Staff Directory 558007041

Brooks Johnson

Reporter | Duluth/Superior
Phone: 612-673-4229

Brooks Johnson writes about the Duluth/Superior region. He joined the Star Tribune in 2019.


Raised in Fargo and educated at the University of Montana, Johnson worked at newspapers in Idaho and Washington state before heading to the Duluth News Tribune in 2016. He lives in Duluth's Lincoln Park neighborhood with his wife and son and can often be found hiking, running, reading or doing other Duluthy things.
Recent content from Brooks Johnson
CenterPoint has said it needs the money primarily to address the rising costs of such infrastructure projects as upgrading and replacing pipelines.

CenterPoint Energy customers will see 5.8% interim rate hike on Jan. 1

Regulators are expected to take about a year to weigh the utility's full increase request.
FILE-University of Minnesota Duluth chancellor, Lendley Black hosted a “Town Hall” meeting during an earlier budget crisis. The school is now cutt

UMD to cut faculty, merge College of Liberal Arts and School of Fine Arts

The school is looking for $5.2 million in budget cuts.
Minnesota Power customers will see an interim rate increase of 5.8% starting in January.

State regulators approve rate increase for Minnesota Power customers

The 5.8% interim increase goes into effect Jan. 1.
Duluth’s Aerial Lift Bridge has been stuck in the down position since Monday at 1 p.m.

Stuck for two days from heavy ice, Duluth's Aerial Lift Bridge working again

De-icing efforts and Mother Nature helped thaw the heavy ice.
A snowplow worked to clear streets in Duluth Sunday morning. But days later, some areas of the city remain impassable.

Duluth mayor says city fell short in response to snowstorm

Even with 40 plows on the road at a time, some areas remain impassable.
The Aerial Lift Bridge has been stuck in the down position since 1 p.m. Monday, Dec. 2.

Duluth's Aerial Lift Bridge still stuck, forcing ships to reroute

Heavy ice will be removed beginning at 10 a.m.
A van was completely snowed in by plows on Superior Street in downtown Duluth Sunday afternoon, which was quiet on a traditionally busy holiday shoppi

Duluth blizzard busts Small Business Saturday for merchants

Small stores take a big hit, but they're giving it another try next weekend.
Neighbors worked together Sunday morning in an effort to clear out as much snow as possible from E. 8th St. in Duluth, Minn.

Travel advisory lifted as Duluth copes with nearly 22 inches of snow

The city lifted its travel advisory and said Park Point in the harbor was open again to visitors. On the North Shore, a popular rock formation near Tettegouche State Park was destroyed.
After 41 years, the longest-running business in the Duluth Skywalk will close its doors. Allison’s Hallmark store does not have a specific closing d

Duluth skywalk losing longstanding staple as Allison's Hallmark store is closing

The card and gift shop is as old as the Holiday Center.
Duluth's Christmas City of the North Parade takes over downtown Friday

Duluth's Christmas City of the North Parade takes over downtown Friday

Now in its 61st year, the parade this year is dedicated to KBJR's longtime receptionist, who died last year.
UMD women’s hockey head coach Maura Crowell drew up some plays for her team at a recent practice.

UMD women's hockey coach fights to make her mark in shadow of predecessor

Maura Crowell's office is a shrine to her team's glorious past, with wall-sized photos and the words "NCAA National Champions" painted above her desk.
Scrolls from the Adas Israel Congregation synagogue that were burnt by the fire hang out the back of the destroyed building in September.

Remains of artifacts charred in Duluth synagogue fire burn again in garage

What remains of the twice-burned texts will still receive a proper burial.
The intersection of Lake Avenue and Superior Street in Duluth will be closed for several weeks this summer for construction.

Downtown Duluth roadwork saves busiest year for last

Lake Avenue bridge work will coincide with final stretch of Superior Street reconstruction.
Cannabis is seen growing in Leafline Labs headquarters in Cottage Grove in April. Leafline is one of two licensed manufacturers in Minnesota.

Hermantown clears a path for medical cannabis facilities

Minnesota wants eight more distribution centers around the state.
Tiny houses were built in St. Cloud in 2015. Duluth is asking builders to get creative to build affordable housing on land that it is giving away.

Duluth giving away land to spark affordable housing projects

New single-family homes in Duluth are typically $300,000 and up.
Matthew Amiot

Duluth synagogue fire starter chooses prison over treatment

Matthew Amiot asks to execute his sentence after fleeing treatment.
In 2017, fresh nuts, bolts and fittings are ready to be added to the east leg of the pipeline near St. Ignace, Mich., as Enbridge Inc., prepares to te

Minnesota attorney general supports Michigan suit to shut down Enbridge pipeline

State law, not federal, controls the routing of pipelines, the filing says.
Thomas Allen Micklewright

Charges: Couples' night turned deadly after drinking in weekend shooting on Fond du Lac Reservation

Thomas Allen Micklewright was charged with second-degree murder.
A portion of the Lakewalk in Duluth recently reopened, but there is much storm damage that still needs to be repaired.

Duluth's Lakewalk reopens, but another $25 million in work awaits

The trail is getting reinforced so Lake Superior doesn't wipe it out again.
Duluth Mayor Emily Larson

Help wanted: Duluth hiring its first sustainability officer to give city eco-boost

Mayor says the community "wants to do more and move faster" on the issue.

In Duluth, Veterans Day celebrations now closer to home

A state veterans cemetery unofficially opened a year ago and was dedicated in September.
FILE - A swimmer floats off Park Point Beach with the ship Tuscarora visible on Lake Superior.

Duluth may shore up Lake Superior lifeguard program

Tourism tax dollars could help expand hours and capabilities on Park Point Beach.
A panel at UMD’s Entrepreneurship Conference featured, from left, Jamie MacFarlane, Castle Danger Brewing co-owner; Ben Hugus, Ursa Minor Brewing CE

Castle Danger, Bent Paddle, other Northland brewers share recipes for success

Duluth entrepreneurs share recipes for success via university panel.
Work remains to be completed near the intersection of Lake Avenue and East Superior Street in downtown Duluth on Thursday. The city said the street wi

Incomplete Superior Street reopens in downtown Duluth next week

Unfinished portions will be covered with asphalt until next spring.
Matthew J. Amiot

Homeless man who started Duluth synagogue fire caught after fleeing again

DULUTH – The man who started the fire that destroyed a historic Duluth synagogue in September fled the chemical dependency treatment facility he was…
Derek Medved spoke with newly re-elected Council Member Arik Forsman on the phone at his watch party Tuesday night at G.B. Schneider. Medved won one o

Duluth elects first African-American to City Council; council president ousted

The council majority was at stake in Tuesday's election.
Voters cast their ballots Tuesday at the Arlington Hills Community Center in St. Paul, where a question about the city's organized trash collection as

Voters head to polls on issues ranging from trash to schools

Voters across the Twin Cities arrived at the polls at sunrise on Tuesday morning to cast ballots on a variety of local races including school referendums, City Council and county commission seats.
From left, UMD College of Education and Human Service Professions Dean Jill Pinkney Pastrana, professor David Beaulieu, and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan at

UMD professor recognized for contributions to indigenous education

"I learned a long time ago that these issues of stereotypic images and prejudice that are uniquely branded at American Indians will never go away."
Lake Superior College President Patricia Rogers, left, and St. Scholastica President Barbara McDonald see opportunities for their schools to work toge

In Duluth, new college presidents are old friends

They're forging a private school and community college alliance.
Essentia Health is partnering with Moose Lake’s Mercy Hospital.

Safety in numbers: Moose Lake hospital joins Essentia Health

Mercy Hospital hopes the new partnership will heal its financial distress.
A rendering of the proposed 96-unit Launch Lake Apartments complex is shown next to the Endi complex at 21st Avenue East and London Road in Duluth.

Mpls. developer has big plans for Duluth, including housing overlooking Lake Superior

Launch Properties suddenly has a list of projects in the area.
Jamal Jackson

Duluth jury convicts man of 2018 murder outside a downtown bar

Defense had argued self-defense in the September 2018 downtown killing.
Two men from the “Indigenous Pipeline Council” hold a press conference in Duluth Saturday announcing an oil pipeline coming through Duluth, a pran

Enbridge and its controversial Line 3 pipeline targets of hoax

A made-up protest group "announced" an intrusive pipeline through Duluth.
University of Minnesota Duluth Chancellor Lendley Black hosted a “town hall” meeting for faculty, staff and students in 2014 on a budget crisis th

Job cuts feared as UMD aims to trim $5M from budget next year

The move could cost 50 jobs, and faculty members fear it will hit them the hardest.
Little remained of Duluth’s nearly 120-year-old Adas Israel Congregation synagogue after it was gutted by fire early Sept. 9.

Duluth synagogue fire starter gets some jail time, treatment

"We're going to know very quickly whether it works or not," said the judge.
Restoration of a disturbed burial ground continued Thursday along Evergreen Memorial Highway on the western edge of Duluth.

Bridge project starting over after desecrating Indian burial site

The Duluth project will be "starting from scratch" next year after recovery of the disturbed graves this fall, Minnesota Department of Transportation officials said. "It should not have happened," a MnDOT official told the Fond du Lac neighborhood.
Construction continues on East Superior Street in downtown Duluth. Construction, mining and logging jobs in the region were up 3.5% over last year, ac

Easy to find a job, hard to hire as Duluth unemployment remains near record lows

"It's an exciting time to be looking for a job," analyst says, but ...
Kevin Milligan surveyed the waves and coastline before surfing on Monday. He was one of the first people out riding the massive waves of Lake Superior

Strong winds whip up Lake Superior, knock down power lines

Waves reached nearly two stories high in some areas, causing damage, flooding.
The University of Minnesota Duluth is appealing a multimillion award to former women’s hockey coach Shannon Miller.

UMD appeals former hockey coach's multimillion-dollar award

A settlement with Shannon Miller in bias case is still pending.
Former UMD women basketball coach Annette Wiles, softball coach Jen Banford, and hockey coach Shannon Miller are appealing dismissal of a federal laws

Former UMD coaches appeal dismissal of federal discrimination case

The former coaches claimed discrimination because of sexual orientation.
Sophomores on the Esko High School football team linked arms and bowed their heads in a moment of silence to honor Jackson Pfister, who was also a sop

'Jackson would be proud.' Esko honors teammate who died with win

Jackson Pfister's classmates waved flags and painted their faces with his No. 15, wore shirts with his name and set up a memorial to their teammate who died after collapsing during last week's game.
Construction continues on East Superior Street in downtown Duluth on Tuesday. The project is pushing past its original deadline, the end of October, i

Construction on Duluth's Superior Street delayed by rain, unexpected finds

Among the discoveries frustrating construction crews: fuel tanks well below the surface.
Advertisements for the Catalyst Film Festival were plastered on the outside of the NorShore Theatre in downtown Duluth last week.

Catalyst television and film festival already planning its sequel in Duluth

Organizers declared year one a success.
Wisconsin regulators will hold public hearings in Superior Oct. 28 and 29 over a proposed $700 million natural gas plant.

Superior City Council signals support of $700 million natural gas plant

Regulators to hold hearings this month on largest private investment in city's history.
From left, drummers Troy Howes, Greywind Boshey and Dakota Oothoudt prepare for a round dance at the first official Indigenous Peoples Day celebration

Goodbye Columbus: Superior celebrates first Indigenous Peoples Day

Wisconsin, Minnesota among several states that now recognize the holiday.
FILE-A Costco Wholesale store in Tennessee. The warehouse retailer is planning its first Duluth location.

Warehouse retailer Costco makes plans for first store in Duluth

The chain is looking at a property near Duluth International Airport.
Advertisements for the Catalyst Content Festival plastered on the outside of the Zeitgeist in downtown Duluth. The five-day independent TV and film fe

Making deals and making friends at Catalyst festival in Duluth

Local, not-so-local talent show their stuff during Catalyst Content event.
Craig Vanneste, with Advantage Emblem and Screen Printing, placed advertisements for the Catalyst Content Festival in downtown Duluth on Tuesday. The

Sundance? Portlandia? Indie TV festival lands in Duluth with high goals

The Catalyst Content Festival makes its Duluth debut Wednesday, and organizers expect nearly a thousand creative types will mingle through the weekend, connecting projects with producers and the entertainment industry with the region.
Northeastern Minnesota’s first breast milk donor depot opened at Essentia Health Tuesday. In this 2014 photo, Ariel Landsberger, who started an Inst

Got milk? Duluth breast milk donor depot opens

It's the first collection site in the region.
Former UMD women’s hockey coach Shannon Miller and the university have reached a settlement in her discrimination lawsuit against the school.

UMD, former women's hockey coach reach settlement

Shannon Miller and the former women's basketball coach and former softball coach at UMD sued the university in federal court in 2015 alleging gender and sexual orientation discrimination and retaliation.
FILE - Former UMD women’s basketball coach Annette Wiles, softball coach Jen Banford, and hockey coach Shannon Miller announce a lawsuit against the

Former UMD coaches bring discrimination suit to state high court

3 women allege gender, sexual orientation bias.
Timothy J. Nelson Credit: Facebook

One suspect's girlfriend now charged in Duluth man's shooting death

Prosecutors say she lied about another suspect's whereabouts.
A MnDOT road camera shows the state’s first snow accumulation of the season near Ash Lake or 14 miles north of Orr, Minn.

It's here! First snow of the season dusts parts of northern Minnesota

More rain could be on the way Friday night into Saturday.
The owner of Monaco Air, pictured here at the Duluth International Airport, has asked the city for help with a $4 million hangar he said could draw ec

Pie in the sky? Duluth company pitches new $4 million airport hangar

Monaco Air wants the city to help pay for the project.
Matthew James Amiot

Man who pleaded guilty to starting Duluth synagogue fire back in jail

Matthew James Amiot was booked into the Douglas County Jail Monday night.
A device that appeared to be a homemade bomb closed a major road outside the Superior Fire Department for much of the day Tuesday. No injuries were re

For Superior bomb scare Tuesday, help was four hours away

No one was injured and the device was removed safely.
Former University of Minnesota Duluth women’s hockey coach Shannon Miller has accepted a reduced monetary award in her federal discrimination lawsui

Former UMD women's hockey coach accepts reduced award

Including legal fees, damages and pay and benefits, Miller is set to receive more than $4.3 million.
A Sheriff’s vehicle passed through high water in a section of County Highway K in South Range, WI. The road was washed out and eventually closed off

Heavy rain a '200-year event' in NE Minnesota, NW Wisconsin

Three to five inches fell in six hours Monday.
Christopher Boder (left) and James Peterson are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder in the killing of Duluth resident Tim Nelson.

Two charged in weekend fatal shooting of Duluth man

Charges outline a drug deal that turned to robbery and then retaliation.
FILE-Atlantic salmon raised at AquaBounty Farms Indiana, a commercial fish farm in Albany, Ind., on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. A new study led by resear

Do people want oysters from Minnesota? Duluth group to lead study on Great Lakes aquaculture

New research led by the Duluth-based Minnesota Sea Grant is looking to answer that question and study whether sustainable aquaculture is feasible in the Great Lakes region.
The UMD women’s tennis team held practice on the historic natural clay court above Lake Superior at the Glensheen mansion in Duluth on Wednesday.

Clay for a day: UMD tennis gets rare shot at Glensheen's natural clay court

The Duluth mansion's natural clay court is one of two left in the state.
FILE- Firefighters work the scene of an fire that engulfed and destroyed a synagogue in downtown Duluth, Minn., Monday, Sept. 9, 2019.

Homeless man pleads guilty to starting Duluth synagogue fire

Matthew Amiot will likely be spared more jail time.
Bradley Gangstad, left, a mechanic at AAR Corp., and Kieran Cummings worked to attach a dome protecting radar equipment on top of a commercial airplan

The sky's the limit for aircraft mechanics as industry booms

A nationwide shortage of aircraft mechanics is causing employers to get creative and programs like the one at Lake Superior College to swell.
Former Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson visited Duluth on Monday for a news conference chiding what he sees as a lack of transparency in the contentious Po

Former Gov. Arne Carlson blasts PolyMet process in Duluth

The Republican governor says public hearings are needed on the proposed copper mine.
A thick fog covered the Duluth Harbor North Pier Light on Monday afternoon. Duluth is among the cloudiest and grayest cities in the country and a thic

Duluth's a cloudy place, though it's far from the grayest city

Autumn gets especially gray as cool marine air fights off dwindling sunshine, trapping clouds along the lake.
Former president of the synagogue's board, Rabbi Phillip Sher spoke on behalf of the Adas Israel congregation at the press conference on Sunday.

Homeless man charged in Duluth synagogue fire

Homeless Duluth man not charged with arson but with felony negligence.
FILE - Early voting begin in Duluth Friday for citywide elections.

Early voting opens Friday in Duluth mayor, council, school races

Will absentee ballot trend hit off-year election?
The Minnesota Nurses Association has set a deadline of 7 a.m. Oct. 3 to reach a deal with St. Luke's management or nurses will begin an unfair labor p

Nurses at St. Luke's in Duluth set date to strike

Strike authorization vote came last week after contract talks broke down.
Duluth Chief of Police Mike Tusken spoke to members of the press in Duluth City Hall on Sunday. He discussed the arrest of a suspect and the details r

Duluth officials don't believe synagogue fire was a hate crime

No accelerants found in Duluth synagogue blaze; suspect is ID'd.
Little remained of Duluth's Adas Israel Congregation after it was gutted by fire early Monday morning.

Suspect is under arrest in fire at historic Duluth synagogue

A 36-year-old Duluth man was booked into the St. Louis County jail on suspicion of felony arson on Friday afternoon.

St. Luke's nurses in Duluth vote to authorize strike

Negotiations began in May but have reached an impasse.
Wayne Brandt, who advocated for Minnesota’s forest products industry for decades, died Thursday in Duluth.

Minnesota forestry advocate Wayne Brandt dies

He was remembered as a coalition builder.
An overnight fire engulfed and destroyed a synagogue in downtown Duluth and continued to burn many hours later Monday morning.

Overnight fire destroys synagogue in downtown Duluth

Firefighters were called to the blaze about 2:20 a.m. at the Adas Israel Synagogue. Fire investigators have yet to give a preliminary indication of how the fire began.
FILE - Former UMD women’s hockey coach Shannon Miller.

Judge slashes award in UMD hockey coach's discrimination lawsuit

He backs hockey coach's claims of discrimination, but calls damages excessive.
Former Denfeld High School Principal Tonya Sconiers at a news conference Monday in Duluth regarding her federal lawsuit against the district alleging

Duluth's only black principal sues district for discrimination

"It saddens me that the District attempted to silence me by threatening me, then suspending me, and now firing me."