Author: Dan Hanger

Fundraiser For Fire-Damaged Spoon’s Bar & Grill

Damage is now estimated to be as much as $400,000, according to owner Solomon Witherspoon.

DULUTH, Minn. — The official cause of a fire at Spoon’s Bar & Grill in Duluth’s Lincoln Park neighborhood remains under investigation, but people came out Thursday evening to raise money for the owner so he can eventually reopen. That event was held at the Spirit Room in Superior. Spoon’s owner Solomon Witherspoon said damage is now estimated to be…

Former Longtime Duluth City Attorney Headed to City of Hermantown

HERMANTOWN, Minn. – Former longtime Duluth city attorney Gunnar Johnson is now going to work in that same role with the city of Hermantown. The city council voted unanimously Monday night to hire Johnson, who will start in January. He is replacing Steve Overom who held the city attorney position for 42 years.  Overom is scaling back duties with the…

COVID Concerns Forcing Chisholm’s K-3rd Graders Back To Distance Learning

CHISHOLM, Minn. – An “increasing” number of COVID cases is forcing some elementary grades in the Chisholm School District to learn from home for at least the next two weeks. The changes are affecting K-3rd graders at Vaughan Steffensrud Elementary School, according to Adrian Norman, the district’s superintendent. Norman confirms St. Louis County health officials raised the alarm about the…

Greenwood Fire Now 67% Contained

ISABELLA, Minn. — There was good news for the Greenwood Fire on Sunday as officials said the fire was 67 percent contained and was not expected to have any new growth. Cooler air in the 60s, lighter winds and an increase in humidity have all contributed to the positive improvements with the fire, which started by lightning nearly a month…

‘On Golden Pond’ to Light up Fitger’s Spirit of the North Theater

DULUTH, Minn. – Live theater is returning to the Spirit of the North Theater inside the Fitger’s Complex this weekend with a brand new production. The original 1979 screenplay version of “On Golden Pond” will take center stage. It’s a romantic, funny and family oriented show. The production will run for two weekends starting this Friday at 7 p.m. The…

Bus Driver Shortage Causing ‘Very Real Concerns’ For Barnum Student Athletes

BARNUM, Minn. — A shortage of bus drivers with the Barnum School District is causing “very real concerns” about not being able to transport student athletes to their games, according to a letter from the district to parents and students Wednesday (see below). Parents are being asked to get ready to figure out how to get their own athletes to…

‘Travel Superior’ CEO Speaks Out Against Mayor Paine’s Tourism Commission Proposal

SUPERIOR, Wis. – The president and CEO of Superior’s visitor’s bureau, known as Travel Superior, is speaking out against Mayor Jim Paine’s proposal to create a tourism commission to handle 100 percent of the city’s tourism tax revenue. Taylor Pedersen believes the process to potentially do away with Travel Superior has been rushed and he doesn’t believe a six-person commission…

Greenwood Fire Destroys Nearly 70 Structures In McDougal Lake Area

No injuries have been reported so far.

The Greenwood Fire’s devastating destruction became very real Wednesday evening as officials released how many structures were damaged or destroyed in the McDougal Lake area. According to the Superior National Forest Service, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office has counted 12 cabins and homes destroyed by fire and nearly 60 outbuildings, like sheds, also destroyed. Three other primary structures, like cabins…

Duluth School Dist. To Mask Up For Full In-Person Learning

DULUTH, Minn. – The Duluth School District confirmed its back-to-school plans Tuesday evening that include students learning in-person five days a week and students 2 and older wearing masks. The mask requirement also includes all school employees and guests. The confirmation came as district officials updated the ISD 709 Safe Learning Plan. Supt. John Magas said he’s following the guidance…

‘Get Ready’ Notifications Issued For Portion Of Gunflint Trail As Wildfires Grow

BWCAW –  The Cook County Sheriff’s Office and Gunflint fire personnel are alerting people along a northern portion of the Gunflint Trail to “get ready” for potential evacuations because of growing wildfires in the BWCAW. The pre-evacuation alert is for property owners from Seagull Lake to the south end of Loon Lake. Sheriff Pat Eliasen posted on social media Monday…

Feasibility Study Underway For Possible Convention Center In Superior

SUPERIOR, Wis. – The city of Superior is looking into whether the city should be home to the area’s next convention center. A feasibility study is underway right now by a company out of the Twin Cities. The city’s planning director, Jason Serck, said the convention center wouldn’t be as big as the DECC in Duluth, but a size that…

Large Wildfire Ignites 15 Miles SW Of Isabella

Some camp sites have been evacuated and closed until further notice.

Greenwood Fire/USDA Forest Service GREENWOOD LAKE, Minn.  — A large wildfire ignited around 3 p.m. Sunday near Greenwood Lake — about 15 miles southwest of Isabella, Minn. Courtesy: Karl Kaufmann The USDA Forest Service did not immediately have the current size of the fire, other than it being estimated at a couple hundred acres and moving quickly. “The Forest Service…

Mayor Larson Provides Detailed Response To Critics Of Plan To Outsource Duluth’s Tourism Marketing

Larson's full e-mail to council with answers to critics can be found at the bottom of this story.

DULUTH, Minn. – Duluth Mayor Emily Larson addressed city councilors at Thursday night’s agenda meeting — three days after announcing her plan to outsource the city’s 2022 marketing contract and no longer use Visit Duluth. It’s a bold move Larson acknowledges, and one that’s fueled a lot of pushback from the local creative community. As FOX 21’s Dan Hanger reports,…

Critics Grow Louder Over Mayor Larson’s Plan To Outsource Duluth’s Tourism Marketing; Councilors Weigh In

DULUTH, Minn. – Duluth city councilors are getting an earful and raising questions — one day after Mayor Emily Larson boldly announced plans to pass up longtime Visit Duluth for the city’s next tourism marketing contract worth nearly $2 million and instead choose Minneapolis-based Bellmont Partners and its partner, Lawrence & Schiller. Mayor Larson told FOX 21 she stands by…

One-On-One: Mayor Larson Explains Choosing Minneapolis Agency Over ‘Visit Duluth’ For Tourism Marketing

Visit Duluth is being offered a significantly smaller second contract for "convention and visitor center operations."

DULUTH, Minn. – After 85 years as Duluth’s main tourism marketing arm, Visit Duluth will no longer have that title come 2022 — pending council’s approval — as Mayor Emily Larson continues to scrutinize how millions of dollars in tourism tax revenue is handed out every year. Larson made the big announcement Tuesday by saying her team has chosen Minneapolis-based…

Larson Chooses Minneapolis Agency Over ‘Visit Duluth’ For City’s Main Marketing Contract

Visit Duluth is being offered a significantly smaller second contract for "convention and visitor center operations."

DULUTH, Minn. – After 85 years as Duluth’s main tourism marketing arm, Visit Duluth will no longer have that title come 2022, as Mayor Emily Larson continues to scrutinize how millions of dollars in tourism tax revenue is used every year. Mayor Larson made the announcement Tuesday saying her team has chosen Minneapolis-based Bellmont Partners and its partner, Lawrence &…

Evers OKs Use-Of-Force Bill, Vetoes Plan To Defund Cities

(Steve Apps/Wisconsin State Journal via AP, File) MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Gov. Tony Evers has signed a bill that establishes a uniform use-of-force policy for police across Wisconsin. Evers announced he signed the bill on Friday. Under the bill, police can use force based on a situation’s circumstances and whether a suspect is fleeing or resisting arrest. Deadly force is…

Duluth Police Union Calls Lack Of Qualified Officer Candidates A ‘Crisis’

DULUTH, Minn. – Duluth’s police union is calling the struggle to hire qualified officers a “crisis” for the police department and the city. In a post on Local 807’s Facebook page, the union said they recently were not able to fill all open police officer positions because there weren’t enough qualified candidates interested in working for the Duluth Police Department….

Authorities Identify Victims In Wisconsin Triple Homicide

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) – Authorities have identified the victims of a triple homicide in far western Wisconsin. The La Crosse County Sheriff’s Office says the bodies of 24-year-old Peng Lor, 24-year-old Nemo Yang and 23-year-old Trevor Maloney were discovered shortly before 5 a.m. Friday by two workers of the Milestone Quarry. The quarry is located near West Salem, about…

Nearly 3 Dozen Athletes With Wisconsin Ties In Tokyo Games

Credit: Associated Press MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Nearly three dozen athletes with ties to Wisconsin will be going for the gold as the Olympics get underway in Tokyo. The Badger State athletes will represent Team USA in competition that includes trap shooting, track and field, rowing and sailing. Alie Rusher, from West Bend, will be participating in the quadruple sculls…

Visit Duluth, DECC Among Finalists For City’s 2022 Destination Marketing Contract

DULUTH, Minn. – The city of Duluth’s main tourism marketing arm since 1935, known as Visit Duluth, is a finalist for next year’s one-year contract, as Mayor Emily Larson looks to possibly go a different direction with a mission to “elevate the brand of Duluth,” according to the Request for Qualifications document put out by the city. The Mayor’s Office…

Douglas Co. Maintenance Employee Killed While Working In Government Center

SUPERIOR, Wis. — There were heavy hearts in Superior Monday after learning a Douglas County employee was killed while working in the Government Center over the weekend. The employee worked with the “Buildings and Grounds” crew. The work-related accident happened sometime Sunday in the Government Center building on the corner of Hammond Avenue and 14th Street. The name of the…

Employee Stabbed ‘Multiple Times’ In Babbitt, 2 Arrested

"The victim and the suspect were acquainted," according to Police Chief Mike McGregor.

BABBITT, Minn. – Police in Babbitt have arrested two men after a woman was stabbed multiple times Saturday evening inside a local business. Police Chief Mike McGregor says the call for help came in around 7:45 p.m. Saturday. While officers were responding to the scene, a shooting was reported in the same area.  McGregor said nobody was shot and both…

Hibbing Police K9 Ready For A&E’s ‘America’s Top Dog’

HIBBING, Minn. (FOX 9) – Chase, a police K9 from Hibbing, Minnesota is one of 16 Police K9s selected to compete in this season of A&E’s competition show “America’s Top Dog.” Chase was selected out of thousands of dogs after his handler, Hibbing Police Officer Joey Burns, put in an application after watching an episode of the show. “I was sitting there…

Blow-Up Movie Screen On Irvin, Projection Art Just A Few Ideas From New DECC Exec. Dir.

DULUTH,  Minn. – Duluth Entertainment Convention Center’s newly hired executive director, Dan Hartman, says he’s ready to rebrand the venue inside and out to become truly the central hub of Duluth. Hartman say his leadership team at the DECC is mostly made up of 20-plus-year employees. They’ve been brainstorming on ways to bring new life to the DECC, like creating…

Campfires Banned in Boundary Waters, Fire Danger High

Delta Fire ELY, Minn. (AP) – Forest Service officials have temporarily banned campfires in the Superior National Forest,  including the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, and closed some lakes and access points because of four wildfires burning in the area. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is reporting high or very high wildfire danger across most of northern Minnesota. The…

DECC Needs New Energy, New Use Of Spaces Inside — And Outside, Says New Exec. Dir.

Exec. Dir. Dan Hartman has his eyes on Harbor Drive behind the DECC for live entertainment, food trucks and special events, among other ideas.

DULUTH, Minn. – Excitement is building at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center as its new executive director of just a few weeks is already brainstorming ways to bring new energy to spaces within the DECC – and especially outside. Hartman, who most recently had a successful eight-year run rethinking the experience at Glensheen Mansion, says the level of opportunities at…

Canada’s Border Closure Partly To Blame For Dragon Boat Festival’s Cancellation

SUPERIOR, Wis. – It’s a no-go for this year’s Lake Superior Dragon Boat Festival, and we’ve learned timing and the closure at the Canadian border are partly to blame. The popular festival on Barker’s Island in Superior was set for the end of August, but committee members felt there wasn’t enough time to get boat teams of 20 together to…

Visit Duluth’s Future Uncertain As Mayor Larson Reevaluates City’s Tourism Marketing Vision, Dollars

The city has typically given Visit Duluth $2 million in tourism tax revenue every year.

DULUTH, Minn. – Visit Duluth, the city’s main tourism marketing arm since 1935, could be no more when its contract is up with the city at the end of the year. This comes after Mayor Emily Larson and her administration opened the job up through a new application process for a one-year contract through 2022. The “request for qualifications,” as…

Cover Band ‘Hairball’ Ready To Rock Bayfront Park July 3

Bassist Brian "HBK" Hollenbeck visited Duluth growing up and has a son who just graduated from UMD.

DULUTH, Minn. – A 4th of July weekend staple at Bayfront Park in Duluth is coming back this Saturday bigger than ever. We’re talking about one of the — if not the — most popular cover rock bands in the country known as Hairball. FOX 21’s Dan Hanger talked with bassist Brian “HBK” Hollenbeck Tuesday from his home in the…

Minnesota Bracing for Extended Drought, Wildfire Conditions

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Minnesota authorities are bracing for an extended wildfire season, saying the typical summer reprieve is looking more and more unlikely. Wildfires are typically at their worst in the spring and fall, slowing down in the summer when trees and plants are fully green and rain increases. But more than half of the state is experiencing drought conditions…

Minnesota Lawmakers Reach Deal On Policing Measures

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Minnesota’s top Democratic and Republican lawmakers have reached agreement on the highlights of a public safety bill after a contentious debate over police accountability. The deal was reached a day after former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison the death of George Floyd. Some details have yet to…

1 Injured In Downtown Duluth Shooting

The condition of the victim was not immediately known.

Duluth police on scene of the shooting Sunday night. DULUTH, Minn. — Duluth police are investigating a shooting that injured one person in downtown Duluth Sunday night. The report of the shooting came in around 9:15 p.m. on the 100 block of East 3rd Street. One male was shot and taken to a local hospital with unknown injuries. At last…

Police: 5 People Shot, Wounded Near University of Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Police say five people were shot late Friday in the Dinkytown neighborhood near the University of Minnesota. Just before midnight Friday, police responded to a call of shots fired. Officers found three men and two women had suffered noncritical gunshot wounds. Police spokesman John Elder says the five victims were taken by ambulance to local hospitals. Elder…

Man Falls 35 Feet Into Duluth’s Chester Creek

DULUTH, Minn. –  A man was rescued by Duluth firefighters Monday after falling into Chester Creek. Officials say the 21-year-old man fell 35 feet into the creek after a branch he was leaning on snapped. The incident happened around 7 p.m. “Fire crews had to use a basket to reach the man and pull him out of the ravine,” according…

‘Giant Addition’ Coming To Bentleyville Tour of Lights

The walk-thru experience will also be returning.

DULUTH, Minn. – Bentleyville Tour of Lights will return this winter with its traditional walk-thru experience, and a big announcement is expected Tuesday. This comes after last winter’s first-ever drive-thru Bentleyville experience. As for the big announcement, owner Nathan Bentley says he will be “announcing a partnership project with LHB Engineering, Ironworkers Local 512, and Braun Intertec Corporation on a…

Duluth Council Forgives Spirit Mountain’s $900K Debt As Part Of Larger Plan

DULUTH, Minn. – The Duluth city council voted Monday to forgive $900,000 of Spirt Mountain’s $1.2 million line of credit after tabling the vote weeks ago. Councilors Derek Medved and Joel Sipress voted against the resolution. Mayor Emily Larson has previously said she agrees with the outside consultant’s recommendation to forgive most of Spirit Mountain’s debt to really move forward…