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Pam Louwagie

Reporter | Regional
phone: 612-673-7102
Pam Louwagie writes about various topics around the five-state region. A Star Tribune reporter since 2001, she has worked on the newspaper’s investigative team and covered federal courts and legal affairs. She previously worked at the New Orleans Times-Picayune and the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Recent content from Pam Louwagie
Prosecution's expert says Waseca teen is a `significant risk for future violence'

Prosecution's expert says Waseca teen is a `significant risk for future violence'

A hearing Tuesday is to determine whether John LaDue should be tried as an adult, as prosecutors want, or keep him in juvenile court.
Appeal in Little Falls killings called 'irrelevant sideshow'

Appeal in Little Falls killings called 'irrelevant sideshow'

The case, in which Byron Smith killed two teens who broke into his home, became a flash point nationally in the debate over “castle doctrine” laws.
Holdout landowners lose fight against Sandpiper oil pipeline in N.D. court

Holdout landowners lose fight against Sandpiper oil pipeline in N.D. court

The North Dakota landowners who are fighting the selling of an easement to the Sandpiper oil pipeline have lost a battle in district court.A North…
Grand Marais runway expansion aims to help firefighting, local economy

Grand Marais runway expansion aims to help firefighting, local economy

The expansion will help firefighters battle North Woods wildfires as well as help bolster the local economy.
North Dakota holdout landowner refusing to sell rights for Sandpiper oil pipeline

North Dakota holdout landowner refusing to sell rights for Sandpiper oil pipeline

The company sued, citing its rights to the land under North Dakota’s eminent domain law, giving them power to condemn land for a right of way.

Star Tribune questions courtroom closure in Little Falls murder trial

Judge in Byron Smith trial closed courtroom before ruling on teens’ testimony.
Byron Smith's attorneys file appeal in Little Falls murder case

Byron Smith's attorneys file appeal in Little Falls murder case

His lawyers argue in papers filed with the Minnesota Supreme Court that Smith, convicted of killing two teenage intruders in his Little Falls home, shouldn’t have even been on trial for first-degree murder.
Murder verdict in Little Falls killings has not ended debate

Murder verdict in Little Falls killings has not ended debate

A group that seeks to free shooter Byron Smith meets regularly; others see it as misguided effort.
Obituary: Audrey Benson, advocate for the disabled

Obituary: Audrey Benson, advocate for the disabled

On the back of her electric wheelchair, Audrey Benson left an entertaining compilation of messages in her wake. “Why be normal? Be free,” read one…
Apostle Islands ice caves open this weekend

Apostle Islands ice caves open this weekend

The caves, which open to the public Saturday, were on display in a preview. Going? Share your photos with us!
Apostle Islands ice caves to open Saturday

Apostle Islands ice caves to open Saturday

Those making the one-mile walk atop frozen Lake Superior will be facing an extremely treacherous but spectacular trek, officials warned.
Texas lab will do DNA test in Minneapolis serial murder case, judge rules

Texas lab will do DNA test in Minneapolis serial murder case, judge rules

A private lab in Texas will perform DNA tests on old biological material from a 1980s Minneapolis serial killer case, a Hennepin County judge ruled…
North Shore's famed pizza at your grocer? Yah, sure

North Shore's famed pizza at your grocer? Yah, sure

Owner of Sven & Ole’s pizza aims for pies for sale in all of Minnesota, parts of Iowa and the Dakotas, Wisconsin and maybe even into Michigan.
Innocence Project, prosecutors argue over DNA testing in 1980s Mpls. serial killings

Innocence Project, prosecutors argue over DNA testing in 1980s Mpls. serial killings

Attorneys argue over who should test sperm sample tied to serial killings in Minneapolis.
Grand Marais man's first on Mount McKinley was chilly odyssey

Grand Marais man's first on Mount McKinley was chilly odyssey

Lonnie Dupre, on his fourth attempt, became the first to make a solo summit in January up North America’s tallest peak.
Ex-Gophers quarterback Nelson to plead guilty in Mankato assault

Ex-Gophers quarterback Nelson to plead guilty in Mankato assault

In a plea deal, former Gophers QB would face 90 days in jail and a fine in near-fatal Mankato brawl.
State Education Department once cleared newly accused teacher of affair with his student

State Education Department once cleared newly accused teacher of affair with his student

An August 2013 from an Education Department senior investigator said that, based on all of the available information, “the preponderance of evidence does not support [that] the Teacher is responsible for maltreatment of the Student in the form of sexual abuse.”
Appeals Court to reconsider charges in Waseca school plot

Appeals Court to reconsider charges in Waseca school plot

The prosecution want charges reinstated that a lower court judge dismissed.
Minnesota works to cut the risk on country roads

Minnesota works to cut the risk on country roads

Despite state’s strong safety record, rural areas treacherous.
Teacher's sex assault investigation took two years

Teacher's sex assault investigation took two years

Chad Akerson switched districts over that time, raising questions about what school officials can share about an employee under investigation.
Waseca bar owner cries foul over different closing times

Waseca bar owner cries foul over different closing times

Waseca bar owner frustrated that council won’t let bars there stay open until 2 a.m.
St. Louis County adds sales tax for roads

St. Louis County adds sales tax for roads

Despite opposition from Duluth mayor and others, commissioners approved half-percent sales tax Tuesday.
Waste water system pits environmental rules vs. Amish ways

Waste water system pits environmental rules vs. Amish ways

A permit would have required couple to install a “gray water system.” It’s a modern convenience that, the couple argues, doesn’t comply with their religious beliefs.
Duluth mayor among those tapping brakes on sales tax proposal for St. Louis County

Duluth mayor among those tapping brakes on sales tax proposal for St. Louis County

Collection would go to road repairs, but opponents say it’s happening too fast.
Aug. 27: Byron Smith finally testifies, breaks down on stand

Aug. 27: Byron Smith finally testifies, breaks down on stand

The man jailed for life in the Thanksgiving Day murders of two unarmed teenagers testified for 15 minutes as he fights how much he must pay the families of his victims.
June 4: Byron Smith appeals conviction for killing 2 Little Falls teens

June 4: Byron Smith appeals conviction for killing 2 Little Falls teens

Found guilty of killing two teenagers, he also will contest restitution..
N.D. officials want answers after latest Casselton derailment

N.D. officials want answers after latest Casselton derailment

Accident in North Dakota community was second in less than a year, fifth in past decade.
Iconic Grain Belt sign could soon be lit again

Iconic Grain Belt sign could soon be lit again

Schell’s brewery, which owns the brand, will buy the bottlecap icon and plans to work with preservationists to get it relit.
Huatulco is a walk on Mexico's wild side

Huatulco is a walk on Mexico's wild side

In Huatulco, Mexico, our adventure-loving correspondent lands an all-inclusive vacation even she can embrace, beaches and all.

State Supreme Court hears dispute over Winona's rental limits

A controversial ordinance in Winona capping the number of rental houses could result in a slippery slope on city zoning powers, attorneys argued before the…

State Supreme Court to weigh in on Winona's rental limits

Winona dispute could affect homeowners statewide.
Mpls. serial killer's murder conviction should stand, prosecutors say

Mpls. serial killer's murder conviction should stand, prosecutors say

Hennepin County prosecutors stand by conviction in 1980s killings despite new DNA evidence.
Tree bound for U.S. Capitol comes down in Minnesota

Tree bound for U.S. Capitol comes down in Minnesota

The 70-foot spruce will have a long trip to Washington, visiting sites around Minnesota.
More retirees are turning to Red River Valley migrant work

More retirees are turning to Red River Valley migrant work

These modern-day vagabonds, who travel in RVs, call themselves work campers. They are becoming a workforce that American Crystal Sugar Company is relying on more heavily as the North Dakota oil boom lures workers away from the Red River Valley.
Auditor questions destruction of notes as MSU, Mankato investigated Hoffner

Auditor questions destruction of notes as MSU, Mankato investigated Hoffner

Legislative auditor's report does not take sides in controversial firing of Mankato State coach Todd Hoffner but finds process troubling.
Online poll: Duluth is best outdoors town in America

Online poll: Duluth is best outdoors town in America

Outside magazine put the question to online voters: Which is the country's best outdoors town?
Duluth's new unofficial outdoors czar is a natural for the job

Duluth's new unofficial outdoors czar is a natural for the job

Duluth’s recreational lands chief is ready to make city a national destination.
Ely hopes tourism, local businesses give it new life

Ely hopes tourism, local businesses give it new life

The once-vibrant mining hub appears to be on the rebound with a new library, the reopening of an outdoor clothing manufacturer and the planned expansion of a winter boot manufacturer.
Apostle Islands officials looking to charge fees for ice caves

Apostle Islands officials looking to charge fees for ice caves

Huge crowds last year prompted consideration.
Duluth Mayor Don Ness won't run again

Duluth Mayor Don Ness won't run again

Ness, who was first elected in 2007, announced Sunday he wouldn’t seek re-election in 2015. "I’ve tried to do this job well and I know the next person to hold the job will do the same,” Ness wrote in a Facebook posting.
Three Somali-Americans seek office in St. Cloud

Three Somali-Americans seek office in St. Cloud

Three Somali-American candidates are running for public office in this city known for past racial tension.
Western N.D. oil boom ignites cash-spending splurge

Western N.D. oil boom ignites cash-spending splurge

Big-earning workers making extravagant purchases are also leaving piles of money for local businesses and taxes in their wake.
Aug. 30: Sex trade from oil boom mostly unchecked

Aug. 30: Sex trade from oil boom mostly unchecked

Towns at the epicenter of the Bakken oil boom are struggling to counter the brazen sex trade at work in a small community flash-flooded with male workers.
Aug. 17: Fighting to keep the oil boom out of N.D. park

Aug. 17: Fighting to keep the oil boom out of N.D. park

Superintendent Valerie Naylor is on watch to protect Theodore Roosevelt National Park. It is “a very special place,” she said.
U study documents juvenile sex trafficking in Minneapolis

U study documents juvenile sex trafficking in Minneapolis

The degree to which traffickers use violence as part of a structured business strategy surprised researchers studying the juvenile sex trade in Minneapolis.
Prosecutors want charges in Waseca school plot reinstated

Prosecutors want charges in Waseca school plot reinstated

Appeals Court asked to decide if John LaDue should face attempted murder charges.
June 29: Parents seek psychiatric help for Waseca teen accused of plot

June 29: Parents seek psychiatric help for Waseca teen accused of plot

The 17-year-old accused of a massacre plot wants to “find out what’s wrong with me.”
July 29: Judge scales back charges against Waseca teen plotting school attack

July 29: Judge scales back charges against Waseca teen plotting school attack

A district judge dismissed the most serious charges against John LaDue, the Waseca teenager accused of secretly plotting a school massacre this spring, saying prosecutors hadn’t shown that the boy’s actions went beyond “mere preparation.’’
Aug. 15: Real horrors captured on video intrigue teens

Aug. 15: Real horrors captured on video intrigue teens

Websites for videos of real violence, such as those that became an obsession for John LaDue in Waseca, have the attention of public safety officials.
April 30: Byron Smith gets life sentence

April 30: Byron Smith gets life sentence

The jury deliberated for about three hours in deciding that fate of Byron Smith, who shot Haile Kifer, 18, and Nick Brady, 17, after they broke into his home.
Glensheen mansion gets creative in quest to lure visitors

Glensheen mansion gets creative in quest to lure visitors

Flashlight tours and behind-the-scenes nooks and crannies are among the attractions.
Minnesota cult fugitive spotted in Washington state

Minnesota cult fugitive spotted in Washington state

Victor Barnard, 52, accused of raping teenage girls, has reportedly been spotted in western Washington.
April 27: Caught in a cult's dark embrace

April 27: Caught in a cult's dark embrace

Victor Barnard played the shepherd, wearing linen clothes and sometimes wielding a shepherd’s crook. And he warned his followers against those who might turn against him — calling them wolves in sheep’s clothing.
April 16: Charges: Minister raped 'Maidens' in Minn. camp for years

April 16: Charges: Minister raped 'Maidens' in Minn. camp for years

Victor A. Barnard, 52, who ruled over a camp of “Maidens” in Pine County, has been charged with 59 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. Barnard has yet to be apprehended but is believed to be in Washington state,

Plane crash kills 3 Minnesotans on Ontario fishing trip

Three northern Minnesota outdoors lovers who were on a fishing trip in Canada died when their Cessna 182 float plane crashed on the shore of…
Brain surgery, other operations for Burnsville hockey star badly hurt in crash

Brain surgery, other operations for Burnsville hockey star badly hurt in crash

A Burnsville teenager and standout hockey player critically injured in an SUV crash Wednesday night in southern Dakota County made it through the crucial first…

Prosecutors to appeal judge's ruling in Waseca case

WASECA, Minn. – Prosecutors announced in court Wednesday that they will appeal the dismissal of the most serious charges against a teenager accused of…
Rochester considers panhandling ordinance

Rochester considers panhandling ordinance

As the city of Rochester prepares to polish its downtown with sparkling new medical and public facilities, city leaders once again are trying to subdue…
Historic one-lane bridge gets new life

Historic one-lane bridge gets new life

A reinforcement project is set to get Dodd Ford Bridge back in working condition.

More Minnesota counties join hands to share services, save money

Following recession-crunched budgets, counties are increasingly sharing departments to save money.
On audio, Waseca teen coolly tells cops of bomb plot

On audio, Waseca teen coolly tells cops of bomb plot

"I think I’m just really mentally ill and no one’s noticed," said John LaDue, the 17-year-old who allegedly plotted to kill his family and set off bombs at his school.
June 21: 3 more charged in case of alleged Waseca plotter

June 21: 3 more charged in case of alleged Waseca plotter

Prosecutors say man sold plot suspect a pistol, 2 teens made explosives with him.
June 18: Judge seals journal of teen charged in bomb plot

June 18: Judge seals journal of teen charged in bomb plot

The 17-year-old's written account of his plans to kill his family and set off bombs will stay out of public view while attorneys argue about the validity of the charges against him.
Duluth wins online contest for best outdoors town in America

Duluth wins online contest for best outdoors town in America

Duluth did it. Residents awoke Monday morning to learn they had claimed the title of Best Town in America — at least in the eyes…
Prosecutors want extra time to respond in Glaze case

Prosecutors want extra time to respond in Glaze case

Innocence Project wants a new trial for man found guility of three murders.

Duluth advances to Outside magazine contest finals

Duluth is one step away from winning an online voting challenge for the best outdoorsy town in the United States. The city emerged late Sunday…
Duluth bests Minneapolis as outdoorsy, Midwest city

Duluth bests Minneapolis as outdoorsy, Midwest city

After beating out Minneapolis, it’s among final four nationally in Outside magazine poll.
Citing new DNA in 1980s Mpls. murders, lawyers ask for new trial

Citing new DNA in 1980s Mpls. murders, lawyers ask for new trial

The Minnesota Innocence Project said new DNA testing in the murders of three American Indian women the late 1980s found no link to the convicted man, Billy Glaze, who is serving three life sentences for the crimes.
Northern Minnesota's signs display words in American Indian languages

Northern Minnesota's signs display words in American Indian languages

The green-and-white road sign that will soon be erected along Pine Drive in St. Louis County will let travelers know they are passing “Side Lake.”…
California bound: Jack Jablonski is ready to move on

California bound: Jack Jablonski is ready to move on

Jablonski, now 18, has pushed himself to do a lot of things he’d never ­imagined. Now he's looking forward to college in California
Red Lake elects new tribal leader

Red Lake elects new tribal leader

Longtime chairman Floyd Jourdain Jr., who led the Chippewa band at the time of the 2005 school shootings, is being replaced by Darrell Seki.
Waseca teen accused of massacre plot pleads not guilty

Waseca teen accused of massacre plot pleads not guilty

Prosecutors have charged John LaDue as a juvenile with four counts of attempted murder, two counts of first-degree damage to property and six counts of possession of a bomb.
May 11: Waseca dad agonizes over son's dark side

May 11: Waseca dad agonizes over son's dark side

John LaDue's father is still struggling to make sense of the violent thoughts that apparently clouded LaDue's mind. He still can't believe the teenager would have carried out the murderous plan.
Steger Mukluks and Moccasins poised to expand in Ely

Steger Mukluks and Moccasins poised to expand in Ely

Steger Mukluks and Moccasins in Ely, now producing 14,000 pairs of footwear annually, is buying a disputed lot to expand manufacturing.

In Little Falls, relief is mixed with sense of loss

For Nick Brady’s grandparents, the shootings 17 months ago finally are behind them.
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