Peter Passi covers Duluth city government and community issues. A graduate of Carleton College, he has worked as a reporter for more than 30 years and joined the Duluth News Tribune newsroom in 2000.
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As lawmakers closed in on their Monday midnight deadline to draw the Minnesota legislative session to a close, the status of many Northland requests remained uncertain. "At this point, I think it's safe to say that everything is still in play," said Sen. Erik Simonson, DFL-Duluth, Monday afternoon.
Jeanne Koneczny, a lifelong resident of West Duluth, announced Monday her intentions to run for Duluth City Council. She is the third candidate to enter the race for the 5th District seat now held by Councilor Jay Fosle. Fosle has not yet disclosed whether he will seek another term.
Duluth entrepreneur and software developer Barry Sinex already made a name for himself in the aircraft maintenance industry and by designing online tools that tend to the upkeep of marine fleets and railroad equipment. But now, he's aiming to gain a foothold in the trucking industry, and he's counting on NASCAR to spread the word.
Just months after completing the first phase of a massive project to replace Superior Street, the city of Duluth will need to dig up last year’s work. The city recently discovered a failing water main coupling beneath the 500 block of West Superior Street. The leak is located next to the skywalk tunnel connecting the Radisson Hotel to the library, where new water pipe was attached to existing steel pipe within the tunnel structure.
One of the first and tastiest harbingers of spring makes its appearance at this time of year. As bloodroot blossoms, ferns begin to wake from their winter nap. The plentiful ostrich fern pokes its shoots from the forest floor, providing Northland residents with a fleeting opportunity to harvest one of my favorite seasonal vegetables — fiddleheads. But the window to sample this ephemeral woodland treat is narrow. The ferns should be gathered while still tightly coiled. Once they start to unfurl, you've missed the boat.
The Duluth City Council continued to revise an ordinance governing local massage therapy businesses this week, with an eye toward making it tougher for sex traffickers to masquerade as massage parlors. The newly massaged ordinance should be ready for a vote when councilors next meet May 28. The latest amendment this week places more scrutiny on the owners and managers of massage establishments, rather than focusing primarily on the practitioners employed by these businesses.
An anti-hate resolution sponsored by Councilors Gary Anderson and Renee Van Nett passed the Duluth City Council by a 7-0 vote Monday night, with councilors Em Westerlund and Jay Fosle absent. Anderson said the resolution was prompted in large part by racist flyers recently posted in Leif Erikson Park. The newly adopted measure reaffirms "Duluth's commitment to the values of inclusion, equity and justice."
The Duluth City Council has taken the first steps toward forging ahead with a city administration plan to sell 50 acres of land at Lester Park Golf Course and another 10 acres of land that's now home to the driving range at Enger Park Golf Course. But a number of residents showed up Monday night to make it clear that not everyone is onboard with the idea. Of the nine speakers who offered public testimony, all but one was critical of the proposed sale.
A resolution headed to the Duluth City Council on Monday night is designed to help the community take a stand against discrimination and serve as a response to the kind of "hate speech" Mayor Emily Larson called out in early April, when racist flyers were posted in Leif Erikson Park. The posters promoted the "Patriot Front," a group the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled "a neo-Nazi network."
Duluth came up empty last year when it asked the Minnesota State Legislature for authority to collect an additional half-percent local sales tax, with the proceeds earmarked to fund street improvements. But this time around, Duluth Mayor Emily Larson said the odds of the city's request being granted look considerably brighter. Both the House and Senate Tax Bills now contain provisions that would allow for the local tax, which is expected to generate about $7 million annually to help fix Duluth's streets.