• Duluth microdistilleries brace for 'perfect storm'

Coasters urging state legislators to change laws to improve the business environment for microdistilleries sit in Vikre Distillery for customers to sign. Without changes to some of the nation’s tightest distillery laws, Vikre and other small distillers face an uncertain future. (Steve Kuchera / Duluth News Tribune
Coasters urging state legislators to change laws to improve the business environment for microdistilleries sit in Vikre Distillery for customers to sign. Without changes to some of the nation’s tightest distillery laws, Vikre and other small distillers face an uncertain future. (Steve Kuchera / Duluth News Tribune

Duluth’s microdistilleries are bracing for a “perfect storm” materializing at the start of the new year.

With federal distillery taxes slated to increase fourfold at the start of 2020 and Minnesota’s tight distilling laws, some microdistilleries are uncertain if they’ll turn a profit — or even stay open — next year.

President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax bill that brought $1.5 trillion in tax cuts included an act reducing the federal excise tax for distilled spirits — or the amount of tax distillers pay per proof gallon.

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• Bemidji, MN mayor to run for state Senate

Rita AlbrechtSubmitted photo
Rita AlbrechtSubmitted photo

Bemidji Mayor Rita Albrecht announced her candidacy for the Minnesota Senate District 5 seat currently held by Sen. Justin Eichorn, R-Grand Rapids.

Senate District 5 includes the northern half of Cass and parts of Itasca and Beltrami counties, including Pine River, Backus and Hackensack and surrounding townships.

Albrecht has served as Bemidji's mayor for seven years.

“I’m running because we need a leader who will work for a brighter future for our region - for our children, our environment, our employers and workers, and those who feel marginalized,” Albrecht said in a news release. “I want to use my experience as mayor to stand up for greater economic security for our families, neighbors and communities in Senate District 5.”

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• Northwest ND man, companions set record for Everest Mail Run

More from the Minot Daily News via Forum News Service

Ryan Wagner's recent Nepal trek was definitely one for the record books.

Wagner, who lives in Makoti, a Ward County city south of Minot, and his companions, Scott Loughney, from Vancouver, Wash., and Uprendra Sunawar, from Nepal, set a world record for the fastest time in completing the Everest Mail Run last month.

The trio began their 400-mile trek from Kathmandu, Nepal, to the Everest Base Camp on Nov. 11 and completed the journey on Nov. 16. It took them five days, 10 hours and 46 minutes.

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• Projection shows Line 3 oil spill likely wouldn't affect Lake Superior

Forum News Service file photo
Forum News Service file photo

An oil spill along the proposed Enbridge Line 3 replacement line would have minimal impacts on Spirit Lake and the Lake Superior watershed, according to an assessment released Monday, Dec. 9.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce released the addition to the proposed $2.9 billion pipeline project's environmental impact statement after a Minnesota appellate court said the company's proposal was inadequate without it.

And as part of a court-required assessment of the damage that could be done to the Lake Superior watershed, the model shows that "even in an unmitigated release, it is unlikely that any measurable amount of oil would reach Lake Superior."

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