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ELY, Minn.—Far from being a boon for regional job growth and economic development, allowing copper mining in Northeastern Minnesota would hurt the existing economy that relies on tourism and development based on unspoiled woods and water. That was the finding of a report released Thursday by opponents of the Twin Metals copper mining project proposed near Ely.
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 — Starting sometime soon, anyone selling a home or business property in the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District service area will need to certify that their sump pumps and foundation drains aren't contributing to sewage overflows into Lake Superior. Local governments also will need to make sure the property's lateral line — the sewer pipe that leads from the house to the street — isn't letting clean water leak into the sewer system.
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.
MOUNTAIN IRON, Minn. — Martin Pochtaruk is trying to succeed where few others have — making solar panels in North America and making money doing it. U.S. and Canadian photovoltaic panel makers have dropped in recent months like flowers wilting in the sun. Mountain Iron's Silicon Energy left town at the end of April — its parent company dissolved. In the Twin Cities, tenKsolar closed in May after employing as many as 90 people in recent years. In St. Paul, Simple Ray Solar LLC closed after less than a year assembling solar panels.
DULUTH — An effort by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to relax standards for drainage ditches that aren't public waterways has also led to miles of rivers and creeks losing their status as public waters. That was the claim made Friday by the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, which has filed an appeal with the Minnesota Court of Appeals.