Authorities ID victim of snowmobile crash

The snowmobiler killed in a crash Saturday night north of New Germany was a 28-year-old Buffalo man, the Carver County Sheriff's Office said.

Lucas Matthew Rasset was going north along the west side of County Road 33 about 7 p.m. when he hit a guy wire south of Hwy. 7 in Hollywood Township and was fatally injured according to a statement.

The Sheriff's Office said it is continuing to investigate the accident.


Gypsy moths spread

Gypsy moths are spreading across northeastern Minnesota, so the state is increasing the number of acres being treated for the tree-destroying pest.

Minnesota Department of Agriculture spokesman Michael Schommer says there has been a big increase in the number of gypsy moths caught in monitoring traps.

Schommer says officials are seeing an increase in the infestation in Minnesota, especially in the northeastern corner of the state. In response, the Duluth News Tribune reported, the state will treat more than 100,000 acres this year, compared with 71,500 acres in the area last year.

The state is holding several open houses next week to discuss treatment plans.

Gypsy moths have been moving west across the United States for more than 100 years. The caterpillars can defoliate large sections of forest.

Mine report lacking

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says a draft environmental impact statement on a proposed copper mine in northeastern Minnesota is inadequate.

The EPA lists more than two-dozen so-called inadequacies in the draft statement on the proposed PolyMet mine.

Steve Colvin of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says the criticisms came, in part, because of a difference in approach by the two levels of government. Colvin says information is expected to be more detailed in the federal process.

The proposed mine also would produce nickel and platinum. The $600 million project would create an estimated 400 or more jobs for more than 20 years, but opponents warn of possible water pollution.

The DNR is reviewing the EPA's criticisms.

Counties seek savings

Minnesota county officials aim to save the state almost $1 billion in the next few years via a slew of proposals they acknowledge aren't widely supported.

Officials from the Association of Minnesota Counties said in a press conference Tuesday that counties could patrol all roads except freeways.

They say that would free up the State Patrol to focus on accident services and major crimes, saving an estimated $275 million in the trunk highway fund.

Their proposal also seeks to redesign the state's court and correctional systems and replace current county aid programs with a half-percent statewide sales tax. That way counties wouldn't have to depend on dwindling state aid.