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Scientists have been studying emerald ash borers since the Chinese insects started killing ash trees near Detroit 15 years ago. They've been following the imported insects' march east, then north and now west and watching the bugs kill nearly every ash tree in their path. But those were mostly green ash, with some white and blue ash, too — the kind of trees that once lined urban avenues, wooded parks and farm woodlots across much of the country.
Meteorologists at the National Weather Service office in Duluth noticed unusual blip on their radar screen Thursday afternoon — a plume of clouds, or smoke, emanating from the Sax-Zim Bog southeast of Hibbing on an otherwise cloudless afternoon. The plume looked much like the start of a wildfire, with a pinpoint source then fanning out in the breeze. So the Weather Service called 911, which in turn dispatched firefighters, who investigated but found no fire in the area.
When winds clocked at 80 and even 100 mph ravaged trees across southern St. Louis County just before dawn one year ago — July 21, 2016 — the big problems for many people were gaping holes in their roof, downed power lines or a crunched car. But county foresters and local fire officials saw a longer, more insidious problem ahead.
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.
The U.S. Interior Department on Wednesday announced a $750,000 grant to the City of Duluth to help refurbish recreational opportunities in Lincoln Park. The project would improve playgrounds, basketball courts, disc golf and handicap accessible trails the will encourage residents to be more active.
Northland College in Ashland is cutting ties with the fossil fuel industries that most scientists who study climate say are spurring global climate change. The small college's board of trustees last week voted to fully divest all of the school's endowment funds from fossil fuel related investments — coal, oil and gas companies — within five years. The move comes after student activists have been pushing for the action since 2012.
An increase in wages for county employees, higher health insurance costs and more employees on payroll are helping send St. Louis County's budget higher. County commissioners on Tuesday got their first comprehensive look at the proposed 2018 budget that — unless cuts are made or new revenue is found — would be up 6.54 percent over this year.
The former owners of the Magnetation iron ore processing operations on Minnesota's Iron Range are moving north, starting a new company working to reopen an idled iron ore mine in eastern Canada. Matt and Larry Lehtinen have formed Tacora Resources Inc. and on Tuesday announced the new company has acquired "substantially all of the assets associated with the Scully Mine located in Wabush, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada,'' the company said in its inaugural press release.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Monday announced more than $1 million in grants to keep fighting white-nose syndrome, the deadly fungus that continues to kill bats everywhere it spreads. The grants go to wildlife agencies in 37 states and the District of Columbia to help find ways to slow or prevent the spread of white-nose syndrome that has killed an estimated 7 million bats across the eastern U.S. and Canada.
Environmental groups and federal employees on Monday battled back against congressional budget cuts proposed for the Environmental Protection Agency, saying human and environmental health are threatened. The House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday is expected to vote on a fiscal 2018 budget for the EPA that slashes the agency's budget nearly 8 percent across the board, or $528 million, to the lowest funding level since 2008.