- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 21, 2015
DNR says it may close walleye season on Mille Lacs Lake

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Minnesota could be forced to close walleye fishing on Mille Lacs Lake as early as Aug. 3 because anglers are just 3,000 pounds shy of exceeding the state’s quota for the season on the popular but struggling lake, Department of Natural Resources officials said Tuesday.

“This is a pretty painful time we’re in,” DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr told reporters. “We’ve got to make some tough choices.”

Landwehr urged anglers to target the lake’s abundant northern pike and smallmouth bass instead.

It would be the first time the state has had to close the walleye season on Mille Lacs, one of the state’s most popular fishing destinations. But with walleye numbers at a 30-year low, the state’s quota was set at just 28,600 pounds this season. Size rules were tightened and the bag limit was cut to one. The eight Ojibwe bands with treaty rights on Mille Lacs are allowed 11,400 pounds this season, and they’ve taken all but about 1,000 pounds of their share.

The lake has seen a spike in the total kill in the first two weeks of this month, driven by high catch rates over the Independence Day holiday weekend and more deaths among walleyes that are caught and released, Landwehr said.


Dayton: Will keep seeking money for early education

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Gov. Mark Dayton put lawmakers seeking hefty tax cuts next year on notice: He’s not done seeking more money for early education.

Speaking Tuesday at a Minneapolis summer school program before joining kids in the classroom for a brief visit, and on the same day that Minnesota came out tops in a national ranking of children’s well-being, the Democratic governor said he won’t sign a tax bill next year unless it’s paired with an “equitable” amount of funding for Minnesota’s youngest learners.

His call could renew a squabble with the Legislature over education funding that dragged lawmakers into a special session this spring. They eventually agreed to send an extra $525 million to public schools with some earmarked for preschool programs and scholarships.

“I want to lay down the marker that we’re not done here,” Dayton said.

Republican lawmakers gave up this year on a tax relief package this year, leaving $900 million with the goal of turning some of to that purpose next year. On Tuesday, GOP House Speaker Kurt Daudt said the Legislature should wait to see how far recent investments in early education go before adding more money. He said lawmakers should instead focus on tax relief and infrastructure repairs next year.


Minnesota law enforcers net $6.8M from forfeitures in 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota law enforcement agencies scooped up $6.8 million in proceeds from criminal forfeitures in 2014.

State Auditor Rebecca Otto released the accounting Tuesday of the nearly 6,900 forfeitures associated with criminal cases and convictions. Both the number of forfeitures and net assets seized was down slightly from the year before.

Forfeitures are typically associated with drug crimes and drunken driving. Most were cars, cash or guns. Not all forfeitures are permanent so the value of the seized property is actually higher than the amount gained by the agency.

The Minnesota State Patrol had the most forfeitures with nearly 1,000. More than 320 police agencies had at least one forfeiture.

Otto’s report shows a few cases where more than $100,000 in cash was seized and plenty where pricey cars were taken.


Dayton aide: More staff being hired for Security Hospital

ST. PETER, Minn. (AP) - A top aide to Gov. Mark Dayton says more workers are being hired to improve staff security at the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter.

Dayton chief of staff Jaime Tincher and several state lawmakers visited the psychiatric hospital on Tuesday after an assault left a counselor hospitalized with serious injuries.

In a statement, Tincher says she met with patients and workers, and will take what she learned to Dayton and Lt. Gov. Tina Smith.

Tincher also says the state Department of Human Services is hiring 20 additional security counselors and 24 other clinical and support workers to improve security of staff and quality of treatment. She calls those “important first steps.”

The Star Tribune (https://strib.mn/1Sz7EtH) reports the state Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the latest assault.

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