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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
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.
Gov. Mark Dayton proposes $220 million to modernize aging water system

Gov. Mark Dayton proposes $220 million to modernize aging water system

Governor sees his proposal as just a start, as state's aging infrastructure will need billions.
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.
PolyMet mine water could flow northward, toward BWCA

PolyMet mine water could flow northward, toward BWCA

A landscape changed by mining raises new questions about pollution decades in the future
Gov. Mark Dayton creates new citizens' pollution board, defies GOP

Gov. Mark Dayton creates new citizens' pollution board, defies GOP

Defying Republicans, he creates new panel to advise on environmental issues.
Newest invasive species on Minn. lakes puts squeeze on plants, fish

Newest invasive species on Minn. lakes puts squeeze on plants, fish

Starry stonewort, found in two lakes, chokes out even Eurasian milfoil.
Minnesota DNR proposes changes for people and fish at Lake Mille Lacs

Minnesota DNR proposes changes for people and fish at Lake Mille Lacs

Strategy includes hatchery, predation control and new panel.
BWCA land swap sparks major environmental review

BWCA land swap sparks major environmental review

The federal government has decided to undertake a comprehensive environmental review on how to swap about 50 square miles of state-owned land inside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area with U.S. Forest Service land outside, a plan that has generated thousands of comments.
Fight looms over hog feedlot in Lake Superior watershed

Fight looms over hog feedlot in Lake Superior watershed

Foes rally against plan to build in Bayfield County; farmers cite their "way of life."
Mille Lacs' troubled waters, walleyes' fate defy quick fixes

Mille Lacs' troubled waters, walleyes' fate defy quick fixes

Walleyes fight on many fronts for their survival while Minnesota's most popular fishing lake has changed fundamentally.
Minnesota DNR exploring options for stocking Lake Mille Lacs

Minnesota DNR exploring options for stocking Lake Mille Lacs

A plan to recharge Lake Mille Lacs is already drawing skepticism.
Minnesota and Wisconsin ban gillnetting on Lake Pepin after sturgeon and paddlefish kill

Minnesota and Wisconsin ban gillnetting on Lake Pepin after sturgeon and paddlefish kill

DNR says that commercial fishing likely caused the death of protected species. State wildlife authorities said the step is unprecedented but was necessary
Twin Cities air pollution linked to 2,000 deaths a year

Twin Cities air pollution linked to 2,000 deaths a year

Despite the toll air pollution takes, Minnesota's air quality is generally rated good and meets current federal standards. Yet even low and moderate levels can contribute to illness and early death.

Zebra mussels found in Forest Lake

Invasive mussel is well established so lake cannot be treated
Wildlife group wants moose on endangered species list

Wildlife group wants moose on endangered species list

A national wildlife protection group wants to place moose alongside the polar bear as a tragic symbol of climate change by petitioning the federal government to protect it under the Endangered Species Act.
Minnesota's loons could benefit from BP Gulf payout

Minnesota's loons could benefit from BP Gulf payout

The migrating birds suffered oil contamination following 2010 Gulf spill.
Dayton asked to intervene in copper-nickel mine review

Dayton asked to intervene in copper-nickel mine review

Environmental groups launch an ad campaign to press Gov. Mark Dayton to get involved in the regulatory review of a contentious copper-nickel mine that's been proposed for northeast Minnesota.

Incendiary environment bill exposes heated divisions

The agriculture and environment bill that became a final hurdle in completing the 2015 legislative session includes a dozen provisions with far-reaching implications for Minnesota’s…

After feedlot feud, a Minnesota citizens' board may bite the dust

After feedlot feud, Pollution Control Agency's board became a lightning rod for agribusiness, GOP.
Minnesota researchers race to decode secrets of deadly bird flu

Minnesota researchers race to decode secrets of deadly bird flu

The worst avian flu outbreak in the nation's history has spawned a series of investigations by Minnesota disease researchers to figure out why this new and exceptionally deadly virus is behaving in such bizarre ways.
U students play the music of the warming spheres

U students play the music of the warming spheres

U student Dan Crawford has enlisted a string quartet to perform music made from scientific data on climate change.

New Minnesota law beefs up buffers along waterways

Both houses passed it, but the final funding is not yet a done deal.
Minnesota Senate pulls back on pollinator protection

Minnesota Senate pulls back on pollinator protection

Bill says plants don't need to be insecticide free to carry label.
Minnesota could redefine 'pollinator friendly' label

Minnesota could redefine 'pollinator friendly' label

A garden plant labeled that way would no longer need to be free of insecticides, under a proposed change in state law moving through the Legislature.
Obituary: Michael Dillon, semiconductor designer and passionate innovator

Obituary: Michael Dillon, semiconductor designer and passionate innovator

Sandra Mueller always told her daughters that their father, Mike Dillon, was a lot of things. But he was never boring. He was a tinkerer,…
Climate change is a culprit in walleye's decline

Climate change is a culprit in walleye's decline

As state's lakes warm, walleye's cold water prey fish lose ground, and resort owners pay price.
Half of S. Minn. waters found too polluted for safe swimming, fishing

Half of S. Minn. waters found too polluted for safe swimming, fishing

Pollution pervasive in southern Minnesota, and growing worse, but waters in the state's central and northeast regions are much cleaner.
Minnesota's St. Louis River on 10 'most endangered' list

Minnesota's St. Louis River on 10 'most endangered' list

The St. Louis, the largest U.S. tributary to Lake Superior and an important wildlife breeding ground, is already contaminated with sulfate and mercury and now faces additional risks from a proposed copper-nickel mine nearby, said the national group American Rivers.
Dayton halts moose research over animals' deaths

Dayton halts moose research over animals' deaths

Gov. Mark Dayton Tuesday put an end to Minnesota's ambitious moose research project out of concern that it is harming the animals it's designed to help.

Part 4 of 5: Ruling out everything in search for answers

Leona Meikle was on the phone, answering the oddest questions. With each one, she was beginning to understand how hard it would be to find…

Part 1 of 5: What killed Reece Meikle?

Leona Meikle was on her way out the door when she saw her son lay his head down on the dining room table and begin…
What if studying moose calves in Minnesota puts them at risk?

What if studying moose calves in Minnesota puts them at risk?

High rate of radio-collared calf deaths could halt study of decline
Isle Royale wolf population plummets to three

Isle Royale wolf population plummets to three

The closely watched wolf population on Isle Royale National Park has dropped to just three — the lowest number recorded since scientists began tracking them more than 50 years ago and a sign that without human intervention, they will likely soon vanish from the island altogether.
McCollum bill would restrict mining near Minnesota's BWCA

McCollum bill would restrict mining near Minnesota's BWCA

Though it has slim chance of becoming law, the bill escalates a contentious environmental fight over a new and risky type of mining.
In Minnesota, buffer strips are rallying cry for cleaner water

In Minnesota, buffer strips are rallying cry for cleaner water

His proposal might be stalled, but the ancient way of protecting water supplies is making a comeback.
In Minnesota, buffer strips are rallying cry for cleaner water

In Minnesota, buffer strips are rallying cry for cleaner water

Gov. Dayton's proposal might be stalled, but the ancient way of protecting water supplies is making a comeback.
New protections for northern long-eared bats on the radar

New protections for northern long-eared bats on the radar

To slow the spread of white-nose syndrome, federal agency wants to restrict logging near breeding areas.
Minnesota floats complicated plan for wild rice rule

Minnesota floats complicated plan for wild rice rule

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency revealed its proposed plan for protecting the state's official grain from pollution that comes off the Iron Range and from about 200 industrial plants statewide.
Dry Minnesota at risk of more, hotter fires this spring

Dry Minnesota at risk of more, hotter fires this spring

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on Monday issued an unusually early alert, saying conditions across the state are ripe for more frequent and more intense fires this spring, thanks to an abnormally dry winter and record-breaking temperatures this month.
Farm-water cleanup project falls short, critics say

Farm-water cleanup project falls short, critics say

A $9 million federal grant to help farmers protect streams and rivers from chemicals was announced with fanfare. But sharp discord over the project reflects reflects a growing urgency about the best way to use $225 million a year in Legacy funding devoted to clean water

Frac sand mining ban to expire in Houston County after vote deadlocks

Houston County unable to agree on outright ban or an ordinance to regulate the sand-mining industry.
Can we save bison by eating them?

Can we save bison by eating them?

A small but growing number of bison producers — including billionaire-turned-philanthropist Ted Turner — want to preserve the great landscapes of the west by changing how America gets its protein.
Houston County considers frac-sand ban; would be first in Minn.

Houston County considers frac-sand ban; would be first in Minn.

Scenic river bluffs, trout streams are top concerns.
April 13, 2013: U finds cancer risk grows with years on taconite job

April 13, 2013: U finds cancer risk grows with years on taconite job

But the five-year, $5 million study doesn't fully answer question of whether the needle-shaped fibers in taconite dust are linked to mesothelioma.
Feb. 1: Forests give way to fields, part of high-stakes transformation

Feb. 1: Forests give way to fields, part of high-stakes transformation

The forests of central Minnesota are being cleared at an accelerating pace. Regulators are scrambling to protect them and the large watershed draining into the upper Mississippi.
Dayton wants tougher water and wildlife protection law

Dayton wants tougher water and wildlife protection law

Gov. Dayton proposes more, and better enforced, buffer strips along lakes and rivers.
Part 4: A scientist's aim: Save the bees

Part 4: A scientist's aim: Save the bees

Marla Spivak has become one of the country's leading champions for bees. Now she's fighting for their survival.
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