John Hatcher Posts

Where near Duluth?

Came across this and couldn’t resist posting it. I’m going to be impressed if someone can locate this one, but I suppose it’s not out of the question. I am going to guess that the Duluth News Tribune doesn’t actually deliver to this one, though.

What’s in the box? A gift I’ll never open

John Hatcher - Saturday EssaySomeday, hopefully years from now, someone will face the task of going through all the “stuff” in my office and will find a box.
It is postmarked April 2, 2010. It has an address label on the side:

From: John Hatcher
To: Sam Cook

Here’s my request: Don’t open it.

Here’s why.

If you simply have to know what’s in it, I can just tell you that part: It’s one of those sporty Nalgene water bottles. I can’t honestly remember what color or what style, but I do know it has a University of Minnesota Duluth logo on it. What the box contains isn’t why I’ve kept it unopened for nearly seven years now.

The water bottle was a gift, not to me but from me. The intended recipient was Sam Cook, longtime (that’s polite for old) journalist and columnist for the Duluth News Tribune. It was a way of thanking him for coming to my journalism class.

Yellow lab found near UMD/Hunter’s Park

Just saw this on the Facebook. Pretty cute dog. Must have an owner. Read all about here.

UMD student tells stories of poverty, homelessness through photography

During the past few months, LakeVoice reporter and UMD student Daniel Badhwa set out to learn more about the issue of homelessness within the Duluth community. With a camera in hand, Badhwa explored the city, talking with people he encountered. Several of the people Badhwa photographed and interviewed shared stories of their current struggles with homelessness, but not all identified themselves as homeless.

His project, featured on the student-run community news magazine, LakeVoice, includes a video, produced by Badhwa, that describes how he went about this project and what he learned both about himself and society. The article he wrote shares some of the intimate portraits Badhwa captured as well as stories from Duluth people living on the margins.

Help us map Duluth’s media ecosystem

I teach journalism at UMD and one of the things I’m interested in is learning how information flows through a community. I’m writing to ask for your help with a project.

Here’s the background: Lots of smart people agree that one of the assets of a community is its storytelling networks: Strong, healthy communities have lots of ways for people to share their stories. The term media ecosystem has been used to describe the increasingly complex ways that people in a community exchange information. This can include third places, where people meet and talk to their neighbors about things that are going on in their community; community bulletin boards where information about everything from lost cats to upcoming events are posted. Obviously, it also includes more and more online channels such as this very website.

So, here’s what we’re going to do. One of my journalism classes is going to try to catalog all the forms of “media” we can find and think of in Duluth. So, this will obviously include all the professional media outlets that reach this community, but I’d like your help in finding the lesser-known channels. It could be a small neighborhood newsletter, like The Hillsider, for example, or maybe it’s a local blogger who writes about issues — say Astro Bob’s excellent blog as an example. It might also include community-based groups, CHUM for example, that put out issues relevant to their work.

We’re eventually going to try to take this information and create some kind of directory of the information. Now it’s your turn. Got any you think should be on our list? Hit reply and add it. Thanks.

LakeVoice publishes second issue of spring

LakeVoice After several weeks of preparation, LakeVoice News published its first issue of the semester Feb. 28. The issue features the kickoff of LakeVoice’s Photo-A-Day project, video and audio pieces, and local issues stories produced by UMD journalism students. Since its launch, LakeVoice has published a second issue that includes a “Duluth on Ice” section, which features the history behind area hockey rinks.

Who wins the Giant Foam Finger of Greatness?

A group of journalism students at UMD have created their own online journalism projects. The assignment asked them to conceive of a website that focused on a specific media “niche” and to produce content that appealed to that group by drawing on as many online media tools as possible.

The projects range from a Duluth-area beer-review page to a site that links volunteers with community needs in the Twin Ports.

Tomorrow we will have a very informal awards ceremony in which the page that has the most “likes” on our Facebook page will receive the Giant Foam Finger of Greatness Award (it’s a long story).

So, visit the page, check out a few of the projects, vote for your favorite and give the student journalists some feedback. Who knows, perhaps the best of them will actually develop into permanent pieces of the Duluth media landscape.

Asking for two pieces of advice

Two questions:

First: I am working with a journalism student on a news article and in it, the student mentions that a person used to work at a sporting goods store named CZ Wilson. Does that ring any bells?

Second: My daughter is an artist and has created watercolor paintings on seasonal cards (this is not an ad, don’t worry). Now, she would like to take those cards and have them printed on nice stock paper or whatever I really mean to say. Are there good local printers who do that work that people would recommend?

Thank you.

Not just where in Duluth but what, why?

“I could’a used a little more cow bell”

Bring your cowbells and head to Pleasant View Road off of Jean Duluth Road Sept. 29 to cheer on the racers as they climb to the finish line.

Calling all PDD hipsters, Sept. 29 is your chance to experience one of the more exciting cycling events you’re likely to see in Duluth this year: the third running of the Heck of the North Gravel Cycling Classic.

The finish of the race is on one of the steepest roads in our city, Pleasant View Road, just off of Jean Duluth Road as you drive out of town from the intersection with Glenwood.

In the spirit of great bike-riding events, cowbells and other noisemakers are encouraged to cheer the riders on as they make this climb after following a route across more than 100 miles of gravel roads and trails.

It’s hard to know exactly when the racers will get there, but the dry conditions and good weather promise a fast ride. They will start out about 7:30 a.m. Last year, the first group came in 5 hours and 40 minutes later, making it about 1 p.m. or so. So, showing up around noon should work pretty well.

Remember, “I’ve got a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell.” And if you don’t have your own cowbell, the Heck organizers are selling them for $5 a piece.

Where in Duluth?

I think this is a tough one but if you’ve been past it maybe you’ve noticed it.

Just discovered this place today. Very exciting to find new terrain.

What’s the deal with those horns?

If you scroll through this slideshow displaying statues of Leif Erikson you will notice Duluth’s statue has something most of the other statues don’t have. Go ahead, I’ll wait …

So, did you notice? If you read the headline you already know what it is: horns. What’s more, if you read this article by UMD journalist Madiha Mirza, you will learn that Duluthian Stefan Guttormsson, president-elect of the Icelandic American Association of Minnesota, believes our statue should not have horns.

Of course, if that’s true, does it also mean the Minnesota Vikings’ logo is, um, wrong?

History detectives: Who was Lester?

The photo of the mouth of the Lester River taken in 1896. Photo credit: submitted by Julie Krienke

UMD journalism student Julie Krienke wrote this great article for Maybe it’s just because I live on Leicester, but I think this article and Mark Atkinson’s search are a perfect candidate for the PBS series, The History Detectives. Maybe if everyone tells them we’d like them to join the search? It worked for TBT on Prairie Home Companion.

Julie writes:

As Mark Atkinson leafs through the file of old newspaper clippings about Lakeside at the Duluth Public Library, he pauses when he sees a photo of the Lester River. He sets aside a 1896 photo showing the mouth of the river and sighs.

“I can tell you who every creek and river in Lakeside is named after except that one.”

To read more, visit the article at

In the sky, it’s a what?

Last night we were enjoying dinner outside when we looked up to see a sky filled — hard to do this justice — with a bird that seemed to be some kind of raptor. My guess is that it is a falcony-like bird (kestrel or something?). It seemed to be up there feasting on the bugs that were so prevalent last night, but maybe it was the dragonflies? It was a smaller raptor and had a kind of stripe across the wings.

I wish I could describe to you how many there were. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. They moved in a mass of them more like a school of fish than birds and seemed to be focused on eating and eating. Simply hundreds of them. I was surprised that a raptor would eat insects but that seemed to be what they were doing.

Lake Superior’s chocolate color

I’m guessing it’s all the mud from the Wisconsin rivers that is causing our lake to turn a deep shade of brown. I’ve watched it slowly ooze its way across the lake all day. All that sediment can’t be good for anything. I wonder how common an occurrence this is to have this much water coming down rivers this time of year.

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