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Minnesota city hopes to keep timber legacy alive

CLOQUET, — Community leaders are working to keep an eastern Minnesota city’s wood and timber industry legacy alive by luring a new company to take the place of a match factory which will soon close.

The Diamond Match factory in Cloquet announced last month that it will close sometime between July 28 and August 11, Minnesota Public Radio reported.

Newell Brands recently sold the Diamond Match brand to Royal Oak Enterprises. The new owners decided to close the Cloquet factory, putting 85 people out of their jobs.

“There’s a lot of concern, a lot of emotion,” said Steve Petoletti, president of the United Steel Workers Local 970 union. “And as the days get closer, you can feel a little more emotion.”

Wood product manufacturing jobs in Minnesota have declined more than 30 percent over the past 10 years. Paper mill jobs have decreased by more than 20 percent.