There are more than two dozen craft breweries in operation or in the works in the Northland, part of a boom in beer and spirits production in the region in recent years. The local focus of those breweries and also the vibrant homebrewing scene is not just contained in the perfect pint — it extends to some of the ingredients that make that beer possible.
For more than a decade, people have raised money for the Head of the Lakes United Way two wheels at a time — and this year, Animal Allies Humane Society will benefit as well. Continental Ski & Bike in Duluth is again hosting its popular Bike Swap this weekend. Now in its 11th year, the annual sale has become a sign of spring for many. Machelle Lind, United Way director of marketing and communications, expressed excitement at bringing Animal Allies into the fold, and has hopes of expanding the event's reach.
Last year, Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank helped feed nearly 44,000 area residents. The annual Empty Bowl fundraiser, to be held Tuesday at the Depot in downtown Duluth with the "Sea of Bowls" preview Monday night, plays a role in that effort. For $20 on Tuesday, people can select a bowl handcrafted by local artists and receive a free soup meal.
Fifteen minutes before face-off Saturday night, the line to get into the Sports Garden in Canal Park stretched down the block. Even as the start of the national championship hockey game approached, the wait wasn't dampening the excitement for the University of Minnesota Duluth hockey fans in line to see the Bulldogs take on Denver — the chants and cheers already were reaching volumes that any other night would raise eyebrows.
A group of University of Minnesota Duluth engineering students has spent two semesters designing, building and refining a "robotic pack mule" that could be used by the military. On Tuesday, they'll see if it carries its weight against creations from other schools around the country. The group of 14 UMD seniors, all majoring in mechanical or electrical engineering, will be competing at the Air Force Research Laboratory Challenge at Arnold Air Force Base in Tennessee. The project is the capstone project for the students, who all will graduate this May.
For a couple days this week, fifth-graders from Duluth's Lowell Elementary School had a chance to design a sustainable colony on Mars. Starbase Minnesota brought its mission to educate youth in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to the Minnesota Air National Guard's 148th Fighter Wing. The introduction of the program to the Duluth area is something that has been in the works for a couple of years, said Aaron Salmela, science content specialist for the Duluth school district. And this week the rover landed — a Mars rover, that is.
Every Wednesday for the past 20 years, First Lutheran Church in Hayward has made sure that dinner is served, with a spot at the table for anyone in need. Today that milestone will be honored with dinner being served at 5 p.m. — just as it has been for more than 1,000 Wednesdays. Sherry Beckman, executive director of the Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau and a volunteer at the church, said 80 to 100 people are served each week. "We are a small town," she said. "We don't have any other services with a pre-made hot meal."
Bill Carlson grew up on East 11th Street overlooking the Duluth harbor. He would watch ships go in and out of the port, and imagine a life on the water. He joined the Naval Reserve in Duluth when he was 17 years old in 1939, two years before the U.S. entered World War II. "I joined that when I was 17 because of the big pay," he said. "We got $7.50 once every three months."
Having celebrated its centennial last year, the lighthouse that serves as a beacon on Chequamegon Bay is ready for a new job, though it still plans to keep the lights on. The Ashland Harbor Breakwater Light, as it is officially known, began service as an aid to navigation in 1916. It became automated in 1962 and continues to serve as a navigation beacon today. This year, it will be tasked with a heavier workload, receiving upgrades in technology that have transformed the lighthouse into a weather station.
For five seniors at the University of Minnesota Duluth, graduation will see them literally soaring to new heights. The Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps at UMD will send five of the program's 10 graduates to Air Force flight school. That's out of just 466 slots this year nationwide. Lt. Col. Bryan Graddy, a professor at UMD and commander of the ROTC detachment, called the event significant.