Friday, December 17, 2010

Hillsider T-shirts make a great Holiday gift

Looking for a last minute gift for a proud Hillside or former Hillside resident? Love the Hillsider Newspaper? Give a Hillsider T-shirt as a gift. S,M,L, XL $15.00 XXL $16.50

To purchase a T-shirt phone 218-728-1031 or 218-591-5277 or email

(It is also a fundraiser for The Hillsider.)

(We accept Paypal too. email us with an order and we will send you an invoice.)

Caption for above photo: Duluth Mayor and proud Hillsider Don Ness about to jump into the fridge Lake Superior during the Polar Plunge.

friend the Hillsider at

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Some work by Brent Erickson in the background as audience members enjoy the opening

New Gallery in Duluth Supports New Artists

By Sam Elmquist

Now open in Downtown Duluth is the Ochre Ghost art gallery, 22 Second Avenue East, and for the rest of December they are showing a collection of three artist’s work. The artists are Brent Erickson, Rob Kaiser-Schatzlein, and Adam Rosenthal, who are all art students from UMD and upcoming graduates. For many of them this is one of their first art exhibitions.

I had the chance to talk to Kaiser-Schatzlein about the experience. He felt that for them as a group It is nice to get our art out there and finally be able to interact with the community.” He went onto to talk about how being a student and an artist felt for himself, and perhaps Erickson and Rosenthal as well. “As students, we relish the opportunity to engage with Duluth, especially downtown.”

Their show consists of work from all three of them centered around a collective theme, Which Kaiser-Schatzleing described as “handmade artwork that used geometry as an influence in some way.” The artists had an opening for the exhibition last week, December 9th, and thankfully I had the chance to stop by and take a look at the art as well as glimpse into how their art was received by the Duluth audience.

The Ochre Ghost is a small location, about the size of a living room with another living room attached to the back of it. The art is displayed in the front room and for this showing each artist took up a different section of the space provided, which is not a lot of space but proved to be sufficient for these three artists.

Within this space also existed the opening’s audience, which was not as sufficient but worked well enough to allow around 20 people, the number was consistently fluctuating, to gather

in the space and experience the art and socialize with the artists and other attendees. The artists were welcoming and the reception from Duluth was pleasant and enjoyable.

Work by Adam Rosenthal in the background as the audience socializes opening night.

from left to right stand the artists. Brent Erickson, Adam Rosenthal, and Rob Kaiser-Schatzlein at the Ochre Ghost

Friday, December 10, 2010

Opposite of Cold explores the Finnish sauna tradition in the Upper Great Lakes region

Book Signing with author
Michael Nordskog
Saturday, Dec. 18 at 2 p.m.
Northern Lights Books & Gifts
307 Canal Park Drive
Duluth, MN
218-722-5267 or 800-868-8904

By Carol Wallwork
The Opposite of Cold - The Northwoods Finnish Sauna Tradition, written by Michael Nordskog, should be added to that small but impressive list of books examining facets of everyday life most people take for granted. These books, like Cod by Mark Kurlansky or Longitude by Dava Sobel, jump-start the ordinary into the sublime. By the time you put this book down you will almost feel the sauna’s heat.

Aaron Hautala’s stunning color photographs share the beauty of this delightful story about saunas old and new, inside and out, in pristine woodland or on the lakeshores of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Finland. There are also historical photos, advertisements and paintings. Some of Hautala’s best photos show the saunas of Minnesota’s immigrant Finnish farmsteads from the late 19th century. There’s even an early Time magazine article leery about Finnish saunas, speculating they were up to witchcraft in those little wooden huts.

Saunas are the perfect adaptation to living in a cold climate. Many contend they’re a therapeutic treatment for ailments of all kinds, and they were commonly used as birthing rooms. In the book’s forward, Duluth architect David Salmela says, “My father was born (in 1902) in a sauna that stood next to Pike River…in northern Minnesota.” He sums up: “The physics of water thrown on hot rocks turning to steam clean the pores, ease the stress of the day, and enhance enjoyment of the open night air.”

Judging from the photos, sitting in a sauna isn’t the most elegant looking pastime. However, there’s a redeeming flourish reserved for those with lakeside saunas: running out of the pore-cleansing heat into the lake, making a big splash. It’s even more dramatic in winter.
Arnold R. Alanen’s introduction, called “The Sign of the Finn,” offers a key pronunciation tip: “The first syllable of sauna rhymes with pow!” As you leaf through the book, the orange, red and woody browns that predominate in the photos impart glowing visual warmth.

In the chapter on North American Lakeside Tradition, naturalist Sigurd Olson describes his love of sauna at his lakeside cabin: “Toward evening all was in readiness. We opened the door and the bathhouse smelled as it should, rich with the pungence of burning, odors of hot logs and of many saunas of the past. We stripped and took our places on the lower bench...”

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Washington Co-op invites public to Arts Smorgasbord Saturday, Dec. 11

Article submitted

Washington Studios Artists’ Co-op becomes lively with the Arts Smorgasbord --a Sensory Delight, featuring an all co-op members’ exhibit, performing arts, and open studios on Saturday, Dec. 11 from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.

For one Saturday each holiday season, the artists of Washington Studios Co-op come alive, showcasing their artistic talents and opening up their home to the community. Everything from paintings and photography to jewelry and homemade dog biscuits will be available for viewing and purchase.

“We decided to call this year’s show an Arts Smorgasbord because of the variety of things available,” says Russ Gran, a 14-year resident of artists’ cooperative. Nature photographer is hosting his third annual open studio, giving the community a peek behind the scenes at his process. Other residents will be exhibiting their art and fine crafts during the all co-op exhibit in the Washington Gallery.

“I believe this show will end the year in style,” says Washington’s performance chair, Shantell Sumpter. “There promises to be something different than what we’ve done in the past and we may have a few surprises in store.” This year’s musical performances will include a house band ensemble led by local accomplished musician Russ Sackett, as well as acoustic performances by Emma Rustan. The night will end with a traditional crowd favorite all co-op jam band performance.

Washington Studios Artists’ Co-op is located in the former Washington Junior High School at 315 N. Lake Ave. The Washington Gallery is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 until 5 p.m. and by appointment.

Founded in 1996, Washington Studios Artists’ Cooperative, a community housing facility for artists, fosters the arts by providing a nurturing environment in which artists can create, exhibit, perform, conduct business and live safely and affordably. The co-op is owned by Artspace Projects, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit, and managed by Bowman Properties of Duluth.

Duluth Prosperity Agenda aimed at lifting the whole community

From Wikipedia: Prosperity is the state of flourishing, thriving, success, or good fortune. Prosperity often encompasses wealth but also includes others factors which are independent of wealth to varying degrees, such as happiness and health.

Earlier this year Mayor Don Ness and community leaders unveiled the Duluth Prosperity Agenda with the goal of harnessing existing talent and resources, building collaborations, and exploring long-term community investments, all aimed at increasing community prosperity. Prosperity is gauged in the following five areas: housing, education, income and poverty, workforce, and business climate. The Prosperity Agenda Leadership Team is committed to measuring its results and sharing updates with the community.

As the one-year mark approaches, the Prosperity Agenda Leadership Team has gained further insight on the community and its needs using results from the recently conducted American Community Survey. Poor economic conditions have had an obvious impact on residents and their economic status.

The survey shows an increase in the number of Duluthians living at 200 percent of poverty from 40.3 percent to 47 percent, many of whom are students; the median household income is down by $2,000 to $35,341 but Duluth also has far fewer families with two adults compared to the state average; and the number of people in the workforce has decreased slightly, Duluth’s diverse job market helped minimize the impact compared to state job numbers.

“We have a better understanding of the diverse faces of our workforce and those residents living in poverty,” said Mayor Don Ness. “This data demonstrates an even greater need for awareness and a united front to move our community one step closer to achieving prosperity. The dividends and public benefits are numerous if we are willing to make strategic long term investments.”

A key element of the effort is the “Prosperity Index” used to measure Duluth’s progress in creating and sustaining prosperity. The Index was created in partnership with the state Department of Employment and Economic Development. An increase in the key indicators moves the index in a positive direction. The Index base year is 2009 (using 2008 data) and in studying the 2010 data, there is a significant decline of 14 points in the index due to the spike in poverty numbers.

“This decline should not discourage the community but rather move us to action with greater commitment to help friends and neighbors climb out of poverty,” said Angie Miller, Director of Community Action Duluth, which serves low income and working families and individuals.

As the Prosperity Agenda work advances and community initiatives such as the Duluth Academy, the Blueprint to End Poverty and At Home in Duluth Collaborative make progress, the community could begin to realize dividends in the form of increased revenue, economic independence for individuals and families, lower crime and fewer blighted homes, increased number of high school graduates, a highly educated workforce, and more healthy and stable neighborhoods.

The Prosperity Agenda Leadership Team invites volunteers to join one of its five work groups. For additional information visit

Int’l Human Rights Day is Wednesday, Dec. 10

By Scott Yeazle

It is the holiday season once again; I hope everyone had a good turkey day. Holiday activities along with work for social justice continue in December. While we look forward to celebrations with friends and family, we also are reminded of the phrase, “Peace and goodwill to all.” In that vein we should remember International Human Rights Day on Wednesday, Dec. 10, which is the anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, signed in 1948.
In Duluth we will observe the day with a noon rally at City Hall to talk about the past year and what we can do in 2011.

A lot of good things have happened, including the hard work done for the Duluth Independent School District 709 by closing the achievement gap by hiring 12 integration specialists to work with students and their families so that their schooling will be successful.

We also had negatives including the Facebook racism incident, and the terrible GAMC debacle in which many low-income people lost health insurance and will go without. Our hospitals that do treat these people in the emergency room will carry the brunt of the expense.

In November, I had the pleasure of traveling to St. Cloud to attend the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless conference. For me the highlight of the event was the pleasure of introducing Gary Cunningham of the Northwest Area Foundation. This foundation supports the work of others to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable prosperity.

Gary was an awesome speaker. You will have a chance to hear him speak and enjoy a potluck dinner at Peace Church on Tuesday, Dec. 9 for the statewide event, “A Minnesota Without Poverty.”

It is time to start making resolutions for New Year. Mine are to complete more projects. What are yours?

Founding father Uncle Paul retires from Positively 3rd Street Bakery

By Laura Greensmith

When you get up and go to work each day, it is easy to wonder if you are actually making a difference. For “Uncle Paul” Steklenski of Duluth’s Positively 3rd Street Bakery, there should be no question. As he humbly slips into retirement this fall after 27 years of dedication, his mark on the cooperative bakery is undeniable.

In 1983, Paul secured a personal loan and used his own assets to found the bakery with two other bakers. As with many fledgling businesses, the early years meant long hours and little pay. Paul garnered no wages that first month of operation, and then as paid $1/hour with a limit of $40/week, even though he often logged over 60 hours/week. Although the bakery was incorporated as a cooperative in 1985, Paul has remained fiercely dedicated to its success, much like a parent watching his child grow. More than 80 people have worked at the bakery since it started, with 12 currently on board.

Over the years Paul has taken on many different roles within the cooperative. As a baker, Paul would arrive at 2 a.m. to begin working the dough, constantly striving to make improvements and create new recipes. He was also visible as a promoter of the bakery and what it stands for: healthy food, a cooperative business model, and a strong community.

Fellow bakery owner Dave Sorensen states, “Paul is amazingly plugged into the Duluth community. His circle of friends, acquaintances, and business contacts is huge, and he is continually expanding it with cookie-bribes and schmoozing.” Paul has also served for many years as president of the board, unofficial maintenance man, landlord of the rental above the bakery, and long-range visionary for the future of the bakery.

Perhaps his biggest contribution, however, is his leadership by example, an impressive work ethic that few can rival. “Until he was 61 years old he was riding his bike to work in the middle of the night, in the middle of the winter, and the first thing he would do is crawl inside the oven with an oil can,” said Sorensen.

Even though Paul will continue to be a presence at the bakery and keep an eye on things, we must acknowledge that this is the end of an era. In a time when people switch jobs as often as hairstyles, it is rare to find someone who has dedicated as much to a local business as Paul has to Positively 3rd Street Bakery.

This story was submitted on the behalf of the 12 bakery workers: Rick Moen, Teressa Whittet, Dan Proctor, Michael Latsch, Jay Newkirk, Jesse Harth, Dave Sorensen, Jeff Greensmith, Katie Christiansen, Sam Goodall, Dannie Tope, Kalyn Youngbloom and Laura Greensmith.You will be missed, Uncle Paul!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Officer Jim Hansen, Lincon Park go-to-guy, will soon have new assignment

By Pam Kleinschmidt
The people of District 25 are saying goodbye to a cherished partner next month. Effecive January 1, Officer James Hansen will leave his Community Oriented Policing position for another within the Duluth Police Department due to a new rotation policy implemented by Chief Ramsay and designed to give more officers time in this valuable role.

Officer Hansen is a self-described neighborhood police officer and as such has been the go-to guy during his 13 years in Lincoln Park. The people of our district have gone to him for his help in solving public safety issues, including domestic problems, neighbor trouble, blighted property issues, building safety problems, drug traffic, and both petty and major crimes. He has handled his responsibilities impressively and leaves his successor with some major projects to continue, such as a reduction in calls for service to the Seaway Hotel and Curly’s Bar.

The Lincoln Park Citizen Patrol group, a creation of Officer Hansen’s, has become a successful community resource. Volunteers from the LPCP staff the Lincoln Park Substation to assist the public three days a week, effectively reopening the location. With direction from Officer Hansen, the LPCP has provided regular car and foot patrols in the district, adults to monitor the safety of children going to and from school, maintenance of bus shelters, litter pickup, Adopt a Park Program assistance and most recently, community liaisons to the residents on West 2nd Street in the aftermath of a brutal assault on National Night Out. The group currently has over 70 members.

Officer Hansen leaves his position as COP having achieved many positive accomplishments in Lincoln Park. When I asked him the one thing that meant the most to him in his career he replied, “I have had the chance to meet so many people in my 25 years as a police officer, but it is those last 13 years working as the Neighborhood Officer in Lincoln Park that I had the opportunity to build relationships.” Not only has he invested himself in serving the folks of our district, he is also is a business owner in Lincoln Park. Great Lakes Laundry and Wanda’s Hair Salon are two businesses through which he has contributed toward the revitalization of the area.
Officer Hansen is prepared to go on to a new but unnamed challenge with the DPD and we know he’ll continue on to serve the city with renewed commitment and enthusiasm.

Gifts: Lasting forever is NOT always better

Greener and cleaner for all generations
By Rebecca Yaeger-Bischoff
The gift-giving season is upon us, and, like many of you, I have been trying to figure out what would make good presents for the people on my list. I want my gifts to be environmentally friendly and I don’t want to give anybody a dust-collector, or some junk that they don’t really need or want. Our homes are getting cluttered with knickknacks and the latest gadgets that seemed like a good idea at the time, but don’t actually get used. Most of these items will eventually end up in a landfill.

Lately, I think consumable gifts, items like jams, soaps, and baked goods are the way to go. Not only can these gifts be used up and enjoyed, but many times can be made or found locally, helping our economy, using far fewer resources, and generating much less waste. As another plus, you can save your loved ones from having to deal with all that annoying plastic packaging!
A few years ago when my dad moved to a new house, we found ourselves the happy owners of an apple tree. In the fall we had many bags full of apples and needed to find a use for all of them. My dad decided that for Christmas gifts we would make apple jelly, apple syrup, and apple butter. We also included some locally made pancake mix to go with the apple goodies.
The gifts were a hit. Everyone loved getting a homemade present, and what made it even more special was that the most important ingredients (the apples) were grown naturally right in our backyard.

So as you decide what gifts to give your special someones this holiday season, consider including some locally made products or maybe even making something yourself. Your gifts will leave a lighter footprint on the environment, and your special someones will enjoy their gifts even more when they know who made it and where it came from.