The Northland's week in review (Dec. 18-24)

Friday through Sunday, Dec. 18-20 ? The Minnesota Vikings clinched a second consecutive NFC North title just before losing to the Carolina Panthers 26-7. The Panthers scored three fourth-quarter touchdowns. ? With the help of a dog from Hermantow...

Friday through Sunday, Dec. 18-20

  • The Minnesota Vikings clinched a second consecutive NFC North title just before losing to the Carolina Panthers 26-7. The Panthers scored three fourth-quarter touchdowns.
  • With the help of a dog from Hermantown Police Department, Duluth police tracked down two juveniles suspected of robbing a Yellow Cab driver. Hermantown officer Tom Wick and his canine partner Nero tracked the two suspects to a home in the 3100 block of Vernon Street. The two juvenile suspects, ages 14 and 15 and both from Duluth, were transported to the Arrowhead Juvenile Center where they are being held pending formal charges for simple robbery, a felony.
  • Patricia Mary Lenski, 82, of Duluth, died Sunday morning in St. Mary's Medical Center from injuries she suffered in a motor vehicle-versus-pedestrian crash. The crash occurred Nov. 30 at the intersection of Fourth Avenue East and Third Street in Duluth. Lenski was crossing Third Street when she was struck by a 1996 Honda Odyssey van driven by 51-year-old Mark Charles Danielson of Duluth. Danielson, who was wearing his seatbelt, was not injured. Speed and alcohol/drug use were not factors in this crash. The investigation into the crash is ongoing.
  • Actress Brittany Murphy, 32, died in Los Angeles Sunday.

Monday, Dec. 21

  • The Duluth City Council spent close to two hours listening to residents and debating how to fix Glenwood Avenue in Lakeside. Ultimately the council deferred the tough part of the decision -- whether to include bike lanes that would fit in with the city's adopted comprehensive plan but which were opposed by many residents living along the road -- to next month. Also at Monday's meeting, councilors formally approved a 5.4 percent tax levy increase for 2010 to raise revenues to pay for city operations and a new police station. Councilors Todd Fedora, Garry Krause and Jim Stauber voted against the increase. At the same meeting, councilors also passed a non-binding "friendly resolution" asking the North Shore Scenic Railroad to move rail cars blocking views of Lake Superior along the North Shore, something the railroad says it can't do because of bridge construction.

Tuesday, Dec. 22

  • District Court Judge Sandvik ruled that unless the retirees post a $750,000 bond, the city of Duluth can move forward with transitioning retirees to the current health insurance plan that covers active employees. The city recently conducted meetings with retirees about their move to Plan 3.

According to a press release, the City Human Resources Office will mail out new benefit cards in January. Retirees needing additional information can contact Cbiz, the city's benefits consultant, at (877) 635-9314 or e-mail at benefitquestions@

  • The University of Wisconsin-Superior's Rothwell Student Center closed its doors for good as employees moved to the university's new Yellowjacket Union student center, slated to open next month.
  • The Duluth Police Department identified the four individuals responsible for the damage to Ordean Middle School. The three adult males and one juvenile female have admitted their involvement in the Dec. 18 incident. Police are not releasing their names at this time; all four are from Duluth. When the investigation into the incident is completed, the case will submitted to the County Attorney's Office for charges. Duluth police would like to thank the public for calling in with information on this case.
  • A suspect in a fatal stabbing in Virginia Dec. 19 was arrested in Duluth Tuesday evening. The man, Robert Jacob Russell III, has a record of violence and has been involved in at least 17 criminal cases in three counties. Russell was arrested without incident and taken to St. Louis County Jail, where he is being held for murder in the second degree.

Wednesday, Dec. 23


  • Mayor Don Ness selected Brian Hanson as director of the Business and Community Development Department to head the city's economic development efforts. Hanson will also oversee the city's community and workforce development divisions and coordinate activities with DEDA and the various economic development organizations in the region.

"We are excited to have Brian join our team. Brian brings credibility, experience and skills that will help the city move forward as it explores and undertakes economic and community development opportunities," Ness said in a press release.
Hanson's name will be submitted to the Duluth City Council for approval in the form of a resolution at its Jan. 11 Meeting.

Thursday, Dec. 24

  • The local VFW Post 137 served its traditional free Christmas Eve dinner to residents in need. The annual dinner is prepared by volunteers and started more than 30 years ago.
  • As the Budgeteer went to press, a massive winter storm was predicted to last from Thursday through Saturday.

Friday, Dec. 25

  • Merry Christmas!

Coming this weekend

  • It's time to try out those new skates you received for Christmas.

The second Duluth Parks and Recreation skating party is scheduled from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 26, in the DECC Arena. All skating parties are free and open to all ages. Participants need to bring their own skates.

  • The Bentleyville Tour of Lights at Bayfront Festival Park will be open from 5 to 10 p.m. through Jan. 2, 2010.

Check out the Community Calendar under Budge community on this page for more upcoming events.

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