Gov. Tim Walz has appointed Elise Larson, an attorney with the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, to the state Court of Appeals. Larson fills the Eighth Congressional District vacancy left by Judge James Florey of Virginia, who retired.

Walz, in a press release, called Larson "a remarkable attorney who has excelled at every stage in her career."

"Her extensive background practicing civil and administrative law — and her experience clerking for some of the region's most renowned judges — has prepared her well for the bench," he said.

Larson, who lives in Brainerd, is also the water program director at the environmental advocacy group and teaches environmental law as an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota Law School. She was a law clerk for state Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Skjerven Gildea, among others, and an attorney at Briggs and Morgan P.A. Her work with the advocacy group has included legal challenges filed against the PolyMet copper-nickel mine project.



Bird flu suspected in geese deaths

Six dead Canada geese found at Silver Lake Park are being tested for avian flu.

The city of Rochester is urging caution while the area awaits testing results.

"It is rare to find a number of dead geese in the park with no apparent injuries," Rochester Parks and Recreation Director Paul Widman said in a statement. "We are taking precautions and working with county and state officials to be prepared for avian flu."

Public parks remain open, but residents are encouraged not to get too close to wild birds or surfaces covered by bird poop.

It's rare for avian flu to pass from birds to people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but it can happen if enough of the virus gets inhaled or into eyes, mouth and nose.



Campground openings delayed

A cold, delayed spring is pushing back the opening of some fee campgrounds in the Superior National Forest until at least May 6, the U.S. Forest Service said in a news release. Some campgrounds remained inaccessible because of snow. Campers with reservations will be reimbursed, the forest service said.

Fee campgrounds, as opposed to rustic sites, typically have access to water, garbage, electricity and bathrooms. Water service is dependent on temperature, and might not yet be available when campgrounds open.