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SUPERIOR, WI

Firefighters combat fire at old grain elevator

Superior firefighters battled a large grain elevator fire, the city's second largest blaze this year. The Star Tribune reports the former Globe Elevator burned Monday afternoon about 1 mile north of downtown Superior.

Superior Mayor Jim Paine said on Facebook that the elevator will "burn for a while," adding that there were no injuries.

Port Authority spokeswoman Adele Yorde says the 131-year-old Globe Elevator closed in 1988 but that there's been at least one company recuperating century old white pine wood for resale.

Battalion Chief Scott Gordon says only one piece of machinery was salvaged out of the estimated $10 million worth of wood reclamation equipment. The cause of the blaze was not immediately known.

RALEIGH, N.C.

Judge rules no punishing Smithfield Foods for hog complex

A federal judge in North Carolina is shutting down a lawsuit against a Smithfield Foods hog feeding operation by some neighbors who complained of odors, flies and noises.

U.S. District Judge David Faber on Thursday declared there wasn't enough evidence for those neighbors to pursue punitive damages.

Jurors in Raleigh determined Wednesday that eight neighbors of a Smithfield Foods animal feeding operation in Sampson County should be compensated with between $100 and $75,000 each. The neighbors had complained about Sholar Farm, which houses up to 7,000 swine.

Jurors in three related cases previously decided Smithfield Foods should pay nearly $550 million in penalties, which were reduced under a state law limiting punishment.
Smithfield Foods said it believes the lawsuits are an abuse of the legal system.

COLUMBUS, KS

Two jailed after stolen Kansas cattle taken to Oklahoma

Authorities have arrested two suspected cattle rustlers after they stole 17 steers from a Kansas pasture and attempted to sell them in Oklahoma.

The Cherokee County, Kansas, Sheriff's Office says in a news release that Anthony Francis Whittley and Jasmine Boone are jailed in Oklahoma County on suspicion of transporting stolen property across state lines.

The release says they were caught after an employee with an Oklahoma City livestock barn recognized the owner's brand on the steers, which were reported stolen Tuesday, Dec. 11.

Kansas and Oklahoma law enforcement coordinated and made it appear that the cattle had been sold. When Whittley and Boone when to collect the check, they were taken into custody.

The release says they also are suspected of stealing another eight head of cattle in November in Kansas.

NORMAL, IL

Illinois State will buy 80 acres to expand University Farm

Illinois State University will buy about 80 acres of land to expand the central Illinois farm operated by the university's agriculture department.

The ISU board of trustees on Saturday authorized the university to purchase the land adjacent to University Farm for $810,000, including closing costs. The money will come from university reserves.

The farm is located about 20 miles northeast of Normal, and provides students with hands-on farming experience.

The 360-acre University Farm produces corn, soybeans, alfalfa, beef, sheep and swine.

It was dedicated at its site near Lexington in 2002. In addition to student employees it has eight full-time employees.

ST. PAUL, MN

Permit denied for large hog farm in MN

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency said Tuesday it has taken the unusual step of denying denied a permit for a large hog farm proposed for Fillmore County in southeastern Minnesota because of the threat of adding to groundwater nitrate pollution in the geologically porous region.

A permit for Catalpa Ag's proposed 4,890-sow facility near Mabel because of the threat to public health was denied.

The piglet-producing operation would have generated over 7 million gallons of manure annually that would be spread on farm fields for fertilizer.

Groundwater nitrate levels in 19 of the county's 24 townships already exceed the state's safe drinking water standard of 10 parts per million, officials said.

Two public meetings about the project drew more than 700 people, including opponents concerned about groundwater quality and odors.
 

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