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A steady drizzle and high humidity Sunday continued to keep two Gunflint Trail area wildfires from growing, and fire officials are hoping for more of the same. The damp weather has kept the Famine Lake and Redeye Lake fires in check for two days after they raged out of control on Thursday and part of Friday, when they threatened to cross the Gunflint Trail, spurring a partial evacuation. The forecast for continued damp and cooler weather has fire officials confident they can bring in more ground and air crews to keep the fires from growing much beyond their current perimeters.
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.
ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. - Rep. Jeff Johnson charges that his main opponent for attorney general made political hay out of Alfonso Rodriguez's 2003 arrest and in the process violated lawyers' ethics. In the first Minnesota attorney general race debate among the three major candidates, Johnson said Lori Swanson and her boss, Attorney General Mike Hatch, openly criticized the state Corrections Department for releasing Rodriguez, who a federal jury found guilty of kidnapping and killing college student Dru Sjodin.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota state auditor candidates often talk same-sex marriage and lowering taxes rather than number crunching. The focus on big, and often partisan, issues in this election makes some people question whether the "taxpayers' watchdog" is really favoring the entities they audit and the political parties they represent. The state needs a fair and unbiased person to fill the position, so the candidates' focus is worrisome, Hamline University professor David Schultz said.
Blaze orange will be the fashionable color for Minnesota small game hunters, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. "You can't take small game unless a visible portion of at least one article of clothing above the waist is blaze orange, except when hunting wild turkey, migratory birds, raccoons or predators, or when hunting with nontoxic shot or while trapping," said Capt. Mike Hammer, DNR education program coordinator.
Dean Fries can't wait for the grouse opener. While a lot of hunters wait for the leaves to fall, Fries will be out there with his Gordon setters on opening day and the next four days. Ruffed grouse season opens Saturday in Minnesota and Wisconsin. ``Most people really miss the boat,' says Fries, who lives in Culver. ``That's one of the best weekends of the year. You see lots of birds and get lots of points (from dogs).' Birds are usually still clustered in family units early in the season. ``You walk in on points and you can get a brood of five, six, seven birds. That's fun,' Fries says.
Dean Fries of Culver has been refining his grouse hunting strategies for more than 20 years in the North Woods. He hunts over his own line of Gordon setters. Here are some of his tactics. Especially early in the season, if your dog points a bird, get to it quickly, ``or (the bird) will run another 20 feet and you only hear the flush,' Fries says. ``It's important to aggressively get out in front of the dog and flush the bird.' Instead of approaching from behind a dog on point, Fries likes to arc around in front of the dog and work back toward it.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed the discovery of Eurasian watermilfoil in 11 new lakes, all but one of which are within 50 miles of the Twin Cities. Eurasian watermilfoil, or simply milfoil, is now in 188 bodies of water in the state since it was discovered in the late 1980s. The majority of infested water bodies are in central and north-central Minnesota, according to Chip Welling, DNR Eurasian Watermilfoil Program coordinator. Milfoil also has been discovered in Wisconsin in Superior Bay near the Barkers Island Marina.
If you enjoyed last fall's pheasant season, you ought to like this fall's. Wildlife biologists with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources released results from their August roadside counts Tuesday. The pheasant index is similar to last year's, and hunters killed 600,000 birds last fall -- the most since 1964. As usual, the counts are highest in the southwest, where 242 pheasants were counted per 100 driven miles.
According to Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials hundreds of hunters are seriously injured and some even killed each year because of falling from tree stands. With Minnesota's archery deer hunting season beginning on Sept. 16 DNR officials are out to remind hunters about safety. DNR officials say the majority of accidents occur when hunters are going up or coming down from a stand and they do not take the right safety precautions. To highlight the need for these precautions DNR officials use the experience of one of its own -- Lt.