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Winter Ruled

Highlight reel of sights and sounds from extreme winter 2014.


PDD Drone over the ice … and on the news

The PDD Drone’s latest mission took it to the skies of Grand Marais last week, hovering across the icy shore of Lake Superior. Before the trip, however, the drone and its “pilot,” Cory Fechner, spent some time with the Northland’s NewsCenter’s Kevin Jacobsen for the report below, which for some reason doesn’t embed without this weird bit of exposed code showing:

Apologies for the commercial before the clip and the little pop up ad below it, which we can’t control.


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.


This week: emergencies, dioramas and nordic tongues

  

Here’s a sampling of what you have to look forward to this week on the PDD Calendar.

What happens when you dial 911? Find out today at the 911 Citizens Academy at the Public Safety Building.

The chattering class is in full force this week. Nerd Nite is back Tuesday at the Teatro Zuccone with presentations on the lack of female leads in video games, British panel shows, and steampunk audio. Chester Chat has a presentation on Women in Leadership at Glensheen Mansion on Wednesday.

Starting this week the Nordic Center has several classes on Scandinavian languages, including Norwegian, Danish and Swedish.

The Cole Porter musical, Anything Goes, opens this Thursday at the Playhouse and runs three weekends. The other musicals running in town, Hairspray at The Underground and Next to Normal at Teatro Zuccone, are playing to sold out houses and getting great reviews.

Dog Sees God is an unauthorized parody of the Peanuts gang in high school and it opens at UWS Experimental Theater on Friday and runs two weekends.

March is Food Shelf Month and you can support your local food bank at Taste at Fitgers on Friday.

The Minnesota Ballet presents A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the DECC on Saturday.

Diorama-rama, the biennial celebration of dioramas minuscule and huge, quaint and odd, is back Saturday night at Sacred Heart.

Think what church needs is more beer? Beer & Hymns, a monthly gathering for beer drinking and hymn singing, returns to Sir Ben’s on Sunday.

So what are you doing this week? Can we tag along? Any upcoming events that you want to promote? Let us know.


How many pay phones are left in Duluth?

Ah, the once-ubiquitous pay phone. I remember when they could be found on every major street corner, but if I needed one today, I would have no idea where to find one.

Are there any pay phones left in Duluth? If so, where? Confirm their existence by commenting below, but please post only current confirmations. If you have a vague memory of one existing a few years ago, that doesn’t count.


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Duluth Mystery Photo #10: Paul and Virginia Gilmore – Gilmore Comedy Theatre

This postcard is for sale on eBay under the headline “MN antique real photo rppc post card Gilmore Comedy Theatre Duluth Minn.” The description reads:

This is an antique real photo postcard captioned “No. Shore Blvd., Paul and Virginia Gilmore Summer Stock, Duluth, Minn.” The sign on the building reads “The Gilmore Comedy Theatre.” Just below the caption in the lower left corner, you can see a road sign for Motorola TV Sales and Service. Printed on Kodak paper (stamp box indicates in use from 1950 and later).

So, who were Paul and Virginia Gilmore and what was the deal with their theater? Well, the internet provides some easy answers this week, so there’s not much mystery in this week’s mystery photo.

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Second chance for entry into 2014 Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon

Security Jewelers is auctioning one of its sponsor entries to Grandma’s Half Marathon on eBay. One hundred percent of proceeds go to the Duluth Art Institute’s program Art for Ed’s Sake, offering visual and media arts classes in Duluth Public Schools.


Stranded grebes, loons and mergansers

It looks like we’re in for another late, cold spring, with delayed ice-out. This means we may be in for another spring full of stranded grebes, loons, and mergansers.
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Life on Mars, Veronica Mars that is …

On Friday night I went to the Zinema to see the Veronica Mars movie.

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North – Minnesota’s Magazine

I discovered this online, monthly magazine yesterday and it is positively outstanding. I think it went live in September 2013.

North is a free feature magazine that showcases Duluth and the region — inspirationally to those fortunate enough to live there and aspirationally to those of us who don’t and wish we did.

The magazine is aesthetically a pleasure to read and the abundant photographs enhance the reader experience. North seems to strike a balance of outdoor recreation, culture, dining, leisure, travel and human interest stories about local entrepreneurs that no other local magazines have accomplished.

It is polished and has a metropolitan sophistication without giving the impression that it’s trying. I really feel that it captures the essence of Duluth’s renaissance as I see it.

Check it out if you haven’t seen it.


Duluth Band Profile: Timmy Jacks Off

Harrison Crane uses the pseudonym Timmy Jacks Off to release noise rock. In this interview, he elaborates about his process of stream-of-consciousness songwriting. Crane is currently releasing music freely to the public through Bandcamp. Click on the image above to hear the interview.


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.


Historic barred owl!

Wildwoods was brought a barred owl yesterday (deceased, unfortunately, likely from a window collision). This owl, when already at least 1 year old, was banded at Hawk Ridge by Dave Evans back in 1998. Based on this, he is at least 16-17 years old, and the third oldest barred owl on record.
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R.I.P. Duluth~Superior Magazine

Sad to see the Duluth~Superior Magazine cease publication, announced today in a Duluth News Tribune story. DSM made Duluth feel classy. Jim Heffernan comments on his blog (Jim Heffernan’s Blog) on his six year stint writing for this print magazine headed by former Duluth News Tribune publisher, Marti Buscaglia.


Portage – Columns

The band Portage was formed in Duluth, but is now located in Minneapolis. Band member Trent Waterman shot and directed this video. Portage plays at Amazing Grace Bakery & Cafe on May 2 during the Homegrown Music Festival.


Mont Du Lac Ski & Recreation Area

Mont Du Lac Ski Area

Mont Du Lac Ski Area

I learned to ski at Mont Du Lac with my dad back in the early 1980s. I just came across this picture of the new chalet at the top of the hill and wow! This looks stunning. Apparently it is called the Trophy Lodge. Is it open yet? Has anyone been inside? Is the bar/restaurant open? I’m sure this old news but it sure looks nice. I really need to get back out there and make some turns to check it out. Lots of great memories of skiing with my dad, close calls and goofing off with friends. I remember Ridge Run but wasn’t West and East Bowl called something else back in the day? There also used to be a lift and run off the back side of ridge run.

Mont Du Lac Ski Trail Map

Mont Du Lac Ski Trail Map


Hops and Hoops

I’m new to town and am looking for a fun place to watch the NCAA tournament games. Any suggestions for sports bars or other venues? Local beer on tap would be a plus!


Jolly Fisher: “If it swims, we have it.”

Jolly Fisher is one of Duluth’s best-remembered old restaurants. It was in business for 50 years, from 1942 to 1992. The original location was at 15 E. Superior St., where the Duluth Technology Village sits today. After 1979 it was at 10 W. Superior St., presently the Minnesota Power Plaza.

Jumbo fried shrimp was the specialty, but as the slogan noted, Jolly Fisher had everything that swims. Chet and Mary Turnbull were the original owners, followed by Paul Andrews. “Skipper Andy” and Gloria Maras ran it for its last 30 years, until competition from Red Lobster proved to be too much.

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Ten Years Ago: The Dames open for Melvins

On March 19 and 20, 2004, a little Duluth band called the Dames opened for Melvins at Grumpy’s Bar & Grill in Coon Rapids. Unlike a lot of old, abandoned blogs, Tony Bennett’s Journal is still parked on the web with the story of his brush with the influential punk metal band.

They’re my heroes, you know. They’re my band. Just like there are tons of rockers out there with old Metallica or Kiss or Led Zeppelin fixations (me included), the Melvins are up there just like that. They’re an obsession for me. So it’s a little weird suddenly standing there with all three of them, shaking hands and having Buzz say “Yeah, I remember you guys from last year; you were good.” And then following that up with “Did you cut your hair?”

Yes, king Buzzo asked me about my hair. Does it get weirder than that for a Melvins nut from Duluth? I don’t know.


Goat Pro Camera

Spankie eating cheese balls.