The Hibbing school board voted 4-2 last week to make rule changes to an indoor shooting range that sits below the gym at the city’s Lincoln Elementary School.

The range has been there since the school was built 60 years ago, and until recently, about 30 members of the Hibbing Rifle and Pistol Club used it on winter weeknights — after school was out for the day, but at the same time high school basketball and wrestling teams practiced or competed in the nearby gym.

The school district and Superintendent Brad Johnson had recommended that the range not operate at any time students are in the building. But the board agreement limits use to certain times on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings. Signs will be posted on each end of the gym indicting the range is in use. The only entrance will be at a loading dock. A new fee structure also will be established.

Mark Brunswick


Disaster aid offices open after widespread flooding

The federal government is opening offices across southern Minnesota to help residents applying for disaster aid following severe September flooding. A federal disaster was declared in seven counties after as much as 14 inches of rain fell in one 24-hour period between Sept. 21 and Sept. 24.

Aid offices are open in Mankato, Owatonna, Waterville and Waseca. Residents have until Jan. 28 to apply, and must do so through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Reporting damage to local authorities or insurance companies doesn’t qualify for FEMA assistance.

“It’s important for homeowners and renters to contact FEMA directly to determine if they qualify for financial help,” said Joe Kelly, director of the Homeland Security Emergency Management division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

Applicants can register online at or by calling 1-800-621-3362 (FEMA).

John Reinan


Public comments sought on ash processing facility

State officials are seeking public comments on a proposed ash processing facility in Red Wing that has won preliminary approval for a 10-year permit. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has given a tentative go-ahead to Lab USA, based in Green Bay, Wis., to build the facility on land owned by Xcel Energy.

The project would recover metals from ash generated by burning municipal trash. It would handle about 600 tons of ash a day, up to 150,000 tons per year, and use crushing, screening and magnetic separation to recover metal fragments from the burned trash. Roughly one-fifth of Minnesota’s garbage is used for energy production, according to Midwest Energy News, and the state has encouraged incinerators as alternatives to landfills.

Public comment on the proposal ends Jan. 5. For information, contact Sherri Nachtigal at 507-206-2600.

John Reinan