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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.
DULUTH—The Nature Conservancy announced Tuesday that it will plant 50,000 conifer trees in Northeastern Minnesota this summer, and another 50,000 next year, in coolspots — cooler microclimates in Northeastern Minnesota where the trees might survive the impacts of climate change. The group is planting white spruce, white pine, jack pine and tamarack to create "conifer strongholds" where the native trees can thrive even under the warmer, sometimes drier conditions projected for the Great Lakes region.
DULUTH, Minn. — Two Northland residents, including one with a history of pollution violations, have been ordered by the Minnesota Court of Appeals to pay more than $1 million in fines and fees for pollution violations. The decision upheld a lower court ruling that Dale Cich, his partner Diane Anderson and their company J & D Services must pay a civil penalty of $677,072 for environmental violations and reimburse the state $316,000 for waste cleanup and another $67,000 in attorney's fees.
DULUTH — Twenty northern Minnesota residents and tribal members will try to join environmental groups as parties directly impacted by the proposed Enbridge Line 3 oil pipeline replacement project. The 20 have filed paperwork to join the contested case hearing set for November in the Twin Cities, a quasi-legal process that's part of Minnesota's public utility regulations.
AUOROA, Minn. — A 40-year-old Aurora man has been charged with stealing more than $3,400 worth of birch trees off state and county land near the Iron Range. A criminal complaint has been filed in St. Louis County District Court against David Allen Lawrence for timber theft from state land. It's believed to be the first criminal charge in Minnesota connected to the recent rash of illegal cutting of small Northland birch trees sold into the decorative knickknack market first reported by the Duluth News Tribune in March.
DULUTH, MINN.—"Brady" looks like any other law enforcement officer of his rank — an eager, aggressive disposition, a long snout and wagging tail. But unlike most of his fellow K-9 officers, Brady doesn't search for illegal narcotics or bombs. The 6-year-old golden retriever mix sniffs for zebra mussels. Brady's partner, Minnesota Conservation Officer Julie Siems, was showing off Brady's skills Thursday at the Pike Lake boat landing outside Duluth. Siems hid a rock encrusted with zebra mussels in the splashwell of a fishing boat.
DULUTH — Much of Duluth's fire department responded to a raging fire at an East Hillside apartment building Sunday morning. The fire was reported just before 11 a.m. and wind-whipped flames raced through the top floors, attic and roof of the multi-unit building at 802 E. Third St. in Duluth's East Hillside neighborhood.
NASHWAUK, Minn. — Tom Clarke's Chippewa Capital Partners LLC was picked Wednesday, April 26, as the best option to salvage the bankrupt Essar Steel Minnesota project in Nashwauk. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Brendan Shannon has set a May 22 confirmation hearing to approve the deal, saying the proposal was "welcome news" but acknowledging it "still has many moving parts" and that "not all parties are on board."
DULUTH, Minn. — With a new building at a new location on Arrowhead Road in Duluth, it's the same old story and then some: Injured wild animals just keep pouring in to Wildwoods Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. On a fairly quiet afternoon at Wildwoods last week, there were three baby squirrels that needed feeding; a chipmunk that had recovered enough to chew its way out of its cage and was roaming free in its room; a Bohemian waxwing that was feeling better and wanted to fly north; a big brown bat recovering from dehydration; and a flying squirrel waiting for a new home.