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jhatcher - Author Archive

Yellow lab found near UMD/Hunter’s Park »

Just saw this on the Facebook. Pretty cute dog. Must have an owner. Read all about here.

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UMD student tells stories of poverty, homelessness through photography »

During the past few months, LakeVoice reporter and UMD student Daniel Badhwa set out to learn more about the issue of homelessness within the Duluth community. With a camera in hand, Badhwa explored the city, talking with people he encountered. Several of the people Badhwa photographed and interviewed shared stories of their current struggles with homelessness, but not all identified themselves as homeless.

His project, featured on the student-run community news magazine, LakeVoice, includes a video, produced by Badhwa, that describes how he went about this project and what he learned both about himself and society. The article he wrote shares some of the intimate portraits Badhwa captured as well as stories from Duluth people living on the margins.

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Help us map Duluth’s media ecosystem »

I teach journalism at UMD and one of the things I’m interested in is learning how information flows through a community. I’m writing to ask for your help with a project.

Here’s the background: Lots of smart people agree that one of the assets of a community is its storytelling networks: Strong, healthy communities have lots of ways for people to share their stories. The term media ecosystem has been used to describe the increasingly complex ways that people in a community exchange information. This can include third places, where people meet and talk to their neighbors about things that are going on in their community; community bulletin boards where information about everything from lost cats to upcoming events are posted. Obviously, it also includes more and more online channels such as this very website.

So, here’s what we’re going to do. One of my journalism classes is going to try to catalog all the forms of “media” we can find and think of in Duluth. So, this will obviously include all the professional media outlets that reach this community, but I’d like your help in finding the lesser-known channels. It could be a small neighborhood newsletter, like The Hillsider, for example, or maybe it’s a local blogger who writes about issues — say Astro Bob’s excellent blog as an example. It might also include community-based groups, CHUM for example, that put out issues relevant to their work.

We’re eventually going to try to take this information and create some kind of directory of the information. Now it’s your turn. Got any you think should be on our list? Hit reply and add it. Thanks.

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LakeVoice publishes second issue of spring »

LakeVoice After several weeks of preparation, LakeVoice News published its first issue of the semester Feb. 28. The issue features the kickoff of LakeVoice’s Photo-A-Day project, video and audio pieces, and local issues stories produced by UMD journalism students. Since its launch, LakeVoice has published a second issue that includes a “Duluth on Ice” section, which features the history behind area hockey rinks.

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Who wins the Giant Foam Finger of Greatness? »

A group of journalism students at UMD have created their own online journalism projects. The assignment asked them to conceive of a website that focused on a specific media “niche” and to produce content that appealed to that group by drawing on as many online media tools as possible.

The projects range from a Duluth-area beer-review page to a site that links volunteers with community needs in the Twin Ports.

Tomorrow we will have a very informal awards ceremony in which the page that has the most “likes” on our Facebook page will receive the Giant Foam Finger of Greatness Award (it’s a long story).

So, visit the page, check out a few of the projects, vote for your favorite and give the student journalists some feedback. Who knows, perhaps the best of them will actually develop into permanent pieces of the Duluth media landscape.

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Asking for two pieces of advice »

Two questions:

First: I am working with a journalism student on a news article and in it, the student mentions that a person used to work at a sporting goods store named CZ Wilson. Does that ring any bells?

Second: My daughter is an artist and has created watercolor paintings on seasonal cards (this is not an ad, don’t worry). Now, she would like to take those cards and have them printed on nice stock paper or whatever I really mean to say. Are there good local printers who do that work that people would recommend?

Thank you.

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Not just where in Duluth but what, why? »

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“I could’a used a little more cow bell” »

Bring your cowbells and head to Pleasant View Road off of Jean Duluth Road Sept. 29 to cheer on the racers as they climb to the finish line.

Calling all PDD hipsters, Sept. 29 is your chance to experience one of the more exciting cycling events you’re likely to see in Duluth this year: the third running of the Heck of the North Gravel Cycling Classic.

The finish of the race is on one of the steepest roads in our city, Pleasant View Road, just off of Jean Duluth Road as you drive out of town from the intersection with Glenwood.

In the spirit of great bike-riding events, cowbells and other noisemakers are encouraged to cheer the riders on as they make this climb after following a route across more than 100 miles of gravel roads and trails.

It’s hard to know exactly when the racers will get there, but the dry conditions and good weather promise a fast ride. They will start out about 7:30 a.m. Last year, the first group came in 5 hours and 40 minutes later, making it about 1 p.m. or so. So, showing up around noon should work pretty well.

Remember, “I’ve got a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell.” And if you don’t have your own cowbell, the Heck organizers are selling them for $5 a piece.

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Where in Duluth? »

I think this is a tough one but if you’ve been past it maybe you’ve noticed it.

Just discovered this place today. Very exciting to find new terrain.

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What’s the deal with those horns? »

If you scroll through this slide show displaying statues of Leif Erickson (or Ericsson, there seem to be many spellings of this name), you notice that Duluth’s statue has something most of the other statues don’t have. Go ahead, I’ll wait…

…so, did you notice? If you read the headline you already know what it is: horns. What’s more, if you read this article on LakeVoice written by UMD journalist Madiha Mirza, you will learn that Duluthian Stefan Guttormsson, president-elect of the Icelandic American Association of Minnesota, believes that our statue should not have horns.

Of course, if that’s true, does it also mean the Minnesota Vikings’ logo is, um, wrong?

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History detectives: Who was Lester? »

The photo of the mouth of the Lester River taken in 1896. Photo credit: submitted by Julie Krienke

UMD journalism student Julie Krienke wrote this great article for Maybe it’s just because I live on Leicester, but I think this article and Mark Atkinson’s search are a perfect candidate for the PBS series, The History Detectives. Maybe if everyone tells them we’d like them to join the search? It worked for TBT on Prairie Home Companion.

Julie writes:

As Mark Atkinson leafs through the file of old newspaper clippings about Lakeside at the Duluth Public Library, he pauses when he sees a photo of the Lester River. He sets aside a 1896 photo showing the mouth of the river and sighs.

“I can tell you who every creek and river in Lakeside is named after except that one.”

To read more, visit the article at

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In the sky, it’s a what? »

Last night we were enjoying dinner outside when we looked up to see a sky filled — hard to do this justice — with a bird that seemed to be some kind of raptor. My guess is that it is a falcony-like bird (kestrel or something?). It seemed to be up there feasting on the bugs that were so prevalent last night, but maybe it was the dragonflies? It was a smaller raptor and had a kind of stripe across the wings.

I wish I could describe to you how many there were. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. They moved in a mass of them more like a school of fish than birds and seemed to be focused on eating and eating. Simply hundreds of them. I was surprised that a raptor would eat insects but that seemed to be what they were doing.

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Lake Superior’s chocolate color »

I’m guessing it’s all the mud from the Wisconsin rivers that is causing our lake to turn a deep shade of brown. I’ve watched it slowly ooze its way across the lake all day. All that sediment can’t be good for anything. I wonder how common an occurrence this is to have this much water coming down rivers this time of year.

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Gravity on display in Duluth »

Yesterday I was driving down some side streets near Chester Creek Cafe with my family when we watched a soccer ball cross the street in front of us. At first, it just seemed to be out on a walk, or a roll, I guess, as it headed down the street and on its journey toward the lake. A few seconds later a young man appeared from behind a fence and ran — looking for cars and being careful — after his ball. It was a close contest but the ball was finally intercepted a couple of blocks down the hill.

It got me thinking about the other hill-related events I’ve witnessed over the years and thinking serious work should be done in documenting such events. (Plus, I’m procrastinating on a big project I should be doing.)


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Pedaling to Madison, Wisconsin »

I am looking at trying to plan a bike ride from Duluth to Madison, and maybe back. I was wondering if anyone out there:

- Had done this trip
- Knew of good resources for planning such a trip
- Had suggestions on a good route

I thought I’d lucked into an easy way to map out the ride using Google maps, which has a fancy “bike” option for directions. It gives me three options that I think you can see here. However, it has me going what’s called the Wild Rivers Trail and what I’ve read about that trail suggests that it may have fast-moving ATVs and loose gravel more suited to mountain bikes and even says cycling is “not recommended.”

So, I’m not so sure. I once did a backroad drive from Madison to Duluth on the old state road that more or less parallels the Interstates. That seemed pretty and quiet. However, as I say, I’m hoping to get some recommendations from others.

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Where in Duluth? »

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Lutsen sucks … water from trout streams »

I was disappointed but not surprised to hear that state lawmakers moved one step closer to allowing Lutsen Mountain ski resort to pump more water out of the Poplar River. As John Myers reported in the DNT this week, the concerns about the effects of this on fish populations have many groups concerned.

I am personally planning on telling Lutsen that not only will I not be visiting their resort anytime soon, I’ll also be spreading the word through any channel I can find. I wish there was some way I could suggest that others also send them a note saying you’ll be doing the same.

For example, people could voice their concern on Lutsen’s Facebook by “liking it” and then voicing your displeasure: page.

People could also email Lutsen to let them know you’re going to boycott the resort.

What I can’t find is the direct email address of the resort’s co-owner, Charles Skinner. I wonder where he lives. We could all visit his house and say, “hi.”

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Duluth endurance cyclists leave mark in Trans-Iowa »

From left Charlie Farrow and Tim Ek (who, along with Jason Buffington and Jeremy Kershaw make up the Death Before Dishonor group) at last year’s Trans-Iowa. Note the headlamps because they will be riding all night.

Two of Duluth’s strongest endurance cyclists completed an amazing feat today in Iowa. The Trans-Iowa is a two-day, 300-mile bike race on mostly gravel backroads that starts at 4 a.m. on Saturday morning and finishes when you either cross the finish line or quit, which many people do. To win, you have to pretty much ride without stopping for a little more than 24 hours.

Tim Ek placed second in a sprint for the finish. Tim rides for Salsa bikes.

Charlie Farrow placed fourth after riding all night with Tim.

You can listen to the audio updates of the event here.

These guys pretty much have no off season, riding bikes all year long while the rest of us are skiing or waiting for winter to end. In these races, they don’t know the route until the race starts. They get cards that tell them how long to ride and when and where to turn (and hope they don’t get lost). They have none of the silly support cars or other help you see in professional bike racing. They are basically on their own.

In September, Duluth will host its own version of this race for the third year. Called the Heck of the North, it runs along gravel roads from Duluth to points north with a grueling finish up Seven Bridges Road.

Congrats guys.

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Birdhouses: ‘The women say they look so cozy’ »

LakeVoice journalists Ethan Walker and James Stitt drove to Angora to visit with birdhouse maker Daniel Rankin.


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Let’s make AltaVista a verb »

What if, in an effort to show the world that we are sore losers, everyone in Duluth stops using Google and instead starts using the search engine AltaVista? I was able to find AltaVista quickly by doing a Google search and was pleased to find it still exists. I remember using it after my modem finished dialing up.

I tested it out by typing in “perfect duluth day” and found this site was the first result… below something called Benjamin Franklin Plumbing.

In your face, Google! The mayor can change the name of his kid to AltaVista, though his friends will just call him “Alt.” And, yes, I did steal this idea from a crappy weeknight sit-com.

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