The Northland's week in review (Jan. 29-Feb.4, 2010)

Friday through Sunday, Jan. 29-31 ? Shawn Roed and Tom Pearson accepted positions as activity directors for Duluth Public Schools in the 2010-11 school year. Roed will serve at East High School, Pearson will serve at Central High School. The two ...

Friday through Sunday, Jan. 29-31

  • Shawn Roed and Tom Pearson accepted positions as activity directors for Duluth Public Schools in the 2010-11 school year. Roed will serve at East High School, Pearson will serve at Central High School. The two take their positions as the district transitions to two high schools in September.
  • Members of the Duluth Area Speedskating Club competed in the National Long Track Championships held in Roseville. Hannah Curwin, a senior at Marshall, won the national champion title for junior ladies. Mike Hall won the senior men's division. Haley Paulson (an eighth-grader at Holy Rosary) took fourth place overall in the juvenile division.
  • Mentor Duluth announced that mentor Dick Dolezal and mentee Nate were the recipients of the 12th annual Albert and Louise Ordean "Making a Difference" award. This award is given to a Mentor Duluth match that goes above and beyond the expectations of the program.
  • TV personality Julie Pearce quit her job as a Northland's NewsCenter anchor to work as a nurse in Haiti. She will leave for the earthquake-devastated country on a one-way ticket. (Her story was later relayed on NBC's "The Today Show.")
  • Jerry Pelofske, manager of the Duluth Steam Cooperative Association that runs the coal plant and steam lines for the city of Duluth, said Friday that the Qwest Communications explanation for a fiber optic line break -- a steam pipe rupture -- is unlikely. Qwest is still investigating the break.
  • Proctor Journal publisher Jake Benson was elected president of the Minnesota Newspaper Association Friday.
  • The 27th annual John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon took off Sunday afternoon, with 30 mushers and more than 400 dogs participating. Hundreds of people turned out in frigid temperatures to watch the start.
  • Duluth Marshall ninth-grader Gina Gilderman won the novice women's division of the 30th Northland Figure Skating competition held at the DECC.
  • The Winterfest 2010 Medallion Hunt, a local radio promotion, ended when 25-year-old Kyle Chiaverini of Duluth found the 3-inch acrylic disc in Enger Park. For finding the medallion, Chiaverini won a Polaris Sportsman 300 with winch and Glacier II Snowplow System -- a $6,000 value -- provided by Sonju Two Harbors.

Monday, Feb. 1

  • Donald Lavail Christopher, 41, a Superior man who stabbed his ex-girlfriend, her mother and stepfather in a Catlin Courts residence last April was sentenced to 30 years in Douglas County Circuit Court.
  • U.S. Olympic curling team skip John Shuster of Duluth appeared on "The Jay Leno Show." Shuster is a two-time Olympian who won a bronze medal at the 2006 games in Turin, Italy.
  • James Calvin Tucker, 44, of Duluth, was arraigned Monday in St. Louis County District Court, accused of raping a woman in a Lincoln Park apartment. Tucker has had 42 previous criminal cases filed against him in three Minnesota counties.
  • Don Galloway won the mid-distance Beargrease race Monday, completing the nearly-100 mile trail in 8 hours, 43 minutes and 5 seconds.

Tuesday, Feb. 2

  • In Duluth, Spike the porcupine signaled six more weeks of winter in the Northland when he emerged from his den at the Lake Superior Zoo and saw his shadow. The nation's most well known animal winter forecaster, Punxsutawney Phil the groundhog, concurred with the local forecast. It was the 99th time Phil had seen his shadow since 1887.
  • With most of the straw poll results in from Tuesday's statewide caucuses, several frontrunners emerged. The Republicans' Marty Seifert got approximately 54 percent of the votes while Tom Emmer got the second most votes, 37.5 percent. Democrat results were less definitive, but two leaders came away with close to 20 percent: Margaret Anderson Kelliher had almost 19 percent and R.T. Ryback had just over 20 percent. However, former U.S. senator Mark Dayton had asked not to be included in the DFL straw polls. The Independence Party candidate with the most votes so far was Tom Horner, with 48 percent.

Wednesday, Feb. 3

  • The Duluth community contributed $9,495.72 to Haitian relief efforts through the "With You, Haiti Cherie" benefit concert at The College of St. Scholastica Wednesday night.
  • Nathan Schroeder of Chisholm was the first to cross the finish line of the 27th John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon just after 10 a.m. Wednesday. Schroeder had never won the Beargrease, finishing sixth in 2008 and withdrawing from the 380-mile long race last year. Schroeder finished the race in 40 hours, 4 minutes and 25 seconds. Two-time Beargrease winner, Jason Barron of Lincoln, Mont., was runner-up with a time of 41:55:00. Schroeder grew up in Warba, a small community southeast of Grand Rapids, where he was first attracted to mushing at age 12.

Thursday, Feb. 4


  • During the Minnesota Legislature's first day back, Duluthians joined other protestors outside the State Capitol for a "Save General Assistance Medical Care" rally. The GAMC program, Minnesota's state-funded public health insurance program for extremely low-income single adults, was cut by Gov. Pawlenty during his unallotment process. Supporters of GAMC say eliminating the program as scheduled, on April 1, will leave 35,000 Minnesotans with out necessary health coverage and no means of getting it otherwise.
  • Northland members -- John Shuster, Jason Smith, Jeff Isaacson, Chris Plys and Phill Drobnick -- of the U.S. Olympic men's curling team were feted at a send-off party Thursday at the Duluth Curing Club.
  • It seems likely that Lake Superior College in Duluth will get a new Health Science Center after the DFL-controlled Minnesota House and Senate both included the project in their proposed 2010 construction plans. The House and Senate plans unveiled Thursday also include $11.7 million for Duluth International Airport to help pay for a new passenger terminal, $3.7 million for improvements at Chisholm-Hibbing Airport and $6.7 million for a new American Indian Learning Resource Center at the University of Minnesota Duluth. There are possible sticking points, however. Pawlenty has threatened to veto the Legislature's final boding bill if it's much costlier than the $685 million construction package he proposed last month.
  • Sexual predator alerts: Level III offender Logan Asher Mattson (born on Christmas Day 1980) is now living in the 100 block of North 19th Avenue West. Past offenses include fondling and penetration with females between the ages of 5 and 11. Level III offender Dennis James Armstrong (born July 10, 1972) is now living on England Avenue in the Riverside neighborhood. He has a history of sexual contact with male and female victims ages 5 to 7. Armstrong was known to the victims and the contact has included penetration. Fact sheets on these sexual predators are available at

Want to know more about any of these stories? Look under the News tab at
This weekend

  • The opening of the exhibit "Love at the Snoodle IV" will be celebrated from 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday at Snoodle Ceramic Studio, 7107 Grand Ave. In addition to the love-themed artwork, there will be musical performances, a puppet show and fire dancing by members of the Spin Collective. Visit for complete details.
  • Two Harbors Winter Frolic runs through Sunday, Feb. 7. Lots of fun family activities are plan for the event including snow sculptures, bonfire with music, photo scavenger hunt, pancake breakfast, sliding hill, vintage snowmobile show and the famous smoosh and outhouse races. A schedule of events is posted at
  • There will be a free family day from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 6 at the Duluth Art Institute, 2229 W. Second St. Make-and-take art activities for kids of all ages. Questions? Call 723-1310.
  • Check out the state 8-ball championship tournament at the DECC all day Friday and Saturday and the first half of Sunday.
  • Former Budgeteer intern Luke Kavajecz will have an artist's reception for his exhibit "Riding Superior: A Freshwater Surfer's Perspective" from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Red Mug, 916 Hammond Ave., Superior.
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