Coronavirus

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, Health Officials Urge State to Take Virus Seriously Ahead of Winter

"If we do nothing differently, I would say it's a high likelihood that this is going to get much worse before it gets better," said the Chief Medical Officer. 

WISCONSIN- As the state of Wisconsin comes off of their highest single day jump in COVID-19 cases this weekend, Governor Tony Evers and public health officials urge Wisconsinites to take the virus more seriously going into the winter. Positive cases in Wisconsin increased by more than 2,000 each day for the past four days. Monday, there were 2,367 more cases….

Duluth City Council to Vote On Proposal Monday to Fund Spirit Mountain Through Winter

The proposal would call for $340,000 from the half-and-half tourism tax to reimburse Spirit Mountain for money they spent on their lift system, snow-making equipment and alpine coaster over 2018, 2019, and 2020.

DULUTH, Minn.- Spirit Mountain could see life this coming winter, if Duluth City Council approves a new proposal to use money from the city’s half-and-half tourism tax to cover operation costs. Heard at an agenda session Thursday, the proposal would call for $340,000 from the half-and-half tourism tax to reimburse Spirit Mountain for money they spent on their lift system,…

St. Louis County Sees Highest Daily Jump in COVID-19 Cases; Many Linked to College Students

Of Friday's 73 new cases, 19 involve college-aged individuals.

DULUTH, Minn.- St. Louis County reported it’s highest jump in COVID-19 cases Friday, and what’s alarming health officials — much of those new cases are college students. On Friday the county reported 73 new confirmed cases; the previous highest jump was 50 just last week. With this spike, there were more cases over one day than there were over the entire…

John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon Hosting Virtual 5K Fundraiser

The Fur-K Virtual Race is Happening Sept. 25 - 27, 2020

DULUTH, Minn. – Like many organizations this year, the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon is expecting to take a hit due to the ongoing financial effects COVID-19. To help raise funds, Beargrease board members have come up with the inaugural Fur-K ‘virtual 5K.’ The race will take place Friday, Sept. 25 – Sunday, Sept. 27 on your own time. Participants…

COVID-19 Cases Confirmed at Three Duluth Schools in First Week Open

So far all that have been confirmed is at least one positive case each at Lincoln Park Middle School, Denfeld High School, and Lowell Elementary. 

DULUTH, Minn.- With just one week into the school year, at least three cases of coronavirus have been confirmed within the Duluth School District. So far all that have been confirmed is at least one positive case each at Lincoln Park Middle School, Denfeld High School, and Lowell Elementary. We reached out to ISD 709 Tuesday for a total count…

Donald Trump Jr. Makes Pitch for Father on Duluth Stage

"They say we can't win Minnesota. I disagree, what about you?" he said at the podium at the DECC.

DULUTH, Minn.- To a DECC ballroom of 250 Trump supporters, Donald Trump Jr. used his “Make America Great Again” event to bolster his father’s first term in office while bashing his Democratic opponent Joe Biden. “They say we can’t win Minnesota. I disagree, what about you?” he said at the podium to an eruption of cheers. The eldest Trump son…

Health Officials Stress Importance of Influenza Vaccine as Flu Season Looms Ahead

The CDC says they have developed a test that will check for seasonal flu viruses, and the virus that causes COVID-19. 

DULUTH, Minn.- While the COVID-19 pandemic has been the most prominent public health concern since march, each winter brings a new flu season. Which is why officials are urging people to get vaccinated. “Now is the time to get it,” stressed Diane Seiloff, Adult Services Coordinator for St. Louis County Public Health. Generally, flu symptoms include a fever, cough, sore…

OMC Smokehouse Shuts Doors Temporarily After Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19

The restaurant says they will be identifying anyone who may have been in contact with the employee and encourage them to get tested.

  DULUTH, Minn. — A popular restaurant in Duluth’s Lincoln Park Neighborhood, OMC Smokehouse is closing temporarily due to an employee testing positive for COVID-19 Sunday. “We are just working on trying to understand this and trying to do it the right way,” said owner Tom Hanson. In a post on their Facebook page Sunday, OMC Smokehouse said they will…

Itasca County Health Officials Express Flu Shot Importance This Fall

Flu Shots Will Be Available Within One to Two Weeks at Grand Itasca Clinic & Hospital

GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. – As the Labor Day weekend inches closer, officials with Itasca County Public Health Department want to remind residents and visitors that their actions could have long-term effects amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Health officials say the last time they saw a huge spike in cases was two weeks after the 4th of July holiday weekend. This is…

Therapist Offers Advice on When to Seek Help With Mental Health Concerns

Coffee Conversation: Dealing with Mental Health Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Social Unrest

DULUTH, Minn. – The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting individuals on many different levels. Toss in political and social unrest across the country, and stress/anxiety have skyrocketed this year. Maren Barootian , a psychotherapist at Essentia Health in Duluth, says it’s important for those struggling with mental health issues to know they’re not alone. Barootian says it’s easy for many adults…

UMD Staff Member Creates Unique Signs for Social Distancing

The goal is to help ease students transitioning back to campus

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UMD, UWS, LSC Students Gear Up for Academic Year Full of Changes as School Starts

All schools are taking precautions such as increased signage for social distancing, hand sanitizing stations throughout campus, and extra staff to sanitize spaces and classrooms routinely. 

DULUTH, Minn.- Online v.s. in-person class settings, class sizes, and even semester start dates are all being changed at Northland colleges and universities this year, as students gear up for an academic year like no other. The August 31st starting date at UMD hangs in uncertainty as the Board of Regents is set to vote Monday on whether or not…

Iron Range Businesses Recognized by Chamber of Commerce with Awards Ceremony

The normal awards banquet scheduled this year was canceled due to coronavirus-related restrictions, but the chamber still found a way to honor Range businesses. 

VIRGINIA, Minn.- Businesses on the Iron Range were recognized for their contributions to the community at Olcott Park in Virginia Wednesday. The Laurentian Chamber of Commerce Honored them as part of this year’s award ceremony. The normal awards banquet scheduled this year was canceled due to coronavirus-related restrictions, but the chamber still found a way to honor Range businesses. The…

North Shore School Districts Release Fall Learning Plans

Cook County, Silver Bay, and Two Harbors Release Back-to-School Plans Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

COOK COUNTY, Minn. – The Cook County School Board voted Thursday evening to begin the academic year for ISD 166 on a distance learning model for all students grades K – 12. Superintendent Bill Crandall says the School Board not only took into consideration the current COVID-19 case numbers in Cook County, but what health experts are predicting could happen…

New Scenic Cafe Hitting the Road with ‘Scenic 61’ Food Truck

Restaurant owner adds food truck to methods of staying afloat while dine-in restaurant remains closed.

DULUTH, Minn.- After months shut down due to the pandemic, food is available at New Scenic Cafe on Highway 61 again — this time on wheels, as the Scenic 61 food truck opened Wednesday. Originally set up to carry food down to the now canceled Minnesota State Fair, Scenic 61 is now carrying the business through the summer as its…

Coalition of Downtown Duluth Businesses Kick off Friday ‘HART Happy Hour’

HART Happy Hour Takes Place Every Friday in August

DULUTH, Minn. – A coalition of businesses located in the Historic Arts and Theater District in Downtown, Duluth, also known as HART, have come together to create HART Happy Hour every Friday in August. HART Happy Hour is meant to provide an atmosphere for the community to connect, socialize, and help stimulate the local economy. Every Friday in August from…

Schools in Itasca County Provide Update on Fall Learning Plans

School Leaders in Itasca County Provide Update on District Plans for Back-to-School Learning Amid COVID-19

ITASCA COUNTY, Minn. – On Thursday, Superintendents from multiple school districts in Itasca County provided an update on back-to-school plans amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz recently announced a statewide decision to leave reopening plans up to district officials based on current COVID-19 data per county. Independent School District 318 (Bigfork and Grand Rapids) Based on current COVID-19…

Duluth Superior Pride Festival Going Virtual Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Duluth Superior Pride Virtual Festival Begins Thursday, September 3, 2020

DULUTH, Minn. – The 34th annual Duluth Superior Pride Festival will go on virtually this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Event organizers say after months of discussion, it simply wasn’t responsible to move forward with an in-person celebration as in year’s past. “I think it’s extremely important to host a virtual celebration. Pride is based on community and taking a…

Free Drive-Thru COVID-19 Testing in Superior After Weekend of Two Large Public Events

Douglas County officials say despite safety precautions at Bowfest and Head of the Lakes Fair, testing should be done in the virus incubation period.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- After a weekend of two large public events in Superior, Douglas County Health Officials and the Wisconsin National Guard teamed up to administer free drive-thru COVID-19 tests Wednesday at Superior Middle School. 500 coronavirus tests were available in the parking lot of the Middle School. Douglas County Health Officials say before the site even began testing, 75 cars…

International Falls Area Businesses Experience Impact of COVID-19

U.S., Canada Border Closure Impacts Businesses in the International Falls Area

INTERNATIONAL FALLS, Minn. – COVID-19 continues to keep a tight lockdown on our daily lives and routines. Businesses are being impacted, and communities are having to come together now more than ever before to help one another. The community of International Falls, situated right along the Canadian border, is feeling the economic impact due to the ongoing U.S., Canadian border…

Pandemic, Rainy Weather Cause Smaller Turnout at Head of Lakes Fair

Organizers say a couple hundred people attended this year.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- As the Head of the Lakes Fair in Superior comes to a close, organizers said fears of the pandemic and some nasty weather kept a lot of people from coming during their six-day run. Normally attracting thousands to the Fairgrounds on Tower Avenue over the course of the fair, the director of the Head of the Lakes Fair…

Superior Mayor Encourages Compliance of Mask Mandate Effective Monday

SUPERIOR, Wis.- Starting Monday masks will be required in all indoor public places in Superior. Last week the Superior City Council voted 9-1 in favor of the mandate, with Councilor and bar owner Keith Kern the only vote against. Businesses that don’t enforce the rule could be punished of for a licensing violation, and face the same consequences as they…

Thousands Attend Effie, MN Rodeo Protesting Governor Walz’s COVID-19 Restrictions

Billed as largest longest running rodeo in country, many protested what they called Government overreach.

EFFIE, Minn.-  As Minnesota’s mask mandate takes effect, Governor Tim Walz reminded the state that it’s important for people to follow his directives to slow the spread of COVID-19 — but at a small town rodeo, some do not believe government intervention is necessary. Thousands of people packed the stands at the 65th Annual North Star Stampede Rodeo in Effie…

Itasca County Officials Provide Update on COVID-19, Senior Living Facilities

Cases of COVID-19 Continue to Climb in Itasca County

ITASCA COUNTY, Minn. – Officials say coordination has been key to successful COVID-19 response strategies inside long term care facilities in Itasca County. Health professionals and management from many of the senior care facilities in the county provided an update Thursday morning on response efforts. Management from The Emeralds at Grand Rapids report they haven’t had any new cases of…

Duluth Hotel Industry Slowly Picking Up, Hoping to Reach Last Summer Numbers

According to Visit Duluth hotels citywide during the pandemic saw 15-20% of available rooms early at their lowest point. 

DULUTH, Minn.- The largest hotel in Duluth, Holiday Inn and Suites on First Street Downtown says while business doesn’t look like last summer, it is picking up. The staff at Holiday Inn say occupancy is down 50%  from what it was last summer. According to Visit Duluth hotels citywide during the pandemic saw 15-20% of available rooms early at their…

Gov. Walz Says Mask Mandate Will Help Keep Businesses Open, Infection Rate Down

As of Saturday masks will be required in all indoor public spaces.

MINNESOTA- On Wednesday, Minnesota joined over two dozen other states in requiring masks to be worn in all indoor public places statewide. That new Executive Order by Governor Tim Walz goes into effect Saturday morning. You can find the full executive order here. “This is a small sacrifice for a potentially big gain,” Gov. Walz said. “The upside of the…

Cloquet City Council Passes Mask Mandate; Votes to Take Effect August 1st

While some councilors supported the language of the ordinance, others thought enforcement would be an issue.

CLOQUET, Minn.- A mask mandate for indoor public places was passed by the Cloquet City Council Monday evening, taking effect August 1st. Unlike Duluth, the vote was not unanimous — the council, it seems, as divided as they said the community is on the issue. The Council passed the ordinance 5-2, the only change being making it effective August 1st….

Superior School District Approves Three Reopening Scenarios; Asks Parents to Submit Preferences

SUPERIOR, Wis.- The Superior School District has approved their possible plan for how students will be taught this fall. The coming school year will either be all virtual, all in-person, or a hybrid of at-home and in-school learning. The district is still waiting to pick a final option. They say they hope to have a set plan in place by…

Superior School Board Approves Response Plan for Reopening this Fall

Plan allows families to choose all-virtual, or hybrid of virtual and in-person learning.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- In their first in-person meeting since March, the Superior School Board Monday approved their COVID-19 District Response Plan on reopening schools this fall. In the plan (found here), families can choose whether to continue having their children learn virtually at home, or attend in a hybrid setting with partial education at home and partial in the school building….

Live Music, Food Enjoyed While Social Distanced at Earth Rider Brewery

SUPERIOR, Wis.- Some people spent the warm Sunday outside listening to live music — socially distanced of course — at Earth Rider Brewery. At the outdoor space at Earth Rider’s Cedar Lounge, customers enjoyed a few drinks, some live music, and Thai-fusion cuisine from the “One Night in Bangkok” Food Truck. Staff at Earth Rider say they are happy their…

Some Cloquet Business Owners Ready for Mask Mandate Ahead of Council Vote Tuesday

While city officials' views on the ordinance are divided, these business owners say it's a good idea.

CLOQUET, Minn.- Coming up Tuesday two Northland cities, Cloquet and Superior, will vote on a mask mandate for indoor public places. In Cloquet, some business owners say it’s a good idea if it means continuing their operations as safely as possible. “I think it’s good for the community overall, just to keep the spread of the Coronavirus,” said Cindy Peterson,…

Pandemic Doesn’t Erase ‘Chalk.a.Lot’ Festival in Two Harbors

The festival continued this year, albeit downsized due to COVID-19.

TWO HARBORS, Minn.- Artist hard at work could be spotted throughout Two Harbors Saturday, and their canvas — the sidewalks. The 9th Annual “Chalk.a.Lot” Festival carried on. “Everybody’s so excited to be here and they’re happy to be creating art,” said Carrie Coan, President of the Two Harbors Area Arts and Events Board. “This is our 9th year and everybody…

Owner of Twin Ports Bars, Restaurants Weighs in On Proposed Superior Mask Mandate

After abiding by the new ordinance at his Duluth locations, Rick Lampton says he expects adjusting at Grizzly's and 7 West in Superior to go smoothly.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- In just three days the Superior City Council will vote on whether to implement an indoor public mask mandate similar to Duluth. Now more bar and restaurant owners are speaking out on that proposed ordinance. Rick Lampton, owner of many establishments in both Duluth and Superior, including Grizzly’s and 7 West Taphouse, has already adjusted his businesses to…

Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health Sending COVID Care Packages to Northland Tribal Communities

Researchers at the Great Lakes Hub in Duluth say the care packages are short term solutions, while they work to address lack of public health care in tribal communities.

DULUTH, Minn.- As the pandemic continues to rip through communities throughout the Northland, the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health Great Lakes Hub in Duluth is providing aid to the indigenous communities effected by the virus. The Center has sent out about 100 care packages with food supplies, and about 100 what they call Holistic Wellness Boxes with items…

Head of Lakes Fair Still Happening with Extra Safety Precautions, Modified Activities

Along with hand sanitizing stations and staff monitoring people for social distancing, certain rides will not be there.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- Setup is underway for the only fair that seems to still be moving forward in the Northland — and perhaps the only event of the summer. The Head of the Lakes Fair on Tower Avenue is set to happen, open to the public next Tuesday at 4 p.m. Organizers say they are confident working with county health officials…

With Superior Mask Mandate on Horizon, Business Owners Prepare for its Passage

Some retail businesses like Annie's Attic already recommend masks, so making it a city-wide requirement will take some stress of enforcement, owner says.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- Across the bridge in Superior, businesses are preparing for a city wide mask mandate that could take effect July 27th, if the City Council approves a proposed ordinance at next week’s council meeting. All signs show it will be passed for indoor public places, as only Councilor Keith Kern, a bar owner himself, voted against moving forward with…

Duluth Becomes First City in Northland to Approve Mask Mandate for Indoor Public Places

Duluth City Council voted unanimously to require masks indoors in public, with penalties for businesses and individuals that don't comply.

DULUTH, Minn.- Duluth is now the first city in the Northland to require masks in all public indoor spaces to stop the spread of the Coronavirus, after City Council voted unanimously to pass the historic ordinance Monday night, effective immediately. Face coverings will now be required in such places as retail spaces, DTA buses, the Skywalk, and in apartment building…

2020 Park Point 5-Miler Includes Several Options for Runners

Park Point 5-Miler In-Person Race Happening Thursday, July 16

DULUTH, Minn. – This year’s Park Point 5-Miler will go forward with multiple options for runners amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Grandma’s Marathon has been working for weeks with guidance from the City of Duluth and the Grandma’s Marathon Medical Director to come up with a safe way to host the annual event. The plan allows the event to move forward…

Lester River Rendezvous Canceled For First Time in Over 20 Years

Annual event gathers about 10,000 people every year.

DULUTH, Minn.- For the first time in more than 20 years, the Lester River Rendezvous is canceled this September due to the coronavirus pandemic. According to organizers, the weekend event gathers about 10,000 people every year. One of their more popular events is the Voyageur Village, which re-enacts an 18th-19th century fur trade village. Coordinator Don Mendoza said while he’ll…

DECC Opens Up For Dance Competition

Ovation Dance Challenge is the DECC's first event since the pandemic started.

DULUTH, Minn.- On Saturday the DECC in Duluth held its first event since the pandemic started. The Ovation Dance Challenge took place in Symphony Hall. About 200 dancers participated between Friday and Saturday and were watched by no more than 250 people, as per state guidelines. Masks were required and the stage and other areas were routinely sanitized. Organizers say dancers…

Dance Competition to be First Event at DECC Since Start of Pandemic

While DECC is excited to open back up, the dance community is excited that they might be getting platforms to perform again.

DULUTH, Minn.- For the first time since March, the DECC in Duluth will play host to an event once again this weekend. The event is called the Ovation Dance Challenge, and capacity will be limited at the state guidelines of 250 people, with only family of the dancers allowed inside, and a livestream provided for anyone else who wants to…

Duluth Bars Extra Cautious as Gov. Walz Threatens Statewide Bar Shutdown

Bar owners in Duluth say a second closure could prove disastrous.

DULUTH, Minn.- As COVID-19 cases grow nationwide, many states are already turning back to restrictions on business. Now states like Minnesota may be considering the same, as Governor Tim Walz warns that mass gatherings without masks in bars will cause numbers to rise faster. “The bars right now are not safe,” said the Governor at a press conference last week,…

Some Superior Businesses See Different Customer Traffic Due to Canceled Fireworks Show

Bars and restaurants and attractions seeing a bit more customers, but many staying home.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- The City of Superior abruptly canceled their 4th of July fireworks show the day before, causing some businesses to adapt to the change in customer flow. “We weren’t sure what to expect coming through,” Dustin Heckman, Executive Director of the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center said. A year with fireworks would bring both Superiorites and others visiting…

Lake Superior Zoo Launches Phase Two of Reopening, Membership Drive Extended

Starting Thursday, July 2, Lake Superior Zoo will Welcome Back Visitors to Indoor Exhibits

DULUTH, Minn. – The call of the wild is calling Northlanders back to the Lake Superior Zoo amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting Thursday, July 2, the zoo will begin phase two in the reopening process. This will allow visitors to once again check out indoor exhibits, just in time for the Fourth of July holiday weekend. “We’re just really excited…

Longview Tennis Club Resumes Operations

"I think tennis is for everybody. You don't have to be a professional at it."

DULUTH, Minn. – “I think tennis is for everybody. You don’t have to be a professional at it,” Longview Tennis Manager, Kirk Summers says. Whether you’re an ammeter or an expert, there’s no questioning how good it feels to get back outside. “We know we don’t have many days like this which is nice to come down and play outdoors,”…

North Shore Scenic Railroad Poised to Reopen

DULUTH, Minn. – The North Shore Scenic Railroad and Lake Superior Railroad Museum are set to reopen on Wednesday. The two will open together after being shut down for several months allowing directors to take a look at other attractions open around the country to see what was working for them. Now, with an increased emphasis in safety and touchless…

Liila Boutique in Lincoln Park Moves Store to Sidewalk

Store holds sidewalk sale to make up for not being able to open interior.

DULUTH, Minn.- Another local business in Lincoln Park is trying new ways to open back up while also following public health guidelines. Liila Boutique on West Superior Street has been bringing their store to the sidewalk the past few weekends. Since they’re located in the Duluth Folk School building which remains closed, they can’t open their doors to the public….

e2ip Technologies Shutting Down Bigfork Facility By End of 2020

Economic Officials in Itasca County Provide an Update on Residents, Businesses Financially Impacted by COVID-19

BIGFORK, Minn. – Friday morning during a press briefing, economic officials in Itasca County provided new details regarding the economic impact COVID-19 is having on residents and businesses in the region. According to Tamara Lowney, President, and CEO of Itasca Economic Development Center, by the end of 2020, Montreal based e2ip Technologies will close its Bigfork location for good. The…

Duluth Without Grandma’s Marathon for the First Time in 43 Years

Race officials say crews are hard at work making next year even better.

DULUTH, Minn.- For the first time in 43 years, Duluth and the North Shore were not packed with thousands of runners as Grandma’s Marathon was cancelled this year. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic the race was called off after over 18,000 runners had already registered. Runners across the country still participated in the virtual races, but race officials say it’s…