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.
A must-read blog by former Duluth and Superior mayor Herb Bergson:
"I first met Jon Donahue up in a Piedmont neighborhood. I was all alone putting up yard signs while I was running for mayor in the late summer of 2003. I had a request to put up a sign next door to him. I had no idea who Jon Donahue was at the time.
While I was putting up the yard sign next door, Jon Donahue stormed out of his front door and yelled, 'Hey, you can’t put that there!' I assumed I had the wrong address and asked him why not. He said, 'Because that sign needs to be in my yard.' I happened to have extra signs in the trunk of the car, so he got one also. That day started a wonderful friendship.Jon Donahue is one of the kindest people I have ever met. He cared for his wife Lisa while she battled cancer a few years ago (the experts said she would not make it, but she beat it) and they have three gorgeous children who worship the ground their parents walk on." Read more.
Best competition for STA might very well come from the same section in Totino-Grace. Breck should also be good again, as usual. Look for St. Cloud Cathedral to give Hermantown all it can handle in what should be a highly competitive section.
Forwards -- Connor Hurley of Edina, Shane Gersich of Holy Family Catholic and Grant Besse of Benilde-St. Margaret's are your must-see forwards. Incredible talent among those three. NHL scouts are drooling over Hurley and Gersich. Besse doesn't have the size of those two, but is one of the best pure goal scorers to come through the state in a while.
Defensemen -- A bunch of teams have great one-two combos on D:
Goaltenders -- Chase Perry of Andover is as good as it gets. The junior has to be considered the best goaltender in the state.
St. Thomas Academy's David Zevnik has "two-time state champ" on his resume. Hunter Shepard of Grand Rapids is rock solid.
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MN Hockey Hub managing editor Loren Nelson played high school and college hockey in Minnesota and has been a sports journalist for more than 20 years.
He has worked at news organizations in southern Minnesota, Wisconsin, Florida and California. Nelson has won numerous local, state and national awards for his column, enterprise and feature writing on topics ranging from pee wees to the pros, including Stanley Cup runs by the Tampa Bay Lightning and Anaheim Ducks.
A sports editor for much of his career, Nelson has overseen departments that consistently have produced sections that rank among the best in the nation as judged by the Associated Press Sports Editors. -- MN Hockey Hub bio
Many of the world’s top professional snowmobile racers — including Minnesota’s Tucker Hibbert of Pelican Rapids, Robbie Malinoski of Lino Lakes and Duluth’s Bobby “The Rage” LePage — will compete in the Duluth National Snocross on Nov. 23-25 at Spirit Mountain. A crowd of over 30,000 is expected to watch the world’s best snowmobile racers flying their factory-backed sleds. Read more.
The unprecedented rainfall and flash flooding of June 20, 2012 left an immediate mark on Duluth and its neighboring towns.
Amid the damage, many feared the local hospitality industry would take a massive perception hit. But local citizens and leaders came together, acting fast and working hard to make sure would-be summer visitors knew that Duluth was still open for business.
People like Terry Mattson (right), the president and CEO of Visit Duluth, the city’s official destination marketing organization, was recognized with a 2012 Vision Award for Leadership by the editors of Meetings: Minnesota’s Hospitality Journal (mn-meetings.com). He was presented with the award September 27 in Minneapolis.
The Best in Minnesota’s Hospitality Industry Leadership Award, bestowed for calling others into action and making an impact, is one of seven Vision Awards that celebrate professionals who demonstrated best practices over the past year.
It’s exactly what Mattson did in the aftermath of the storm — immediately working with city, state and federal officials to create a unified message that the city’s tourism infrastructure was undamaged and ready for business. The slogan, “Duluth is open for you” was created and infused into a strategic communications plan for traditional and social media.
In countless news interviews, the message of reassuring travelers that they could still come to Duluth had to be carefully crafted so as not to minimize the significant damage that had occurred to residential areas and surrounding communities.
It paid off, according to one indicator: Duluth tourism tax collections increased by five percent in July 2012 over July 2011 — despite the storm and its publicity aftermath.
“Terry Mattson leads with a passion and desire to serve the best interests of our community,” said Anna Tanski, Visit Duluth director of sales and marketing. “He opened clear channels of communication between industry stakeholders and multiple agencies. He gathered input and feedback, then set a plan in motion based on one collective voice. Without his proactive leadership, the negative impact to Duluth’s tourism industry could have been devastating.”
Visit Duluth is Duluth’s only officially recognized destination marketing organization. Chartered in 1935, it represents approximately 400 businesses that make up Duluth’s tourism industry and is dedicated to promoting the area as one of America’s great vacation and meeting destinations — providing comprehensive, unbiased information to all travelers.
Meanwhile, here's a YouTube blog Sen. Roger Reinert, DFL-Duluth, posted during the height of the flood:
Lake Superior Magazine names 2012 Achievement Award winner
Lake Superior Magazine has named the winner of its 2012 Achievement Award – The Bad River Watershed Association. The award was announced in the October/November issue of Lake Superior Magazine currently available on the newsstands.
The award will be formally presented at the November 15 meeting of the association in the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute building at Northland College, Ashland, Wisconsin, at 6 p.m.
The Bad River Watershed Association (BRWA), based in Ashland, was formed in 2002. Its mission encompasses education about the watershed, developing ways to connect residents to the watershed and activities geared toward protecting the water quality of the rivers, streams and Lake Superior.
Despite the small size of the area population and of the association membership, the group has undertaken many ambitious and critical projects within and slightly beyond the large watershed. Volunteers do regular monitoring of water quality, establishing a base of data helpful in reviewing future developments.
The association has connected federal programs to local governments to replace inadequate culverts in the district and for other projects. It has also begun working with landowners to encourage water-health practices.
“Our annual Achievement Award is meant to honor and call attention to the work of groups or individuals who have significantly contributed to the well-being of Lake Superior and its people,” said Lake Superior Magazine Editor Konnie LeMay. “For us, the Bad River Watershed Association is a perfect choice. It demonstrates through its staff and volunteers that people can make a difference for water quality. The association also can serve as a true role model for other small communities around Lake Superior also interested in protecting their watersheds.”
Lake Superior Magazine began giving out an annual Achievement Award in 1994. The bimonthly, full-color magazine has subscribers in all 50 U.S. states, most Canadian provinces and 26 foreign countries. It is part of the family-owned Lake Superior Port Cities Inc. with offices at 310 E. Superior St., Ste. 125, Duluth, MN 55802. The 33-year-old company produces books, calendars, maps, posters and its Lake Superior Collection of products. For details, visit www.LakeSuperior.com or call 888-BIG LAKE (888-244-5253) or 218-722-5002.
-- Sources: Visit Duluth, YouTube, Lake Superior Magazine
Minneapolis-St. Paul professional dance theater Black Label Movement, in partnership with Duluth-based Zeitgeist Arts, will present Carl Flink's critically-acclaimed evening length work Wreck at 7:30 p.m. today and Wednesday at historic Clyde Iron Works in Duluth. Read more.
Tweetsville: Former Gophers hoops legend Rick Rickert scored two new pairs of sneakers, here.
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.
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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.”
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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.
"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