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Current Events Posts

Green update for Duluth water infrastructure?

Duluth definitely has some gravity-fed municipal water lines running down the hill. Perhaps as we repair/replace our aging water lines we could make upgrades that will generate electricity.

Portland now generates electricity from turbines installed in city water pipes

Vikre Distillery lands #4 spot in Details magazine taste test

Gin Renaissance

The March issue of Details magazine ranks American-made gins in an article titled “The American Gin Renaissance.” Duluth’s Vikre Distillery took fourth place for its Boreal Cedar Gin.

4. Vikre Distillery Boreal Cedar Gin
Duluth, Minnesota
The Gin: Smoky, thanks to red cedar.
Fun Fact: “I developed the Cedar specifically to make my perfect Negroni,” says cofounder Emily Vikre.
The Appeal: For fermentation and proofing, Vikre uses purified Lake Superior water, which is soft and devoid of (taste-altering) minerals. $30

There’s an online version of the article with the more click-baitish title, “10 American-made gins that are too damn good to pass up.”

Another recent honor: Vikre’s Ovrevann Aquavit won a bronze medal in the DSS category at the American Craft Spirits Association’s Distillers Convention & Vender Trade Show in mid-February. (Through exhaustive research — you know, like ten minutes worth — PDD is now able to update this report to clarify that DSS stands for Distilled Spirits, Specialty.)

PDD News Sieve: Electric buses, statewide bike plans and other transportation tidbits

Proterra Light Pole Charging StationThe Duluth Transit Authority has been awarded a $6.3-million grant to purchase six electric buses and a fast-charge station. Duluth was considered an excellent test location for the development of electric vehicle technology because of its challenging cold weather and steep terrain.

The grant comes from the Federal Transit Administrations Low or No Emission Vehicle Deployment Program; the buses and charging station will come from Proterra, a South Carolina company that designs and manufactures zero-emission electric transit vehicles and systems.

The DTA was one of 10 grant applicants that will receive funding. A $1.1-million local share will bring the total project cost to $7.5 million.

The buses and charging station are expected to be available in 2016 and will be integrated into the DTA’s new Multimodal Transportation Center, which is under construction at Michigan Street and Third Avenue West and scheduled to open before the end of 2015.

In other transit news …

Steve O’Neil Apartments grand opening

Union Block 2010 Steve O'Neil Apartments 2015

That was then, this is now. The photo on the left is the old Union Block in 2010; the photo at right is Steve O’Neil Apartments today. (Apologies for not shooting from the same angle for this before/after comparison.)

A ribbon-cutting and grand opening was held today at the new 44-unit complex located at 115 W. Fourth St. in the Central Hillside. The apartments are providing supportive housing for families that have experienced long-term homelessness. it is operated by Chum, which provides 24-hour supportive services to those living in the facility.

2015 John Beargrease Aerial (Drone) Video

https://vimeo.com/117768602

The PDD drone, piloted by Cory Fechner (liftoffaerials.com) was at the start of the 2015 John Beargrease Sled Dog marathon yesterday to shoot aerial footage. There were other drones at the starting line so we ventured out into the woods to capture the mushers a quarter-mile into the race.

Music: “Guit. Ditty” by Hattie Peterson from Twenty3 Years Into 4teen Songs.

When should school be cancelled?

In the Twin Cities there is a huge debate going on over when school should be cancelled, but in this area we have no formal guidelines. In Minneapolis the threshold is -35 windchill, but in St. Paul it is -40 windchill. A few days ago Minneapolis closed while St. Paul stayed open. No one died, but parents were in an uproar on either side of the fence.

Reading the comments on the Star Tribune’s site you have the debate between the old folks who walked up-hill both ways through 10 feet of snow when school was allegedly never cancelled and the younger generation who thinks it is safer to err on the side of caution.

What do you think? Should we have a set limit like Minneapolis and St. Paul or should we just wing it like we do now up here?

What about snow days? How much snow should constitute closing? What about when it is ice?

Do the School Board Twist

It’s been a while since Perfect Duluth Day held any rousing debates on the Duluth School Board and its ensuing antics as Loren Martel has issued one scathing indictment after another, illustrating in great detail the buffoonery he believes gurgles forth from this wily group of characters.

I’d like to field some of your fair and balanced opinions on what you think of this current chapter of someday Duluth history. How do you feel about the school board heading into 2015? The narrator will refrain from comment.

Larson announces she’ll run for mayor

Larson for Duluth Mayor

City Council President Emily Larson has announced she will run to replace Duluth Mayor Don Ness, who has said he will not seek a third term.

“I’m running for mayor because the next chapter for Duluth is critical,” Larson wrote on her Facebook page. “I’m running because our community’s continued progress will require new ideas, and because I want to ensure we write Duluth’s next chapter together.”

FAA could release commercial drone regulations by end of 2014

drone-video-photograpgy The expected release of new unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) regulations later this month and the recent commercial drone incident with TGI Friday’s in New York (TGI Friday’s Dumb Mistletoe Drone Cut Somebody’s Face Open) have me thinking about the future of commercial drone use. Perfect Duluth Day has been somewhat on the forefront of the use of drones since I purchased a quadcopter capable of shooting photography and video back in 2013.

Duluth Drone Regulations duluth

Current FAA Drone Guidelines

I utilize my 4 drones (DJI s800evo, Tarot FY680 Pro, DJI Phantom 2 Vision & Vision 2+) to shoot content for digital media, which has drawn attention beyond PDD via the Star Tribune, Pioneer Press, MPR and also Duluth news outlets. I was contacted by the Federal Aviation Administration in early 2014 after shooting the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon and told I was in violation of FAA regulations because my footage was considered commercial.

I won’t get into the specifics of what the current regulations entail, but needless to say they are bit vague and need clarification. The National Transportation Safety Board felt the same way, dismissing multiple instances in which the FAA fined UAV operators $10,000 for commercial operation. There has been kind of a wild west approach to commercial use of UAVs since then, with little risk of citations or fines until the new regulations are released.

Lonely Planet names Duluth a top destination for 2015

Best in Travel 2015Duluth pulled a #9 ranking in Lonely Planet‘s “Best in the U.S. 2015” travel guide. “With trails in every direction, Lake Superior’s waves crashing on one side, and snowy mountains rising on the other, Duluth has emerged as the Midwest’s premier outdoors hot spot,” the panel of authors and editors wrote. “The 290-mile Superior Hiking Trail hugs the lake from Duluth en route to Canada, passing waterfalls, red-rock overlooks, and the occasional moose. Without even leaving town, the mountain biker (and snowshoer) fantasy known as the Duluth Traverse is in the works, linking several existing trails to cover the 26-mile length of the city.”

Related post: “What else is Duluth the best at?

Aldi coming to Duluth and Superior?

aldiThe Germany-based discount supermarket chain Aldi has posted online ads for store manager trainees in Duluth and Superior, a strong indication the company is planning to open stores in the Twin Ports. The website cdinduluth.com first reported rumors of Aldi’s interest in Duluth back in January. Aldi has over 9,000 stores in over 18 countries. It is known for carrying inexpensive grocery staples and household items, generally with unfamiliar brand names (often contracted by Aldi), and for practices designed to lower grocery costs by lowering store expenses — i.e. quarter-deposits for use of carts, high credit-card processing fees, no free bags and limited store hours.

Duluth opens second dog park

Duluth’s Parks and Recreation Division announced today that a fenced, off-leash dog park has officially opened at Observation Park, located on West Third Street between Ninth and Tenth avenues west. Features of the new dog park include a double-gated entry so leashes can be removed safely before entering the dog park, a separate small dog area for dogs 20 pounds or less, and off-street parking (at the Tenth Street dead end). Observation Dog Park is the second such park in Duluth. The first, Keene Creek Dog Park, located in Keene Creek Park in West Duluth on Grand Avenue and 62nd Avenue West, opened in 2006. Both dog parks are open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Individuals interested in supporting Duluth Dog Parks are encouraged to email Denette Lynch at duluthdogparks @ yahoo.com.

Duluth Michael Brown Memorial

http://vimeo.com/112890482

Filmed by Joe Olivieri of Lola Visuals.

College football’s coaching nun in New York Times

Sister Lisa Maurer photo by Tim Gruber for the New York TimesThe story of Sister Lisa Maurer, who serves as a football coach at the College of St. Scholastica, is featured today in the New York Times. Maurer is a Benedictine nun with St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth, which shares a campus with the College of St. Scholastica. She joined the ranks of the coaching crew this fall, after spending years as one of the Saints’ biggest fans. Maurer will be on the sidelines Saturday as the Saints take on Saint John’s University in the first round of the NCAA Division III playoffs in Collegeville.

The Daily Show’s take on Pointergate

The video is automatically starting in some browsers, so we have jumped it off the home page.