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New plan for Twin Metals project puts ore-processing facility closer to BWCA

Plus: Senate confirms Dakota County Judge Erica MacDonald as federal prosecutor; Memorial Day starts season of road fatalities for Minnesota; MPR launches task force after new claims of sexual harassment; and more.

The GleanThe Star Tribune’s Josephine Marcotty writes: “Twin Metals announced Thursday that if its fiercely contested copper-nickel mining project is approved, it will build a 100-acre ore-processing facility on the banks of Birch Lake and closer to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness than originally planned. The change drew immediate criticism from environmentalists, who said that the new location for the ore processing facility, the heart of the mine operation, will increase the threat to pristine waters of the wilderness, because any polluted runoff from the site would be much closer.”

Before you go all crazy and start enjoying that summer thing, S.M. Chavey at the PiPress says, “The stretch of time from Memorial Day to Labor Day, termed the “100 deadliest days” by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, accounted for nearly 35 percent of all fatalities on Minnesota roads last year. From 2012 to 2017, 769 people lost their lives during that stretch of time. The majority of those resulted from drunk driving, distracted driving, speeding or unbuckled seat belts, the department says.”

Any chance it can it be fermented into beer? Says the AP, “Wisconsin officials were testing for environmental and health hazards Thursday after an accident at a frack sand mine sent millions of gallons of sludge into waterways, tinting them orange as the thick plume traveled downstream into the Mississippi River.”

Not really related at all. Tom Horgen of the Strib says, “In the debut issue of the Wall Street Journal and National Geographic’s new joint venture, “Far & Away,” the Twin Cities area gets some huge — and a little unexpected — props. But there it is, an article naming Minneapolis and St. Paul ‘America’s coolest drinking city.’” 

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But while we’re talking Wisconsin. Bob Shaw at the PiPress says, “A western Wisconsin woman is being charged with swindling her 97-year-old mother-in-law, then gambling the money away in casinos. Deborah Ann Steele, 68, Somerset, Wis., faces 10 counts related to taking $345,000 from a vulnerable adult. She then allegedly went to casinos and spent millions — including reinvesting her winnings — reaching a peak of $2.5 million in 2017. … Steele married the woman’s only child in 2013. He was gravely ill, and his mother paid $100,000 to set up a trust fund to support him. She thought that if her son died, the money would go back to her. Instead, Steele set up that trust fund and made herself the beneficiary.”

Bet you didn’t realize this. A KARE-TV story says, “Minnesota has at least 85 active missing children cases, according to FBI data.The data was furnished by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension at KARE 11’s request. Friday, May 25 is National Missing Children’s Day. … 34 long-term missing children from Minnesota. Some went missing earlier this month. Others like Chris Kerze, Susan Swedell, Leeanna Warner and Amy Pagnac, have been missing for decades.”

Nice of them to finally find time for these little details. Stephen Montemayor of the Strib reports: “The U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed a Dakota County judge to become Minnesota’s top federal prosecutor. Judge Erica MacDonald will now serve as the U.S. attorney for Minnesota, just hours after she unanimously cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee for the full Senate vote.”

Think of it as an investment. The Mesabi Daily News picks a story on tuition costs around the state. “Minnesota residents pay $52,782 to attend Carleton College – the highest in the state, according to a Watchdog analysis of federal tuition data for 2017-18. The data comes from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), which is part of the U.S. Department of Education. The NCES provides parents and students with information on graduation rates, pricing, accreditation and campus crime at more than 7,000 institutions of higher learning. It is available through the NCES Web portal, College Navigation.”

A task force at MPR. Laura Yuen writes, “Minnesota Public Radio is launching an employee task force to examine workplace policies after new claims of sexual harassment emerged Wednesday on social media. A current employee of MPR issued a series of tweets alleging he was sexually harassed by his then-boss, who is no longer with the company, and that he was ‘silenced’ in his workplace.”