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Category: Politics

Formation of River Corridor Coalition »

“It is our mission to generate and facilitate conversation to monitor and advance positive development of the St. Louis River corridor communities with the overall goal of benefiting the city of Duluth as a whole.”

The genesis of this group was to bundle the active Community Clubs in the western Duluth neighborhoods, and give them an active voice in the mayor’s vision for enhancing the St. Louis River Corridor. If you have an idea for enhancements for the neighborhoods come on out — RCC is still forming subcommittees so people are able to work on neighborhood issues they are passionate about, and have an active voice. The group has been meeting since February and meets every third Wednesday of the month — social time is at 6 p.m. with official business beginning at 6:30.

We feel that it is important that the ideas about the development of the Saint Louis River Corridor come from community members themselves. This coalition has members whose residency in the area ranges from just a year to over 30 years. Each neighborhood has representation, either from currently functioning community clubs, or citizens living in a neighborhood — from Lincoln Park to Fond du Lac. We have business interests represented and other area leaders. It is clear within this group that our members have a strong passion for this area and a commitment to improve it. All are welcome to attend and participate.

Like us on the River Corridor Coalition Facebook page to keep up to date.

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Duluth 2014 Primary Election Sample Ballot »

Below is what the Primary Election ballot will look like on Aug. 12 if you live in House District 7B — the western part of Duluth. If you live in District 7A or 3B you’ll see different House races, but those candidates are unopposed within their parties anyway.

This is a “Partisan Primary Ballot,” so voters must choose a party — Independence, Republican or Democratic-Farmer-Labor — and vote a straight ticket for that party. Follow this link for a more complicated primer with links to candidate websites.

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Any Upset Duluth folks dislike Hobby Lobby? »

I’m tired of reading blogs and Facebook posts about the most recent court ruling won by Hobby Lobby to refuse its female employees basic women’s health care and discriminate against decisions that should be made with a medical provider. I’ve organized a local protest to create awareness to the local store’s shoppers. We will be there the next three mornings at 9 a.m. until about noon with signs. We hope you will join us or help spread the word. E-mail or send your positive energy to me at cletarose @ Thanks!

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2014 Duluth Primary Election Primer »

There are plenty of federal, state, judicial and county offices up for grabs this year, but no Duluth City Council or Duluth School Board races. Sifting in which of the active races apply to Duluthians and sifting out which are uncontested until the General Election is a bit of a chore, but the info below might be as simple as it can be laid out while remaining thorough.

Remember: Aug. 12 is one of those Primary Elections in which you have to choose a party. You can’t, for example, vote for a Republican governor and a DFL congressman. On the partisan portion of the ballot you have to vote for the same party in all races. Below are the contests that will be on that ballot, and some notes about what will be part of the Nov. 4 General Election.

United States Senator, Independence Party
Tom Books
Steve Carlson
Jack Shepard
Kevin Terrell
Stephen Williams

United States Senator, Republican Party
Jim Abeler
David Carlson
Mike McFadden
Patrick D. Munro
Ole Savior

United States Senator, Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party
Al Franken
Sandra Henningsgard

United States Senator, Libertarian Party
Heather Johnson is unopposed in her party and will be on the General Election ballot.

United States Representative, Minnesota District 8
There will be no primary in this race. Green Party candidate Ray “Skip” Sandman, Republican Stewart Mills and Democratic-Farmer-Labor candidate Rick Nolan are unopposed in their parties and will be on the General Election ballot.

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Does Mayor Ness realize that the tourism tax is taxing the residents of Duluth? »

Today in the Duluth News Tribune there is an article about our mayor wanting to bring back a .5 percent tax on our restaurants, hotels, and other amenities. My question is how do we as citizens of Duluth then get exempted from that tax? Should we not go to our local restaurants? Should we not go to Canal Park and support our local businesses?

This just seems unfair to those who live here to have us pay an extra tax to use our own local amenities. I’ve read that we pay very high taxes in our community compared to others, which made me wonder why we don’t get cards to exempt us from “tourist” taxes. This tax would go for the next 15 years and fund development of West Duluth. Well, that’s great, but what about us here in the Endion area? I can see taxing the hotels to get the tourists, but taxing restaurants makes me want to take my local money elsewhere.

I don’t think it is fair to those of us who live here, and if this is a push by our mayor there should be a way to exempt anyone who has a local identification.

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Great Lakes as Carbon Corridor »

Maude Barlow published a report on March 17 about plans to make the Great Lakes a carbon corridor for oil from the tar sands of Alberta and the fracking wells of North Dakota. Mayor Don Ness recently stated his support for more pipelines, saying his previous commitments to lowering carbon emissions were irrelevant because “the pipeline makes no impact on carbon consumption in the city of Duluth.”

I think Mayor Ness is a good mayor with a good heart, but this sounds like sophistry considering the global nature of climate change. And it may show the type of compartmentalization of thought we all indulge in to protect ourselves from larger truths.

Mayor Ness also recently stated on MPR that he was not well-enough informed to have an opinion on shipping oil by tanker across Lake Superior. I hope he will appreciate a lot of respectful pressure from his constituents on this issue, because here’s the deal: On one end is Tar Sands and fracking devastation and on the other end are climate-changing emissions. In the middle is a lot of fresh water we would be absolutely mad to put at risk. Now is the time to stand up for the big lake we all love and depend on.

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Duluth 2014 State of the City Address Video »

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Getting to the Bottom of the Proposed Polymet Mine, Part 1 »


I’m hoping that this video, featuring Paula Maccabee of Water Legacy, will be the first of several that I will be able to share over the next few weeks.

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Vacant city council seat up for grabs »

The Duluth City Council is accepting applications for the recently vacated Second District council seat previously held by Patrick Boyle, who recently was elected to the St. Louis County Board.

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District 2 St. Louis County Commissioner Special Election Result »

With 11 of 11 precincts reporting:

Patrick Boyle — 2,783 (65.5 percent)
Jim Stauber — 1,465 (34.5 percent)

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Should ATVs be allowed on trails within Duluth city limits? »

According to an article in today’s DNT, City Councilor Jay Fosle has “introduced a resolution asking city staff to consider the feasibility of opening one or more city trails for ATV use. The resolution is on the consent agenda, which means its passage is virtually assured Monday night.”

Duluth city councilor seeks to open city trails to ATVs

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Duluth 2013 General Election Results »

39 of 39 precincts reporting

Duluth At-large City Councilor
Top two candidates are elected
Zack Filipovich – 9,658 | 33%
Barb Russ – 9,364 | 32%
Ryan Stauber – 7,884 | 27%
Ray (Skip) Sandman – 2,490 | 8%
Write in – 115 | 0%

Duluth Second District City Councilor
Patrick Boyle – 2,195 | 97%
Write in – 61 | 3%

Duluth Fourth District City Councilor
Howie Hanson – 1,853 | 61%
Garry Krause – 1,153 | 38%
Write in – 44 | 1%

Duluth At-large School Board Member
Top two candidates are elected
Annie Harala – 11,064 | 36%
Harry Welty – 7,648 | 25%
Nancy Nilsen – 6,966 | 23%
Henry L. Banks – 4,753 | 16%
Write in – 241 | 1%

Duluth District One School Board Member
Rosie Loeffler-Kemp – 3,317 | 56%
Joseph Matthes – 2,563 | 43%
Write in – 32 | 1%

Duluth District Four School Board Member
Art Johnston – 1,796 | 54%
David Bolgrien – 1,518 | 46%
Write in – 11 | 0%

Duluth School District Question #1: Renewal of School District Referendum Revenue Authorization
Yes – 12,211 | 66%
No – 6,403 | 34%

Duluth School District Question #2: Approval of Additional School District Referendum Revenue Authorization
Yes – 9,796 | 51%
No – 9,485 | 49%

Special Primary Election for St. Louis County District Two Commissioner
Top two advance
Patrick Boyle – 2,478 | 34%
Jim Stauber – 1,965 | 27%
Scott Keenan – 1,934 | 27%
Cary A. Thompson-Gilbert – 352 | 5%
Nick Patronas – 310 | 5%
Adam P. Jaros – 160 | 2%

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Duluth 2013 General Election Sample Ballot »

Click to see it larger. Keep in mind some races will not appear on your ballot, depending on which part of town you reside in.

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City proposal to privatize 17 Park Point street-ends? »

I’m wondering if anyone has heard of the city proposal to “privatize” 17 Park Point street-ends? Maybe this is old news?

Below is a letter from Dawn Buck, president of the Park Point Community Club, from this month’s Breeze of Park Point newsletter:

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Duluth School District Ballot Questions »

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Duluth 2013 Primary Election Results »

With 34 of 34 precincts reporting:

Duluth At-large City Councilor
Four candidates advance to general election; two will be elected
Barb Russ — 3,943 | 35.8%
Zack Filipovich — 3,081 | 28.0%
Ryan Stauber — 2,295 | 20.8%
Ray (Skip) Sandman — 1,175 | 10.7%
Ray Whitledge III — 525 | 4.8%

Duluth At-large School Board
Four candidates advance to general election; two will be elected
Annie Harala — 2,850 | 25.9%
Harry Welty — 2,103 | 19.1%
Nancy Nilsen — 1,948 | 17.7%
Henry L. Banks — 1,835 | 16.7%
Loren Martell — 1,175 | 10.7%
Joshua Bixby — 1,043 | 9.9%

Duluth District One School Board
Two candidates advance to general election; one will be elected
Rosie Loeffler-Kemp — 871 | 54.3%
Joseph Matthes — 454 | 28.3%
Marcia Stromgren — 278 | 17.3%

Duluth District Four School Board
Two candidates advance to general election; one will be elected
David Bolgrien — 463 | 37.6%
Art Johnston — 411 | 33.4%
Justin Perpich — 356 | 28.9%

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Red Plan versus Let Duluth Vote? »

For those us who are new here, having only lived in Duluth for a decade or less, can any of you proud professional Duluthians add any clarity to this murky and mysterious topic?

I’m sure it goes deep, and emotions run high, and minds are made up, but I can’t seem to find any unbiased sources that describe what has exactly happened here. The available info, that which surfaces when one Googles the keywords seem somewhat scrambled and wishy washy, or Bud Lightish, considering the impact and money involved. So, who are the good guys? Who is right? What’s the deal with Johnson Controls? And did the deal have anything to do with Duluth’s irascible money woes back when taxes spiked when the JCI took control? Also, seeing as how I heard a couple of old timers complaining about this too, is the recent sewage water runoff charge mega increase on city utilities somehow all tied to this, or the casino? Is it starting to read like a Tarantino script? Help the undereducated non-native tax-paying simpletons like myself get up to speed on this complex matter. Thanks.

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Duluth Primary 2013 Final Arguments »

In one of the most off, off, off election years of recent memory we can really focus our grey matter on pretty much hyper-local politics. In a year like this we get a little more mainstream media coverage of the smaller races, but even still, there are a few candidates who I haven’t met or really heard much about. I’d hate to base my decisions on who to vote for in the primary on who has the most yard signs out, or worse, how I feel about the people who have the yard signs in their yards. So, PDD …

"I Voted" photo, shamelessly cribbed from Tim Kaiser's FB Page

"I Voted" photo, shamelessly cribbed from Tim Kaiser's FB Page

So I am asking, who are you voting for this Primary Day and why?

In the interest of moderation and well-reasoned discussion maybe try to support your feelings and instincts with actual, you know, facts and evidence. Bonus points for spouting your own opinions and not those that have been fed to you by interest groups or ideologues. I haven’t voted yet, and I’ll be reading through the comments before I do, so here is your chance to sway my decision. Polls close at 8 pm. I live in the Duluth Hillside but you can talk about any Duluth-ish race, because, you never know, maybe you can sway someone else’s vote, too.

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Mr. Nice in: We Have to Roll Together »

NSFW weekly episode. Mr. Nice gives back to the community.

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Duluth 2013 Primary Election Sample Ballot »

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