The hot, wet violence of Minnesota’s summer

They call it a high pressure dome, hot electric atmosphere more vapor than air, parked over Minnesota like a Ouija board. We get these once or twice a summer, about as often as we get deep freezes in the dead of winter. Days like this remind us that 150 degrees Fahrenheit separate our typical annual… Read More →

Duluth looking to remodel, not replace library

Last year it seemed the city of Duluth was barreling toward the demolition of its distinctive library building along Superior and Michigan avenues in favor of a new $35 million building. At the time, the consultant hired by the city was saying that it would cost $31 million to perform necessary repairs and remodeling to the… Read More →

All local Duluth sitcom ‘Old Lifty’ to premiere

Some say we’re in the golden age of television, a time when the breakdown of the big networks’ monopoly on production creates new opportunities for smaller, independent artists with good ideas. That’s certainly the white-capped Lake Superior wave that producers of a new web series based in Duluth hope to catch. “Old Lifty” is based on a… Read More →

Duluth Homegrown runs today through May 8

The Duluth Homegrown Music Festival opens today and runs through next Sunday. This week-long music extravaganza is the hallmark of the emerging Duluth music scene and boasts more live music in one week than some towns see all year long. Quite simply, Duluth Homegrown is back-to-back live music all week long at more than a… Read More →

Kids love rubber mulch for all the wrong reasons

Playground equipment used to be hellish industrial machinery. Kids would bust their arms just looking at the hand pump merry-go-round. The ground was just that: ground. Heck, you were lucky if it was dirt. It might have been pavement. In a quest to make things safer, many new playgrounds use rubber mulch, bouncy chunks reclaimed… Read More →

Simonson prevails in SD7 DFL endorsement battle

Almost 500 DFL delegates met Saturday in Duluth to endorse a candidate to succeed retiring State Sen. Roger Reinert (DFL-Duluth). After a strong 57-43 percent showing on the first ballot, State Rep. Erik Simonson was endorsed on the second ballot over former city councilor Sharla Gardner. Gardner vowed to support Simonson, unifying the Duluth DFL apparatus… Read More →

Duluth passenger rail project slows down to speed up

When I was writing daily newspaper editorials 15 years ago, I spent a lot of time extolling the virtues of passenger rail service. Looking back, it was a tailer-made issue for an editorialist. It cost money. It had statistics. There were maps. Plus, the opposition would have to go on the record against trains. Since trains are… Read More →

First ‘saltie’ of 2016 arrives in Duluth today

Today, the Port of Duluth welcomes its first ocean-going vessel of the 2016 shipping season. The Dutch-flagged Albanyborg just dropped off some wind turbine parts in Canada and is now set to load winter wheat bound for Italy. The first Great Lakes vessel arrived more than a week ago. Even though Northern Minnesota is firmly in… Read More →

Session to explore difficulty of covering Polymet

This Thursday at 5:30 p.m., I’ll be one of three panelists leading a discussion entitled “PolyMet: Reporting on Tough Community Issues” at a venue in west Duluth. This panel is part of a series of community discussions centered around journalism and storytelling for the “One River, Many Stories” project along the St. Louis River in Northeastern Minnesota…. Read More →

Remembering Duluth journalist Larry Fortner

Former Duluth News Tribune editor and longtime Northern Minnesota journalist Larry Fortner died early Wednesday from cancer. The Duluth News Tribune remembers Fortner in a Peter Passi front page story today. After work in Florida and Kentucky, Fortner found his way to Duluth, Minnesota in 1979. He would become editor of the DNT, going on… Read More →