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Josephine Marcotty

Investigative reporter | Health
phone: 612-673-7394
Josephine Marcotty writes about nature and the environment for the Star Tribune. Marcotty holds a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Michigan. She came to the Star Tribune in 1979 and has worked as a business reporter and as a health and science editor. She became a medical writer in 1999. Her work on the series "Your Choice: Health Care's New Era," received a National Headliner Award in 2009. She was honored by the Minnesota Associated Press in 2003 for "Cory's Legacy," the story of a transplant. She has received numerous awards for her coverage of mental illness in Minnesota. Before coming to the Star Tribune, Marcotty was a reporter at the Dayton Daily News in Ohio.
Recent content from Josephine Marcotty
Loved and loathed activist has drawn a line in BWCA

Loved and loathed activist has drawn a line in BWCA

With steely resolve, Becky Rom builds a campaign against mining. And once again, she has set many in her hometown of Ely against her.

Winona County is first county in Minnesota to pass frac sand ban

After debate over jobs and land, the ban passed 3-2.
Scathing review blasts states, EPA for failing to protect Mississippi River

Scathing review blasts states, EPA for failing to protect Mississippi River

Cry for help from 13 environmental groups says decades of voluntary measures and light touch by feds don't work.
Minnesota pollution regulators propose for first time deadlines for Minntac tailings basin to meet goals

Minnesota pollution regulators propose for first time deadlines for Minntac tailings basin to meet goals

Proposed permit for the first time sets deadlines to limit pollutants.
Lawsuit alleges lax regulation of major Minnesota taconite mine

Lawsuit alleges lax regulation of major Minnesota taconite mine

Three environmental groups charge that Minnesota has failed to protect northern waters.
PolyMet formally applies for permit to mine copper in NE Minnesota

PolyMet formally applies for permit to mine copper in NE Minnesota

For the first time the company specified how much money it would offer as financial insurance against future pollution and reclamation costs: $253 million in the first three years.
More trees would give Minneapolis a huge health boost, study finds

More trees would give Minneapolis a huge health boost, study finds

Minneapolis tied for second place in a study of cities that would benefit most from boosting urban forests.
Hundreds attend University of Minnesota bee lab's open house

Hundreds attend University of Minnesota bee lab's open house

Research there will delve into decline in population of pollinators.
Once-common rusty patched bumblebee likely to join endangered list

Once-common rusty patched bumblebee likely to join endangered list

The decline also illustrates the often unexpected consequences for insects from the way people grow their food.
Winona County Board moves closer to a frac sand mining ban

Winona County Board moves closer to a frac sand mining ban

Commissioners voted 3-2 for language that would make it first county in the state to prohibit the industry.
Minnesota, North Dakota at a standoff over $2 billion Red River project

Minnesota, North Dakota at a standoff over $2 billion Red River project

Minnesota's opposition limits North Dakota's options.
Minnesota denies flood diversion permit for Red River at Fargo

Minnesota denies flood diversion permit for Red River at Fargo

After years of work, state won't issue permit for massive plan to divert Red River.
Special report: Mighty Mississippi faces mounting environmental threats

Special report: Mighty Mississippi faces mounting environmental threats

The Star Tribune examines the health of Minnesota's rivers and whether we can save one of our greatest natural resources, the Mississippi, before it's too late.
Obituary: Janice Johnson pursued social justice. green gardening to the very end

Obituary: Janice Johnson pursued social justice. green gardening to the very end

At the end, when she decided it was time to forgo more cancer treatments, Janice Johnson stayed true to the upbeat, generous and inclusive values…

Hopkins outbreak is part of a rising tide of Legionnaires' cases in U.S.

Three more cases have been reported in the mysterious outbreak, which has sickened 17 since Sept. 9.
Tiny bits of plastics, fiber are building up in the Mississippi River

Tiny bits of plastics, fiber are building up in the Mississippi River

Levels of ag pollutants have fallen, but "microplastics,'' an environmental threat worldwide, are rising.
Twin Metals sues federal government over right to mine near BWCA

Twin Metals sues federal government over right to mine near BWCA

Twin Metals says new concerns don't give regulators the right to revoke long-standing leases.
80 homes in Washington County getting bottled water amid pollution review

80 homes in Washington County getting bottled water amid pollution review

State is reviewing new contamination standard for old 3M chemicals.
EPA presses Minnesota over laws exempting taconite firms from wild rice rules

EPA presses Minnesota over laws exempting taconite firms from wild rice rules

Taconite pollution rules under federal scrutiny.
U.S. Forest Service balks at copper-nickel mining plan near BWCA

U.S. Forest Service balks at copper-nickel mining plan near BWCA

Forest Service asks for public comment on Twin Metals plan.

Terrorism convictions will serve as a warning across the country

Verdict is likely to serve as a stark warning to others.
Review: 'If Bees Are Few: A Hive of Bee Poems,' edited by James Lenfestey

Review: 'If Bees Are Few: A Hive of Bee Poems,' edited by James Lenfestey

POETRY: A collection of poems old and new about the honeybee.
DNR pursues better plan, better numbers on deer

DNR pursues better plan, better numbers on deer

The agency will take input from a wide range of people.
Land O'Lakes gives boost to Minnesota water quality effort

Land O'Lakes gives boost to Minnesota water quality effort

The company said it will help the state fight against pollution from agriculture.

Planned burn escapes limits near BWCA, spreads to 1,000 acres

Crews gained control of fire that spread to 1,000 acres.
Zebra mussel enforcement gets new weapon — mandatory education for rule breakers

Zebra mussel enforcement gets new weapon — mandatory education for rule breakers

On top of a fine, owners will get taken to school.
Government culling of Minn. wolves could put them in greater danger

Government culling of Minn. wolves could put them in greater danger

A novel study says government killing does not reduce private poaching.
Gardeners' revolt against pesticide hurting bees is surprisingly successful

Gardeners' revolt against pesticide hurting bees is surprisingly successful

The consumer revolt against neonicotinoids, widely blamed for the decline in pollinators, has been swift and surprisingly successful.
Obituary: Barbara Kaerwer was an influential lecturer and art collector

Obituary: Barbara Kaerwer was an influential lecturer and art collector

A trip to Europe in 1953 transformed Barbara Kaerwer’s life. And then she went on to transform the lives of many others. Kaerwer, an art…
Wolves on Isle Royale down to a last, aging pair

Wolves on Isle Royale down to a last, aging pair

The last two wolves on Isle Royale are so old and closely inbred that they are unlikely to successfully reproduce.
Warming temps will squeeze North Shore ski season, but bring surge in May

Warming temps will squeeze North Shore ski season, but bring surge in May

While most climate change research takes the stark global view, scientists at the University of Minnesota are thinking smaller. Like: What’s going to happen on…
Thirsty cities begin to eye water from the Great Lakes

Thirsty cities begin to eye water from the Great Lakes

Nearly a decade ago, eight governors shook hands on an extraordinary agreement to erect a legal wall around the largest source of fresh water on…
Sen. Bakk warns Cook County that mining stand could be costly

Sen. Bakk warns Cook County that mining stand could be costly

The state Senate majority leader advised commissioners they would risk losing state money if they passed a resolution to ban copper mining near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
DNR seeks $33M to fix state park buildings, trails

DNR seeks $33M to fix state park buildings, trails

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for the first time took a hard look at the all the state parks, trails, buildings, boat launches and monitoring wells it manages — and found that they need $342 million worth of work to get them all back into shape.
In win for beekeepers, Minnesota links insecticide to damaged hives

In win for beekeepers, Minnesota links insecticide to damaged hives

Investigators confirmed link to toxic insecticide dust in the first test of a landmark environmental law.

Public hearing will start next phase of PolyMet mine review

At April 19 hearing, execs will respond to concerns.
DNR says disease has killed hundreds of bats at Soudan mine entrance

DNR says disease has killed hundreds of bats at Soudan mine entrance

Tours will not be interrupted at Soudan Underground Mine, and the DNR said it will continue to follow decontamination procedures to prevent human transfer of fungal spores from the bats.

Twin Metals gets second rebuff over concerns about mining near the BWCA

Federal agency has concerns about leases near the BWCA.
Dayton rebuffs Twin Metals mine proposal, citing risks to BWCA

Dayton rebuffs Twin Metals mine proposal, citing risks to BWCA

Twin Metals eyes land near Boundary Waters.
PolyMet mine has green light, bad timing

PolyMet mine has green light, bad timing

With the copper industry on its knees, analysts and economists say it's highly unlikely the $650 million open pit mine will be built any time soon.
State approves final 3,500-page environmental review for PolyMet mine

State approves final 3,500-page environmental review for PolyMet mine

The DNR commissioner certified that the environmental impact statement for the proposed mine in northeastern Minnesota meets all legal requirements.
Dayton struggles to balance clean water campaign with strong farm economy

Dayton struggles to balance clean water campaign with strong farm economy

The governor has been preparing for a summit Saturday in St. Paul to discuss how to tackle the state's water problems.
Humane Society offers $5,000 reward in Minnesota wolf-poaching case

Humane Society offers $5,000 reward in Minnesota wolf-poaching case

The Humane Society of the United States is offering a $5,000 reward for information on who illegally killed three wolves in northern Minnesota, upping the…
Minnesota's latest moose count provides little good news for decline

Minnesota's latest moose count provides little good news for decline

Minnesota's moose population rose slightly in the latest count by state wildlife researchers, but not enough to place the species out of danger.
Buffer law triggers new debate: Which waters are covered?

Buffer law triggers new debate: Which waters are covered?

Only about one-third of the streams in Minnesota's farming regions will get the maximum amount of protection under new state buffer rules — a number that environmentalists say falls far short of what Gov. Mark Dayton's signature water protection law was intended to accomplish.
Drinking-water tests flawed for decades, state Health Department says

Drinking-water tests flawed for decades, state Health Department says

Health risk is extremely low, but the Health Department has launched a major review
Quest to save Minnesota moose has breakthroughs, hard choices

Quest to save Minnesota moose has breakthroughs, hard choices

When a moose goes down, scientists haul it out, seeking clues to the steep decline of a beloved North Woods beast. They've shown that saving it will require hard tradeoffs.

Tribal members challenge treaty rights

Fishing, rice harvesting challenge Minnesota's reading of an 1855 pact.

Tips for homeowners with lead pipes

If your home was built before World War II, there’s a good chance it has lead pipes. Municipal water treatment removes most risks, but there…
Flint crisis reveals vulnerability of all old water pipes

Flint crisis reveals vulnerability of all old water pipes

Minnesota rules, chemistry and testing protect residents of older homes.

Unhealthy air alert issued for most of Minnesota

State issues air pollution alert blamed on El Niño.
Minn. DNR to evict wildlife operation from Carlos Avery

Minn. DNR to evict wildlife operation from Carlos Avery

Two mountain lions, 40 wolves and a porcupine are among the animals owned by a private wildlife center that are getting the boot in Anoka County over "health and safety concerns."
EPA study of major pesticide finds it harms bees on some crops

EPA study of major pesticide finds it harms bees on some crops

In a first, federal review finds widely used pesticide can damage pollinator colonies.

State doubles funding to help sexually trafficked youths in Minnesota

Seven facilities will get money for beds, medical care.
10,000-fish kill in Whitewater River will remain a mystery

10,000-fish kill in Whitewater River will remain a mystery

Fish kills are common, but this one drew widespread attention because it occurred in a popular trout stream near Whitewater State Park.
Wild bees losing out to corn in Minnesota, Midwest, study says

Wild bees losing out to corn in Minnesota, Midwest, study says

Wild pollinators declined across 23 percent of the country, study found.
Obituary: Gretchen Quie was a governor's wife, an artist and a loving mom

Obituary: Gretchen Quie was a governor's wife, an artist and a loving mom

Joel Quie used to tease his mother by saying, “Turn around, Mom, and let me see your wings.” Though the wings were imaginary, Gretchen Quie…
Gov. Dayton decides against health risk review of PolyMet mine

Gov. Dayton decides against health risk review of PolyMet mine

Agency heads say doing so would make the state legally vulnerable.
In Minnesota's farm country, clean water is costly

In Minnesota's farm country, clean water is costly

Ag runoff is costly pollutant, but safe practices can help.
Minnesota's choice of mining law firm in PolyMet case draws protest

Minnesota's choice of mining law firm in PolyMet case draws protest

Environmental groups question legal team hired by state for PolyMet lawsuits.
Bacteria that cause Legionnaires found at Mpls. VA hospital

Bacteria that cause Legionnaires found at Mpls. VA hospital

Minneapolis VA is taking steps to clean water system of Legionnaires disease bacteria. No illnesses have been discovered.
U's Raptor Center has had hands full this year

U's Raptor Center has had hands full this year

The University of Minnesota's Raptor Center has been busy caring for sick, hurt birds.
Dayton considers health review of PolyMet copper mine

Dayton considers health review of PolyMet copper mine

Medical groups have urged state to study impacts on local water.
MnDOT builds condos for bats under I-90

MnDOT builds condos for bats under I-90

The little brown bat among the species threatened by white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease sweeping the country.
In a first, Minnesota garbage output declined as economy grew

In a first, Minnesota garbage output declined as economy grew

More consumer spending does not necessarily mean more garbage anymore.
PolyMet clears hurdle with regulators, but battle isn't over

PolyMet clears hurdle with regulators, but battle isn't over

The copper-nickel mine in northeast Minnesota would create about 350 jobs but presents new and greater environmental risks than taconite mining.
South Dakota scientist says USDA censored pesticide research

South Dakota scientist says USDA censored pesticide research

A researcher lauded by beekeepers files whistleblower complaint alleging retaliation.
1 walleye, 5 northerns per angler on Mille Lacs this winter

1 walleye, 5 northerns per angler on Mille Lacs this winter

The DNR is trying to balance conservation of the walleye population with the needs of the winter resort business.
Gov. Dayton traveling to view best and worst of mining

Gov. Dayton traveling to view best and worst of mining

His visits to Michigan and South Dakota are preparation for PolyMet decision.
Obituary: Dorothy Casserly, reporter and columnist

Obituary: Dorothy Casserly, reporter and columnist

Dorothy Casserly was born with ink in her veins. She inherited it from her grandfather, who founded the Belle Plaine Herald in the late 1800s.…
Lawsuit says Minnesota needs a tougher stance to clean up Lake Pepin

Lawsuit says Minnesota needs a tougher stance to clean up Lake Pepin

New pollution limits and sewage treatment plants are too lax, environmental group says.
Most Minn. wetlands outside NE contaminated, full of invasive cattails

Most Minn. wetlands outside NE contaminated, full of invasive cattails

In the northeast, they are in good shape. Elsewhere, they've been taken over by invasive cattails.
Tainted wells a costly issue for some metro homeowners

Tainted wells a costly issue for some metro homeowners

Groundwater tainted with farm chemicals is not just a rural problem, as residents in Washington and Dakota counties are discovering.
New fund aims to protect Mississippi headwaters while they're still clean

New fund aims to protect Mississippi headwaters while they're still clean

The Minnesota Nature Conservancy is launching the $10 million fund.
Court revokes EPA approval of insecticide harmful to bees

Court revokes EPA approval of insecticide harmful to bees

Approval of controversial insecticide revoked.
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