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(AP) Minnesota is enlisting dogs in the battle to prevent the spread of the emerald ash borer. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture hopes trained sniffer dogs can become a new line of defense against the invasive pests, which threaten ash trees across the state and across the country. The department is partnering with Working Dogs for Conservation, which has experience in detecting invasive species and has found encouraging results in training dogs to find ash wood material and emerald ash borers. Officials demonstrated the dogs' capabilities at the Ramsey County compost site in Arden Hills on Tuesday, and said the dogs may be ready to start sniffing mulch piles, yard waste sites, and commercial vehicles as early as July. The beetles were first detected in Minnesota in St. Paul in 2009.
A gas to energy project with Gundersen Lutheran and La Crosse County allows gas from the landfill to be put to good use. Methane gas that was being burned off at the county landfill is captured and used, through a system of pipes, to heat the Gundersen Lutheran Onalaska Clinic and Support Services Building. And it is bringing big money to the area.
Corey Zirecki is Director of Envisions at Gunderson Lutheran. He says in the first two years of their Envision program, Gundersen was able to improve energy efficiency by 25 percent for a savings of $1.25 million annually.
Last week we learned that Govenor Scott Walker had raised over 25 million towards his recall campaign. A state record by most accounts. And if you think that number is high, Mike McCabe of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign says you have seen nothing yet.
Most of the money coming in, according to McCabe, is coming in from out of state donor's who cannot even vote in today's recall primary election.
The Minnesota Vikings Stadium proposal was not the only thing lawmakers tackled Monday. The House approved borrowing $496 million as part of a bonding bill.
Republican Senator, Jeremy Miller of Winona, says the money will go towards statewide construction, including work on campus buildings, bridges and roads, flood mitigation and renovations to the state Capitol building.
La Crosse police are investigating a couple of weekend robberies. In one, a 21 year-old guy on Jackson street woke up to two or three guys in his home during the late morning on Sunday. He got pistol-whipped by one of the thugs. They took what he had: his playstation, some cash and some other stuff. Police are still investigating and won't say whether they have suspects. Another guy got jumped by three guys after bar time near downtown on Friday. The victim says he was kicked and punched while on the ground. He suffered thousands of dollars worth of dental damage, a possible broken nose and they got his phone and three hundred bucks in cash. No suspects or arrests in that one, either.