Howie Hanson

Howie Hanson is Duluth's first and only full-time blogger (HowieBlog.com). Hanson is generally regarded as Duluth's 'most-connected' journalist and active community-builder. He recently developed and continues to operate a daily news and activities site for Duluth Public Schools. Read more about Howie Hanson.

Must-See Video: Lieutenant Governor's leap of faith

Posted by: Howie Hanson Updated: September 25, 2012 - 5:23 PM

Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon joined the U.S. Army Parachute Team, nicknamed the Golden Knights, in a tandem skydive exercise today in St. Paul. Click here to download a video of her courageous leap of faith.

. . .

The Duluth steam plant is officially under new management.

Ever-Green Energy Duluth has taken over management of the Duluth District Energy System to study and seek improvements that impact efficiency, help Duluth meet environmental regulations and set the city on the path towards integrating renewable energy sources.

The change brings in a company with a proven track record of helping District Energy St. Paul’s transition from a coal powered plant to one that primarily uses thermal and solar, cold water storage, and biomass energy sources for its operations today. Ever-Green is recognized for being customer oriented and providing outstanding customer service.

Ever-Green’s management contract with Duluth entails a one-year study of the steam operations, developing a five-year strategic plan, increasing efficiencies and growing the customer base.

“The Duluth Steam Cooperative Board and staff have done an incredible job over the years and we are grateful for their commitment,” said David Montgomery, the city’s chief administrative officer. “We are fortunate to retain the expertise of current employees who now join the Ever-Green team. This is an exciting time as Duluth enters a new partnership with Ever-Green Energy to look at the potential for systems development and integration of renewable energy sources.”

The Duluth City Council approved the five-year management agreement with Ever-Green Energy on June 11, 2012.

“Ever-Green Energy Duluth is honored to have been selected by the City of Duluth for this opportunity and to continue the great work of the Duluth Steam Cooperative and the Duluth Steam employees,” said Ever-Green Energy’s President and CEO Ken Smith. “Ever-Green’s team is poised to immediately begin work to gain an in-depth understanding of the Duluth Steam system and to fully engage its partners and customers to bring reliable, efficient, and sustainable energy solutions to the City of Duluth.”

. . .

Duluth-based Maurices registered record profits of $14.7 million, 7.3% to sales, for the fourth quarter ending July 28, 2012, according to Brian Thun, SVP/Chief Financial Officer.

Sales increased $18.5 million, or 10%, to $202 million for the quarter, with comparable store sales rising 1%. For the fiscal year, operating income was $102.7 million, 12.0% to sales. Sales increased $76.4 million or 10% from last year, to $853 million.

Goldfarb

Goldfarb

"While we had record profits for the quarter, we were disappointed with the 1% comp store increase, and felt we missed executing on some key fashion trends," said Maurices President George Goldfarb. "In fiscal 2012, we opened 57 new stores, including our first six international stores in Canada, and plan to continue our growth with a total of 70 new stores, including 15 additional Canadian stores, projected for fiscal 2013. We are extremely pleased with our entry into Canada and see this as an excellent growth opportunity.

"At year-end, Maurices operated 832 stores in 45 states and Canada. Strong online sales growth was a contributing factor to our performance. As always, we feel our focus on the customer and providing fashion at a value will lead to another successful year in 2013.”

Recently, Maurices' parent company, Ascena Retail Group, announced plans to be the anchor tenant in the proposed Duluth Corporate Tower, a 15-story business tower in Downtown Duluth.

On 'da Range

An exhibition of rag rugs is now on display at Minnesota Discovery Center, in partnership with the Range Fiberart Guild, featuring over 150 selections from Minnesota rug makers and fiber artists.

The exhibit highlights the historical importance of rag rugs in the settlement of Northeastern Minnesota while showcasing diverse techniques of rug making including weaving, knitting, braiding, hooking, locker hooking, crochet, twining, nalbinding, wagon wheel, toothbrush and more.

Classes are being offered for those interested in learning the art of various rag rug making techniques.

An opening ceremony will be held on Saturday, October 13th from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. with guest speaker and author Janet Meany of The Rag Rug Handbook.

The exhibit runs through April 13, 2013.

Credits: City of Duluth, Maurices, Minnesota Discovery Center, Howie Blog

 

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