Zebra mussels again discovered in Morrison County

A zebra mussel infestation has been confirmed in Fish Trap Lake near Motley, Minn., the Department of Natural Resources announced. It’s the first find of the invasive mussel in Morrison County. The mussels were found June 30 on a submerged tree branch; a DNR specialist visited the lake and found a widespread population of adult mussels throughout the lake, the DNR said.

“This new infestation underscores the need for continued diligence in complying with the state’s laws to prevent and curb the spread of invasive species,” said Christine Jurek, DNR invasive species specialist in Sauk Rapids.

Less than one-quarter of 1 percent of Minnesota lakes are known to have zebra mussels, but they keep turning up in new locations. To prevent the spread of invasive species, state law requires boaters to clean weeds and debris from their boats, remove drain plugs and keep them out while traveling, and dispose of unused bait in the trash.

Matt McKinney @_mattmckinney


Town of 3,000 hopes to lure NHL team

The small town of Proctor, Minn., is hoping to get into the big leagues of hockey.

The City Council passed a resolution last week supporting the relocation of an existing NHL franchise or an expansion team in the town of 3,000, which sits adjacent to Duluth.

Crazy? Council Member Travis White, who introduced the measure, maintains that it’s not as absurd as it sounds when you consider the statistics: The Florida Panthers, for instance, brought in an average of 11,265 fans last year, while the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks averaged just over 11,500.

“You look at Florida, they have two NHL teams. Why can’t Minnesota have two NHL teams? We are the state of hockey,” White said, adding that a Proctor team could draw fans from Grand Forks to Thunder Bay to northern Wisconsin.

A copy of the resolution is being sent to all NHL teams, he said, to try to pique interest.

Pam Louwagie @pamlouwagie


Broadband project breaks ground

A yearslong effort to bring broadband to more than two dozen communities in Sibley and Renville counties broke ground last week.

The RS Fiber Cooperative predicts that by late this year, the project will bring speedy Internet service to 1,600 homes and businesses in Sibley County and parts of Renville, Nicollet and McLeod counties.

Constructing the first phase of the fiber-optic network will cost $15 million.

“By the end of 2016, the number of homes and businesses that can be served with fiber will climb to 4,200,” the group said in a news release.

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