Statewide: August 12, 2011 Archive
The final budget that came out of the state government shutdown compromise includes some good news for Bemidji. It provides the city $1.8 million to build a pedestrian, bike and snowmobile trail bridge over state Highway 197 at the south end of town.
The bridge has been on the wish list of both the city and the Department of Natural Resources for a long time. It represents the last segment of trail that will officially complete the 110-mile Paul Bunyan Trail from Brainerd to Lake Bemidji State Park. The bridges allows users to safely cross a six-lane section of roadway.
The funding comes from the $500 million bonding bill negotiated by Gov. Mark Dayton. The bonding package provides $5 million for DNR trails, including the bridge.
The bridge will span 140 feet and will include a 12-foot-wide concrete deck.
The project also nicely compliments a development area along the south shore of Lake Bemidji that includes the Sanford Center hockey arena and events facility, as well as other planned commercial and residential development.
Construction of the bridge could be completed as early as this fall.
You can almost smell the fear of Asian carp in Minnesota when you are having conversations with anglers and conservationists. The news that the St. Croix River is testing positive for the presence of Asian carp raises concerns even more.
Stephanie Hemphill's FAQ on the invasive species spells out why the fear is justified:
Why are Asian carp harmful?
Unsuspecting boaters up and down the Mississippi River have been injured when Asian carp, excited by the boat's motor, jump high in the air and sometimes land in the boat.
But the carp are causing even more problems underwater. They consume massive amounts of plankton, the organism at the center of underwater ecosystems.
"These things are robbing everything else that depends on the productivity of the water," said Phil Moy, who studies Asian carp at the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute. "The tiniest fish, the minnows that then feed larger fish that then feed us, all rely on plankton. And here we have a great big fish, and a lot of them, taking the food from everyone else."
Asian carp can eventually dominate some water systems, squeezing out natives and favorite sport fish.
Dennis Anderson: What's needed is big thinking towards invasive species (Star Tribune).
Minnesota is focused on figuring out how to keep the fish out of our rivers, lakes and streams. But for some who've already lost that battle the fish has become something positive.
Bolstered by government support, the Asian carp harvest has leapt thirtyfold in the past decade, creating a new industry, attracting fishermen and entrepreneurs, and feeding people all over the world (New York Times).
Scientists are still debating to what degree an infestation of the Great Lakes would hurt the existing $7 billion fishing industry. It's also hard to project what it would mean for tourism.
In the meantime the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee, a group of federal and local officials trying to combat the spread of the fish is considering a larger harvest on the Illinois River, where according to the Times Asian carp outnumber native fish 8 to 10 in some portions of the river.
The group hopes that an increased harvest of the fish will slow the spread to Lake Michigan and create more time for a permanent solution.
Also on MN TodayOnly Iowans can vote in the straw poll. But some Minnesotans - such as Peter Glessing of Plymouth, a Pawlenty campaign volunteer - will trek south this weekend to be part of the action."This is kind of a kick-off to the race," Glessing said. "This is where it's happening" (Saint Cloud Times).
Franken calls for oversight of ratings agencies
With world markets suddenly sagging under the weight of the Standard & Poor's Aug. 5 downgrade of Treasury bonds, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., is disturbed by the monopolistic power of the ratings agencies--and still determined to curb their abuses (Truth Dig).
State Dept. official gives status report on Somali famine
About 3.6 million people in Somalia are at risk of starvation as the Horn of Africa continues to experience its worst drought in decades.The U.S. estimates more than 29,000 Somali children under the age of 5 have died in the country's famine in the past three months (MPR News).
Minnesotans organize to fight hunger in Somalia
A 40-foot-long container packed with rice, cooking oil and baby formula will leave the Twin Cities this week, bound for the Horn of Africa to help feed famine victims.The shipment was made possible through the efforts of several Minnesota charities (Star Tribune).
Scott LeDoux: 1949-2011 -- The 'Fighting Frenchman' loses his last fight
Former heavyweight boxer Scott LeDoux died Thursday at the age of 62 (Duluth News Tribune).
Sifting through history
Along the Mississippi, U archaeologists unearth records of civilizations past (U of M).
Lock out continues at American Crystal Sugar
More than 600 locked out sugar workers and supporters rallied outside the headquarters of American Crystal Sugar Thursday, demanding an end to the lockout that has shaken communities up and down the Red River Valley (Workdday Minnesota).
Different times call for a different St. Croix bridge
Before politics took hold, some of the creative thinkers at MnDOT had started work toward a $90 million solution that could be done quickly (Star Tribune).
Address economic opportunity and keep Community Action
We are divided as a country and state. Although there may be differences in what the solutions to poverty may be, it's time to renew our will to do something. No one questions that our economy will be stronger with people working and sharing in economic prosperity (MinnPost).
Frothy beer and false advertising: Sam Adams claim examined
When it comes to false advertising, an ad need not be literally false to be considered "false advertising" in a legal sense. An ad that is misleading or that implies something that is not true could be problematic (Duets Blog).