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Parts of Northeastern Minnesota have been without much rain for weeks now, with an officially severe drought spreading in parts of St. Louis, Lake and Cook counties. The U.S. Drought Monitor shows a spreading area of abnormally dry conditions across northern Minnesota. The effects have been obvious. Birch trees have turned yellow and are dropping their leaves weeks earlier than usual under the stress of drought. Bears are desperate for food because late-summer berries and nut crops never materialized. Streams are dry and lake levels are dropping.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has pulled a proposal for mineral exploration leases off the agenda of the Minnesota Executive Council set to meet next week at the Capitol. The council, comprising the state's top elected officials, considered the mining leases in June but kicked them back to the DNR for more work. DNR leases, some of them for private property where landowners don't own the mineral rights, are located where state geologists and mining companies think there may be valuable deposits of copper, nickel, gold and other minerals that might be mined in the future.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources warned the public Monday that some black bears in the Ely-Tower area have become aggressive toward people, including bears associated with independent bear researcher Lynn Rogers. In the past three weeks: One person was injured by a bear that slapped him, spurring several stitches. The DNR reported a collared bear at Bear Head Lake State Park put its paws on a vehicle that had stopped along a road. Another report involved a collared bear "within three feet of a 2-year-old child near the open door of a vehicle." The child's mother
Deluge drenches Northland Carlton, Douglas Counties hardest hit with roads washed out JOHN MYERS firstname.lastname@example.org Powerful thunderstorms early Tuesday washed out roads in Douglas and Carlton Counties, caused a mudslide on Minnesota Highway 23 and dumped up to 6 inches of rain on parts of the Northland. The storms, which included stunning lightning and window-rattling thunder for hours on end, hit some areas Monday evening then broadened to drop 2 to 6 inches of rain across the entire region early Tuesday.
Georgia-Pacific's board plant in Duluth has shut down, its water-use permit caught in the snare of the Minnesota state shutdown. The plant's closure puts nearly 150 employees out of work The Duluth plant at 1220 W. Railroad St. uses water from Lake Superior to cool its processing equipment and then returns it to the bay.
A record number of Minnesotans fell ill due to disease carried by ticks in 2010, and a relatively newfound disease is rivaling Lyme disease as a primary culprit. The Minnesota Department of Health reported today that tick-borne illnesses last year jumped to 2,069 confirmed cases -- including 720 cases of anaplasmosis -- more than double the 300-plus cases in recent years. Lyme disease jumped 21 percent from 2009 to 1,293 newly confirmed cases, breaking 2007's record of 1,239. Some 56 people suffered from babesiosis, up from 31 in 2009. Tick-borne illnesses can range from mild to severe.
The St. Louis County Board of Commissioners will have a new look in 2011, with incumbent Dennis Fink toppled by challenger Frank Jewell. Jewell, a former Duluth city councilor, topped Fink more than 2-1 in the county's 1st District, which covers central Duluth neighborhoods. It was a rematch of their race in 2006 that was decided by 207 votes in Fink's favor.
The storm that left us with ice encrusted snow to handle was one for the record book. You're probably sick of shoveling it, trying to chip through it, bumping along on it and even reading about it, but the Christmas snowstorm of 2009 was one for the record books. The 24.4 inches that fell at Duluth International Airport moves the storm into 5th place on the all-time snowstorm event over three or fewer days.
If you didn't cover the petunias last night, they may have taken a hit. Temperatures this morning dropped to the upper 20s in parts of northern Minnesota and to near freezing across much of the Northland, including the Twin Ports. The temperature at 6 a.m. at Duluth International Airport was 34 degrees. Hibbing reported 29, and the 6 a.m. temperature in Cook was 28. A frost advisory remains in effect through 7 a.m. for the Twin Ports and Northwestern Wisconsin. A more severe freeze warning is in effect through 7 a.m. for Koochiching, Itasca, Lake and Cook Counties and most of St.
A tree-killing insect that experts fear could wipe out millions of ash trees in the Northland has arrived in Minnesota. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture on Thursday said the emerald ash borer was found in St. Paul near the intersection of state Highway 280 and Interstate 94, the first confirmed sighting in the state. It came after a tree service suspected the insect Wednesday and called state officials. "We sent digital photos of the larvae to the [U.S.