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FOND DU LAC RESERVATION, Minn. — On a sunny, mid-August afternoon, Drew Erickson took a quick GPS reading and then bolted into the woods just off Moorehead Road, mosquitoes and swamps be damned. Erickson, of Grand Rapids, is part of a crew of four wildlife technicians hired by the University of Minnesota who bushwhacked in to survey more than 100 forest plots in Carlton and St. Louis counties this summer to see what food might be available for elk.
EVELETH — Fires broke out at the former Days Inn hotel here on Wednesday, Aug. 9, and again on Thursday, Aug. 10, and will again all weekend. Arson investigators at the scene, dozens of them, are 100 percent sure that the fires were intentionally set. That's because they started them. Fire investigator school is in session at the abandoned, dilapidated and tax-forfeited hotel that's destined for the wrecking ball later this year. Investigators from across Minnesota, the Midwest and as far away as South Africa are in town to set fires in dozens of the hotel's 144 rooms.
DULUTH — The future of golden-winged warblers in northern Minnesota forests, ringneck pheasants in farm country and sage grouse in the mountainous west are tied to the massive farm bill that's starting to wind through the Washington labyrinth, a coalition of wildlife and government agencies said Wednesday.
DULUTH — Scientists have been studying emerald ash borers since the Chinese insects started killing ash trees near Detroit 15 years ago. They've been following the imported insects' march east, then north and now west and watching the bugs kill nearly every ash tree in their path. But those were mostly green ash, with some white and blue ash, too — the kind of trees that once lined urban avenues, wooded parks and farm woodlots across much of the country.
DULUTH — Jay Austin and his University of Minnesota Duluth research team were trying to study drifting ice sheets on Lake Superior when they ran into a problem. Data from the underwater Doppler recording devices was so polluted by background noise that they couldn't determine any results. Bummer for the ice research. But like any good, inquisitive scientist, Austin was intrigued. What the heck was making all that racket underwater in Lake Superior?
DULUTH, Minn. — It's been a landmark in Duluth since 1892, but the historic Union Depot is showing its age with a leaking front balcony and crumbling bricks. Officially called the St. Louis County Heritage and Arts Center, the Depot is in need of $8 million in repairs, deferred upkeep and upgrades, a private engineering firm reported to county officials. St. Louis County, which owns the building, is willing to pony-up about $2.25 million of that total and is ready to ask the state for the other $5.75 million in upcoming state construction/bonding bills.
ELY, Minn. — Ely's oldest operating canoe-outfitting business has been shut down by the Internal Revenue Service for nonpayment of taxes, with equipment and canoes apparently seized by the government. An IRS notice on the door of Wilderness Outfitters notifies potential customers of the closure and warning people to stay away. Reached by phone Wednesday, June 28, owner Gary Gotchnik said he hoped to resolve the issue and reopen the business quickly. But it's not clear how that might happen.
DULUTH. Minn. — Wolves, parasites, infections and other health problems continue to be the largest killers of moose in northeastern Minnesota, according to the most recent data from the state Department of Natural Resources. DNR researchers have compiled an updated assessment of data from a four-year-old study of GPS-collared moose in northeastern Minnesota. The collars, when they work properly, allow researchers to find dead moose within hours so an accurate cause of death can be made in most cases.
DULUTH — The senior adviser to U.S. Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke was in Duluth on Saturday to speak to the annual conference of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Dave Mihalic, a longtime National Park Service official who retired in 2003 as superintendent of Yosemite National Park, spoke to a packed room of outdoor writers, media producers and editors and outdoor recreation industry reps at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.
DULUTH, Minn. — Conservation, hunting and angling groups are battling back against U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan's effort to undo a moratorium on mining on federal land near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Groups such as the Izaak Walton League of America and Sportsmen for the Boundary Waters kick-started a campaign this week for supporters to call Nolan's offices and tell the Democrat from Crosby to leave the two-year mining ban and a proposed environmental review in place.