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Cass County State's Attorney cited by DNR for rolling weeds on Lake Melissa

Cass County State's Attorney Birch Burdick has paid $235 in fines and fees after being convicted in Becker County (Minn.) District Court of operating a WeedRoller with an expired permit, a misdemeanor.

Burdick was cited by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources this summer for operating the weed-control device on property on Lake Melissa.

"It's my mother's lake place, but I take care of those kinds of things and I had failed to get a permit for this year," Burdick said.

Burdick said he realized his oversight when a DNR officer knocked on the door and confronted him about using the device that rolls on the lake bottom and discourages the growth of weeds.

"I said, 'Give me the ticket.' I wrote out a check and signed it, I think, the next day," said Burdick, who said he uses a WeedRoller to carve out a space so people can swim off the end of the dock.

He said when he was young, he and other kids helped control weeds with their youthful energy.

"All those little feet served the same purpose the WeedRoller does," he said, adding he removed the device for the remainder of the season after he was cited.

Burdick said based on what he's heard from other lakeshore residents, he believes his citation was part of a larger enforcement effort conducted this summer by the DNR.

He said that doesn't change the fact he should have renewed his permit.

"It was an oversight," Burdick said.

"I paid the ticket and I'll get a permit next year."

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555