Staff Directory 10645326

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
The last two surviving wolves on Isle Royale might soon get up to 30 new neighbors.

Park Service favors adding up to 30 gray wolves to Isle Royale

Under the plan, which could be finalized in a month, officials will start looking for healthy ones suitable for moving beginning in late autumn.
Cars traveled Monday on the ice road from Madeline Island to Bayfield, seen in the distance.

For Madeline Islanders, Superior's thick ice is a ticket to freedom

This winter's stretch of bitter cold has been downright blissful for full-time residents of Madeline Island, with subfreezing temperatures finally delivering a sheet of lake ice thick enough to drive over.
U.S. Attorney Gregory Brooker announced indictments in connection with the heroin distribution network Thursday at the Duluth Public Safety Building.

Two dozen charged in bust of major heroin ring in northern Minnesota

The distribution network is alleged to have brought multiple kilos of the drugs from Chicago, through the Twin Cities and into the Duluth area.

Should Minnesota's vast St. Louis County be divided?

Once a decade or so, talks stir up the matter of dividing the sprawling Minnesota county.

Duluth plans paddle-only boat launch, park along river

The 7-2 vote came amid controversy, after the city Parks and Recreation Commission voted not to endorse it.
“If this is not the tipping point, we’re getting awfully close," Bob Mokos said on the opening day of the legislative session, holding a photo of

Gun-control advocates sense momentum but prepare to continue fight

A growing cohort of gun-control activists are cautiously optimistic that this time, their voices will make a difference.
Gregory Peck is shown as attorney Atticus Finch in the movie adaptation of "To Kill a Mockingbird." The 1960 novel is staple of classrooms, but that i

After dropping two books with racial slurs, a painful turning of the page in Duluth

The school district's move to drop two beloved books has raised questions and debate about who decides the canon of literature — and when it can change.
Harper Lee, author of the classic "To Kill A Mockingbird," on the campus of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Jan. 27, 2006.

Duluth drops 'Huckleberry Finn,' 'To Kill a Mockingbird' from school curriculum

The district made the decision to remove the two classics in an effort to be considerate of all its students.
Diana Gonzalez and Joseph Bonner from Philadelphia celebrated after the Eagles scored a touchdown in the third quarter.

'Bold North' Super Bowl was smooth showstopper

Super Bowl LII's 10-day celebration of all things winter — ice sculptures, ice skating and even ice in cocktails down Nicollet Mall — culminated Sunday with record-setting cold temps outside as a warm U.S. Bank Stadium cradled a hotly contested game inside.
Vikings fan Andrew Grein of Edina, walked through a crowd of hostile Eagle fans before kickoff of the NFC Championship game at Lincoln Financial Field

Can Philly fans change their image? Only if they want to

Deep loyalties to sports teams form early in life, establishing a culture of conduct, both good and bad, that can be difficult to change, sociologists and psychologists say.
Barber John Vreeman gave long-time client Steve Stormoen his last haircut by Vreeman at Crossing Skyway Barbers & Salon in The Crossings building, Thu

Downtown Minneapolis barber calls it quits after 50 years

John Vreeman was a calm sounding board for political bigwigs, CEOs, FBI agents.
Bluefin Bay resort on Minnesota's North Shore and other businesses in Cook County hire more than 400 international workers each year. But competition

North Shore businesses searching far, wide and close to home for workers

New strategies include recruiting underemployed rural workers and students in small-town high schools, starting a culinary school program and reaching out to displaced Puerto Ricans.
Minnesota Vikings fans do the Skol Chant at US Bank Stadium on Sunday.

What are the odds? Extra point in Vikings game counts for gamblers

Once he had stopped jumping up and down and doing karate kicks inside his living room minutes after the Vikings' walkoff victory Sunday, one fan turned his thoughts to winning an extra $260.
Dee Bartlam rode along the shore of Lake Superior on Duluth’s Park Point. The city’s Cold Front February celebration will feature fat bike demonst

Duluth celebrates winter with Cold Front February

Organizers hope the new festival will lure residents outside.
A snow proposal over Eighth Crow Wing Lake near Nevis, Minn.

Will you be my co-pilot? Flight over Minn. lake leads to creative marriage proposal

A flight student proposed to his girlfriend in lofty northern Minnesota style.
The Nichevo II headed back to Bayfield after picking up passengers at Madeline Island Friday.

Madeline Island ferry put on ice by big winter chill

Frigid weather on Lake Superior halts service to Madeline Island.
Steam rises from Lake Superior at the ship St. Clair comes to harbor during some of the coldest temps of the year Sunday at Canal Park in Duluth.

Winter causing misery in Minnesota with frostbite, busted pipes

Despite the stretch of biting cold temperatures, the winter season, at least so far, has been deemed mild by those who track the so-called Winter Misery Index. And relief is on its way as temperatures warm up on Sunday.
In October, Mayor Emily Larson stopped by a birthday party for centenarians at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.

Sky's the limit for energy-packed Duluth Mayor Emily Larson

Mayor Emily Larson shows up with energy and pluck
The St. Cloud Regional Airport is gearing up for Super Bowl traffic, expecting VIPs in private jets to need space to land, park and refuel their aircr

Regional airports prep for Super Bowl landings

At St. Cloud Regional Airport, staff members are counting out corporate jet parking spots and rehearsing scenarios to plow snow from runways amid more takeoffs…
“First Day Hikes” will give Minnesotans a chance to follow in these 2015 walkers’ footsteps.

Minnesota state parks to offer 'First Day Hikes' on New Year's Day (weather permitting)

About a dozen state parks are slated to offer "First Day Hikes" on Jan. 1. But the forecast calls for a bitter start to 2018, with Monday's expected high temperature in the Twin Cities to be 2 below.
The BWCA is unlikely to see a lot of debate about bicycles in the wilderness. “Mountain bikes generally don’t float,” said one bike enthusiast.

Wheels in the wilderness? Bill to allow bikes divides outdoor lovers

Bill splits cyclists, conservationists over bikes in BWCA, other wild areas.
Billy Glaze, pictured in a 1988 file photo, walks out of the Federal building in Minneapolis.

Minnesota high court considers whether late serial killer deserves case review

Innocence Project wants to clear the name of Billy Glaze and seek justice.
FILE - In this Nov. 12, 2017, file photo, participants rally outside CNN's Hollywood studios on Sunset Boulevard to take a stand against sexual assaul

Could cascade of allegations send #MeToo off the rails?

Some fear the cultural shift in the movement engenders backlash.
A snowy owl somehow made its way in through an exhaust venting system at Alakef Coffee in Duluth, Minn.

Snowy owl rescued from Minnesota coffee roaster's equipment

A snowy owl somehow got stuck inside a vent at a Duluth coffee roasting facility.
Oxycodone-acetaminophen pills. County attorneys in Minnesota on Thursday announced lawsuits against drug manufacturers and distributors for the public

Minnesota counties file lawsuits against opioid manufacturers

They join a wave of lawsuits across the country trying to recoup costs for the public health crisis.
Eileen Brown, owner of How Sweet It Is Cakes, worked recently in her new space inside the Duluth Grill.

After financial woes, a sweet solution for Duluth bakery

Eileen Brown has brought the goods loved at How Sweet It Is Cakes to the Du­luth Grill.
FILE - This June 18, 2016 photo provided by the Pine County Jail in Minnesota shows Victor Barnard. Barnard, the leader of an isolated religious commu

Cult leader's prison sentence ordered reduced by six years

Victor Barnard's sentence reduced to 24 years.
Ramsey County Attorney John Choi, who said his County Board met in a closed session Tuesday to discuss pending litigation, said the county plans to fi

Minn. counties, cities joining rush of lawsuits against opioid producers

They are joining scores of county and local governments alleging manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids are largely responsible for an epidemic of dangerous addiction.
Rose Carlson, 5, and Della Ridlon, 4, played while community members put up holiday decorations at the new pocket park in downtown Chisholm.

Grassroots effort is sprucing up Chisholm

Locals brainstormed on making downtown better with grant money.
The Oct. 27 storm damaged Duluth’s Lakewalk in Canal Park, with dislodged boardwalk and debris covering the asphalt path running parallel to it.

Duluth cleans up after storm waves batter shore

Lake Superior's high level made damage more severe.
The DNR is creating new digital maps of state forests to help hunters and hikers: six down, 53 to go before the ambitious project is completed.

You are here: Phone maps help find the way in state forests

Hunters, hikers and others who bring their smartphones into Minnesota state forests soon won't have much of an excuse if they get lost.
Photographs of at least two thieves in action were posted to the Duluth Police Department’s Facebook page.

Deer stand thieves caught on camera in Duluth

The thieves, wearing bandannas, were photographed stealing from deer stands in the city's public woods.
After an unusually wet summer and fall in Minnesota, Lake Superior’s water level is high and there is fear of storm damage along its shoreline.

Lake Superior is near record high and threatening shoreline

The high lake level is sinking fixed docks and causing problems as water seeps into homes on Duluth's saturated sandy spit known as Park Point.
The 33-site campground at Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park opened in August and booked up quickly for autumn weekends.

Minnesota's 'next generation' campground opens in St. Louis County

Perched on a ridge at Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park, the 33-site campground booked up quickly for autumn weekends.
An aerial view shows the main Susie Island in Lake Superior along the North Shore near Grand Portage, which will now return to tribal conservancy.

Lake Superior island returned to Chippewa

The rocky Susie Island is home to unusual native plants and wildlife
Think you're good at portaging a canoe? Prove it at the Ely half marathon.

Most Minnesotan race ever? A canoe portaging division in Ely half marathon

Six people have registered for Saturday's event, and more are welcome to sign up during registration on Friday.
Judge Shaun Floerke offered up a little hands-on treatment with defendant Dennis Blake during a South St. Louis County DWI Court session.

Duluth judge adds personal touch to help repeat DWI offenders

Shaun Floerke uses empathy to guide his decisionmaking in drunken-driving cases.
Tourism marketers in northern Minnesota are starting to realize the gem they have above them: Dark skies.

Up North sees the light, realizing its dark, starry skies lure tourists

An alluring image of green streaks in a dark sky above Lake Superior glowed across digital billboards in Chicago, Kansas City and Denver this summer.…
Workers finish building solar enery panels at the Leech Lake Indian Reservation.

Leech Lake solar garden is first in nation linked to energy assistance program

Solar garden is first in nation linked to an energy assistance program
Attention and enthusiasm were directed skyward on Monday at the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul.

Cloudy skies aside, Minnesotans fully dazzled by partial eclipse

Across most of Minnesota, overcast skies granted only glimpses of the much-anticipated solar eclipse, but throngs of people went out to get a look anyway.
Grand Marais, shown in April 2014. Like dozens of communities that put treated wastewater into Lake Superior or its tributaries, Grand Marais is under

Mercury regulations put Grand Marais in awkward spot

Leaders in this scenic North Shore tourist town pride themselves on trying to run things green and clean, but town leaders find themselves fighting state and federal mercury regulations, a worthy goal to protect Lake Superior that leaders say is misguided and costly.
Greta Sloan, 8, got some preperformance advice from Mike Arturi as she prepared to play guitar and sing at a concert at the Universal Music Center.

Lovin' Spoonful drummer embraces new beat in Red Wing

Since 2012, Mike Arturi has been running a nonprofit music school.
Ready to work: Resorts across Minnesota are feeling an acute labor shortage because of an aging workforce, visa changes and growing seasonal needs. Ab

Minnesota resorts scrambling for summer help have extra hurdle

Tourism-based businesses across Minnesota are short on workers. It's likely to be an annual struggle, but a policy change on worker visas especially hurt this year.
John LaDue, now 20, he has steadfastly tried to assure people that he’s better, no longer a danger to anyone.

John LaDue works to build a life where he had planned massacre

He seemed to lead an ordinary southern Minnesota life in Waseca, until he was discovered planning a mass killing. Now he wants his life back — but unsettling questions about his case may never be answered.
Billy Glaze, pictured in a 1988 file photo, walks out of the Federal building in Minneapolis.

Attorneys for Minneapolis serial killer, now dead, seek to clear his name

Billy Glaze, who died in prison in 2015, was convicted of murdering three woman in 1989.
Emergency personnel and law enforcement are on the scene of an accident this morning north of Bemidji, which involved a school bus.

1 airlifted, 5 others hurt after school bus crashes, rolls north of Bemidji

The school bus landed on its side in a ditch after being struck by a car early Wednesday morning.
Shari Baker, owner of Gunflint Pines Resort, and Dave Seaton, owner of Hungry Jack Outfitters, planted trees in 2007 at a ceremonial trail reopening.

Gunflint Trail marks 10 years after devastating Ham Lake fire

Residents and visitors are seeing rebirth.
Vandals broke five flowering crabapple trees that were just beginning to take root at the Ely Area Veterans Memorial, spurring a big fundraising effor

Ely steps up after vandals destroy trees at veterans memorial

The new veterans memorial in Ely was coming along nicely near the shore of Miners Lake. Since starting construction last summer, flagpoles had gone up…
Therapist Margaux Linde left and Allen Li at the Mayo Clinic helped Jered Chinnock walk on a treadmill as he is recovering from a spinal cord injury.

At Mayo Clinic, pioneering steps toward helping paralyzed patients

A spinal cord stimulator helps a man injured in a snowmobile crash to stand on his own and move his legs.
Dan Rassier at a press conference at the Marriott Northwest Hotel in Brooklyn Park on Nov. 22, 2016.

Onetime 'person of interest' in Wetterling case sues investigators

Daniel Rassier is claiming that law enforcement wrongly went after him, defaming him and inflicting emotional distress.
Minnesota sample identification card and drivers license.

State lawmakers take Real ID battle to the airport

Partisan bickering continued over the issuance of driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants.
Girls attending a prom at a central Minnesota high school will have to get preapproval for their dress.

Osakis district now says prom dress preapproval merely a suggestion

Girls had been told they would have to submit photos of their dresses.
Paul Helstrom poured pitchers and pints behind the bar at Fitger's Brewhouse in Duluth in 2013.

In Duluth, Superior Street businesses champion 'Brewer's Row'

The nine-block-long stretch of Superior Street is heavy on hops.
Millionaire Chester Congdon built Glensheen mansion to foster his thriving iron-mining business. The mansion was started in 1905 and finished in 1908.

Glensheen shining in bid for return tourists

Just a few years ago, the historic Glensheen mansion perched on Lake Superior’s North Shore struggled to lure tourists through the door. It was a…

North Dakota deputy shot and killed; suspect also dead

The deaths happened in northern North Dakota near the town of Belcourt after a chase involving a stolen truck, according to reports.
The Pastoret Terrace building in downtown Duluth sits on property ripe for redevelopment. City leaders say it may be too far gone to be saved.

Duluth looking to spread downtown revitalization

Leaders seek proposals for historic building near Superior Street
University of Minnesota senior Johnny Dietz and junior Anna Boyd looked over tweets with the hashtag #WeHadEnough, relating to the football team and e

Amid U firestorm, opinions across campus divided

Students disagree on sexual assault inquiry, process and punishment.
photo courtesy of the family

Obituary: Marcella Isaac, known as Marcia Hall, Minnesota lead guitarist

Marcella Isaac played under a stage name but was the real deal when it came to picking her guitar.

Hibbing school board debates future of gun range in school

A gun range in the basement of a Hibbing elementary school sits empty while the school board ponders its fate, balancing modern-day fears with a rural Minnesota tradition that values hunting and the Second Amendment.
Jared Scheierl, holding the hand of his girlfriend Stacy Liestman, spoke shortly after addressing Danny Heinrich at the sentencing on Monday.

Jacob's friends and family confront his killer at sentencing

Danny Heinrich was sentenced to 20 years in prison
Patty Wetterling, shown in October, responded to a court brief filed Thursday by Danny Heinrich’s attorneys, saying, “To state that he never had a

Patty Wetterling says son's killer made horrible choices

'To state that he never had any intention to commit this heinous crime is ludicrous,' Patty Wetterling said Friday of Jacob's killer.
Duluth's Bentleyville light display bigger than ever

Duluth's Bentleyville light display bigger than ever

If good weather holds, crowds could top last year's 270,000 visitors
Ed Rush stood in front of a bus at his home that he and his son painted to show their support for Donald Trump in Pierz, Minn.

How Trump almost won Minnesota

The Republican president-to-be won in a number of greater Minnesota counties that were previously won by Barack Obama in 2012, while Hillary Clinton racked up her Minnesota-winning tally in the bigger cities.
Billy Glaze, pictured in a 1988 file photo, walks out of the federal building in Minneapolis.

Judge denies appeal of deceased Minneapolis serial killer

Judge Toddrick Barnette ruled that attorneys for Billy Glaze hadn't yet proven his innocence with the evidence they introduced, meaning there was no "live controversy" to be resolved.
Jess Schlinsky, left, and Lindsay Tornambe spoke Friday about the 30-year sentence for Victor Barnard, who pleaded guilty earlier this month to raping

Cult leader Victor Barnard sentenced to 30 years in prison

Victims spoke of the lasting effects of fear after the sexual abuse.

Two dead in six separate Anoka County heroin overdoses Saturday

A wave of heroin overdoses in just a 12-hour period Saturday in or near Anoka County left two people dead and four others taken to hospitals, one of them in critical condition.
Volunteers in Austin, Minn., refurbished donated bikes, painting them bright red before placing them in matching bike racks for riders to borrow.

Minnesota cities share bikes freely but want them returned

Bicycle-sharing programs called a success in Willmar and Austin.
Charles Cook

Minnesota drifter is suspect in Pennsylvania murder 25 years ago

ID of man arrested in 1991 slaying quells suspense in small Minnesota town.
Jerry and Patty Wetterling at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Minneapolis. The Wetterlings looked back at the whirlwind ending that revealed the r

Wetterlings look to the future now that search for Jacob is over

"It takes a while before your head settles down. I don't know that mine is yet," said Patty Wetterling said.
Ely’s Pillow Rock should have better signage, some say.

Ely's volcanic wonder turns into a hot issue

The city is debating whether the primeval "Pillow Rock" should get a more visible home.
Jacob Wetterling's family, left to right, mother Patty, brother Trevor, father Jerry and sisters Carmen and Amy spoke during the service Sunday.

11 candles lit as thousands join Wetterlings to remember Jacob

The community that linked arms nearly 27 years ago to search for the sandy-haired boy who was snatched at gunpoint by a masked man came together Sunday morning to celebrate his life, console his family and say goodbye.
"This was not the ending that any of us wanted," Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner said.

The final push to finding Jacob

Blogger's quest and DNA clue reversed nearly three decades of false starts, missed opportunities, bad tips and dead ends.
With an 1890s-era neighborhood ban on alcohol finally lifted, Amity Coffee in Duluth hopes to have its beer taps flowing with locally made brews and w

After many dry years, alcohol sales begin in two Duluth neighborhoods

Lakeside and Lester Park have banned spirits sales since the 1890s.
Patty Wetterling was consoled by son Trevor during a news conference after Danny Heinrich admitted killing her son Jacob. Trevor was with Jacob on the

Heinrich confesses to abducting, killing Jacob Wetterling that day

After Danny Heinrich's detailed, horrifying courtroom confession on how he kidnapped and killed Jacob, Patty Wetterling said, "It's incredibly painful to know his last days, his last minutes."
Rollie Ring

Obituary: Edina educator Rolland 'Rollie' Ring was loyal to family, friends and the Hornets

For 40 years, Rolland “Rollie” Ring sat — or paced — at every Edina High School home football game. A proud booster of the Hornets,…
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