The movement to raise the tobacco sales age from 18 to 21 continues to spread across the state.

Up North, Beltrami County became the state’s 22nd Tobacco 21 community, followed by the city of Duluth last week. Beltrami County commissioners passed a Tobacco 21 ordinance by a 4-1 vote before the Duluth City Council voted 6-2 for a similar measure.

In 2017, Edina became the first city in the state to raise the purchasing age for all tobacco-related products, including cigarettes, chewing tobacco and e-cigarettes. Several metro suburbs soon followed suit. In greater Minnesota, cities such as Waseca and St. Peter have passed a Tobacco 21 ordinance while others, such as St. Cloud — where the City Council narrowly passed the ordinance before the mayor vetoed it — have rejected the measure.

Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation, a coalition of more than 60 organizations working to reduce youth tobacco use, said it hopes the local efforts will inspire the Legislature to pass a bill raising the tobacco sales age statewide. Bills have been introduced this session in both the House and Senate.

Kelly Smith

Nobles County

ACLU suit granted class-action status

A district judge has approved class-action status for an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against Nobles County and the Nobles County Sheriff’s Office over immigration detentions.

The suit alleges the sheriff doesn’t have legal grounds to hold some detainees but does so anyway at the request of Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities. The suit has four named plaintiffs but could see a class size of at least 40, court papers show.

Matt McKinney


Lake Superior city seeks new flag design

Have an idea for a new symbol for Duluth?

Officials in the Lake Superior city are surveying citizens about what they would like to see in a new city flag, as well as soliciting designs. They are seeking something that unifies the city’s residents and evokes a vision for the future, according to a city website.

Designers may make up to five submissions through March 29. Designs in 3-by-5-inch landscape format may be submitted physically or electronically, either sent to or mailed to Duluth Flag Project, 411 W. 1st St., Room 110, Duluth, MN 55802.

Though a kickoff meeting for the project was canceled last week because of severe cold, the city is now taking submissions.

To take the survey or get more details on design criteria, go to

Pam Louwagie