Author: Dan Hanger

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…

Deck Of Cards Picks Council Pres.; Mayor Paine Vetoes Censure Against Councilor Van Sickle

SUPERIOR, Wis. – It was a heated Superior City Council meeting Tuesday night that included a censure vote and a cutting of the cards to finally pick a council president after three failed votes at past council meetings. In a 6-4 vote, the council sided with City Attorney Frog Prell’s Report — against Mayor Paine’s Conclusion — that a deck…

Superior Councilors Sutherland, Van Sickle Call To Censure Each Other

SUPERIOR, Wis. – Heads are butting at Superior City Hall as two councilors have introduced resolutions to formally censure each other at Tuesday night’s city council meeting. Acting Council President Craig Sutherland is calling to censure Councilor Jenny Van Sickle over her recent social media blast against longtime City Attorney Frog Prell after Prell concluded it is legal to select…

Superior Councilor Van Sickle Blasts City Attorney Prell As Incompetent, Lazy

Issue stems from City Attorney Frog Prell's conclusion that the council can vote in a president with a deck of cards.

SUPERIOR, Wis. – Superior City Councilor Jenny Van Sickle is blasting longtime City Attorney Frog Prell for his conclusion that it is legal to select a council president by drawing from a deck of cards — something Mayor Jim Paine has said is illegal. In a post on Twitter, Van Sickle calls Prell lazy and incompetent. “Prell has a long…

Cloquet Area Firefighter Resigns After FOX 21’s Report on Sexual Assault Allegations

CLOQUET, Minn. – We have a follow-up to a story FOX 21’s Nikki Davidson brought you Wednesday night involving a Northland first responder who was accused but never charged in St. Louis County and Carlton County of two separate cases of sexual assault, which in one case involved a 16-year-old girl. Thursday at 6 a.m., that 29-year-old first responder with…

Cloquet Police Detective Fired; Officer’s Attorney Calls Out Council, County Attorney

CLOQUET, Minn. – A longtime Cloquet police officer of 22 years has been fired from the job for what the city calls allegations of misconduct. K9 detective Scott Holman was terminated by the city council Tuesday in a 4-2 vote. Allegations against Holman were not made available by City Administrator Aaron Reeves because he said it was a personnel matter….

Strength In The Community $10K Scholarship Winner: Avantika D’Cruz-Wigren

DULUTH, Minn. – FOX 21 and National Bank of Commerce announced the $10,000 Strength in the Community $10,000 scholarship winner Monday night as Ashland High School student Avantika D’Cruz-Wigren. This comes after 12 finalists were chosen from area high schools – all of whom will get $1,000 scholarships. Click the video to hear from the winner! Categories: News, News – Latest…

Updated: Missing Woman’s Body Discovered On Fond Du Lac Reservation

The body of a missing woman, Wahbinmigisi “Pennie” Robertson, 31, of the Fond du Lac Reservation, has been found, according to tribal spokeswoman Makayla Telfer. The body was discovered by a search party around 6 p.m. Saturday near a rural community within the Brookston District of the Fond du Lac Reservation. The Fond du Lac Police Department and the St. Louis County…

Duluth Police Investigate Shooting in East Hillside

Victim Suffered Non-Life Threatening Injuries

DULUTH, Minn. –  Duluth police were investigating a shooting in the East Hillside neighborhood that injured a man. The shooting was reported around 12:30 p.m. Sunday at an apartment complex on the 600 block of East 4th Street. When police arrived, they located a 42-year-old man with non-life threatening injuries to the ear and surface of the head, according to…

Update: Pine County Shooting Suspect Found Dead

UPDATE: On May 30th Pine County deputies recovered a body in the Little Sand Creek west of the residence where the shooting took place.  The body was transported to the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy. The deceased has been identified as Allen W. Hasser, the suspect in the shooting incident.  A cause of death is pending and an updated…

Motorcyclist Killed After Hit-And-Run In West Duluth

DULUTH, Minn. – Duluth police are investigating a hit-and-run accident in West Duluth that killed a 31-year-old driver of a motorcycle. The accident happened around 6:50 p.m. Tuesday. Officials say the motorcycle was headed up 40th Avenue West “just below horseshoe bend” when it was struck by a car that apparently crossed over the center line. The “suspect vehicle” continued…

Speedway Gas Station Closes In Superior

SUPERIOR, Wis. – A gas station in Superior that was most known for being a SuperAmerica and recently became a Speedway has closed. The gas station is located on the corner of Hammond Avenue and Broadway Street. The last day of operation was Memorial Day. There was no official word from company officials Tuesday on why it closed. This comes…

ATV Crash Kills Man in Iron County

Town of Pence, Wis. – A man is dead after a ATV crash early Sunday morning in Iron County, Wisconsin. The Iron County Sheriff’s Office says the 911 call was received around 12:10 a.m. about an ATV accident at the intersection of Spring Camp Road and Whiteside Street in the Town of Pence. When authorities arrived, they found a single…

Cloquet Police Chief Jeff Palmer Still On ‘Voluntary Paid Leave’ Since April 16

City Admin. Aaron Reeves Does Not Have A Return Date For Palmer

CLOQUET, Minn. – There’s still no official word on why Cloquet Police Chief Jeff Palmer remains off the job or when he will return. Chief Palmer began his “voluntary paid leave” on April 16. City Administrator Aaron Reeves told FOX 21 this week that the leave “… can’t go on forever but I also can’t provide a set time frame…

Nearly 2 Months After Now-Former Fire Chief’s DWI, Mayor Larson Still Mum

Larson Appointed Dennis Edwards To Fire Chief In 2016

DULUTH, Minn. – It’s been nearly two months since Duluth’s now-former fire chief, Dennis Edwards, was arrested and eventually charged with DWI. But there’s still no comment from Mayor Emily Larson who hand-selected Edwards for that position. FOX 21 has repeatedly asked Mayor Larson for any type of response, including this Thursday and Wednesday, but her spokesperson, Kate Van Daele,…

Grandma’s Restaurant Company CEO Buys Lincoln Park Building

DULUTH, Minn. – The owner of Grandma’s Restaurant Company, Andy Borg, has purchased a building in the growing Lincoln Park Craft District. The building is the former Duluth Sheet Metal building across from Duluth Cider on the 2300 block of West Superior Street. Grandma’s President Brian Dougherty says there aren’t major plans for the building right now other than eventually…

1 Dead After Officer-Involved Shooting in Ashland

ASHLAND, Wis. – One person is dead after an officer-involved shooting in Ashland. It happened sometime after 3 p.m. Wednesday on the 800 block of 4th Avenue West in the city limits. “The shooting is currently under investigation and it will be several hours until the crime scene is clear. Currently, there is no danger to the citizens of Ashland…

More Airport Infrastructure Upgrades Planned After Runway Reconstruction

DULUTH, Minn. – More upgrades are in the master plan for the Duluth International Airport, as the final phase of the main runway’s reconstruction is underway. There are discussions to eventually extend the smaller “cross wing runway” to 8,000 feet from the roughly 5,700 it’s at now. Airport officials say a larger second runway would help to support aviation growth…