Current Events Posts

Ownership Changes at Fitger’s Brewhouse

Looks like Tim Nelson and Dave Hoops are leaving. What will they do next?

The Growler: Major ownership, brewer changes at Fitger’s Brewhouse

NorShor Theatre renovation funding in order, ready for approval

Restore the NorShorThe city of Duluth announced in a news release today the restoration Duluth’s historic NorShor Theatre could begin before the end of 2015, with a grand reopening expected in mid 2017, now that the project has finalized its funding sources.

David Montgomery, Duluth’s chief administrative officer, shared details with the City Council during its Monday committee-of-the-whole meeting. He said none of the funding will come from property taxes.

Save the LS&M Railroad for the enjoyment of future generations

Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad

The struggling Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad in West Duluth has persevered against all odds as a scenic, historic railroad since 1980 despite receiving virtually no public subsidies. Running on the very first tracks to enter Duluth, dating back to 1870, 145 unbroken years of history are on the line right now. A core group of 12 volunteers is keeping this history alive, seemingly miraculously. The railroad costs the city virtually nothing, has proven to be largely self-sufficient, and is an irreplaceable treasure that needs community input in order to survive the massive cleanup now being planned for the U.S. Steel site near Morgan Park. The two newspaper columns linked below will shade things in a bit for you. Take a trip on the LS&M during one of the next six weekends or you just might miss your chance, forever.

Duluth Budgeteer: Save the train for future generations

Duluth News Tribune: Massive cleanup plan emerging for U.S. Steel site in Duluth

Onion: Duluth cat potentially ready to freak out

Duluth cat potentially ready to freak outThe latest Duluth dateline in The Onion newspaper reports “It impossible to tell what sounds will freak out cat.” Apparently, “there seemed to be no clear pattern to the animal’s responses,” according to local pet owner Wendy Vogl. “I can slam the front door and he’ll just sit there licking himself, but then he’ll hear thunder and run out of the room immediately.”

This is about the 15th time Duluth has been the location of a story in The Onion.

Grassy Point Trail

Does anyone know why the Grassy Point trail is blocked off about halfway down and what the timeframe is for re-opening? My daughters and I were bummed when we couldn’t get down to the water this morning.

Shredded tire mulch: Soft and safe or dirty and dangerous?

This Eyewitness News report from July covers the controversy of shredded tire mulch on playgrounds in Duluth. Cory Kirsling, father of a Lester Park Elementary School student, has started a GoFundMe page to raise money to have the mulch tested “for heavy metals, VOCs, off-gassing and leaching, toxins and carcinogens.” His page notes, “a local lab will collect the samples from our school’s playground, and we will share the research with everyone.”

“Hey, where is your lawn chair, and can you bring me a Hamms?”

Bear Standing on porch in Proctor

The Proctor Police Department received this picture today from the Proctor Journal of a bear standing on someone’s porch. “Be safe out there,” the PPD warns. “It’s that time of year when they are out forging around for food so they can hibernate this winter.”

Video of ceiling collapse at First Avenue in Minneapolis

Below is video of the ceiling collapsing at First Avenue in downtown Minneapolis. The incident occurred at the famous music venue around 10:15 p.m. during a set by the band Theory of a Deadman. Early reports say a leaky pipe and vibrations from music may have caused the collapse. No serious injuries are being reported, two people were taken to hospital without life threatening injuries.

A serial killer stalks Duluth

Girl Stuck on Antlers

In the pilot episode of Hannibal (2013), a serial killer is murdering young college women around Minnesota. Laurence Fishburne and Hugh Dancy travel to Duluth (which apparently has train service) to investigate. Hannibal Lecter gets involved, for some reason. He and Dancy share breakfast in a Duluth motel room, then visit a Duluth construction site. A woman’s body is found in Hibbing, impaled on deer antlers. Dancy figures out who the killer is using amazing leaps of logic. The serial killer (who happens to be a member of the Building Trades, which is not surprising) is eventually cornered at his home.

All in all, business as usual in Duluth.

Four recent changes in West Duluth

Kwik Trip construction Auto Stop slab Wild West Liquor Kosta's Gyros

Spirit Valley Days are underway in West Duluth. Here are a four observed changes in the neighborhood in recent days:

  • Construction for the new Kwik Trip on Raleigh Street and Grand Avenue has kicked into high gear. The building went up late last week, making a fall opening seem likely.
  • Around the same time the Kwik Trip went up, the former Auto Stop four blocks away was demolished. It had closed roughly five years ago. Materials for the Grand Avenue reconstruction are piled on part of the property at present.
  • Wild West Liquor at 318 N. Central Ave. closed its doors at the end of July. There is a for-sale sign in the window. All four West Duluth liquor stores that operated before Super One Liquor opened in 2010 are now gone. Liberty Liquor closed when Super One acquired its building. The former Spirit Bottle Shoppe closed in 2012 and became Shake It, a nutritional protein shake and juice bar. The old Sportsman’s Liquor at 3904 Grand Ave. is now the Law Office of Jessica L. Sterle.
  • Kosta’s Gyros abandoned its operation at the Minit Mart (formerly Little Store, still brandishing the Little Store name) on Central Avenue. Word has it there’s a new Kosta’s by Menards in Hermantown.

Also, the Duluth News Tribune reports that Community Action Duluth plans to build a greenhouse at the former Westminster Church location on Grand Avenue near Denfeld High School.

Duluth National Citizen Survey Results 2015

2015 Citizen Survey

According to the results of Duluth’s annual National Citizen Survey, conducted by the National Research Center, 76 percent of Duluth residents believe the city’s overall reputation has improved in the past ten years.

From the news release:

“This decade of successes is really only the beginning stages of a renaissance in Duluth,” says Mayor Don Ness. “Our sustained sense of confidence in Duluth is the key to turning our recent wave of accomplishments into long-term stability and vibrancy.”

Based on this year’s NCS and the compelling story of the recent surge in Duluth development and redevelopment, Duluth received the honor of the Voice of the People Award for Transformation in Built Environment by the NRC. The award is only given to cities that best use the survey responses to help drive community improvement. Duluth residents reported the most notable improvement in satisfaction with built environment compared with all other participating jurisdictions — another indicator of the national significance of Duluth’s story.

Chester Bowl Park Downhill Ski “Fun Slope”

Duluth’s Parks and Recreation Division is preparing Chester Bowl Park for a new “fun slope,” according to a news release issued today.

Crews will be out clearing out a section of the hill within the ski area in preparation for the upcoming winter season. The new “fun slope” with gentle waves of snowy berms for skiing was identified as a desired addition to the park in the Chester Park Mini-Master Plan, approved in November 2014.

Crews will be working this week into next during daytime hours, but the public should not experience any interruption in their use of the park spaces or trails. The area will be covered with wood chips to reduce erosion and smooth out the area winter operations.

Future of the old Northwestern Bell building

Does anyone know who owns or what the plans are for the old Northwestern Bell building at 1804 E. First St.? I saw some scrappers loading out the junk that’s ended up in there over the years. They were the only ones on property but seemed pretty leisurely, like they belonged. Just curious if something is finally happening with it. I’ve dreamt of owning that building for years.

I believe it’s zoned residential and is going to stay that way, so hopefully the owner develops it into some beautiful high-ceilinged studios and doesn’t tear it down.


flagDon’t hate on me; I was not shopping. However, as I was looking up some stuff out of curiosity, I found this Google search result to be interesting.

Don’t worry, the sandstone will be back

Ye Olde Central High School

Lest anyone driving by the Central Administration Building, aka Old Central High School, fear the cool sandstone wall is being replaced with ugly concrete blocks, let it be noted that the 120-year-old brownstone blocks are being restored and will return.