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Boat lovers snap pictures of the Coast Guard icebreaker Mackinaw as it moves through the Duluth ship canal on Monday afternoon. Photo by Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com

First barge hits Bettendorf while ice-breaking convoy steams into Duluth; chemo reimbursement passage expected; 8 more state stories

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The wheels of commerce are moving slower than normal in the Midwest thanks to the long cold winter.

The first Mississippi River northbound barge usually gets to La Crosse by now. But the Army Corps of Engineers said Monday the nearest vessel was about 200 miles to the south, at Bettendorf, Iowa.

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