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DULUTH — The federal agencies responsible for a proposed mining ban near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness got an earful Thursday from supporters and opponents gathered at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management heard more than two hours of public input on the plan to stop Twin Metals and other companies from exploring or mining on 235,000 acres just outside the federal wilderness.
ST. PAUL—Bacteria and viruses that could make people sick have been discovered in small public drinking water wells across the state, according to a report released Friday by the Minnesota Department of Health. The study, ordered by the state Legislature in 2014, found that, while the overall presence of microbial indicators in samples was low, a high percentage of wells had at least one detection.
DULUTH, Minn.—The number of bats counted in the Soudan Underground Mine has dropped 70 percent due to white-nose syndrome, according to the annual survey of the state's largest bat wintering area. Researchers have known since 2013 that the deadly fungus was present on some bats that spend their winter deep underground in the former iron ore mine near Tower. Last winter was the first time they had seen hundreds of dead bats outside the mine during winter months, a sure sign of white-nose syndrome. This winter, the deaths have mounted to catastrophic levels.
DULUTH, Minn.—It's been known for years that forests with lots of different tree species grow better and faster than forests with just one kind of tree. Now, for the first time, scientists say they know why. It's shapes. It turns out trees of different species find a way to get along with their neighbors by spreading branches out to fill in gaps where sunlight is available — they play off each other's shape. And that maximizes their combined ability to soak up the sun falling on a particular plot of land.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota's troubled moose population remains in the dumps, with only about 3,710 animals according to the annual winter survey by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and tribal resource agencies. The DNR on Monday released the results from the helicopter survey of random sects of the moose range in the state — namely St. Louis, Lake and Cook counties — showing the population has remained relatively stable since 2012. That stability, a statistically insignificant drop from the 4,020 estimate in 2016, is the good news.
DULUTH — A winter storm will bring heavy snow to much of southern Minnesota and central Wisconsin Friday, Feb. 24, but the storm now is expected to just graze the northern Minnesota. The National Weather Service is forecasting 6-12 inches of snow across southern Minnesota, including the Twin Cities, and into central and northern Wisconsin, most of it falling during the day Friday.
DULUTH — Eleni Pinnow says it still happens often. She sees something interesting or funny in the news or hears it on the radio and reaches for her phone to text her sister about it. But Aletha Pinnow has been gone for a year now, so there is no sister to text. "It's so much worse than anything I could ever have imagined, losing my best friend, my travel companion, my sister, in this way," Eleni Pinnow said. "But then I just think, how can I deal with this in a productive way? It still hurts. Sometimes worse than others. ... But my grief is manageable now."
WASHINGTON — A Congressman from Utah wants to eliminate hundreds of federal police officers who patrol millions of acres of America's national forests and grasslands, but some groups are fighting back. Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz introduced the "Local Enforcement for Local Lands Act'' in January that calls for eliminating all U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management officers. Instead, Chaffetz' bill, H.R. 622, would provide federal block grants for local sheriff's offices to expand their patrols to cover the areas now covered by the federal officers.
DULUTH — St. Louis County commissioners will likely approve a resolution Tuesday, Feb. 7, calling on President Donald Trump's administration to overturn a recently imposed copper mining prohibition near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The County Board's resolution is part of a region-wide effort to show support for copper mining in the Superior National Forest after the Obama administration decision to at least temporarily ban mining exploration over about 235,000 acres adjacent to the federal wilderness.
NASHWAUK, Minn. — Mesabi Metallics has submitted its detailed plan to emerge from bankruptcy and restart the failed Essar Steel Minnesota taconite project in Nashwauk. The fledgling company filed the plan in federal bankruptcy court after business hours on Thursday, laying out its scenario to restart construction on the half-built project and see it through to production. The plan could be approved as soon as a March 16 bankruptcy court hearing in Delaware.