Mixed bag in state fishing opener; UM-Crookston graduates largest class

According to reports, Otter Tail Lake was very busy on opening weekend.

The day was perfect for the state fishing opener and a larger number of anglers than usual took advantage, the Fergus Falls Journal reported. Jim Wolters of the Fergus Falls Area Fisheries Office said a rainy Saturday morning and Sunday was just perfect. “Saturday morning just set up to be ideal. It was calm and the sun came out.” Otter Tail Lake was very busy, as were Walker Lake and Fish Lake, according to Wolters. Traffic on the lakes slowed on Sunday, but Mother’s Day festivities tend to take people off the lakes, he said.

A little farther south, the West Central Tribune in Willmar has a gloomier report. “As openers go in west-central Minnesota, this one was fair to cloudy. The weather was mild (in the 50s) but the lakes are cold and the fish, overall, seemed disinterested. ‘It was terrible,’ said Steve Mitlyng, who for 40 years has run Mitlyng’s Bait and Tackle on Lac qui Parle, near Watson. ‘Worst opener I’ve ever seen. I think three people caught fish.’ Late ice-outs, windy, cool conditions and water temperatures in the 50-degree range made a lackluster opener virtually a given, Mitlyng said.”

The soggy weather is nothing but rainbows and unicorns for farmers who have been fighting drought, writes Nathan Hansen of the Winona Daily News. “The moisture has helped free the region from drought conditions, and after this most recent spate of storms things should be cooler and drier for the next few weeks. National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Welvaert said the region has seen south and southwest air flowing in from the Gulf of Mexico. That air brings a lot of deep moisture and has been the main culprit in the number of rain in recent weeks. But over the next week or so the air patterns will shift, bringing in cooler air and potentially drier days the rest of May,” writes Hansen. “The drought that has kept southeast Minnesota abnormally dry or worse since last fall has receded. At the drought’s worst last October, portions of Winona, Wabasha and Houston counties were under severe drought conditions, which stuck around through much of the winter and into early spring.”

The University of Minnesota-Crookston has been a baccalaureate-granting institution for 20 years, and last weekend it graduated its largest-ever class, according to the Crookston Times. “In all, 430 students earned their degrees, with 250 actually attending commencement before the largest crowd anyone could recall in Lysaker Gymnasium. Among the graduates was also the largest online-only class ever, of 168. Of those, 40 online graduates attended commencement, setting foot on the Crookston campus for the first time,” the newspaper reported.

There’s a student attending Duluth Denfield High who definitely does not want to let go of her Spanish 5 class, reports Brady Slater of the Duluth News Tribune. “During the school’s annual talent show Wednesday, Maria Puglisi sang her song, ‘Let It Go,’ from the film ‘Frozen,’ entirely in Spanish. She did so, the junior said, as a protest for the school not offering a section of Spanish 5 in the coming 2014-15 school year. ‘I wanted to get my point across in a beautiful way,’ said Puglisi, who was the eighth performer and drew a standing ovation from more than half the crowd, some of whom held placards that read ‘Save Spanish 5.’ ” At issue is that not enough students signed up for some advanced classes and Principal Tonya Sconiers had to cut Spanish 5, German 5 and Civil and Criminal Law, all courses that would have offered college credits.

It’s all very hush-hush, but it appears the Spam Museum will be relocating to downtown Austin, reports Trey Mewes of the Austin Daily Herald. “Multiple sources confirm Hormel Foods Corp. is in the final stages of a deal to move the Spam Museum from its location at 1101 N. Main St. to the so-called fire site at the 300 block of North Main Street in downtown Austin. … Hormel spokespeople declined to comment. Multiple sources, including city leaders, business owners and Hormel employees, indicate a deal is all but done. The sources declined to be quoted on the record as the deal has yet to be completed.” Mewes said Austin’s Community Development Director, Craig Hoium, would neither confirm nor deny the move. A little boilerplate: “The Spam Museum is Austin’s largest tourism attraction and features the signature Hormel meat invented in 1937. The museum opened in 2001.”

Here are a couple of stories to bum you out. The Hibbing Daily Tribune gave a laundry list of 17 people arrested by agents of the Boundary Waters Drug Task Force during a recent drug crackdown. Here’s a list of the drugs these people are accused of either holding or selling: Clonazepam, marijuana, oxycontin, methamphetamine, morphine, morphine again, meth again, more meth, meth and prescription medication, synthetic marijuana, more synthetic marijuana, meth again, heroin and oxycodone.

And this last one isn’t a Minnesota story, but it deserves a mention. Anna Burleson of the Forum News Service reports that the University of North Dakota’s American Indian Student Services Center is angry over students who wore T-shirts that depicted an Indian drinking from a beer bong with the words “Siouxper drunk.” UND President Robert Kelly said he was appalled, but also said the shirts were worn during Springfest, which is organized by a local pizza restaurant and not the university. That doesn’t mollify student leaders in the American Indian community. “Damien Webster, an Indian Studies major, said he thinks university administration is allowing ‘open mockery’ of Indian students. ‘If this was against black students or Asian students, there would be a huge uproar about this, but there’s not,’ he said. … Webster said he always tries to take a step back from whatever the issue is and realize that young people make mistakes, but this time, it’s different. ‘There’s a lingering logo issue, but then there’s plain right and wrong,’ he said, referring to UND’s retired Fighting Sioux nickname. ‘It’s wrong for Natives to feel on the defensive all the time because people can openly mock them.’ ”

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