Howie Hanson

Howie Hanson is Duluth's first and only full-time blogger ( 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.

Howie Blog: Grandma's Marathon events underway

Posted by: Howie Hanson Updated: June 21, 2013 - 6:56 PM


An unidentified young athlete (above) finished the 100-plus yard race for her age group in the Grandma's Marathon Whipper Snapper Races for Kids on Friday afternoon at Bayfront Festival Park in Duluth. Below, I presume that this is her father encouraging her along the 100-yard course.

More than 17,000 runners from around the world will participate in the 37th annual Grandma’s Marathon events this weekend. Howie /



Howie Blog: Duluth actress and model stars in independent short film

Posted by: Howie Hanson Updated: May 16, 2013 - 12:01 PM


Hermantown (Minn.) Middle School fourth-grader Sydney Hanson is starring in the independent short film Princess: A Dark Fairy Tale. She plays a girl named Angel, who is trapped in an ageless reflection since 1890. The film has begun -- and it has already been an amazing and fun experience for Sydney.

The director of the film, Vanessa Miles, chose Sydney for the film through Agency Models and Talent in Minneapolis.

After starting to work on the Princess Film Project, Vanessa heard Sydney sing and asked to have her sing for the film. After learning several songs that were in the running for the film, Vanessa decided to have Sydney sing along with Sam Hart, on his original song Amnesia. Sam is a popular singer best known for his Mario Cart love song.

While recording Amnesia for the film, Sydney also recorded four other songs that were in the running for the film that will be shown in behind-the-scenes footage. They are also in the process of filming music videos for all the songs. Some of the video shooting was done in Minneapolis and the director is coming to Duluth to do some of the filming for the videos in Duluth and near Lake Superior. The shooting of the film is in Minneapolis and will be completed in June.

In the middle of all this going on, last week in Minnetonka Sydney hit the recording studio again to record her first two original songs. Her song writer and agent are submitting her songs for some up-coming projects. Her songs and music videos are on YouTube, here.

Sydney is a very busy girl. Besides modeling and acting she has been taking voice lessons from Dana Copiskey at Dana Caroll’s Music Studio since she was seven-years-old and been dancing at Madill Performing Art Center since she was four. She is on Madill’s dance competition team for jazz, ballet and tap.

Sydney has also been involved with plays at the Duluth Playhouse, and loves the stage for both her singing and dancing. She also has taken guitar lessons for the past year.

Sydney, who turns 10 today (May 15), loves school and also plays soccer. She is a happy girl with energy that never ends.

FYI: Support the Princess Film Project, here.

Duluth Kick Ball

I'm organizing an adult co-ed kick ball demonstration event at Duluth 4th Fest on Thursday, July 4 at Bayfront Festival Park. Cost is only $50 per team, and six team openings remain. All teams will play two games. The Duluth 4th Fest celebration draws tens of thousands of visitors to Duluth's waterfront district each summer, for the free concerts and fireworks, and the kick ball games are expected to draw hundreds of spectactors. eMail me here if your team wants to play in the kick ball event. 

Up North Pulse

On the new Vikings stadium design:

Duluth Mayor Don Ness: "It's certainly bold. With this sort of leap in architecture, the proof will be in how well in holds up in twenty years. Hopefully the space will provide a great experience for the fans and the players and the building itself will become an iconic structure that all Minnesotans will take pride in. This stadium needs to stay relevant for 50 years to make the investment worthwhile. Sometimes ultra-modern designs don't age well and you find additional unanticipated issues. Personally, I prefer the classic, traditional structures, but I know there were some very talented people working on this design. Hopefully they have designed a stadium that will become the new standard for football stadiums for the coming century."

Fred Friedman -- "Nice stadium, nice design. More wealth for the Wilfs .... The Greeks and Romans of two millennia ago would be very excited."

Minnesota-Duluth football coach Curt Wiese: "Looks like a state-of-the-art facility. The Twin Cities area deserves a high-quality place to watch the Vikes."

Photo: Sydney Hansen. Submitted

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Minneapolis-based architect RSP selected to design new corporate office tower in Duluth

Posted by: Howie Hanson Updated: May 10, 2013 - 10:00 AM



RSP Architects of Minneapolis will design a proposed 15-story, up to 300,000-square-foot office building and parking ramp in Downtown Duluth, the 425 Project Partners announced today. Read more at


Duluth Waterfront

Event producer Craig Samborski (left) on Tall Ships Duluth 2013, which promises to be a tremendous event for Duluth on July 25-29: “Ticket sales are brisk, outpacing the 2010 event by about double. Tickets have been sold in 32 states and three Canadian provinces. Given the current pace, I expect the 2013 numbers will easily surpass 2010. We've added additional space for the event behind Grandma's Sports Garden. We have 10 ships booked, including the majestic Sorlandet from Norway, US Brig Niagara, and Pride of Baltimore II -- and we've added more features to the festival to make the event a great family attraction.”

Tickets for Tall Ships Duluth 2013 are now available at

Labo Awards recipients announced

Posted by: Howie Hanson Updated: April 24, 2013 - 12:53 PM

Joel Labovitz Entrepreneurial Success Awards recipients were recognized today during a luncheon at Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.

More than 300 business and community leaders attended the event, which recognizes small business owners who have dared to dream, taken risks and invested in the region.

This year’s award recipients, honored as part of Small Business Week, were selected from 30 nominees from throughout the Twin Ports and Arrowhead Region.

The 2013 recipients:

Micro-Entrepreneur -- Swanky Sweet Pea (RaeAnne Conat), International Falls

Emerging Entrepreneur -- Art in the Alley (Tami LaPole Edmunds, Dan Edmunds), Duluth

Established Entrepreneur -- Lake Assault Boats, LLC (Tom Curelli, Jerry Atherton), Superior, WI

Mature Entrepreneur -- Wagner Construction Inc. (Dennis Wagner), International Falls

E-3 Environmentally Engaged Entrepreneur -- Locally Laid Egg Company (Lucie and Jason Amundsen), Wrenshall

Additional recognition awards:

Entrepreneurial Leadership -- Nicholas Minardi, Viant Crane

Lifetime Achievement -- Lee R. Anderson and J.R. ‘Rob’ Link


Uneasy Rider, Tall Ships Duluth 2013

Posted by: Howie Hanson Updated: April 11, 2013 - 5:50 PM


A motorcyclist relied mostly on his feet to balance his Harley along an icy Railroad Street at the start of a spring snow event Thursday morning in Duluth. The snow was wet and heavy, and the easterly winds off Lake Superior helped to create a whiteout that led Duluth people to call for no non-emergency travel in the community. Howie / For

Duluth Summer Major Events

Duluth Homegrown Music Festival, April 28-May 5

Grandma's Marathon, June 22

Duluth Mudman, July 20 (Spirit Mountain)

Tall Ships Duluth 2013, July 25-29 | Tickets

Bayfront Blues Festival, August 9-11

Lake Superior Dragon Boat Fesitval, August 23-24



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