John Hatcher Posts

Gravity on display in Duluth

Yesterday I was driving down some side streets near Chester Creek Cafe with my family when we watched a soccer ball cross the street in front of us. At first, it just seemed to be out on a walk, or a roll, I guess, as it headed down the street and on its journey toward the lake. A few seconds later a young man appeared from behind a fence and ran — looking for cars and being careful — after his ball. It was a close contest but the ball was finally intercepted a couple of blocks down the hill.

It got me thinking about the other hill-related events I’ve witnessed over the years and thinking serious work should be done in documenting such events. (Plus, I’m procrastinating on a big project I should be doing.)

Pedaling to Madison, Wisconsin

I am looking at trying to plan a bike ride from Duluth to Madison, and maybe back. I was wondering if anyone out there:

– Had done this trip
– Knew of good resources for planning such a trip
– Had suggestions on a good route

I thought I’d lucked into an easy way to map out the ride using Google maps, which has a fancy “bike” option for directions. It gives me three options that I think you can see here. However, it has me going what’s called the Wild Rivers Trail and what I’ve read about that trail suggests that it may have fast-moving ATVs and loose gravel more suited to mountain bikes and even says cycling is “not recommended.”

So, I’m not so sure. I once did a backroad drive from Madison to Duluth on the old state road that more or less parallels the Interstates. That seemed pretty and quiet. However, as I say, I’m hoping to get some recommendations from others.

Where in Duluth?

Lutsen sucks … water from trout streams

I was disappointed but not surprised to hear that state lawmakers moved one step closer to allowing Lutsen Mountain ski resort to pump more water out of the Poplar River. As John Myers reported in the DNT this week, the concerns about the effects of this on fish populations have many groups concerned.

I am personally planning on telling Lutsen that not only will I not be visiting their resort anytime soon, I’ll also be spreading the word through any channel I can find. I wish there was some way I could suggest that others also send them a note saying you’ll be doing the same.

For example, people could voice their concern on Lutsen’s Facebook by “liking it” and then voicing your displeasure: page.

People could also email Lutsen to let them know you’re going to boycott the resort.

What I can’t find is the direct email address of the resort’s co-owner, Charles Skinner. I wonder where he lives. We could all visit his house and say, “hi.”

Duluth endurance cyclists leave mark in Trans-Iowa

From left Charlie Farrow and Tim Ek (who, along with Jason Buffington and Jeremy Kershaw make up the Death Before Dishonor group) at last year's Trans-Iowa. Note the headlamps because they will be riding all night.

Two of Duluth’s strongest endurance cyclists completed an amazing feat today in Iowa. The Trans-Iowa is a two-day, 300-mile bike race on mostly gravel backroads that starts at 4 a.m. on Saturday morning and finishes when you either cross the finish line or quit, which many people do. To win, you have to pretty much ride without stopping for a little more than 24 hours.

Tim Ek placed second in a sprint for the finish. Tim rides for Salsa bikes.

Charlie Farrow placed fourth after riding all night with Tim.

You can listen to the audio updates of the event here.

These guys pretty much have no off season, riding bikes all year long while the rest of us are skiing or waiting for winter to end. In these races, they don’t know the route until the race starts. They get cards that tell them how long to ride and when and where to turn (and hope they don’t get lost). They have none of the silly support cars or other help you see in professional bike racing. They are basically on their own.

In September, Duluth will host its own version of this race for the third year. Called the Heck of the North, it runs along gravel roads from Duluth to points north with a grueling finish up Seven Bridges Road.

Congrats guys.

Birdhouses: ‘The women say they look so cozy’

LakeVoice journalists Ethan Walker and James Stitt drove to Angora to visit with birdhouse maker Daniel Rankin.

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Let’s make AltaVista a verb

What if, in an effort to show the world that we are sore losers, everyone in Duluth stops using Google and instead starts using the search engine AltaVista? I was able to find AltaVista quickly by doing a Google search and was pleased to find it still exists. I remember using it after my modem finished dialing up.

I tested it out by typing in “perfect duluth day” and found this site was the first result… below something called Benjamin Franklin Plumbing.

In your face, Google! The mayor can change the name of his kid to AltaVista, though his friends will just call him “Alt.” And, yes, I did steal this idea from a crappy weeknight sit-com.

Not lady’s night at the Duluth Puttin’ Hut

Duluth gets a shout out of sorts in this PlayStation ad. I thought they said Duluth Mutton Hut at first, which sounded appealing, but I’m pretty sure it’s puttin.

I don’t think there is a puttin’ hut either, sadly.

This week in LakeVoice…

Students at UMD have launched their second week of stories on LakeVoice, along with this slick audio spot. Week2 LakeVoice

Join LakeVoice in our election Tweets

The LakeVoice editing team will be Tweeting the local Midterm election today. Feel free to follow us below or on Twitter and add your own perspectives by using the hashtag #DuluthVotes10 (that’s Twitter talk).

You can view the feed at www.d.umn.edu/writ/jour/lakevoice/?p=4591

UMD journalism students countdown the Midterm election

Today the LakeVoice editing team presents its Election Guide 2010. The guide is designed to help Duluth citizens understand how the November vote affects their lives. It includes a rundown of the races, discussions with candidates and questions generated by community members themselves.

Duluth needs a Trampe

Trondheim, Norway, is a steep, cold city but is also considered one of the most bike-friendly cities. They have a trampe, like a ski lift for bikes, in their town. Maybe if we all name our first born Trampe we can get one.

Giving back a little love to PDD

OK, PDDers, I’m the professor who suggested that Perfect Duluth Day was one good resource to tap into ideas in the community. Well, I thought I’d share a couple stories the students have done so we can try to make this relationship a little more reciprocal.

First, my favorite about the Joy Laugh Club, which I know many of you are aware of, but was new to me. And, of course the video. I’ve just got to believe some of these people are PDD members.

The students also did a series of articles based on randomly calling people in the phone book. Here is one of my favorites about a woman’s experience with the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, and another about a local sled dog racer. And, for a bit of nostalgia, a nicely written (I think) article about Seven Bridges Road.

Actually, there are bunch more. There is some good stuff on that site. You should check it out.

So, they are doing more than just posting requests on Perfect Duluth Day, but your suggestions and this site in general are, in fact, a great resource for this community.

…by the way, do any of you have suggestions on what I should teach next week? I could use some ideas. Oh, that’s right, I’ve got a guest speaker from Perfect Duluth Day (seriously) coming to class. Thank goodness.

What would you call it?

Hi PDD people. I teach journalism at UMD where a group of students is working on creating a news web site that will focus on telling community-focused stories from around Duluth. We’re brainstorming for the right name and I thought I’d throw it out there and see what ideas this group might come up with. In the past it’s been called Duluth Community News, but the students think that is weak. Suggestions? Once we’re up and running we’ll share our stories here on PDD and hopefully invite this community to help us discover other stories to tell.