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ON SIDE LAKE, Minn. — They had ice augers and pop-up shelters and even depth finders, but not a single fishing rod between them. And no minnows, either. From a distance the research team looked like any other group of northern Minnesota ice anglers. Until they took out their secchi discs and zooplankton trap nets and algae-trapping canisters. They pulled sleds loaded with big jugs and small beakers, water pumps, filters, ice chisels and shovels, snow and ice measuring devices and a host of other gadgets and tools.
DULUTH — A new statewide opinion poll appears to show growing opposition to copper mining near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. In the poll, paid for by opponents to copper mining, 70 percent of 800 Minnesota voters said they opposed allowing a copper mine near the BWCAW. That's up from 59 percent opposition in a similar poll in 2017. Statewide, 22 percent of those polled said they supported "sulfide ore copper mining in the areas near the Boundary Waters Wilderness."
DULUTH—If Northlanders really wanted to be like Norwegians we'd stow the cross-country skis and stoic love of cold and buy a Tesla. Norway reached a milestone in December when electric vehicles accounted for 52 percent of all new vehicles sold in the country. All-electric Tesla models were the first and second most popular cars sold in Norway. It was the first time more than half of all new vehicles sold in Norway (or any other country) were electric, and that number is expected to only increase in years to come.
DULUTH—Corporate leaders of Allete Inc., the Duluth-based parent company of Minnesota Power, said Thursday, Feb. 15, that they will take steps this year to control costs, increase efficiencies and "impose discipline" as they "rescale the business" to bolster profitability in 2018. Allete CEO Alan Hodnik told industry analysts in a conference call that if the company can't get increased returns via higher utility rates, Allete will hit its 9.25 percent return on revenue goal "by virtue of discipline with the business."
DULUTH—Northeastern Minnesota's moose population dropped some during the past year, but it appears to have leveled off after the big declines of a decade ago. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reported Thursday that its annual winter moose estimate came in at 3,030 moose, an 18 percent drop compared to 3,710 moose in 2017. The agency said the decline was statistically insignificant.
A timber wolf that had earlier become entangled in a wire trapping snare was shot and killed by a Duluth police officer Saturday afternoon along Rice Lake Road near Marshall School. The wolf had first been reported near Tettegouche State Park on Lake Superior's North Shore earlier in the week, then near the Sucker River outside Duluth. Several people had reported the entangled wolf earlier Saturday along the North Shore Scenic Highway, with the wire wrapped around the wolf's muzzle.
DULUTH—After 13 years, millions of dollars and a winding path through regulatory scrutiny, Minnesota's first-ever copper mine might be on the verge of its last-ever public hearings. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Pollution Control Agency will hold open-house and public input sessions Wednesday, Feb. 7, in Aurora and Thursday in Duluth on draft permits they have released for PolyMet Mining Corp.
EVELETH, Minn. — Lourenco Goncalves played up his company's contributions to the Iron Range during Cleveland-Cliffs' annual "state of the company" luncheon on Thursday, Feb. 1, but he also issued a warning: Minnesota needs to play ball with his team, or he may turn to Michigan for future production expansion. Goncalves told more than 100 vendors, suppliers and Iron Range civic leaders that he needs the highly-disputed iron ore near Nashwauk, Minn., for his operations at Hibbing Taconite, which could run out of iron ore within about seven years.
DULUTH—U.S. Steel is reporting fourth quarter 2017 earnings of $159 million, or 90 cents per share, a big improvement over a $105 million loss in the last quarter of 2016. The Pittsburgh-based company, which reported its quarterly and annual results after the stock market closed Wednesday, Jan. 31, said sales of steel were up 18 percent to $3.13 billion, reflecting a 3 percent increase in shipments and higher selling prices.
DULUTH, Minn. — Time is running out this winter for Lake Superior to ice over or even build enough ice to jig for lake trout off Duluth or walk to the sea caves near Bayfield. Lake Superior was only an estimated 14 percent ice-covered as of Wednesday, Jan. 31, according to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. The office uses temperature-sensing satellite data to estimate ice cover. A warmer, windy trend over the past two weeks has helped keep the big lake from forming more ice.