Two counties to get state disaster relief after storms

Gov. Mark Dayton last week authorized almost $25,000 in relief for Big Stone County and more than $20,000 for Stevens County to help address public property damage caused by severe thunderstorms, high winds and tornadoes on June 13.

Aid from the State Disaster Assistance Contingency Account will reimburse counties for public infrastructure repairs and cleanup costs.

Under Minnesota law, the state reimburses 75 percent of eligible costs for public infrastructure repairs and cleanup, with localities responsible for covering the remaining 25 percent.

A few hours after Big Stone and Stevens counties were hit, storms packing high winds and heavy rains swept across the Twin Cities metro area, downing trees and power lines and knocking out electricity for thousands of households. Some streets also flooded.

Mark Brunswick

St. Joseph

City Council approves plan for local dog park

The St. Joseph City Council last week unanimously approved a plan for a dog park at Millstream Park on the northwestern edge of the Stearns County city, located about 75 miles northwest of the Twin Cities.

The first phase of the project includes fencing, signage and a dispenser for “doggy bags” at an estimated cost of $14,000, which includes $5,000 from donations.

Two other phases could include water access, a shelter and a possible expansion to include an area exclusively for little dogs. Users will be asked to make a small donation.

Among other rules, aggressive dogs and puppies under four months old would be prohibited.

Users also will be warned to watch out for flying balls during softball season.

Mark Brunswick


Businesses promote biggest blueberry contest

There are fishing contests, so why not a blueberry contest?

It’s berry-picking season in northern Minnesota, and businesses along the Gunflint Trail have decided to celebrate the wild fruit with a Biggest Blueberry Contest.

For the next three weeks, ending Aug. 12, pickers can bring wild berries to weigh stations at Bearskin Lodge, Golden Eagle Lodge, Hungry Jack Outfitters, Rockwood Lodge, Tuscarora Lodge, Gunflint Lodge and Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center.

Weights will be recorded using digital precision scales that weigh within 0.01 of a gram. Officials expect blueberries to weigh between 0.2 and 0.6 grams.

Grocery store and homegrown blueberries are not eligible.

The prize for the biggest blueberry each week is a limited edition blueberry print by watercolor artist Nancy Hemstad Seaton and a $100 gift card to a Gunflint Trail business.

Submitters also will be eligible for random drawings for prizes ranging from free canoe rentals to slices of — what else? — blueberry pie.