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Game day rally at U to draw crowds

protesting NFL, DC team’s mascot

By Matt Sepic, MPR News

Native American leaders and University

of Minnesota students say they’re expecting thousands of people to

turn out for a protest against the Washington Redskins when the team

plays the Vikings a week from Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium.

Clyde Bellecourt, co-founder of the

American Indian Movement, said the DC team’s name is racist and

offensive. Bellecourt expects a young group of protesters to gather

outside the stadium to speak out against the name.

"We know that because we’re on a

university campus. We’re organizing all the students," he said.

"We’ve been doing a lot of radio, television, public relations,

so we’re expecting over 5,000 people."

The National Coalition Against Racism

in Sports and Media is organizing the protest along with campus

leaders.

Aubrey Strenger with the Black Law

Students Association said the university, through its contract with

the Vikings, should prohibit the use of the Washington team’s name on

campus.

"The University of Minnesota is

such an influential educational body and they are in a particular

place to affect change," Strenger said.

University of Minnesota officials have

asked the Vikings to limit the use of the Washington team’s name and

logo during the game.

A statement posted on the U’s website,

said while the university "denounces the team name of the

Washington team — and other sports team names that promote negative

and harmful stereotypes — the University does not believe that it

has the legal authority or contractual authority under the facility

use agreement to prevent the game."

Amid the controversy, team owner Dan

Snyder said in a recent letter to Washington’s season ticket holders

that the name is a "badge of honor."

DNR chief: Expect PolyMet environmental

review by early spring

By Dan Kraker, MPR News

Minnesota officials hope to finish the

final environmental analysis for the proposed PolyMet copper-nickel

mine by early next spring.

"I know people are frustrated

with this, I’m frustrated with this, but I just want you to know that

we want to be as thorough and diligent as possible," Department

of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr said Monday during a

forum on Iron Range mining. "We have to have the best possible

document at the end of this, and we are working as expeditiously as

possible to get that thing out the door."

PolyMet is proposing a $650 million

copper, nickel and precious metals mine near Babbitt and Hoyt Lakes.

The state just finished its initial

review of the 58,000 comments received on the draft environmental

impact statement and the DNR will incorporate 8,000 "unique

ideas" from those comments into the final environmental

statement, Landwehr said.

When state and federal regulators OK

the environmental analysis, PolyMet can apply for the more than 20

permits needed to develop a mine.

DNR: Encouraging signs in latest Mille

Lacs walleye survey

By Elizabeth Dunbar, MPR News

A fall survey on Mille Lacs Lake shows

good news for walleyes, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

said Monday.

Researchers found the highest number

of yearling walleyes on the lake since 2008. It also found higher

numbers of yearling tullibees, which could help feed predators that

threaten the young walleyes, the DNR said.

The improved yearling numbers are "the

one thing we really wanted to see," said Rick Bruesewitz, the

DNR’s Aitkin area fisheries supervisor. "We’ve had some issues

with survival of juveniles over their first year of life, especially.

It appeared they survived better than they have for about the past

four years."

Walleye numbers on the lake remain the

lowest seen in decades and DNR officials say it will take time for

the population to recover.

The agency is still working to

understand the effect of climate change, predators and other issues

affecting the fish," Bruesewitz added. "It’ll be awhile

before the population is back to the way it once was."

Minnesota Public Radio News can be heard on MPR’s statewide radio network or online.