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Friday is big day for Minnesota copper-mining dreams

State falling short on emission targets; Vadnais Heights sports-center intrigue; Vikings’ arrest record; north suburban commuters pleased; a visit from Ron Burgundy; and more.

Friday is a big day for copper mining up north. The AP’s Steve Karnowski says: “A proposal for Minnesota’s first copper-nickel mine takes a crucial step forward Friday when regulators release a long-awaited updated environmental review that’s certain to fuel the debate over whether the state can get the hundreds of jobs a new era of mining could bring without sacrificing its cherished waters and wild places. … environmental groups aren’t reassured by recent drafts, particularly the recent conclusion of state regulators that PolyMet’s wastewater may require treatment for up to 500 years at a cost of billions of dollars. They also fault the agencies involved for not requiring as part of the review that PolyMet detail the financial assurances it will be required by law to provide to cover cleanup and ongoing treatment costs, for after the mine closes, to assure that taxpayers aren’t stuck with the bill.”

In a similar vein … . The Strib sayeth: “Seven years ago, Gov. Tim Pawlenty and the Legislature committed Minnesotans to doing their part in modifying the human behaviors that contribute to global warming. By 2015, the state would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent (from 2005 levels), followed by more ambitious reductions of 30 percent by 2025 and 80 percent by 2050. Now, as 2015 draws near, it’s clear that Minnesota won’t come close to hitting its first target. Despite impressive progress on electric power plants (carbon discharges are down 13 percent), other emissions from cars, trucks, homes, industry, agriculture and other sources remain a problem. Overall, greenhouse gas emissions are expected to decline modestly — by about 3 percent — over the 2005-2015 period.” Clearly, more-stringent voluntary measures are required.

Another St. Paul area story with legs … Sarah Horner of the PiPress says: “Vadnais Heights is accusing the former manager of the Vadnais Sports Center of attempting to poach clients from the beleaguered arena after he was fired. The allegations make up the latest spat in the back-and-forth battle between the city and Mark Bigelbach, who sued the city more than a year ago. In documents filed recently in Ramsey County District Court, the city accused Bigelbach’s management company of trying to lure clients away from the Vadnais Sports Center after he was terminated in August 2012. Meanwhile, Bigelbach filed a motion seeking punitive damages for defamation. … In his suit, Bigelbach alleges the city breached its contracts with him in his role as project coordinator on the Vadnais Sports Center deal and manager of the arena. Among his accusations, he says the city owes him more than $350,000 in unpaid compensation. He also says he was defamed by Vadnais Heights City Council member Joe Murphy and Bob Sundberg, the city’s finance director, for false comments each reportedly made.”

The GleanWCCO-TV’s Esme Murphy blogs about the Vikings dominance in one area of NFL competition: “It’s a tradition: the Minnesota Vikings’ annual Sisyphean struggle to put a winning season together and the predictable roster of new Viking mug shots. In this most dismal of years — with last week’s tie possibly blowing a shot at landing the top draft pick — comes the news that, in three weeks, three Vikings have been arrested. Jerome Simpson and Erin Henderson were booked for DWI, and AJ Jefferson for felony domestic assault. According to several analyses, as of this summer, the Vikings and Cincinnati Bengals were tied for the most for all NFL teams, with each team seeing 40 arrests since 2000.” Skol, Vikings!

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An AP report from another time … “Wisconsin authorities are still struggling to curb sex at one of the nation’s most popular nude beaches. The Department of Natural Resources this spring closed the beach near Mazomanie on weekdays, hoping larger weekend crowds would police themselves. But the policy didn’t make much of a dent. According to the DNR, wardens issued 22 citations for sex or drugs at the beach in 2012, including 16 on weekdays and six on the weekend. This year, wardens issued 13 citations, including 11 on weekends and two on weekdays. All the tickets were for sex.” So do they ticket for sex that “exceeds the posted limit” and “faulty safety equipment”?

Also next door … The AP has a story via WEAU-TV: “A Menomonie deer hunter remains in critical condition at Regions Hospital in St. Paul after he was shot in the stomach by members of his own hunting party. WEAU-TV reports 52-year-old Brian Kohnke was participating in a deer drive Thursday morning near Boyceville when he was shot. A deer drive is a hunting technique in which hunters attempt to flush deer into firing lanes. Bill Yearman of the Department of Natural Resources says about 20 hunters were involved in the deer drive and Kohnke was one of five standers. Yearman says a deer ran by and several shots were fired — one hit Kohnke in the stomach.”

You might want to skip the fish fry at Lake Owasso … Raya Zimmerman of the PiPress says: “Hundreds of fish lay belly-up inches beneath the frozen surface of Lake Owasso on Sunday, leaving locals bewildered as to why so many have died since the lake froze over a week ago. Two longtime lake residents believe the deaths are due to a lack of oxygen and an overuse of weed-killing chemicals. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources was not available for comment Sunday. … On Sunday, the fish buried in ice were scattered in what appeared to be a random pattern and ranged from 1-inch minnows to 41-inch muskies.”

Tis the season to rejoice! The Strib’s Tim Harlow reports: “Commuters in the northern suburbs are downright gleeful now that the interminable North Central Interchange project in Arden Hills has been completed and they’re no ­longer zigzagging their way through the maze of concrete barriers and detours. They are also ecstatic because MnDOT recently reopened the Hwy. 10 diagonal between Interstate 35W and Interstate 694. … Not everybody is impressed with the improvements. I-694 is three lanes to the west of 35W, but the freeway is only two lanes to the east from 35W to 35E.”

You did see Will Ferrell, aka Ron Burgundy, actually doing the news in Bismarck? Dirk Lammers of the AP writes: “Television viewers in Bismarck, N.D., were treated to some real class this weekend when none other than the great Ron Burgundy read them the news. Actor and comedian Will Ferrell reprised his ‘Anchorman’ role for KXMB’s Saturday night news broadcast. … Dressed in his signature rust-colored three-piece suit and a striped tie, Ferrell read stories off the teleprompter, punctuated them with exaggerated eye blinks and engaged in witty banter with weekend anchor Amber Schatz and the rest of the Bismarck news team. … He also clowned around, popping into Schatz’s screen while she read a story and telling her after a commercial break, ‘Amber, you look lovely tonight,’ before asking her if she was married. When Schatz told him she wasn’t married, Ferrell replied, ‘Well I am, so don’t get any ideas.’ ” And the crazy thing is some people think Ron is a parody …