Connecting state and local government leaders

25 Boats Full of Angry Walleye Protesters Surround Minnesota Governor During Lake Outing

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton Shutterstock


Connecting state and local government leaders

Also in our State and Local Weekend News Digest: Large swath of Los Angeles loses power; Dallas pension debacle finger-pointing; and Spokane’s ozone pollution problem.

FISH & WILDLIFE | A boat that Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton was fishing from on Lake Mille Lacs this weekend was surrounded by approximately 25 boats with 75 angry protesters frustrated with the state’s temporary restrictions on fishing for walleye. The governor was on the lake fishing for bass—as a way to demonstrate that there are other fish available in the lake besides walleye—and had planned to meet with local businesses and other residents impacted by the restrictions, which will be lifted July 28. But the governor canceled the meeting following the protests, noting that that he didn’t want to “reinforce that kind of destructive behavior.” The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has said that the population of walleye in the lake has been struggling and the restrictions are meant to help the fish rebound. But that’s something many locals have doubted. During Saturday’s action at the lake, protesters had signs and balloons the DNR’s restrictions as “tyranny.” Walleye fishing has been described as “the lifeblood of the resort industry” for Lake Mille Lacs. [Star Tribune; Minnesota Public Radio]

POWER OUTAGES | Large sections of the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles lost power on Saturday after an explosion at an electrical receiving station in Northridge. Around 140,000 L.A. Department of Water and Power customers lost power, which was fully restored on Sunday morning. An investigation is underway, but the outages might have been triggered by a “mechanical failure related to cooling equipment.” [Los Angeles Times; Southern California Public Radio / KPCC]

RURAL AIRPORTS | The regional airport in Hagerstown, Maryland, about 75 miles west of Baltimore, is like many smaller airport facilities offering service to connect smaller cities and regional destinations to larger air hubs in that it needs federal subsidies through the Essential Air Service program, which has been slated for elimination under President Trump’s proposed budget. The EAS program has helped 175 airports around the nation, including Hagerstown, host regular passenger service. For HGR, $1.7 million in EAS subsidies has allowed Allegiant Air to offer flights to Florida four days a week and Southern Airlines to offer daily flights to BWI and Pittsburgh. But with EAS support on the line, all that could go away. [The Washington Post]

PENSIONS | Who’s to blame for the Dallas police and firefighter pension debacle? The former pension administrator, Richard Tettamant, says not him. “Mr. Tettamant faithfully followed the orders of the trustees, even when he personally disagreed with them,” according to his lawyer. [The Dallas Morning News]

PUBLIC SAFETY | Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh believes that there may be too many drug treatment centers in her city and that they may be a contributing cause of crime, saying that there have been 233 shootings and murders that have occurred around methadone clinics (though that includes all non-fatal shootings that have occurred within a half mile of a drug treatment center). “We need the treatment, but for me it’s how we do this in a more responsible way,” the mayor said. [Baltimore Brew]

AIR QUALITY | Ozone pollution, mainly from gasoline-powered vehicles and tools, continues to be a major challenge for officials in and around Spokane, Washington. Sensors indicated a spike in ozone levels last week Wednesday reaching 0.074 parts per million, and while those levels only lasted for a little while, “eight hours of exposure to that much ozone will cause health problems.” [Spokesman Review]

WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT | There’s been an uptick of cougar sightings in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, but that shouldn’t necessarily be a surprise. “Reasonably verifiable cougar sightings have been going on for years,” but sometimes they’re controversial. In 1997, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources declared that one photo of an alleged cougar in Alcona County taken by an 83-year-old man was of a “stuffed cat.” However, the next year, a DNR employee encountered an actual cougar on a road in the same area. [Detroit Free Press]