June of ’71: Drunkenness no longer a crime

Among the news 50 years ago today, as reported in the June 14, 1971 issue of the Duluth Herald:

  • Drunkenness will no longer be a crime in Minnesota after July 1. The state legislature felt the social problem of abusing alcohol should be taken out of the courts and into treatment agencies. In 1970, “1,502 persons were in Duluth Municipal Court on drunk charges — more than were charged with any other offense, except traffic violations,” the Herald reported. But in 1971 Duluth lacked programs to handle alcohol abuse. H. Leonard Boche, director of the Governor’s Commission on Drug Abuse and Alcoholic Problems, told the paper a detoxification center could be developed out of the Arrowhead Center for Problem Drinking.
  • A delegation from Nett Lake Independent School District 707 told the St. Louis County Board it is strongly opposed to merging with district 710 in Orr, claiming the move would result in loss of Indian control of the Nett Lake elementary school.
  • More than 20,000 Duluth Central High School graduates were contacted and an estimated 8,000 might attend the all-class reunion scheduled for July 23-25.
  • A nonprofit called Voyageur Missions offered its first week-long canoe trip for “youngsters who may be in danger of going bad.” The Herald reported the organization planned to reach out to “juvenile delinquents and potential delinquents” throughout the summer with trips starting at Little Indian Sioux River Landing, east of Echo Lake, to Lower Pauness Lake. Leaders of the trips were Bud Hanke and his son Mike.
  • Dick Wilhelm outmaneuvered Graham Roberts in the late-model feature at the Proctor Speedway on June 13, but the event was cut short because vandals had knocked out 23 of the 45 lights on the racetrack.

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