Keeping Lake Superior salt-free

Snow-plow drivers from across the region -- including private operators -- are asked to attend a voluntary workshop Dec. 7 to learn what they can do to help protect Lake Superior.

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Workshop organizers say they can teach drivers how to keep sand and salt away from places where they might enter the ecosystem while not compromising public safety and increasing efficiency.

Spring runoff with high levels of salt and sand is toxic to trout in local streams.

The workshop is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Hermantown Public Safety Building, 5111 Maple Grove Road. It's sponsored by the city of Duluth, Regional Stormwater Protection Team and South St. Louis County Soil and Water Conservation District.

Topics include new de-icing strategies, application rates and an introduction to the latest winter parking lot and sidewalk manual.

For more information or for registration materials contact Nicole Barg at 723-4867 or go to www.lakesuperiorstreams.org.

Chinese Children's Museum

Still have relatives in town from the holiday? Want to see your kids' faces light up and air out the house?

The Duluth Children's Museum has a special family day on Saturday. So get in the car and don't forget to include the elder generations.

The museum is featuring its "Monkey King: A Journey to China" exhibit. The interactive story encourages kids to play along with the Monkey King and his friends as they tell this Chinese folktale.

On hand Saturday will be Shin Ping Tucker and Dorothy Gum to teach kids about the Chinese zodiac. From 10 a.m. to noon, local storyteller Elizabeth Nordell will relate the tale of the Monkey King, among others.

The Duluth Children's Museum is in the Depot on West Michigan Street.

Piedmont, others singled out

The ambitious Piedmont Avenue project and Lester River Bridge reconstruction in Duluth, as well as the Minnesota Highway 38 fix outside of Grand Rapids, were among 10 Northland projects to win national awards recently from the Federal Highway Administration.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation was recognized in the FHA's 2006 Excellence in Highway Design Awards.

The biennial awards recognize innovative approaches to design in the development of "context-sensitive" highway solutions. Winners demonstrated compatibility with the environment, visual appeal, safety and traffic operations, functional efficiency, quality of construction and providing a pleasing user experience, according to a MnDOT news release.

Sixty awards were handed out in 11 categories nationwide. Highway 38 won the Excellence Award while Piedmont and Lester River won Honorable Mention.

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