It’s been quite a year for news in northeastern Minnesota and I’ve been fortunate to have a great client in Minnesota Public Radio to help communicate those stories visually.
Things started with these crazy endurance athletes competing in the Arrowhead 135 by running, biking or skiing 135 miles in weather conditions that approach 40 below at times. This year it was warm so I’ll have to make it out another year to catch some ice beards. Then there was MPR’s interesting look into a trend of older men going after younger girls in Grand Marais. During that, I was able to meet Cook County attorney Tim Scannell, who was shot multiple times at the courthouse by a man he was prosecuting in connection with such an offense.
If you are a sports fan, how could you forget the Jack Jablonski story and Benilde-St. Margaret’s improbable run to the Class AA hockey title? Then there was smelting on Lake Superior, the Spin Collective lighting up the north shore and more crazy athletes enduring the Tough Mudder.
Then came the floods. Nearly 20 hours of heavy rain that just would not stop. Roads caved in. Culverts gave way. Towns like Moose Lake, Barnum and Thomson were hit hard and neighborhoods in Duluth like Fond du Lac saw homes submerged for days. The rain lasted just a day, but the story continues to develop.
Then there was June the black bear and Lynn Rogers continuing his research. The one year anniversary of the Pagami Creek fire revealed that Mother Nature finds a way. Areas that were completely and utterly torched were replaced by some of the greenest vegetation you’ll ever see.
Then came the 10-year anniversary of the Senator Paul Wellstone plane crash. You could tell his impact was still being felt today and emotions ran high at the crash site as a service in honor of the victims attracted over 200 people. Right after the Wellstone memorial, politics kicked into high gear in northeastern Minnesota. A tight and expensive race between incumbent Chip Cravaack and challenger Rick Nolan had people unsure who was going to capture the seat until election night when Nolan won by a surprising and convincing margin. Former President Bill Clinton and Vice-President Joe Biden visited the Twin Ports to drum up support for the Obama campaign in what was projected to be a tight presidential race.
After the election season was over, we covered a story about Herring being caught and processed at the Dockside Fish Market in Grand Marais. While some of the scenes weren’t the most pleasing, I can vouch that the herring were deeply delicious. Almost as controversial as the elections was the re-opening of the wolf hunt in Minnesota. That brought me to Joe Edminster’s house north of Grand Rapids as he educated a local teenager about the proper way to set traps. His house and all the traps in it were a trip.
Finally, six months later, the story of the flood continues. While it may not be on the front of the newspaper anymore, people are still recovering, repairing and reconstructing their lives and homes and working at getting back to normal. Most have done that, but there are still hundreds out there that continue to deal with the after effects every day.
It was a busy, fun and challenging year. Some of the highlights for me included the Arrowhead 135 race, the Tough Mudder, the state hockey tournament, covering the elections and the story about the trapper. The floods were a difficult subject. It’s not easy going to house after house and seeing people break down right in front of you as they struggle to cope with how they are going to recover. It’s given me a much deeper appreciation for the well-being of our family and happy that our house was not affected much by the floods.
To see many more photos from MPR photographers around the state, bookmark this page and check it often. They do great work!
Well, that was a lot of typing. Onto the pictures!
Lee Peyton’s blistered and bruised feet after 70 miles of running over snow, ice and rocks during the Arrowhead 135 ultra marathon.
Lee Peyton of Edinburgh, United Kingdom winces as Sabine Couteau, a nurse from Grenoble, France, lances the toenail on the big toe of his left foot so fluid could drain from a blister beneath the toenail. A few minutes later, Couteau did the same for the big toe on Peyton’s right foot. Petyon was recovering and resting at a cabin serving as the check-in point at the Melgeorge’s resort early Tuesday morning near Elephant Lake about ten miles north of Orr, Minn.
Chris Peters of Iowa makes his way across Elephant Lake early Tuesday morning near the Melgeorge’s check-in point about 70 miles into the race. Peters dropped out of the race at Melgeorge’s.
The bullet that was removed from the leg of Cook County attorney Tim Scannell sits on his desk the day after Scannell’s surgery to remove it Friday, February 3rd in his office at the Cook County courthouse in Grand Marais, Minn.
Cook County attorney Tim Scannell talks about the culture of younger girls and older men Friday, February 3rd in his office at the Cook County courthouse in Grand Marais, Minn.
Nonnie Socholotuk braves high winds and stinging snow to film the waves and conditions along Lake Superior in Canal Park with his iPhone early Wednesday morning in Duluth, Minn. “I started at Brighton Beach and am making all the stops along the lake,” Socholotuk said.
Surfers descended on Stony Point north of Duluth, Minn. as blizzard conditions swept across northern Minnesota.
Benilde-St. Margaret’s Grant Besse celebrates his third of five goals against Hill-Murray in the second period Saturday evening during the Minnesota Class AA championship game at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.
Jake Horton (on ice, 16) celebrates his second period goal with Tyler Ellegard (top, 40) that put the Red Knights up 7-0 against Lakeville South Friday evening during the Minnesota Class AA semifinal at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.
Benilde-St. Margaret’s students react after the Red Knights’ Grant Besse scored his fourth goal of the game against Hill-Murray Saturday evening during the Minnesota Class AA championship game at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.
Jack Jablonski (smiling, right) gets a hug from his mom, Leslie Jablonski (smiling, shirt with colored circles) as they celebrate Christian Horn’s goal with 34 seconds left to propel Benilde-St. Margaret’s past Edina 3-2 Thursday evening during the Minnesota Class AA quarterfinal at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.
Benilde-St. Margaret’s fans celebrate with Red Knights players after they defeated Hill-Murray 5-1 Saturday evening in the Minnesota Class AA championship game at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.
Smelt fishermen take their nets back into the waters of Lake Superior Sunday, April 22nd at Park Point in Duluth, Minn.
Andrew Frank, 14, bites the head off of a Smelt as part of a tradition for first-time Smelt fishermen Sunday evening along Park Point in Duluth, Minn.
Koua Yang (right) of St. Paul runs to the fire to warm up as cold temperatures and a stiff breeze kept most Smelt fishermen on the shore instead of in Lake Superior Friday, April 20th along Park Point in Duluth, Minn.
A section of school trust land as seen Wednesday, May 2nd from Alton Lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.
Bill Hansen, owner of Sawbill Canoe Outfitters, portages between Sawbill Lake and Alton Lake Wednesday, May 2nd in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.
Bill Lundeen owns Lundeen’s Tackle Castle in Onamia, Minn.
Spin Collective members perform a group hug after practicing near Park Point along the shore of Lake Superior Tuesday evening in Duluth, Minn.
Spin Collective member Denise Cooper practices near
Park Point along the shore of Lake Superior Tuesday evening in Duluth, Minn.
A flaming weight bounces off Spin Collective member Aleasha Hladlik’s shoulder while she practices hooping near Park Point along the shore of Lake Superior Tuesday evening in Duluth, Minn.
Spin Collective member Denise Cooper practices near
Park Point along the shore of Lake Superior Tuesday evening in Duluth, Minn.
A Tough Mudder Minnesota participant reacts to being shocked by live electrical wires during the Electric Eel obstacle Saturday morning in Somerset, Wisc. This particular reaction was the third shock in about five seconds for this participant.
A giant pit of mud between obstacles was was a good excuse for Tough Mudder Minnesota participants to cool down or tackle a friend Saturday morning in Somerset, Wisc.
Tough Mudder Minnesota participants help each other conquer the Bale Bonds obstacle Saturday morning in Somerset, Wisc.
With less than a foot separating mud from barbwire, Tough Mudder Minnesota participants battle the Kiss of Mud obstacle Saturday morning in Somerset, Wisc. Unlike the Electric Eel obstacle later in the course, these barbwires were not electrically charged.
Drenched in mud and ready to head forge ahead to the next obstacle, a Tough Mudder Minnesota participant shakes the mud from his hands Saturday morning in Somerset, Wisc.
Lamprey use their many teeth to latch onto the side of lake trout and suck their body fluids until the trout die. It’s estimated that each lamprey kill between 10 and 40 pounds of lake trout during their lifespan, which is estimated at 18 months.
From nets dropped in 150 feet of water, this lake trout made it’s way to the surface into the hands of Minnesota Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist Corey Goldsworthy (not pictured) to be examined for signs of lamprey wounds Tuesday morning on Lake Superior north of Duluth, Minn.
Colton Guski (left) reacts while hearing about Jeffrey Whitney’s (right) experience as a gay person graduating from Hibbing High School in 1994 Thursday evening at Hibbing Community College in Hibbing, Minn. Despite two decades of time between them, each offered similar sentiments about what it’s like being a gay person in Hibbing. After graduating from high school, Whitney left Hibbing for New York City and is back for the summer while between jobs.
Ashley Rantala (left) hands a notecard with a question on it to Father Anthony Craig (center) while Al Jacobson (right) goes over papers prior to a question and answer session at Blessed Sacrament Church in Hibbing, Minn. during an informational meeting promoting a yes vote on a same-sex marriage amendment appearing on Minnesota ballots in November.
A giant sinkhole along Skyline Parkway near Ninth Avenue East captured this car Wednesday morning after heavy rains caused flooding in Duluth, Minn.
Joe Mohelsky looks around floodwaters that surrounded his home Thursday afternoon on the shore of Moosehead Lake in Moose Lake, Minn. The buoys in front of Mohelsky were placed at 9pm the previous night at the edge of floodwaters and by 5a.m., the waters had reached his house and continued to rise throughout the day.
Katie Jungers of Moose Lake, Minn. surveys the athletic fields behind Moose Lake High School Thursday afternoon after flood waters inundated the town.
Joel Kulaszewicz walks over a steel beam onto Vermillion Street after checking out the scene behind his store, Ghost Town Relics, Sunday afternoon in Thomson, Minn.
A section of Highway 210 was washed out after a dyke was overtopped at Forebay Lake. The wall of water washed away a large swath of forest and left a nearly one hundred foot deep gap in the highway. According to Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials, there was no waterway or stream here before the washout.
A section of Highway 210 meets a 50 foot drop off where a culvert failed and the highway washed away Tuesday morning near Jay Cooke State Park.
Steve Gutz uses a wire cutter to cut through a chain link fence that was tangled between his motorcycle and logs that were left behind after flooding from last month’s storms Thursday morning at his home in the Fond du Lac neighborhood of Duluth, Minn. Gutz’ home is less than 20 feet from the banks of the St. Louis River and suffered extensive damage from the flooding. On Thursday, Gutz was receiving help removing flood-damaged portions of the inside of his home from NECHAMA, a Jewish volunteer organization providing cleanup and recovery assistance to homes and communities affected by natural disaster.
Wildlife Research Institute biologists Lynn Rogers (left) and Sue Mansfield (right) use an antenna while trying to locate June, a 300-plus-pound pregnant black bear, in the woods on Thursday, August 30, 2012 near Ely, Minn.
Wildlife Research Institute biologist Lynn Rogers hand feeds June, a 300-plus-pound pregnant black bear, on Thursday, August 30th, 2012 in the woods near Ely, Minn.
June, a 300-plus-pound pregnant black bear is examined by Wildlife Research Institute biologists Lynn Rogers (right) and Sue Mansfield (not pictured) Thursday, August 30, 2012 in the woods near Ely, Minn.
A jack pine seedling sprouts Thursday morning in the fertile soil nearly one year after the Pagami Creek fire burned through an area near Isabella Lake.
The green vegetation of the forest floor provides a stark contrast to the blackened stumps of trees burned by the Pagami Creek fire Thursday afternoon in an area near Isabella Lake.
Timber from a logging truck idled at a stoplight next to parked cars in downtown Duluth, Minn. Thursday, September 27, 2012 during a protest by loggers over federal weight restrictions on the interstate highway system. Over 60 logging trucks moved through Duluth’s downtown during the protest.
U.S. Senator Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, wipes water from a rock displaying the name of Senator Paul Wellstone and his wife Sheila Wellstone Thursday, October 25, 2012 at the Paul Wellstone Memorial and Historic Site near Eveleth, Minn.
People gather at the Paul Wellstone Memorial and Historic Site Thursday, October 25, 2012 on the 10th anniversary of the plane crash that killed Senator Paul Wellstone and others near Eveleth, Minn.
Penny Flanagan of Minneapolis, Minn. sheds a tear during a memorial program dedicated to Senator Paul Wellstone and others on the 10th anniversary of their fatal plane crash at the Paul Wellstone Memorial and Historic Site Thursday, October 25, 2012 near Eveleth, Minn.
U.S. Senator Al Franken does an impersonation of Senator Paul Wellstone ordering breakfast Thursday, October 25, 2012 at the Clinton town hall in Iron Junction, Minn.
Former President Bill Clinton greets the crowd after concluding his remarks at the University of Minnesota Duluth Kirby Student Center Tuesday, October 30, 2012 in Duluth, Minn.
Former President Bill Clinton speaks to a crowd at the University of Minnesota Duluth Kirby Student Center Tuesday, October 30, 2012 in Duluth, Minn.
Eighth district congressional candidate Rick Nolan (left) and Jason Metsa, candidate for District 6B of the Minnesota State House, door knock at The Rochleau, an assisted living center, Wednesday, October 31, 2012 in Virginia, Minn.
People wait to hear Vice President Joe Biden speak at a rally Friday, November 2, 2012 at Superior Middle School in Superior, Wisc. The crowd was estimated at over 1100.
Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a rally Friday, November 2, 2012 at Superior Middle School in Superior, Wisc.
Congressman Chip Cravaack (MN-8) addresses the media and supporters during a news conference at London Road Rental Center Wednesday afternoon in Duluth, Minn.
DFL congressional candidate Rick Nolan (center) greets Trix Wyant (left) of Aitkin County and Gerry (2nd from left) and Wayne Altonen (right, red shirt) of Crow Wing County shortly before a news conference attended by numerous DFL elected officials and supporters Wednesday afternoon at the Duluth Labor Temple in Duluth, Minn.
Congressman Chip Cravaack wipes sweat from his forehead Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at his election party at Tobies in Hinckley, Minn. Photo by Derek Montgomery.
Kris Anderson of Hibbing, Minn. breaks down after Congressman Chip Cravaack concludes his concession speech Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at Cravaack’s election party location at Tobies in Hinckley, Minn. Challenger Rick Nolan defeated Cravaack to capture the Eighth Congressional District seat. Photo by Derek Montgomery.
Congressman Chip Cravaack speaks to the media Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at his election party at Tobies in Hinckley, Minn. Photo by Derek Montgomery.
Dozens of seagulls circle over the Dockside Fish Market Thursday, November 8, 2012 in Grand Marais, Minn. as Herring is transferred from boats to the processing facility.
Tyler Smith (left) and Harley Toftey (right) move containers of Herron from a recent trip to their Lake Superior nets Thursday, November 8, 2012 at the Dockside Fish Market in Grand Marais, Minn.
Tim Lamb feeds Herring into a machine that will cut the heads off Thursday, November 8, 2012 at the Dockside Fish Market in Grand Marais, Minn.
Herring blood streams across the floor as the fish make their way through the Dockside Fish Market processing facility Thursday, November 8, 2012 in Grand Marais, Minn.
The heads of Herron pile up in a large plastic tub during processing at the Dockside Fish Market Thursday, November 8, 2012 in Grand Marais, Minn. Just about every piece of Herring that is processed at the facility can be used in some fashion. The Herring heads are destined to become fertilizer.
Herring eggs or “Lake Superior Gold” as some workers at the Dockside Fish Market call it, await packaging and shipment Thursday, November 8, 2012 in Grand Marais, Minn.
Beaver testicles hang from a string inside Joe Edminster’s garage Friday, November 23, 2012 near Grand Rapids, Minn. The testicles are their castoreum often purchased and then used in perfumes.
Joe Edminster leans against a freezer full of frozen bait while holding a frozen red squirrel Friday, November 23, 2012 at his home near Grand Rapids, Minn.
Joe Edminster inspects a few of the hundreds of traps he has collected and displayed in his basement Friday, November 23, 2012 near Grand Rapids, Minn.
Prepared traps for the following day sit next to the present day’s yield Friday, November 23, 2012 in Joe Edminster’s garage near Grand Rapids, Minn.
A mounted bear sits among dozens of bear traps that Joe Edminster has collected then mounted to his basement’s walls over the years Friday, November 23, 2012 near Grand Rapids, Minn.
With her mail piled up in front of her and sections of her home’s siding decaying after being damaged by flooding in June from nearby Moosehorn Lake, Linda Berg spends a few quiet moments by herself looking out toward Moose Lake Elementary school Thursday, December 6, 2012 at her home in Moose Lake, Minn.
Berg has moved out of the house she has lived in for more than 50 years after it was almost totally destroyed in flooding from nearby Moosehorn Lake. Now living in an apartment, Berg says she can’t stand to give up the address so she returns each day to collect mail and make sure the “two wilder cats” have food, water and a working warming pad.