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A popular federal program that for 33 years has quietly trapped and killed thousands of wolves in northern Minnesota will become extinct after Friday. The wolves were targeted near where livestock and pets had been killed. And almost everyone who knew about the program -- farmers, conservation leaders, wolf lovers, state natural resource officials, Republican and Democratic politicians -- liked it. But with a moratorium on earmarks in Washington, there's no money assigned to the program after fiscal 2011 ends Friday, when wolf trappers will cease operations.
More than 830 people are now helping stamp out the remnants of the Pagami Creek fire in the Superior National Forest, and they're having an easier time of it after several days of rain. Crews now have more than 30 percent of the fire contained thanks to help from several aircraft, bulldozers, fire trucks and more. But more than an inch of rain since Sunday has been the biggest factor, along with cool temperatures. "It was raining hard enough (Wednesday) that they took the crews off the line by about noon.
Yet another cougar has moved across the Northland, heading east into Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Trail camera photographs taken in northern Douglas County on July 25, in Iron County on Aug. 30 and near Ontonagon, Mich., on Sept.
Murphy Oil Corp. has reached an agreement to sell its Superior refinery to Calumet Specialty Products Partners, an Indiana-based refiner and processer of specialty petroleum products. The deal, announced Monday, exactly one year since the refinery was put up for sale, still must clear regulatory approval but is expected to be final by the end of September. It's unclear what the change in ownership might mean for the refinery and its roughly 156 employees.
Douglas and Sawyer Counties grew a bit over the past decade while Ashland and Superior lost people, according to data released Thursday from the 2010 U.S. census. The census snapshot of population, racial makeup and growth patterns over the past decade shows that Northwestern Wisconsin's population growth lagged behind the state as a whole.
Wisconsin State Sen. Bob Jauch said he was "appalled" and "dumbfounded" at the words of Gov. Scott Walker in what turned out to be a crank call to the governor. "My heart sank," the Democratic senator from Poplar said, adding that he felt like he was "standing in the White House during Watergate." Jauch also blasted Walker for canceling his planned meeting with representatives of Superior Days, the community's annual lobbying effort at the Capitol.
The 12-year-old boy who died from injuries suffered after hitting a tree while skiing at Spirit Mountain on Friday afternoon has been identified as Trent Stellrecht. The Grantsburg, Wis., youth was one of 12 children on a ski trip organized by the Living Hope Church near Grantsburg. "He was a great boy, very busy, very active. ... He liked the outdoors and was always helping his father," said Chris Radtke, the church's youth director. Radtke said Stellrecht had been on the beginner hill most of the day and then apparently went off on his own to a more challenging hill.
Enbridge Energy Partners LLC was formally fined $2.4 million Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Transportation for the 2007 oil pipeline explosion near Clearbrook, Minn., that killed two Superior men. The fine was proposed in 2008 but didn't become formal until Tuesday. It must be paid within 20 days, federal officials said. The explosion, which occurred on Nov. 28, 2007, created a huge fire and spilled 15,000 gallons of oil. In addition to the fine, Enbridge also must revise and implement certain pipeline maintenance and repair procedures and upgrade training efforts for employees.
Parts of 11 lakes in Douglas and Bayfield counties along the Eau Claire chain would get special protections under a proposal announced today by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The DNR is proposing Critical Habitat Designation for parts of Birch, Bony, Cranberry, Devils, Lower Eau Claire, Middle Eau Claire, Robinson, Shunenberg, Smith, Sweet and Upper Eau Claire lakes. The plan is to protect key areas for fish spawning and shoreland wildlife, said Alex Smith.