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Turtle Lake near Bemidji vacuuming out invasive starry stonewort

ALSO: Duluth looks to help children with ‘Opportunity Gap’; Goodhue woman named Princess Kay of the Milky Way; tornado caught on camera; and more.

Minnesota DNR
Starry Stonewort

So there’s this lake near Bemidji that has a starry stonewort. What to do? Suck the invasive species out. So that’s what the Department of Natural Resources did Monday. Matthew Liedke at the Bemidji Pioneer reports that the DNR put a big pump in the invaded area and sucked the water into a porous bag that let the water out but retained all the silt and vegetation and starry stonewort. “This is the first time it’s being used in Minnesota,” says Mike Bolinsky, Region 1 watercraft inspection supervisor for the DNR.

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The Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation has begun “Opportunity Gap,” to close the division between the haves and have-nots among children in the area. Brady Slater of the Duluth News Tribune writes that the group’s director, Holly Sampson, says 23 percent of Duluth children and 31 percent of children in Superior live in poverty and suffer from homelessness, domestic violence, oppression and abuse and neglect. The group has gathered $1.5 million in grant money and will distribute it to 10 nonprofit organizations in the area. For example, SOAR Career Services is getting $174,800 for employment training and options for people ages 15 and 21 years old.

Haley Hinrichs, 19, of Goodhue, was crowned the 63rd Princess Kay of the Milky Way last week. The Star Tribune reports that the agriculture education student at Iowa State University was the first to have her likeness carved in a 90-pound block of butter in a cooler in the Dairy Building at the State Fair. The Princess Kay competition is sponsored by the Midwest Dairy Association and winners are knowledgeable about dairy farming and serve for a year as the dairy community’s spokeswoman.

Thacher Paine and Laney Forness were driving to the Twin Cities Sunday when they caught on video a nearly perfect tornado near Beltrami. The Forum News Service said Paine recorded the tornado at about 8 p.m. The clouds were low but the rain was sparse when they saw the tornado. Paine said he commented that “it’s looking a little twisty.” The perfectly formed funnel cloud caused little damage.

It’s been a wet summer in Brainerd. Chelsey Perkins of the Brainerd Dispatch reports that nearly 2 feet of rain have fallen in Brainerd since June 1. However, Kenny Blumenfeld with the State Climatology Office says the rest of the state is having a mostly normal summer rain-wise. “The region between Brainerd, Aitkin and Baxter, that’s where we’ve seen some of the largest amounts” of rain in the state, he said. Blumenfeld said 21.22 inches has been recorded at the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport this summer, while the average in Brainerd during June, July and August is about 12 inches. As for this winter, “it’s a coin toss as to whether it’s going to be snowy or not,” Blumenfeld said.

Here’s the first sentence of the story: A Steve’s Pizza order led police to a 34-year-old Austin woman accused of financial fraud, check forgery and drug possession in three separate cases. Jason Schoonover of the Austin Daily Herald has the story: A woman called police to say she had unexpected charges on her credit card, including charges to Victoria’s Secret, and Steve’s Pizza. After talking to pizzeria employees, officers were able to trace the number to an address where they say Meranda Lynn O’Connor, 34, was seen leaving in a car with another person. Police stopped the car, questioned O’Connor and found a piece of paper with a debit card number and a person’s name, and a bag of 1.15 grams of methamphetamine. O’Connor was charged with two counts of felony financial transaction card fraud and felony fifth-degree drug possession. O’Connor is also accused of stealing a check sent from the Mower County jail to Austin Vacuum Center for a $399.95 vacuum, altering the payee name to “M L O’CONNOR” and cashing the check at Walmart while buying $13.54 in school supplies. O’Connor was charged with felony check forgery. She is also accused of forging checks used to buy $348.45 of goods at Hy-Vee’s deli counter and other items. Through surveillance videos, officers recognized another woman who said she and O’Connor were writing bad checks. O’Connor was charged with two felony counts of check forgery.

Hard to tell what’s more disturbing – that a 93-year-old cashier was robbed, or that a 93-year-old is working as a cashier. Kay Fate at the Rochester Post-Bulletin reports that Nakita Woods, 30, is accused of robbing the 93-year-old clerk of Sunny Market across the street from Saint Mary’s Hospital. The clerk told police that the suspect had come to the store with her 4-year-old child to buy beer, and when the register opened the suspect pushed the cashier away and grabbed the money. Police found the suspect at nearby Virgil’s Auto Clinic, where she had called for a taxi.

Winona County Commissioner Greg Olson was pulled over in January for having expired tabs. He then was suspected of drunken driving and was asked to take a breathalyzer test. Jerome Christenson of the Winona Daily News writes that because Minnesota’s implied consent law was being heard in the U.S. Supreme Court at that time, Olson refused to take the breathalyzer test, which generated a gross misdemeanor charge in addition to misdemeanor charges for allegedly operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and failure to display current registration. In June, SCOTUS ruled that the consent law is constitutional and can be enforced. When Olson, who is running for re-election, appeared in court Monday to face the three charges, his lawyer, Richmond McCluer, told the judge a plea agreement had been reached where Olson pleaded guilty to the gross misdemeanor charge, and the charges of drunken driving and expired license tabs were dropped. He will pay a $400 fine and undergo a year of probation.

Mark Tanner has found that the business of raising walleye to stock fishing lakes is a fickle business, so now he’s also raising saltwater shrimp in his New London facility and selling them on a first-come, first-served basis. Carolyn Lange of the West Central Tribune writes that Tanner is dismayed by the heavy competition among the walleye-stockers, plus a deadly blue-green algae bloom in one of his brood lakes put a major dent in his business. He decided to diversify his business by working with the Department of Natural Resources to become certified to raise saltwater shrimp. Now he is working out the kinks in his hatchery and on Wednesday will begin to sell his first batch of shrimp. Starting Wednesday until Sunday, customers can come to West Central Bait and Fisheries Company in New London and buy the locally grown shrimp for $20 a pound on a walk-in basis until the 300 pounds of shrimp are gone.