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Weekly Wave: Cherry pit spitting relieves stress

Mental health breaks are definitely not the pits.

Rick Lubbers is the executive editor of the Duluth News Tribune.
Rick Lubbers
We are part of The Trust Project.

DULUTH — Mental health breaks are an important part of a busy, stressful work day. Those fleeting but valuable minutes spent resting our brains can take many forms, from a quick walk around the block or reading something fun for a few minutes, to playing a video game on a cellphone.

The possibilities are endless and we encourage our journalists to take advantage of lunch and other breaks to rest from the deadline grind — even if the break activity is a bit unusual.

Duluth News Tribune education reporter Joe Bowen won the Duluth News Tribune's second-annual cherry pit spitting contest.
Rick Lubbers / Duluth News Tribune

Such as cherry pit spitting. Hey, whatever works, right? As it turns out, cherry pit spitting is somewhat relaxing and you actually forget about work while trying to propel a small cherry pit using as much lung power as possible.

A small group of DNTers gathered outside the office Tuesday afternoon to compete in the second annual DNT Cherry Pit Spitting Contest.

Our regional editor, Jennifer Zettel-Vandenhouten, brought the idea, presided over the contest and, most importantly, provided the tasty tart cherries from Door County, Wisconsin.


We each had a practice spit and then had two official attempts. The contestant with the longest spit stood to win a large bag full of those cherries. After each attempt, Jen circled and initialed the resting place of each pit with sidewalk chalk.

As DNT reporter Tom Olsen noted, all those circled cherry pits looked like a crime scene where shell casings are dutifully cataloged by forensics officers. Olsen is our courts and crime reporter, so he's paid to make comparisons like this.

Sidewalk chalk documents how far each cherry pit traveled — and who did the spitting.
Rick Lubbers / Duluth News Tribune

I briefly held the lead with my first attempt, but apparently hot air doesn't increase distance with cherry pit spitting.

In the end, DNT education reporter Joe Bowen schooled us all with the winning distance and took home a bag chock-full of tart cherries.

Later that day, I found another great mental health break activity: ax throwing. But that's another topic for another "Weekly Wave."

Kayaker saves child

A young boy clinging to the side of a kayak
A boy is seen clinging to the side of a kayak in the St. Louis River in this screenshot taken from an Instagram video by David Jones Jr.

We tend to throw the word "viral" out a bit more than items actually "go viral" on the interwebs.

But when a video is viewed more than 11 million times, that's about as viral as it gets.

David Jones Jr., knows his way around the outdoors and the World Wide Web ( DJonesoutdoors — Full disclosure: Jones is a Northland Outdoors contributor for Forum Communications.) But he wasn't thinking about posting a video destined for viral status when he was fishing recently from his kayak on the St. Louis River.


What started as a day spent fishing turned into a dramatic rescue of a young boy struggling to swim in the frigid waters.

If you are not familiar with this story or the video that truly went viral, you can learn more details about the rescue from DNT reporting intern Peyton Haug (and check out the video as well) right here.

Scraping the sky, breaking barriers

Planes perform at air show
Maj. Kristin “Beo” Wolfe pilots a F-35 pilot during the Duluth Air and Aviation Expo at the Duluth International Airport on July 16.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

It can be challenging to find new ways to cover annual events such as the Duluth Airshow, so journalists constantly search for interesting new angles to present to readers.

DNT reporter Jimmy Lovrien found a great story Saturday during the first day of the two-day show: He spoke with three female pilots who thrilled the crowd with their aviation prowess, and who hoped more women will pursue careers in flight in a male-dominated industry.

Take flight with Jimmy Lovrien and those three pilots here.

What's a goral?

A small goat-like animal stands in a green field.
A new Chinese Goral, named Xiazhi (pronounced Zai-Shee) was born at Lake Superior Zoo on June 21.
Contributed / Lake Superior Zoo

Just what is a goral?

I'm glad you asked, because prior to reading Teri Cadeau's story about the goral born at the Lake Superior Zoo, I had no idea either (and I watched a ton of "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom" as a kid).

Hint: Gorals share similarities with goats or antelopes.


That little furry critter sure is cute, though, huh?

Learn more about the latest addition to the Lake Superior Zoo here.

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Editor's note: Weekly Wave is a newsletter that I publish every Friday morning. Please consider subscribing — it's free — and hits your inbox just once a week. You can sign up here.

Rick Lubbers has been in his role since 2014 and at the News Tribune since 2005. Previous stops include the Superior Telegram (1999-2005) and Budgeteer News (1997-1999). Prior to that, he worked at the St. Cloud Times and Annandale Advocate in Minnesota, and the Greenville Daily News and Grand Rapids Press in Michigan. He received his journalism degree at Central Michigan University.
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