For your Election Day amusement Perfect Duluth Day flashes back one decade to 2007, when Don Ness was elected mayor of Duluth. Above is WDIO-TV Eyewitness News footage from the primary on Sept. 11, and below is coverage by Fox 21 and WDIO from the general on Nov. 6.
Outgoing Duluth Mayor Don Ness announced at a news conference today he will launch a new business called Hillside Ventures. The Duluth News Tribune reports Ness will offer his services to assist clients with economic development and “public-sector strategy work, working with other communities in the region, especially on the problem-solving and visioning piece.”
Duluth Mayor Don Ness held his “Final Mayoral Address and Concert Celebration” at the DECC’s Symphony Hall on Dec. 16. Senator Al Franken was not able to attend, but sent this video in order to, “once and for all tell Don what I really think about him.”
In promotion of his recently released book, Hillsider, Duluth Mayor Don Ness has repeatedly shared his story of “a gift not given.” It’s from pages 155-156, under the title “Clooney & Zellweger.” The abridged version of the story goes like this:
George Clooney and Renee Zellweger made a trip to Duluth in 2008 to promote the movie Leatherheads, the plot of which is loosely based on the Duluth Eskimos football team. Ness was in his first month as mayor, and obviously wanted to impress the celebrities and do Duluth proud in front of the national media. He assigned his staff to put together an appropriate welcome gift for Clooney and Zellweger. The process of hunting down an old leatherhead helmet for an impressive plaque turned daunting, however, and on the morning of the visit the mayor discovered the gift ended up being a rather pathetic-looking miniature leatherhead resting on a small wooden pedestal. Ness made the executive decision to present the customary mayoral proclamation instead. He concludes his story with the punchline: “Over the years I’ve reconsidered a lot of choices. This isn’t one of ’em.”
Ness told the story last night at the DECC, which reminded me that after he told the story a few weeks ago at the Red Herring Lounge I asked him what happened to the silly little leatherhead-on-a-stick. He said he had no idea. It’s not in his office, and he hasn’t really asked around about it.
Did it land in the trash? Is it on a city employee’s mantle? Inquiring minds want to know.
President Bill Clinton was in Duluth on Nov. 4, 1994. Eyewitness News’ Colleen Mahoney interviewed three Duluth gawkers who were hanging out across the street from the Downtown Holiday Inn, where the president spent the night. One of the two unnamed UMD students interviewed was future Duluth Mayor Don Ness.
Clinton was in Duluth to stump for Ann Wynia, Minnesota’s DFL candidate for U.S. Senate. She ultimately lost to Rod Grams.
Clinton’s agenda for the day included a 3.5-mile run on Skyline Parkway from Twin Ponds to about 40th Avenue West. The Wynia rally was held at UMD’s Romano Gym.
“Don Ness doesn’t want to be America’s most popular mayor anymore,” reads the headline of a feature on the Minneapolis-based nonprofit news website MinnPost. “Ness, at 41, is doing what is inconceivable to some: stepping away from politics indefinitely at the height of his career — a move that has left many in Duluth and around the state wondering: Why?”
On Twitter, Ness offers an alternate title for the story:
Two books lead the list of recommended local reads this fall: One is a new book by Duluth’s outgoing mayor, which will no doubt generate tons of attention before anyone fully reads it. The other is an impressive memoir published back in March by a humble Lakesider, which deserves to be held up next to Duluth’s highest ranking literary office.
After a fairly long period of dormancy in mayoral politics in Duluth, Howie Hanson announced that he would be running for mayor in the next election, 14 months from now, prompting Don Ness to invite him to debate, even though he isn’t sure he’s running.
Twin Cities Business magazine has named Duluth Mayor Don Ness the 2013 Person of the Year. Editor-in-Chief Dale Kurschner wrote in a statement that Ness “stood out for outstanding leadership that has strengthened our state’s economy, business opportunities and culture.”
Four mayors in Denmark now know what it’s like to become a target of an international recording label out for blood over copyright. The controversy stems from the publication of a YouTube video featuring the officials dancing to Gangnam Style. Universal Music, the company holding the copyright to the original track, have warned the mayors that unless they pay $42,000 by tomorrow, a copyright infringement battle will follow.