Dozens of volunteers across Minnesota are driving back roads, looking for puddles and ponds, and listening for frog music. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is tracking the frog population. But the DNR doesn't have enough staff to do a statewide survey, so volunteers are boning up on their frog calls, grabbing their clipboards, and gathering valuable information.
A landmark on the North Shore Highway is back, but it's in rough shape. Last week, somebody stole the larger-than-life statue of a rooster from its perch in Two Harbors. The thieves threw the rooster off a bridge, and it looked like the statue would never be the same. But airline mechanics in Duluth have volunteered to put it back together again.
The Minnesota Legislature is talking about picking up the pace on state highways. Rural lawmakers are pushing a bill that would increase the daytime speed limit to 65 mph on many two-lane highways.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is backing a proposal to let hunters in Minnesota use dogs to pursue black bears. The Legislature is considering it. The plan has friends and foes.
Black bears have lumbered into Duluth looking for food ever since the city was founded. Now, bears have taken up residence inside the city. The Department of Natural Resources says about 10 bears live fulltime in town. And some of those bears are making people anxious. But there's disagreement over what to do.
Duluth is just like other US cities. All over town, signs say, "No war," and "Support our troops." And now people in Duluth are divided over something that might have happened to a man in uniform. Or maybe it was several men in uniform. Or maybe it didn't happen at all.
Cargo ships have started moving on the Great Lakes, and Coast Guard icebreakers are smashing the ice in the Duluth harbor. The Coast Guard cutter <i>Sundew</i> has been chipping away at the ice in Duluth for more than a week.
Curling clubs say they've had more young folks try the sport since last year's Olympics. But curling doesn't have the same natural youth-appeal as football or basketball or snowboarding. So curling clubs make a point of bringing the game to kids.
It's been a tough winter for people who depend on snow to make money. But the lack of snow has made it a banner year for other businesses. People who thaw out septic systems have more work than they can handle.
We all make promises to ourselves. 'I'm going to lose some weight.' Or, 'I'm going to spend more time with the kids.' Or, 'I'm going to learn to play the piano.' Some people put sticky notes on the fridge to remind them of their pledges. Some people use their palm pilots. And some people hire a "life coach."
Haley Bonar is keeping busy. She's playing regularly in Duluth. Her new CD is coming out. And she's going on a national tour this spring. She's doing all right for a 19-year-old who quit college to write songs.
People in Minnesota have been known to cut a hole in their mittens so they can hold a cigarette. Smokers can't light up inside anymore, and frigid winter days are tough.
Rhonna Kalstad is in the car at dawn and she gets home after midnight. A job, doctor appointments, errands -- it's just another day for a young mother of two kids who's scraping to get by.
Nearly 300 workers at the Blandin paper mill in Grand Rapids have lost their jobs. That's more than a third of the workers at the plant. Blandin's owner, UPM Kymmene of Finland, is shutting down two of the four production lines at the mill in Grand Rapids.
Gov.-elect Tim Pawlenty completed a two-day "listening tour" of outstate Minnesota Friday. Pawlenty sounded separate themes on each of his stops; health care, economic development and the state's budget woes dominated most of the discussions. Pawlenty, who has tried to cut state aid to cities and towns, criticized some localities for depending too much on the aid.