Author: Dan Hanger

MN Nurses Assoc.: Nearly 300 Essentia Nurses Take Temporary Furloughs

DULUTH, Minn. –  The financial blow from the pandemic has placed nearly 300 nurses at Essentia Health in the Twin Ports on “special administrative leave.” A spokesperson for the Minnesota Nurses Association union told FOX 21 on Thursday that the workers have taken voluntary furloughs to avoid potential layoffs and keep their health insurance benefits. Being furloughed also allows the…

Duluth Chamber CEO Adapts Advocacy For Businesses Through Pandemic

DULUTH, Minn. — The Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce is looking at all types of ways to connect with local businesses right now to help them through the pandemic’s financial crisis. Chamber President and CEO David Ross says he’s seen an increase in small businesses looking for guidance with grant and loan applications, among other needs. His team is in…

Semi-Truck Rolls, Dumps Load in Roundabout

SUPERIOR, Wis. – The roundabout in Superior was shut down Wednesday for some time after a semi-truck rolled. The semi rolled just before 4 p.m. in the roundabout where Belknap Street connects with the Bong Bridge. The scrap metal the truck was carrying littered the roadway. Superior police believe another vehicle was involved in the accident when the truck was…

Coronavirus Pandemic Forces Closure of Lake County News Chronicle

DULUTH, Minn. – The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic is shutting down one of the Duluth News Tribune’s sister newspapers up the north shore. The Lake County News Chronicle, which was founded in 1974, will publish its final issue on May 22. The announcement was made Wednesday evening on the publication’s website. The closure comes as newspapers, televisions stations…

‘Superior Gift Card Club’ Raises $50K For Local Businesses

SUPERIOR, Wis. – A Facebook gift card club in Superior designed to help local businesses during the pandemic has reached a big milestone. The club has raised $50,000 so far through daily online raffles. Councilors Craig Sutherland and Brent Fennessey came up with the idea just five weeks ago, and they never thought they’d be able to give this much…

Superior Mayor, Chamber CEO Talk Pandemic’s Financial Crisis

SUPERIOR, Wis. – Superior Mayor Jim Paine told FOX 21’s Dan Hanger on Tuesday why he doesn’t expect to furlough or lay off any employees during the pandemic, unlike the city of Duluth.  And we’re learning more about how the hit to the tourism industry is affecting the Superior-Douglas County Area Chamber of Commerce like it has never been hit…

Superior Mayor Jim Paine: No Layoffs, Furloughs Expected During Pandemic

SUPERIOR, Wis. – Superior Mayor Jim Paine says he has no plans to lay off or furlough any employees right now or in the future. Mayor Paine told FOX 21 Monday while times are uncertain and he can’t fully predict impacts to the city’s finances, he does believe the city of Superior is fiscally healthy to withstand pressures from the…

Hometown Heroes: 4/26/20

DULUTH, Minn. — FOX 21 is highlighting local front-line workers who are giving their all for the community during the coronavirus pandemic. Here are just a few of our Hometown Heroes from Sunday’s broadcast. If you’d like to nominate someone, just head over to FOX 21’s Facebook page to upload an image and a brief description about the person. We…

Superior Police Officer Helping Others Through Pandemic With Daily Facebook Posts

SUPERIOR, Wis. – We are now more than a month into the stay-at-home order in Minnesota and Wisconsin as thousands are jobless, businesses are shut down and emotions are running higher than ever. But there’s one police officer in Superior who’s trying to help guide those emotions in a positive way through posts on the department’s Facebook page based off…

Stolen Vehicle Pursuit Ends With Driver Ejected

A 33-year-old man from Ely was ejected from a vehicle Sunday that St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office says was stolen. The man, whose name was not immediately released, was air lifted to a Duluth area hospital for non-life threatening injuries. The crash happened south of Mt. Iron during a high-speed pursuit after deputies tried to arrest the driver around noon…

MN COVID-19 Cases, Deaths Rise As Restrictions Set To Be Eased

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Minnesota health officials on Sunday confirmed 156 new cases of the coronavirus, raising the total number to more than 3,600. The updated report includes 28 deaths from COVID-19, for a statewide total of 272. All but five of the victims were in long-term care facilities. A total of 829 people have required hospitalization. Of those, 285 remain…

Superior Asst. Police Chief Retires After Nearly 30 Years Of Service

SUPERIOR, Wis. – A nearly 30-year veteran of the Superior Police Department has retired. Friday was Assistant Chief Matt Markon’s last day on the force. The 53-year-old joined the department as a patrol officer in 1991. Markon says he’s enjoyed so much about the job over the years, but especially helping people. “Just being able to think back on the…

Duluth Police Chief Talks COVID-19, Community Engagement, Budget

DULUTH, Minn. – The Duluth Police Department is continuing to work under unprecedented times during the pandemic. Chief Mike Tusken says his patrol officers are working 12-hour shifts for five days on and 15 days off to allow an officer to potentially develop symptoms of COVID-19 before returning to work. “We do believe that the greatest threat we have in…

Superior-Douglas Co. Chamber CEO Furloughs Self, Staff

It's a move the chamber hasn't made before in its 137-year history.

SUPERIOR, Wis. – The Superior-Douglas County Area Chamber of Commerce has temporarily laid off most of its staff because of the financial strain from the pandemic. It’s a move the chamber hasn’t made before in its 137-year history. Chamber President/CEO Taylor Pedersen told FOX 21 the decision to furlough was tough but a responsible one so his team can be strong…

Nearly 50 Full-Time City of Duluth Employees Laid Off

This latest round of layoffs comes after 45 temporary/seasonal employees were also laid off.

DULUTH, Minn. — The city of Duluth is laying off nearly 50 more employees on top of dozens of temporary and seasonal positions because of a massive projected budget shortfall. A spokesperson for Mayor Emily Larson said Wednesday that 49 full-time employees are affected in this latest round of layoffs. The positions range from housing inspectors within the fire department…

Hometown Heroes: 4/20/20

DULUTH, Minn. — FOX 21 is highlighting local front-line workers who are giving their all for the community during the coronavirus pandemic.  Here are just a few of our Hometown Heroes from Sunday’s broadcast.  If you’d like to nominate someone, just head over to FOX 21’s Facebook page to upload an image and a brief description about the person.  We…

Hibbing Taconite To Lay Off 650 Employees

Hibbing Taconite will be idling its plant in the beginning of May and laying off 650 of its 750 employees.  This comes after Northshore Mining announced hundreds of layoffs in Babbitt and Silver Bay, and Keetac Mine announced hundreds of layoffs in Keewatin. Below is the press release from ArcelorMittal USA, which manages Hibbing Taconite: Due to the unprecedented and…

FOX 21 Hometown Heroes: 4/19/20

DULUTH, Minn. — FOX 21 is highlighting local front-line workers who are giving their all for the community during the coronavirus pandemic.  Here are just a few of our Hometown Heroes from Sunday’s broadcast.  If you’d like to nominate someone, just head over to FOX 21’s Facebook page to upload an image and a brief description about the person.  We…

ACLU-MN sues to release Moose Lake inmates due to COVID-19

MOOSE LAKE, Minn. (AP) – The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota is suing to release inmates endangered by COVID-19 at Moose Lake prison in northern Minnesota. The organization filed a petition Wednesday against the state Department of Corrections. According to a DOC database, 12 inmates in Moose Lake are confirmed positive for the coronavirus and another 31 inmates are…

$15,000 in Meat, Liquor Stolen From Black Water Lounge on Easter Sunday

DULUTH, Minn. – More than $15,000 worth of inventory was stolen from the Black Water Lounge in downtown Duluth on Easter Sunday. This comes at a time when restaurant owners are trying to survive with only curbside and pick-up orders during the pandemic. The suspect is seen on surveillance video taking salmon, beef and liquor from the back storage area…

Relief Funds Set Up For 3 Grand Marais Businesses Destroyed By Fire

GRAND MARAIS, Minn. – Relief funds have been set up to support three downtown Grand Marais businesses destroyed by fire Monday. One account is set up at Grand Marais State Bank, PO Box 100, 55604.  Any contributions sent to “Fire Relief Fund” will be evenly distributed to the three businesses – Crooked Spoon Café, White Pine North and Picnic &…

Johnson Resigns as Duluth City Attorney, Calls Investigative Report Against Him ‘Inconclusive at Best’

DULUTH, Minn. – After nearly 12 years as the city of Duluth’s top attorney, Gunnar Johnson has decided to resign amid complaints filed against him by employees in the attorney’s office. Johnson was placed on administrative suspension two months ago. FOX 21’s Dan Hanger takes a look at the findings from an investigative report into those complaints, what Johnson is…

Pandemic Forces Duluth News Tribune’s Parent Company To Make Cuts

DULUTH, Minn. — During a time when so many people are turning to television and newspapers for the latest on this historic pandemic, media companies are experiencing a drastic loss of advertising revenue from businesses facing their own uncertainties. And the Duluth News Tribune’s parent company – Forum Communications Co. out of Fargo, North Dakota — is one of those…

Governor Walz: ‘The State of our State is Resilient’

ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) – The coronavirus pandemic has brought Minnesota to a grinding halt. Schools have closed, events have been cancelled, and many businesses have shut down as leaders have worked to slow the spread of the disease and prevent hospitals from being overloaded. Governor Walz issued a stay-at-home order that took effect starting March 27, urging Minnesotans…

Phase 3 of Superior Street Reconstruction Starts Monday; Section of Phase 2 Delayed Longer

DULUTH, Minn. – The final phase of the Superior Street reconstruction project begins on Monday, April 6, and it includes the busy intersection of Lake Avenue to 3rd Avenue West. Signs will be posted through the project area, and barricades will be in place beginning Monday morning. 3rd Ave. East to 4th Ave. East delayed until Spring of 2021 because…

Duluth Police Investigate ‘Shots Fired’

DULUTH, Minn. –  Duluth police are investigating after a report of “shots fired” overnight in an alley in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. The report came in just before midnight Saturday between West 1st Street and West 2nd Street near 26th Avenue West. When police arrived, they found spent shell casings, according to a spokeswoman. Nobody was injured and no arrests…

Fond du Lac Band Says Casino Employees Would Be Laid Off First

CARLTON, Co. – The Fond du Lac Band is trying to avoid layoffs of its employees as its two casinos sit dark with zero cash flow. The tribe’s secretary treasurer, Ferdinand Martineau, addressed the financial concerns in a Facebook video Wednesday. He said leadership is discussing when and who could be laid off if the governor’s closure order lasts longer…

Sara’s Table Chester Creek Cafe Fully Closes Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

DULUTH, Minn. – The owner of the popular At Sara’s Table Chester Creek Cafe in Duluth says she’s fully closing her restaurant until further notice. In a post on the restaurant’s Facebook page Tuesday, owner Carla Blumberg said take-out and delivery is no longer an option. She said cost and logistics “overwhelmed us.” Sara’s Table is just one of dozens…

Essentia Health Placing 500 Employees on ‘Special Administrative Leave’

DULUTH, Minn. –  Essentia Health announced Monday a plan to reduce non-medical staffing levels by 500 employees next week as the company prepares for a surge of COVID-19 patients in the communities it serves.  The employees affected are not involved in direct patient care, according to hospital officials. “These plans include redeploying our workforce to best position Essentia Health to…

Country Singer Joe Diffie Dies After Contracting Coronavirus, Was To Perform At Bayfront

NEW YORK (AP) – Country singer Joe Diffie, who had a string of hits in the 1990s with chart-topping, rock-tinged singles such as “Home” and “Pickup Man” has died after testing positive for COVID-19. He was 61. A spokesman for Diffie on Friday announced he had contracted the coronavirus, becoming the first country star to go public with such a…

St. Louis County Recorder’s Office Offering Drive-Up Service By Appointment

DULUTH, Minn. – The St. Louis County Recorder’s Office in Duluth will begin offering drive-up service on Monday, March 30. The service is available by appointment between 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. Officials say the service is for people with an immediate need for a vital record, including marriage licenses, birth and death certificates, and real estate…

Minong Grocery Store Owner Talks Wild Demand, Price Gouging, Summer Tourism Concerns

Owner Rob Henson believes snowbirds, cabin owners have all flocked to the area months earlier than usual because of the coronavirus outbreak

MINONG, Wis. – Small-town grocery stores are getting slammed with unusual demand amid the coronavirus outbreak. And for one grocery owner in Minong, there’s a fear there won’t be enough inventory out there to be stocked up for summer tourism season — a time that carries many small businesses through the slow winter months. “I don’t think anybody is prepared…

Virus Outbreak Halts Damaged Husky Refinery Rebuilding

SUPERIOR, Wis. (AP) – Husky Energy has suspended rebuilding its oil refinery in Superior that was damaged by an explosion two years ago because of the coronavirus outbreak. A spokeswoman for the Alberta, Canada-based company said Tuesday that Husky has “begun a systematic and orderly suspension of major construction activities related to the Superior rebuild project.” The fire and explosion…

As Coronavirus Impacts Grocery Stores, Duluth City Councilors Postpone Plastic Bag Fee

DULUTH, Minn. – Councilors took action Monday to help ease extra anxiety on grocery store workers during the COVID-19 outbreak by postponing the implementation of the 5-cent plastic bag fee. Councilors voted unanimously to wait until January of 2021 to enforce the new law that will charge customers 5 cents for each plastic bag used. Councilor Barb Russ was absent…

John Shuster Family Self-Quarantined as Wife Awaits Coronavirus Test Results

SUPERIOR, Wis. – Curling Olympic gold medalist and Chisholm native John Shuster, 37, is self-quarantined with his family in Superior while his wife, Sara, awaits test results to see if she is positive for the COVID-19 strain of coronavirus. This comes after she competed in the USA Curling Club Nationals in the Washington, D.C. area in early March before government…

CDC Recommends Canceling Or Postponing Gatherings Of 50 Or More People For 8 Weeks

DULUTH, Minn. – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say Americans should cancel or postpone all gatherings of 50 people or more for the next eight weeks. That’s as experts say social distancing is imperative to curb the spread of coronavirus. The CDC says the new guidance applies to conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and any other…

DSSO Cancels Two Concerts Amid Coronavirus Concerns

DULUTH, Minn. – The Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra is canceling programming for the next two weeks. This comes as the CDC recommends all events with more than 50 people be canceled. This means the cancellations of two DSSO concerts — Beethoven Fifth on Mar. 21 and Beethoven Adventure Casual Concert on Mar. 22. DSSO officials say it was a difficult…

Larson Addresses Coronavirus Concerns Sunday Ahead of Press Event

DULUTH, Minn. – Duluth Mayor Emily Larson will be holding a press conference Monday at 10 a.m. with an update on the city’s plans regarding the coronavirus. The event will be closed to the public to honor the Minnesota Department of Health’s social distancing guidelines, according to Larson. The press conference will be streamed on the city and FOX 21’s…

Conventions Cancel At DECC Amid Coronavirus Concerns; Venue Could Shut Down Temporarily

DULUTH, Minn. — Conventions at the DECC are beginning to cancel because of coronavirus fears.  And if business continues to drop out, the DECC could shut down for some time. “It’s possible that we would shut down, definitely. It depends on how long this goes. We have things we can do in the building to keep us busy. We have…

AFSCME to City of Duluth: ‘Respect Public Workers,’ Restore 2 Maintenance Positions

DULUTH, Minn. — The city of Duluth’s largest union – AFSCME Council 5 — is calling on Mayor Emily Larson’s administration to reverse its decision to cut two maintenance worker positions.  And the union is asking for residents of Duluth for support because it says the city is not respecting public workers and access to critical services that the community…

CSS Joins UMD, UWS By Extending Spring Break, Moving Classes Online Amid Coronavirus Concerns

DULUTH, Minn. – The College of St. Scholastica announced Wednesday it would be joining the University of Minnesota Duluth and the University of Wisconsin-Superior by extending spring break for students and moving classes online when those students return amid concerns about the COVID-19 strain of the coronavirus.   Below is the statement from the president CSS: Dear St. Scholastica Family, As…

UMD, UWS Extend Spring Break; Classes Moving Online When Students Return

DULUTH, Minn. — The University of Minnesota Duluth and the University of Wisconsin-Superior have announced they are extending spring break and moving classes online when students return because of the growing concerns involving the COVID-19 strain of the coronavirus.  Below are the two official releases from each university. UMD: Dear students, faculty, and staff, As the challenges presented by COVID-19…

2 City Maintenance Worker Positions Cut; Duluth CAO Provides Perspective

DULUTH, Minn. – We’re learning more about two recent cuts to positions within the city of Duluth. Mayor Emily Larson’s office said Monday the positions were maintenance workers for the fleet and parks divisions. The two employees were making $47,096 a year. Both were offered new jobs within the city at similar salaries — one as a janitor and the…