Daniel Howes The Detroit News Published 10:18 PM EDT Jul 1, 2019 Sault Ste. Marie — It’s almost July 4, and the water pouring down from swollen Lake Superior still is frigid below the Soo Locks. Water levels are touching historic levels, says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, likely hitting new monthly highs in June for lakes Superior, Erie, Ontario and the wannabe Great Lake, Lake St. Clair. Floating through it all are Great Lakes freighters, a fresh-water shipping tradition here that predates the Civil War and fuels the industrial heartland more than many of us appreciate. Enormous "lakers" carrying grain, stone and mostly taconite, a form of iron ore, pass down through the 1,200-foot Poe Lock. For now, it's the only working set able to accommodate the thousand footers making their way to customers on the lower four Great Lakes and beyond. The smaller MacArthur Lock, 800 feet long, moves tour boats and pleasure craft. It's an awesome sight, … [Read more...] about Howes: Soo Locks, lakers help fuel industrial heartland
Rough water on lake superior
When Amy Klobuchar launched her presidential campaign on a snowy February day in Minneapolis, she began by telling her family story. The daughter of a teacher and a journalist. The first woman from Minnesota elected to the U.S. Senate. But to start, Klobuchar said: “I stand before you as the granddaughter of an iron ore miner.” Her roots in Minnesota’s Iron Range and longstanding alliance with the iron mining industry have been hallmarks of Klobuchar’s political identity since she first ran for office. They’re also important to her presidential run as a “Heartland” Democrat who can appeal to rural white voters who swung to President Donald Trump in 2016. Yet as the new — and more environmentally risky — copper-nickel mining industry emerges on the Iron Range and promises a jolt to the mining economy, Klobuchar’s views have remained something of a mystery. After 15 years of public scrutiny, people for and against mining seem … [Read more...] about What is Amy Klobuchar’s stance on copper-nickel mining?
John Carlisle Detroit Free Press Published 12:12 PM EST Dec 25, 2018 THE UPPER PENINSULA – Randy Kluck liked to drink. If he wasn’t drinking wine on his front porch at his house he was drinking liquor on a barstool at some dive bar in Sault Ste. Marie, where he moved to be close to his son Kevin, who came here to attend college. The two were such buddies that Kevin refers to his dad by his first name. “He really was always my best friend,” said Kevin, 36. “So I just think of him as ‘Randy.’ ” Six years ago, they were drinking on the porch, and Randy came up with an idea — how about they spend the summer together on an epic road trip through the Upper Peninsula and write a book about all the amazing bars they’d stop at along the way? There would be so many nights they’d get to spend side-by-side on barstools, so many long drives along the empty highways, so much to tell each other, so much … [Read more...] about Upper Peninsula drinking guide becomes cult classic
John Carlisle Detroit Free Press Published 8:03 AM EST Dec 24, 2018 KEWEENAW PENINSULA – The view from Tom Chobanian’s house is a thick wall of trees. It wasn’t always, though. “There used to be nothing but whorehouses here,” said the wiry 29-year-old, pointing into the woods, recounting family memories. “This used to have 600 people. They had their bars right here, and, right here, there used to be nothing but wood stacked up. Lumber." Chobanian lives in Donken, an Upper Peninsula town that isn’t really a town anymore. More than a century ago, the Case Lumber Mill stood here, and a whole town was built around it, named by the mill owner for his sons — Donald and Kenneth. It had a schoolhouse, a post office, a company store, a main street and, according to local lore, a few places where lumberjacks could unwind and get wild. But decades after the mill closed, Donken slowly vanished. Now it's just a brief interruption in a … [Read more...] about For select few in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, a ghost town is home
It has been a year full of victories for two companies that hope to build copper-nickel mines in northeastern Minnesota and they both received an extra boost on Thursday to cap off 2018, drawing celebration from mining supporters and fury from adversaries. First, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency approved vital clean air and water permits for PolyMet, a $1 billion project near Hoyt Lakes that is nearing construction — perhaps as soon as early 2019. Later in the day, the federal Bureau of Land Management announced it intends to renew the mineral leases of Twin Metals in Superior National Forest — near Ely and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area — following a 30-day comment period. That fiercely-contested project is not as close to construction, but a lease renewal would complete a total reversal for the feds, which stalled Twin Metals by rejecting new mineral leases in the final weeks of Barack Obama’s administration. Nancy Norr, chairwoman of Jobs for … [Read more...] about Two big wins — and a setback — for mining projects in northern Minnesota