Staff Directory 6370431

Pam Louwagie

Reporter | Regional
Phone: 612-673-7102

Pam Louwagie is a regional reporter 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
Manidoo-giizhikens, or Little Cedar Spirit Tree, sits under the stars on the shore of Lake Superior in Grand Portage, Minn. The tree is over 300 years

Minnesota's large dark sky areas are unique. How can we preserve them?

Light pollution is growing worse, but every Minnesotan can take steps to curb it.
Richard Warren, right, and Shirley Jaiyefimi paid their respect to George Floyd during the George Floyd Global Memorial on Tuesday in Minneapolis.

Events marking the two-year anniversary of the police killing of George Floyd

The events are going on Wednesday across Minneapolis and St. Paul
Jack Jablonski had his hair combed by longtime personal care attendant Danny Antonio in Hermosa Beach, Calif.

Ten years after hockey injury, 'Jabs' carves his own path

Jack Jablonski relishes his role as an insider in the sport that both shattered and helped him.
Laila Moses, 12, laughed in relief after she learned medical assistant Serena Jackson had already given her a vaccination at Children’s Minnesota Pa

Children's Minnesota tackles racial health disparities: 'What gets measured, gets done'

Children's Minnesota is using a dashboard to show racial disparities in patient outcomes, and efforts to change them.
Rev. Cathy McDonald

The Rev. Cathy McDonald, who lent an ear to those whom society forgot, dies at 82

The Rev. Cathy McDonald was a good listener, especially to those living on the fringes of society.As the fifth woman in Minnesota to be ordained…
Mary Ann Milton

Mary Ann Milton, pioneering real estate broker and entrepreneur, dies of COVID-19 complications

As a woman working in a man's world in the 1950s, Mary Ann Milton found success on her own terms.Believed to be the first female…
A shooting at the Allina Health clinic on Tuesday in Buffalo, Minn., left one person dead and four wounded, authorities said.

One dead, four wounded after shooting at Buffalo health clinic

A 67-year-old male suspect has been detained after the shooting at an Allina Health clinic. He had a history of being unhappy with health care he had received and threatening medical workers, authorities said. Police found suspicious devices as well.
Caledonia coach Carl Fruechte. Class 2A quarterfinals, Caledonia vs. New Richland Hartland Ellendale Geneva, 11-9-18. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEn

Revered prep football coach gets heat for Diversity Club comments

Carl Fruechte questions whether a club at Caledonia High School in southern Minnesota will be open to differing views of homosexuality.
In a photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a gray wolf. Federal wildlife officials are proposing to strip endangered species protectio

Grand Marais mayor's dog survives wolf attack

Wolves cornered Blue, a two-year-old Weimaraner, on a trail in the woods.
Colton Rebarich worked on choir homework in his mom’s car in a McDonalds parking lot in Virginia, MN on Monday. They have to sit in the parking lot

Federal stimulus will help pay internet bills, boost broadband access across Minnesota

The COVID relief bill includes $7 billion for increasing access and security.
Before contracting COVID, Juanita Moran played “Happy Birthday” to herself with her accordion as she celebrated her 99th birthday as her family st

St. Paul matriarch, 99, and family survive COVID scare

The petite 99-year-old had been in good health until early November, when she started sleeping all day and eating only a few bites.
Minnesota U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar, left, and Tina Smith signed a letter protesting an executive order.

Senators challenge Trump order banning some diversity training concepts

Smith, Klobuchar join 21 senators challenging Trump executive order.
The Cook County Herald office building in Grand Marais, Minn. was covered in a light snow on Wednesday December 16, 2020. ] ALEX KORMANN • alex.korm

N.J. tech firm buys Cook County News-Herald and looks to add others

The sale is a New Jersey company's first media purchase.
Mary Hamilton held up a flag in support of police at the “Pray America Great” event in Fergus Falls, Minn., in October.

Surroundings make racial reckoning look different in rural Minn.

Diversity levels, social norms and politicization play a role in shaping attitudes in both big cities and small towns.
The presidential candidates took the stage early Wednesday: Democrat Joe Biden, left, spoke in Wilmington, Del., while President Donald Trump made com

The wait over next president is agonizing, both sides in Minnesota agree

People turned to doughnuts, caffeine, yoga, wine, exercise and all other sorts of therapies — including the warm sun of a perfect autumn day — doing their best to peel themselves away from television, radio and smartphones in the name of staying sane.
Trump supporter Amanda Garcia offered advice to her sister-in-law in Nevada, who had called to ask how to go about voting.

Two Apple Valley voters, divided in politics, agree on need for civility

When Linda Garrett-Johnson woke up on Election Day, she said a prayer: Not that her candidate, Joe Biden, would win, but that no matter the…
A hand lettered statement imploring customers of Youngblood Coffee Roasters in downtown Fargo to respect the mask mandate.

North Dakota trying to cope as nation's new top virus hot spot

Mask policies are popping up, a hospital is supplementing its staff with contract nurses from out of town, and the state recently asked COVID-positive residents to conduct their own contact tracing.
Mark Pavelich

Defense argues to drop weapons charges against hockey star Mark Pavelich

Weapons seized at his North Shore home were found as a result of illegal searches, a defense attorney argues.
Daniel Hull, second from left, met with his managers at the Nutty Squirrel Sports Saloon on Wednesday to discuss how they would adapt to Wisconsin's n

Wisconsin struggles with new surge in COVID-19 cases

New restrictions are enacted after the state becomes a hot spot.
Protesters marched downtown to the Minneapolis Police Department's First Precinct on Aug. 24.

Poll: More Minnesotans acknowledge racial inequality

Still, about half of likely voters said they feel civilian violence in cities is a bigger problem than police violence against Black people nationwide, according to a new Star Tribune/MPR News/KARE 11 Minnesota Poll.
Mark Pavelich

Hockey star Mark Pavelich moves to less restrictive mental health facility

After making strides in treatment, the Miracle on Ice star will live in a facility offering more interaction as he awaits trial on assault charges.
National Guard members stood at Nicollet Mall on Thursday as cleanup continued after rioting the night before.

Stunned Minneapolis picks up pieces after unrest

2 cities on curfew, officers stationed to quell violence
A man lifted his hands in the air Thursday night in Minneapolis as he approached a group of Hennepin County deputies, saying he was on his way home.

Curfews in Mpls., St. Paul start night calmly

Well into the evening, Nicollet Mall remained peaceful with only a few people on the streets. In Minneapolis, law enforcement arrested 30 people within the first hour, according to a police spokesman. St. Paul had reported no late arrests.
Mark Sertich shown in 2019 on the bench between shifts during his morning hockey game. On the same morning Sertich was to be honored with induction in

Mark Sertich, world's oldest hockey player, dies at 99 in Duluth

Mark Sertich was 99 when he died surrounded by family and friends in the Duluth house where he grew up and lived independently up until his last days. He skated until last month.
Med student Emily Otiso says she won’t move back to Minnesota after three years of insulting incidents.

Young Black woman says she won't move back after three years of 'Minnesota Nice' racism

Emily Otiso's frustrations came pouring out after hearing co-workers discuss George Floyd's death.
Rachel Vrudny, of Brainerd, died June 8 of COVID-19 pneumonia.

Rachel Vrudny, an educator who battled adversity with optimism, dies of COVID-19 complications at 60

Vrudny, of Brainerd, was adventurous and tough despite a lifetime of health problems, her father said.
David Bell stretches out next to the root of a tree that toppled in his group’s campsite in a storm Wednesday evening on Trout Lake in the Boundary

Caught in storm, Boundary Waters campers thankful to be alive

Nine wilderness campers from St. Paul are happy to be alive and healthy after a storm's swirling winds uprooted trees all around them in their Boundary Waters campsite Wednesday evening.
FILE-Father and son hikers, Tom and Ross Perigo enjoyed the evening view high above Bean Lake on the Superior Hiking Trail.

Superior Hiking Trail group gets new leader

Lisa Luokkala last worked as a senior parks planner for the city of Duluth.
Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken said no one was injured in the arrest of a domestic assault suspect.

Duluth police tactics during arrest called consistent with department policies

Three officers struggled to contain a man on the ground with one officer delivering knee strikes, chief said.

Northeast Minnesota casinos set to reopen

The casinos are following the lead of others in Minnesota which opened at the end of May.
Duluth Mayor Emily Larson said she hopes the city can reopen some facilities soon.

Duluth playgrounds opening, but not athletic fields

Budget woes mean not enough staff to maintain some facilities, city leaders said.
Outdoor exhibits at the Lake Superior Zoo will reopen Friday.

Outdoor spaces reopening at Duluth attractions, including Lake Superior Zoo and Glensheen

The zoo will reopen Friday.
Mourners stood outside to hear a broadcast of Thursday's memorial service for George Floyd. Hundreds stood outside the service at North Central Univer

Rousing memorial for George Floyd looks ahead to what's next

Politicians, civil rights legends and pro athletes joined family members at a Minneapolis memorial to mourn George Floyd, the man whose death after being pinned to the ground by Minneapolis police last week sparked global outrage.
First Lt. Andrea Drost of the Minnesota Army National Guard joined protesters in a moment of prayer at the Capitol in St. Paul on Monday, June 1.

Tensions on streets ebb in wake of George Floyd's death

Gov. Tim Walz talked of pulling back a portion of more than 7,000 National Guard members that had been called in to help quell violence in the metro area. Hours were reduced on a Twin Cities curfew, and officials planned to leave freeways open.
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.