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News and Current Affairs Posts

Gunnar Birkerts, Duluth Public Library architect, dead at 92

Gunnar Birkerts, a Latvian-born architect who extended the vocabulary of Modernism using unexpected angular forms, folding planes and ingenious, light-suffused interiors, died on Tuesday at his home in Needham, Mass. He was 92.

Iron Range to host inaugural craft beer festival

The Iron Range’s first craft beer festival is on tap this Saturday in Virginia. In addition to a craft beer village, the Olcott Fountain Brew Fest will feature food, live music and kids’ activities.

The event is a fundraiser organized by the Olcott Park Fountain Restoration Committee, whose mission is to restore the park’s historic fountain to its former glory.

“It’s the first brew fest north of Duluth. We seem to have a lot of interest from all over the Iron Range, which is awesome,” says Carly Gobats, who curated the event’s brewery and music lineup and serves as the its volunteer coordinator.

Audiofile Engineering moves to Two Harbors

The music technology company Audiofile Engineering, has been acquired by Krekeltronics, a Two Harbors-based product development firm.

The full news release is at audiofile.engineering, for those who are into such things.

NE BBQ & Smokehouse now open in Cloquet

The Cloquet community gained a Southern-style restaurant last week. NE BBQ & Smokehouse, which specializes in smoked meats and barbecue, opened on July 27.

Missing Person: Edward Lepage

The Duluth Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in locating Edward Lepage. He was reported missing on Aug. 2 and was last seen at the 5800 block of N. Pike Lake Road on July 31.

Lepage is homeless and often travels between Duluth and Superior. He is described as a 63-year-old white male, 6-foot 1-inch tall, 200 lbs., and walks with a distinctive limp. He is possibly driving a 2002 tan Dodge Intrepid with Minnesota plate 125WKH. Both Lepage and his vehicle have been entered into National Crime Information Center as missing and endangered due to a medical condition. The DPD is continuing to investigate the case. Anyone who knows where Lepage is or has heard from him is urged to call 911.

Huge antique collection unearthed before building sale

Scott Davis, left, and antique dealer Andrea Blesener stand outside the historic E.F. Burg Hotel Supply store at 20 W. First Street. Davis has placed the 1896 building up for sale and Blesener is selling the huge antique collection stored inside.

A local woman is scrambling to organize and price a horde of antiques, including a massive mid-20th-century electronics collection, stored in a former downtown Duluth trophy shop before owners sell the historic property.

Antique dealer Andrea Blesener will hold the second in a series of estate sales at the E.F. Burg Hotel Supply building, 20 W. First St., beginning at 10 a.m. Aug. 4-6. The sale will include a variety of old and unusual items collected and stored by former building owner Hugh Morris, who saved everything from his two generations of ancestors.

Port Town Trolley drops 50-cent fee; free service starts Aug. 4

Effective Friday the Duluth Transit Authority will discontinue the collection of all passenger fares on the Port Town Trolley service. The free rides are being offered to encourage use of the trolley service to and from Canal Park, particularly for those parking at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center and downtown parking ramps.

Almanac North: The Wall that Heals

The traveling “Wall that Heals” was set up on Barkers Island in Superior July 20-23. It features a half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., together with a mobile education center. WDSE-TV cameras captured the arrival of the wall, the opening ceremony and local reaction.

Missing Persons: Ronald and Mary Tarnowski

Update: On Aug. 5 at approximately 3:44 Ronald and Mary Tarnowski were found deceased. Their vehicle was discovered in a remote location west of Highway 2 in the Brookston area by a U.S. Border Patrol helicopter. The family has been notified. The investigation into their deaths continues, but foul play is not suspected. The death investigation is being handled by the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office.

PDD Quiz: July 2017

Emerald Ash Borer Another month of summer has flown by. Which headlines caught your attention? Play the quiz and test your knowledge of July news!

Our next quiz, on sculptures and statues in the Twin Ports, will be published on Aug. 13. E-mail question suggestions to Alison Moffat at [email protected] by Aug. 10.

The Slip bar open in Canal Park


Canal Park gained a unique drinking establishment today. The Slip, located in the historic Suites Hotel building at 325 S. Lake Avenue, opened at 5 p.m.

Named for the nearby Minnesota Slip, which is home to iconic William A. Irvin ore boat, the bar specializes in whiskey and features cocktails made with vodka and gin from the nearby Vikre Distillery. In addition to spirits, the Slip has six types of wine and three types of cider on tap as well as five beers from Hoops Brewing.

Bent Paddle buys its brewing plant; plans expansion

Bent Paddle Brewing announced in a news release today it has purchased its brewing facility at 1912 W. Michigan St. in Duluth’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. The $942,500 sale was completed in June. Bent Paddle had leased the 10,600-square-foot warehouse space since 2013.

The news release also mentions “yet to be disclosed plans” for the nearby building at 1832 W. Michigan St., which Bent Paddle has used as an office space for the past year. The Duluth News Tribune reported on Monday that “documents submitted to the city planning commission show a re-imagined home for the city’s largest brewery.” The paper published a schematic design that shows “a new partly covered patio” and notes “Bent Paddle is applying for a concurrent use permit for the deck.” The design suggests a possible move of Bent Paddle’s taproom to the current office building.

Downtown Duluth lands big museum-style art gallery

Joe Nease will open a gallery space in the 101-year-old building at 23 W. First St. in October.

A fire-damaged former formal-wear store in a historic downtown building is being remodeled and will open this fall as one of the largest art gallery spaces in Duluth.

Joseph Nease purchased the former Arthur’s Formal Wear building at 23 W. First St. in December and has launched a major renovation of the two-story, nearly 10,000-square-foot property. A contemporary visual art gallery will open on street level in October.

Missing Person: Kenneth Gordon

The Duluth Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in locating Kenneth Jay Gordon. He was last seen on July 18 at approximately 9 p.m. in a small red or brown vehicle leaving the area of the 2500 block of Rice Lake Road in Duluth’s Kenwood neighborhood.

Gordon is described as a 63-year-old Native American male, 5-foot 10-inches tall, 180 lbs., black hair in a pony-tail, facial hair and no teeth. He has a tattoo on his left forearm, uses a two-handed silver walker, and was last seen wearing a cream-colored long-sleeve shirt, grey sweatpants and a worn out baseball cap.

The Duluth Police Department would like to check Gordon’S health and welfare based upon medical health concerns. Anyone having information as to his whereabouts is asked to contact the Duluth Police Department by calling 911.

Perfect New Restaurant: OMC Smokehouse

OMC Smokehouse is the winner of Perfect Duluth Day’s best new restaurant poll. The popular barbecue joint smoked the competition, garnering 82 percent of the vote among the two finalists. The Boat Club Restaurant and Bar was runner up with 18 percent; 14 other nominees were eliminated in early voting.

OMC (which stands for oink, moo, cluck) opened in February. For more than two years, area residents eagerly anticipated the restaurant’s arrival.

It’s the second restaurant opened by Tom and Jaima Hanson, proprietors of the Duluth Grill — a perennial favorite, which has appeared in Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and won PDD’s Perfect Vegetarian Menu and Perfect Breakfast Menu awards.

The primary similarity between the Duluth Grill and OMC is the care taken to ensure quality. Both restaurants source local and sustainable ingredients when possible. Beyond that, OMC is a distinctly different animal.