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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

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

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.

U.S. Ag Department gives $26 million to Minnesota environmental projects

$26 million targets flood control, water quality and songbird protection.
EPA pushes state for tougher limits on Minntac's Iron Range waste pit

EPA pushes state for tougher limits on Minntac's Iron Range waste pit

Plans to manage pollution leaking from Minntac’s tailings basin don’t go far enough, agency says.
Obituary: Audrey Huber graduated from high school at age 73

Obituary: Audrey Huber graduated from high school at age 73

Audrey Huber practically levitated across the stage on the day she received her high school diploma — handed to her with great pride by her…
Flu in Minnesota still widespread, 'vigorous'

Flu in Minnesota still widespread, 'vigorous'

The weekly update from the Minnesota Department of Health shows that 577 people have been hospitalized for influenza so far during the 2014 flu season.
Federal court ruling on wolves could take years to clarify

Federal court ruling on wolves could take years to clarify

The federal government may have to start over in devising a plan to protect them in the Upper Midwest and beyond before the state is allowed to resume its three-year-old hunting season.
New factor in road salt use: Saving money, environment

New factor in road salt use: Saving money, environment

Little changes to road de-icing can have big effect, but state officials say there is a lots of room for improvement.

Turkish journalist speaking at U avoided arrest

“My name was on the top of the list,” he says of detentions in Turkey.
Bison are welcomed home on the range

Bison are welcomed home on the range

Plains Indians tribes are adopting wild bison herds, hoping to revive the fading culture of their ancestors while also helping rescue an animal whose history is so deeply intertwined with their own.
Aug. 9, 2013: Fungus devastating to bats found at two Minnesota sites

Aug. 9, 2013: Fungus devastating to bats found at two Minnesota sites

White-nose syndrome, which has decimated bat colonies in eastern states, has been found at two sites in Minnesota.
Sept. 28, 2013: Minnesota moose die from wolves, ticks, abandonment and disease

Sept. 28, 2013: Minnesota moose die from wolves, ticks, abandonment and disease

The first year of a landmark study found higher mortality rates than normal and listed several causes. Researchers say more work is needed.
Powerful insecticide turns up in major Midwest rivers

Powerful insecticide turns up in major Midwest rivers

The chemical, which has been linked to bee die-offs, has not been widely discovered in streams and rivers until now.
Obituary: Dr. Mary Donahue, family physician in Monticello

Obituary: Dr. Mary Donahue, family physician in Monticello

Donahue was born on the eve of the Great Depression, and grew up the daughter of a country doctor.
New state law targets metro firms now sending recyclables to dump

New state law targets metro firms now sending recyclables to dump

More than half of companies in the Twin Cities will need to change their ways and start pulling out such valuable materials as ­aluminum, cardboard, plastic and steel. The law begins Jan. 1, 2016, for most commercial operations.
Minnesota lawmakers concerned for bees scold Ag Depart.

Minnesota lawmakers concerned for bees scold Ag Depart.

Seventeen DFL legislators rebuked the state Department of Agriculture late last week over its planned review of the controversial pesticides implicated in the decline in honeybees.
Feb. 24: Rogers takes DNR dispute to court

Feb. 24: Rogers takes DNR dispute to court

State says his bears are a risk to humans around Ely.
Who's protecting Minnesota's rural rivers from cropland runoff?

Who's protecting Minnesota's rural rivers from cropland runoff?

Detailed maps show that many farms lack protective “buffer strips” -- 50 feet of wild grasses, trees or shrubs required by state law — to keep runoff out of streams and rivers.
Star Tribune Special Report: Saving the great north woods

Star Tribune Special Report: Saving the great north woods

Across Minnesota, a determined counterattack is emerging against a looming threat to the northern forest — climate change.
Iron Range rebellion halted wild rice initiative

Iron Range rebellion halted wild rice initiative

Gov. Mark Dayton and top state pollution officials abruptly reversed a decision to publicly affirm a water-quality rule designed to protect wild rice after Iron Range legislators intervened in late February, according to internal records.
Pesticides that hurt bees don't help farmers, study finds

Pesticides that hurt bees don't help farmers, study finds

Neonicotinoid, common pesticide associated with bee die-off, doesn’t help yields, according to an environmental group's analysis.
Pellet gun felled Isabelle the wolf

Pellet gun felled Isabelle the wolf

One of the famous Isle Royale wolves, she had recently crossed the ice to the mainland.
REVIEW: 'The Ogallala Road,' by Julene Bair

REVIEW: 'The Ogallala Road,' by Julene Bair

NONFICTION: A third-generation farmer in the Kansas grasslands tries to work the land without contributing to its demise.
Pellet gun felled Isabelle, the wolf that escaped Isle Royale

Pellet gun felled Isabelle, the wolf that escaped Isle Royale

The 5-year-old lone wolf left Isle Royale for the mainland on an ice bridge that formed on Lake Superior this winter.
PolyMet copper mine in northeastern Minn. gets cautious EPA approval

PolyMet copper mine in northeastern Minn. gets cautious EPA approval

After four years and $22 million, PolyMet Mining’s proposed copper mine in northeastern Minnesota cleared a major hurdle when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gave plans for the controversial project a passing grade.
Feb. 21: Minn. Poll: Nearly half favor PolyMet mine

Feb. 21: Minn. Poll: Nearly half favor PolyMet mine

Among Minnesotans who have an opinion on the issue, the largest group supports approval for a controversial copper mine proposed for the northeast corner of…
Feb. 26: Wild rice protections costly

Feb. 26: Wild rice protections costly

Next week, in a decision with far-reaching implications for the state’s mining industry and the preservation of its most famous plant, state pollution officials are expected to announce their recommendation for a “sulfate standard” — how much mineral salt Minnesota industries can discharge into the clear, calm waters across the state where wild rice likes to grow.
Feb. 16: Bitter winter, pup survival alter Isle Royale wolf debate

Feb. 16: Bitter winter, pup survival alter Isle Royale wolf debate

Both developments are likely to only confound a precedent-setting decision that faces the National Park Service
Bald eagles win a round vs. Red Wing wind farm

Bald eagles win a round vs. Red Wing wind farm

Wind turbines won't sprout near Red Wing for at least a year, state regulators decide.
Plight of Minnesota moose not so dire as believed

Plight of Minnesota moose not so dire as believed

Researchers continue to study environmental threats to the northern Minnesota animals.
Packed, testy hearing airs pros, cons of PolyMet copper mine

Packed, testy hearing airs pros, cons of PolyMet copper mine

Foes are leery of the long-term environmental costs of PolyMet mine; regulators say state laws would protect taxpayers.
Feb. 9: Price tag on future pollution underlies debate

Feb. 9: Price tag on future pollution underlies debate

Minnesota is trying to set the size of PolyMet’s financial guarantee in case water pollution, environmental calamities or mining company bankruptcies occur decades, even centuries, after a proposed mine opens.
Wasps winning war in bug vs. bug battle

Wasps winning war in bug vs. bug battle

Stingless wasps, the natural ash borer predator that were introduced in three sites in Minnesota two years ago, are reproducing, spreading, and killing ash borers, the state Agriculture Department reports.
Minneapolis UCC church installs solar panels as social statement

Minneapolis UCC church installs solar panels as social statement

The Mayflower United Church of Christ flipped the switch on one of the largest solar arrays in Minneapolis as a brazen and public strike against climate change.
Questions raised on key data for PolyMet mine

Questions raised on key data for PolyMet mine

New info on river flow could delay environmental review for months.
Minnesotans take threats to pollinators to heart

Minnesotans take threats to pollinators to heart

From the State Capitol to back yards, the fight is on to protect bees and other insects that make our food and ecosystem possible.
Divisive Iron Range copper mine draws full house, strong views

Divisive Iron Range copper mine draws full house, strong views

An estimated 1,300 to 1,500 people braved blowing snow and low temperatures to attend a five-hour DNR public hearing on PolyMet Mining's proposed $650 million open pit mine near Babbitt.
Explosion, fire at Cedar-Riverside apartments injure 13, six critically

Explosion, fire at Cedar-Riverside apartments injure 13, six critically

No cause has been identified as of yet, but the building that housed a grocery and several apartments is likely a total loss. A police squad car reported the fire at around 8:16 a.m. after seeing the explosion and seeing debris on the street.
Report adds fresh fuel to polarizing copper mine debate

Report adds fresh fuel to polarizing copper mine debate

The DNR released forecast of proposed copper mine’s potential impact on northeast Minnesota.

Bee deaths lead to Minnesota insecticide review

State Agriculture Department will review use and impact of a widely used chemical tied to the dramatic decline in honeybees.
Before copper mine opens in NE Minn., expansion debate begins

Before copper mine opens in NE Minn., expansion debate begins

PolyMet Mining says no expansion is planned, but industry analysts say the open pit mine could triple in size within five years, raising the economic and environmental stakes far beyond what PolyMet has discussed with state regulators.

Grant targets exposure to tainted fish

The aim is to limit consumption by young women of mercury-tinged fish from the Lake Superior basin.

Five water mains burst in Woodbury, causing evacuations

33 residents of apartment complex are moved to temporary housing.
$217 million in recyclables lands in Minnesota's trash each year

$217 million in recyclables lands in Minnesota's trash each year

Minnesotans are throwing away as much garbage as ever, but the contents of the average household dumpster have changed dramatically in the last 10 years. Paper is down — thanks to computers and smartphones — but plastic is up.
70,000 private Minnesota wells are in line for nitrate testing

70,000 private Minnesota wells are in line for nitrate testing

The Department of Agriculture initiative reflects urgent concerns about Minnesota’s groundwater, which in some areas shows rising levels of pollution from the tons of fertilizer and other forms of nitrogen applied each year across the southern two-thirds of the state.
Star Tribune Special Report: Saving the great north woods

Star Tribune Special Report: Saving the great north woods

Across Minnesota, a determined counterattack is emerging against a looming threat to the northern forest — climate change.
U.S. Interior secretary plants conservation seeds in Minnesota

U.S. Interior secretary plants conservation seeds in Minnesota

On a Minnesota stop, Sally Jewell highlights value of wildlife refuges.
In central Minnesota, potatoes are pushing out forest land

In central Minnesota, potatoes are pushing out forest land

The latest case is a 1,500-acre project in Cass County, where the owner plans to grow potatoes for McDonald’s and other customers.
Aug. 23: Dead 'leaping' carp found north of Winona

Aug. 23: Dead 'leaping' carp found north of Winona

A dead silver carp, the species infamously known for furiously leaping out of the water, has been found just north of Winona, the farthest point yet the unwanted fish has been detected in the Mississippi River.
Iron Range mine could pollute water for up to 500 years

Iron Range mine could pollute water for up to 500 years

State’s first copper-nickel mine would require billions of dollars in long-term cleanup, regulators say.
Minnesota sets goals for cleaning up Gulf of Mexico dead zone

Minnesota sets goals for cleaning up Gulf of Mexico dead zone

Environmental groups say Minnesota’s actions are admirable but won’t be met without more enforcement.
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