School board elections are nonpartisan affairs which can hinge on personality and require discriminating voters to delve into the issues. In the District 4 race to represent western Duluth, the candidates are polarized on most of the major issues and their personalities tinged with controversy — giving voters ample fodder to make their decisions. Retired Denfeld High School teacher and challenger Jill Lofald came to her candidacy upon the urging of colleagues, friends and her own conscience.
Far out on the lake, a tug-barge can look like any of the other monster freight vessels that loll along the horizon. But as it closes in, finer points emerge. Two distinct names — one painted on the barge, one on back of the tug — and the sight of a tug tucked into the backside of the barge. "Most of the tug-barge combinations are converted from old ships," said 21-year Great Lakes pilot John Swartout, who guides foreign-flagged vessels to ports inland from the Atlantic Ocean.
As a foster parent to a 4-year-old niece, legal guardian to a middle school-age boy and daytime caretaker to an infant grandson, Cindy Looker isn't shy about soliciting all the help she can get. "It doesn't come to you," said Looker, whose own daughters are in their 30s. "You have to find places to get help."
The second annual Discover Duluth Transportation event will be held Oct. 26. Presented by Jefferson Lines and hosted by the Duluth Transit Authority (DTA) at the Duluth Transportation Center downtown on West Michigan Street, the event is from 3-6 p.m., and will feature light refreshments, live music and entertainment, vendor tables and a program.
Linnea Mirsch rose through St. Louis County government as a behind-the-scenes data maven, working several years as its deputy administrator for operations and budget. Now, she's directing the county's largest agency, Public Health and Human Services, with four locations across the county, including an office building on West Second Street in downtown Duluth.
Surrounded by colleagues on Wednesday at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, Mary Bridget Lawson capped a group lunch by raising her hands and saying, "This is the last time we're all together, so thanks a million!" From there, the group broke to continue feverishly setting up for the St. Louis County Public Health and Human Service Conference, which celebrates its 35th anniversary today and Friday.
Twenty minutes north of Duluth at the Island Lake Dam Recreation Area, rushing water is released into the Cloquet River on one side of the dam, while on the other two divers work 30 yards underwater for as long as six-hour shifts pouring concrete to modernize and raise the piers higher. "They've been pouring concrete underwater for a long time — centuries," said Chris Rousseau, manager of hydro operations for Minnesota Power. "But what's great about this product is that it's self-leveling concrete. Underwater it goes perfectly flat." No troweling, he said.
Among the roughly 80 attendees at Monday's ceremony to commemorate Indigenous Peoples Day in Duluth were a host of children from Spirit of the Lake Community School. Bunched together on the Civic Center plaza, the elementary school students listened and observed intently. For them, it was an extension of the classroom. Three years ago, the Chester Park school brought Ojibwe language into its curriculum.
Leah Phifer will put away the motorcycle she rode to tour Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District this summer, but carry forward her campaign — convinced the DFL needs a voice in the 2018 midterm elections other than three-time incumbent Rick Nolan. Phifer, a political novice, announced her candidacy with a news release late Saturday. On Sunday, she spoke with the News Tribune, and explained what made her “Around the 8th in 80 Days” motorcycle tour so convincing as to prompt her to run for office.
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., will be using her staff later this month to gather information from front-line authorities about resources still needed to effectively combat the opioid epidemic, the senator's office said in a news release last week. The senator's staff members will meet with first responders, elected officials and others in cities across northern Minnesota, Oct. 16-17, with meetings in Aitkin, Brainerd, Cloquet, Duluth, Mora and Virginia.