Staff Directory 10645326

Pam Louwagie

Reporter | Regional
Phone: 612-673-7102
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

Pam Louwagie is a regional reporter and Duluth Bureau Chief for the Star Tribune. She previously covered courts and legal affairs and was on the newspaper's investigative team. She now writes frequently about a variety of topics in northeast Minnesota and around the state and region. Sign up to receive the new North Report newsletter.


Previously, Louwagie worked at The Times-Picayune in New Orleans and the Philadelphia Inquirer. She is a graduate of the University of Minnesota.
Recent content from Pam Louwagie
The beach on Gull Lake at Grand View Lodge sat empty on Monday. "It's really hard to see," Resort Manager Kevin Karau said.

Minnesota resorts reinventing hospitality for COVID-19 era

"Maximum service with a minimum interface" was how one resort's general manager described the way forward with summer about to kick off.
Shoppers made their way through Rosedale Center in Roseville on Monday as some of the stores opened for business.

Minnesota retail shops are open again, but foot traffic is light

The state is allowing all stores to open as long as they file safety plans and limit capacity to 50%.
A black bear waited at Duluth’s Miller Hill Mall entrance near Noodles & Company.

Bad news, bear: This Duluth mall is closed

With nearby Miller Creek and a forest bordering the parking lot, the mall has seen visits from beavers, fox, rabbits and even coyotes over the years.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed an order this week allowing some surgeries and other procedures to resume, hospitals and clinics likely won’t return

COVID-19 puts some Minnesota rural hospitals on life support

Without elective procedures or COVID surges, already-stressed rural health care systems are taking an extra financial hit.
Chris Hanmer, owner of CH Patisserie, in Sioux Falls, S.D. Most bars and restaurants there have voluntarily switched to serving takeout only. But othe

South Dakota under fire for stance on fighting COVID-19

Despite an explosion of cases at a Sioux Falls pork plant, the state is one of the few that has yet to impose a statewide stay-at-home order.
The Crooked Spoon, a popular tourist eatery, was engulfed in flames just after 1 p.m. and the fire spread to neighboring businesses on Monday, April 1

Popular eatery in downtown Grand Marais engulfed in flames

Crooked Spoon restaurant, two gift shops destroyed in downtown fire.
Colton Rebarich worked on choir homework while his mom, Nancy, checked her phone while parked outside a McDonalds in Virginia, Minn. They go there twi

Spotty internet access is leaving many rural Minnesotans behind

As Minnesotans work and study from home amid the pandemic, access to high-speed internet has become more important than ever. For the rural households without high-speed internet or reliable connections, keeping up has been a struggle.
The Rev. John Henry III, pastor at St. James Lutheran Church in Northrop, Minn., says nine parishioners have tested positive for the virus.

Rural Martin County becomes unlikely hotbed for coronavirus

As of Monday, two county residents had died from the virus out of 23 who had tested positive — including nine from a local church congregation, according to the pastor.
Michael Sauser, whose family has run Sauser's Hardware since 1909, says a run on chest freezers and household supplies has contributed to unseasonably

Social distancing doesn't come easy to small-town Minnesota

In towns across the state, where neighbors rely neighbors, social distancing doesn't come easy.
Grand Marais, as seen from Pincushion Mountain Overlook on Friday March 20, 2020.

In Minnesota's small tourist towns, there's trepidation over visitors

Northern Minnesota's Cook County usually welcomes visitors, but now wants to keep COVID-19 at bay.
Crewmen on the USCGC Alder looked out at the large chunks of ice floating in the Duluth Bay on Tuesday morning.

As icebreaker preps for Great Lakes shipping, shippers hope for more

Mild temps and thin ice make shippers' pitch for better ice breaking equipment a tougher sell.
Wesley Frye, left, as Prince Charming, and Madison Holtze, as Cinderella, performed a scene at the royal ball for students from Cherry School.

A little opera in Minnesota's big North Woods

Duluth opera company brings cultural experience to young students in northern Minnesota.
Travis Barningham, Jon Michaels and David Duffy admired a cave and ice formation nicknamed "big blue" on Wednesday.

Ice cave formations draw curious to Lake Superior: 'It's so quiet out here'

Intrepid trekkers get their ice cave fix, sans crowds, on the world's largest freshwater lake.
Researchers filmed wolves eating berries last summer after looking at GPS collar data and finding a pack that was spending a lot of time in an area wi

Summer of Voyageur National Park wolf research reveals a berry surprise

Using real-time data from GPS collars to set up trail cameras, researchers found that blueberries may play a more important role in the canines' diet than researchers had known.

St. Louis County launches Safe Babies Court

Legal system teams with social services in a new St. Louis County initiative.
Seth D. Nelson, Artist S. Sanders, Jesse W. Merrill

Three charged with aiding murder in Duluth woman's overdose death

One of the victim's children called 911 after finding her passed out in the bathroom of their apartment.
Jack O'Callahan, left, and Mark Pavelich of the 1980 U.S. ice hockey team talked during the "Relive the Miracle" reunion at Herb Brooks Arena on Satur

Family hopes Olympic hockey player Pavelich's story helps others

He was once an American sports hero, a high-flying playmaker from Minnesota's Iron Range who competed with the best hockey players in the world. Now, his fall has been heartbreaking for his family and friends to see.
Durant and Splint, Keith Aili’s lead dogs, ran along Old Hwy. 61 near Grand Portage, Minn., in the final leg of the John Beargrease sled dog maratho

Alaska musher wins Beargrease for second time in three years

Alaska's Ryan Redington wins Beargrease for the second time in three years
Laura Neese high-fived spectators near the starting line as she took off on the John Beargrease sled dog marathon from Billy's Bar in Duluth on Sunday

Dogs unleash pent-up energy at start of Beargrease

Beargrease mushers say they admire the sport, love the dogs
County assessors across the state are scrambling to address a conundrum as the short-term rental market continues to proliferate: At what point does a

Higher tax bills for Minnesota cabins rented part time raises fears Up North

Assessors are re-examining vacation properties rented out for part of the year.
Mark Pavelich

Judge rules former 'Miracle on Ice' star mentally ill, dangerous

Former U.S. Olympic hockey player Mark Pavelich was ordered committed to a secure treatment facility.
Great Lakes Gear Exchange co-owner Brooke Wetmore rang up a ski jacket for Joe Schiavone. “I couldn’t pass it up. It’s a great deal,” he said.

Used-gear store in Duluth aims to get people outdoors

Duluth shop wants to offer a sustainable way to try activities.
Mark Pavelich

Judge considers commitment decision on 'Miracle on Ice' player Mark Pavelich

Former hockey player Mark Pavelich awaits civil commitment decision.
One of the narrower parts of Duluth’s Park Point, as seen from the air last month.

Duluth's Park Point may be gradually crumbling away

The future is important to the more than 300 residential structures, hotels and other businesses that call it home, as well as the bustling shipping industry
While the news about zebra mussels larvae in Lake of hte Woods came as a setback to anglers and recreators who regularly visit the giant lake surround

Larvae of zebra mussels found in Lake of the Woods, Minnesota DNR says

The Minnesota DNR added the Minnesota portion of the lake to the state's zebra mussel infested waters list.
Chris Aepelbacher and Mary Krull walked along a trail in Duluth’s Lester Park with Krull’s dog, Laila. The engaged couple both bought homes to liv

Duluth's recreational trails are helping city remake its image

The pathways have become real estate selling points, a sign that Duluth's investments in rebranding itself as an outdoors haven are paying off.
Mark Pavelich

'Miracle on Ice' player Pavelich found incompetent to stand trial

A judge suspended the assault case against the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" hockey star.

Judge approves $40 million settlement with Duluth Diocese

Diocese must also open files on priests and develop plan to protect children.
People walked away from the community center in Fond Du Lac after the lock down was lifted. The gymnasium inside is where a man was shot in the head o

Minneapolis man arrested after shooting during Fond du Lac funeral

Mourners helped restrain the suspect until police could arrive
The William A. Irvin museum ore ship was carefully moved into its slip at the Duluth Harbor late Wednesday.

William A. Irvin museum ship is back in its Duluth slip

The masterful maneuver took place with just over a foot of clearance.
William A. Irvin in dry dock.

Duluth's famous Irvin museum ship ready to come home as soon as Wednesday

Officials need a calm day to tow it through the pedestrian bridge.
A photo of Jayme Closs posted last January to Facebook by her aunt Jennifer Smith.

Jayme Closs, who freed herself from her captor, feels 'stronger every day'

Year after her kidnapping, parents' killings, teen is "reclaiming her life."
Split Rock Lighthouse is getting its first new resident keeper in 36 years.

You're hired! Split Rock Lighthouse gets new resident keeper

Hayes Scriven, who now directs a veterans historical museum in Superior, Wis., starts Nov. 1.
A cow moose is spotted on Isle Royale National Park.

Too many moose? Michigan lawmakers push for hunt on Isle Royale

The proposal comes about a year after the Park Service began the controversial move of introducing more wolves to the island, bringing the wild canines in from Minnesota, Canada and the park's home state of Michigan.
The tug Edna G., built in 1896, is on the National Register of Historic Places. It needs expensive repairs, and residents are divided on what to do.

Minnesota town of Two Harbors struggles with saving beloved tug

Historic Edna G. tugboat needs costly repairs and maintenance

Job coach at Duluth high school sentenced to probation for making threats

DULUTH – A former job coach working at Duluth East High School charged with possessing a machine gun conversion kit and threatening violence was…
Former president of the synagogue's board, Rabbi Phillip Sher spoke on behalf of the Adas Israel congregation at the press conference on Sunday.

Homeless man charged in Duluth synagogue fire

Homeless Duluth man not charged with arson but with felony negligence.
Duluth Chief of Police Mike Tusken spoke to members of the press in Duluth City Hall on Sunday. He discussed the arrest of a suspect and the details r

Duluth officials don't believe synagogue fire was a hate crime

No accelerants found in Duluth synagogue blaze; suspect is ID'd.

Booming Duluth craft district scores new tenants

Three new businesses are set to open in Lincoln Park before year's end.
Little remained of Duluth's Adas Israel Congregation on Tuesday after the synagogue was gutted by fire early Monday morning.

Cause of Duluth synagogue fire unknown; officials check new evidence

Investigators are knocking on doors and reviewing surveillance video in search of answers.
Duluth’s William A. Irvin museum ship sat in dry dock at Fraser Shipyards in Superior, Wis. Metal-eating bacteria had gorged not only on its hull, b

Decay on iconic Duluth museum ship more extensive than thought

Bacteria have attacked rivets on William A. Irvin attraction in Duluth.
Steve Kolbe scans the sky for nighthawks. Even from afar, he can spot their telltale long, angular wings, tilted flying patterns and white wing patche

He counts the birds by the thousands

UMD researcher keeps tabs on migrating common nighthawks
St. Louis River Alliance Executive Director Kris Eilers reached down to test some growing stalks in a patch of wild rice.

Local groups help wild rice take root in St. Louis River estuary

"It really is just an important piece of the ecosystem for the wetlands in this region," said Matt Steiger, the St. Louis River's Area of Concern coordinator for the Wisconsin DNR.
Crews hauled out sediment that built up near sawmills on the St. Louis River estuary, a nursery for many kinds of fish and birds.

St. Louis River estuary cleanup starts to bring species home

Projects costing more than $300 million are underway to restore the estuary, which was put onto a list of Great Lakes Areas of Concern three decades ago.
Lt. Cary Rickoff checked with Minnesota Teacher of the Year Jess Davis before her Blue Angels flight.

Ride with the Blue Angels offers front-row seat to precision flying

Reporter gets an up-close look at what will be on display this weekend at Duluth Airshow.
Bowlus, Minn., town treasurer Molly Sobania enjoyed the new playground with her children Aubrey, left, and Roman. Sobania led the grassroots fundraisi

Community of Bowlus comes together to build new playground

Community fundraisers included a garage sale.
A freighter sailed under the Lift Bridge in Duluth in June 2012.

Great Lakes high water could hurt shipping, industry warns

Opening dams in the East could thwart flooding but hurt shipping in Duluth.
Gerry Spiess on his boat trip in "Yankee Girl" in 1981.

Alone against the Atlantic: Minnesota adventurer Gerry Spiess dies at 79

People thought Gerry Spiess was crazy to try to sail across the Atlantic in the tiny vessel he meticulously crafted out of plywood and fiberglass and called Yankee Girl.
The shore has badly eroded in front of Mike and Kathy Briggs’ log cabin on Lake Superior, so they chose to build a new structure farther back.

Fierce storms, high water gobble up Lake Superior's south shore

After several years of high water on the Great Lakes, residents and governments are scrambling to figure out what to do to combat Mother Nature's wrath.
Former Vice President Walter Mondale on the balcony of his Mill District condo, which is a short drive from his office at Dorsey & Whitney.

Walter Mondale still in demand and politically engaged at 91

While the grind of an election campaign is well behind him and his hair is now white, he's still engaged and the demands on his time don't stop.
Marine 19, Duluth’s new tricked-out firefighting and rescue boat, shot a stream of lake water at a target during a training session

Duluth's new boat helps fight fires from Lake Superior

Duluth vessel equipped for fire, medical, environmental response
Seth Steed Jeffs, 32, of Hildale, Utah, leaves the federal courthouse in Denver, on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2005, after entering a plea of not guilty on ch

NE. Minn. county orders work to halt on building project with possible ties to religious sect

Project has raised public concern because of Seth Jeffs' past.
Rochester VFW Post 1215 Honor Guard members presented the colors during a shortened Memorial Day military salute in the rain. Three twisters touched d

Memorial Day weather in Minnesota included heavy rains, tornadoes

Much of Minnesota got a Memorial Day soaking, with spots in the southeast corner of the state getting hit by tornadoes. The National Weather Service…
Jake Patterson walked into court for his sentencing in the murder of James and Denise Closs at the Barron County Justice Center in Barron, Wis., on Fr

Jake Patterson sentenced to life without possibility of parole

"You are the embodiment of evil," Barron County District Judge James Babler told the kidnapper of Jayme Closs and the murderer of her parents. Closs' statement called Patterson "a coward."
Jake T. Patterson, shown at a February hearing in Barron County Circuit Court.

Patterson faces sentencing today in Closs murders, kidnapping

Wisconsin man pleaded guilty to killing the teen's parents and abducting her.
“I often say to myself, ‘If it wasn’t for these guys I probably wouldn’t be where I’m at right now.’”
Mark Sertich

Duluth's 97-year-old hockey legend Sertich keeps on skating

It's the friendships formed through hockey that help keep him going, says Mark Sertich, who was honored Thursday and still suits up with a local hockey club.
Angle Inlet Elementary School in northern Minnesota will no longer be a one-room schoolhouse after the addition of a multipurpose room this summer.

With addition, Minnesota will lose its last public one-room school

When the multipurpose room is added, the building will double in size.
Elizabeth Smart, who was kidnapped at the age of 14 and held for nine months, spoke at a town hall forum Friday night at Barron High School.

Stay close but give Jayme space, Elizabeth Smart tells Wis. town

Smart, who also survived a lengthy kidnapping as a teenager, offered praise and advice to Jayme Closs' hometown of Barron.
A stand-alone property outside of Grand Marais city limits. Named “Devil Track 219” sitting on Devil Track Lake.

Cook County in northern Minnesota looks to license short-term rentals

Cook County looks to license short-term tourism properties.
A semi got stuck during one of this winter’s many storms.

Drivers scoff at bad conditions, often at own peril this winter

While expectations for winter travel have changed over the decades, the dangers from snow and ice haven't.
Inver Grove Heights police got an 11 p.m. call Friday, Feb. 8, 2019, from a resident who was apparently surprised to find a horse in her basement.

Horse in basement of Inver Grove Heights home spurs police to action

Officers arrived to find a white or tan horse hoofing it through various rooms as police watched through windows from the outside.
Leo Perez, a Minneapolis postdoc, and his mother, Amara, visiting from Puerto Rico, walked along Duluth’s Canal Park in June.

Despite bump in tourism dollars, Duluth sees room for growth

Overall, tourism tax revenue was up 4.7 percent from the year before.
Jake T. Patterson, charged with kidnapping 13-year-old Jayme Closs and killing her parents last fall, appeared for a brief hearing in Barron County Ci

Man charged with kidnapping Jayme Closs appears in court

Jake T. Patterson did not enter a plea to charges that could imprison him for life if convicted. His next court date was scheduled for March 27.
A long lines of people for the security are seen at Chicago O'Hare International airport.

American Airlines' move into Duluth airport 'changes the game'

American Airlines announced two daily direct flights from Duluth International Airport to O'Hare, and two coming from the Windy City.
An artist’s rendering shows a planned 15-story, market-rate apartment building along Duluth’s main downtown thoroughfare, Superior Street.

Skyline change coming to downtown Duluth

New apartment building, medical center will rise near each other.
In this image made from a pool video by KSTP-TV, Jake Thomas Patterson, 21, who is accused of abducting 13-year-old Jayme Closs and holding her captiv

Douglas County, Wis., to hold off on additional charges vs. Closs suspect

But additional charges could still be filed against the man accused of abducting Jayme Closs and murdering her parents last October.
Antonia Long

Northern Minnesota girl wins bid to pose with gun in yearbook photo

Blackduck school board clears yearbook photo after discussion.
In this image made from a pool video, Jake Thomas Patterson, 21, makes his initial court appearance on kidnapping and murder charges related to the di

Decision to add charges vs. Closs kidnap suspect will be sensitive

Few details of what happened in Jake Patterson's cabin have been released. They might be shielded to protect Jayme Closs.
Barron Area School District Administrator Diane Tremblay said administrators will meet with Department of Justice officials on Thursday to work on a p

After Jayme Closs returns, Wisconsin town wonders how to feel safe

The randomness of a meticulously planned crime has shaken residents of Barron, Wis.
Facing charges: Jake Patterson appeared with one of his attorneys via video. Charging documents sat on the table.

Charges: Suspect says he killed Jayme's parents, abducted her

The 13-year-old Wisconsin girl told authorities that the suspect first killed her father at the front door of their house, and then broke down the door to the bathroom where she and her mother were hiding.
Jayme Closs, right, with her aunt Jennifer Smith in a photo posted Friday to the "Healing for Jayme Closs" Facebook page, which has closely tracked Ja

Back with family after escaping, Jayme Closs 'is the hero'

Wisconsin authorities said Jayme Closs was abducted by 21-year-old Jake T. Patterson, who is being charged with murder and kidnapping. She was reunited with her family. "It's amazing, the will of that 13-year-old girl to survive and escape," Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said.
The sign outside Barron, Wis., City Hall celebrated the escape of 13-year-old Jayme Closs.

After 88 days of worrying about Jayme Closs, northwest Wisconsin finally can celebrate

Elated residents couldn't help but gush after the teen's 88 days away.
Denfeld High School senior Lindsay Johnson, 17, helped Laura Macarthur Elementary School second grader KaMirra Spencer with her reading as part of the

Duluth works to bridge teaching gap with new high school course

There are about 30 students in Denfeld High School's new class, promoted especially to students of color and designed to encourage students to think critically about the history of educational inequity and show them how they can become part of the solution through a career in teaching — preferably right back in the Duluth school district.
“After this week or this weekend … if there’s no agreement, we will start doing long-range planning,” said Minnesota Management and Budget Com

Minnesota state agencies ponder how federal shutdown will hit home

With no end in sight for the stalemate in Washington, leaders in Minnesota are scrambling to figure out what, exactly, will be disrupted and when.
Elizabeth “Betty” Scheurer

Elizabeth Scheurer, compassionate critical care nurse, dies

Elizabeth "Betty" Scheurer was practically unflappable.As a pioneer in critical care nursing for open-heart surgery patients and a mother of four whose husband frequently traveled…