Catching up


Associate Editor

Howdy. Been a while. Since we’re still a newspaper, and I’m paid
to produce copy for said paper, I’ve been a little tied up with
some rather large editions. Nevertheless, the world hasn’t stopped
turning, so it’s time to play catch up.

Items on my mind, in no particular order:

€ A state park on Lake Vermilion is a whole lot more unlikely.
The most likely source of funding appeared to be from the bonding
bill. But a conference committee passed a bill Tuesday that didn’t
include funding for it. Plus, that bill is about $100 million more
than what Gov. Tim Pawlenty has said he’ll sign. It’s unclear
whether he’ll veto the whole bill or just select projects, but it’s
hard to see where Vermilion park money fits in.

€ Speaking of Pawlenty, where’s he been at? There was a period
of time when he was talking about natural resources issues quite a
bit, but I’ve not heard him say a word about the dedicated funding
bill that passed earlier this year. Last year, he convened a group
to report on how conservation should be structured and funded in
the state, and that group prepared a report and legislation
appeared to be the next step, but, so far, nothing. A number of
calls from this office to his have gone unreturned in recent weeks
and months.

€ While about seven weeks still remain in the session,
supporters of a council to oversee game and fish habitat money from
the constitutional amendment voters will decide on this fall are
getting nervous. The idea is moving in the Senate, but there’s been
zero action in the House, and it doesn’t sound like there’s much
pressure there to do it. Best way to apply the pressure if you
support the council concept? Get on the phone and call your
legislators and legislative leaders and let them know you want the
Legislature to create a council this session.

€ The discovery that some ground venison at food pantries in
North Dakota had lead in it sparked a strong reaction. That state
told food pantries to throw out the venison they had. Minnesota
told food shelves not to distribute it, but hold onto it. Humans
have killed millions of deer over the years with ammunition that’s
contained lead, and I haven’t heard of any resulting health issues.
So while it’s prudent to test food shelf venison to see if lead
levels are too high, I won’t think twice as I continue to eat the
delicious venison that’s in my freezer.

€ In reading comments at the end of some stories on the Strib
website, some of the commenters have ripped the fact that DNR
Commissioner Mark Holsten – and previous ones, too – have more of a
political than natural resources background. It’s something I’ve
often thought about: Wouldn’t it be preferable to have a trained
biologist leading the DNR?

It does make intuitive sense, but when you stop and think about
how much of a hand in natural resources the Legislature in this
state has, I think it makes sense to have a person leading the
agency who is comfortable and experienced at navigating the
political system. More important, I think, to have professional
biologists leading the various DNR divisions.

€ Congrats to Jim Klatt on being named the Outdoor News Man of
the Year. Definitely well-deserved for someone who spends so much
time working to make things better for sportsmen.

€ Highs in the 50s are in the forecast for coming days. While we
got dumped on just a few days ago, that’s extremely positive news
and reason for optimism.

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