Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween fun at Whole Foods Co-op

This evening I stopped by Whole Foods Co-op to see how their Halloween party was doing.
Shannon Szymkowiak (seen here dressed as an organic banana) said that over 700 children had been through the "dungeon" as of 6:30 p.m. There were many games for the kids to play as well as treats. Terence Smith and Kelly Smith sang and played their instruments.

As people shopped upstairs on the main floor, they would never guess that ghosts and goblins were running around downstairs.

I am a frequent shopper at Whole Foods Co-op, and it seemed to me that many of the people going through the dungeon were not the usual suspects. So that is great. WFC is providing a service to the neighborhood, and new people are coming through the doors.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Gordon Grant

Fourth District - vote for one
See questionnaire here.

1. Sidewalks
2. Recycling laws, overflowing garbage containers
3. Skunks, birds and animal control
This response is intended to address questions 1, 2, & 3.
If we do not have the applicable ordinances in place then I would encourage the Mayor and his administration to bring [them] forward and I would support their initiative.
If we do have the applicable ordinances in place then I would encourage the Mayor to have the building safety office enforce them.
4. Sale of small liquor bottles and single cigarettes
As I understand it, the state has statutes that regulate our tobacco and liquor. Again, if the Mayor and his administration bring forward an ordinance I would study the merits of the ordinance.
5. Dealing with less state support
The city administration should cut taxes and fees, prioritize spending, stop borrowing, and develop a plan to pay off our $150,000,000 general obligation bonds (debt).
The city administration should consider a new municipal model that is more cost effective which offers a different approach on how we do business, what city services we should provide, and assets we should own; including, all of our business type services; water/gas/sewer, steam plants, storm water utilities, street lights, parking activities, and golf courses.
6. Economic development in Central and East Hillside and Lincoln Park
We need to enforce our building safety codes. A lack of code enforcement causes blight which breeds an increase in crime, discourages neighborhood pride, hinders business development, and prevents job creation. I will look into creating a task force to initiate a grass roots clean-up block-by-block, and challenge neighbors, local churches, Lincoln Park Business District, the Mayor, the Police Chief, and the Fire Chief to commit the resources to help.

Kerry Gauthier

Fourth District - vote for one
See questionnaire here.

1. Sidewalks
The City does have an ordinance requiring residents to shovel their walks during the winter months. I believe that the City should find ways to inform people of their responsibility to do so through community announcements and other public relation tools. Many of our neighbors are physically unable to clear their walks, especially after a winter storm. It would be my hope as good neighbors we would help each other out. Unfortunately, there are some individuals who will not fulfill their responsibility to clear their walk. We will need to make efforts to get their cooperation through encouragement, warnings and in the end enforce the ordinance.
2. Recycling laws, overflowing garbage containers
Again, I believe we need to make people aware of our recycling laws and our garbage ordinance. It is not possible for the city to spend time making sure everyone is following the ordinances. Therefore, it will become more important for neighbors to develop positive relationships and encourage compliance. The City could promote compliance through issuing flyers in the water and gas bill and also request or require solid waste companies to insert information in their billing to customers.
3. Skunks, birds and animal control
It is unfortunate that we do not have the resources to implement an animal control program to deal with skunks and other troublesome animals. Residents need to be reminded that they need to take measures to secure their waste / garbage.
4. Sale of small liquor bottles and single cigarettes
I believe that selling of individual cigarettes may be illegal as all cigarette packages must have a tobacco stamp. I will need to investigate what limitations that state law places on selling such things as individual cigarettes and small bottles of alcohol.
5. Dealing with less state support
The City finds itself in a financial crisis caused by Governor Pawlenty’s misuse of unallotment authority. As a result the City has cut positions and raised taxes. I believe we can not afford any further cuts to city services. We are required by law to balance the budget. Therefore, it will be important for the city to be creative in finding new revenue streams. Raising taxes should be a measure of last resort.
6. Economic development in Central and East Hillside and Lincoln Park
If elected, my intention is to call upon the administration to develop a process for formulating a long range economic development plan. This plan should build upon the reorganization that has been done in city hall, the comprehensive plan and the upcoming uniform zoning code. The economic development plan should also build on our strengths such as being a regional health care center, higher education, aviation, shipping and tourism. It will be crucial to have citizen input in developing this plan. The administrations efforts to be more user friendly to development should cut the time it takes to complete projects and create jobs. Any tax incentives that the city can use for economic development, such as Tax Incremental Financing (TIF), should only be used for those developers that are willing to provide full time jobs with living wages and benefits, such as health care. It is important to promote an attitude of being good community members by developers and the city. It is important that bringing new good paying jobs will take time and require all of us to be proactive.

Robert Wagner

Second District vote for one.

See questionnaire here.

1. Sidewalks
This is a public safety issue. When the sidewalks aren’t shoveled, many times people choose to walk on the street instead. I recall having to do this many times and it’s definitely unsafe. Homeowners should be held accountable for their sidewalks. Better enforcement by the city is needed. I would suggest that the city’s public safety sector takes on a greater role in ensuring our sidewalks are accessible.
2. Recycling laws, overflowing garbage containers
We must ensure that every homeowner has adequate recycling services set in place. Provide greater enforcement of the city’s regulations in regards to the recycling laws.
3. Skunks, birds and animal control
We share the Earth with many creatures. If a homeowner has problems with critters, I believe they, not city government, should take it into their own hands to remedy the situation.
4. Sale of small liquor bottles and single cigarettes
Addictions are unfortunate, but the sale of alcohol and cigarettes is not illegal.
5. Dealing with less state support
Fiscal discipline by prioritizing our city’s services. Eliminating irresponsible spending which in the end affects the taxpayers. NO MORE HIKING UP OF THE TAX LEVIES. We must ensure all our city services are still met, but with greater accountability and a tightening of the belt on many aspects of city spending.
6. Economic development in Central and East Hillside and Lincoln Park
The city must broaden its purpose by providing better services and assistance in order to promote job growth. A focus on promoting job growth while fostering new and existing businesses by aiming to be a city that is more ‘business friendly’ will help to ensure long term stability. It is time to make businesses want to come here, not leave here. In these rough economic times, the city needs to be innovative in our approach. There also needs to be a better collaborative effort between DEDA, the Chamber, APEX and the council/administration. I think the city also should have a greater focus on tourism and entertainment.

Patrick Boyle

Second District vote for one.

See questionnaire here.

1. Sidewalks
There is a city ordinance to keep your sidewalks cleared of snow. If residents are encountering pathways that are blocked with snow, it should be brought to the attention of the police.
2. Recycling laws, overflowing garbage containers
A public service announcement-type campaign may be helpful in this situation. As you mentioned, many residents may be unaware of how easy it is to recycle and keep our city streets clean. Also, teaching children in the classroom the importance and ease of recycling will, in turn, help adults do the right thing.
3. Skunks, birds, and animal control
I think addressing the question posed by #2 will directly help this issue as well.
4. Sale of small liquor bottles and single cigarettes
I’m proud of Duluth to be one of the first cities in Minnesota to go smoke-free in the workplace. However, it is still legal to purchase cigarettes and alcohol and in a free-market system, the seller has the right to set his or her price. Any sort of price-controls should be made at the state level.
5. Dealing with less state support
At the present time, we have a governor who is cutting local government aid significantly, instead of taking responsibility for the state’s budget shortfall himself. Local government aid is a significant part of our city’s budget. We need to lobby state officials, including the new governor that we need to restore our level of aid in Duluth. An example of this is continuing “Duluth Days” at the state capitol where community groups can educate these officials on the importance of local government aid and how it directly affects the citizens of Duluth.
6. Economic development in Central and East Hillside and Lincoln Park
The administration is currently proposing rezoning for the entire city, something which has not been done for decades. With the help of local community groups, this will help map out our neighborhoods’ economic futures. I am also encouraged with the more user-friendly approach at City Hall regarding permits and coding for businesses. This will all add up to a more business-friendly attitude for the city.

James Stauber

At-Large candidate (vote for two)

See the questionnaire here.

1. Sidewalks
Last year I raised the issue on more than one occasion with our city administrator. Some actions were taken, including the city removing the snow and charging the homeowner. We also were more proactive to ensure our snowplow operators notified public works when they were responsible for dumping snow on city sidewalks. We (the City) are to clean those.
2. Recycling laws, overflowing garbage containers
Education, engineering and enforcement are the options. I think better community education is the step we should take first, explaining the value, the need and the requirements to do this.
3. Skunks, birds and animal control
Animal control is grossly understaffed and I have a resolution regarding animal registration that in part will help fund that department. At that time we can consider expanding their role to help deal with these issues.
4. Sale of small liquor bottles and single cigarettes
I wouldn’t try to address changing the laws of supply and demand, but focus more on why some of our citizens may be desperate. A solid tax base along with revenue generating businesses and jobs has been my focus to help alleviate many of these problems.
5. Dealing with less state support
As with personal expenses, we need to become more efficient and focus on core services. We also need to expand our tax base, not increase taxes. With a $3,000,000 overtime budget, there is plenty of opportunity to reduce our costs.
6. Economic development in Central and East Hillside and Lincoln Park
Businesses locate and expand in areas where their business can do well. This is often in areas where taxes, fees and regulations allow them to capitalize on the free market. Our city needs to recognize this and make decisions that help businesses grow rather than penalize them.

Beth Olson

At-Large candidate (vote for two)

See the questionnaire here.

1. Sidewalks
Duluth already has an ordinance that requires people to shovel their sidewalks. However, these types of ordinances are difficult to enforce, particularly at times when there are budget cuts. I think we will solve this problem by looking at each neighborhood individually. By teaming with community police officers, community clubs, citizen patrols and other community partners we can identify why sidewalks are not being shoveled. Perhaps it is a mobility or health issue or an issue of an absentee landlord. These different circumstances will need different solutions
2. Recycling laws, overflowing garbage containers
This is a very important concern. All of the various garbage companies work through WLSSD (Western Lake Superior Sanitary District) for recycling. WLSSD has a great awareness campaign to promote recycling. We need to build on our existing partnership to create more targeted awareness. Also, we need more public trash and recycling receptacles.
3. Skunks, birds and animal control
I believe we need to put together a team that includes the city, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and animal care and rescue non-profit groups to develop a short and long term plan to resolve this problem.
4. Sale of small liquor bottles and single cigarettes
The city should partner with groups in the community addressing issues of poverty to find out how this practice affects our citizens. This will lead us to understanding what the problem actually is and what an effective response would be. I have many years of experience gathering input from the community to effect positive change.
5. Dealing with less state support
Local Government Aid (LGA) is a process of taxation at the state level, using sales tax that provides money back to local governments to keep property taxes down. This “Minnesota Miracle” has been cut back by the state leaving, cities like Duluth in economic crisis. We need to join the other cities that are fighting for a return of LGA. I have experience lobbying successfully at the state legislature for funding initiatives.
6. Economic development in Central and East Hillside and Lincoln Park
These neighborhoods need to be at the heart of our economic development plan. We need to look at creating and supporting small businesses that will help to build on the best of these neighborhoods. We can turn to established groups such as the Lincoln Park Business Group for planning and assessment. If we have a council that cares to develop these neighborhoods it will happen. Our neighborhoods need to be treated fairly and resources allocated accordingly.

Dan Hartman

At-Large candidate (vote for two)

See the questionnaire here.

1. Sidewalks
As a resident and avid walker in the hillside this is an issue in our neighborhood and the city needs to better communicate that there is an ordinance against not shoveling your sidewalk. If more people knew this, maybe we would see better results. Also, there is a walk-ability study being conducted in the hillside and I would be very interested in their feedback on this issue.
2. Recycling laws, overflowing garbage containers
If you have ever picked up trash in the hillside you know the nearest trash receptacle is not always close and usually it’s full. We need to figure out how to get more trash receptacles around our neighborhood to hopefully reduce the amount of trash and to have them emptied more often. As someone who has helped with a hillside cleanup or two I know how real this problem is. Also, I would support any awareness campaign to help get residents to better maintain their own trash and recycling receptacles.
3. Skunks, birds and animal control
One of the most important roles of a city councilor is to direct people to talk to whom they need to talk to. In this situation if a resident is having a problem with a troublesome animal I would advise them to talk to the DNR and other local authorities who can help with the problem.
4. Sale of small liquor bottles and single cigarettes
I would encourage the formation of a group of citizens and elected officials to begin a dialogue on this issue. As a city councilor I would actively help to organize this group and if needed be a part of it.
5. Dealing with less state support
First, we need to do a better job informing our citizens how important local government aid is to financial health of the city; that way in future statewide elections it will be more of an issue to residents. Second, let’s see if there are any other creative solutions out there in other communities and if so, let’s use them. Now is a time to be pragmatic.
6. Economic development in Central and East Hillside and Lincoln Park
I am excited by the tremendous growth potential in both neighborhoods. I can see both becoming the new cultural and commercial centers of Duluth. Why? Because both already have grassroots community movements to make them just that. In the Hillside there are already new exciting places such as the Burrito Union, Whole Foods Co-op, and the new storefronts on 4th and 5th look great.
In Lincoln Park I am excited by the Venue at Mohaupt Block and Howard’s Fish House, which is the last local commercial fisherman in Duluth. We need to support these efforts and do a better job promoting them as a city, but also we need to make it easier for them to grow and for other small businesses to start in our neighborhoods.

Becky Hall

At-Large candidate (vote for two)
Did not return the questionnaire

The questions are here.
If Becky wishes she may answer the questionnaire here.

City council candidates answer The Hillsider Questionnaire

Questions for the Duluth City Council candidates:
1. Duluth has a program named Fit City Duluth which encourages people to get out and walk. Yet, in the winter many Duluthians do not shovel their sidewalks which makes it very difficult for able-bodied people, much less those with disabilities, to walk. How do you intend to address this issue?
2. A quick walk on foot through our core-neighborhoods will show that many of our residents are unaware or are apathetic of our recycling laws. Garbage containers and dumpsters overflow with recyclable materials in the regular garbage containers which in turn leaves little room for more garbage and garbage flows into the alleys and sidewalk. This is demoralizing for the residents and attracts skunks and birds. How do you intend to remedy this problem?
3. Our city has no policy to help its residents deal with skunks, birds or other troublesome animals. What are your thoughts on this?
4. Some of our liquor stores sell little liquor bottles for only a couple of dollars or single cigarettes for a few cents. We know this just plays off the most desperate members of our population. Is there anything that Duluth as a city could do about this?
5. We are receiving less support from the state government. How will you help Duluth deal with that financial crunch?
6.What will you do to enhance economic development for people living in Central and East Hillside and Lincoln Park neighborhoods?

Marcia Stromgren - did not return questionnaire

District One
If Marcia wishes she may post her answers here.

Ann Wasson

District One school board candidate answers The Hillsider questionnaire (vote for one)

See questionnaire here

1. Most important responsibility
Our first priority is to make sure we do everything we can to provide the best quality education to the students of our district. This means that we need to educate all children in safe, healthy environments and offer educational programs that address all levels of how students learn. As a Board we also have fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers and to establish policies and procedures for the district. Finally, it is our job to supervise and oversee the superintendent.
2. Nutritional health The nutritional health of our students is extremely important. Board and staff need to advocate for healthy choices of food and beverages given to our children and sold in our buildings. As a Board member I helped set up a committee of students, parents, dietician and administrators to look at what needs to be done to make sure our schools are healthier places. To date, all of our schools are soda free and meal plans are being examined to make sure they have healthier choices for students.
3. Red Plan and soothing divides
I strongly support the Red Plan. It was community driven, it addresses excess space, safety concerns, building ineffiencies and is a fiscally responsible plan. I disagree with alternative plans that have been suggested, they cost more to the taxpayers and do less. They also postpone the tough decisions about which schools to close for ten years.
4. Federal No Child Left Behind Act.
In theory, NCLB is a good tool but unfortunately the way in which is implemented is a poor measurement of student progress and school accountability. We need an alternative test, like the NWEA, that tests up to four times per year and immediately pinpoints a child’s deficiencies or strengths. These way teachers can make adjustments to accommodate student needs in lesson plans.
5. Weapons policy/small pocket knives?
No. We live in a changed world where we cannot tolerate weapons or bullying. We must keep our schools safe for all children.
6. What role does the U.S. Constitution play in school board decisions? As a School Board we adhere to policies and governance by the State School Board Association. The federal government advocates for education and helps fund education. Together we want what is best for all children.
7. Class size
I would love to see class size reduced. When having to face budget cuts, it has always been my first priority to keep cuts as far away from the classrooms as possible. Unfortunately, the state funding system is “broken” resulting in less money for our district. Until state and federal funding is addressed for education, it is likely class sizes will remain high as every district has budget shortfalls. I would support a community program levy to decrease class sizes.

Art Johnston

District Four school board candidate answers The Hillsider questionnaire (vote for one)

See questionnaire here

1. Most important responsibility
To be a role model of dignity, honest, and respect for the students, teachers and administrators. The current board’s lack of civility is not acceptable. The Board should also function to be a checks and balances to the school administration which is not happening.
2. Nutritional health
Commercial junk food, like candy bars and soda pop should not readily be available due to their high cost and unhealthy content. Good, healthy, minimally processed food should be served. Not only is this healthy, it is also less expensive. But we have to be careful not to replace good food with fad food.
3. Red Plan and divides
The Red Plan was based on very misleading data on the condition of the Duluth schools, and they took away the right to vote. The Red Plan is destroying perfectly good schools and disrupting neighborhoods at a cost of $438 million in taxes. And the existing schools, many of which are of recent construction, will given away for pennies on the dollar—a very bad protection of past investments. I will do what it takes to save Morgan Park, Lincoln Park, Nettleton, Central and the STC.
4. No Child Left Behind Act.
I have no opinion.
5. Weapons/pocketknives?
I would have to look at this entire policy. In general, I don’t believe weapons should be allowed in public schools. I would support programs that address potential violent situations and show students how to defend themselves.
6. U.S. Constitution
Obviously, the Constitution is the foundation of all laws governing schools. But interpretation of the Constitution as it relates to public education, has been argued way too many times by way too many lawyers. And this has usually been to the detriment of the schools.
7. Class size?
First of all, we must start emphasizing education and programming instead of building new building. The Red Plan is spending about $22 million per year for 20 years on new buildings. If this money were spent on programs, it would virtually eliminate budget problems, which would lead to smaller class sizes. We need to start advocating for smaller, saver, saner, successful neighborhoods.

Laura Condon

District Four school board candidate answers The Hillsider questionnaire (vote for one)

See questionnaire here

1. Most important responsibility
The most important is fiscal responsibility, because nothing can be done, if there is no money to do it.
2. Nutritional health
I think it is very important and our program works as hard as possible to present good nutritional meals on a daily basis.
3. Red Plan and soothing divides
I support the “Red Plan” and will continue to work with people to the best of my ability. I hope that people will give the plan an opportunity and not vote for members based on whether they got to vote or not.
4. Federal No Child Left Behind Act.
It holds us accountable, but not necessarily in the correct way. I think we could test ourselves and it would be less expensive and we could target our own areas of concern.
5. Weapons policy/small pocketknives?
No, because this issue is law and we need to comply. Also, it is an issue of what is small to me may not be to someone else.
6. Role of U.S. Constitution
I do not find the Constitution in the decisions as much as state and federal law. We swear an oath to follow them, and if we do not, we will not be funded and our students will suffer for that.
7. Class size
We constantly struggle with class size. Hopefully, we will have more money available once the buildings are done and we do not have to spend as much on the facilities we have.

Nancy Nilsen

At Large school board candidate answers The Hillsider questionnaire (vote for two)

See questionnaire here

1. Most important responsibility
The School Board creates and governs policy, and gives guidance to the Superintendent on how the community would like to see our children educated.
2. Nutritional health
I believe our students are currently not in the best nutritional health. It is imperative that we have healthy food choices available to students and guide them into selecting them as their food of choice. Limits have already been put in place as to the amount of junk food available to help with this process.
3. Red Plan and soothing divides
I support the Long Range Facilities Plan. I do not believe Plan B offers the improvements and upgraded technology necessary in today’s day and age. Through experiences with my own children going through high school, as well as listening to other parents about their concerns, I believe we need a larger number of students per grade to offer the programs the students need to prepare them for their next endeavors. Plan B does not address this problem.
In order to soothe divides over this issue, I think more people need to be involved in the designing of the new and upgraded schools as well as the transition to the new schools. Ideas need to be easy to submit and seriously reviewed for possible inclusion.
4. Federal No Child Left Behind Act.
I believe in closing the achievement gap, which is what No Child Left Behind is suppose to address, but I don’t believe that is what it is really doing. Within a very short timeframe, all schools will not be able to make adequate yearly progress, because their measurement methods are not realistic. They keep increasing the bar, with no additional support and new children being measured instead of the same children. It doesn’t measure the advancement each child is making. It needs work.
5. Weapons policy/small pocketknives?
I don’t believe school is a place for any type of knife (except in the cafeteria), including pocketknives. I would be open to gaining a better understanding as to why this would be needed.
6. Role of U.S. Constitution
Any and all decisions made by the school board need to follow the laws laid out in the U.S. Constitution, although it has been recognized that students do not have the same rights as adults because of their lack of maturity and judgment.
7. Class size
There are no elementary classes that have 40 students in them, but there may be classes such as band, choir and gym at the middle and high schools that have 40 students. The average class size at the high schools is 32 students. When, for example, we have classes such as calculus (which we do need to offer) that runs with only 15 students, there will be another class that ends up running with 35 to 40 students. By implementing the Long Range Facilities Plan, we will have more students to draw upon to help fill up the classes, so the same Calculus class will run with 25 to 30 students. This is a better utilization of our resources and will keep class sizes closer to the average of 32.

Tom Kasper

At Large school board candidate answers The Hillsider questionnaire (vote for two)

See questionnaire here

1. Most important responsibility
The most important responsibility of a school board member is to honestly and openly represent all students, parents, and taxpayers of the district equally.
2. Nutritional health
I think our school lunch programs should offer a broad variety of healthy, nutritious lunch choices. For some students lunch may be their best opportunity to eat healthy.
3. Red Plan and soothing divides
My position has been that of moderation.
I believe there are parts of the “red plan” that are good, for instance, the upgrades to facilities like Denfeld and East. Both are historic structures that have served our community well and with improvements will continue to serve for many generations. Also, things like improving safety of our students and staff is long overdue. A safe school environment is essential to students’ learning. I also believe that improving accessibility is paramount. No student regardless of physical ability should be excluded from a classroom setting. I also believe that some very selective school consolidation is necessary. ISD 709 has a declining enrollment because of many factors and we can no longer sustain the amount of buildings we have in the district.
However before any school building is closed exhaustive measures need to be taken to ensure the necessity of that action.
Regardless of what plan was brought forward there should have been an opportunity for the public to weigh in through a referendum. For that reason as well as others the community is deeply divided on this. I think first and foremost we need to re-establish trust in our elected school board officials and, if I am fortunate enough to be elected, I will work tirelessly toward that.
4. Federal No Child Left Behind Act.
I think the No Child Left Behind mandate is necessary. We need a form of accountability that allows us to measure the success of our students on a larger scale. However, it, like any other mandate whether state or federal, needs to be adequately funded.
5. Weapons policy/small pocketknives?
I would not support a change to the district’s weapons policy. Even a small pocketknife, if used inappropriately, can cause bodily harm. I believe we need to make and keep our schools as safe as possible.
6. Role of U.S. Constitution
The United States Constitution has given us a representative form of democracy as a foundation of government. In the school board member’s case citizens voted them into leadership to represent them. If citizens disagree with their leadership they have the opportunity to vote them out in future elections.
7. Class size
I believe that large class sizes are an unseen consequence of the Red Plan. With school closures being rushed in advance of the plan, kids are forced into cramped conditions where learning could be compromised. Teachers with large class sizes have little ability to offer students necessary one-on-one guidance. This ultimately can lead to lower test scores and students falling behind. I believe it can also lead to teacher burn-out and frustration. If I am fortunate enough to be elected I will work to ensure that as much of every dollar as possible will go directly to the classroom to support teachers efforts to educate our children.

Mary Cameron

At Large school board candidate answers The Hillsider questionnaire (vote for two)

See questionnaire here

1. Most important responsibility
The most important role of a school board is to set policy that coincides with the vision that has been set with community input. The vision should reflect the direction the school district wishes to move toward i.e., equity across the district, closing academic achievement gap, ability to allow for teachers to attend workshops and conferences to learn about best practices, state of the art classrooms, energy efficient buildings/classrooms, etc.
2. Nutritional health
I strongly believe that it is the board’s/administration’s responsibility to assure that our students do have healthy meal choices. We’ve had students come to board meetings and express this specific issue. We listened and made changes in lunch choices as well as what is available in the vending machines.
3. Red Plan and soothing divides
I strongly support the continuation of the Long Range Facilities Plan. This plan will allow for us to allocate money to classrooms as opposed to out-dated buildings and under-utilized space. It will provide state of the art technology and equity across the district. The LRFP is simply one of several contributing means to an end -the end being a quality and equitable education for all students. Other means to that end are staff, parents and community.
I support having community meetings to bring about peace once the board is seated.
4. Federal No Child Left Behind Act
No Child Left Behind represents the piece of federal legislation that has the most involvement in school districts. It has the capability of closing schools, turning them into charter schools or having the government run them. No Child Left Behind places sanctions on schools and school districts for not meeting adequate yearly progress.
I do not necessarily believe that this is the best measurement of success for our students.
5. Weapons policy/small pocket knives?
Absolutely not. There is no need for a student to carry a pocket knife in school.
6. What role does the U.S. Constitution play in school board decisions?
Despite the extreme growth of the federal role in public education, their role has not strayed far from what their original intent was: to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.
Education is primarily a state and local responsibility in the U.S. Communities, as well as public and private organizations develop their curricula, and determine requirements for enrollment and graduation.
7. Class size
With the continued implementation of the Long Range Facility Plan, we will be able to reduce our class sizes.

School board candidates answer The Hillsider Questionnaire

1. What is the most important responsibility of a School Board Member?
2. What thoughts do you have on the nutritional health of our school students and making healthy food choices available to students?
3. Please explain your position on the School District’s “Red Plan” and proposed alternatives. What actions will you take to soothe divides over this issue?
4. Explain your opinion of the Federal No Child Left Behind Act.
5. Would you support a change in the School District’s weapons policy to allow students to carry small pocket knives?
6. What role does the U.S. Constitution play in school board decisions?
7. Some classes have as many as 40 students in them. What will you do to limit class size?

Maureen Booth

At Large school board candidate answers The Hillsider questionnaire (vote for two)

See questionnaire here

1. Most important responsibility
A school board member must represent the views of the community regarding educational excellence for all students regardless of race, economic status or location. He or she must have the interest of each child’s progress and hold the supervisors responsible to achieve this goal.
2. Nutritional health
Healthy food choices should be the second necessity for good learning practices. A student who is ill fed or ill housed cannot learn at the peak of his or her potential. Extra fat or sugar should be avoided – fresh fruits and vegetables should be encouraged at every meal. Soda machines should be banned from schools and homes.
3. Red Plan and soothing divides
The “Red Plan” was the biggest “hoax” pulled on the city. People were “chosen” and the process was flawed. Thousands of hours were wasted on a flawed process which provided a bad outcome not a wise one. Some voices were left out and others were denied the right to vote. The cost is over $ 400 million. A less expensive plan could have been adopted to lessen the burden on taxpayers. The establishment of Grant/Nettleton as a school of over 45 percent students of color is abominable and does not provide for education excellence. Segregated schools should be prohibited.
I will work to encourage people to dialogue (with civility) and respect for other views and encourage groups to talk to heal this community. After 23 years of community work, I have never seen an issue which has pitched neighbor versus neighbor.
4. Federal No Child Left Behind Act
No Child Left Behind was an unfounded mandate which did not result in low-income or student of color to advance. Teaching to the test doesn’t advance students learning.
5. No weapon of any kind should be allowed in schools.
7. Smaller class sizes are critical to good educational practices – mandate supervisors to change class assignments to smaller groups.

Duluth making progress one street at a time

For The Hillsider by Pakou Ly
City of Duluth

As you travel from one end of the city to the other, you have probably noticed the yellow and black signs titled “” These signs are not just simply advertisements; they are indicators of the City of Duluth making progress with street projects. Whether you drive, bike, run, walk, or have another mode of transport, you can appreciate not feeling the thumps and bumps of poor street conditions.

With 472 miles of roads to maintain, the City plans to tackle 15 to 20 miles each year with an aggressive Street Strategy. The Strategy aims to improve streets by utilizing innovative techniques at the lowest possible cost. Pothole repair, mill and overlay, and concrete over the past 30 years and appreciates that his tax dollars are going towards improving city streets.
Street conditions also affect non-drivers. Bicyclist Luke Morovec finds it hard to navigate around the city when he has to dodge potholes. Luke appreciates the work being done to improve streets and feels there should be more incentives for people to bike. Fixing streets and eliminating potholes is a good start.

Before the winter season, the City of Duluth street engineering staff plans to finish overlays for Cody Street, Superior Street (between Garfield and 40th Avenue West) and Kenwood Avenue by November 1. For those making their way into downtown, you already know about the work on Second Street which is now open to traffic. Woodland Avenue will be drivable by November 1 and the St. Louis River Road repair started this week.

Residents can find more details on street projects by visiting the City of Duluth’s “duluthprogress” webpage at where you can access a map of the projects with photos, progress updates, and expected completion dates. The map also indicates projects managed by the City of Duluth, St. Louis County, or the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
Pakou Ly is a Public Information Coordinator for the City of Duluth.

More spots

Papers now at the Raddison skywalk hallway,
Lenox Place and The Depot.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Other Miller Hill locations

This just in:
Hillsiders also at:

50 Hillsiders placed at Perkins near MH mall in bottom shelf of Job Dig

25 Hillsiders at Burger King on the bottom of the Reader rack.

More Hillsider distribution spots have been filled

What a wet, rainy day. It seems like it always rains on distribution days.
Well, the majority of the Hillsiders have been distributed. Scott usually does the downtown area so I am not sure if he was able to get to them today because of the rain. I know that he was going to take them to the crime prevention meeting tonight which was located at the Holy Family Church in Lincoln Park.

Here are the areas that Prof. Cricket and I distributed to today:

Grant School
Nettleton School

East Hillside:
Burrito Union
Chester Creek Laundry
Maytag Laundry
Member Cooperative Credit Union
Whole Foods Co-op
Uncle Loui's
Damiano Center

Lake Superior College
Salvation Army Community Center
Goodwill employees lounge
Lincoln Park Boys and Girls Club
Lincoln Park Community Club
Midtown I lobby
Midtown II fourth floor

DeWitt-Setiz Building
Amazing Grace

London Rd.
Burger King

Mt. Royal
Mt. Royal Groceries
Mt. Royal Library

The November issue is printed, need help distributing

Hi Everyone,
The November issue has been printed and is now out at SOME locations. Today volunteers and I will work to get the rest of the paper out. We want to get it out today because it contains the candidate questionnaire.

If you would like to help distribute please contact me asap.

Currently it is at these locations:

40th Ave. W.
Lakehead Travel Plaza
27th Ave. W.
Duluth Grill
Burger King

W. Superior St.
Salvation Army Thrift Store

Holiday Center

E. Superior
Sir Ben's
Independent Dee's Laundry
Plaza Super One
Beijing Restaurant

Friday, October 23, 2009

Police ask public to help find missing man

The Duluth Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in locating a missing elderly male.
Larry James Crabtree, age 72, was last seen on Sunday, October 4, 2009, wearing a tan jacket, jeans, and black shoes. He is described as a white male, 5’7” tall, 170 lbs, with blue eyes and gray hair. He has resided in Downtown Duluth for ten years and is known to frequent the Main Public Library.
Family, friends, and police are concerned about Mr. Crabtree’s health and welfare. He suffers from schizophrenia and is most likely without his medication. Crabtree is not considered a danger to others. This disappearance is unusual behavior for him.
Anyone with information about Larry Crabtree, knows his whereabouts, or has seen him, is asked to call 911.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Call for artists, "Dead of the Dead" due Oct. 26

There is an immediate call for “Day of the Dead” themed art! Please drop off your artwork to Bohemia Arts, 22 N 1st Ave W, Downtown Duluth, by October 26th, for more information call Maria Sippola 722-2919. To be accepted artwork must simply be relevant to the theme, any cultural/individual representation is welcome, all media will be considered, all ages/abilities encouraged, and you may enter as many artworks as you choose. Professional work may be listed for sale, please request upon submission

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, October 27th 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.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bohemia Arts reception for arts volunteer staff

Here is a note I received form Bohemia Arts:

We would like to invite all of you to join us for the Reception of the Bohemia Arts Volunteer Staff Show. Come chat, have some fun, see what all of us volunteers have been up to, and learn more about the benefits of becoming a volunteer here as well. Yes you heard it we are looking for more volunteers here at the store so if any of you out there are interested please join us to learn more about becoming one. The reception will be this coming Friday October 23rd from 6 to 8pm. There is a flier for the event with attached to this e-mail.

Have a good day all,

Maria Sippola, owner

22 N 1st Ave W
Duluth, MN 55802
M-F 10am-5:30pm
Sat 10am-2pm
Figure drawing every Saturday 10am-Noon, $8.

Look for us on Facebook for weekly updates and info!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

2009 officers of the Lincoln Park Business Group installed on October 15

The new officers of the Lincoln Park Business Group were installed at the annual meeting held on Oct. 15. From left to right are Colleen Barriere - treasurer, Tracy Robertson vice president, Shelly Bryant -secretary and Bob MacClean - president.

Make Jobs Not War! National Day of Anit-War action.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

How cuts to general assiatance medical care affect the whole population

Learn how General Assistance Medical Care (GMAC) un-allotments, which go into effect on March 1, 2010, will affect Duluthians, many of whom are homeless. A listening session will be held at the CHUM Center (125 N. 1st Ave W.) at 1 PM on Thursday, October 15th.

Representative's Tom Huntley and Roger Reinhart along with area Health Care providers, legal aide experts and advocates will be available to answer questions and hear feedback. Anyone who is being affected by these cuts is encouraged to use this session as their opportunity to Speak Out! Representatives from St. Stephen's, a homeless human service agency in Minneapolis, will discuss state wide efforts to reinstate the program.

WCCO article on this issue can be found at

More information is available at

Monday, October 12, 2009

Allegra Henderson is welcomed to the board of "The Hillsider"

Allegra Henderson has been elected to "The Hillsider" board of directors.

The Hillsder held it's monthly board meeting tonight, Oct. 12. Officially voting Allegra to the board was one of the new business actions.

Allegra is an employment mentor for the St. Louis County Disparities Project here in Duluth, and works out of the Community Action Duluth office. Her primary mission is to assist African Americans obtain employment in the Duluth area.

She says, "I am deeply involved in the struggle to change the perceptions of African Americans in Duluth, tackle stereotypes and remove discriminatory barriers, as well as provide assistance with preparation for employment to my participants."

In other business the board talked about the candidate questionnaires and story ideas for the November issue.

Friday, October 09, 2009

2nd Annual Chester Bowl Wine & Beer Tasting and Silent Auction

The 2nd Annual Chester Bowl Wine & Beer Tasting and Silent Auction
will be held Saturday, October 17th from 6:30pm to 9:30pm at Baja Billy’s Restaurant in Fitger’s Brewery Complex. Enjoy an entertaining evening with fine wine, beer, appetizers and a fabulous silent auction. A few of the featured silent auction items include:

Large Shed from Binsfield Construction valued at $2800.

Full Adult Ski Equipment Packages and bikes from Ski Hut and Continental Ski valued between
$175 and $1100 each.

Family fitness certificates from: DC Fitness and Therapy, Arrowhead Tennis Center, and
Snowflake Nordic Center. Individual certificates are valued between $237 and $633 each.

Wonderful household items: Wood floor sanding and refinishing by Twin Ports Flooring,
Handcrafted Swedish bench by Thomas Branlund, Cast iron outdoor fireplace by Amity Creek
Landscaping, and hand painted storage table by Janet Billig. Items are valued between $ 250 -
$400 each. Tickets for the event are $25 per person in advance, $35 per person at the door. Tickets can be purchased at the Chester Bowl Chalet, Fitger’s Wine Cellars, Ski Hut, Continental Ski & Bike or online at Proceeds from the event will help preserve the activities at Chester Bowl, including summer and winter programs, festivals and concerts.
Where: Baja Billy’s at Fitger’s Brewery Complex, 600 E. Superior St, Duluth, MN
When: Saturday, October 17th, 6:30pm to 9:30pm
For more information, visit, or call 218-724-9832

Chester Bowl is a beautiful 117 acre park in Duluth, MN. In the winter the Alpine Hill, with a double chairlift and 175 feet of drop, handles up to 960 skiers per hour. During the summer the park has many exciting programs and concerts. It also features beautiful hiking trails, fishing and soccer fields. The Chester Bowl Improvement Club is a not-for-profit organization that facilitates and promotes sustainable quality programs for all Chester Bowl Park users in a healthy and safe environment.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

The natural step for businesses

Glenwood Signs and Awards is just one of the Early Adopters with Sustainable Twin Ports.

Sustainable Twin Ports is a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering economic, environmental and social sustainability in the Twin Ports and western Lake Superior region through education, networking and action.

An “Early Adopter” implements innovative technologies ahead of the majority. This Early Adopter
Project was focused on training businesses, organizations and municipalities in environmentally,
economically and socially sustainable practices based on the ‘4 Principles of Sustainability’ developed by The Natural Step.

Using The Natural Step framework, a science-based, systems framework for making sustainable
decisions in a strategic way, our educational offerings range from introductory to in-depth, creating many opportunities for the community to get involved in ‘creating a sustainable Twin Ports’.

Learn more about Sustainable Twin Ports at our website and view the documentary vignettes of our Early Adopter Project participants - the first to be formally trained in The Natural Step by Sustainable Twin Ports.

Funding for the Early Adopter Project was provided by the A. H. Zeppa Family Foundation, the
Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation’s Fund for the Environment and Wildey H. Mitchell Family Fund, and the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

Early Adopter Project Participants:

Challenge Center

City of Duluth

Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce

Duluth Grill

DSA Community Foundation

Duluth Transit Authority

Glenwood Signs & Awards

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church

Inn on Lake Superior

London Road Car Wash

Superior Public Schools

Twin Ports Testing

UW- Superior

Funded by:
A. H. Zeppa Family Foundation

Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation

University of Wisconsin-Superior

Early Adopter Project Steering Committee: Chani Becker, Bob Browne, Janet Draper, Deb Hannu, Jerry Hembd, Jan Karon, Jeff Maida

Early Adopter Project Coordinator: Tracy Meisterheim

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Speed networking with the candidates

Speed candidating. Here Becky Hall talks with with several people about the issues.

Candidates had seven minutes with each group to answer questions before the bell rang and the group moved on to the next candidate.

Health care cuts listening session on Oct. 15

Cuts to
General Assistance Medical Care
Affect Us All!
Legal Aide experts, advocates, health care providers and elected
officials will be present to answer questions and hear feedback.
The community is invited to a listening session to learn
more about how the cuts to General Assistance Medical
Care will affect our community, from individuals losing
their coverage to health care providers.
Date: Thursday, October 15th
Time: 1:00pm
Location: CHUM Drop In Center
125 N 1st Avenue West
Limited parking available in Food Shelf Parking lot
across the avenue

Superior Hiking Trail, Fit City Duluth and Hartley Nature Center Sponsor the Hike for Health

The Superior Hiking Trail, Fit City Duluth and Hartley Nature Center will host the first annual Hike for Health on Saturday, October 10th at 10 am at Hartley Nature Center, 3001 Woodland Ave., Duluth, MN 55803. The organizations aim to raise awareness of the Superior Hiking Trail and all hiking opportunities in the City of Duluth.

There will be two hikes- a 1 mile family hike and a 5 mile long hike. The event is free and open to the public. There will be prizes for the kids (must be accompanied by an adult), free Camelbak bottles (while supplies last), and information tables. The event will take place rain or shine, so come fight nature deficit disorder and hike on the beautiful trails in Duluth!

Additional information is available at
Tracy Lamparty, Superior Hiking Trail Board of Directors: 651-402-5988 or

Monday, October 05, 2009

Candle-light vigil marks eight years since Afghanistan invasion

Chesla Nelson carries a sign as she marches with others during a candle-light vigil which marked the eighth year of the U.S. war with Afghanistan. (Photo by Naomi Yaeger-Bischoff)

About 50 people gathered in front of the U.S. Army Reserve Building on Park Point tonight, Oct. 7, to participate in a candle-light vigil to mark eight years since the U. S. invaded Afghanistan.

The group walked from the army building, 1500 St. Louis Ave, to Amazing Grace Bakery and Cafe in Canal Park where they sang songs.

Joel Kilgour with Northland Anti-War Coalition said people needed to take note since President Obama is again thinking of escalating U. S. troops in Afghanistan.

Friday, October 02, 2009

East Hillside Neighborhood Hero Archie Davis

By Brendan Hanschen, on behalf of East Hillside Community Club

Archie Davis is a friendly, familiar face to many in Duluth’s core neighborhoods. Not only does he citizen patrol East Hillside and Central Hillside, he takes it upon himself to patrol where he is needed, even out to Morgan Park!

He has been active in community programs such as Take Action!, an after-school program at the Grant Community Recreation Center; the African American Men’s Group; CHUM; HIV 101 Peer Education; school PTAs; the Sports Court Area Citizen Patrol; the Duluth Amateur Youth Basketball Association; and the East Hillside Community Club.

Archie grew up in Chicago and lived in Milwaukee before moving to Duluth in 1995. His commitment to the community is incredibly deep. It grew out of a concern for children with absent parents and the problems that often followed. Mentoring youth for over 20 years, Archie goes out of his way on a regular basis to help anyone who needs help whether it is referring people dealing with slumlords to organizations that can help, acting as a peer educator for AIDS Information Duluth, working with homeowners in foreclosure or helping youth find and keep employment.

In his work with Take Action!, Archie coaches youth in identifying ways to improve their community, country, or world, and supports them in planning and taking action to do so. Among other projects, a “Pick up After Your Pet” campaign was the result in 2009, helping to reduce pollution in water runoff. Through his work, Archie is helping to form the next generation of volunteers and employees in our community. In the words of Elizabeth Thiede, a Youth Employment Services GED Teacher, “Archie’s message is contrary to what most of our at-risk youth hear from their social workers and peers. Archie focuses on helping youth realize their potential through hard work and perseverance. He pushes youth to defy the odds against them.”

Central Hillside Neighborhood Hero Scott Yeazle

By Brendan Hanschen, on behalf of Central Hillside Community Club

One of the leaders in a new generation of community activists, Scott Yeazle is involved with enough organizations, committees, and commissions to make the average person’s head spin.
Scott serves on the Duluth Human Rights Commission, Neighborhood Housing Services Board of Directors and the Affordable Housing Coalition. He is the vice president of the Hillsider Newspaper board of directors, chairman of the Twin Ports Action Coalition, coordinator of the Central Hillside Food SHARE distribution site, and treasurer of the Central Hillside Community Club.

After growing up in Superior, Wisconsin, Scott was hired by the Salvation Army and stationed in Spring Valley, NY. While in Spring Valley, Scott developed his passion for lending a helping hand to those around him. He was quickly recruited to be the youngest member of the Ministry Team at only 18 years old, and served in Michigan and Indiana. He and his young family returned to the Twin Ports, settling in Central Hillside.

Scott’s kindness and friendly demeanor have made him a staple in the community. He is known for helping anyone, wherever and however he can. He is able to relate to people from all walks of life, and enjoys doing it. He is a “phone book of resources,” as his fellow members of the Twin Ports Action Coalition like to say. He readily musters volunteers for community projects and never balks at taking on another project; in fact, he relishes it, and still finds time for his wife and son. Through his hard work across the Hillside, Scott is indeed affecting positive change.

Morgan Park Neighborhood Hero Chester “Chet” Johnson

By Debbie Isabel Nelson, on behalf of Morgan Park Community Club

Chet Johnson is a true hero in every sense of the word. He has lived in Morgan Park his whole life. He is a proud community member who is always there with a helping hand whenever needed. Chet is always willing to step up to the plate. You will find him leading the kitchen crew at the Morgan Park community picnic and the Annual Breakfast with Santa; sharing his love of gardening through his membership with the Morgan Park Garden Club, at the NHS Flower Fest, and at the United Protestant Church gardens. He has been a constant figure at the annual Riverfront Communities Clean-up day as the money collector at the gate. He has been involved with the Morgan Park School Service Learning program sharing stories of growing up in Morgan Park. You name it and he is there. Chet was a great asset in the Morgan Park revitalization meetings and the sewer task force. He was instrumental in getting the street lighting along 88th Avenue West and was a member of the Community Development Block Grant committee for several terms. The list could go on and on.

Everything Chet does, he does for the pride of the community and the neighborhood. Chet is a model for the Morgan Park philosophy “If every one of us does One Thing, we will get over 1000 things done!” Chet does his “One Thing” on a daily basis. One Morgan Parker shared, “Just watching Chet work makes me want to help more in my community.”

Chet is active in his church, the United Protestant Church in Morgan Park. He is always lending a hand at their Annual community Halloween party, the Easter Breakfast, and the Walk/Run in Morgan Park. He holds offices of the Church and is a council member. He weeds and plants the flowers, he mows, and whatever else he can do for the Church which also helps in the beautification effort of Morgan Park.

Chet is a wonderful husband, father, and grandfather. He attends most all of his grandchildren’s school events such as concerts, grandparent’s day, and sports events. He is also recognized as a great community leader Chet is truly a good neighbor and friend. He is always there to offer his good ideas and help whenever he can with a smile on his face.

Lincoln Park Neighborhood Hero Mark Howard

By Debbie Isabel Nelson, on behalf of Lincoln Park Neighborhood

From picking garbage off our streets to fighting crime, Mark Howard’s activities quietly, sometimes anonymously, improve our Lincoln Park neighborhood. He has provided food for the less fortunate among us, assisted neighborhood youth and elderly and worked tirelessly to promote a welcoming atmosphere in Lincoln Park. He considers himself to be an ordinary citizen (which he is), but manages to do extraordinary things. Mark is a person of integrity and conviction who truly loves his community, is determined to improve the lives of his neighbors and is an example for all.

Mark recently founded the Cork Town 3C’s, an organization devoted to enhancing the quality of life for citizens in Lincoln Park. He has spearheaded programs to support our neighborhood youth in positive activities and responsible citizenship, improve the streetscape and promote economic development. He was nominated for a Carnegie Foundation Hero Award for his bravery in rescuing five people from a burning building last year. As a retired member of the Navy, Mark received numerous military honors and received a Citizenship Award by the Twin Ports chapter of the International Shipmasters.

West Duluth Neighborhood Hero Karin Swor

By Linda Mathiasen for West Duluth Neighborhood Club

Karin has been a resident of the City of Duluth all of her life. She has lived in nine neighborhoods and has volunteered in every one of them. Her passion and commitment to making Duluth a better place to live and work is evident as she provided 24 examples of leadership in a variety of arenas. Karin’s activities range from scouting, soccer, community clubs and alumni associations to honorary member of the Combined Duluth Honor Guard, board director of West Duluth Business & Civic Club, secretary of West Duluth Women’s Club, chairman for West Duluth American Legion and the Mayor’s Commission on Disabilities. Currently Karin, an avid crochet crafter, is busy crocheting Skull Hats for our soldiers to wear when they are deployed; these Skull Hats are worn under their helmets.

An excerpt from one of her nominations described Karin’s willingness to be engaged in her community: “…the greatest thing about Karin is not that she sits on these committees but that she is an active volunteer with each of them. Each organization she is a part of, quickly realizes how much of an asset she is to their committee or board. Not only is Karin proud of our local veterans but Karin is a West Duluthian through and through and she will never let me forget it!”
Karin has three children, Robbie, Amie, and Jon and nine grandchildren (seven boys and two girls) ages one year to 19 years. Thank you Karin for all you do for West Duluth, the City of Duluth and beyond.

Duluth LISC works with and celebrates core neighborhoods

“Connecting the dots,” is term people use when they figure out how different events, places and people are related. On Saturday, Sept. 26 hundreds of people gathered at the Marshall High School cafeteria to connect with each other and learn more about agencies in Duluth which are working to build a sustainable Duluth, at the third annual “Connecting the Dots” event.
The event was sponsored by Duluth LISC. Over the past 12 years, Duluth LISC has been working to with residents, businesses owners and community partners to revitalize five core neighborhoods: Central Hillside, East Hillside, Lincoln Park, West Duluth and Morgan Park.
Duluth LISC also sponsored the neighborhood Hero Awards. Each core community club nominated one person.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Letter: Primary turnout low, public should learn more about school board

I’m really disappointed by voter turnout for the primary election and hope that it gets better for the general election. The school board has four seats open and with so many complaining about the red plan and not getting a vote this is OUR vote. We need to tell them to not only start listening to the people but to start thinking of the kids. I don’t know what the school board was thinking when they made their decisions but it wasn’t our children!

If you have kids in school go check out your child’s classes and see how many books there are per grade, per subject. Could grades be slipping because there aren’t enough books for all the kids so they can’t take them home to study? Shouldn’t that be more a priority?

I get closing a school or two but I think they jumped the gun A LOT. Now there are kids going to school in pods and other kids going way out to Morgan Park that it is faster to take a city bus up to Proctor School. Oh yea, and Proctor actually has school supplies.

I find it funny how some organizations like our daily paper and some unions endorse certain people as the best candidate. Is that because the candidate will do what the organization wants or how do they endorse them I wonder? If people really want change in the school board they need to get off their butts and vote out the incumbents ‘cause we all should know the vote count. If they really want to do more they can contact someone who is running and offer to help door knock for them. This isn’t anti-red plan. I just want the school board to realize I am serious and they should be too. It’s time they start thinking of our children first.
By Jennifer Yeazle

Group asks OptumHealth not to oppose reform

Carol Michealson holds a sign in the front office of OptumHealth.

By Naomi Yaeger-Bischoff
A group of about 37 people marched into the front office of OptumHealth on Mike Colalillo Drive on Tuesday, Sept. 22 with a list of demands they wanted presented to the CEO.

Immediately prior to that they had rallied near the street with signs and banners while several people spoke to the crowd. The group was organized by Chad McKenna of the North East Area Labor Council. Rev. Cathy Schuyler, a pastor at Duluth Congregational Church, said American society already agrees that health care is a basic human right citing that emergency care at hospitals cannot be denied. “Each human is created in God’s image,” she said. “We have become selfish and our health care system is broken. Too many people have been left by the side of the road.” She quoted the late Sen. Paul Wellstone saying, “We all do better when we all do better.”

The group asked for reform of criteria used to deny enrollment and claims. OptumHealth is a subsidiary of United Health Care. In September a document was leaked of another subsidiary of United Health Care, PacifiCare, which listed criteria used to determine enrollment and deny coverage.

Criteria included occupations of fire fighters and police. Also some of the most common medications and medical conditions are to be denied – including acne, pregnancy, high blood pressure, and asthma.

The letter included the following demands:
Demand #1: United Health and its operating divisions and subsidiaries will not stand between a doctor and a patient when it comes to deciding what care that patient needs. No one at United Health will substitute their judgment for the judgment of the patient’s physician in deciding if care is medically necessary.
Demand #2: United Health and its operating divisions and subsidiaries will not deny or drop coverage based on a pre-existing medical condition.
Demand #3: United Health and its operating divisions and subsidiaries will terminate any policy or incentive that rewards employees financially or otherwise for denying care and rejecting claims.
Demand #4: United Health and its operating divisions and subsidiaries will not use any resources – including funds, employees, and facilities — to oppose any aspect of the health reform proposals supported by President Obama and being considered by members of the United States Congress.

Youth support “Take It Outside” an effort for no smoking inside homes and cars

(Youth from Life House, Inc held an awareness activity about secondhand smoke for the public along the Lakewalk in September. From left to right: Mary Allen with banner, Oscar Lopez - dressed as a cigarette, Timmy Smith gives the peace sign and Raven Perrin writes with chalk.)

By Margot Presley

Life House, Inc. youth took a stand against tobacco use with an awareness-raising activity around the dangers of secondhand smoke. The event was their response to tobacco companies’ disproportionate targeting of young people. The youth spread the message of “Take it Outside,” an initiative started by the American Lung Association. The campaign encourages people not to smoke in their homes or cars, which reduces the number of people they expose to secondhand smoke and the negative health effects that come along with it.

The young activists set up their exhibition on the shores of Lake Superior along the Lakewalk near Endion Station. It was a warm evening, and to get people’s attention they distributed bottles of water with messages about the environmental impact of cigarette butt litter and asked people to pledge their support for smoke-free homes and cars.

They then took turns tracing the outlines of 50 bodies, each one representing 10,000 deaths caused by secondhand smoke each year. The participants were hoping that people listen to the message and realize that smoking not only hurts their own bodies, but also the environment and everyone around them.

Life House, Inc. offers a variety of on-site programs and activities designed to stop the cycle of poverty and homelessness for