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Faces for Dec. 25, 2016

Emily Piper (left), commissioner of Minnesota Department of Human Services, presents the 2016 Commissioner’s Circle of Excellence Award to Julia Jaakola on behalf of Fond du Lac Human Services Division and Carlton County Public Health and Human Services.1 / 14
Lake Superior Modern Quilt Guild gifted quilts to the Dakota family of Superior during the Western Lake Superior Habitat for Humanity holiday party. Habitat is building a home for and with the Dakotas. The quilts were given to serve as a symbol of partnership between Habitat, the family and LSMQG, who is also volunteering in the house construction. 2 / 14
Duluth and Superior Boys & Girls Club members were each awarded $5 Christmas Kroners by the Julebyen Outreach Committee for having performed four hours of community service in Duluth. The service projects included picking up litter along Skyline Parkway and Enger Tower, cleaning out rooms at the Boys & Girls Club and volunteering at Duluth Animal Shelter. 3 / 14
Lowell Elementary School students, staff and Parent Teachers Association assembled and donated 30 holiday meal baskets to local families in need last month. Super One Foods contributed food to the charity effort.4 / 14
Jennifer Kangas, officer manager at Invisible Fence of the Northland, hands a pet oxygen mask kit donation to Kyle Riel, lieutenant and training officer of Kettle River Fire Department.5 / 14
Jeni Eltink6 / 14
Junior academy students from Duluth Edison Charter School North Star Academy raised more than $1,000 for Animal Allies through its Penny War during November and early December.7 / 14
Beth Al-Qudah8 / 14
Last month, Hermantown Middle School students sewed and gifted 70 pillows to St. Luke’s cancer patients with permanent ports for chemotherapy. The pillows were made to cushion the area surrounding the ports for when the patients wear seat belts. 9 / 14
Jerry Niemi10 / 14
Spring Aubol11 / 14
Hero K9 granted the Cloquet Area Fire District a multi-threat vest and a BarkBox containing dog toys and treats for Wish, their K9 officer. Hero K9 is a national nonprofit that supports K9s and their training.12 / 14
Adventure Zone Family Fun Center in Duluth donated $1,220 worth of toys to Toys for Tots, a nonprofit that distributes holiday gifts to families who cannot afford them. Pictured are employees (from left) Dane Budde, Mattie Tuckey, Teresa Boder, Dayin Liston, Boyer Alseth and Keith Leflore.13 / 14
Superior-Douglas County Visitors Bureau distributed 800 winter clothing items to several area nonprofits. Pictured are (from left) Taylor Pederson, Visitors Bureau and Membership Services director; Nikky Farmakes, SDCVB spokesperson; Laura Cochran of Travel Center; Carla Pehl, CASDA’s Domestic Abuse Program coordinator; Nicole Nemec, CASDA’s Children's Program coordinator; and Millie Rounsville of Northwest Wisconsin Community Services Agency.14 / 14

DONATIONS

• Hero K9 granted the Cloquet Area Fire District a multi-threat vest and a BarkBox containing dog toys and treats for Wish, their K9 officer. Hero K9 is a national nonprofit that supports K9s and their training.

• The Wells Fargo Foundation granted 250 new children's picture books to the Duluth Library Foundation in November. The new books are available for rent at all three Duluth library locations.

• Last month, Hermantown Middle School students sewed and gifted 70 pillows to St. Luke's cancer patients with permanent ports for chemotherapy. The pillows were made to cushion the area surrounding the ports for when the patients wear seat belts.

• Duluth residents contributed more than 8,400 gift-filled shoe boxes during Operation Christmas Child's National Collection Week, held by Samaritan's Purse in November. The international relief organization will distribute the shoeboxes to children in need around the world.

• Lowell Elementary School students, staff and Parent Teachers Association assembled and donated 30 holiday meal baskets to local families in need last month. Super One Foods contributed food to the charity effort.

• Fond-du-Luth Casino donated more than 10,000 pairs of socks and a $2,000 check to the Salvation Army in Duluth. The sock donation came from the casino's annual December Sock Drive, and the monetary donation was part of its Make it a Point to Give campaign.

• Super One Foods and the Miller-Dwan Foundation together raised more than $14,000 for Duluth's Solvay Hospice House during their annual Paper Ornament campaign in November. Eleven regional Super One Foods stores sold $1 paper ornaments during the month of November to raise funds for the hospice center.

• The Superior-Douglas County Visitors Bureau received an anonymous donation of 800 winter clothing items for the Big Bundle Up Campaign — a statewide collection program running through Jan. 2. The bureau distributed the clothing donation to Northwest Community Action, the Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse and Harbor House Crisis Shelter.

• Invisible Fence of the Northland donated a pet oxygen mask kit to Kettle River Fire Department as part of its Project Breathe program. The mask allows firefighters to give oxygen to pets suffering from smoke inhalation when they are rescued from a fire.

• Rixmann Cos. Pawn America in Duluth mailed more than 500 movies and video games to area troops of the 312th Army Reserve Engineer Co. serving in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. More than 100 members of the 312th were deployed to Kuwait earlier this year. The movie and video game donations are expected to arrive in time for the holidays.

• The Duluth News Tribune raised more than $7,400 for Head of the Lakes United Way earlier this month. The News Tribune fundraised with a staff chili cook-off, a bean bag toss tournament, hot dog and doughnut sales, and more.

• Friends of the Superior Public Library donated more than $2,000 to the Superior Public Library to purchase books and other items for library patrons to use. Friends collected the donation money during its Merry Little Christmas Book Sale earlier this month.

• Adventure Zone Family Fun Center in Duluth donated $1,220 worth of toys to Toys for Tots, a nonprofit that distributes holiday gifts to families who cannot afford them. Adventure Zone collected the toy money by allocating 5 cents from every e-ticket sold during its November Tickets for Tots campaign to the toy donation.

COMMUNITY LEADERS

• Jerry Niemi, a senior researcher at University of Minnesota Duluth's Natural Resources Institute, received the Thomas S. Roberts Memorial Award from Minnesota Ornithologists Union. The UMD biology professor was honored for his documentation of Minnesota's breeding bird populations from 2009-13 in his project, "Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas." University of Minnesota Press plans to publish the project in 2018.

• St. Louis County Commissioner appointed John Schifsky of Duluth to the Arrowhead Library System Board of Directors for a three-year term starting January. Schifsky is also on the Planning and Zoning Commission for Duluth Township.

• Minnesota Department of Human Services honored the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Human Services Division and Carlton County Public Health and Human Services with the 2016 Commissioner's Circle of Excellence Award during a ceremony earlier this month in St. Paul. The two organizations were recognized for their partnership to provide school-linked mental health therapy services to American Indian and Carlton County school children.

• The Boys & Girls Clubs honored Jim Perrault Jr. with a Lifetime Membership Award earlier this month. Perrault, who was the first Boys & Girls Club member when it started in 1971, recently retired after serving 30 years on the club's board of directors. During his time on the board, he served as president, area council liaison and chairman of numerous committees.

EDUCATION NOTES

• University of Minnesota Duluth announced the director of the Kirby Student Center, Jeni Eltink, won the ACUI Inspiring Vision Award during an October Region V Conference at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Eltink was honored for her efforts to promote student-learning and personal development on campus.

• BestDegreePrograms.org honored the University of Wisconsin-Superior for having one of the top 15 bachelor degree programs in elementary education and early childhood education by. The UWS programs were chosen based on their affordability and option for online courses.

LEARNING NOTES

• During a November campus symposium, 17 students from the University of Wisconsin-Superior showcased the results of their research work conducted during the 2016 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship. Research topics ranged from art to zebrafish.

• The Mark M. Welter World Citizen Award was given to two area college students, Beth Al-Qudah from Lake Superior College and Spring Aubol from Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College. Al-Qudah and Aubol were two of 20 Minnesota college students chosen for the award based upon their academic achievements and participation in campus activities.

Aubol, a Proctor High School graduate, is pursuing a bachelor's degree in elementary education. Her school involvement and academic achievements include having been named to the Dean's List multiple times and serving as secretary of the Environmental Science Club and past president of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society Chapter.

• Minnesota State University, Mankato, announced the following:

Tyler Schrandt of Esko and Richard Gehrke of Mahtowa both earned master's degrees. Schrandt in art and Gehrke in sociology.

Duluth's Emily Anderson and Catherine Hersey graduated with master's degrees in communication disorders and education technology, respectively.

Nicholas Wilson of Eveleth and Benjamin Monson of Virginia both graduated cum laude with bachelor's degrees in general engineering.

Virginia's Felicia Levchak and Devon Shustarich both graduated magna cum laude, receiving bachelor's degrees in nursing and general engineering, respectively.

GRANTS

• The Women's Foundation of Minnesota granted $6,000 each to Men as Peacemakers and the YWCA of Duluth. MAP will use the money to provide more leadership and skill-building opportunities for the Girls Restorative Program. YWCA will utilize the grant to help enhance the employment development program for low-income girls of color.

• The Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation bestowed $39,100 in grants from the Parks Fund Neighborhood Grant program to eight area organizations. The fund aims to support community groups that enhance both the physical and social aspects of Duluth's parks.

The Chester Bowl Improvement Club, Cyclists of Gitchee Gumee Shores, the Gary-New Duluth Development Alliance, Hartley Nature Center and the Duluth YMCA were each given $5,000 to purchase equipment or fund events, projects and maintenance.

The Duluth Climbers Association received $4,800 for organizing community climbing events and Neighbors of Lower Chester Park was given $4,300 for its community-use project.

GOOD NEWS

• The Duluth and Superior Boys & Girls Club members were each awarded $5 Christmas Kroners by the Julebyen Outreach Committee for having performed four hours of community service in Duluth. The service projects included picking up litter along Skyline Parkway and Enger Tower, cleaning out rooms at the Boys & Girls Club and volunteering at Duluth Animal Shelter.

Club members used their kroners to buy Christmas presents at the annual Julebyen Celebration in Knife River earlier this month. The 30 children took the North Shore Scenic Railroad to the festival thanks to Heritage Marine of Knife River, who paid for their train fares and lunches, and Duluth Rotary Club, who paid for their snacks.

• Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank honored the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center for donating nearly 19,000 pounds of food to the bank each year.

• Junior academy students from Duluth Edison Charter School North Star Academy raised more than $1,000 for Animal Allies through its Penny War during November and early December.

• The Lake Superior Modern Quilt Guild gifted quilts to the Dakota family of Superior during the Western Lake Superior Habitat for Humanity holiday party. Habitat is building a home for and with the Dakotas. The quilts were given to serve as a symbol of partnership between Habitat, the family and LSMQG, who is also volunteering in the house construction.

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