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The Duluth City Council may have opted not to receive a report Monday night from a specially appointed task force that was to make some recommendations regarding a prospective earned-sick-and-safe-time policy, but the topic dominated much of the evening's meeting nevertheless.
The Lake Superior Zoo let go of about one-third of its staff Monday, as its new director, Sen. Erik Simonson, seeks to financially stabilize the operation. Simonson said the zoo is eliminating 12 positions, including two that are currently unfilled — a full-time zookeeper job and a part-time maintenance worker. In all, 10 people received word their services would no longer be needed at the zoo. The cuts affected three full-time employees — two in marketing and one in a maintenance position — and seven part-time employees, all working in maintenance roles.
Duluth and Cloquet both received word this week that they will receive the key funding they need to move ahead with a couple of multi-million dollar apartment projects: • Minnesota Housing will invest more than $8.1 million and provide nearly $3.6 million in tax credit equity to help Center City Housing Corp. build Garfield Square Apartments in Duluth. • And the same state agency will provide more than $7.7 million in tax credit equity to convert the former Cloquet Middle School into a 57-unit apartment building. Garfield Square
The Duluth City Council has decided to push off a discussion about whether local employers ought to be required to provide workers with paid time off to deal with family illnesses or other crises. In so doing, councilors granted Mayor Emily Larson's request that the matter be tabled until after the Nov. 7 election. On the ballot that date, Duluth voters will indicate whether they support the mayor's proposal to increase the local sales tax by half a percent to fund street improvements.
A task force was scheduled to present its recommendations to the Duluth City Council Monday regarding the possibility of requiring local employers to provide workers with paid time off to deal with family illnesses and other crises. But that timeline could be pushed back if councilors agree to follow Mayor Emily Larson's lead. Since July 2016, the task force has been meeting and taking public input as it examines whether Duluth should pass an ordinance mandating that local employers provide paid time off to workers as a basic benefit.
A couple of tax-forfeited parcels near the corner of Boundary Avenue and U.S. Highway 2 set off a bit of a bidding war Thursday, when St. Louis County auctioned off the property. The land is part of a site where developer Brad Johnson of Lotus Realty Services Inc. proposed to erect a Kwik Trip station/store, but the project foundered after the Duluth City Council declined to rezone the property earlier this summer.
The city of Duluth has just unveiled an ambitious plan for its Irving and Fairmount neighborhoods. That blueprint calls for revitalizing some distressed areas, with an eye toward making this part of Western Duluth an even more attractive place to live, work and visit. The plan identifies five "catalysts": • Extending Waseca Industrial Road to connect with Grand Avenue • Developing medium- and high-density housing north of South 69th Avenue West and Raleigh Street on a site once owned by the now-defunct Duluth Winnipeg & Pacific Railway
Seven candidates running for seats on the Duluth City Council jockeyed for votes Friday morning at a forum hosted by the local Chamber of Commerce and the News Tribune. As they spoke, some differences emerged. In the At Large race, incumbents Zack Filipovich and Barb Russ face challengers Janet Kennedy and Rich Updegrove.
Shipwright John Finkle has been working with a crew of volunteers for the past 10 months to construct a wooden boat in a downtown Duluth storefront, but the vessel has occupied his imagination for a much longer time. He recalls singling out a crooked bur oak growing in the woods on a friend's property. "I saw it four years ago, and I was like — 'Dude, there's the bow of my boat,' " he said. Now that vessel is nearing completion, the product of a local boat-building initiative that Finkle also hopes will build a stronger sense of community.
The Lake Superior Zoo should be able to keep its doors open, thanks to some financial aid it will receive courtesy of the Duluth City Council. By a 6-2 vote Monday night, councilors agreed to provide up to an additional $200,000 in funding for the zoo, which this year already was set to receive $510,000 in local tourism tax revenues. The council also gave the zoo some extra financial breathing room by extending the terms of a $300,000 promissory note that was to have been repaid by Oct. 1. That deadline will now be pushed back to Oct. 1, 2018.