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The Iron Range celebrated two large-scale, innovative projects on Wednesday, and officials touted the projects as symbols of a new economy emerging in northern Minnesota. Gov. Tim Pawlenty spoke at the dedication of the Taconite Ridge wind farm on U.S. Steel property north of Virginia and at a celebration of progress at the Mesabi Nugget processing plant near Embarrass. "This is part of a renaissance on the Range," Pawlenty said, speaking of both projects.
PIERRE, S.D. -- A conservation group has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the Big Stone Power Plant in South Dakota violated federal environmental laws by failing to install modern pollution controls in the past decade. Sierra Club officials said the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in federal court in South Dakota, asks a judge to order Otter Tail Power Co.
Three tornadoes hit Hubbard County last Friday, the U.S. Weather Service confirmed Wednesday. Aerial and ground surveys done this week by the NWS along with the state Department of Natural Resources "have identified three distinct tornado tracts," NWS said on its Grand Forks, N.D., office's Web site. Also, state Rep. Brita Sailer, DFL-Park Rapids, said she would work with residents to direct whatever resources may be needed to aid in recovery. The most damaging tornado destroyed several homes and damaged many others near Emmavile along Pickerel Lake.
Authors who take apart a region or a community have always been dear to my heart. It all began when I was in high school and my English teacher said I should not read novels by Sinclair Lewis, who was an agnostic and a drunk. So I went right out and checked out his novel "Main Street." The town he wrote about was his own, Sauk Centre, Minn., but he called it Gopher Prairie. He nailed that town dead to rights. It was just like my hometown, full of well-meaning people with a rather narrow view of the world. Later on, I read "Winesburg, Ohio," by Sherwood Anderson.
Sina Richert is in her second year of studying art history at UMD, but she also is getting a very real course on economics. Richert said she expects that she will graduate from college $40,000 to $50,000 in debt. But the cost of rising tuition isn't the only factor. Add on her monthly bills for rent, utilities, groceries and gas, and it's easy to see why she will be paying off loans for years to come. But that scenario hasn't always been the case for college students. "My grandpa and I were just talking, and he only spent $300 for a whole year of college," Richert said.
ST. PAUL -- Transportation officials called the Minneapolis bridge a "budget buster," so expensive to fix or replace that decisions were put off, for years, until it collapsed last August. A new report on Wednesday said money worries, imprecise inspections, and disregard of policies at the Minnesota Department of Transportation may have led to bad maintenance decisions ahead of the catastrophe that killed 13 people. A separate federal investigation has highlighted a design flaw and the weight of construction materials as critical factors, rather than maintenance.
A Washington County jury has convicted a prisoner at the Oak Park Heights maximum-security prison for his role in a child pornography crime that claimed a local teenager as its victim. Joseph Timothy Soltis, 46, was found guilty of three felony counts of aiding and abetting use of minors in sexual performance and a pornographic work. A jury reached the verdict after deliberating briefly Tuesday, May 12. Judge David Doyscher sentenced Soltis to nine years for the crimes. Soltis was already serving a life sentence for the 1999 murder of a Fridley woman.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is seeking public comment on a proposed plan to clean up contamination related to perfluorochemicals (PFCs) at the 3M Oakdale site in Oakdale. A public meeting on the proposed cleanup will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 22, at the Oakdale City Offices. The public comment period for the proposed plan ends June 20. The site is along State Highway 5, just west of Interstate 694. It consists of three old dumps at which the St. Paul-based 3M Company legally disposed of manufacturing wastes during the late 1940s and '50s.
The Duluth burglar who was arrested in the nude after a homeowner caught him in the act and stripped him of his clothes while fighting received a sentence of five years supervised probation Wednesday and was ordered to complete chemical dependency treatment and another rehabilitative program. Keith Cochise Bellanger, 20, pleaded guilty in St. Louis County District Court earlier this month to a felony count of first-degree burglary.
ST. PAUL -- Veteran Rep.