Ice fishing contest is going virtual

Despite COVID-19, an annual ice fishing tournament that draws up to 1,500 people each winter is going forward, though in a different fashion.

The Cuyuna Lakes Chamber of Commerce typically holds its February ice fishing tournament on Serpent Lake in Crosby, about 17 miles northwest of Brainerd. It usually includes a homecoming with vintage snowmobiles, food, raffles and a DJ on the ice.

Since the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is not granting permits for such large events this year due to the pandemic, the chamber will now hold a virtual tournament, where anglers can fish any lake.

Participants can register on for $20, then fish any lake between noon and 3 p.m. on Feb. 6. Anglers who upload a photo of a catch will be entered in a random raffle for prizes. Separate $10 raffle tickets are also available for purchase at local businesses.

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Reid Forgrave


City, university consider e-scooters

Electronic scooters could soon be coming to Mankato.

A few national companies have expressed interest in bringing their two-wheeled, skateboard-like vehicles to town. One company, Bird, is proposing to launch 50 electric scooters throughout the city and adjust upward from there, based on use, according to a letter sent to city leaders.

The company says its scooters — part of the micromobility industry — can help "first and last mile connectivity" to the city's existing transit network and reduce car congestion. It promises to educate both car drivers and scooter riders about traffic safety, and it has methods to try to keep the scooters parked out of the way of pedestrian pathways, according to the company's letter.

Meanwhile, Minnesota State University, Mankato also has requested proposals for e-scooters.

Officials at the 303-acre campus are looking for a four-year contract to begin in April. A school spokesman said proposals are being reviewed from two companies: White Fox Scooters and Lynx City.

White Fox Scooters contacted the city last week expressing interest in bringing scooters to town, according to the Mankato Free Press.

Electric scooters have been controversial since being introduced in cities across the United States in recent years. Complaints include riders leaving them parked in the middle of sidewalks, blocking pathways. Some cities have outlawed the scooters while others have imposed requirements, including where they can be parked.

Pam Louwagie