Tribes oppose wolf hunt; Federal cuts reach home; When mom goes viral

Some Ojibwe tribal members object to wolf hunting, trapping

MPR News: “Some Ojibwe in Minnesota are worried about the fate of the state’s wolf population.State lawmakers are considering a hunting and trapping season for wolves, which were removed from the federal endangered species list last year.”

Before wolves may be hunted, science, faith and politics clash in Wisconsin

New York Times: “The Great Lakes Indian Fish and Game Commission, which represents 11 tribes of the Ojibwe (also known as the Chippewa, or Anishinaabe) in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan, opposes the hunt on the basis of religious principle and tradition.”

NYT: Scientist John Vucetich studies wolves on Isle Royale

A collection of blog posts and observations from a season of scientific study on Isle Royale.

Minneapolis copes with a smaller slice of federal funding

Star Tribune: “Minneapolis feels effects of federal cutbacks to money for programs that serve a wide range of people.”

Right to Work debate riles Minnesota Capitol

St Cloud Times: “Minnesota Republican senators got a taste Monday of the fight over labor rights that gripped other Midwestern statehouses in the last year, with a committee narrowly passing legislation to curb union power even as hundreds of demonstrators chanted and yelled just feet away.”

Minnesota Today: Right to Work debate

Minnesota’s Game and Fish Fund faces shortfall

Bemidji Pioneer: “Minnesota’s Game and Fish Fund is projected to be in the red as early as July 2013.”

Cravaack: PolyMet review to be released in Oct.

MPR News: “8th District GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack says the controversial PolyMet precious metals mining project in northeast Minnesota is on track to have a draft environmental review released to the public this October.”

‘Sled Dogs to St. Paul’ musher Frank Moe talks about journey

WTIP: “After spending a week on the trail and travelling more than 350 miles, Moe arrived at the state capitol on Monday, March 8th. Moe is back home in Cook County now, and he stopped by the WTIP studios on Monday, March 12th to talk about the experience and why he did it.”

Minnesota ranks highly on happiness

Gillaspy Demographics: “Gallup and Healthways have released the 2011 Gallup-Healthways Well Being Index for states, metropolitan areas and congressional districts, and once again Minnesota ranks near the top.”

U of Minn. professors clash with stem-cell company

Star Tribune: “Two University of Minnesota ethicists have set off a firestorm by raising questions about a controversial Texas stem-cell company.”

Swedish institute to collaborate with ICC on biomass research program

Grand Rapids Herald-Review: “Biomass could be the saving grace for northern Minnesota’s timber industry and Itasca Community College is poised to adapt to this new demand – now with help from Swedish researchers facing a similar shift in focus.”

Finding Minnesota: Marine Art Museum

WCCO: “Water is a crucial part of Minnesota’s culture. With all the lakes and rivers, our state claims more shoreline than Florida, California and Hawaii combined. So it’s fitting that priceless paintings of water from some of the world’s greatest artists are on display in the river town of Winona. Names like Van Gogh, Renoir and Matisse can be found at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum. In fact, the collection includes what may well be Vincent Van Gogh’s first oil painting.”

Op-Ed: When mom goes viral: Marilyn Hagerty, 85, is talk of social media

Wall Street Journal: “Some people pursue celebrity. Others stumble into it as they are rushing off to bridge club.”

  • Killing Wolves Eliminates Barrier That Protects Our Food and Water

    When attempting to manage wolf populations today, we must admit that the threat of prion contamination in our watersheds and food chain now poses a much greater risk to several industries, human health, and homeland security than our god-given wolves ever did. In fact, predators are one of nature’s few defense barriers against the deadly spread of prion disease.

    Prions are a form of deadly protein that builds up in the cells and bodily fluids of people and animals afflicted with various forms of prion disease, including mad cow disease, chronic wasting disease, scrapie, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. Prions now are such a formidable threat that the United States government enacted the Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 to halt research on infectious prions in the United States in all but two laboratories. Now, infectious prions are classified as select agents that require special security clearance for lab research. The intent is to keep prions and other dangerous biological materials away from terrorists who might use them to contaminate, food, water, blood, equipment, and entire facilities.

    Dr. Stanley Prusiner earned a Nobel Prize in 1997 for identifying and studying deadly prions. President Obama awarded Prusiner the National Medal of Science in 2010 to recognize the growing significance of his discovery.

    We now know that various forms of prion disease are already spreading around the world. Prion disease has been found in livestock and a variety of wildlife species across the U.S. and Canada (in gray wolf habitat). Reducing wolves in these areas below natural numbers will open the door even wider to the deadly spread of prion contamination in the environment.

    The prion pathogen spreads through urine, feces, saliva, blood, milk, soil, and the tissue of infected animals (not to mention soil and water). With those attributes, prions obviously can migrate through surface water runoff and settle in groundwater, lakes, oceans, and water reservoirs. There is not a known cure for prion disease and allowing sick animals to wander the wild unchecked by wolves will further contaminate entire watersheds – increasing the pathway to humans, livestock, and wildlife downstream.

    If prions must be regulated in a laboratory environment today, the outdoor environment should be managed accordingly. Wolves and other predators represent one of the few natural barriers to help minimize the spread of prions in the environment and within our food chain. Accelerating the killing of wolves and other predators for profit and pleasure is a foolish experiment in prion management and a reckless platform for safeguarding wildlife, watersheds, and homeland security. In fact, the National Park Service studied the issue and concluded that “as CWD distribution and wolf range overlap in the future, wolf predation may suppress disease emergence or limit prevalence.” (The Role of Predation in Disease Control: A Comparison of Selective and Nonselective Removal on Prion disease Dynamics in Deer.)

    Now, more than ever, wolves are part of a healthy ecosystem and a healthy future. It’s time to develop a comprehensive prion-management strategy that maximizes safeguards for human health, food, water, and wildlife around the globe. The stakes are too high for fragmented and misguided prion policies. Just ask the Canadian cattlemen what a few prions did to their industry. Ask the U.S. cattle and dairy industries if they want to increase prion pathways in the watersheds that feed our public and private lands. My guess is that a prion in the soil or water doesn’t care if it attaches to a cow, sheep, deer, elk, or human. It kills them all with the same efficiency. Dilution of this pathogen is not a solution. Ignoring this pathogen is not a solution because prions migrate, mutate and multiply. Let wolves and other predators do their job in the food chain without human interference. This is no time for people to play god.