Powassan virus, a rare tick-borne neuroinvasive disease, made headlines recently when a 5-month-old baby became the first person diagnosed in Connecticut. Over the past decade, about 75 cases of Powassan virus in the United States were reported to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Twenty of those cases were in Minnesota. Sixteen were in Wisconsin, 16 in New York State, eight in Massachusetts and a smattering in New Jersey, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
Over $10,000 in prizes will be awarded at the 2017 Menahga Family Fishing Derby. Sponsored by the Menahga Civic & Commerce Association, the event is slated for noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21. A derby ticket costs $5. Anglers should enter at the Spirit Lake public access.
Alretta Skellenger uses a unique canvas for her art: gourds. The retired fifth grade teacher meticulously carves and paints an assortment of gourds, often sculpting northern Minnesota imagery. Her studio is nestled on a 10-acre tree farm on the shores of Owl Lake, an environmental lake near Nevis. When Skellenger began designing decorative gourds around 2005, there were few other artists like her. Now there are associations, societies and festivals for gourd art enthusiasts.
Heavy storms and damaging winds toppled trees and knocked out power at Itasca State Park early Thursday. Park management spent Thursday assessing damage, with DNR crews clearing debris in stifling, 90-degree heat. Lead Park Naturalist Connie Cox lives a few miles north of the park. An automated storm alert awakened her a half-hour before the storm hit. She tracked the weather on her iPad, watching two storm cells split. One headed for Bemidji, the other toward Itasca State Park.
Vandalism at Menahga City Campground bathrooms and the city beach has the Menahga City Council contemplating a security camera system. Bashed in light switches have been replaced about three times this summer, City Administrator/Treasurer Janette Bower told the council at Monday's meeting. Utilities Supervisor Frank Thelin has had to clean feces off the walls and around the buildings, added Mayor Pat Foss.
Menahga Mayor Patrick Foss recalled when the city council set a high levy several years ago. "This year's levy won't be any sweeter," he said. The council set its preliminary payable 2016 levy at $489,035. The 2015 final levy was $414,306. The proposed general fund levy remains the same as last year at $304,514. But a $69,898 hike in additional debt levies is due to a shortfall in the city's debt service fund. By the end of December, the debt service fund balance is projected to be $286,346. But bond payments of $275,897 are due on Feb.
Well-saturated with mosquito repellent, armed with wicker baskets and bearing thick walking sticks, a group of 20 forage through dense, green foliage a mile south of Walker. They are in search of the elusive chanterelle. Why? They are hungry. And inquisitive. Tinged with a fruity, apricot-like scent, the entire golden chanterelle is edible, including the tapered stem. It pairs well with eggs, poultry and seafood or is a great addition to stews and soups. Chanterelles can be harvested beginning in early July so it's the focus of this particular foray, hosted by the Paul Bunyan Mushroom Club.