A steel star that was once garlanded with lights to shine over downtown Minneapolis was removed from the top of the Foshay Tower this summer and now hangs, restored and fully lit, on the exterior wall of Tom Slack’s workshop in Brandon, Minn.

The journey from city star to country conversation piece got underway when Slack’s company, Slack Painting, was hired this summer to repaint the steel antennae atop the 607-foot Foshay. It took his three-man crew a week and a half to roll on three coats of fresh paint. The building’s owner asked him to remove the 20-by-20-foot star — it was attached with just two clamps — and told him he could take it home if he’d like. No one knew how old it was, or when it was last lit.

Slack, who learned this week that he and his wife are expecting a baby boy, their eighth child, said the star is now shining bright starting at 4:30 p.m. every day.

Matt McKinney @_mattmckinney


St. Cloud

City Council increases cost of liquor licenses

Liquor licenses will soon cost St. Cloud businesses more.

Last week, the City Council voted 4-2 to increase fees for bars, restaurants and liquor stores. The license for liquor stores will rise from $200 to $300 annually, while bars’ fees will depend partly on square footage.

The city hasn’t raised its liquor license fees since 2004, said Gregg Engdahl, the city clerk. Even with the increase, the fees won’t cover the cost of license processing, compliance checks and enforcement, he told the council, according to video of the meeting.

Some owners of bars and restaurants spoke against the change. Jeremy Frey, owner of the Lincoln Depot, said St. Cloud already imposes a 1 percent liquor and food tax, which gives businesses a disadvantage with those in neighboring cities.

“So for us, we have to choose if we’re going to pass that cost onto our customers or reduce the amount of money we’re able to provide our families from running our business,” Frey said.

Jenna Ross @ByJenna


Duluth Township

Luxury townhouses coming to North Shore

Sales will open soon for luxury townhouses planned for the site of the former Nokomis Restaurant on Lake Superior’s North Shore.

The old restaurant building will contain two residences, and six more are designed to be built up the hill, each with lake views, said Rondi Erickson, who with her husband Sandy Lewis owned the former restaurant. The buildings were designed by architect David Salmela.

Erickson said the units, ranging from $700,000 to $1.35 million, should be ready starting this summer.

“We’re very excited about it,” Erickson said. “We think it’s going to be a wonderful new addition for the North Shore.”

Pam Louwagie @pamlouwagie