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A proposed ordinance that could require local businesses to provide workers with access to paid time off to deal with an illness or a family emergency, such as a domestic violence incident, was up for a second reading and a possible vote Monday evening. But an amendment passed that same night means the would-be ordinance won't be ripe for consideration again until April 23.
A couple of approaching events could help area employers and prospective workers make a connection. In all, 115 employers have signed up for a job fair this Thursday, from 10 a.m to 3 p.m., at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center's Pioneer Hall. Ronda Rutford, a Duluth workforce development representative, said a diverse lineup of companies from the Twin Ports and beyond will offer on-site interviews.
The Duluth City Council continues to wrestle with a controversial ordinance that would require local employers to provide workers with access to earned time off to deal with illnesses or family emergencies, such as domestic abuse. At a Thursday evening agenda session meeting, another complication came to light. Council President Elissa Hansen and 2nd District Councilor Joel Sipress flagged a concern with the accrual system laid out in the proposed ordinance.
Weather permitting, work will begin on downtown Duluth's main drag — Superior Street — come April 16. The road will take three years to complete at an anticipated cost of $31.5 million. Work this summer will focus on the segment between Seventh Avenue West and Third Avenue West. Next year, the project will jump to the other end of Superior Street, between Lake Avenue and Fourth Avenue East. And in 2020, the final year of construction, the project will target a segment of Superior Street between Third Avenue West and Lake Avenue.
The Lake Superior Zoo on Wednesday will kick off a campaign to raise $1 million to help fund improvements, including a new brown bear exhibit. Erik Simonson, the zoo's CEO, said he hopes to raise $500,000 this summer to get the project rolling, with the ultimate goal of welcoming guests into the new bear exhibit in 2019. The proposed 10,000-square-foot habitat would be home to two to three grizzlies or some other species of brown bear, such as the Kodiak.
The future of the Esmond Building — formerly the Seaway Hotel — remains a mystery. The Duluth Housing and Redevelopment Authority owns the once-troubled Lincoln Park building and issued a "request for qualifications" earlier this year, seeking to identify prospective redevelopment partners. But Jill Keppers, executive director of the Duluth HRA, said the authority received a "pretty thin" response — just four proposals in all.
Duluth's steam plant will be swapping out coal and natural gas for biofuel in the near future. Earlier this week, the Duluth City Council authorized Duluth Energy Systems to enter into a five-year agreement with an Ottawa, Ontario-based company that produces a type of fuel oil it makes from wood waste.
A staff member of the downtown Duluth Public Library discovered an insect Wednesday in the upholstery of a piece of furniture that was positively identified later that day by a pest service as a bedbug. The building was treated Wednesday night, allowing it to reopen its doors Thursday morning. "I hope people realize that we dealt with this as soon as we were aware of it, and we took immediate steps to eradicate it," said Carla Powers, manager of the library services for the city of Duluth.
An unfolding disagreement involving a Canadian electrical transmission project could cause serious headaches for Minnesota Power. The Duluth-based utility company has entered into a long-term agreement to purchase 250 megawatts of power from Manitoba Hydro, beginning in 2020. But recent events have thrown uncertainty into the outlook for some needed infrastructure, namely the Manitoba-Minnesota Transmission Project.
The Duluth City Council considered a host of amendments Monday night before settling on a few more details of a proposed ordinance that would require local employers to provide their workers with time off to deal with illness or other family emergencies.