An environmental analysis on Minnesota’s first proposed copper-nickel mine has been released for public review and comment. The Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed PolyMet NorthMet copper-nickel mine has been in the works for years. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Forest Service are seeking public comment on the proposed mine project near Hoyt Lakes. The document is 2,200 pages long and is highly technical. PolyMet says it would invest $650 million into the project and expects it to generate 300 to 360 jobs over 20 years. Comments are being accepted on the draft review environmental impact statement until March 13, 2014. There will also be public meetings held on Jan. 6 in Aurora, Duluth and St. Paul, to discuss the proposal.
Private investigators who have re-opened the Ruby Slipper theft case say they are still in the state. One of Hollywood’s most coveted pieces of memorabilia, at one time valued at $1 million, the glittery slippers were stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in 2005 in a relatively simple burglary. Despite widespread media attention, the shoes were never found. The museum hired the Minneapolis investigative agency Alexander & Associates to re-open the cold investigation, and they have made several important breaks in the case. Contrary to initial police suspicions, the red-sequined, size-5 1/2 shoes were not spirited across state lines, they said. Further, the investigators are confident they have identified two thieves responsible, both “local males” between the ages of 18 and 25. The investigators are declining to specifically identify them. The ages of the two indicate they were just teens, or even younger, at the time of the theft eight years ago.
A seventh grade Grand Rapids Student died in Brainerd last night. Students and parents at the Robert J Elkington Middle School are in mourning after the untimely death of Breck Liestman. RJE Middle School Principle Brett Brunetta said Breck was warming up for a basketball game in Brainerd when he collapsed. He said a cause of the death has not been released and that there are counselors available for students and staff. Brunetta described Liestman as a great student.
Hill City Schools (ISD 2) are closed (and all after school activities canceled)
Greenway (ISD 316) – Nashwauk / Keewatin (ISD 319) Schools are closed (and all after school activities are canceled)
The Bug – Oh – Nay – Ge – Shig School is closed (and all after school activities are canceled)
as of 9:45 AM
Every hour, one person in the US dies from radon-related lung cancer. It is the largest environmental cancer risk and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Fortunately, the risk is largely preventable. Itasca County Public Health and the Minnesota Department of Health recommend that all homes in the state be tested for radon. Radon is an odorless, colorless and tasteless radioactive gas that occurs naturally in Minnesota soils and can enter homes through cracks and openings in basement or foundation floors and walls. To obtain a test kit, contact Itasca County Public Health at 327-2941. You may also get a test kit from Itasca County Environmental Services, located in the courthouse or by calling 327-7430. You can also go on-line to www.health.state.mn.us.
Recognition is always a great motivator and the staff at the Forest lake Elementary School have received some from the State Department of Education. Dr. Bruce Thomas interim District 318 School Superintendent said this is the second time that Forest Lake has been recognized by the Department of Education.
Synthetic drug use across the country is causing many trips to the emergency room and the Itasca County Board of Commissioners have enacted an ordinance to help prevent those occurrences here. The active ingredients chemical formula is changed frequently to prevent the actual drug from being outlawed but the county has determined a way to curtail the sale. County Administrator Trish Kline said the ordinance requires anyone wanting to sell synthetic drugs within Itasca County to obtain a license for a fee of $600. Hours of operation are regulated as is the manufacturer labeling of all product contents sold. The ordinance prohibits the sale of such drugs to anyone under the age of 21 and does not allow them to be sold within 500 feet of any park, school, day care facility or area zoned residential or mixed-use neighborhood. The penalty for violating the provisions of this ordinance is a misdemeanor and punishable by a fine of $1,000, 90 days in jail or both.
Anglers are now able to spear more fish on twelve Minnesota lakes after a 2013 legislative session bill repealing restrictions on spearing. Effective December 2nd Deer, Moose, North Star and Spider lakes in Itasca County were opened to dark house spearing. According to Chris Kavanaugh, DNR Fisheries Supervisor, it was a common practice in the 60’s & 70’s to prohibit spearing on waters managed for muskies. For more information on spearing regulations visit the Minnesota DNR website at www.dnr.state.mn.us.
In the local crime report from the Grand Rapids Police Department:
A two vehicle accident occurred on Wednesday November 27th at the intersection of River Road and 7th Avenue. A vehicle was making a left turn when it was hit by another vehicle that did not yield. Both vehicles were towed.
On Friday November 29th an innkeeper on 4th Street NW reported a TV and comforter had been stolen from a room. The guest said they left the door unlocked and felt responsible so they arranged a re-payment plan for the missing items.
Also on Friday a pistol owner reported to law enforcement that they may have left their pistol in a bathroom stall at a retail grocer on 4th Street NW. The owner notified management at the grocery store and law enforcement entered it into the missing firearm database.
A student at swim practice in the RJE Middle School reported their cellular phone missing from their locker on Friday. The parents used a missing cell phone app to locate the phone at a residence on 7th Avenue. Law enforcement went to the location and asked about the phone. It appeared an 11 year old had taken the phone along with a portable MP3 player. The 11 year old also said they were responsible for breaking the phone glass and would pay for the repair. Both items were returned to the proper owners.