Jimmy Lovrien is a reporter for the Lake County News-Chronicle and Weekly Observer. He spent the summer of 2015 as an intern for the Duluth News Tribune and was hired full time in October 2017. Lovrien grew up in Alexandria, Minn. but moved to Duluth in 2013 to attend the College of St. Scholastica. Lovrien graduated from St. Scholastica in 2017 with a bachelor's in English and history. He also spent a summer studying journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.
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Wearing purple and green outfits, residents of Finnish heritage will celebrate the 43rd annual St. Urho's Day celebration in the town of Finland this weekend. The celebration, from today through Sunday, celebrates St. Urho, the fictional saint of Finland who is claimed to have driven the grasshoppers out of that nation. The holiday originated on the Iron Range in the 1950s. Event coordinator Honor Schauland said the festival is a way for residents to celebrate their heritage. "It's a way for a lot of Finns in the area to reconnect with their cultural roots," said.
The costs to repair the new Burlington Bay Campground bathhouse complex, damaged in late December by a ruptured water pipe, will be covered by the contractor, according to Two Harbors city officials. T.L. Construction, the Floodwood-based contractor that built the bathhouse, will pay for the repairs because the building, which opened last year, remains under an active warranty, City Administrator Dan Walker told the News-Chronicle.
The Lake Superior School District has more bus routes than bus drivers. District buses take 24 runs a day — 12 before school and 12 after — but only 21 are covered by drivers, according to district bus dispatcher Dennis Wagner, who also drives morning and afternoon routes. "I have nightmares about it on a daily basis," Wagner told the News-Chronicle. Superintendent Bill Crandall said in an interview last week that an aging workforce and more job opportunities are to blame. It's a problem that districts face nationwide.
Every Friday morning for the past 20 years or so, a group of friends gather at the round table inside Johnson's Lakeside Bakery for coffee and friendly banter. They were disappointed to learn this month that Johnson's Bakery is not renewing its lease, jeopardizing the longtime gathering spot. "It's going to leave a big, big hole," group member Jerry Valentine, 89, said. But that might not be for long, according to owner Scott Johnson.
With union members in attendance last week, the Two Harbors City Council unanimously voted down an ordinance that would have repealed wage rates, hour requirements and project labor agreements for city construction projects.
As U.S. Olympian and Minnesota native Jessie Diggins, a Nordic skier, finished the last of her training before the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, her grandmother, Betty Santa of Duluth, did some training herself in preparation for her trip to South Korea. "Last time at (the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games), there was so much walking ... so I've been training to get my strength up in my legs so I can do more walking," Santa said last week. The extra walking came in handy for Santa, who lives on Pike Lake.
Stepping around construction equipment and through drywall dust recently, Frost River owner Christian Benson and Duluth Grill owner Tom Hanson described their vision for two storefronts in Duluth's Lincoln Park business district. Once construction finishes within 1908 and 1906 W. Superior St. later this spring, they'll house Love Creamery, a local handmade ice cream company, and Corktown Deli and Brews, Hanson's third restaurant after the Duluth Grill and OMC Smokehouse.
Updated plans for the future of an East Hillside park were released last month. A draft of the Lower Chester Park Mini-Master Plan presented to the city of Duluth Parks and Recreation Commission shows the addition of a second hockey rink, a playground, sledding hill, improved drainage, sidewalks and trails to the 2-acre park at 15th Avenue East and Fifth Street. Additionally, the city-owned park will be run under a shared governance between the neighborhood community club and area youth hockey association.
Since production got serious last spring, the Two Harbors bicycle bag company Cedaero Packs has experienced significant growth. Karl Mesedahl, Cedaero's designer and production manager, started in April 2017 and has seen firsthand how fast demand has increased. "It was fun to be able to see it go from three custom packs in a couple months to 30 orders in a couple weeks," Mesedahl said. Cedaero's only marketing comes from its Instagram account and sponsorship of several bike races.
Today, mushers and dogs will begin the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon, an annual tradition and North Shore linchpin. Just over four years ago, however, the future of the race was uncertain. In October 2013, as sponsors slipped and available funds dwindled, race organizers canceled the 2014 race. Later that month, the race was back on with a new board of directors. In the years since, organizers have tried to have more sources of funding to ensure there is not a repeat of 2013.