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ST. PAUL - Minnesota farmland could serve as a laboratory for new federally directed research into the next phase of renewable energy. Congress has begun writing new federal agriculture legislation, which will replace the existing farm bill that expires in September.
Earl "Punk" Palmquist wants to sell his world record. The International Falls angler caught the world-record lake trout while ice fishing in 1987 on Clearwater West Lake near Atikokan, Ontario. The 40-pound lake trout, now mounted and on his wall, is still recognized as the largest taken through the ice. But for the right amount of cash, Palmquist will part with it. He has two good reasons, he says. One is named Dusty, and the other is Nicholas. "I've got these two grandsons," said Palmquist, 80. "Both are going to college. One's already going, and the other will go next year.
A candle may have started a sauna fire that injured four people early Saturday, the Itasca County Sheriff's Department reported. The Sheriff's Office received a 911 call at 12:06 a.m. reporting a fire at a cabin located on Swan Lake in rural Pengilly. A deputy responding to the call pulled the four victims from the sauna, whose attached changing room had caught fire. Those injured in the fire were Carrie Lee Anderson, 26, and Peter Michael Anderson, 26, both of Northfield, Minn., and Cassie Lynn Masloski, 26 and James Arthur Zgoda, 28, both of Hastings, Minn.
Microsurfacing on Hwy 52 will begin at 9 a.m. on Monday, June 11 from Dakota County Rd. 86 to County Rd. 42 between Cannon Falls and Rosemount. Traffic will be restricted to one lane during non-peak hours for traffic both north and southbound during the resurfacing. The project is scheduled to be completed in mid-July, weather permitting. MnDOT urges motorists to drive with caution, reminding them to slow down in the work zone and never enter a roadway that has been blocked with barriers or cones.
A Stillwater woman who allegedly posed for pornographic photos with a 14-year-old girl in exchange for money was formally charged with sexual misconduct crimes on Thursday, June 7. Washington County prosecutors charged Carol Ann Blomster, 34, with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct for participating in photo shoots with the girl, which involved sexual touching, on at least two occasions this year. Blomster faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.
Local authorities hailed Thursday's methamphetamine seizure in Wanamingo - which resulted in the arrest of five men - as a major strike against area narcotics activity. A series of arrests Wednesday netted two pounds of methamphetamine, cocaine, $8,000 in cash and a handgun. "To date, this is probably the largest seizure the sheriff's office has been involved in," said Capt. Pat Thompson of the Goodhue County Sheriff's Office.
A Red Wing man who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting three females will serve at least 10 years in prison, a Goodhue County judge ruled Friday. Prior to handing down the sentence, First District Court Judge Thomas Bibus told Charles Ottman, 62, he would likely spend the rest of his life incarcerated. Ottman's sentence was reached through a plea agreement, paring down 12 charges to the three carrying the heaviest terms - criminal sexual conduct in the first-, second- and third-degree. Bibus, characterizing Ottman as an opportunistic predator, said "the three convictions only
WILLMAR -- Go ahead. Buy the ingredients for the s'mores at home and pack them for wherever your family is headed for the holiday weekend. Just don't plan to haul your own wood for the fire to roast the marshmallows. This weekend is the unofficial start to summer; it is also the start to an educational effort at Sibley State Park, and all Minnesota state parks, to help campers understand why they can't bring their own firewood.
ALONG THE GUNFLINT TRAIL -- Thursday afternoon found Sue Ahrendt surrounded by boxes in the canteen of Tuscarora Lodge and Outfitters. Mail hadn't been delivered to the outfitter on Saganaga Lake in the northern reaches of the Gunflint Trail until Tuesday, and Ahrendt, who owns Tuscarora with her husband, Andy, had T-shirts to fold and stack, Butterfinger candy bars to shelve and souvenirs to put on display. "It's a bit of a scramble," Ahrendt said. Tuscarora was the first area evacuated nearly three weeks ago when the Ham Lake fire began to spread.
ST. PAUL - Outdoors enthusiasts hoping for a trophy season from the Minnesota Legislature must look to next year. One of the most prominent issues lawmakers did not accomplish during their just-completed legislative session is a constitutional amendment to fund conservation, clean-water and arts programs with a sales tax increase. A coalition of conservation and sporting groups has sought a dedicated funding source at the Capitol for nearly a decade.