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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.
The Department of Natural Resources will sell 40 northern Minnesota parcels in three public oral bid auctions in October and November. Tuesday, Oct. 25 - Nine northwestern Minnesota parcels will be auctioned at the County Administration Building in Bemidji. Thursday, Oct. 27 - 27 northeastern Minnesota parcels will be auctioned at the Lake County Courthouse in Two Harbors. Thursday, Nov. 3 - Four parcels in north-central Minnesota will be auctioned at DNR Brainerd area office.
Ryan Damlo wants to put some pizzazz into the workaday image of Becker County Transit. Aiming to get more people on the dial-a-ride buses, the transit director hopes to land a $30,000 Commuter Challenge grant from the Minnesota Department of Transportation. He's done it before — last year he won $18,000 of the $20,000 grant application he made on behalf of Wadena County. He is transit director for both Wadena and Becker counties.
Duck hunting is expected to be good when Minnesota's regular waterfowl season opens a half-hour before sunrise on Saturday, Sept. 24. "The abundance of breeding ducks in Minnesota and North America has been good in recent years, so we hope that results in good opportunities for duck hunters this fall," said Steve Cordts, waterfowl specialist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. "Wetland habitat conditions are fairly good across the state and with a little help from Mother Nature with some favorable fall weather, it could be a good season."
The Becker County Historical Society is plugging away towards a $3.2 million goal for a new museum. The society has raised about $500,000 so far, and if the museum board can raise $2.2 million, the county will provide a 50 percent matching grant of up to $1.1 million toward the project, said Historical Society Executive Director Becky Mitchell. "It would be great to break ground sometime next year, but that depends upon fundraising and pledges being made," she said.