Monday, August 31, 2009

Printing is near

Hi everyone,
I haven't posted for a couple days because I am busy with the finishing touches for the September Hillsider. It is almost done. Some people are proofing it for me now.

Also, I attended a writers' festival in Thunder Bay.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Final Summer Movies in the Park to be held Friday, August 28th featuring "Madagascar"

Don’t miss the final summer Movies in the Park showing of "Madagascar" held Friday, August 28th in Duluth’s Leif Erikson Park. Twin Ports Outdoor Movies with the support of the City of Duluth Parks and Recreation Department proudly brings to life one of our areas premier summer activities. Just grab a blanket and join family, friends and neighbors and sit back, relax and enjoy the show under the stars.

The movie starts approximately fifteen minutes after sunset and sparkles on a mammoth 40X20 foot outdoor screen. Please call, after 6:00 PM, the Twin Ports Outdoor Movies Hotline at 715-392-3480 or log on to to check for cancellation.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Duluth’s American Indian Commission to hold a “Feast and Public Forum”

The Duluth American Indian Commission will host a "Feast and Public Forum" on Thursday, August 27 at 5 PM. The event will be held in Lincoln Park, 501 N. 25th Ave. West.

In case of inclement weather, the Feast and Forum will be held at Harrison Community Center, 3002 West 3rd St.

The free feast will begin at 5:00 p.m. Following the feast, the Commission will host an open and informal Public Forum, where the Commission will listen to all those who wish to share their thoughts, opinions and advice regarding issues and concerns in Duluth’s Indian community.

In announcing the "Feast and Public Forum" Commission Co-Chairs Donna Ennis and Ricky DeFoe, said that "The Commission wants to hear directly from Duluth’s American Indian residents about what they see as the real issues that are most challenging to their community.”

Commission Secretary Michelle Gordon echoed the Co-chairs and said the “Duluth American Indian Commission values all thoughts and comments relating to or affecting the services, facilities, policies and issues that are of concern to the American Indian Community and we hope that many people from the community come out and let their voices be heard.”

This evening is part of the Duluth American Indian Commission’s ongoing efforts to reach out to the Community. Part of the Commission’s mission is to develop recommendations to the City Council and City Administration to ensure that the American Indian community’s concerns are considered in the City’s decision and policy making process.

“The American Indian Commission plays an important role in establishing a venue for open dialogue on important issues facing the American Indian community. I appreciate the hard work of the Commission in planning this event and their ongoing contributions to Duluth,” says Mayor Don Ness.

The Duluth American Indian Commission was established by the City of Duluth by an ordinance passed in 2003. The 11 representatives on the Duluth American Indian Commission are appointed by the Mayor and include cultural and spiritual leaders, activists and other Indian Community advocates.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Candidate Forum on Poverty - Wednesday, Aug. 26

“Cash for Clunkers” Not for Everyone

Editor's note: Do you wish you could get a new car, but even with the "Cash For Clunkers" program you feel like it not an option for you? Keeping your car up is very important both economically and environmentally.

Keeping Current Vehicle Running Efficiently the Best Economic Alternative

August 2009

Letter to the Editor:

There’s been a lot of talk about “Cash for Clunkers,” but for the majority of motorists, purchasing a new car is not an option. For many, their vehicle does not qualify as a “clunker” and for others, the cost of a new car is prohibitive, so keeping their current vehicle running efficiently is the sensible alternative.

Those motorists who treat their vehicles as valuable investments and commit to regular vehicle maintenance end up saving a lot of money. In fact, according to Runzheimer International, the difference in the savings over a four year period between keeping a car and buying a new one is over $10,000. Even with the “Cash for Clunkers” incentive, maintaining your current vehicle is still the best economic option.

To help ensure reliability and safety, and extend vehicle life, the Car Care Council recommends these preventive maintenance steps:

  • Change the oil and filter every 3,000 to 5,000 miles or per the owner’s manual. Periodic oil and filter changes keep your engine clean on the inside.
  • Check the tire pressure at least monthly, including the spare. Your car’s tires affect its ride, handling, traction and safety.
  • Schedule a tune-up annually to optimize your car’s performance. A well-tuned engine delivers the best balance of power and fuel economy, and produces the lowest level of emissions.
  • Have the alignment checked at least annually. Potholes and other road conditions, as well as normal wear, can take their toll on your car’s steering and suspension. A wheel alignment reduces tire wear, improves fuel economy and handling, and increases driving enjoyment and safety.
  • Inspect the windshield wipers and lights on the car. Lights and wipers play a major role in safe driving, and they are normal wear items that need periodic replacement.

To learn more, visit the Car Care Council’s Web site at and check out the popular digital Car Care Guide.


Rich White

Executive Director

Car Care Council

7101 Wisconsin Ave., Suite 1300
Bethesda, MD 20814-3415


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Your chance to speak to the Mayor

Mayor Don Ness will hold his ‘Mayor’s Night’ event with Duluth citizens at City Hall on Tuesday, August 25th starting at 5:00 p.m. and continuing until each person has a chance to speak with the Mayor. The meeting will be held in the Fourth Floor Reception Room, which is Room 405 of Duluth City Hall.

‘Mayor’s Night’ events are scheduled on the last Tuesday of each month at City Hall, to give citizens regular opportunities to meet with Mayor Ness and senior city staff. Citizens can come to the Reception Room to sign in. Meetings with the mayor will be on a first come / first served basis. All citizens taking part will have an opportunity to meet with the mayor, though the presence of larger numbers of citizens may mean slightly shorter meeting times.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Churches collaborate on concert

St. Mark AME Church

530 North 5th Avenue East

Duluth, Minnesota

Rev. Stacey L. Smith, Pastor


“Lift Our Voices and Sing”

6:00 PM – August 22, 2009


St. Mark Mass Choir

Peace UCC Sanctuary Choir

Daughter’s of Zion Praise Dancers

Children of Praise Dancers

Lakeside Baptist Church Praise Team

Living Faith Church Choir

And more

The public is invited to attend and worship with us.

For more information call 218-722-5349 or Email:

Jambalaya Birthday Celebration and Fundraiser for St. Louis County Attorney Melanie Ford

Join Melanie Ford on Thursday, August 27 for a homemade *Jambalaya dinner celebrating her birthday and raising funds for her reelection.

5:30 – 8:00 p.m. All American Club 1931 W. Michigan Street, Duluth

*Spicy and delicious Creole dish with tomatoes, peppers, onions, celery, sausage, and chicken. Vegetarian red beans and rice option available. All served with fresh cornbread

Suggested minimum donation: $15. More information: Debbie (218) 830-8539.

City to seek court injunction to uphold casino contract

Fond du Lac Casino on Superior Street in downtown Duluth.

The Fond du Lac Band has notified the City of Duluth of their intent to
immediately cease all payments to the City related to the operation of
the Fond du Luth Casino. The Casino has been operating since 1986
pursuant to the gaming rights agreements of 1986 and 1994 between the
Band and the City of Duluth. The Band contends that the agreements were
based on erroneous understandings and that the City’s consent to the
existence of reservation land within the city was not necessary in 1986.
The City strongly contests this position.

The City will seek a declaratory judgment from the Court upholding the
legal standing of the signed agreements. The City is confident that the
Court will find that this action by the Band has no legal standing and
will quickly uphold the agreement that exists today and that remains in
place until 2036.

“The Band has taken a direction contrary to our understanding of the
agreement and federal law. We would hope that the Band would choose to
seek clarification from the Court rather than attempt to abruptly and
unilaterally end the very foundation of their longstanding relationship
with the City under these agreements,” states Bob Maki, the City’s
legal counsel.

Over the past 25 years, these agreements have been thoroughly reviewed
and approved by the Fond du Lac Band, the City of Duluth, the U.S.
Secretary of the Interior, the Chairman of the National Indian Gaming
Commission and the Federal District Court for Minnesota.

“The City remains committed to the continuation of a respectful and
successful joint venture with the Fond du Lac Band,” said Mayor Don
Ness. “Once the legal standing of the agreement is confirmed we hope
to work with the Band towards a renewed success of the Casino in the
middle of Duluth’s downtown waterfront.”

The Band expressed what both parties saw as mutual and shared interests
in the very difficult days of the early 1980s in Duluth when, in the
words of the Band in 1994 before Congress, “In 1984, representatives
of the City and the Band came together to explore the possibility of
creating a joint relationship that would benefit the interest of both

Both the Band and the City have benefited from this joint venture over
the past 25 years. This success would not have been possible without
the agreement and cooperation of both parties.

NAACP presents "Employment Barriers Faced by People of Color"

The Duluth Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
& the Milwaukee Area Office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) present:

"Know Your Rights!
Diverse Discrimination:
Employment Barriers Faced by People of Color”

Monday, August 24, 2009
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Central Hillside Community Center
12 East 4th Street
Duluth, MN 55805

Special Guest Speaker:
Maria E. Flores, EEOC Program Manager


Race discrimination continues to be the most frequently filed type of employment discrimination charges filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Come to this FREE informative session to learn about the federal laws that prohibit employment discrimination, how to file a charge, the role of the NAACP, and, more importantly, how to identify employment barriers which may discriminate against people of color such as:

 “Name” and “Appearance” Discrimination
 Illegal Customer Preference
 Hiring Requirements Which May Cause Discrimination
 Harassment, and More!

Our Speaker: Maria Flores, a 17-year EEOC veteran and highly rated speaker, will bring to life the unique employment issues faced by people of color by weaving together real case stories, statistics and studies. She has investigated class action and systemic discrimination cases and has received national EEOC awards for her past investigative work on high-profile cases. A graduate of Marquette University, Maria is responsible for outreach, training and technical assistance throughout five Midwest states and actively serves on a number of nonprofit boards and committees that serve diverse communities.

For more information, please contact Mr. Claudie Washington, President, Duluth NAACP Branch, phone (218) 590-9009 or

Monday, August 17, 2009

4th DIstrict Candidate Forum on Duluth Poverty Issue is on Aug. 26th

The public is encouraged to attend a District 4 city council candidates’ forum on poverty issues on August 26 at the Harrison Community Club 3002 Grand Avenue from 6:00-7:30 pm.

All District 4 candidates who filed with election officials by the July 15 deadline have confirmed their attendance. The candidates for the 4th District City Council seat are Kerry Gauthier, Gordon Grant, Heath Hickok, Matt Potter and Celia Scheer.

The forum, scheduled for 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. , will feature five questions posed by people from the Duluth community currently experiencing poverty. If time allows, questions from the audience will also be included.

The event was initiated by graduates of the Blandin Foundation’s - Leaders Partnering to End Poverty (LPEP) in Duluth who wanted to help city leaders better understand key poverty issues and hear candidates’ visions for a healthier community.

Event sponsors include the League of Women Voters-Duluth, Community Action Duluth, Twin Ports Action Coalition, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, CHUM and the A.H. Zeppa Family Foundation.

The event is free. Refreshments will be served.

Some relevant statistics on poverty:

  1. According to U.S. Census Data for 2000, the poverty level in Duluth of 15.5% is dramatically larger in comparison to the national (12.4%) and state (7.9%) rates.
  2. According to the 2009 Race Matters Report, 93% of the Duluth population is white and 13% of them are living below the poverty level. Less than 2% of the Duluth population is African American, yet more than 40% of the African American population is living below the poverty level. Native Americans make up 2.5% of the Duluth population, yet more than 43% of Native Americans are living below the poverty level.
  3. Women and children make up 50% of homeless people in St. Louis County .

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Elminating Poverty in Duluth

On Thursday night I attended a dinner and discussion entitled "Eliminating Poverty in Duluth."

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Movies in the Park showing "Harry Potter: The Prisoner Azkaban" on Friday, August 14th

Don’t miss Movies in the Park showing of "Harry Potter-The Prisoner Azkaban" held Friday, August 14th in Duluth’s Leif Erikson Park. Twin Ports Outdoor Movies with the support of the City of Duluth Parks and Recreation Department proudly brings to life one of our areas premier summer activities. Just grab a blanket and join family, friends and neighbors and sit back, relax and enjoy the show under the stars.

Movies in the Park: August 14 featuring Harry Potter:The Prisoner Azkaban rated PG and starts at 8:17PM

The movie starts approximately fifteen minutes after sunset and sparkles on a mammoth 40X20 foot outdoor screen. Please call, after 6:00 PM, the Twin Ports Outdoor Movies Hotline at 715-392-3480 or log on to to check for cancellation.

Deadline is Tuesday, Aug. 18

Deadline details are here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The dog days of summer

Prof. Cricket get trapped in some rocks at Canal Park.

Youth squealed as they jumped of the cement structure into the cold lake. I stuff my feet in the lake...yeap 43 degrees!

Current: Clear
Wind: S at 0 mph
Humidity: 70%
86°F | 63°F
85°F | 65°F
Mostly Sunny
83°F | 65°F
Mostly Sunny
81°F | 63°F

It is almost the middle of August. Time to get serious about the content of the September Hillsider. Today I phoned some advertisers and worked on the layout a bit.

It was really, really hot today. I had a picnic lunch at Canal Park. I found out it is really hard to access the beach with all the boulders there. Those rocks were hot enough to fry an egg! My little doggie got trapped between a couple rocks, but she wormed her way out. Finally we went down near the canal and there is an easier access to the water there. Lots of kids were throwing rock and feeding seagull.

Later we went to Brighton Beach, were Prof. Cricket chased the waves. She like to try to bite them. She go all the way in the water and believe it or not she did get cold. I had to put her in the car to warm her up.

Anyway I got my laptop out and worked on the design, made some phone calls and looked at the photos I now have. We want to have a candidate questionnaire and it is looking very tight for space unless I sell some more adds to make a 16 pager rather than a 12 pager.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Board meeting toight

Tonight is our monthly board meeting. I will give an editor's report. Rick will give the financial report and we will talk about new candidates for board members. Would you like to be a board member?

Contact me and let me know. You need to live, work or volunteer in one of these three neighborhoods: Lincoln Park, Central Hillside or East Hillside. The minimum requirement is one board meeting a month. You do not have to know how to write. You just need want to be involved int he direction of "The Hillsider" by suggesting story ideas and other types of things.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

City Council to Consider New Police Station Plan

At their August 10th meeting, the City Council will consider a plan to build a police station adjacent to the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office and 911 Call Center.

The Duluth Police Department currently operates in a space in the historic City Hall working in unsafe, cramped conditions. The 80 year old building inhibits the Department’s ability to meet national standards for handling, storage, and care of criminal evidence.

The City Council will consider a plan that would build a modern, efficient headquarters that will ensure our law enforcement officers can provide the best possible service to the community.

The new facility would improve technology compatibility with state databases; improve work processes; increase energy efficiency; provide better standards for combining property and evidence storage, crime scene processing, and forfeited vehicle storage; and provide a more efficient and safe work space for employees.

“The Duluth Police Department strives to provide the highest quality services. We can’t do that when we have to worry about sewage backups in the officer locker room or water damage to our property and evidence room,” says Chief Gordon Ramsay.

The plan developed by the Police Department achieves a modern police facility at one-half the cost of a facility being built in St. Cloud. The St. Cloud facility price tag will be $36 million, in contrast to the proposed $18 million facility in Duluth.

The financing is structured to limit the annual increases to the City’s portion of the property tax. Considering that the City of Duluth accounts for only 22% of the property tax bill, the 2010 levy increase would amount to a 0.6% increase of the total bill. For the homeowner with a $160,000 home, the average monthly impact on their 2010 property taxes would be less than one dollar. With the three step financing plan, the overall impact to property taxes would be 1.9% total increase spread over the next three years.

With Council approval, construction could begin as early as this fall, with a targeted completion date of summer 2011.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Traffic will be congested for Blues Fest

Traffic is expected to be congested in and around the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center(DECC) and Bayfront Festival Park this weekend with the 2009 Bayfront Blues Festival taking place. The festival begins this Friday, August 7, 2009 and runs through Sunday, August 9th, 2009. Festival hours for the three day event are 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Access to William Irvin Tours, Vista Excursions, and the DECC Ticket Office will be from the east using Harbor Drive. Harbor Drive will be closed off completely for all traffic, eastbound or westbound, between Paulucci Hall and the Great Lakes Aquarium. The Great Lakes Aquarium will be open it's normal business hours.

Paid parking for the Bayfront Blues Festival is located in lots off Railroad Street just west of the 5th Ave. W connector, and in the DECC parking lot.

Police department shows why it needs new facilities

Watch the video on the right hand side of the police department website.

It shows why the police department needs new/upgraded facilities.

Click here.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

National Night Out locations

Here are a list of the Nation Night Out locations. Everything starts at 5 p.m. unless otherwise incidated.

  • Sixth Street between 11th Avenue East and 12th Avenue East. Time: 6-9 p.m. Contact Joanne at (218) 728-1516.
  • 25th Avenue East and Seventh Street to Irving Place. Time: 5-9 p.m. Contact Anita at (218) 724-5761.
  • 54th Avenue East to 57th Avenue East on Oneida Street. Time: 6:30-9:30 p.m. Contact Rick at (218) 349-4844.
  • 24th Avenue West to 25th Avenue West on Fourth Street. Time: 4-6 p.m. Contact Tim at (218) 390-1276.
  • 61st Avenue West from Cody Street to Eighth Street. Time: 5-9 p.m. Contact John at (218) 730-4383.
  • Third Street from 27th Avenue West to 28th Avenue West. Time: 5-8 p.m. Contact Tom at (218) 720-6875.

  • Alley between Regent Street and Superior Street between 40th Avenue East and 41st Avenue East. Time: 6-9 p.m. Contact Carol (218) 590-4627.
  • Mount Royal Garden Club, East St. Marie Street about one-half block north of Woodland Avenue behind Domino’s Pizza. Time:

    6:30-8 p.m. Contact Joan at (218) 728-0589.

  • 37th Avenue East and Fourth Street to 39th Avenue East and Fourth Street. Time: 5-9 p.m. Contact Laura at (218) 728-2410.
  • Alley at 1200 Commonwealth Avenue from Gary Street to McGonagle Street. Time: 6-9 p.m. Contact Pat at (218) 626-3438.
  • Crescentview Avenue between 36th Avenue East and 37th Avenue East. Time: 5-9 p.m. Contact Robert at (218) 724-1969.
  • Lester Park United Methodist Church, 5400 E. Superior St. Time: 5-7 p.m. Contact Helen at (218) 340-1614.
  • Grandview Avenue from 10th Street to Kent Road. Time: 6-9 p.m. Contact Mary Ann at (218) 724-2729.
  • Salem Covenant Church, 339 N. 59th Ave. W. Time: 6-8 p.m. Contact Cindy at (218) 721-4324.
  • Merritt Community Center, 4017 W. Seventh St. Time: 5-7 p.m. Contact Jodi at (218) 348-4171.
  • Stowe Street and Coban Drive. Time: 5-8 p.m. Contact Corey at (218)626-3282.
  • Tioga Street between 45th Avenue East and 47th Avenue East. Time: 5-8 p.m. Contact Georgia at (218)525-3846.
  • Lafayette Community Center, 3026 Minnesota Ave. Time: 7-9 p.m. Contact Dori at (218) 525-4312.
  • 3216 Wellington St. Time: 6-9 p.m. Contact Sandy at (218) 624-9433.
  • 225 W. Rainbow St. Time: 6-9 p.m. Contact Jim or Mary Lou at (218) 722-1997.
  • From 50th Avenue East to 51st Avenue East at Colorado Street. Time:5-9 p.m. Contact Jimmy at (218) 341-8754.
  • 16th Avenue East between Fifth Street and Sixth Street. Time: 6-8 p.m. Contact: Jodi at (218)724-2880.
  • Faith Lutheran Church, 1814 N. 51st Ave. E. Time: 6-9 p.m. Contact Donald at (218) 525-3759.
  • Washington Center Park. Time: 6-9 p.m. Contact Roxanne at (218) 525-4606.
  • Branch Street between 30th Avenue East and 31st Avenue East. Time: 5-8 p.m. Contact Traci at (218)728-1119.
  • East First Street, between 28th Avenue East and 29th Avenue East. Time: 5-9 p.m. Contact Teresa at (218) 724-1860.
  • Seventh Street between 16th Avenue East and 17th Avenue East. Time: 4-7:30 p.m. Contact Tom at (218) 730-9954.
  • 91st Avenue West between Grace Street and Hilton Street. Time: 6-9 p.m. Contact Diane at (218) 626-3720 or (218) 730-5411.
  • 34th Avenue East between Ridgewood Road and Valley Drive. Time: 5-9 p.m. Contact Carinda at (218) 728-0122.
  • 12th Street between Seventh Avenue East and Eighth Avenue East. Time: 5:30-9 p.m. Contact Nikki at (218) 733-9041.
  • Fourth Street between Lake Avenue and First Avenue East. Time: 5-8 p.m. Contact Gene at (218) 591-2682.
  • 517 Spear Ave. Time: 6:30-8 p.m. Contact Vincent at (218) 428-3134.
  • 10th Avenue East between Fourth Street and Fifth Street. Time: 6-8 p.m. Contact Elizabeth at (218) 343-4281.
  • Gladstone Street between 47th Avenue East and 48th Avenue East. Time: 5:30-8:30 p.m. Contact Karen (218) 723-1111 or (218)


  • Grant Community Recreation Center, 901 E. 11th St. Sponsored by: East Hillside Community Club. Time: 6-8 p.m. Contact Mona at (218) 724-1193.
  • First Avenue West between No. 2 Alley and West Second Street. Time: 6-8 p.m. Contact Maxine at (218) 720-6521.
  • Between 42nd Avenue East and 43rd Avenue East on McCulloch Street. Time: 6-9 p.m. Contact Cathy at (218) 525-3383.
  • East First Street between 21st Avenue East and 23rd Avenue. Time: 6-8:30 p.m. Contact Patty at (218) 728-9590.
  • Our Savior’s Lutheran Church parking lot, 4831 Grand Ave. NOTE: Event is from 6:30-8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 5.Contact Jennifer at (218) 624-3648.
  • Colorado Street and North 42nd Avenue East. Time: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Contact Lori at (218) 343-5765.
  • Windwood Townhomes, 701-855 Upham Road. Time: 5-6:30 p.m.

    Contact Pam at (218)


  • Village at Matterhorn, 4746 Matterhorn Circle. Time: 5-6:30 p.m. Contact Pam at (218) 348-8302.
  • Irving Apartments, 101 N. 56th Ave. W. Time: 5-6:30 p.m. Contact Pam at (218) 348-8302.
  • Mount Royal Apartments, 100 Elizabeth St. Time: 5-6:30 p.m. Contact Pam at (218) 348-8302.
  • South 57th Avenue East above London Road. Time: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Con-tact Stacey at (218) 428-9847.
  • East Second Street from 26th Avenue East to 27th Avenue East. Time: 6-9 p.m. Contact Vicki at (218) 786-8121.
  • Sports Court Area on Eighth Street between Fourth Avenue East and Fifth Avenue East. Time: 5-9 p.m. Contact: Andre at (218) 940-2825 or George at (218) 727-4053.
  • East 10th Street and Lake Avenue. Time: 6-10 p.m. Contact Bob at (218) 722-0016.
  • Luverne Street between 43rd Avenue East and 44th Avenue East. Time: 6-9 p.m. Contact Julie at (218) 525-0051.
  • Elim Lutheran Church, 6101 Cody St. Time: 6-7 p.m. Contact (218) 624-2690.
  • Central Hillside Community Club, 12 E. Fourth St. Time: 5-8 p.m. Contact Gene (218) 591-2682.
  • Lincoln Park School Boys & Girls Club, Lincoln Park School Playground, 24th Avenue West and Fourth Street. Time:

    5-7 p.m. Contact Tim at (218) 725-7706.

  • Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity, 2701 W. Third St. Time: 5-8 p.m. Contact (218) 727-4980.
  • Superior Moose 606 Family Center, 66 E. Fifth St., Superior. Time: 6-8 p.m. Contact (715) 394-5421.
  • Sunday, August 02, 2009

    Al Franken visits Duluth, speaks about health care reform

    The media met with Al Franken at the Greysolon Plaza just before the Progressive Roundtable. Here Jay Cole shakes hands with Franken. (Photo by Naomi Yaeger-Bischoff)

    Al Franken is in Duluth for the Progressive Roundtable.

    He was the featured speaker Sunday night along with Kysten Sinema, representative, Arizona State legislature. Barry Kendall, executive director of the Commonweal Institute.

    Franken said his number one concern is health care reform. He stated that two-thirds of bankruptcies are caused by medical bills. "People are worried that they are one health care crisis away from bankruptcy," he said. Many people are scared to change jobs or to start new businesses because of preexisting conditions.

    Franken said he heard from a woman in Fergus Falls who is a diabetic, her son is also diabetic but doesn't have insurance, so she shares here insulin with her son.

    Franken the United States has a wider gap in income than other developed countries which have been health care for everyone. The wide gap causes difficulties in people having access to clean air and water as well as exercise and safe neighborhoods. The gap between the rich and poor is huge, he said.

    Franken also talked about the importance of Net Neutrality.

    I don't know how to just get one Youtube in this.

    The roundtable was sponsored by the A.H. Zeppa Family Foundation and the Commonweal Institute

    See our August E-newsletter

    Here is our August E-newsletter urging you to go pick up and a paper copy of the August issue.

    The July E-newsletter.

    Saturday, August 01, 2009

    We must work together to move forward

    The tragic events that unfolded recently in our community brought us face to face with the reality of violence and crime in our community. These senseless killings have shocked and horrified our community, and we offer our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims. We thank our Police Department for their swift and determined action, and wish them the best as they bring these killers to justice.

    So join us: your friends, neighbors, and fellow Duluthians, in making our communities great...There is no better time than now to get involved in your community.
    Brendan Hanschen

    We are also dismayed at the outpouring of resentment and anger directed at the Central Hillside and Downtown neighborhoods and their residents. Crimes such as these will never be solved or prevented by giving up on our neighborhoods. We invite you to put aside your stereotypes and join us in making the Hillside, and Duluth, a better place. We are not on the front page of the paper, but there are many of us, in every neighborhood, and we are working to make Duluth a wonderful place to live, work, and play.

    It is time for us, as a community, to take a stand. No more violence. No more hate. No police department or agency can fix our neighborhoods’ problems. We need to work together to move forward. Pay no heed to those that make anonymous comments online; they clearly do not believe in what they say enough to use their names.

    The Hillside is not a “ghetto”. The Hillside is a thriving community with a wonderful diversity of people; this is something to be cherished, not condemned. We should be proud of our neighborhoods of history, character, and beauty. As a resident of Central Hillside, I have had enough of the stereotyping and the disdain for my neighborhood and my neighbors. How about you?
    So join us: your friends, neighbors, and fellow Duluthians, in making our communities great. You will not be alone.

    The At Home in Duluth collaborative is made up of 24 organizations, government agencies, and community groups. This collaborative is facilitated by the Duluth Local Initiatives Support Corporation (Duluth LISC), and includes organizations like CHUM, Northern Communities Land Trust, Community Action Duluth, Neighborhood Housing Services, the City of Duluth, and community clubs from each of the neighborhoods we work in.

    We are working to build family assets and income, restore homeownership, train a skilled and productive workforce, provide jobs and affordable housing, organize renters and landlords, reinvest in our businesses and infrastructure, confront racism, reduce crime, and remove blight from our streets.

    Community clubs and citizen patrols are hosting block parties, citizen patrolling our streets, cleaning up litter and debris, beautifying our neighborhoods, and building community. However, we need your help. One person truly can make a difference, and there is no better time than now to get involved in your community. After all, we’re all in this together, and volunteering in your community can make for fun, rewarding experiences. You’ll make new friends, meet your neighbors, and you’ll enjoy the fruits of your labor.

    For information on how to get involved in your community or for information on any of the At Home in Duluth partners, contact Brendan at Neighborhood Housing Services of Duluth at 727-8604 ext 19.