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DULUTH — Seasonal weather experts at the National Climate Prediction Center on Thursday, Sept. 21, forecast a warmer-than-average start to the coming winter but said a developing La Nina cooling of the Pacific could bring colder weather here early in 2018. The meteorologists said current trends show the Upper Midwest, Great Lakes, eastern states and the southwest U.S. have a better-than-average chance of seeing above-normal temperatures from October through December. No portion of the U.S. is expected to see colder-than-normal temperatures through December.
ST. PAUL — State Auditor Rebecca Otto on Wednesday, Sept. 20, became the first and maybe only candidate for Minnesota governor to propose a state "price on carbon," part of a proposed multi-point energy independence plan that's heavy on renewable energy. Her "RenewMN" carbon tax aims to reduce carbon dioxide, the pollutant that the vast majority of scientists who study the issue say is causing global warming, but also aims to create Minnesota-based jobs in renewable energy and energy conservation industries.
GRAND PORTAGE, Minn. — The largest island of the Susie Islands archipelago just off Minnesota's North Shore, habitat for rare arctic-like native plants, has been officially returned to the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. The Nature Conservancy announced Tuesday, Sept. 19, that it has transferred all of 142-acre Susie Island to the band after a multi-year effort.
SOUDAN, Minn. — Minnesota's first new state park in a quarter-century will open in earnest Tuesday, a decade in the making but apparently worth the wait for eager campers. Just hours after reservations opened last week for Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park's 33 new campsites, many were already booked for the remaining fall weekends. "And next summer's dates already are filling in," said Dawn Voges, assistant manager at the park.
DULUTH — Human antidepressant drugs are showing up in the brains of fish in the Great Lakes region, an unexpected byproduct of human waste that isn't being removed in the sewage treatment process. The University at Buffalo in New York reported Thursday, Aug. 31, that "high concentrations" of antidepressants are building up in the brains of trout, walleye, bass and several other fish sampled from the Niagara River between lakes Erie and Ontario, the downstream end of the Great Lakes system.
Two catastrophic mine dam failures, one in Canada and one in Brazil, made worldwide headlines in recent years for the downstream damage they caused. Polymet officials say their tailings basin and dams will be so different from those that failed that any comparison is unfair and meaningless. But PolyMet's critics say the failures show the inherent danger of so-called modern mining operations, especially tailing basin dams, even under regulated conditions. Canada
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.
DULUTH, Minn.—Invasive earthworms from Europe that came over with early settlers and have been moving across North America ever since are causing sugar maple trees to decline in northern Minnesota forests. That was the conclusion of a research project published in the latest issue of the journal Biological Invasions — the second major project in as many years pointing to earthworms as the culprit in northern Minnesota forest problems.
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.