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Lawsuit filed over E. coli outbreak near Cloquet
Monday, September 08 2014
 
Written by Dan Kraker, MPR News,
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The first lawsuit has been filed as a result of an E. coli outbreak on the Fond du Lac Lake Superior Chippewa reservation near Cloquet earlier this summer.

Band member Bob Danielson has sued Jim-N-Jo's Northland Katering, which provided the food at three events in July at which people got sick, including an elder's picnic. Danielson, 62, said he was hospitalized for a day.

He filed suit Aug. 28 in state court in Carlton County and is seeking compensation for medical expenses and loss of wages.

"I thought somebody needs to call some attention to this," Danielson said. "Put the fear in somebody, or make sure that things are done right from here on out before somebody gets dead."

The Minnesota Department of Health is investigating whether it came from ingredients in a potato salad that Danielson ate at an elder's picnic, where 20 to 60 people likely became ill.

The owner of the catering company declined to comment.

Danielson's attorney, Bill Marler, said E. coli 0157 is a deadly pathogen.

"It shouldn't be in our food," Marler said. "And it certainly shouldn't be in potato salad at an elder's picnic."

Also in July, 15 people in Minnesota were also sickened by a different strain of E. coli that was traced to several Applebee's restaurants. A lawsuit has also been filed in that case.

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

Northern Minn. resort owner drops liquor license request
Monday, September 08 2014
 
Written by Jon Enger, MPR News,
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A northern Minnesota resort owner has withdrawn his application for a liquor license, citing pressure from the Red Lake Band of Ojibwe.

Chris Freudenberg, who owns Roger's Resort near the Red Lake reservation, recently asked the Beltrami County Board for a liquor store license. But tribal leaders opposed his application on the grounds that a store at the resort would be too close to their boundaries, where liquor is not sold.

Red Lake leaders argued a liquor store so close to the reservation would complicate the tribe's longtime struggle against alcoholism. They also asked for commissioners to approve a buffer zone around the reservation where any new liquor sales would be banned.

But Freudenberg withdrew his application shortly before the county board's scheduled Tuesday night vote on his request. As a result, county commissioners also will not consider the tribe's buffer zone request.

"My first response was to dig into a trench and fight," Freudenberg said. "But when you sit back and think, the tribe has a point."

Freudenberg originally wanted to set up a liquor store to reduce liability insurance costs by keeping his guests off the road when they ran out of beer. He thought the store would prevent drunk driving accidents, but hadn't thought about the reservation.

As it is illegal to possess alcohol on the reservation, tribe members buying from Roger's might drink their purchases before heading home. "That would just undo what I was trying to do," he said.

Instead, Freudenberg plans to set up a heated beer storage room at the resort, so his guests can bring extra beer and not worry about the cans freezing in mid-winter.

He later plans to apply for a license to sell drinks in a small restaurant and bar that is under construction at the resort. That type of license gives a bartender much more control over who drinks and how much is consumed, he said.

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

Honor the Earth Launches ‘Love Water Not Oil’ Northern Tour
Thursday, August 07 2014
 
Written by Alyssa Hoppe, Honor the Earth,
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love water not oil tour frank waln.jpg DULUTH, Minn. – From August to September, Honor the Earth will sponsor an organizing and outreach tour in northern Minnesota, aimed at engaging communities and summer residents along the Enbridge proposed Sandpiper pipeline, one of many tar sands and fracked oil pipelines proposed to cross the North Country.

The 610-mile Sandpiper pipeline, projected at running 375,000 barrels per day, would cut through the chain of lakes south of Park Rapids and Walker, towards Brainerd and McGregor and snake back up to the Duluth and Superior area.

The company is proposing to transition from the northern corridor along Highway 2, which presently has six pipelines, to a new corridor, led by their proposal for the Sandpiper Line, through important and sensitive territory. The Enbridge Company is determined to move oil from places where there is no infrastructure and is showing determination in ways which Northerners may not like.

To support the mounting resistance to the Enbridge proposals, Honor the Earth has a two week drive of literature, events, press, music and action planned from Aug. 14 to Sept. 5 through the Lakes region and then on to North Dakota.

Musical performances to begin on Aug. 14 at Tom’s Burned Down Café on Madeline Island. The event will feature three Native musicians: Frank Waln, Sonny Johnson, Pura Fe and Allison Warden. Their performances will launch the musical portion of the tour, with the larger organizing component stretching from East Lake/ Rice Lake Refuge on the Mille Lacs reservation to Rice Lake on the White Earth reservation. The organizing campaign will feature educational and outreach presentations on the Enbridge pipeline proposals.


FDL Spears Walleye in 13 Lakes
Monday, June 09 2014
 
Written by Dan Kraker, Minnesota Public Radio News,
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CLOQUET, Minn. – The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has announced plans to spear walleye on 13 lakes in northeastern Minnesota this spring.

In what will be the first time that tribal members spear outside reservation boundaries in the Arrowhead region since a federal court affirmed their treaty rights were affirmed in the 1996, about 60 band members are expected to fish. Most will do so along the North Shore in Lake and Cook counties.

Many of the band's 4,200 members still depend on food they hunt and gather, said Jack Bassett, chair of the Fond du Lac band's ceded territory committee.

"We have many families that rely on this every year," he said. "They get their poundage of fish, it's in the freezer, and they have a lot of meals out of it."

For band members, returning to the lakes validates rights that they were long denied.

Red Lake Voters Take Tribe in A New Direction
Monday, June 09 2014
 
Written by John Enger, Minnesota Public Radio News,
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RED LAKE, Minn. – The Red Lake band of Ojibwe has approved longtime treasurer Darrell Seki, Sr. as the new tribal chairman. The vote held Wednesday ends Floyd "Buck" Jourdain's decade-long administration.

Unofficial tallies show Seki won with 1,907 votes while Jourdain had 1,284. They were followed by Kathryn Beaulieu, who received 292 votes, and Ron Lussier, with 57 votes.

Seki couldn't be reached for comment on his victory, or what he plans to do in his new office. Red Lake spokesman Michael Meuers, a longtime friend of Seki, said the new chairman will take a little time off before taking on the position at the next tribal meeting on June 10.

"Darrel is a traditionalist," Meuers said, "He's a [Ojibwe] first speaker. He follows the old ways, but that doesn't mean he's not progressive."

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