The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has confirmed new zebra mussel outbreaks in five Minnesota counties.

The DNR said it has verified outbreaks in Big Pine Lake in Aitkin County, Barrett Lake in Grant County, Blandin Reservoir in Itasca County, Molly Stark Lake and Annie Battle Lake in Otter Tail County, and Sauk Lake in Todd County.

The DNR reminds boaters that state law requires them to clean watercraft and trailers of aquatic plants and prohibited invasive species, drain all water by removing drain plugs and keeping them out during transport, and dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.

It’s also advised that before moving a boat to another waterway, owners spray their craft with high-pressure water, rinse with hot water and allow to dry for at least five days.

John Reinan


County celebrates its sizable solar array

Naming their county the state’s solar energy capital, Chisago County officials plan to hold a new kind of celebration Oct. 4 to promote their role in solar energy development. Public speakers, a resource fair, and a documentary about the rise of renewable energy in Minnesota take place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Chisago Lakes High School Performing Arts Center in Lindstrom.

The state’s largest solar array sits in former corn and soybean fields in Chisago County, generating enough electricity to power about 20,000 homes. Chisago Lakes School District has five rooftop solar projects on its schools. Lindstrom City Hall also has solar panels, among other area solar projects.

“Our foray into solar energy, which began as a daydream of a bunch of seventh graders, is saving Chisago Lakes Schools between $3-6 million dollars over 30 years,” said Pat Collins, a seventh-grade teacher at Chisago Lakes Middle School.

Matt McKinney


New webcam aimed for leaf peepers

There are webcams to watch the action on Bourbon Street in New Orleans and Times Square in New York. Now there is a cam to watch the leaves change colors on the North Shore.

Lutsen Mountains unveiled a new high-resolution fall color webcam last week, giving potential visitors a chance to escape to the woods at their desks as well as try to time trips north to hit peak fall colors.

The webcam, at captures panoramic still photos every 10 minutes of a 100-mile view of Lake Superior, the Sawtooth Mountains and the ski area.

The ski resort’s marketing director, Jim Vick, called the camera “a spectacular way to view the change of seasons on the North Shore.”

Pam Louwagie