- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Minnesota dentist rarely discussed hunting with patients

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A Minnesota dentist who has become the target of worldwide outrage for hunting and killing a protected lion in Zimbabwe advised patients Wednesday to seek care elsewhere and said he rarely discussed his big-game hunting because it can be a “divisive and emotionally charged topic.”

Walter James Palmer remained secluded in the face of protests at his suburban Minneapolis clinic and intense condemnation online. He has not appeared in public since being identified Tuesday as a party to the lion’s death.

Palmer, whose practice offers general and cosmetic dentistry, is an active big-game hunter, with many kills to his name, some of them registered with hunting clubs.

The North Dakota native “enjoys all outdoor activities,” according to the biography page on his now-dark clinic website. “Anything allowing him to stay active and observe and photograph wildlife is where you will find Dr. Palmer when he not in the office.”

In Zimbabwe, a hunting guide and a farm owner appeared in court on allegations they helped Palmer kill the lion named Cecil. And the head of Zimbabwe’s safari association said the big cat with the black mane was lured into the kill zone and denied “a chance of a fair chase.”


The Latest: Hundreds protest lion killing at dentist office

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (AP) - The latest information on the Minnesota hunter and guides in Zimbabwe who killed a protected lion during a hunt in the African nation (all times are Central):

5:15 p.m.

A group of protesters outside the office of a suburban Minneapolis dentist who killed a protected lion in Zimbabwe has grown to a couple of hundred people.

Demonstrators carried signs Wednesday and chanted outside the Bloomington office of Walter Palmer.

Palmer has said he believed the hunt was legal and didn’t know about the lion’s status. Some of Palmer’s patients are among the protesters.


Dayton starts special session legwork for Mille Lacs Lake

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Gov. Mark Dayton started laying the groundwork Wednesday to call a potential special session to provide emergency relief to a Mille Lacs Lake area bracing for an abrupt end to its walleye fishing season - perhaps as soon as the end of next week, Dayton said.

Resorts and other businesses around Mille Lacs Lake thrive off anglers traveling to the state’s marquee destination for walleye fishing. But state officials say they may have to end the lake’s walleye season in early August - they’re on track to surpass the lake’s harvest quota for the fish Aug. 3.

Dayton met with Mille Lacs tourism officials for more than an hour Wednesday afternoon and scheduled a trip to the lake Friday. Lawmakers started to assemble a working group charged with hashing out the scope and size of a relief package that may include zero interest loans and help refinancing existing loans, property tax abatements and advertising dollars. Dayton spoke Tuesday with legislative leaders, who signaled they’re open to a special session.

The Democratic governor said cobbling together a relief package may not be possible by the Aug. 7 date he hopes for, but stressed that he and lawmakers need to act fast.

“I’d like to do it as soon as possible,” he said.


United Taconite facilities in Eveleth, Forbes to be idled

EVELETH, Minn. (AP) - Cliffs Natural Resources says it will temporarily idle its United Taconite mine in Eveleth and its pellet plant in Forbes.

About 480 employees work at the two facilities on Minnesota’s Iron Range, which has been hard hit by layoffs this spring and summer.

Cliffs CEO Laurenco Goncalves announced the idling on the company’s earnings call Wednesday.

Goncalves attributed the shutdown to a decline in demand from the company’s customers that use the taconite pellets to make steel in giant blast furnaces.

WDIO-TV reports Goncalves also said the facilities will be idled in a way that they can promptly bring back operations.

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