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Home for the Holidays parade took a break this year

This year's Santa's Home for the Holidays parade last Saturday evening was cancelled, due to the cold weather.

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Organizers issued this statement just before noon Friday: "Due to the likelihood of sub-zero evening temperatures and a substantial volume of participant cancellations, the Santa's Home for the Holidays parade in Cloquet on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, has been cancelled. All other holiday weekend events in Cloquet are expected to continue as planned."

That's because all the other events were inside, where participants didn't get frostbite after 30 minutes.

St. Cloud also cancelled a holiday parade scheduled for last weekend.

Preliminary 2013 deer harvest numbers released

Minnesota hunters harvested 164,550 deer during 2013, according to preliminary numbers announced by the Department of Natural Resources.

Through the beginning of December, firearms hunters harvested 144,000 deer, a 6 percent drop from the 153,000 harvested in 2012. Preliminary numbers for the late season in southeastern Minnesota show hunters harvested 4,400 deer, down from the 5,000 harvested in 2012.

The statewide muzzleloader season remains open through Sunday, Dec. 15. The archery season closes on Tuesday, Dec. 31.

Deer harvest numbers are calculated using data provided by hunters when they register a deer. A final report, which includes more detailed harvest information, will be released at the end of January

State seeks public input on PolyMet Mining environmental review

A comprehensive environmental analysis of Minnesota's first proposed copper-nickel mine has been released for public review and input.

This begins a critical phase of the environmental review process for PolyMet Mining Inc.'s revised NorthMet copper-nickel mining project and proposed land exchange. State and federal agencies are seeking public review and input on a document called the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS).

The proposed mining project has been substantially revised since a 2009 Draft EIS, and the SDEIS includes information on those changes, the land exchange, and additional and revised analyses of potential project impacts, although critics note the document is very light in terms of financial assurances and long-term water protections. Publication of the SDEIS provides the first opportunity for the public to review and comment on the revised project, located in northeastern Minnesota near Hoyt Lakes and Babbitt.

"I am inviting Minnesotans to participate in the environmental review process by reviewing the document and providing thoughtful, informed input on the environmental analysis during the public comment period," said Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr. "The DNR and other agencies have used their most objective and best scientific expertise to review this project. Now we need all interested parties to give us their comments."

The SDEIS is now available on the DNR's website (www.mndnr.gov/polymet), and review copies are available at select libraries and public offices around the state. Public meetings will be held in January in Duluth, Aurora and St. Paul.

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