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EDITORIAL: Eight years of wasted government spending over catching minnows

If you’re looking for wasteful government spending, check out the story of the feds spending eight years to charge three Ely people from crossing an invisible line to harvest minnows.
In a case that dates back to 2012 and where one of the key figures has since passed away, the feds charged Bob LaTourell Jr. and his twin sisters Mindy and Missy with violating an act that was passed 120 years ago.
The only good thing to come out of this debacle is that our old friend Jim Maki was an innocent man - something he would have gladly told you if he was still here today.
What is missing from this case is the evidence. There were 1,300 dozen ciscoes (that’s 15,600 minnows by our math) that were confiscated in a raid at the Great Outdoors bait shop.
Despite the best efforts of Ely’s Jeff Anderson, who worked for Congressman Rick Nolan at the time, the ciscoes were never returned. All of this headache and heartache over minnows.
What’s even more ridiculous is that our tax dollars would be spent on this travesty of justice in the first place.
If you’ve never been to Prairie Portage, basically there is a river where Sucker Lake dumps into Basswood. The portage runs on the U.S. side of the river. The invisible international line runs down the middle.
Some sneaky folks set up cameras where they claim they saw the LaTourells crossing the imaginary line to harvest minnows.
Maki was caught up in this mess because he had a special permit that allowed him to sell the ciscoes. It took action by Nolan and Sen. Amy Klobuchar to allow that to happen.
“Prairie Portage has historically served as a critical supply point for bait shop owners near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. They, in turn, serve the sport fishermen who contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to our Minnesota tourist economy. These businesses that could be affected by any potential loss of cisco harvest should be a part of the discussions,” Klobuchar and Nolan proclaimed.
It seems appropriate that the water that flows through the Prairie Portage area comes from Sucker Lake. It seems taxpayers are the suckers in this case.

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