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Critics object to pumping oil through MN lakes country
Tuesday, January 13 2015
 
Written by Dan Kraker, MPR News,
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A series of hearings in early January will gather public opinions on a proposed pipeline that would increase the amount of oil flowing across Minnesota by 225,000 barrels a day.

The line is called Sandpiper, and the crude it would carry from North Dakota's Bakken oil fields would be a significant addition to the more than 2 million barrels of oil that daily travel through underground pipelines bound for refineries in the Twin Cities and beyond. Trains carry an additional half-million barrels.

But the plan has raised concerns among environmentalists and state agencies about potential risks to lakes and rivers.

A project manager for Enbridge, the Canadian company that wants to build the line, said the project is necessary "because there's a growing supply of crude oil in western North Dakota, and it needs efficient, cost-effective and safe transportation to get to the markets in the Midwest and the East in the U.S. where it's needed."

Bill Blazar, interim president of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, voiced strong support, saying calling the project "key to the development and growth of our state's economy."

"We'd be nuts not to support this kind of infrastructure development," Blazar said.

Mille Lacs walleye lawsuit against DNR heads to appeals court
Tuesday, January 13 2015
 
Written by John Enger, Minnesota Public Radio News,
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Disgruntled resort owners and citizens' groups argued before a three-judge panel of the Minnesota Court of Appeals on Nov. 20 that the state Department of Natural Resources has mismanaged Mille Lacs Lake.

In April, resort owner Bill Eno, several other local residents and the non-profit advocacy groups Proper Economic Resource Management and Save Mille Lacs Sport Fishing filed suit against the DNR.

Citing a 1998 state constitutional amendment to preserve fishing heritage, they argued that department did not consider it when formulating its latest walleye regulations, which include an extended ban on night fishing.

"The DNR ... could not have designed better plans to destroy the Mille Lacs Lake walleye fishing heritage than the plans that the DNR implemented since 1998," attorney Erick Kaardal wrote in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit seeks to force DNR lake managers to rethink fishery management techniques and listen more closely to local opinion. The three-judge panel is expected to rule on the lawsuit within 90 days.

Eno, who has owned Twin Pines Resort on the western shore of Mille Lacs for two decades, said he has watched DNR regulations tighten, even as walleye numbers decrease. He said the department has crippled the lake's walleye population, and his business.

When the DNR announced regulations temporarily banning night fishing early this spring, Eno had to call dozens of regular customers to cancel their night reservations. The rules hit his business hard, because he makes a lot of his money running fishing launches from 8 p.m. to midnight.

The DNR later re-opened night fishing, but for Eno, the ban was the last straw.


DNR tightens winter walleye rules for Upper Red Lake
Friday, January 09 2015
 
Written by John Enger, Minnesota Public Radio News,
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Minnesota anglers fishing Upper Red Lake this winter will face tougher regulations on their walleye catch.

Effective Dec. 1, anglers can only hold or keep keep three walleye, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said Monday.

All walleye 17 to 26 inches long must be immediately released and only one walleye in possession may be longer than 26 inches, the DNR said.

The rule changes come following record walleye harvests the past winter and summer and are not a sign of biological problems in the northwest Minnesota lake, the agency added.

"The current walleye fishery is in excellent shape, but the great fishing has attracted considerably more angling pressure, which resulted in walleye harvest exceeding the safe harvest range for the first time since walleye angling reopened in 2006," Gary Barnard, the DNR's Bemidji area fisheries supervisor, said in a statement.

Much of Upper Red Lake is owned by the Red Lake Band of Ojibwe. It's been managed jointly by the band and the DNR since the walleye population there hit an all time low 15 years ago.

Red Lake band Fisheries Director Pat Brown said the lake has made a great comeback. "The lake is probably in better shape than it ever has been," he said. "The lake just continues to become healthier."

The new walleye limits don't apply to tribe members fishing reservation waters.

While the off-reservation portion of Upper Red Lake saw a large walleye harvest this year, Brown said tribe members took many fewer fish then they could have.

"We're about 100,000 pounds under what we could safely take out of the reservation waters," he said. "So we may actually relax our regulations a little bit."

DNR officials remain concerned about the walleye population in Mille Lacs Lake in central Minnesota. Numbers there remain the lowest seen in decades and DNR officials say it will take time for the population to recover, though a fall survey showed some hopeful signs.

The DNR's been encouraging anglers to catch northern pike instead of walleye at Mille Lacs. As part of that effort, officials on Monday announced they would loosen rules for catching and spearing pike this winter on Mille Lacs.

Anglers and spearers can keep 10 northern pike, of which only one may be longer than 30 inches. Also, northern pike season will be extended from mid-February to the last Sunday in March.

The lake's walleye fishing regulations will not change this winter, the DNR emphasized.

Minnesota Public Radio News can be heard on MPR's statewide radio network or online at mprnews.org


Red Lake Nation hosts candidate fair
Saturday, November 01 2014
 
Written by Michael Meuers, Red Lake News,
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web-red lake nation hosts candidate fair.jpg The Red Lake Political Education Committee, a tribal non-profit and non-partisan organization, hosted a Candidate Fair & Breakfast on Oct. 22 at the Red Lake Seven Clans Casino and Event Center.

All candidates for local and statewide office (Senate District 2 and Beltrami County) who would represent the Red Lake Indian Reservation were invited to the event in addition as well as candidates for Red Lake School Board. The office seekers fielded questions from a crowd of about 100 people.

Taking a position in front of the Red Lake PEC banner, PEC co-chairs Michelle Paquin and Tim Sumner welcomed the attendees. They then introduced the group of Red Lake Canvassers who are working on Get-Out-The-Vote efforts for PEC on the reservation.

The canvassers present included, Larry Sigana, Paula Iceman, Jerricho Redeagle, Francine Kingbird, Doreen Wells, Marlys Smith, Christy Sumner and Carlene Sigana and were offering rides to the polls to any and all at the casino complex.

PEC co-chair Tim Sumner, also a Beltrami County Commissioner, said he was pleased that the event was well attended and said, "the new absentee polls in Red Lake are a great example of collaboration between the county and tribe."

Paquin, noting that Red Lake PEC is making an extra effort to engage the youth of the nation in the importance of voting, introduced the Red Lake Youth Council, which assisted with the day's events as time-keepers and serving breakfast to elders.

In keeping with PEC's youth movement, 20 year-old Alyss Seki acted as emcee. She introduced several of the other PEC members, including Secretary Cheri Goodwin and Treasurer Mary Ringhand. Seki thanked sponsors for the event, the Red Lake Tribal Council, Four Winds and individual donors Lorraine Cecil, State Representative Roger Erickson and Sue Engel, First National Bank of Bemidji spokesperson.

Seki then introduced her grandfather Red Lake Chairman Darrell G. Seki, Sr., who introduced himself in Ojibwemowin. He welcomed the crowd and thanked all the candidates and participants.

"I'm very glad to see the Red Lake Youth Council here, it is very important that youth participate in the process. I'm very supportive of get out the vote efforts and want to remind the candidates present that the Red Lake Band has over 2,900 registered voters," Seki said.

First S.D. Two Spirit Society honors and educates on the reservation
Saturday, October 11 2014
 
Written by Alfred Walking Bull,
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first south dakota two spirit society honors and educates on the reservation.jpg

SISSETON, S.D. – Members of the newly-formed Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Two Spirit Society gathered on Sept. 26 to educate members of the tribe on LGBTQ Native issues while honoring one of their own who was killed earlier in the month.

The group – the first Two Spirit society in any of the nine reservations in South Dakota – began its mission in June of this year. A testament to the growing power of social media on the reservation, the event “Gay is OK” was the impetus for forming the society. “We all went out to the corner, stood outside and held signs. And while we were standing there, we talked about forming a society, so we set a meeting date and from then on, it's been going ever since,” Vernon Renville, society co-founder said.

The momentum culminated in the education day at Sisseton Wahpeton College, “Walking in Two Worlds: Understanding Two Spirit and LGBTQ Individuals.” The daylong conference featured personal coming out stories by Sisseton Wahpeton tribal citizens, a screening of the film “Two Spirits” about the late Fred Martinez – who identified as Two Spirit and was killed in 2001 on the Navajo Nation – as well as a presentation on LGBTQ identity from Lenny Hayes, a tribal citizen and member of the Minnesota Two Spirit Society.

While the society is geared toward creating a place for Two Spirit people, it is an inclusive group that began because of the social stigma attached to being LGBTQ on the reservation. “I previously worked at the youth center and kids would come to me, or their parents would come to me, asking how to talk to their kids. Or they think they're having these feeling and we discussed things like that and decided it would be something good for the community,” Dawn Ryan, SWO society member said.

 


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