Monday, December 17, 2012

DNR urges snowmobile safety

Recent snowfall will likely bring out more Minnesota snowmobilers and that means there’s an increased chance of an accident, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

There were six snowmobile-related deaths in Minnesota during the 2012 snowmobile season. That compares to 13 fatalities in 2011 and 19 fatalities in 2010.

The usual causes of snowmobile accidents are operator inexperience, driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, and high speeds.

“Snowmobiles can travel as fast, or faster, than an automobile, and require every bit as much or more experience to operate,” said Capt. Mike Hammer, DNR enforcement education program coordinator. The speed limit for all snowmobile trails and public lands and waters is 50 miles per hour.

Hammer noted that today’s sleds can easily do 70, if not 100, miles per hour. Unfortunately, they don’t stop like a vehicle or offer the same protection.

“Speed kills and that is a fact with snowmobiles,” said Hammer.

Going too fast can also cause snowmobile drivers to "overdrive" their snowmobile's headlight. Even at 30 miles per hour, it can take a much longer distance to stop on ice than the headlight shines. Many fatal snowmobile through-the-ice accidents occur because the machine was traveling too fast for the operator to stop when the headlamp finally illuminated the hole in the ice.

Snowmobilers also need to be alert on all trails. They might not realize trails go over ponds or lakes where the ice might not be formed yet.

Many accidents also happen when snowmobiles collide with fixed objects such as trees, fences, stumps, rocks, logs and culverts. Often these objects are partially or completely hidden by snow. Snowmobilers sometimes hit one of these before they see it.

“Always be on the lookout for hidden wires, especially in areas that may have been farmed at one time or another,” Hammer said. “Too many accidents have been caused by running into wires in fields, guide wires next to poles and roads, barbed wire and chains used as road closures. Particularly in unfamiliar areas, you must drive at a speed which will allow you to stop quickly.”

Minnesota residents born after Dec. 31, 1976, must complete a DNR snowmobile safety training course before they can legally ride a snowmobile anywhere in Minnesota, including private land.

By taking a snowmobile safety course, students learn about the machine, laws, safe operation, ethics of the sport and how to avoid the most common causes of snowmobile accidents, Hammer said.

DNR snowmobile safety courses can be completed by either attending a snowmobile safety training course from a DNR-certified instructor or by CD.

To obtain the Snowmobile Safety Training CD, or for general information, call 651-296-6157, or toll-free 888-646-6367, 800-366-8917 or email

More than 1,800 volunteer instructors teach DNR snowmobile safety courses across the state. For more information on the dates and locations of these courses, visit the DNR website: or call toll-free 800-366-8917.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Elections set for two Minnesota commodity research and promotion councils

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Dairy Research and Promotion Council and the Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council will conduct board elections next month.

Ballots for the Dairy Council will be mailed January 11, 2013 and must be returned with a postmark prior to January 28, 2013. There is one position open in each of the districts listed below. Dairy board members serve a two year term.

Dairy Research and Promotion Council Districts

District 2: Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Kanabec, Koochiching, Lake, Mille Lacs, Pine, St. Louis

District 4: Otter Tail (west), Wilkin

District 6: Crow Wing, Morrison

District 8: Includes these Townships in Stearns County: Ashley, Crow Lake, Crow River, Getty, Grove, Lake George, Lake Henry, Melrose, Millwood, North Fork, Oak, Raymond, Spring Hill, Sauk Centre

District 10: Anoka, Benton, Chisago, Hennepin, Isanti, Ramsey, Sherburne, Washington

District 12: Meeker, Wright

District 14: Brown, Nicollet, Sibley

District 16: Goodhue County

District 18: Cottonwood, Jackson, Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, Rock

District 20: Dodge, Mower, Olmsted

District 22: Fillmore, Houston

Ballots for the Turkey Council will be mailed January 18, 2013 and must be returned with a postmark prior to February 4, 2013. There is one position open in each of the regions listed below, plus three at large positions are open. Turkey board members serve a three year term.

Turkey Research and Promotion Council Regions

Region 1: Aitkin, Anoka, Becker, Beltrami, Benton, Carlton, Cass, Chisago, Clay, Clearwater, Cook, Crow Wing, Douglas, Grant, Hennepin, Hubbard, Isanti, Itasca, Kanabec, Kittson, Koochiching, Lake, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Nicollet, Norman, Ottertail, Pennington, Pine, Polk, Pope, Ramsey, Red Lake, Roseau, St. Louis, Sherburne, Stearns, Stevens, Todd, Traverse, Wadena, Washington, Wilkin, Wright.

Region 2: Big Stone, Blue Earth, Brown, Carver, Chippewa, Cottonwood, Dakota, Dodge, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Lac Qui Parle, Le Sueur, Lincoln, Lyon, Martin, McLeod, Meeker, Mower, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Olmsted, Pipestone, Redwood, Renville, Rice, Rock, Scott, Sibley, Steele, Swift, Wabasha, Waseca, Watonwan, Winona, Yellow Medicine.

East-central zone closes to wolf hunting and trapping Dec. 14

Wolf hunting and trapping in the east-central zone will close for the remainder of the late season at the end of shooting and trapping hours on Friday, Dec. 14, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The northwest and northeast zones remain open through
Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013, or until a zone’s target harvest is reached. The northeast zone also is approaching its target harvest and may close within the next few days. Permits are not zone-specific, allowing hunters and trappers to hunt or trap in any open zone.

The harvest target for the east-central zone during the late season is 10 wolves. Nine were registered when
DNR initiated season closure on Dec. 13.

Hunters and trappers in all zones have registered a total of 114 wolves so far during the late season. The total harvest target for all zones is 253 wolves for the late season.

Wolf hunters and trappers must:

Register all wolves by 10 p.m. the day of harvest in order for the DNR to monitor zone-specific harvest levels. Registration is available via telephone, website or in person.

Obey zone closures, which become effective the end of legal shooting and trapping hours for the day on which a zone is closed.

Take responsibility for tracking season progress and season/zone closure each morning before hunting or trapping by calling 888-706-6367 or checking the DNR wolf hunting page.

Season status and harvest targets will be updated in real-time for each zone.

Return any radio collars when they bring wolves in for the mandatory wolf inspection and bring an ear tag along so that information on the tag can be examined and recorded.

Present the entire skinned wolf and pelt for inspection as outlined in the wolf hunting and trapping regulations so the DNR can collect data on wolves for population monitoring.

Complete wolf hunting information, including a map of the wolf zones, is available online at

NDSU Offers Fall Prevention Workshop

Stepping On is a workshop designed to help older adults learn ways to keep from falling.

The workshop will be held Jan. 8 starting at
9 a.m. at First Lutheran Church at 619 N. Broadway in Fargo. Two-hour sessions will be held once a week for seven weeks.

The workshop is sponsored by the North Dakota State University Extension Service and First Lutheran.

Stepping On will help participants identify why they fall and offer different ways to prevent falling, including strength and balance exercises, home safety check suggestions and a medication review. A display of fall prevention products also will be available.

The workshop is for people who have fallen and those who have a fear of falling. Participants will leave with more strength and better balance, and experience a feeling of confidence and independence as a result of performing various exercises and sharing falling experiences as a group.

The program was developed by Lindy Clemson of Sydney, Australia, to help older adults learn ways to prevent falls. It was brought to the
U.S. by Jane Mahoney, executive director of the Wisconsin Institute for Healthy Aging, with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other partners.

Research shows that people who complete the workshop have a 31 percent reduced rate of falling.

The cost of the workshop is $20. To register for the workshop, contact Jane Strommen at (701) 231-5948 or or
First Lutheran Church at (701) 235-7389. The registration deadline is Jan. 3.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Turkey stamp contest entries accepted Dec. 13-28

Artists wishing to enter the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) 2013 wild turkey stamp contest must submit their entries beginning at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 13, and ending at 4 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 28.

The eastern wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) must be the primary focus of the design.

A panel consisting of members with expertise in art, ornithology, hunting, conservation and printing will judge all entries. Judging will take place on Friday, Jan. 11, at the Arrowwood Resort near Alexandria in conjunction with the National Wild Turkey Federation’s state banquet.

Revenue from stamp sales is dedicated to wild turkey habitat and management. Extirpated from Minnesota around 1900, wild turkey re-introduction and transplant efforts have been successful, resulting in a population that thrives throughout the nonboreal forest portion of the state.

The stamp art contest is open only to Minnesota residents and offers no prizes. Winning artists may issue limited edition prints of the artwork and retain the proceeds. A reproduction rights agreement, granting the DNR the right to use the design for the stamp image and other purposes, must be signed and submitted with the design to be considered eligible.

Complete contest rules are available online at
Information also is available by contacting the
DNR Information Center, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4040. People can also call 651-296-6157 or toll-free 888-646 6367.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Recount Results for MN State Senate Dist. 20 House Dist. 8B

ST. PAUL, Minn.December 4, 2012Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie today announced the official recount results for State Senate District 20 and House District 8B.

The candidates affected by the legislative recounts were Kevin L. Dahle (Democratic-Farmer-Labor) and Mike Dudley (Republican) in Senate District 20 and Mary Franson (Republican) and Bob Cunniff (Democratic-Farmer-Labor) in House District 8B. These taxpayer-paid recounts were triggered by Minnesota Law (Minnesota Statutes 204C.35) because the vote total margin between these candidates was less than one-half of one percent.

The recount for Senate District 20 was conducted in Le Suer, Rice and
Scott Counties. Recount results show that Kevin L. Dahle (Democratic-Farmer-Labor) received 20,627 votes and Mike Dudley (Republican) 20,556. There was a gain of six votes for Dudley and the loss of a vote for Dahle. The House District 8B recount was conducted in Douglas and Otter Tail Counties. Recount results show that Mary Franson (Republican) received 10,642 votes and Bob Cunniff (Democratic-Farmer-Labor) received 10,630 votes. Franson gained two votes and Cunniff gained a vote.

“I want to thank all of the local and state election officials who worked together to administer these two legislative recounts. I also want to express my gratitude to the justices and judges who served on the 2012 State Canvassing Board. Your public service is greatly appreciated,” said Secretary of State Ritchie.