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Hobart Finn's dream of turning an 85-foot tugboat into Duluth's first floating bed and breakfast may finally be sunk for good. On Monday afternoon, the 101-year-old Essayons began to take on water. Finn was out of town, but David Nelson, his business partner in a trucking firm, Julie's Big Trucks, received word the boat appeared to be sitting unusually low in the water. When he arrived on the scene, he found water rising inside the vessel's hull. Nelson quickly rounded up a few pumps and rushed to the tugboat's aid along with Brian Rinker, a friend and occasional employee of Finn.
A newly released report indicates Duluth has bucked a state and national trend, with its housing prices climbing. Read more at Twin Ports Business
Mary Matthews doesn't buy into the idea that most Northland residents somehow lack what it takes to be entrepreneurs. Sure.
The Twin Ports' employment picture brightened slightly in February. The unemployment rate for the Duluth-Superior metropolitan statistical area (consisting of St. Louis, Douglas and Carlton counties) dropped from 9.9 percent in January to 9.8 percent in February. Those rates aren't seasonally adjusted. The strengthening of employment in the Twin Ports contrasts with what's happening statewide.
Lakers will get some welcome help from the East Coast this year. The Thunder Bay, a 140-foot Coast Guard cutter, set out Friday from its home port of Rockland, Maine, to join in Great Lakes ice-breaking operations. But it's unclear whether the vessel will make it as far west as the Twin Ports, or even the city for which it is named. Bill Hantzmon, a chief petty officer aboard the Duluth-based Coast Guard Cutter Alder, said it remains to be seen whether additional ice-breaking assets will be required to prepare the Twin Ports for the start of the shipping season.
Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle announced Monday that Fraser Shipyards in Superior will receive a $3.7 million Harbor Assistance Grant to improve its facility. But a still-bigger grant could be in the making. Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, believes the state grant could open the way for as much as an additional $10 million in federal stimulus money. Jauch said the state grant was in the works well before the possibility of leveraging additional federal grant money through the Federal Maritime Administration came to light. "We didn't plan on this.
Three of 12 ships that wintered in the Twin Ports now have no plans to sail this season. Read more at Twin Ports Business
When the Soo Locks open each year, lakers are usually lined up waiting to get through and begin a new shipping season. But that's not likely to happen when the locks open this year on March 25. The crew of the James R. Barker doesn't plan to leave the ship's winter berth at Midwest Energy Resources Co. in Superior until March 29 -- a full four days after the Soo Locks begin operating.
John Powley, a construction worker from Duluth, has been out of work since August. He has been looking, but to date has had no luck finding a job. "I see a lot of stuff like hospital jobs, but almost nothing for blue-collar workers like me," Powley said as he poked through listings on a computer at the Job Service office in Duluth. His predicament is all too common in the current economy.
Bullyan Homes of Hermantown has acquired a longtime local competitor and neighbor, Easy Housing. While co-owner Bill Gravelle said the sale has closed, he would not reveal any financial details.