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Another Christmas Eve is past and as I pause to reflect on the latest one I am also reminded of ones that have come before; each with their own significant memory. Yes we need to enjoy the present but also cherish the fond memories of the past. As we head into the New Year we must remember that there is still plenty of "hard water" fishing to be done and small game hunting for rabbit and squirrel also continues until February 28th, while Archery season for deer ends on the 31st and pheasant season ends on January 1st. I have heard that the jumbo perch and "very small" walleye are still biting on the channel. I guess that Fountain Lake is once again producing some good panfish action by the old beach and Pickerel Lake has been giving up pike, perch and panfish. It gives me a good feeling as an outdoorsman to know that our area has plenty of good fishing waters for us to enjoy. That means that a person doesn't have to drive 50 or 300 miles to find fish because we have plenty of action right here in our own backyard. A good example of what we have available to us locally is my grandson Trevor. This past year he has been able to successfully hunt and fish both open and ice-over water without ever leaving the county. I know of many area folks that fish only our local lakes with good success. That statement would probably hold true for quite a few southern Minnesota communities but I really do believe that Freeborn County has much to offer area sportsmen. Speaking of local happenings, the DNR is seeking comments on EAW for Blazing Star State Trail, Myre-Big Island State Park to Hayward project. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is accepting public comments during a 30-day public review period from Dec. 23 to Jan. 22 on an environmental assessment worksheet (EAW) prepared for Blazing Star State Trail, Myre-Big Island State Park to Hayward project, located east of the city of Albert Lea, in Freeborn County. The DNR proposes to extend the Blazing Star State Trail 2.4 miles from Myre-Big Island State Park to Hayward. The trail will consist of a 10-foot wide bituminous surface for pedestrian, bicycle and other nonmotorized uses, and requires a new bridge crossing Albert Lea Lake. The 100-foot single span pedestrian bridge will be adjacent and parallel to the existing railroad bridge. A copy of the EAW is available online starting Dec. 23 on the DNR's public input page. (Under "Environmental Review," select "Blazing Star EAW" from the scroll-down list). Additional copies may be requested by calling 651-259-5157. A copy of the EAW is available for public review at: DNR Library, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155; DNR South Region, 261 Highway 15 South, New Ulm, MN 56073; Hennepin County - Minneapolis Central Library, Government Documents, 2nd Floor, 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1992; Albert Lea Public Library, 211 E. Clark Street, Albert Lea, MN 56007; Rochester Public Library, Reference Dept., 101 Second St. SE, Rochester, MN 55904. The EAW notice was published in the Dec. 23 EQB Monitor. Written comments on the EAW must be submitted no later than 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 22 to the attention of Ronald Wieland, EAW project manager, environmental policy and review unit, DNR Ecological and Water Resources Division, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4025.

Electronic or email comments may be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with "Blazing Star EAW" in the subject line. If submitting comments electronically, include name and mailing address. Written comments may also be sent by fax to 651-296-1811. This is a great opportunity for us to give our opinion on the trail and the benefits it will provide locally.

Please remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers not only during this holiday season but throughout the year because they are the reason we are able to enjoy all the freedoms that we have today. 

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