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It's time to gather together easy reading for the chilly nights ahead before the fireplace. Here's a potpourri of novels to get you started. "The Other Side of the Bridge" (Dial Press, $25) by Mary Lawson is out this week. Lawson, a Canadian who received raves for her first novel, "Crow Lake," in this outing tells the story of two farm boys, beginning before World War II and ending in the 1950s. Arthur's the good, hardworking kid, his brother Jake is mercurial, a misfit, who likes to torment his docile brother. Enter a beautiful woman who marries Arthur.
With the help of sophisticated electronics, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Alder is mapping portions of Lake Superior some 300 to 500 feet below the surface. The sonar images being collected by researchers aboard the Alder will be used to help assess the effects of cargo sweeping on the Great Lakes. Cargo sweeping is the practice of cleaning -- usually spraying out -- a ship's holds to prevent cross-contamination of materials. The overboard cargo adds up.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty on Friday announced a host of measures, including extending timber contracts for a year or more, that the state will undertake to alleviate what's been called an industry crisis. After meeting with 30 to 40 government and forest products officials at the Sawmill Inn in Grand Rapids, Pawlenty described public policy actions to help bring down wood prices and assist 300 people laid off last week at Ainsworth Lumber Co.'s Grand Rapids and Cook oriented strand board plants. The state must take action, Pawlenty told a gathering of reporters after the meeting.
Federal spending on Great Lakes fish and wildlife habitat would double under a bill that passed the U.S. House late Wednesday and was expected to pass the Senate late Thursday. The Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act of 2006 includes a $16 million annual appropriation under a bipartisan compromise in Washington. The Senate had authorized $20 million for the program, but the House had stalled at the previous $8 million allocation. Earlier this week it wasn't clear what, if any, amount would pass.
ST. PAUL - A leading conservative group is denouncing what it says are efforts to intimidate churches that want to discuss how political candidates stand on issues important to their congregants. Tom Prichard, president of the Minnesota Family Council, said Thursday that churches can discuss candidates' positions, and pastors can make personal endorsements without threatening the church's tax-exempt status. However, he said the federal Internal Revenue Service this fall has increased its monitoring of churches on this issue, which could stifle free speech.
A familiar sound has been noticeably absent on Duluth's waterfront. The port's old diaphone foghorn has not issued a single bellow all season. And on Tuesday, members of TOOT, the nonprofit group that owns the horn, began dismantling the massive brass, steel and iron beast. Eric Ringsred, one of TOOT's founders, blames the city and the U.S. Coast Guard for the foghorn's demise. ``We're removing it because of a total lack of commitment,' he said.
A tiny creature rarely seen by most northern Minnesota residents is showing up in local lakes this year, probably because of high water temperatures and low water levels. Freshwater jellyfish have been reported in a few area lakes in recent weeks, with samples taken from at least two lakes. While they have been around for years, most people have never seen one because they spend most of their lives as underwater polyps that live on or near lake bottoms.
MINNEAPOLIS - The three major-party candidates for Minnesota governor spelled out differing visions of leadership Wednesday during a debate that generated little new information on other issues. The governor should be hopeful, have the "emotional maturity" needed when making tough decisions and work constructively to solve problems, Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty said. A leader must "cast a vision for the future direction of their state," he said.
ST. Paul -- The Republican Party will hold its 2008 presidential convention in the Twin Cities but the entire state will reap the benefits, officials said Wednesday in announcing the first national political convention to Minnesota in more than a century. The convention will be centered in St. Paul and Minneapolis, but Gov. Tim Pawlenty and others said all of Minnesota will come out ahead because of the international exposure.
PIPESTONE -- Cattle producers from across southwest Minnesota are being asked to help the state regain its tuberculosis-free status. On Monday, officials from the state Board of Animal Health (BAH), U.S. Department of Agriculture and a local veterinarian were on hand in Pipestone to explain the process of a statewide testing campaign to start this fall. Minnesota lost its 1971-issued TB-free status on July 12, 2005, after a beef herd in Roseau County tested positive for bovine TB infection.