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WILLMAR -- A special legislative session could be held in the next couple weeks, according to Wilmar area legislators. Or it could not. "We are preparing for a special session," said Rep. Al Juhnke, DFL-Willmar. "There's no question we need a special session ...
LUVERNE, Minn. - Every town has its heroes. But something changes when your hometown heroes thrust the community into the national spotlight. Everybody brings their cameras. Last night this town hosted the world premiere of the highly anticipated Ken Burns film, "The War," a massive Word War II documentary. An early evening downpour cancelled the red carpet walk, a parade and a cover shoot for Newsweek magazine. It didn't dampen the enthusiasm.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' pheasant index remains near its highest level in 20 years, thanks to favorable weather and habitat conditions. The pheasant index (107 birds per 100 miles of survey driven this year) topped 100 for the third consecutive year. Minnesota's pheasant season is Oct. 13 - Jan. 1. The daily bag limit is two roosters with a possession limit of six. Shooting hours are 9 a.m. to sunset. In each of the past two years, hunters harvested nearly 600,000 roosters, the most since 1964.
Lots of lake trout earmarked for stocking in Lake Superior now may be belly-up in the Mississippi River. Last weekend's flooding in southeastern Minnesota flooded the Crystal Springs Hatchery near Altura, Minn., sweeping away thousands of juvenile lake trout, said Darryl Bathel, coldwater production supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in Duluth. About 172,000 of the young lake trout at the hatchery were to be stocked next spring in Lake Superior. "Of that, I do not know what's left," Bathel said. "We assume most of them died.
Cottage Grove resident John Kriesel appears in a new commercial put out by advocacy group Freedom's Watch supporting keeping forces in Iraq. Kriesel was injured by an improvised explosive device in December while serving in Iraq as a sergeant in the Minnesota National Guard. Kriesel lost both his legs, and now uses prosthetics. Kriesel was treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C. for his injuries, and underwent more than 25 surgeries.
Lake Superior has plunged to a record low for the month of August, this week surpassing the previous August low-water mark set in 1926. After a long decline that has mirrored the Northland's worst drought in half a century, the mean level of the lake dropped to 600.4 feet above sea level, surpassing the previous August low mark of 600.5, said Carl Woodruff, hydraulic engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District. It's the first record set during the lake's current downturn. The lake probably will stay in or near record-low territory through autumn and into winter.
Amtrak trains stop in Red Wing twice a day. Freight trains travel the same lines here at several times that frequency. This week, however, silence has fallen over Red Wing's regulary rumbling rails. Railroad traffic heading into Red Wing -- and points beyond -- has drawn to a halt after storms wreaked devastation on the Winona area over the weekend.
With continental populations of many species of ducks at or near record highs, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has established a 60-day duck season for this fall and increased the daily bag limit to six ducks. The mallard bag limit will remain unchanged from last year, including only one hen, and the canvasback daily limit will be increased to two, according to a DNR news release. "While continental duck populations look very good, this year's hunting success is by no means assured," DNR Commissioner Mark Holsten said in a prepared statement.
REDWOOD FALLS, Minn. - The renewable energy industry alone will not be rural Minnesota's path to economic prosperity. Communities in rural Minnesota looking to grow their economy and stave off population declines need diverse businesses and the ability to attract young workers, a panel of experts said Thursday. "We need a balanced economic development strategy," said Jack Geller, executive director of the Center for Rural Policy and Development, during a forum at Farmfest in southwestern Minnesota. Demographics are working against the push to invigorate rural areas.
REDWOOD FALLS, Minn. -- Gov. Tim Pawlenty went to the source Thursday as he stood before hundreds of farmers to announce he wants more plant-based fuel in the state's diesel supply. Speaking at Farmfest, Pawlenty said he wants lawmakers in 2008 to approve his plan to increase the use of biodiesel - a fuel usually made with soybean oil - tenfold over several years. Biodiesel now is sold in a 2 percent soybean-98 percent diesel blend. The Republican governor's proposal would move to a 5 percent biodiesel fuel blend in 2008, 10 percent by 2011, 15 percent by 2013 and 20 percent by 2015.