Author: Dan Hanger

House Fire Displaces Family of Four in West Duluth

DULUTH, Minn. – A family of four can’t return home after their house caught fire in West Duluth Sunday. The fire broke out around 1:30 p.m. in a home on the 200 block of South 70th Avenue West. Three people and a dog inside the home safely escaped. The fire started in the kitchen. Damage is estimated at $35,000. The…

Study Recommends Part-Time Mayor, Full-Time Administrator For City of Superior

Mayor Jim Paine: Recommendation Holds No Weight, More Pressing Issues To Focus On Like Software Investments

SUPERIOR, Wis. — A new study has been released about the city of Superior’s operations at city hall and how it can improve to be more efficient and effective. The study was initiated by Mayor Jim Paine and the city council, and conducted by RW Management Group, Inc. The consultant group assessed things like current staffing, workflow, workloads and management…

Sheraton Duluth Undergoing $7 Million In Renovations

DULUTH, Minn. – The Sheraton Hotel in downtown Duluth is undergoing a multi-million dollar transformation. It’s the first time the hotel is going through such a renovation since opening in 2007 that’ll strip down every piece of what the public sees, as FOX 21’s Dan Hanger reports. The final phase of the $31 million Superior Street reconstruction project is well…

Suspect in Fatal Downtown Duluth Shooting Found Guilty of Murder

Jamal Jackson is Being Held Without Bail

DULUTH, Minn. – The suspect accused of shooting and killing a Duluth man outside of a downtown bar in 2018 has been found guilty of murder. On Tuesday afternoon, a jury of six men and six women found 27-year-old Jamal Jackson guilty of second-degree intentional murder for the fatal shooting of 31-year-old Scott Pennington. St. Louis County prosecutor Jon Holets…

Missing Indiana Man’s Pickup Truck Found Near Two Harbors

Public Asked To Keep An Eye Out For James Runkle And His Missing Kayak

LAKE COUNTY, Minn. – Authorities are asking for the public’s help after a missing Indiana man’s truck was found just north of Two Harbors. James Runkle, 56, went missing from North Judson, Indiana, Sept. 20. He told his wife he planned to go fishing locally before going to a doctor’s appointment and then coming home. Lake County Sheriff Carey Johnson…

United Healthcare Confirms Layoffs In Duluth

DULUTH, Minn. – United Healthcare in Duluth has laid off some of its workers, but the company would not confirm how many employees are affected. United Healthcare released the following statement Thursday: “UnitedHealthcare works every day to help make health care more affordable, while ensuring the business remains well-positioned for continued growth. As part of that commitment, we regularly review…

Duluth Man Facing 4 Burglary Charges Arrested On Suspicion of 5th

DULUTH, Minn. — Duluth police have made what they are calling a “significant” burglary arrest of a Duluth man already charged with four other burglaries from earlier this year. Kyle Carl, 25, was arrested Wednesday for one of three September burglaries at Duluth Cider brewery on West Superior Street in Lincoln Park. This comes as Duluth police continue investigating burglaries…

Police Investigate Fatal Shooting In West Duluth

DULUTH, Minn. — Duluth police are investigating the shooting death of a man in West Duluth. The call for help came in around 1:47 a.m. Sunday to the 300 block of North 62nd Avenue West on a report of shots fired. When police arrived, they located a 33-year-old male inside a vehicle with a gunshot would to “his midsection,” according…

Court Suspends Two Polymet Permits

On Wednesday afternoon, the Minnesota Court of Appeals suspended Polymet’s permit to mine and dam safety permits for its proposed $1 billion copper-nickel mine near Babbitt. The permits will be discussed at an Oct. 23 hearing.  That’s when the “DNR shall be prepared to advise the court on the status of post-permit developments, including its evaluation of the Brumadinho dam…

Transparency Concerns: Duluth School Board Members Flag Hiring Process For New Superintendent

Supt. Bill Gronseth Will Leave After Contract Expires In June Of 2020

DULUTH, Minn. – The search to hire a new Duluth school superintendent to replace Bill Gronseth when he leaves in June is already being called into question. Board members like Nora Sandstad say there’s still a serious lack of transparency between Board Chair Rosie Loeffler-Kemp and the administration. And this comes even after FOX 21’s Dan Hanger broke the story…

Letter Details District’s Reasons For Firing Former Duluth Denfeld Principal

DULUTH, Minn. – Through a data request with the Duluth School District at a cost of 75 cents to obtain, FOX 21 was given the termination letter Wednesday of now-former Denfeld High School Principal Tonya Sconiers. It’s the first time we’re getting a sense of the reasons the school board fired Sconiers after 19 years with the district. A summary…

Former Denfeld Principal Blasts Dist., Top Leaders In Federal Lawsuit

Tonya Sconiers Claims Retaliation, Violation Of First Amendment Rights For Criticizing Dist. Policies, Practices

DULUTH, Minn. – Former Duluth Denfeld High School principal Tonya Sconiers — who the school board voted to fire back in July — has filed a federal lawsuit against ISD 709, Superintendent Bill Gronseth and Asst. Superintendent Jeffrey Horton. The lawsuit claims Sconiers was retaliated and discriminated against for speaking out against district leadership about policies and practices violating her…

Man Accidentally Shot While Bird Hunting in Wisconsin

TOWN OF RED CEDAR, Wis. (AP) – Authorities in western Wisconsin say a 60-year-old man was accidentally shot while bird hunting with family members at a game farm. Dunn County sheriff’s authorities say the four family members were hunting together in the Town of Red Cedar on Sunday morning when one member set a shotgun down against some brush to…

Duluth Schools Supt. Gronseth Reacts To FOX 21’s Report On DWI History of Asst. Supt.

DULUTH, Minn. – Duluth Public Schools Superintendent Bill Gronseth released a statement Friday one day after a FOX 21 report about Asst. Superintendent Jeffrey Horton’s past criminal record of three DWI cases, which was never shared with the school board — except to the previous Board Chair David Kirby — before they signed off on the new hire in June…

Duluth School Board Wasn’t Told Of Asst. Superintendent’s Criminal History When Hired

DULUTH, Minn. – FOX 21 has learned Duluth School District Assistant Superintendent Jeffrey Horton is on probation through 2022 for a third DWI offense he was sentenced for just months before being hired for the No. 2 job in the school district in July of last 2018. And while DWIs are not a deal breaker for hiring administrators in the…

Police: Man Falls Into Creek Running From Attempted Robbery

DULUTH, Minn. – Duluth police are investigating an attempted robbery that left a man seriously injured. Police say the 26-year-old victim fell into the creek near the 500 block of Lincoln Park Drive while running away from the suspects. Investigators believe the suspects are known to the victim. No arrests had been made Sunday. The victim’s injuries are not life…

Train Collides With Car; Authorities Blame Driver, Believe Alcohol A Factor

Driver Sustained 'Substantial' Injuries. Passengers, Crew Not Injured.

DULUTH, Minn. – Alcohol is believed to be a factor in a crash involving a vehicle and a train with the North Shore Scenic Railroad. It happened around 7 p.m. on McQuade Road just outside of Duluth in Lakewood Township. The St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office says the driver, Kurt Vanhala, 67, of Duluth failed to yield to all warning…

Essentia Health, Minn. Nurses Assoc. Reach Tentative Agreement

St. Luke's Nurses Remain Without An Agreement

DULUTH, Minn. — One day after Essentia Health and St. Luke’s nurses hit the streets of Duluth for an informational picket over failed contract negotiations that call for “safe” staffing levels, Essentia announced a tentative agreement late Wednesday with the Minnesota Nurses Association. Below is the statement from Essentia: Essentia Health and the Minnesota Nurses Association have reached a tentative…

Cloquet Police Chief Resigns After 4-Month Voluntary Leave; City Admin. To Exit In Sept.

CLOQUET, Minn. – It’s over and out for Cloquet Police Chief Jeff Palmer who has chosen to leave the department – making him the third chief to do just that since Wade Lamirande in 2014. Cloquet City Administrator Aaron Reeves said Palmer was not being investigated for any complaints while he was on leave for the past four months leading…

Douglas Co. Dist. Atty. Reviewing Auto Theft Case Against Ashland Police Officer

ASHLAND, Wis. – The case against a longtime Ashland police officer accused of auto theft is now in the hands of Douglas County District Attorney Mark Fruehauf for possible charges. The 18-year veteran of the Ashland Police Department retired in May – the same month Ashland Police Chief Jim Gregoire sent out a press release about the allegations against the…

Father Accidentally Runs Over, Kills Son On Wisconsin Farm

TOWN OF DANE, Wis. (AP) – Authorities say a man accidentally ran over and killed his 8-year-old son on a farm in south-central Wisconsin. Dane County sheriff’s authorities say the accident happened late Friday in the Town of Dane. The initial report was that the boy apparently had been trampled to death by a cow, but authorities determined the boy’s…

Police: 50-Plus Complaints Against Hermantown Lumber Co. Totaling $290K In Unfulfilled Work

HERMANTOWN, Minn. (Press Release) – The Hermantown Police Department has received numerous calls from victims who have ordered products such as windows or lumber packages from the Hermantown Lumber Company, which was located at 3707 Lavaque Road, Hermantown, Minn. The Hermantown Lumber Company ceased operations on June 28, 2019, and many orders that were fully or partially paid have gone…

Mayor Larson Talks .5% Sales Tax For Streets, Mandate For Medical Dist.

$500K From Sales Tax, $500K From Utilities Fund Mandated By State For Medical Dist. Streets For 10 Years; City Receives $100M From State In Return

DULUTH, Minn. – Duluth City Councilor Joel Sipress sounded off at Monday’s city council meeting by saying Mayor Emily Larson and her administration could have been more transparent involving the new half-percent sales tax and a portion of that funding now being required by the state to go to the Medical District over a 10-year period. “I have to say…

Superior Council Overturns Mayor Paine’s Censure Veto Of Councilor Van Sickle

SUPERIOR, Wis. –  It was another vocal and passionate council meeting in Superior Tuesday night. Councilors voted 8-2 to overturn Mayor Jim Paine’s veto involving the censure of Councilor Jenny Van Sickle and her negative social media comments about City Attorney Frog Prell. Those comments called Prell incompetent, lazy and a manipulator in response to Prell’s legal opinion that concluded…

Longtime City of Superior Fire Chief, Finance Director Retiring

Mayor Paine Congratulates Retirees, Says Change Can Bring Fresh Perspective

SUPERIOR, Wis. – Longtime Superior Fire Chief Steve Panger and Finance Director Jean Vito are retiring after more than two decades each with the city. Panger, a 26-year veteran of the fire department, made the announcement official to councilors and Mayor Jim Paine Tuesday. Panger told FOX 21 he has reached the age of retirement at 53 years old and…

Van Sickle Pulls Back Social Media Posts Mentioned in City Attorney’s Legal Notice

SUPERIOR, Wis. – Superior City Councilor Jenny Van Sickle of Dist. 2 has pulled back social media posts that City Attorney Frog Prell claims are libelous against him and could result in a civil suit. Sometime late Monday night after FOX 21 aired a story about Prell’s legal notice to Van Sickle with claims of defamation, her Twitter page was…

Superior City Atty. Prell Puts Councilor Van Sickle On Legal Notice For Claims Of Defamation

Late Monday, Van Sickle changed her Twitter account from public to "protected."

SUPERIOR, Wis. – Superior City Attorney Frog Prell has put Councilor Jenny Van Sickle on legal notice for allegations of defamation and libel. (Click here for Prell’s defamation notice) This comes after Van Sickle called Prell lazy, incompetent and a manipulator on social media in response to Prell’s research report that concluded the council could pick a council president with…