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ST. PAUL - Peter Hutchinson brought two supporters dressed as ducks to the Capitol Wednesday as he accused his major opponents of ducking debates. "The people of Minnesota are being cheated out of the opportunity to interview their candidates," Independence Party governor candidate Hutchinson said of GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Mike Hatch, state attorney general and DFL candidate for governor. Shortly after Hutchinson's comments, Gov. Tim Pawlenty's campaign released a list of five more debate invitations he has accepted.
A federal judge in California, in the second phase of a landmark water pollution decision, has given the federal Environmental Protection Agency two years to start regulating the discharge of ballast water from ships. U.S. District Judge Susan Illston in San Francisco in April 2005 ordered the EPA to immediately repeal regulations exempting ship operators from having to obtain permits that regulate the discharge of pollution. She issued a follow-up order Monday.
Another animal protection group has sued the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, saying the state has done little or nothing to stop accidental trapping of federally protected animals. The California-based Animal Protection Institute filed suit in federal court in Minneapolis Wednesday to stop the agency from continuing to violate the federal Endangered Species Act by allowing trappers to use traps and snares that injure and sometimes kill lynx, wolves and eagles. In April, the group sent a letter of intent to sue the DNR in an effort to negotiate changes in trapping rules.
Two men said to be illegal aliens from Mexico are in custody after being stopped in Babbitt for a traffic violation. The two men were apprehended Sept. 14 by Babbitt police on a routine traffic stop, according to Lonny Schweitzer, a U.S. Border Patrol assistant chief in Grand Forks, N.D. The arrests are part of what Babbitt Police Chief Terry Switajewski sees as a growing number of illegal aliens in the area. ``We've seen more Hispanic workers in this area in the last few years,' Switajewski said.
FARGO, N.D. -- A forensic psychiatrist said Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. suffers from anxiety disorder, but refuted claims of post-traumatic stress from early childhood sex abuse. Dr. Steven Pitt told jurors Tuesday that Rodriguez also has paraphilia traits showing abnormal or deviant sexual behavior, including fantasies of humiliation and force. The findings, he said, are based on a five-hour interview last month with Rodriguez - convicted in the kidnapping and killing of Dru Sjodin - and after reviewing the repeat sex offender's crimes.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota's two major U.S. Senate candidates found little agreement on health care Tuesday night during a debate focusing on elderly issues. While Democrat Amy Klobuchar called for allowing self-employed Americans and small business owners to buy into a federal government health insurance program, Republican Mark Kennedy said a government solution like that would not work. "We need to put patients and doctors in charge," Kennedy said. Individuals who buy health-care insurance should receive tax credits, Kennedy said.
Polar bears in Greenland, mink in New York, alligators in Florida, ducks in Utah and loons across North America are just some of the animals showing up with elevated levels of mercury in their systems. In some cases, the mercury levels are so high that the animals aren't able to reproduce at their usual rate, and in a few cases the mercury is killing animals outright. These findings were unveiled Tuesday in a report from the National Wildlife Federation and other groups that are calling for tougher state and federal standards to cut mercury pollution.
Several days of cooler, damper conditions may be the beginning of the end for both the Gunflint Trail fires and, just maybe, the summerlong drought. The Famine Lake and Redeye Lake fires continue to burn but have not advanced out of their weekend perimeters, fire officials said Monday, allowing officials to end a partial evacuation. Cook County Sheriff Mark Falk Monday afternoon lifted the evacuation and road closure that spurred many people to leave the mid-portions of the trail on Friday.
For 10 years or more, Alfonso Rodriguez Jr.
STILLWATER -- Two passengers died and the driver was rescued from a car that went off the Stillwater Lift Bridge Sunday afternoon into the St. Croix River, after traveling across the bridge from Wisconsin. Phyllis Maitrejean, 73, of Stillwater, was a passenger in the 1987 Oldsmobile Regency, as was Debra Schmit, 46, of Sleepy Eye.