Current Events Posts

Duluth City Council votes to oppose Trans Pacific Partnership

Thanks to the Duluth City Council for voting 8 to 1 to oppose the Trans Pacific Partnership. The DNT article is here. 

The TPP has been negotiated in secret for years, and has been called “NAFTA on steroids” and a “corporate coup d’ etat.” If you’ve never heard of it that’s no coincidence. It will offshore jobs, raise the price of medicines, threaten net neutrality, threaten environmental protections, undermine human rights, roll back Wall Street reforms, and perhaps most frighteningly of all it will establish unelected tribunals whose courts will take precedence over U.S. and other national court systems with regard to trade disputes. Laws passed by democracies will no longer be the law of the land. This is an assault on our republican form of government. Please read more about it here and here.

Please email Senator Al Franken and Senator Amy Kobuchar.

Mayor Ness profiled on MinnPost

Don Ness photo by Paul WalshDon Ness doesn’t want to be America’s most popular mayor anymore,” reads the headline of a feature on the Minneapolis-based nonprofit news website MinnPost. “Ness, at 41, is doing what is inconceivable to some: stepping away from politics indefinitely at the height of his career — a move that has left many in Duluth and around the state wondering: Why?”

On Twitter, Ness offers an alternate title for the story:

Ness Twitter

Twin Ports Joyride: Reduced-cost taxicab rides on the west side

Twin Ports Joyride - Good Times Delivered

A program designed to provide $7 taxicab vouchers to tipsy bar patrons in western Duluth and Proctor has been ramping up exposure leading into the holidays. Twin Ports Joyride is funded by participating bars, beer wholesalers and other donations.

St. Louis River Corridor Parks Survey

slrcCommunity input is being sought by Duluth’s Parks and Recreation Department to develop mini-master plans for eleven neighborhood parks in the St. Louis River Corridor: Historical, Fond du Lac, Blackmer, Smithville, Riverside, Norton, Keene Creek, Grassy Point, Merritt, Harrison and Piedmont. Preliminary concept plans have been developed for the parks following public meetings held in September and October.

An online survey is available at the City of Duluth website.

Images of Spirit Mountain piping project on St. Louis River


More videos and images below and in the Google gallery linked here

Spirit Mountain’s piping project will draw water from the St. Louis River and pipe it to the lower chalet area where another pumping station will send it into the snow gun system. There are two pumping stations: one at the lower chalet area, the other right next to Tallas Island Bay on the Western Waterfront Trail in the Riverside neighborhood. That is the area these photos were taken.

Jade Fountain closed; Gannucci’s expansion planned

Gannucci's Italian Market and Jade Fountain

Within six months of acquiring the Jade Fountain, Bill Kalligher locked the big red doors to the iconic Chinese restaurant. He reached the decision in September, fed up with a dirty kitchen he says he’s still trying to clean, alleged poor product quality from food suppliers and a box filled with bounced checks from customers.

Missing Person: Jonathan Beckman

Jonathan Kalep BeckmanUpdate: Jonathan Beckman and two other young males who ran from the Northwood Children’s Services West Campus last night were located and brought back to Northwoods by Duluth Police today.

The big, fat EIS

NorthMet Mining Project and Land Exchange Final EIS 2015The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Forest Service have released the final environmental analysis of Minnesota’s first proposed copper-nickel mine. It’s 3,576 pages long. Click here for an overview on the DNR website and to find links to download the full 263 MB of wholesome review process. A 30-day public review period begins Nov. 13 and ends Dec. 14.

PolyMet proposes to develop an open-pit mine and processing facilities for the extraction of copper, nickel and platinum elements, with an estimated 20-year lifespan for mine operations. The proposed mine would be located in the St. Louis River watershed on the eastern edge of the Mesabi Iron Range, about 6 miles south of Babbitt and about 1 mile south of the existing iron-ore Northshore Mine. Processing of the ore would take place at a former industrial site, the LTV steel plant in Hoyt Lakes.

Cirrus parachute deployed in Arkansas

Note: CBS News has removed its video of this report, therefore PDD has removed the embed. There is a different, non-embeddable video at cbsnews.com.

Former Walmart CEO Bill Simon was piloting a Duluth-manufactured Cirrus SR22T heading from Bentonville, Ark., to Waco, Texas, when he ran into engine trouble shortly after takeoff. As CBS News reports in the clip above, the airplane began to lose altitude and Simon made a split-second decision to deploy the safety parachute. He glided to the ground and landed on a stretch of road, the entire aircraft still visibly intact.

Duluth 2015 General Election Results

Duluth Election 2015 Emily Larson Chuck Horton

Emily Larson cruises to victory in the mayoral race. Elissa Hansen, Noah Hobbs, Gary Anderson and Em Westerlund are new city councilors. Alanna Oswald, David Kirby and Nora Sandstad join the school board.

With all 34 precincts reporting …

Duluth Mayor
Emily Larson – 15,352 | 72%
Chuck Horton – 5,862 | 27%
Write in – 125 | 1%

Arts & Economic Prosperity in Duluth

Creative Minnesota Duluth

A study released on Monday suggests the nonprofit arts and culture sector in Duluth generates over $36 million annually in total economic activity. Arts & Economic Prosperity in the City of Duluth, MN is a follow up to the statewide study Creative Minnesota: The Impact and Health of the Nonprofit Arts and Culture Sector. Highlights are above, fine print is below, and the full text of both studies are linked in the sentence previous to this one.

“Fighting for Duluth”


A very unofficial Chuck Horton campaign song made by an anonymous local musician.

Scrap Tire Mulch on Duluth Public Schools’ Playgrounds

Last week Duluth Parents for Healthy Playgrounds presented the results of a test conducted by St. Paul-based Legend Technical Services on a sample of rubber mulch from the playground at Lester Park Elementary School. The test found 12 chemicals listed by the Minnesota Department of Health as “chemicals of high concern,” but the chemicals were at levels not considered hazardous.

From the report’s executive summary:

Our test does not account for possible interactions or “synergistic” effects of the 12 “chemicals of high concern,” nor for carbon nanotubes. Given the variety of chemicals different tire manufacturers use, and the variability of the tire brands in Rubberific mulch, the eight grams from Lester Park Elementary that were tested may account for only a few of the estimated 12,000 tires in the whole playground.

Link to the full report: Scrap Tire Mulch on Duluth Public Schools’ Playgrounds (PDF)

Question 3: Method for setting fee paid to Duluth city councilors

Duluth Charter Amendment - Method for setting fee paid to city councilors

After publishing the Duluth 2015 General Election Sample Ballot, a question arose. We’ve been hearing a lot about ranked-choice voting and Lakeside liquor sales, but what’s the deal with question #3?

Project manager wanted for 10-month media collaboration

The journalism program at the University of Minnesota Duluth is looking for a part-time project manager to assist in coordinating the “One River, Many Stories” media collaboration project.

Funded through a Knight Foundation Fund grant from the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation, the project will test ways media collaboration can inspire innovation and nurture engagement among professional journalists, educators and citizen storytellers in the Duluth-Superior community. In April 2016, the media in northern Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin will give special attention to one topic: The St. Louis River. Newspapers, television and radio stations, local bloggers, photographers, videographers, university, college and high school journalism programs, and citizen storytellers will produce news articles, documentaries, podcasts and other media about the historic St. Louis River corridor.

Link to full job description