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Six women who worked for local law enforcement likely stand to receive $1.2 million as part of a mediated settlement involving St. Louis County and the city of Duluth.
Midway Township received some welcome protection from its eastern neighbor Monday afternoon thanks to a decision handed down by 6th Judicial District Judge Eric Hylden. In his order, Hylden overturned an administrative law judge's previous decision that would have authorized Proctor to proceed with the annexation of 92 acres of land, despite Midway Township representatives' objections.
Anxiety continues to build in Duluth's business community as a local task force deliberates about the possibility of the city adopting a policy requiring employers to provide paid time off for workers who are sick or dealing with other family emergencies. And David Ross, president and CEO of the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce, said that with the Duluth City Council expected to take up the matter before the end of the year, many companies are only now joining a conversation that began last November.
A resolution that would have authorized the city of Duluth to charge people $35 per hour of staff time spent responding to requests for public data has been removed from the July 10 City Council agenda. An email sent out to Duluth City Council members Friday morning indicated that city administration would request that the resolution be returned to it for further consideration, according to Council President Joel Sipress.
A proposed resolution headed to the Duluth City Council for a Monday night vote would authorize the city to charge $35 per hour for anything beyond 15 minutes of staff time spent fulfilling a request for public data. But Mark Anfinson, legal counsel for the Minnesota Newspaper Association, said he believes the straight fee being proposed in Duluth doesn't jibe with state law. "If that kind of a process were allowed, it would jeopardize the ability of members of the public to obtain copies of public records," he said.
The Duluth City Council briefly reconsidered a rezoning request Monday night that could have opened the way for a Kwik Trip to be built on Boundary Avenue at the doorstep of Proctor and Zenith Terrace. But it came to the same conclusion, denying the proposed change of zoning from low-density residential to mixed-use neighborhood. The same request had been denied two weeks ago, when the council voted 5-3 in favor of altering the zoning. Six council votes are required to approve the zoning change.
A 2-year-old dispute that arose from a case of mistaken identity appears to finally be moving toward a resolution. A proposed settlement agreement could end an ordeal that began May 8, 2015, when Ronald Gary Gustafson of Grand Rapids was arrested and spent five days in custody before authorities realized they had the wrong guy.
Referring to vacant buildings as "a threat to public safety," a resolution that's headed to the Duluth City Council proposes to jack up the cost of owning an abandoned property in the city. Owners of vacant buildings would be required to register their properties with the city on an annual basis. The city would charge $500 for the first year a building sits empty, with that annual fee progressively escalating by another $500 each subsequent year, so by year five the fee would total $2,500.
If not for the San Marco Apartments, Lisa Ronnquist, 60, said she'd probably have died homeless on the streets of Duluth by now. "This place saved my life," she said. Ronnquist was a chronic alcoholic when she came to the newly constructed San Marco 10 years ago as one of its first residents. "Before we had this place, when we needed a place to sleep, we'd sometimes get drunk on purpose so we could check into detox. I've been in detox so many times, I couldn't begin to count," she said.
Experience has shown that sometimes people will risk their own safety to care for a beloved pet even during a life-threatening emergency. "People will not evacuate unless they have a safe place for their pets. We learned that from Hurricane Katrina," said Tony Guerra, disaster program manager for the American Red Cross in Duluth. Nodding in agreement, Dewey Johnson, St. Louis County's emergency management coordinator, said: "Pets are part of your family."