1/06/09: This week’s Minnesota news from other media

In a cost-cutting effort, reports Sam Cook in the Duluth News Tribune, “The French River Hatchery near Duluth will significantly reduce the number of Kamloops trout it produces, fisheries officials with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said Monday.”

The smoking policy for the Crookston Sports Center is the subject of renewed contention, reports Mike Christopherson in the Crookston Daily Times. The article says that in December the city Ways & Means Committee “modified the [Park Board’s] recommendation to prohibit smoking on the Crookston Sports Center property entirely, and instead approved a policy that would create a designated smoking area on the east edge of the parking lot.” Now that policy is being challenged.

Operating losses increased nearly 150 percent in 2009 for Otter Tail Ag Enterprises, the operator of a Fergus Falls-based ethanol plant,” writes Jeff Hage in The Daily Journal in Fergus Falls. The story says the company “posted an operating loss of $21.5 million according to its annual report, filed Dec. 31, 2009, with the Security and Exchange Commission.”

According to Dan Linehan in the Mankato Free Press, “An upcoming change to utility billing in Mankato pits the values of personal responsibility of renters against a desire for government efficiency, and some landlords say they shouldn’t be paying someone else’s bill.” The article says the city is considering “a move to transfer utility payments from renters to property owners. The switches would be done gradually, as renters move.”

More than 3.4 million acres across the country were pulled out of the Conservation Reserve Program when the contracts on those lands expired in September, but West Central Minnesota kept the majority of its CRP lands, reports Tom Cheverny in the West Central Tribune in Willmar. “Farm Service Agency directors in the west central area report that overall they believe their counties will see only a small decrease in the total acreage committed to the popular program.”

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