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The Memo: Duluth Seaway Port Authority makes waves

Have a business tip or story idea for The Memo? Send it to bbredsten@duluthnews.com.

The 624-foot long bulk carrier, Resko is the first saltie to visit the Twin Ports in 2022.
Resko, a bulk carrier from the Polsteam fleet, sails through the Duluth ship canal April 13. Duluth Seaway Port Authority ranked sixth in the U.S. and first among U.S. Great Lakes ports in the "Green Marine 2021" environmental performance report.
Clint Austin / 2022 file / Duluth News Tribune
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DULUTH — The Duluth Seaway Port Authority and its terminal operations on Rice’s Point rank among the nation’s top performers in the "Green Marine 2021" environmental performance report.

With 50 port authorities in North America participating, Duluth Seaway Port Authority ranked sixth in the U.S. and first among U.S. Great Lakes ports. It scored 3.8 on the 5-point scale, compared to the overall average of 2.97.

The Duluth Seaway Port Authority has participated since the program’s inception in 2007. Program participants must adopt practices and technologies that continually reduce their environmental footprint on the land, air and sea. Port authority participants were evaluated in seven categories: air emissions; community impacts; dry bulk handling and storage; environmental leadership; underwater noise; waste management; and a revised performance indicator for spill prevention and stormwater management.

“The process raises awareness of our work to minimize environmental impacts and it inspires us to continually improve our environmental stewardship,” Jeff Stollenwerk, Duluth Seaway Port Authority director of government and environmental affairs, said.

The site near the Duluth Port Authority is another in the long line of efforts to clean up a toxic legacy left in the Twin Ports harbor.

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Mid-State Truck Service hosts grand opening

DULUTH — Mid-State Truck Service held a grand opening at its 3204 Carlton St. location last week.

Mid-State has eight locations across central Wisconsin and northern Minnesota, including its Duluth facility, which opened Feb. 1, 2020. The delay in its opening announcement was due to the COVID pandemic.

"We would like to thank everyone in the community that has and will continue to support us, whether it’s our customers, vendors, corporate team or local community leaders, as we continue to flourish," Operations Manager Mike Cooper said.

The facility formerly housed an international truck dealership. The area serves as a prime location for the facility to expand, according to Cooper. "It has a large transportation hub with the Twin Ports and considerable amount of growth in Duluth," he said.

Mid-State Truck Service is a second-generation, family-owned and operated full-service dealership, established in 1965 by Frank Vandehey in Marshfield, Wisconsin. The business expanded in the late 1980s, and Vandehey retired in 1999. He passed the company along to his sons, Jon and Tom Vandehey.

They have continued to expand the business by providing maintenance service, a comprehensive line of medium, heavy and severe-duty trucks, as well as school and commercial buses. It also offers truck leasing and rental, parts, service, body and recon shop and vehicle financing.

Entrepreneur Fund expands to Superior

SUPERIOR —The demand for accessible small business financing in northern Wisconsin has grown significantly in the past few years, according to Entrepreneur Fund President and CEO Shawn Wellnitz. With hopes to boost entrepreneurial development, the Entrepreneur Fund added an office in the new Superior Entrepreneurship Center.

The public will have an opportunity to visit with the team and tour the future Superior Entrepreneurship Center during its open house Thursday from 2-4 p.m. at 1401 Tower Ave.

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The new Superior Entrepreneurship Center will serve as a hub for entrepreneurship development in Superior in Douglas County, enabling local entrepreneurs to find small business support with business resource organizations co-locating in the same building. Over the past 18 months, the Entrepreneur Fund, Wisconsin Small Business Development Center at UW-Superior and the Development Association have worked together on the expansion.

The Development Association hopes to buy the Old Post Office with the help of grant funding.

“Strong working partnerships are key to achieving our mission to grow small businesses, build thriving communities, and create a diverse regional economy,” said Wellnitz.

The Entrepreneur Fund is a nonprofit and certified community development institution that serves entrepreneurs and businesses located in 17 counties across Minnesota and Wisconsin. Since its inception in 1989, the fund has assisted more than 18,000 entrepreneurs, 3,700 businesses and provided more than $101.7 million in small business loans to grow the regional economy.

Since 2020, the fund has directly served over 100 small businesses and provided over $5 million in small business loans to business owners in Douglas County.

Brielle Bredsten The Memo

Brielle Bredsten is the business reporter for the Duluth News Tribune.

She earned a bachelor's degree in Professional Writing & Technical Communication, with minors in Advertising and Creative Writing from Metropolitan State University, in addition to a two-year professional paid internship as reporter/editor of the student newspaper.

She is an award-winning professional writer, photographer and editor based in rural Minnesota. Over the past decade, Brielle Bredsten has contributed more than 1,000 articles, feature stories, non-profit press-releases, photographs and columns. Her work has been published in several community newspapers.

Send her story tips, feedback or just say hi at bbredsten@duluthnews.com.
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