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Northland College in Ashland, a small liberal-arts college specializing in environmental education, is making big cuts in the face of budget shortfalls. College officials on Tuesday unveiled a series of cuts that include closing the school radio station and dropping both men's and women's cross-country running and golf programs from intercollegiate to club sports. More troubling to some of the college's 597 students, however, is that six of 69 support staff positions are being eliminated and another nine staff are having their hours cut back.
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.
Two Northland residents, including one with a history of pollution violations, must pay more than $1 million in fines and fees for pollution violations after a decision by the Minnesota Court of Appeals. 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.
The main sewage line running from Cloquet to the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District plant in Duluth has sprung a leak in Esko. The line, which handles up to 20 million gallons of wastewater per day, is broken in the median of County Highway 61 near Sorila Road, WLSSD officials say. One lane in each direction of the four-lane expressway is closed in that area.
Renowned environmental reporter Dan Egan will be in Duluth on Wednesday to remind Northlanders what's right outside, under their noses, that they may be taking for granted. That would be 20 percent of the world's fresh surface water, available for our drinking, fishing and industrial pleasure.
The Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board is expected to approve a $35.5 million budget for fiscal 2018 when the board meets Tueday in St. Paul, including more money for the Giants Ridge ski and golf complex the agency owns in Biwabik. The budget proposed by IRRRB Commissioner Mark Phillips is up about $200,000 from the final fiscal 2017 budget. The budget includes $18.2 million on projects and programs and more than $7.2 million on operations. Fiscal 2018 starts July 1 for state agencies.
ON THE ST. LOUIS RIVER — John Lindgren jumped out of his boat, wearing waders of course, and landed waist-deep in the river with a thud. "It's all wood down here that I'm walking on,'' said Lindgren, St. Louis River estuary restoration coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. "There's no sediment here. No organic matter. No plants ... and no fish."
After rain nearly every day for the past week many Northlanders might be ready to say enough is enough, but it’s going to be a couple more days before everyone gets sunny skies. Duluth has received more than 3.25 inches of rain over the last seven days, including more than a half inch on Saturday and already more than a quarter-inch so far today. Duluth is 1.5 inches above normal for rainfall so far in May.
Every year, as aspen buds sprout into leaves and the forest turns green, Northlanders brace for the inevitable invasion. But experts say we can rest outside easy this summer, that forest tent caterpillars for the most part won’t be denuding our forests and defecating on our outdoor fun.
The future of the former Essar Steel Minnesota taconite project in Nashwauk will remain undecided for at least another month. A federal bankruptcy judge in Delaware on Friday delayed the final decision on the project's Chapter 11 bankruptcy until a June 13 court session. The hearing had been scheduled for May 22.