Council considering punishing trail wreckers

Cars and ATVs can rutt up mountain biking trails. Horses can make a mess clomping on hiking trails. Bikes can damage cross-country ski trails.

As hundreds of thousands of dollars are poured into expanding Duluth's extensive trail system, the City Council is considering how to make sure the trails stay in good shape for their intended uses.

With that in mind, council member Emily Larson is proposing an educational campaign to inform new trail users, along with some kind of fine for the small percentage of people who intentionally use trails inappropriately and damage them.

"It's frustrating to users because trails have to be closed," she said. "There's also a very real cost to repairing the trails."

The measure came up at Monday's City Council meeting, but was tabled until officials can work out more details, Larson said.

"Everybody wants their trail and we want everyone to have their trail system that works for them," she said.

Pam Louwagie @pamlouwagie


Speakeasy opens to the public

An antique mall in the small Iron Range town of Bovey is opening a basement room and tunnel from Prohibition-era days as a "speakeasy" event space for rent to the public.

Officially opened with a party Friday night, the room is decorated with old-fashioned light bulbs, whiskey jugs and barrels. The attached tunnel is a cement structure about 7 feet wide that leads under an alley and once connected to a blacksmith shop.

Organizers had planned to create the speakeasy for a re-enactment event, but decided it turned out too well to be temporary.

"We're keeping it open indefinitely," said an excited Ann Killian, who owns Annabellas Antique Mall along with her husband. "People will want to see this tunnel."

Pam Louwagie @pamlouwagie


Tribe tries to block resort's liquor sales

The Beltrami County Board must decide whether to grant a liquor license to a resort six miles from an American Indian reservation where it is illegal to sell or possess alcohol.

County commissioners will vote next week on whether to allow liquor sales at Roger's Resort, Minnesota Public Radio reported. Owner Chris Freudenberg, who already sells 3.2 percent beer and wants to lower insurance costs, was on track to receive his license until Red Lake Band of Ojibwe members showed up at a hearing last week to lobby against it, he said.

Tribal Council member Gary Nelson asked commissioners to set up a buffer zone around the Red Lake Indian Reservation in which no liquor licenses can be granted. The tribe opposes the sale of alcohol because its members have a history of alcoholism, said Floyd Jourdain, its former chairman.

Two years ago, the tribal council passed a resolution opposing the establishment of liquor stores near the reservation. The council was exasperated by the number of liquor vendors just outside of the reservation that sold to tribal members.

"Alcohol is the number one killer of Indians," Jourdain said. "And it continues to be the number one killer here in Red Lake."

Associated Press

Grand Marais

Sheriff warns of wolves

The Cook County sheriff is warning residents and visitors about reports of wolves attacking pets and following people in the Grand Marais area.

Sheriff Leif Lunde said a couple of people reported that they lost dogs recently and a couple reported that a wolf seemed to follow them. He didn't have details available.

Lunde said he put out the warning mainly to remind people to keep their pets safe. If residents have a wolf problem, he said, contact the sheriff's office.

Wolves are always a potential danger to pets in the North Woods, he added.

"It does seem like, as of recently, it's been increasing slightly," Lunde said. "I just want to make people aware."

Pam Louwagie @pamlouwagie