Gov. Mark Dayton Monday appointed former House DFL Majority Leader Tony Sertich to serve on the board of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA), which is overseeing construction of U.S. Bank stadium in downtown Minneapolis.

Sertich will fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Duane Benson, who recently had a public feud with MSFA Board Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen over her job duties.

Sertich is president of the Northland Foundation. He previously served as Dayton’s commissioner of the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board.

“Tony Sertich has successfully led major economic development projects,” Dayton said in a news release. “He is also experienced in bringing fractious leaders together to achieve their shared goals. Both of these skills will be valuable additions to the MSFA Board.”

Sertich said he was honored to be selected.

“As a voice for rural Minnesota, I look forward to working with my fellow MSFA members to guide the stadium construction project to a timely and successful close,” Sertich said.

The state Legislature established the MSFA in 2012. The panel has five part-time members. The governor appoints three members, including the chair. The city of Minneapolis appoints the other two.

DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr (Left) and Gov. Mark Dayton discuss the closure of walleye fishing on Lake Mille Lacs on Monday, August 3. Tom Scheck | MPR News
  1. Listen Reporter Dan Kraker talks about the close of the season

Gov. Mark Dayton says he’ll hold a conference call Monday with legislative leaders to discuss options for a special session to help resort owners on Lake Mille Lacs.

The state Department of Natural Resources is closing the lake to walleye fishing at 10 p.m. Monday because the annual limit has been surpassed by 2,000 pounds. Dayton has said he wants to call a special session to help the resort owners around the lake. He called the closure of the walleye season on the lake a “dark day for Minnesota fishing” and called it “totally unacceptable to sit back and do nothing” to fix the lake’s walleye woes.

“My heart goes out to those whose lives and livelihood depend upon fishing on Lake Mille Lacs, and I know it’s going to be a very hard couple of months for them,” Dayton said.

Legislative leaders have said they’re open to a special session but would prefer to form a working group to discuss the options for restoring the lake’s walleye population.

Officials are also looking at stocking Mille Lacs if the walleye population continues to dwindle.

Some anglers say the DNR has mismanaged the lake. Dayton acknowledged that resort owners around Lake Mille Lacs do not trust decision making at the DNR. He said the DNR employees need a course in customer relations and alluded to changes among fisheries personnel who work around Lake Mille Lacs.

“Whenever I hear that people are not being heard by the people who pay their salaries, especially under these dire situations, that to me needs a remedy.  And that’s part of what I’ll be looking at with the commissioner under the next couple of weeks,” Dayton said.

Dayton, however, said he has absolute confidence in the job DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr is doing.

The politics around fishing on Lake Mille Lacs are dicey. Resort owners are upset with how the DNR is managing the walleye population but they’re also unhappy with the eight Native American bands that have treaty rights to net fish on Lake Mille Lacs during the spawning season.

The chair of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe said on Friday that her band won’t do any netting next year.

Good morning and welcome to a new work week. Here are some stories you may have missed over the weekend.

1) Today is the last day to legally catch a walleye on Lake Mille Lacs. As expected, the DNR is shutting down the season early due to the declining walleye population. Gov. Mark Dayton, who is considering calling a special legislative session to help resorts and other businesses near the lake, is expected to say more when he meets with reporters this morning. (MPR News)

2) If you missed this yesterday you really should read it. It’s the story of a man who spent 15 years on death row in Louisiana for a crime he did not commit and the Minnesota lawyers who helped free him. (Star Tribune)

3) President Obama is set to release new regulations for power plants designed to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The plan is not going over well in coal producing states. (NPR)

4) Vice President Joe Biden is seriously considering a run for president in 2016, which could complicate matters for the current Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. (New York Times)

5) And with the first Republican debates scheduled for later this week the Times has news that fewer than 400 families are responsible for donating almost half the money raised so far for the 2016 campaign. (New York Times)