We recently learned that the Department of Natural Resources could soon begin enforcing new dock size limits. Many of our constituents are concerned that this change will make it necessary for them to replace their current docks with new, conforming docks, at a significant cost to them.
We wrote to the commissioner of the DNR and asked him to personally review the rule and to hold public input meetings before undertaking any enforcement initiatives. The DNR responded by issuing a general permit for docks until November of 2007 (with an expectation that it would be renewed for next year) to allow a platform at the end of a dock to be as big as 10 1/2 by 16 feet or 170 square feet. The maximum allowable width of the dock leading to the platform remains eight feet.
The DNR also plans to hold public meetings in our area this summer and fall before a permanent regulation is set in place. Information about these meetings will be posted on the DNR website, through outdoor writers and lake associations. We will also make a point of letting our constituents know when these meetings are scheduled.
To plan for the future, we both voted to add a provision to the House Omnibus Game and Fish bill to statutorily require the DNR to hold at least two public meetings before making any more changes to dock size provisions.
Spending time on Minnesota's thousands of lakes is a cornerstone of many families' time together. We believe it would be in the best interest of all parties involved - dock owners, dock installers, the DNR and legislators - if this issue to could come to a reasonable and amiable conclusion.
Rep. John Ward, DFL-Brainerd
Rep. Al Doty, DFL-Royalton
While Brainerd burns, mayor fiddles
Just as we are paying our property tax bills, our city council voted to spend $4,000 of our money to send Mayor Wallin to Sweden for his vacation. The mayor said that $4,000.00 was not much money. Most people I know think four grand buys a pretty nice vacation. Meanwhile, while the major enjoys his trip, your city government says that it is too much trouble to tell you before they cut down your trees from the right of way in front of your house.
While we have some good city council members and employees, the mayor and too many others at city hall see government as a good old boy's club. They appoint their friends to city commissions and boards, play favorites with decisions that should be objective and vote on issues they are often painfully ignorant about. While the council bickers and the mayor vacations in Sweden on our tab, our city continues to muddle along with badly maintained streets, vacant businesses and a chronically suffering downtown. They say we get the government we deserve. I think we all deserve better than this.
Time to clean debris in Brainerd
I think it's about time the owners of the property behind the apartments and condominiums on Spruce Drive, south of Brained, and over to Graydon Avenue, clean out the debris that has collected through the years.
Wow! If there ever should be a fire or a lightning strike, it would be disastrous - taking all the buildings and even putting the medical clinic in harm's way.
Mexico should be more responsible
A few months ago, President Bush signed a Homeland Security funding bill which included 700 miles of border fence to stop illegal entry of people and material into our country. It's not enough, but it's a start.
On Dec. 1, the Mexican president said "free migration is a human right... we will tear down this wall if we have to!" He forgot to mention that Mexico has a strict immigration policy. Since 2003 Mexico's biggest source of revenue has been money sent from Mexican workers in America back to Mexico. Mexico is not a poor country. It's rich in resources. Its "lazy" leadership needs to do right by its people and stop the drain on America's resources by illegal immigrants. A fence may force Mexico to be a more responsible neighbor.The Mexican president likened the proposed border fence to the Berlin wall. That comparison only works if Mexico was building the fence to keep its own people within its borders. Let's have border security first in any immigration policy.
Check out Rep. Ward's blog
Interested constituents can find news and information related to 12A State Rep. John Ward in a user-friendly blog format in addition to occasional letters from John talking about his experiences in St. Paul. The blog can be viewed at http://johnwardmn12a.blogspot.com/ Please feel free to appropriately share your views in the comment section of each blog entry.
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