Crystal Dey is a staff reporter for the Echo Press. Originally from Minnesota’s Iron Range, Dey worked for newspapers in North Dakota, Florida and Connecticut before returning to her home state to join the Echo Press in October 2011. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Staff Reporter Crystal Dey on Twitter @Crystal_Dey.
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Spring has finally arrived in Minnesota. Soon lake lovers will be setting their sights on scenes of summer: boating, skiing, canoeing, kayaking, swimming - and, of course, the emergence of watercraft inspectors patrolling for zebra mussels. Residents of Douglas County have grown mindful of what goes into and comes out of area waters. But, if you really love lakes, you're going to need scuba gear and a PVC pipe. Aquatic ecologist Dr.
Free-range CHILDREN. FREE Range-children. Free RANGE children. No matter how you say it, it sounds ridiculous. I heard the term on Z99 earlier this week in an announcement by a Screen-Free Week promoter declaring the arrival of Screen-Free Week . During April 29 through May 5, children, families, schools and communities are supposed to turn off entertainment screen media and "Turn on life!" I have a problem with this for a number of reasons.
Businesswomen are making up for lost time. The 2013 State of Women-Owned Business Report shows a national increase of 59 percent between 1997 and 2013. Had women been given the right to vote and own property at the same time as men, it might not warrant notice. The fact that the number of women owning businesses has grown 1.5 percent times the national average is noteworthy.
Landing on lakes seems to be trending in Alexandria. Around 3:30 p.m. this afternoon a small airplane touched down on Lake Geneva. The pilot was able to get the craft back in the air within 20 minutes of landing. Douglas County Judge David Battey reported the incident to law enforcement who were able to get a visual on the green and white plane from the Geneva Golf Club.
Looking for a new place to canoe, kayak, swim and fish in Minnesota? One may be on its way, at least for future generations. Douglas County has entered into an agreement with Chippewa County and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) for a Minnesota clean water partnership project. The Chippewa River Accelerated Restoration project aims to clean up the water for better environmental and recreational opportunities. The MPCA is in the process of reviewing a proposed work plan and will loan $100,000 to Douglas County for approved best management practices work projects.
Mother knows best when it comes to the literal law of the land. A public hearing regarding nature's reclamation of wetlands in County Ditch 23 opened Tuesday's Douglas County Commissioners' meeting. Petitioner Jeanne Adams requested abandonment of the upper portion of Branch 17 and all of Branch 18 along with removal of assessed areas of County Ditch 23. The area is south of Blue Jay Way in Ida Township. The original drainage tile was installed in 1923, according to Douglas County Drainage and Agriculture Inspector Tom Anderson.
If economic recovery can be measured by an increase in housing additions, we're feeling much better. Douglas County collected $219,057 in permit fees for 2012; 11 percent more than in 2011. In fact, all but one category saw an increase. Preliminary plats are still lower in comparison with the five-year average. Since 2009, there has been some levelling out and in 2012 there was a significant rise in home addition permitting, said Douglas County Land and Resource Management Director Dave Rush. "2004 was about the peak of activity in Douglas County," Rush said.
Douglas County scored in the upper 30th percentile in a 2013 Minnesota county health ranking. The county comes in at 27 out of 87 counties statewide. Carver County in the metro area ranked healthiest. North-centrally located Cass County, which includes much of the Leech Lake Indian Reservation, ranked lowest. Neighboring Todd County ranked 57. "Of course Douglas County is going to rank higher; we have a younger population," said Douglas County Public Health Director Sandy Tubbs. Tubbs said the numbers are a representation of a population, not an actual measurement of health status.
There's a new officer in town and she's maneuvering her way through the county's manure. Feedlot Officer Deja Anton presented Douglas County commissioners with an annual report covering the condition of farm sites and pastures from January 1 through December 31, 2012. Douglas County has approximately 500 feedlots; 378 are state registered. Feedlots include dairy, beef, swine, poultry and other livestock sites.
The Sauk River Watershed District ( SRWD ) presented it's 10 year report to update Douglas County commissioners on the progress of improving water quality in area lakes and rivers. SRWD Administrator Holly Kovarik explained that by law, watershed districts are required to have a 10 year plan. SRWD reported a 90 percent goal achievement for completing 165 of 183 action items included in it's 10 year plan. "We've done a tremendous amount of assessment in the last decade," Kovarik said.