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Are immigrants a threat or a boon to rural Minnesota? And what can be done to help newcomers assimilate? At a forum Thursday in Detroit Lakes, candidates were asked about diversity and immigration. A key element is education, said Rep. Paul Marquart, a DFLer from Dilworth "It starts with education," he said. "A very strong system is needed from pre-kindergarten through college—Minnesota has always done a good job of bringing people together and teaching them to succeed."
Republican legislative candidates did their best to bloody DFLers over the skyrocketing cost of insurance on MNsure, the state's online health insurance exchange, at a forum Thursday in Detroit Lakes. "Don't let the incumbents get away with this," said James Leiman, the Ada city administrator running against DFLer Kent Eken for a Senate seat. "It's MNsure and the Affordable Care Act — we've created our own supply and demand paradigm ... we need to get rid of MNsure at once and join the federal exchange."
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed zebra mussels in Maud Lake in Becker County and Sybil Lake, south of Vergas in Otter Tail County. In both cases, the zebra mussels were found on boat lifts when they were removed from the water. According to the DNR, both incidents serve as good reminders for citizens to check equipment as they remove it each season.
After a young bald eagle died last week after befriending the residents of Turtle Lake, the Department of Natural Resources picked up the body. But the story doesn't end there. The bird was sent to the National Eagle Repository, a one-of-a-kind facility operated and managed by the Office of Law Enforcement, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and located at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge northeast of Denver. For hundreds of years, natives have used eagle feathers for religious and cultural purposes.
Mahnomen County is considering a three-year contract to board a limited number of inmates in the new Becker County Jail. The jail is expected to cost about $18 million and hold 157 to 170 inmates, both maximum and minimum security. It will be built on Highway 59 just north of Detroit Lakes. The county has asked the city to annex the land so that it can provide city sewer and water. A proposed timeline calls for the jail to open August of 2018. Commissioners from Mahnomen and Becker County met Tuesday to discuss a potential contract.
An influx of outdoor mice has area homeowners on the verge of mouse madness. Mouse traps and mouse bait have been selling at record levels, exterminators are staying busy and people who have never had house cats before are bringing in "mousers" to join the fight. On our Facebook page, this newspaper asked if people were having worse-then-usual mice problems this year. More than a dozen people quickly responded, with several saying they had killed between two and four dozen mice so far this year. Mice have been spotted inside houses, garages and even vehicles.
Hunters preparing to hit the water this fall in pursuit of ducks, geese and other wild game are reminded to include life jackets on their hunting gear checklist. "Hunters in Minnesota are trained from a young age to always put safety first. For duck and goose hunters, that means always wearing a life jacket on the water, no exceptions," said Lt. Col. Greg Salo of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Enforcement Division.
A young bald eagle that spent the month making the rounds of homes on Turtle Lake has died. "He died in my yard," said Evie Soukup. "I knew he was not well on Sunday night — he was in my flower bed — and Monday morning he was still in the same position in my flower bed." The DNR picked up the eagle's body Monday morning, she said. "I've been waiting for the DNR to get back to me with what was wrong with him," she said. "There was definitely something wrong — he should not have been as tame as he was — we could all get close to him."
Election Day isn't until Nov. 8, but already more than 175 people have voted in Becker County. Absentee voting has been especially popular this year, says Becker County Auditor-Treasurer Mary Hendrickson. People can vote in-person at the courthouse or they can mail in their ballots. The Auditor-Treasurer's Office was busy Friday with a steady trickle of people coming in to vote. It's been that way for a week, since absentee voting opened Sept. 23, Hendrickson said.
The high winds, cold fronts, and rain made for challenging fishing conditions and challenging fishing this last week. The weather is improving and looks to be more stable for this week. The bite activity for all species should improve, and the conditions to fish for them will be much more enjoyable. It will also be a good time to be on the water the next couple weeks, as we are approaching some of the most beautiful lake views with the color changes of the fall.