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Although she won't formally announce her candidacy until April 23, Janet Kennedy made clear her intentions Friday to run for the Duluth City Council. The race will mark Kennedy's second bid for office. In 2015, she challenged 5th District Duluth City Councilor Jay Fosle, garnering a little more than 43 percent of the popular vote but not enough to unseat the incumbent, who was re-elected. Nevertheless, the experience whetted Kennedy's appetite for public service.
Duluth's steam plant is expected to burn 20,638 fewer tons of coal this year, thanks to the installation of new controls that will allow two of its four boilers to run on natural gas. Duluth Mayor Emily Larson hailed the development during a press conference at the steam plant Wednesday and announced: "Today is the first day in which we are going coal-free in a pilot program here down at Duluth Steam."
A proposed new Kwik Trip development may be a little slower in coming to the corner of Boundary Avenue and U.S. Highway 2. In the face of concerns raised about the impact the prospective convenience store could have both on wetlands and neighbors, the Duluth Planning Commission postponed any action Tuesday on a request for a zoning change from R-1 residential to mixed-use neighborhood. The would-be developer of the property, Brad Johnson, needs the rezoning to move ahead with his plans.
Jon Kalkbrenner, president of Northern Health Care Properties LLC, is eager to start construction on an addition that would more than double the size of BeeHive Homes, an assisted-living facility he runs on Trinity Road. He hoped the Duluth Planning Commission would approve a special-use permit for the project Tuesday night, but Kalkbrenner encountered an unexpected, disappointing and potentially costly delay due to an oversight by city planning staff who failed to properly notify some neighbors of the proposed $2 million expansion.
Duluth City Council President Joel Sipress aims to seek re-election and is expected to formally announce his bid to continue to represent the city's 2nd District at a Monday evening event. Sipress, a 52-year-old history professor at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, was appointed to the post by fellow councilors in 2013 as a fill-in for Patrick Boyle, who left the council mid-term after he was elected to the St. Louis County Board of Commissioners.
The Duluth City Council agreed Monday night to continue to discuss a couple of issues that appear far from resolved: how best to encourage high-density development in the city and whether the rules that govern vacation rental properties need to be revamped. Development
Cheryl Champion of Solon Springs describes herself as a member of “the working-class poor” and said that if not for the Lake Superior Community Health Care Center, her struggles with diabetes and heart disease likely would have landed her in the hospital. “There are many people in our community who work at that just-below-getting-insurance level like me. We’re sort of stuck, and that’s why people stop going to the doctor. Or they start taking their meds every other day,” she said.
The Duluth City Council will decide Monday night how much they should charge the likes of Uber and Lyft to do business in the city. Just two weeks ago, the same body passed an ordinance establishing the rules of the road for ridesharing services — also called transportation network companies — to operate in Duluth. Establishing an appropriate fee, however, poses a bit of a challenge, according to David Montgomery, Duluth's chief administrative officer.
More tall buildings soon could be coming to Duluth if At Large City Councilor Zack Filipovich has his way. On Monday, the Duluth City Council is expected to take up a resolution that directs city staff to embrace more multi-story, high-density development as a strategy to preserve green space, protect views and avoid urban sprawl. "I don't see how we can substantially grow our city and at the same time not expand our utility infrastructure without having more dense and taller buildings in areas," said Filipovich, who introduced the resolution.
Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken is the first to acknowledge: “You can never arrest your way out of a drug problem.” However, he said tougher enforcement is playing an important role in the city’s efforts to suppress a rising tide of opioid addiction. Tusken recently shared some stats with members of the Duluth City Council that confirm the police department’s heightened actions to help stem the flow of heroin and illicit prescription opioids.