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I need your help. Pick up the phone and let me know what you like to do outdoors.
At the height of the Husky Energy oil refinery fire Thursday, as a massive plume of smoke billowed into the sky for miles, Superior Mayor Jim Paine was asked by reporters if the air was safe for people. Yes, the mayor said, later repeating his claim. While Paine may have been right that the air at his location upwind of the fire was safe, multiple experts say the black plume of smoke from the refinery fire was almost certainly full of toxic fumes and human carcinogens.
A series of explosions and fires rocked the Husky Energy oil refinery in Superior Thursday, sending a black plume of acrid smoke across the city, forcing massive evacuations and sending several people to local hospitals. Essentia Health and St. Luke’s hospital officials said a combined 11 refinery victims were confirmed treated in Duluth and Superior facilities, one with a “serious blast injury.”
If you go from snow shovels to fire hoses in one week, you know you live in the Northland. Spring wildfire danger has crashed upon Minnesota and Wisconsin in recent days just a week after one of winter's biggest wallops. April is usually the region's most intense months for wildfire, after snow recedes and before new green growth appears later in May. Last year's dead grass and leaves dry quickly after a few days without rain. And any warm, sunny days with high winds now raise the chance that small fires will grow big.
NISSWA, Minn. — Weather turned fast in the Brainerd lakes area, going from snowstorm season to fire season. Snow cover took a beating over the weekend with temperatures in the upper 50s to lower 60s. Monday's high reached 70 degrees—resulting in perfect conditions for fires. And fire season indeed arrived, as flames and smoke moved rapidly through a row of pine trees and grasses Monday afternoon along Crow Wing County Highway 4, burning close to 20 acres in Lake Edward Township, east of Nisswa.
Jim Brandenburg, Minnesota-based photographer for National Geographic, said "it goes without saying (Sam) will be greatly missed, not only by all the readers in and around Minnesota but especially at the News Tribune.
After 38 years as the Duluth News Tribune's outdoors writer, Sam Cook is retiring Friday to pursue, well, pretty much what he's always pursued. He'll spend more time sleeping on the ground in tents. More time paddling with his wife, Phyllis. More time following his yellow dog around chasing pheasants. Maybe more trips out west. Only now, he won't have to rush back to the newsroom and write about it. That's our loss, his gain.
U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson says he has the votes on the House floor to pass a bill removing federal protection for gray wolves across the Great Lakes region. He just can't get the bill to the floor. His bill — with co-sponsors from both parties across the wolf range in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan — has cleared a committee but remains in congressional limbo.
Duluth officially topped 50 degrees Thursday for the first time since Oct. 23, nearly six months, and, not to jinx it, it appears spring has finally sprung. The National Weather Service reported 54 degrees at 5:55 p.m. at the Duluth International Airport and it couldn't have come soon enough for many folks. Even better news, high temperatures are expected to reach ito the 50s and even 60s for the next week.
The U.S. Senate on Wednesday voted down the Coast Guard reauthorization bill that contained a provision exempting ships' ballast water from Clean Water Act regulations. The Senate vote on cloture — whether to stop debate and vote on the bill — needed 60 votes but failed by a 56 to 42 margin. The bill contained the controversial Vessel Incidental Discharge Act that would have exempted ships from Environmental Protection Agency regulation and instead given ballast water regulation authority solely to the U.S. Coast Guard.