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DULUTH — After 38 years as the Duluth News Tribune's outdoors writer, Sam Cook is retiring Friday, April 27, to pursue, well, pretty much what he's always pursued. He'll spend more time sleeping on the ground in tents. More time paddling with his wife, Phyllis. More time following his yellow dog around chasing pheasants. Maybe more trips out west. Only now, he won't have to rush back to the newsroom and write about it. That's our loss, his gain.
U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson says he has the votes on the House floor to pass a bill removing federal protection for gray wolves across the Great Lakes region. He just can't get the bill to the floor. His bill — with co-sponsors from both parties across the wolf range in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan — has cleared a committee but remains in congressional limbo.
ST. PAUL—The battle between Cleveland-Cliffs and Tom Clarke, owner of ERP Iron Ore and Mesabi Metallics, continues to be waged in courts and in the media. Cliffs and Clarke remain embroiled in a battle for a rich deposit of taconite iron ore near Nashwauk, battling in court and among Iron Range and state officials as well as union workers. But the two parties also are fighting over coal mine issues after Clarke purchased faltering coal mine operations from Cliffs a few years ago.
DULUTH — It has been the April of our cold discontent and the impacts of our frigid weather so far are going to last well into May, with near record late ice-outs expected across the Northland. That means if you have plans to fish open-water lakes in far northern Minnesota on May 12 — that's less than four weeks away now — you may want to remain flexible on where and how you fish. Maybe try a river. Or bring an auger.
DULUTH—The Kawishiwi River near Ely, Minn., which flows out of and then back into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness on its way north, has again made a list of "most endangered" rivers in the U.S. The environmental advocacy group American Rivers said the Kawishiwi faces imminent peril from the proposed Twin Metals copper mine, which would be located along the river, just outside the federal wilderness.
DULUTH — There was hope across the state of Minnesota this winter by many college hockey fans that their teams would end up in the men's NCAA Frozen Four, being held in their home state. University of Minnesota fans thought their team was poised to make it to the event that's coming up next week at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. So did fans in Mankato, St. Cloud and just across the border at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.
DULUTH — One-third of wildlife species in the U.S. are at risk of extinction, 40 percent of the nation's freshwater fish are now rare or imperiled, more than 150 U.S. species already have gone extinct and another 500 critters that haven't been seen in years also may be gone forever.
ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency on Wednesday, March 28, said it has filed a response defending its proposed wild rice sulfate standard that in January was panned by a state administrative law judge. PCA officials say their proposed sulfate pollution standard is a good compromise that protects wild rice in places where sulfate pollution might damage it, but also allows more sulfate pollution in lakes and rivers where it may not harm the plant.
DULUTH—The proposed PolyMet copper-nickel mine near Hoyt Lakes will cost nearly $1 billion to build if it's permitted, but will earn a $173 million annual profit for 20 years for the company after taxes and other expenses. That was the report Tuesday, March 27, as the company released its new technical and economic viability report aimed at investors and regulators. It's the first major update on the project's costs and projected revenue in five years.
DULUTH — The $1.3 trillion federal budget bill passed by Congress this week and signed into law by President Donald Trump on Friday, March 23 includes $4 million for the federal government to purchase state land within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The money will buy outright more than 51,000 acres of state land in small parcels across the lake-studded wilderness.