Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Snow Removal Update -sidewalks Dec.18,2016

Editor's note, Duluth has a color coded priority system for snow cleaning, please read the story and click on the link to see which roads and sidewalks are considered high priority

 Sidewalks are an important part of Duluth's transit system. The City of Duluth is responsible for clearing sidewalks that abutt the road.

By Pakou Ly
City of Duluth Public Information Coordinator

While plow drivers are out cutting ice on residential streets, another smaller group is working to clear city managed sidewalks. Priority 1 (red) routes near schools and major bus routes are expected to be done tomorrow and the second tier (pink) routes are underway. This ice and snow mix has created significant challenges including equipment break down. Crews are out working every day though. Thank you for your patience and for doing your part to clear your own sidewalks. 

Here is a link to the sidewalk clearing system:

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Cold Weather Tips for Pet Owners

Cold Weather Tips for Pet Owners
By Naomi Yaeger-Bischoff
With the ASPCA
Your pet may have a fur coat, but you still need to keep in mind how the cold weather affects pets. Even if you don’t own a pet, please keep others’ pets in mind. Many years ago, my husband had the unfortunate experience of discovering a cat under the hood of his vehicle when he started the engine. The cat had crawled under the hood to stay warm, and when my husband started the car, the cat died.
Cold Weather Tips
Thinkstock (Photo of MaggieBW coming soon)

The following tips are from the ASPCA, and they are all important. See tip #2 on how to prevent inadvertently hurting a cat as you start your vehicle. Tip #5 explains how essential winter clothing is for dogs. Our dog, MaggieBW, is a shorthaired dog and we purchased a sweater for her. I first thought this was a little extravagant, but since we all know how cold it gets in the Northland, it is actually important for her health and safety.
Please follow these guidelines to protect your companion animal when the temperature drops.

  1. Keep your cat inside. Outdoors, cats can freeze, become lost or stolen, or be injured or killed. Cats who are allowed to stray are exposed to fatal infectious diseases, including rabies.
  2. During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes choose to sleep under the hoods of cars, where it is warmer. Then, when the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed in the fan belt. To prevent this, bang loudly on the hood of your car and wait a few seconds before starting the engine, to give a cat a chance to escape.
  3. Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm. Dogs frequently lose their scent in snow and ice and easily become lost. They may panic in a snowstorm and run away. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season.
  4. Thoroughly wipe off your dog’s legs and stomach when she comes in out of the rain, snow or ice. Check her sensitive paw pads, which may bleed from snow or ice encrusted in them. Also, salt, antifreeze, or other chemicals could hurt your dog if she ingests them while licking her paws.
  5. If you own a short-haired breed, consider getting a warm coat or sweater for your dog. Look for one with a high collar or turtleneck that covers your dog from the base of her tail on top and to the belly underneath. While this may seem like a luxury, it is a necessity for many dogs.
  6. Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold. Your companion animal could freeze to death.
  7. If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him outdoors only long enough to relieve himself.
  8. Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs and may be difficult to house train during the winter. If necessary, paper train your puppy inside if he appears to be sensitive to the weather.
  9. If your dog spends a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities, increase his supply of food, particularly protein, to keep his fur thick and healthy.
  10. Antifreeze, even in very tiny doses, is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Because of its sweet taste, dogs are attracted to it. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle. To prevent accidental poisonings, more and more people are using animal-friendly products that contain propylene glycol rather than the traditional products containing ethylene glycol. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center if you suspect your animal has ingested poison.
  11. Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter. Leave the coat in a longer style, which provides more warmth. Remember that such a style will require more frequent brushing due to dry winter air and static electricity. When you bathe your dog, make sure she is completely dry before you take her out for a walk.
  12. Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep far away from all drafts and off the floor, such as in a dog or cat bed or basket with a warm blanket or pillow in it.

(This information was provided courtesy of ASPCA, 424 East 92nd St.,New York, NY,10128-6804 (212) 876-7700

Monday, December 12, 2016

Free Tax Site gears up for 2017

By Julia Cheng
For The Hillsider 
Volunteer Recruitment
Community Action Duluth is seeking volunteers for the Free Tax Site. Walk-in clinics operate Mondays and Tuesdays, 4:30 – 9:00 pm and Saturdays, 8:45 am – 1:00 PM, January 28 – April 17.

The Tax Site depends on 80-95 volunteers every year to help more than 1500 families and individuals file their tax returns for free. Experience doing taxes or working for a tax-filing business is a plus, but we provide all necessary training, and there are other ways to help besides preparing returns. Volunteers from the community we serve, tax site clients and CAD staff are all partners in running an excellent program.

New volunteer orientations take place throughout December at CAD’s main offices in the former Lincoln Park School, 2424 West 5th Street. Tax preparer training begins on January 3. A first-year preparer starts with an introduction to basic tax concepts, and continues with required trainings in federal tax law, Minnesota tax law and TaxSlayer Pro Online return preparation software.  People who have used online tax prep sites like or Intuit TurboTax may find TaxSlayer quite user friendly.

Tax site assistants train to screen clients – helping them complete the intake process and get ready for a successful tax site visit.  

Bring your Social Security card or ITIN card to the Tax Site
VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) tax sites must now verify the social security number of each person on a tax return with one of these acceptable documents:
·      Original Social Security card
·      Social Security Number verification letter issued by the Social Security Administration
·      Medicaid Card (with letter “A” after the Social Security number)
·      Form SSA-1099, Social Security benefits statement or any document issued by the Social Security Administration. Truncated numbers (“XXX-XX-1234”) are acceptable.
·      ITIN card or letter

Make sure to bring these documents to the CAD Free Tax Site or other VITA tax sites in Duluth.

PATH Act holds on EITC and ACTC refunds take effect in 2017
The IRS will hold tax year 2016 refunds that include Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit until February 15, 2017. Taxpayers should still file returns as usual, and the IRS will process returns as they receive them.
The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (“PATH”) extended or preserved tax credits set to expire in 2017. Many of these tax credits benefit families who use the Tax Site. However, Section 201 of the PATH Act also “provides additional time for the IRS to review refund claims based on the earned income tax credit and refundable portion of the child tax credit in order to reduce fraud and improper payments,” beginning in 2017.

No one can get you your federal refund faster than the IRS releases it, and if they say they can it will probably cost you money. Electronic filing through a VITA tax site and direct deposit of refunds can still minimize your wait time. The IRS will release all pending EITC and ACTC refunds on February 15. Refunds from returns filed after February 15 are not subject to this hold.

Julia Cheng

(Julia Cheng is the Community Action Duluth Tax Site Program Manager) 

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Six Tips to Help You Stay Green During the Holiday Season

By Rebecca Yaeger-Bischoff
For The Hillsider

(Editor's note: We are having some difficulty with the formatting of the paragraphs, so please excuse that because this is good information.)

Soon many of us will be doing special activities related to Christmas and other holidays. Here is a list I put together to help you to be more efficient and environmentally-friendly. Remember sometimes it is hard to change old ways, baby-steps can make it easier. If you feel you can’t make all of these changes please just choose one. Baby steps taken over time add up.

1. Bring your own shopping bags

Bringing your own bags isn't just for grocery shopping. Reduce plastic waste and

hazards to animals who mistake plastic bags as food by using your bags for gift

shopping. I use a backpack or most of my shopping trips, and it works great. I can pack a lot of items in it, and it's a lot easier to carry. Many places ask you to check a backpack, but if you’re walking or taking the bus a backpack is easiest. If you’re driving and don’t use a backpack, remember your canvas or reusable bags.

2.  Reuse recycled/recyclable gift wrap


Wrapping paper, ribbons, bows, and gift bags can be expensive and aren’t always
recyclable. I save old calendars, magazines, and comic sections of newspapers for gift
wrapping. Maps and posters work well, too, or you can decorate paper bags. You can
also save gift bags and bows from gifts you’ve received and use them next year.

3. Switch to LED lights
Stringing up lights for the holidays? Switch to LED lights. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), LED lights use up to 90% less energy than traditional incandescent holiday lights. LED lights also don’t run as hot, reducing the fire hazard (especially for Christmas trees), and can last up to ten times longer.

4. Switch to Rechargeable Batteries
According to the EPA more than 40 percent of all battery sales happen during the holiday season. Many of those batteries are alkaline batteries that can't be recycled. You can replace alkaline batteries with rechargeable ones. If you are giving gifts that require batteries consider giving rechargeable batteries and a battery charger along with the gift.

5. Host a zero waste party
Holiday parties don't have to mean lots of food and disposable dishware waste. Serve
food on reusable or compostable dishware. Check the thrift shops for holiday themed
dish sets or borrow dishes from friends. My Grandma has special Christmas plates that are fun to use during the holidays. If you don't like the thought of doing dishes at the end of the party ask friends to help. Also, have recycling containers labeled for guests, and if you live in the Duluth area you can collect food waste and drop it off at Western Lake Superior Sanitary District's (WLSSD) 27th Ave W location.

6. Decorate a Living Tree
Instead of buying a cut or artificial tree, consider having a living tree that can be planted in
the spring or keep as a houseplant. Two years ago I bought a potted Norfolk Pine from Whole Foods Co-Op to use as my Christmas tree. It worked well for my small apartment, and I’ve enjoyed having it as houseplant. I’m happy that I will be able to use it for a 3rd Christmas and not have to buy a new tree.

Rebecca Yaeger-Bischoff

(Rebecca Yaeger-Bischoff lives in Lincoln Park, has a degree in environmental science, teaches Zumba and is interested in health and wellness. Full disclosure: She is also the daughter of The Hillsider editor  Naomi Yaeger-Bischoff.)

A Community Leader with Experience and a Vision

 Stephan Witherspoon (Photo Submitted)

Stepahn Witherspoon:

A Community Leader wit Experience and a Vision

By Jack Day
For The Hillsider

Stephan Witherspoon grew up in a three-and-a-half bedroom house with 10 siblings in the Central Hillside in Duluth, Minnesota. He said he is living a great life now as an African American Community Coach at the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative, but it took a series of drastic events for him to get to where he is today.

Stephan and his mother Sharon Witherspoon. (Photo submitted)
 When Stephan was 10 years old, he was playing at a park and was called the N word for the first time. This event changed him, and he began fighting, which went on for many years.

“I got locked up where I work now because I would hurt people who called me the N word,” Stephan said. “I just couldn’t take it. We would have fights between the blacks and the whites and I thought that’s just the way it was.”

The racial tension got so bad that he decided to move away from Duluth and live in Houston with his sister for a while. But when he came back to Duluth, he experienced the most traumatic event of his life. In 1994—when he was just 19 years old—there was a triple homicide that took the lives of his brother and his two best friends.

“That was devastating to the family,” Stephan said. “The media called my house and apologized because they were trying to make the murderer look good, while making my brother and my friends look bad.” 
Stephan Witherspoon at the downtown Starbucks location.
                               (Photo by Jack Day)
Stephan with his brother, Solomon, and sister Simbarina 
enjoying Appetizers at the Green Mill last summer. (Photo Submitted)
After the homicides, Stephan turned to the microphone and started singing the blues. His first band he was a part of was called “Doctor Spoon and the Rhythm Union,” and after that he and his brothers, Solomon and Sebastian started a group called “Soul Profits.” Even though singing the blues was fun for him, Stephan was still having a difficult time with his life.

“I wanted to get out of all the trauma,” he said. “ So for about a year and a half, I was on crack cocaine.”Stephan knew that he couldn’t continue to live his life like this. The tragedy he had gone through as a 19-year-old kid was devastating, but he wanted to use it as motivation to get his life on track.“One day I got down on my knees and I talked to God. It was like a lighting bolt went through my body and I didn’t crave the drugs anymore,” Stephan said. “I had about a thousand dollars worth of crack and I flushed it down the toilet that day, and I’ve been sober ever since.”
Stephan immediately put himself in a treatment center to get his life in order. He went back to school and got his bachelor’s degree in organizational behavior. He is currently in a master’s program studying project management, but is considering pursuing law school.

Early on, Stephan’s younger brother. Solomon, had been aware that Stephan was going through devastating times, but he never doubted that his older brother would pull through.
“He’s been through some of the most desperate situations in  life, and he was able to overcome adversities that mentally and physically kill people,” Solomon said.
Solomon grew up watching his brother turn into the humble man he is today. Through all of the hardship that has occurred within their family, Solomon had faith that Stephan would turn into the man he has become.

“Stephan grew up as a true leader. From a very young age he was never afraid of a challenge,” Solomon said. “He had the mindset that if he failed, he would keep going until he was victorious.”
Stephan now belongs to a long list of organizations: Lincoln Park Children and Families Collaborative, Voices for Racial Justice, Policy Champs, and Cross Cultural Alliance Duluth, to name a few. He said he wants kids of color to have an easier life growing up than he did.
“I just want to make sure that kids of color, low income, and people in poverty are validated and have the resources they need to succeed,” Stephan said. “My mission is to get a cultural center up and going on the Hillside, so kids and families have a safe haven.”

Stephan knows that there are a lot of people who have a difficult time succeeding because of how or where they are raised. Those are the people that he focuses on when he is working. When he joined the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative, about 65-70 percent of juveniles detained were of color. After four years of Stephan being an African American Community Coach, that number is down to about 35-40 percent.

For his job, Stephan makes court call reminders and makes sure kids get to court, including taking them there himself if they are unable to find another ride. He also participates in cultural activities with the kids, cooks with them, and talks about accountability, responsibility, and the importance of education.

Solomon is not surprised at all by the success his older brother is having within the Duluth community.
“Something in his soul wouldn’t let him quit; his desire, passion, gratefulness, and his will to continue to strive for perfection makes him one of the greatest men I’ve ever met, and it just so happens that he is my older brother,” Solomon said. “He definitely makes this world a better place.”
Stephan is driven to reach a goal to make his hometown a better place for everyone.
“It hurts my heart seeing kids who don’t feel important in their own communities,” Witherspoon said. “We need to embrace each other’s cultures, and share our talents.”

Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken and Stephan Witherspoon enjoy a
moment together during the YWCA’s Women of Distinction Award Luncheon on Oct. 20.  (Photo by  Naomi Y-B)


(Jack Day is a University of Minnesota Duluth journalism student. His hometown is Hastings, Minn. Contact him at

Monday, November 21, 2016

Why I Ride

Doug Bowen-Bailey rides his bike.    (Photo submitted)
By Doug Bowen-Bailey
For the Hillsider 

I live on 7th Street right in the middle of the Hillside and have been biking year round as my primary transportation since I moved to Duluth in 1994. No matter where I go from my house, I am faced with significant ups and downs.  When I first arrived in Duluth, I had numerous conversations where people questioned my sanity. With time, those questions have diminished. In part, new trails and bike paths have been created and more cyclists are on the road.  People may have also now made up their minds about my mental stability (or lack thereof).

The question of why I ride is still one I reflect on. Here are my reasons:

Health:  I often say that I ride my bicycle because I love ice cream.  Without the calories that I expend on roads and trails, I’d be in trouble.  When my daughter was born and I became a stay-at-home dad — stopping my 20 mile daily bike commute — I quickly gained 25 pounds.  Now that I am back on the bike more regularly but with a 47 year old metabolism, I try to moderate my food intake which also means keeping my limits on ice cream in moderation.

Learning:  Biking isn’t just about physical health.  It is a time for me to think and reflect.  As an introvert, I need the chance to process experiences.  Also, I have long listened to audiobooks, revelling in how many chapters I can get through on a five hour bike ride.  This summer, I have discovered podcasts — and have been finding excuses to go on longer rides just so I can get through more episodes of NPR’s CodeSwitch, TED Radio Hour and Hidden Brain or the latest discussion of Harry Potter and the Sacred Text.  Getting sucked into great ideas and perspectives isn’t necessarily recommended for navigating the traffic in town, but it works well for me on longer rides. 

Connection: In conversations with people from around the city, I am often struck by how little people know about different neighborhoods. Often, people allow the easiest routes for cars to be the limit of their world.  As a cyclist, I try to get off the main roads.  In part, it is safer to avoid traffic.  It is also more interesting seeing the variety of houses and yards all over the city. More than that, not being encased in a car and going a little slower, I am able to engage with people in those neighborhoods — greeting kids out on the sidewalks and adults enjoying the evening out on a porch.  Linguistically, respect has the same root as spectacle and is tied into the notion of being seen.  Biking through neighborhoods allows me to both see and be seen —  a connection that simply does not happen for me when I am encapsulated in my car.

Joy:  For me, biking is also simply fun.  As I write, I have just come back from a job in Superior — traveling over the Bong Bridge.  It’s cool to have commutes that take me across the St. Louis River to be able to look down on the whitecaps that come from the meeting of current and wind.  It’s also great to be able to ride some of the mountain bike trails on my work routes.  I frequently go to Community Action Duluth in Lincoln Park —  and as often as I can — I take the Duluth Traverse that goes from Observation Road to Twin Ponds and then below Enger Park.  This trail has a combination of sweeping curves, beautiful vegetation, creek crossings and vistas of the harbor and the lake.  I will take that over rush hour on I-35 any day of the week.

Humility:  A final reason is that being on a bike puts into perspective my place in the world.  I approach cars with deference because in an accident, I might have the right of way, but I’m the one who will still be dead.  That insight helps me be humble in other relationships as well which helps me be more successful in the world.

I hope that you, too, find this sense of connection and joy as you move through the hillside.

Bowen-Bailey lives in the East Hillside and works as a sign language interpreter and educator. He rides his bike to as many of his assignments as he can —  no matter the weather.

Duluthians travel to Standing Rock to share concerns about water compromise

By Shawn Carr
For the Hillsider

A group of Northlanders who traveled to Standing Rock to share
concerns about the Dakota Access Pipeline. (Photo submitted)
Fourteen people from Cloquet and Duluth Minnesota met in Cloquet and formed a caravan of five cars and one trailer as they made their way out to Standing Rock, North Dakota on Saturday Sept. 3. The trailer full of donations contained sleeping bags, tents, jackets, batteries, lighters, shovels, food and many other items. Among the group were representatives of All Nations Indigenous, Idle No More /Northwoods Wolf Alliance and a minister from Peace United Church. Eagle Staffs were brought along to honor the people at the camps and were used in a ceremony on Sunday, which was performed next to burial sites that had been disturbed by Dakota Access Pipeline. (DAPL). And of course we went there because we share the concerns of the other tribes that the DAPL will compromise the water quality of a good part of the nation.

We were in Jamestown, North Dakota when we heard the first reports of the pepper spray and dog attacks. This filled us with a greater sense of urgency to get there. The camp is made up of a couple camps. The main camp, Red Warrior, Sacred Stone and we stayed at Rosebud Camp across the river from the main camp. We helped in the camp kitchen with security and helped construct a sweat lodge. Things were peaceful when we got there and we were greeted with hugs and smiles at the supply and food tent. The mood was upbeat.

Once our tents were pitched, we were eager to help out.
Approximately 1500-2000 Native Americans from almost every tribe in the United States participated. The main camp consisted of 5000 people that weekend all peacefully committed to the protection of the water. The driveway to the main camp is lined by the flags of over 150 indigenous nations coming from as far as South America, Alaska and Hawaii. The camp is a constant bustle of activity including a school. Among the teepees and wigwams are horse corrals and tents. Among the drums and traditional singing there was also nightly entertainment by musicians and comedians. When it came time to go home none of us wanted to leave and had all been profoundly affected by our experience.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

State Senate District 7 - Donna Bergstrom

Donna Bergstrom
Greetings! I’m Donna Bergstrom, a candidate for the Minnesota State Senate-District 7, who is running for you! I want to bring our voices, values and priorities to the State level. I’m a retired Lt. Col. in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, having served 20+ years in active and reserve duties, as an Intelligence Officer. Having first hand knowledge of our nation’s military and diplomatic strengths, I’ve observed the importance of the United States as a symbol of freedom. Prior to serving in the Marine Corps, I attended the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, earning my Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. I obtained a Master of Jurisprudence degree in Children’s Law and Policy in 2014. I am currently employed as a Guardian ad Litem by the State of Minnesota, to advocate for the best interests of our children in the child protection system. I am a mother of an 11-year-old boy, and am married to Skip Fischer, a retired U.S. Senate senior staffer.

My background is broad and diverse. I am not a politician, but instead a common-citizen concerned over the direction of our State and our local community. My priorities include improving graduation rates for minority students. As an enrolled member of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa, and as someone who places great importance on education, I am distraught by the rates at which Native American students graduate from high school, a rate that is second  worst in the nation. I’ll also focus on veteran’s issues, such as eliminating the current tax on their retirement pay, and by improving their access to health care. I intend to work to ensure that the region’s infrastructure is properly maintained. Legislative work involves building relationship, and leading from the front – qualities I learned, and live, as a Marine Corps officer. Thank you.

State Senate District 7 - Erik Simonson

Erik Simonson
I’ve had the amazing opportunity to represent central and west Duluth for the past four years in the Minnesota House of Representatives. This fall, I’m running for the open Minnesota Senate seat which represents nearly all of Duluth.
Minnesota is turning the corner in its recovery from the great recession. Our economy is stronger, wages are slowly increasing, and signs of improvement and lower unemployment are constantly being publicized as accomplishments.
But we’ve much more work to do. Not every neighborhood is feeling the positive effects, nor are they recovering as quickly as other areas of the state. We can, and need to do more for all of our citizens, especially those less fortunate.
I was proud to support increasing the minimum wage, passing legislation to increase both homeowners’ and renters’ property tax rebates, and to make historic investments in education, including all day free kindergarten, and for the very first time–we invested $25 million in free, quality education programs for four year olds! We made a record investment into affordable housing–and I know safe, stable housing is the cornerstone to anyone’s success!
As we move forward together, I’ve heard your voices loud and clear. Free public school opportunities are only helpful if there is transportation to get there. Job opportunities are only good if graduation rates from high school increase. And we absolutely have to find lasting solutions to our race and gender achievement and income gaps.
As your next Minnesota State Senator, I will be your voice at the capital. You will always have an open door–and a friendly ear to listen. Being your legislator is not just passing laws–it is solving those problems that arise day to day–that is where we can make a difference together.
Please consider voting on November 8! 

St. Louis County Commissioner - District 3 - Jay Fosle

Hello, I am Jay Fosle and I am running to be your representative for County Commissioner. I am happily married for 33 years, I have two wonderful children and a beautiful granddaughter.
I am a 27 year employee of Duluth Public Schools currently as a route coordinator-trainer. I am a lifelong resident of County Commission District 3 which includes much of the area I currently serve as a City Councilor.
I am running for this position because I have the experience to represent all of the citizens within the district.
My experience includes: Duluth City Councilor, Duluth Economic Development Commissioner, Public Safety Committee Chairperson, Public Utilities Commissioner, Metropolitan Interstate Council Representative, and Public Works Committee Chairperson.
Being financially responsible with taxpayers’ money is my top priority. The creation of a tax base helps makes this possible. My previous years with Duluth Economic Development Authority allowed me to be involved with many new and current developments.
As a County Commissioner:
  • I will be sensitive to the economic pressures facing citizens, businesses and the entire region.
  • I will continue with support for innovation, productivity and providing service to the citizens.
  • I will make sure to partner with Cities to remove blighted tax forfeit property for the betterment of the community and quality of life for all.
  • I will continue to provide quality customer service to our citizens while staying focused on spending for services.
  • I will continue to provide accountability for all citizens equally by maintaining and providing a fiscally responsible budget.
  • I will continue to establish policies and procedures for Administration and departments to meet their goals.
  • I  am ready to be your representative. 
I would appreciate your vote on November 8.Sincerely,
Jay Fosle

St. Louis County Commissioner - District 3 - Beth Olson

Beth Olson
I grew up one of six children. My dad was a union bricklayer and my mom a homemaker until becoming a speech pathologist. In a big family, I learned early about hard work and getting along with people to reach common goals. Those simple values continue to guide me in my work, life, community and family. I am running for county commissioner because I love my home in West Duluth, my community of so many distinct and beautiful neighborhoods and because it is these simple values that will make progress for us all. I have proven my ability to deliver effective services on a tight budget and develop solutions to community problems as the Executive Director of First Witness Child Advocacy Center and a long time community advocate. I have seen from many perspectives how the county works; the good it can do for people and the harm it can cause when mismanaged. I have positive relationships with elected officials and a track record of building successful collaborations. I choose not to polarize people and ideas, but instead find common ground. I listen because the best ideas come from listening to others. I advocate because every single one of our neighbors needs a chance to have their voice heard. The west side can no longer be left behind. Those simple values I learned? They work.

Please go to to learn more about me. Throughout my campaign, I have invited people to ask me questions and share ideas. The conversations I have had with you at your doors have helped shape my opinions on county matters. If elected as your county commissioner I will be present, be responsive, listen, and work hard on the issues that affect your lives the most. I ask for your vote on November 8.

State Representative District 7B - Liz Olson Democratic

Liz Olson
I’m Liz Olson and I’m the DFL endorsed candidate running to represent district 7B in the Minnesota House of Representatives.  I’m running because I believe in a Minnesota where everyone can thrive — A Minnesota that offers access to living wage jobs with good benefits, strong public schools, and expanded access to our democracy.  I’ve called Duluth home since graduating from the University of Minnesota Duluth. Shortly after, my husband and I purchased a house in the Denfeld neighborhood. This fall we welcomed our first child into our home. Being elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives is a way to put my love for Duluth into action - to serve my family, neighbors, and the people of Minnesota, and to help build a bright future for all of us.
My work in Duluth has included advocacy for access to healthcare, worker protections, and ending homelessness. Across these issues I have engaged and mobilized diverse groups of people, especially those often left out of the political process, to shape policy solutions at the state and local level. I have proven my effectiveness and been recognized for my ability to forge new relationships and to build on my current relationships in order to champion sound policies that benefit our neighbors. I take this experience forward as I run to represent District 7B in the Minnesota House of Representatives.  I ask for your vote on November 8th.

State Representative District 7B - Cody Barringer

Cody Barringer
As a flight instructor at Lake Superior College, I work relentlessly to be good at what I do. My job requires me to be an excellent teacher and professional pilot at the same time. I will bring that same tenacity and attention to detail to work tirelessly for you in the Minnesota legislature.
The future I envision for the next generation is characterized by freedom. Freedom comes through honest, open politics. Freedom comes in the form of a healthy economy, common sense environmental regulations, and low taxes. Freedom means parents get a say in their children’s education. Freedom comes when people of different belief systems coexist without any one group accosting another. Freedom comes by honoring the principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, United States Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Freedom comes in the form of limited, responsible government and healthy family values.
 My opponents will complain – we can’t have freedom, we must limit and control gun ownership. We can’t let parents choose how their children are educated, the government must control public schooling. We can’t have free speech, it could be used to discriminate. We can’t let businesses be run to make a profit, we must legislate feel-good social policies. We can’t allow Minnesotans to keep their hard-earned money; politicians and their cronies need it. We can’t allow a free market to fight it out; government should pick the winners and losers. We can’t let doctors and patients, parents, teachers, and children have the final say, government knows best! My friends, more government is not the solution.
As your representative, I want to implement sound policies that will lift the regional economy off the ground. When you go to vote you will be putting yourself in the pilot’s seat and securing Minnesota’s greatness for the next generation!