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Both of the candidates for the Duluth School Board District 1 race agree that changes to school boundaries are necessary and that voters should be asked to at least renew an expiring operating levy. When it comes to key issues, however, similarities end there. Kurt Kuehn and incumbent Rosie Loeffler-Kemp are the candidates running to represent large sections of eastern Duluth, the city of Rice Lake and four area townships.
More snow fell in Duluth on Friday than any other October day in the city's recorded history. Duluth's National Weather Service office, located near the Duluth International Airport, measured 10.2 inches of snow as of 4:30 p.m. Friday. The previous record for the month was 10 inches, which fell on Oct. 23, 1933. The Halloween Blizzard of 1991, which dropped more than 3 feet of snow on the city, started on Oct. 31 — but the bulk of the snow fell on Nov. 1. Other notable snow totals Friday included 10.9 inches near Scanlon and 10.1 inches at Holyoke.
The Duluth school district is almost out of reserve cash. While the amount is not final, district CFO Doug Hasler said remaining funds are about $111,000, down from $2.4 million the prior year. An increase in special education costs for district resident students enrolled elsewhere is contributing to the decline in reserves, Hasler said.
Voters will choose between three newcomers and an incumbent to fill the two open At Large Duluth School Board seats Nov. 7, each candidate with a varying set of priorities. Choices include a public health nurse, a research scientist, a health care industry executive and a onetime teacher. Josh Gorham
Duluth City Councilor Howie Hanson, who is running for re-election, posted a campaign column he wrote for the Duluth News Tribune on the Duluth school district's Facebook page over the weekend. State statute says school districts cannot campaign for candidates. Hanson, who has been paid to contribute to the district's online presence since 2009, said it was an accident.
The Duluth school district's rubber mulch playground replacement has been called into question by a metro-area attorney, who appears to be representing a wood products company that she also owns. Yvonne Doose sent an email to Duluth School Board members Tuesday that included a report pertaining to the engineered wood fiber that is replacing rubber mulch on most district playgrounds.
Duluth School Board At Large candidates all seem to agree that the district needs to work harder to attract students who have left back into its schools. But how best to do that drew a variety of responses at the Duluth News Tribune/Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce forum held Friday morning at the Depot. Josh Gorham said the school district doesn't do a good job of "telling its story." The "public narrative" is that the western schools are "scary" he said, a false perception based on the time he's spent in schools working as a public health nurse.
Randy Anderson dealt with 90 reservation requests in one afternoon following the closure announcement of Bayfield's Wild Rice Restaurant. "It's been incredibly flattering, the clamor to get in to enjoy their last dinner here," said Anderson, the longtime dining room manager. "Every night we're fighting back some tears."
Lawyers working on behalf of a Superior High School student sent a letter to the Minnesota State High School League on Tuesday demanding that it change its girls-only policy for dance teams, or face legal action. Sophomore Kaiden Johnson is a member of the Superior High School dance team, but was prevented from competing last winter in a Duluth competition sanctioned by the Minnesota State High School League. He was sidelined at the event, while in uniform and preparing to perform. At that point, Johnson said, he became a spectator and not a competitor.
The Duluth school district has more students filling its schools this fall than the year before for only the third time since 1994. The 1.5 percent increase to the 8,000-plus district comes largely from kindergarten classes, said superintendent Bill Gronseth, which is positive, he said, because enrollment in elementary schools tends to be stable. High school enrollment in Duluth has historically dropped throughout the school year.