican-eagle.com)

“The lawsuit is about a personal vendetta,” said Bartsch. “It has nothing to do with right or wrong. We had over 4,500 people participate in the class over a ten-year period. Most said the education was of great value to them. For the plaintiffs to have found 8 people to come forward out of thousands doesn’t sound like much of a class action suit to me.”

Bartsch added, “What’s interesting to me is there are other similar programs across the state. Why aren’t they trying to shut those down?”

Kaardal said most of the other county programs were shut down after the Wabasha ruling came down.

“After we won in Wabasha,” said Kaardal, “most of the other counties shut down their programs. Based on our most recent information, Wright and Isanti counties continue their programs, and so we have continuing concerns there, but right now we’re focused on the class action suit in Wabasha County.”

Sheriff Bartsch said the ongoing dispute with the State Auditor shouldn’t have happened because he felt they didn’t have the authority to regulate what he classified as a “diversionary program.”

He said, “The County Attorney and I always had a different opinion than that of the state auditor. They never had any authority to interpret state statute. This was always considered a diversionary program.”

However, Kaardal feels this suit is supported by case law.

“There’s good case law that states if the county sheriff has money he obtained illegally, he should give it back,” he said. “It’s called Money Had and Received. It says if you illegally obtain money from a party, you have to give it back.”

Kaardal added, “For example, if I give you money thinking you’re a store clerk before goods are exchanged and you aren’t, you have to give it back. He obtained the money through an illegal program, and he needs to give it back. That’s just common sense.”

Kaardal said cases like this are disappointing to him on a personal level too.

“The great hope is that law enforcement officers would follow the law,” said Kaardal. “We should be disappointed when law enforcement officers violate the law, particularly here in such an official and deliberate way.”

However, Sheriff Bartsch said his Safe Driving Class was a diversion program that violated no laws. In his mind, this continues to be a personal vendetta.

“This is just a way to get people paid for their time that was invested in trying to destroy a few elected officials in Wabasha County,” said the Sheriff. I will continue to feel sorry for those people that wish harm on others.”

Bartsch added, “I won’t name any names, but this whole issue began after a county commissioner lost an election.”

Kaardal continues to insist this is not personal matter, but a clear violation of law.

He said, “The county sheriff has complied with the District Court injunction stopping the safe driving program, and I praise him for that. Now it’s time for the Sheriff to do what’s legally necessary and refund the money to the safe driving program participants. But, the County Sheriff is choosing not to give money back to the participants. However, if the Sheriff would choose to give the money back, I would praise him for that action too. The unfortunate consequence of the Sheriff’s decision is more litigation.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JM Rockets fall in double OT to Owatonna

Rochester John Marshall

The Rochester John Marshall Rockets face the defending State Class 5A champion Mankato West Scarlets in their next action Friday night in Mankato. (photo from Facebook.com)

The third quarter was the difference as the Rochester John Marshall Rockets fell in double overtime to Owatonna 27-21 last Friday.

The Rockets controlled the first half, but the Huskies threw some different looks on offense against J-M coming out of the halftime locker room. Rockets Head Coach Kevin Kirkeby said his team rallied in the fourth quarter and it turned into quite a ballgame.

“Owatonna has two different styles of offense,” said Kirkeby. “They’ll go into a pistol offense and do more of a spread formation, but they also go under center. Against Mankato West (in their season opener) they only did their pistol offense, so we weren’t sure what they would do against us and prepared for both styles.”

The Rockets defense played well against the pistol during the first half.

Rochester John Marshall High School

The Rochester John Marshall 2015 football team. (Photo from johnmarshallrockets.org)

“Offensively, we didn’t really need to throw the ball much in the first half,” said Kirkeby. “We were having really good success on the ground. (Senior Running Back) Cazz Martin scored two touchdowns (on 18 carries for 102 yards) and things were going well.”

Owatonna came out of the halftime locker room and took control of the game early in the second half.

“The Huskies defense had a whole bunch of different players than what they ran out their in loss against West,” said Kirkeby, “So it probably took them a half to get used to each other. They came out fired up and we just didn’t have a whole lot of offensive continuity.”

He added, “The third quarter was all theirs. They scored twice on their first two possessions of the second half.”

Kirkeby was proud of his team for not letting up and bouncing back in the fourth quarter with some good football.

 

 

The Rockets are 1-1 on the season, and they’ve shown some flashes of good football:

 

JM is a football team with a lot of new faces in the lineup.

“We only have a couple of returning starters on offense,” he said. “On defense, we have about 7 returning starters but some of them are playing different positions.”

They do have a lot of upperclassmen on the field, but not a lot of game day experience to go with it.

“We have a nice mixture of juniors and seniors on offense and defense,” said Kirkeby. “However, it’s not like other teams that have a lot of seniors that have been playing together since tenth grade. We don’t have that.”

Kirkeby is in his third year as Head Coach, and he wants his offense to start with a solid ground game.

“My philosophy in Minnesota is we have all kinds of challenging weather,” said Kirkeby, “so you better be able to run the football. However, you can’t just run the ball or the opponent will stack the box with 9 or 10 guys and make it very difficult. I think a nice 40-60 or 30-70 blend of running and passing plays would be a good place to be at.”

JM has a tough road assignment this week. They travel to Mankato West High School for a matchup with the State Class 5A champs. Kirkeby said, in some ways, the Scarlets might be a better team than they were last year.

 

What aspects of the game do the Rockets need to improve on?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let me introduce Lochlan Smith

Let me tell you about a little boy I know named Lochlan. He’s my youngest son of 6 kids, and he’s special in his very own way.

Lochlan is autistic, but he doesn’t let that slow him down. Let me offer my favorite Lochlan story as an example:

We were living in Redwood Falls, and actually hadn’t been there very long. It was our first summer, and I took the kids to the local swimming pool, which was right down the street from our house. So, we get all our swim gear on, grab some towels and sunscreen (thanks Mom, for the reminder; I would have forgotten) and make our way to the pool.

The older kids head for the big pool, and Lochlan makes a beeline for the little kid pool. I checked on the big kids to make sure they were all accounted for, and headed for the little pool. I took an initial look around, and don’t see Lochlan in the pool. Oh wait, there he is, over there on the other side. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

My little Lochlan is waist deep in the other side of the little pool, and he’s chatting up one of the lifeguards. She was a young, high school age girl, and happened to be one of the prettiest ones there. And she was eating it up! Lochlan, with his jet black hair, big blue eyes, engaging smile, and infectious laugh was talking to this girl with absolutely no fear whatsoever, and he was laying on the natural charm really well. Keep in mind, this was the kind of teenage girl that could tongue-tie even the biggest and strongest of teenage boys! I was so proud!

Exploring in the Ranger

Lochlan is pictured here in the back of Gramma Cheryl’s Ranger. He’s not normally an outdoor guy, but did seem to enjoy himself as we were exploring trails. (Photo by Chad Smith)

He’s a very sensitive young man, admittedly more than his farm-raised Dad would like. Part of it more than likely stems from his autism, so I’m learning how to read him. His sensitivity can be one of his greatest features, especially when he’s around animals. A recent trip to Gramma Cheryl’s house had L in hog heaven, or rather, kitten heaven. Oh, and doggie heaven. And horse heaven as well. Moving horses, chasing kittens, playing with puppies, and generally running all over the farm tuckered him out, and he slept really well that night.

He’s definitely quirky, there’s no question about that. He loves his fedoras. I hear through the grapevine that the girls at his school love him in them too. He’s so friendly and (sometimes too) talkative, but that’s okay too. As is typical of autisticfolks, he has a hard time keeping the conversation on track with everyone else, but that’s okay too. He’s easily steered back on the right path.

Loving animals

Lochlan does love animals, and they really seemed to enjoy him when we went to the Champa farm recently. (Photo by Chad Smith)

Lochlan probably won’t be the biggest or strongest guy you’ll meet. The genetics on his mother’s side of the family don’t necessarily lead to a lot of tall people, but that’s okay too. I’ll let you in on a secret:  Lochlan is actually a much better athlete than he gets credit for.  And, you can tell him I said that!

After knowing Lochlan for all these years, it’s true that dynamite really can come in small packages. I love my little Lochlan, and I’m really curious to see what the future holds for Lochlan Smith.

He got Mom and Dad all to himself the other day for a trip to Chuck E Cheese in Rochester:

 

 

Minnesota is a boating paradise

Minnesota is well known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes.” Actually, it’s more than that. The state contains 11,842 lakes that are 10 acres in size or larger.

If you add in the over 6,500 rivers and streams around the state, there’s a lot of room for boaters on Minnesota waters. With that much to choose from, there is no shortage of destinations for boaters to hit the water. The advantages for boaters are numerous.

Opportunities abound

“I think it’s just the convenience of having a lake or river about 30 minutes from most residents of the state,” said Stan Linnel, the Boating and Water Safety Manager for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “People have a lot of water to choose from for a lot of different reasons.”

Not only does Minnesota have an abundance of lakes and rivers to choose from, but it’s easy to get on the water too.

“Boating is a long standing Minnesota favorite pastime,” said Alyssa Ebel, the Public Relations director for Explore Minnesota. Public boat accesses are abundant on the state’s nearly 12,000 lakes and numerous rivers.”

The opportunities include more than just motor boating.

“Paddlers will enjoy the canoe and kayak routes on rivers, streams, and lakes,” said Ebel. “Houseboating opportunities abound in the northern part of the state. Even folks who don’t own boats can find a lot of rental shops too.”

Don’t forget waterskiing. “Minnesota is the birthplace of waterskiing, which was invented in 1922,” said Ebel.

Most popular destinations

Lake Okabena

Lake Okabena in Minnesota is a popular destination for wind surfing. (Photo from www.dglobe.com)“

 “The southern region of Minnesota includes destinations like Lake Okabena, which is popular for windsurfing,” said Ebel. “It also includes Lake Pepin, which is known as the ‘birthplace of waterskiing.’”

Al Heitman lives on Lake Zumbro, just north of Rochester, which is a popular boating destination. Plans are in the works to make Zumbro even more popular for boaters.

“The lake has filled in some, so what we’re trying to do is hollow out some of the mud and silt that’s built up,” said Heitman. “There are some places that used to be navigable, but you can’t boat in anymore. They’re trying to get things back near 6 feet in most places again.”

Heitman said his family bought a cabin cruiser a year ago and are trying other lakes in the area.

“We like to boat on Wabasha,” said Heitman. “There’s a nice sand dune they built from dredging in the lake, so it’s a fun area to boat in.”

Sail boating is a popular pastime with Phil and Jan Olson of Lake City.

“We’re out of the marina here (in Lake City),” said Phil. “We’ll just said around wherever the wind takes us on Lake Pepin. We’ve been sailing since around 1997, and we enjoy the peace and quiet, just being able to ride the winds.”

Lake Pepin

Lake Pepin, the birthplace of waterskiing, is one of the more popular lakes in Minnesota. (Photo from Chad Smith)

Lake Pepin is one of the more popular boating stops in southeast Minnesota.

“We live in town here, so we’re pretty lucky,” said Phil. “It does stay pretty busy here, but there’s a lot of room on Pepin.”

The northeast part of the state features a large number of places to choose from.

“You’ll find the nation’s largest freshwater lake, which is Lake Superior,” said Ebel. “Lake Vermillion, which is 44,000 acres. Don’t forget Voyageurs National Park, which includes lakes like Kabetogama, Namakan, Sand Point, and Crane Lake. Voyageurs is the largest freshwater-based park in the nation, at more than 218,000 acres.”

The northwest includes popular destinations like Lake of the Woods, Leech Lake, and Lake Winnibigoshish. The central region features Brainerd Lakes Area, Lake Mille Lacs, and Big Sandy Lake.

The DNR’s Linnel said it’s important for outstate boaters to remember there are a lot of opportunities even in the metro area.

“There’s tremendous opportunities,” he said. “Lake Minnetonka is probably the most heavily used recreation lake in the state. It has 14,000 acres and 140 miles of shoreline right in the metro.”

Different lakes, different opportunities

Figuring out the most popular destinations depends on what folks are heading to the lake for.

Lake Calhoun

Paddle Boating is a popular sports on Lake Calhoun in Minnesota. (Photo from pinterest.com)

“Even small lakes like Calhoun and Harriet get a lot of use from paddlers,” said Linnel. “If you’re looking at fishing, you’ll try some of the big lakes like Mille Lacs, Lake of the Woods, and Rainy Lake. Some of these lakes are actually so large they won’t seem crowded. You can go a long way without seeing another boat.”

Minnesotans do love their boats.

“Usually, we’re the highest per capita for registered boats in the nation,” said Linnel. “I think we’re roughly third in the nation in terms of the number of registered boats in the nation.”

 

 

 

 

Minnesota Farm Bureau asks for support of S.1140

Stop EPA’s Waters of the U.S. Rule

“On August 28, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will have control over citizen’s land and a federal permit will likely be required in order to conduct any activity on land that causes any material to be deposited onto a regulated low spot, wetland or ditch (for example, applying fertilizer, applying pest control products or even just moving dirt) or face significant fines,” said Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation President Kevin Paap. “EPA is overreaching their authority, and we need your help to stop them.”

Farm Bureau Federation

The Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation wants citizens to contact their Senators to tell them to put a halt to the EPA’s Waters of the US Rule. (photo from fbmn.org)

“Contact Senator Klobuchar and Senator Franken and ask them to support S. 1140, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act, which will stop the EPA from implementing the final rule and re-propose a rule that actually follows the limits set by Congress and affirmed by the Supreme Court,” said Paap.

“The final rule is even broader and more unclear than we thought it could be. One major concern is the expanded definition of tributaries,” said Paap. “Any land feature with the ‘presence of physical indicators of a bed, bank and ordinary high water mark’ would be considered a ‘tributary,’ and therefore a Waters of the U.S., even if there is no water there.”

“In addition, EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers can use ‘desktop tools’ (e.g. LIDAR, aerial photography and NRCS Soil Surveys) or base it on past conditions rather than current conditions to make a determination on whether or not you will need a federal permit,” said Paap. “It will be impossible for landowners to know which ditches are excluded.”

Kevin Paap

Farm Bureau President Kevin Paap is encouraging farmers and other Minnesotans to call their Senators and ask them to put a stop to the EPA’s Waters of the US Rule. (photo from twitter.com)

“With just a few weeks until this rule goes into effect, we need the Senate to pass S. 1140 as soon as possible. That means you need to act now,” said Paap. “Go to fbmn.org to send a message to Senator Klobuchar and Senator Franken. Every voice counts!”

Minnesota Farm Bureau representing Farmers • Families • Food is comprised of 78 local Farm Bureaus across Minnesota. Members make their views known to political leaders, state government officials, special interest groups and the general public. Programs for young farmers and ranchers develop leadership skills and improve farm management. Promotion and Education Committee members work with programs such as Ag in the Classroom and safety education for children. Join Farm Bureau today and support our efforts to serve as an advocate for rural Minnesota, www.fbmn.org.

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For more information on the Minnesota Farm Bureau log onto www.fbmn.orgwww.Facebook.com/MNFarmBureau or www.Twitter.com/MNFarmBureau.

Wolves Caravan visits Rochester

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The Timberwolves Caravan made a stop in Rochester, Minnesota at the local YMCA and spent time with over 320 area kids.

The Minnesota Timberwolves Summer Caravan and Skills Clinic made an appearance in Rochester at the local YMCA.  The third floor gym was packed with 322 kids in attendance at the Caravan to work with Timberwolves Assistant Coaches Ryan Saunders and Sam Mitchell, himself a 13 year NBA veteran and former NBA Coach of the Year award winner with Toronto.

The highlight of the Caravan was an appearance by Tyus Jones, considered by some to be one of the top Minnesota players of all time.  An NCAA tournament champion in his only year at Duke University, as well as a former Mr. Basketball, Jones was a first round pick in the most recent NBA draft.

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The Rochester YMCA hosted the Timberwolves Summer Caravan and Skills Clinic in their third floor gym, which was packed with over 320 young kids.

The kids in attendance worked on defensive drills as well as flexibility drills, and finished up the morning by hearing from Coach Mitchell and Jones.  There was even a question and answer session with Tyus as well.

It’s worth mentioning that Jones signed autographs for all of the kids in attendance.  That’s 322 signatures!

The Wolves open their preseason against the Chicago Bulls on October 10.

Here’s an iMovie of the event too:

MDA Weed of the Month: Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy

Low growing form of poison ivy. (Photo from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture

Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans and T. rybergii) is the only plant native to Minnesota on the noxious weed list. Poison ivy contains toxic compounds that can severely irritate human skin. The leaves, roots, and stems of poison ivy contain an oily resin that causes a rash, blisters, or swelling to human skin. Poison ivy can be found growing in woodland habitats, along fencerows, ditches, pastures, and natural areas. It must be controlled for public safety along rights-of-way, trails, public accesses, business properties open to the public or on parts of lands where public access for business or commerce is granted. It must also be controlled along property borders when requested by adjoining landowners. Though harmful to humans, poison ivy is beneficial for wildlife.

Poison ivy is a perennial that can grow as a climbing vine (T. radicans) or shrub (T. rybergii). The vine form is found only in southeastern Minnesota and the small shrub form is found throughout the state.  Depending on its growth habit, the height of the plant can vary from oneMDA-logo to two feet in the shrub form, and three to 12 feet in the vine form. It can reproduce by seed and shoots that grow from the roots.

The leaves of poison ivy are an important identification characteristic. The leaves are compound and consist of three leaflets that are 2-7 inches long and 1-4 inches wide. The leaves have pointed tips and irregularly toothed margins. They also have prominent mid-veins.

Always be cautious when working in and around this plant, and be aware that the toxic compound can be spread by freshly contaminated clothing, gloves, footwear, and pet hair.

  • Do not burn poison ivy.The toxic compounds can be inhaled from the smoke and cause serious respiratory problems.
  • Control or eradication by hand is not recommended.
  • Mowing may reduce the spread and population size of a poison ivy stand. Wear protective clothing and completely rinse any equipment after operating in poison ivy.
  • Various herbicides have been used successfully to control poison ivy. Check with your local University of Minnesota Extension agent, co-op, or landscape care expert for assistance and recommendations.