Updated: 06/11/2014 10:55 PM
Created: 06/11/2014 2:09 PM WDIO.com
Rusty Eichorn never really needs an excuse to fly. But he definitely had one last week, when he took WDIO-TV up in his Cessna 180, to check out the mining development going on in Itasca County.
Eichorn, a county commissioner and avid pilot, told us there's been about $1.5 billion dollars in investment in mining since we last went up in his plane in 2006.
We took off on a perfectly calm, sunny day last Wednesday. Lake Pokegama was our runway. Looking down, you can see the sandbars through the clear water.
One of the first places he took us was over the Tioga Pit. It's an old mining pit, and the water looks aquamarine. "This is the very Western edge of the Mesabi Range," Eichorn told us.
Then it was a quick pass by the Boswell power plant in Cohasset, and then over to the site of Magnetation's Plant 4. The facility is a $155 million dollar investment, that will employ over 160 people.
Even from so high up, the operation looks impressive. And just a few miles away, is Magnetation's Plant 2 site in Bovey.
"Things with Magnetation are better than we ever could have expected," Eichorn said.
We also could see a train full of cars being loaded with concentrate made by Magnetation. It was heading to Mexico, to a steelmaker down there.
From the air, we also saw the Essar Steel Minnesota site in Nashwauk. "Essar has put in $800 million dollars so far," Eichorn told us. Despite delays in construction and delays in payments to contractors, Eichorn believes this project will get done.
We saw so much steel lying on the ground, waiting to be put up as buildings. Essar has said they have received additional financing, and hope to ramp construction up soon.
The large cooling tower is now a new landmark for Rusty, as he flies home from Canada.
Back on the ground, he told us, "It's so exciting to be part of it in the air, and on the ground. There are great jobs, which are sustainable. It's fun to see how it's all developing," he added.
Superior Police: Officer's Use of Force Justified
The Superior Police Department says an internal investigation has found an officer's use of force was justified in an arrest seen on a controversial dashcam video. However, the officer was given a 10-hour unpaid suspension for "vulgar and unprofessional" communication during the arrest.
Johnston Investigation Concludes Five Allegations Substantiated
An investigation into allegations that a Duluth school board member threatened the district's superintendent and other board members concludes that five of six claims are warranted. A 67-page report details the allegations against school board member Art Johnston released to Eyewitness News on Friday.
Denfeld High School Debuts In-School Food Pantry, Clothes Closet
A new program at Denfeld High School in Duluth aimed at making sure students don't go hungry or without clothes, made its debut on Friday. The Hunter Hut food pantry and clothes closet is the first of its kind in an eight-county radius because it gives students the chance to shop for free groceries and clothing right at school....
Rice Lake Township Makes Moves To Become a City
After the City of Duluth brought up the idea of annexing Rice Lake Township, township leaders are continuing their efforts to turn the township into a city.
Washburn Co. Sheriff: Concrete Damaging Tires on Hwy. 53
The Washburn County Sheriff's Office says five vehicles have suffered tire and wheel damage due to concrete problems on U.S. Highway 53. Sheriff Terry Dryden said county highway workers are checking to see what can be done.