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Wisconsin Historical Society, Image ID: 24526, wisconsinhistory.org

The First and Last Soo Line Passenger Trains

For this week's A Northwoods Moment in History , Gary Entz tells us about the Soo Line Passenger Trains. The Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad, more commonly known as the Soo Line, formed in 1884 and became a significant part of Northwoods history. Although the company was primarily a freight railroad and was never one of the nation’s great passenger railroads. It nonetheless provided passenger service to the Northwoods with a branch of its Laker passenger train. The Soo...

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When workplace safety expert Eric Esswein got a chance to see fracking in action not too long ago, what he noticed was all the dust.

It was coming off big machines used to haul around huge loads of sand. The sand is a critical part of the hydraulic fracturing method of oil and gas extraction. After workers drill down into rock, they create fractures in that rock by pumping in a mixture of water, chemicals and sand. The sand keeps the cracks propped open so that oil and gas are released.

The Standard & Poor's 500 stock index broke new ground today, closing at 1,569, an all-time high that erased the record set on Oct. 9, 2007.

The S&P joins the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which broke its 2007 record earlier this month.

Both indices have now recovered all the losses they suffered during the Great Recession.

In the heart of the Amazon in western Brazil, an Indian tribe called the Surui lived in the Stone Age as recently as the late 1960s. They wore loincloths, hunted monkeys with bows and arrows, and knew little of the increasingly modernized country in which they lived.

President Obama has established a new bipartisan commission on election administration, something he promised to do in his Feb. 12 State of the Union address. He signed an executive order Thursday making it official.

During a Holy Thursday ritual, Pope Francis continued to break the traditions at the Vatican.

Pope Francis washed and kissed the feet of 12 young people at a youth prison. Among them were two women and two Muslims. The act was a break with tradition. As The Guardian reports, all modern popes have partaken in the ritual by washing the feet of fellow priests at either St Peter's or the Basilica of St John in Lateran.

A Philadelphia doctor who performed abortions is on trial for murder. Kermit Gosnell, 72, is accused in the deaths of a female patient and seven babies who the prosecutor says were born alive. District Attorney R. Seth Williams laid out the case in disturbing detail in a grand jury report last year.

When authorities raided Gosnell's clinic in 2010 they found squalid conditions: blood on the floor, the stench of urine and a flea-infested cat wandering through the facility.

One day while he was watching TV, farmer Emmanuel Tshiteta saw a news segment about people digging.

With shovels and picks, they forged deep holes, then packed the rocks they uncovered into plastic mesh bags. They carried the bags to a river to wash away the dirt, revealing handfuls of aqua-colored ore. The next day, they sold the ore for quick cash.

Poke into the obscure corners of the Federal Communications Commission's website, and you can find one of the deepest disclosures in campaign finance.

After 12 years, a federal court in Germany has settled an epic Easter battle: It ruled Lindt & Spruengli, the Swiss chocolatier, could not trademark its gold-foil wrapped easter bunny chocolates.

Germany's international broadcaster Deutsche Welle reports:

A mortar shell hit part of Damascus University in Syria's capital on Thursday, killing at least 10 students and wounding a number of others, according to the official Syrian news agency, which says the shell fell on an outdoor café in the architecture department.

NPR's Susannah George is following the attack from neighboring Lebanon: "State TV footage shows puddles of blood in a colorful school cafeteria, and an awning is torn above where the mortar allegedly landed."

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