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The Northland's week in review (Jan. 3 - Jan. 8, 2009)

Saturday, Jan. 3, and Sunday, Jan. 4 ? A group of nearly 40 residents, who oppose the school district's plan to turn Ordean Middle School into a high school, heard Saturday that plans for a stadium are changed -- instead the district is saying it...

Saturday, Jan. 3, and Sunday, Jan. 4

  • A group of nearly 40 residents, who oppose the school district's plan to turn Ordean Middle School into a high school, heard Saturday that plans for a stadium are changed -- instead the district is saying it will be a practice field. Details -- including lighting, seating and whether to put a track around the field -- need to be determined, said Doug Hildenbrand of Architectural Resources.
  • The Minnesota Vikings lost to the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday 26-14 in the wild-card round of the playoffs.

Monday, Jan. 5

  • Democrat Al Franken was declared the winner in the U.S. Senate recount over Republican Norm Coleman. Coleman said Tuesday he will contest the results in court.
  • During his State of the City address, Mayor Don Ness said the current fiscal challenges the city faces will make it better. Ness also mentioned the possibility of selling the city's gas and steam utilities.
  • David Dean Johnson, 37, who was convicted of killing another man about 13 years ago in an alcohol-related fight, was sentenced to five years in prison for critically injuring Dwayne Medina-Graciano in a March fight.
  • Also Monday, a local radio talk show without political overtones made its debut. "The Northland's Business Focus," hosted by Jack Lawson, a 29-year radio news veteran, is aired weekdays at 1 p.m. on KDAL-AM (610). Addressing the relationship between governments and businesses, its focus is to discuss ways the two can share resources and expertise to help this area's economy. During its first week, guests included the mayors of Duluth, Hermantown, Proctor and Superior.

Tuesday, Jan. 6

  • Duluthian Dennis Fink was elected chairman of the St. Louis County Board at the board's annual organizational meeting. Fink represents the eastern Duluth neighborhoods.

In other county board news, Gregory Lewis, the administrator in Niagara County, N.Y., was named as the fifth candidate to fulfill the county administrator job. Other finalists include Mark Abeles-Allison, current county administrator in Bayfield County, Wis; Ron Dicklich, executive director of the Range Association of Municipalities and Schools; Kevin Gray, chief financial officer for the Minnesota Department of Transportation; and Paula Yancey, executive counsel for the Jackson County, Mississippi County Board. There will be private and public interviews Jan. 12 and 13.

  • Tim Grover was named the chair of the Duluth School Board.

Wednesday, Jan. 7

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  • The city of Duluth announced work crews are currently assembling in preparation for the continuation of painting and structural rehabilitation work on the Lift Bridge.

This work will result in single-lane traffic over the bridge from Jan. 19 through March 20.
Thursday, Jan. 8

  • Duluth firefighters battled a garage fire in the early morning at 1720 E. Fifth St. A string of fires have been set in the East Hillside area since October.

Duluth Police took 17-year-old Cody Lee Walker into custody at 5 p.m. Thursday in connection with the fires; Walker faces charges of first-degree arson and first-degree burglary. Walker denies any involvement with the fires.

  • U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar agrees with President-elect Barack Obama's comments that DTV coupon funding has been exhausted and the Feb. 17 transition deadline to digital television should be extended. Klobuchar noted that, in Minnesota, more than 21 percent of households depend exclusively on over-the-air broadcast TV.
  • Funeral services were held for Minnesota Twins owner Carl Pohlad, who died Monday at age 93.

-- The Duluth New Tribune contributed to these reports
Coming this weekend

  • The Duluth Bridal Show will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 10 at the DECC. There will be many exhibitors offering goods and services for regional couples planning weddings. The fashion show will begin at 3 p.m. Visit www.duluthbridalshow.com.
  • The Boulder Lake Ski Race will begin at 11 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 11. There are two skate-only ski races, a 10.3K and 31K, along with a 4K Snowshoe Stomp. Race-day registration is $50 for skiers and $25 for the snowshoe event. Visit www.boulderlakeskirace.com.
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