COVID-19

Virtual UMD Commencement Still One to Remember, Graduates Say

2300 graduated online, with video speeches and a slideshow.

DULUTH, Minn.- About 2,300 seniors graduated from UMD this year, but they’re listening to pomp and circumstance in their own homes, virtually. “Being a family of five we just try and make it as special as we can,”  said Music Education major Hunter Hamby. “We know we can’t emulate the big celebration sort of thing.” That big celebration would normally…

Superior Bars React to Safer-at-Home Order Struck Down by Wisconsin Supreme Court

The order, as well as the six-day injunction, were rejected, leaving businesses free to open immediately.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- Just as quickly as some say it started, Wisconsin’s safer-at-home order is, for now, finished–struck down by the State Supreme Court. Businesses statewide, including bars and restaurants, now have the green light to “open immediately” according to a social media post by the Tavern League of Wisconsin. “Come on in!” said Cory Gatzke, triumphantly throwing open the shades…

148th Fighter Wing Honors Frontline Workers With Flyover

DULUTH, Minn. – It’s called Operation American Resolve and it’s a way members of the 148th fighter wing can show their appreciation for people, like healthcare workers, who are answering the call during these difficult times. “We’ve also got people like our first responders, our cops, our fire fighters. Even people running the supply chain out there with our groceries, essential…

St. Louis County Projects Budget Shortfall, No Layoffs So Far

The County is also waiving late fees for property owners who apply for an extension to July.

DULUTH, Minn.- COVID-19 has dealt a financial blow to St. Louis County in the form of a projected budget shortall. According to County Auditor Nancy Nilsen, the budget shortfall is expected to be at least $6 million. She said her office is not looking at layoffs or furloughs, but instead plan to save money with a hiring freeze leaving about…

St. Scholastica Spring Commencement Goes Virtual, Seniors Look Back on Last Year

While disappointing, not having an in-person commencement doesn't change the fact that they completed four years of college, seniors say.

DULUTH, Minn.- Graduating seniors at the College of St. Scholastica are celebrating the end of their college lives a bit differently than they may have expected: with a virtual commencement ceremony. This time last year, there was a full gymnasium filled with caps and gowns. “I was homeschooled high school so I never had the ceremony so I was really…

Cloquet High Seniors Pick Up Graduation Cap and Gowns Drive-Thru Style

Teachers, Family and Community members wear purple and come out in support.

CLOQUET, Minn.- Picking up your graduation cap and gown is a big moment for high school seniors. So the Cloquet High School Administration and the surrounding community made it even bigger, while still maintaining social distance–having them available as a drive-thru. “It really boiled down to some form of togetherness,” said Principal Steve Battaglia. A chorus of honks greeted Cloquet…

Bailey Builds Allows Customers to Shop from their Cars

Car-side shopping is in addition to curbside pickup and an online store.

DULUTH, Minn.- An arts studio and store on Grand Avenue in Duluth is changing the way they bring handmade gifts to customers. You can now shop Bailey Builds from your car. One of the staff members will meet you at your vehicle with a mask and gloves to find out what you’re looking for, come back with gift ideas, and…

Some Duluth Restaurants, Hotels Look Toward Uncertain Future

Hotels and restaurants try to stay afloat after decreased business for this long.

DULUTH, Minn.- As many local businesses in the hospitality industry make adjustments to continue staying open, for others that might not be an option. Dubh Linn Brew Pub in Downtown Duluth is changing their business model, offering delivery of growlers of their in-house brew, cider, wine, and food five days a week from 4pm-8pm. “People are looking for a reason,…

Gov. Walz Allows Elective Surgeries Statewide; Essentia, St. Luke’s Say They’re Ready

The Governor signed an executive order Tuesday allowing elective surgeries and procedures, reversing an order from March.

DULUTH, Minn.- An executive order from Governor Tim Walz gave the green light for healthcare providers to resume elective surgeries and procedures on May 11th. A move officials at Essentia Health and St. Luke’s Hospitals in Duluth said they are ready for. Health systems statewide have lost about $1 billion a month since procedures and surgeries were banned in March,…

Some Superior Businesses Relieved with Governor’s Loosened Restrictions

Gov. Evers's new emergency order allows no contact business.

  SUPERIOR, Wis.- Business owners in Superior are slowly getting back to as close to normal as they can be after Governor Tony Evers announced some non-essential businesses can open in a limited capacity. “It’ll be the new normal, whatever that is,” said Kat Senn. Under Emergency Order 34, certain non-essential businesses are allowed to start resuming business only through…

Trump Set to Order Meatpacking to Stay Open As Plants Deal with Staff Shortage

If this continues, experts say it could drastially effect the nation's food supply chain.

SUPERIOR, Wis. On Tuesday President Donald Trump said he will sign a five-page executive order declaring meat processing plants critical infrastructure, ordering them to remain open–as facilities are dealing with a shortage of workers and an increase in demand. “We always work with the farmers,” Trump said. “There’s plenty of supplies, as you know this, plenty of supply, it’s distribution…

City of Virginia Set to Furlough Up to 28 Employees Beginning in May

"It makes me sick to my stomach," said Mayor Larry Cuffe.

VIRGINIA, Minn.- The City of Virginia is set to furlough up to 28 employees beginning May 4th due to projected revenue losses. Mayor Larry Cuffe said a majority of the 28 employees are expected to come from Public Works, Parks and Recreation, and Golf Course staff. While they’re avoiding cutting any staff from public safety departments right now, the Mayor…

Duluth Council, Mayor’s Administration Discuss Budget Shortfall, Layoffs

City Council shared their thoughts and questions while the Mayor and her team outlined plans.

DULUTH, Minn.- Mayor Emily Larson made a rare appearance at Duluth’s virtual City Council meeting to give councilors a detailed outline, and uncertain look towards a grim future after she announced the city’s budget shortfall–which was unveiled to now be about $20.7-$38.2 million. According to city officials, due to the city’s “strong mayor system,” Larson can make any decisions she…

Business Blooming for Duluth Flower Farm’s Mini Farmer’s Market

The florist is seeing success with his socially distant farmer's market on his parents' Proctor farm.

PROCTOR, Minn.- A local flower shop owner is seeing some success after adapting his business model during this pandemic. Duluth Flower Farm has been set up with a simple table outside the family’s farm in Proctor–and it’s been busy–selling out of flowers and products like homemade salsa. The owner said this new approach has done wonders while his store is…

90-Year-Old Proctor Man Surprised with Community Birthday Parade

The whole community helped David Frear celebrate the first birthday without his wife of 62 years.

PROCTOR, Minn.- The Coronavirus pandemic has proven that there are more ways than just parties to celebrate important birthdays, like David Frear’s milestone 90th Birthday Parade. “It’s really, really exciting. I really like it,” Frear said as cars honked by. After having to cancel a surprise party, Frear’s family still wanted to make his 90th one to remember. “When I…

Volunteers Keep Duluth Clean for First Virtual Cleanup Day

City launches first ever virtual cleanup after spring lakewalk cleaning gets canceled.

DULUTH, Minn.- In honor of Earth Day and the canceled spring lakewalk cleanup, the City of Duluth launched their first “Keep Duluth Clean Virtual Cleanup” Saturday. People are encouraged to grab an old bucket or bag, put on their gloves, and start picking up trash. They can share their progress with the hashtag #keepduluthclean. Volunteers cleaning up said they’re surprised…

Healthcare Heroes Celebrated with Handpainted Sign Outside St. Luke’s

Duluth Street Art Initiative Made a 4-ft by 8-ft sign in front of the St Luke's Clinic on East First Street.

DULUTH, Minn.- Healthcare workers looking out the windows of the buildings on the St. Luke’s Campus will now be treated to a big sign reading “Thank You Frontline Heroes,” put together by local artists and local officials. “When they’re laying down that kind of sacrifice, I think it’s important for them to know we’re here, and we care,” said Minnesota…

Summer Events at Bayfront in Limbo due to Pandemic

Officials, event organizers and acts are all looking at other ways to hopefully bring their art to fans.

DULUTH, Minn.- The COVID-19 pandemic has left musical acts and festivals at Bayfront Festival Park in unprecedented uncertainty–forcing organizers and artists to explore different ways to give fans an experience if shows are a no-go. Bayfront has become synonymous with summer fun, filling up every season with concert-goers, food lovers, and fireworks. But the empty, bleak park you see right…

Duluth Pastry Chef Spreading Sweetness, Safety with Delivery of Cakes, Masks

Sweet Exchange delivery is going contactless with orders of cakes and cupcakes, along with a free handmade mask.

DULUTH, Minn.- A local pastry chef who was hoping to open a new storefront in Downtown Duluth is continuing to bring sweetness to people, with an added bonus. The owner of Sweet Exchange is taking phone orders for contactless delivery of cakes and cupcakes. Think Ding Dong Ditch with a cake waiting on your doorstep. She’s also handmaking cloth masks…

West Duluth Sewing and Design Selling Handmade Masks to Stay Afloat

The sewing and alterations business is selling masks for $6, the only business they are getting right now with proms and weddings cancelled.

DULUTH, Minn.- At first, West Duluth Sewing and Design’s foray into making masks started with a donation. Now it’s their only real income, with cancelled proms and weddings slowing business. A nursing home in Moose Lake asked the owners, Jeaneth and Harold Deterling, to make and donate about 50 masks a week, being paid just for materials. “She asked me…

OMC Smokehouse, Corktown to Open; Merge into ‘OMC Express and Deli’

New business style hopes to bring back 20-25% of the 200 laid off employees.

DULUTH, Minn.- People missing the smoked meat and sandwiches in Lincoln Park are in luck. OMC Express and Deli will open Wednesday, as the result of merging OMC Smokehouse and Corktown Deli and Brews. Both businesses have been closed through the pandemic. According to owner Tom Hanson, the operation should put 20-25% of the 200 employees laid off back to…

Pandemic Forces Wedding Planners to Adjust as Couples Wait to Tie the Knot

Both planners and couples are navigating new territory of rescheduling the big day.

DULUTH, Minn.- On a warm, sunny April day, many scenic outdoor spots in the Northland are normally packed with a bride, groom, and large crowd, gathered to witness the marriage. But just like other events, weddings now have to be drastically changed due to COVID-19. “This is definitely not something you imagine, you know?” said bride-to-be, Meghan Hagedon. “You plan…

Sutherland CBD, Dr. Juice Offer Hand Sanitizer, Donate Hundreds to First Responders

The pair are are selling bottles at cost for $3, all sales going back into production.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- Sutherland CBD and Dr. Juice USA, both on Tower Avenue, are now offering handmade hand sanitizer. And hundreds of bottles of their product are going to first responders in need. “In these difficult times everybody’s got to do their part to stop the spread of this thing, to stay safe,” said Jacob Tout, CEO of Dr. Juice USA….

Over 33 Thousand Minnesota Small Businesses Approved for Forgivable Loans

Sen. Tina Smith says more work has to be done to address the funding shortage for loans.

MINNESOTA, As stimulus checks begin rolling out, additional help through forgivable loans have been awarded to over 33,819 Minnesota small businesses as of Monday. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) grants loans to small businesses as part of the Stimulus Package. The loans are forgivable to businesses who retain or rehire their workers. Senator Tina Smith (D), who helped pass the…

Free Masks Bring Long Line to Vikre Distillery

Lake Superior Medical Equipment and Duluth Screen Printing team up to make 175 masks to distribute at Vikre.

DULUTH, Minn.- The Center for Disease Control has updated its recommendations, advising people to wear masks while out in public. Now Vikre Distillery is partnering with local businesses to distribute free cloth masks to Northlanders, along with hand sanitizer. “Keeps us busy while we’re closed, and feels really nice to be able to help the community that way,” said Doug…

Utility Providers Including Minnesota Power Suspend Disconnections, Late Fees

Citizens Utility Board and Minnesota Power Urge Customers to Call to arrange payment plan.

DULUTH, Minn.- People struggling to keep up with heat, water, or electric bills due to the Coronavirus pandemic may find some relief from many utility providers. The Citizens Utility Board, a non-profit representing energy customers in Minnesota, is urging Minnesotans to contact their utility providers like Minnesota Power to work out a payment plan to avoid being disconnected. Many providers…

Cleveland-Cliffs To Idle Northshore Mining; 470 Employees Affected

The Northshore Mining Plant employees 570, only 100 remain employed.

SILVER BAY, Minn.- Cleveland-Cliffs has announced it is idling two of its iron ore plants, including Northshore Mining in Silver Bay, which will be shutting down by the middle of this month. This will affect roughly 470 employees, a significant number for a city like Silver Bay with a population of only 1,800. Cleveland-Cliffs CEO Lourenco Goncalves said they’ve evaluated…

Duluth Police, Fire Hold Surprise Easter Parade in Harbor Highlands

Kids ran out to wave as the firetrucks and police cars drove past.

DULUTH, Minn.- The sounds of sirens, some very excited kids, filled the Harbor Highlands neighborhood Sunday. Members of the Duluth Police and Fire Departments pulled together a surprise Easter Parade for everyone there. “Break up the monotony for all the ids up here, probably have had their routines with what they’re used to doing: playing with their friends, going to…

Facebook Gift Card Raffle Raises $20K for Superior Local Businesses So Far

Councilors Brent Fennessey and Craig Sutherland started the closed group two weeks ago.

SUPERIOR, Wis,- Like the rest of the Northland, normally busy streets and storefonts in Superior are bare as local businesses cope with being partially or completely shut down. Two Superior City Councilors decided to raise money for them, by raffling gift cards on Facebook. Weeks later, the small boost they hoped to give businesses is turning into a big help….

Boating, Biking, Even Dancing in Sunshine at Leif Erikson Park

Two dancers turned the stage in the center of the park into their own dance floor.

DULUTH, Minn.- Saturday’s above average temperatures brought tons of people out to Leif Erikson Park to enjoy the sunshine. The park was alive with people taking advantage of the nice day in their own way–boating in the lake, biking and jogging along the walkways. Now, a new outdoor park activity: dancing on the stage in the center of the grass….

OMC Smokehouse Opens Back Up For Online Pre-Orders

On the first day open, the restaurant received 200 online orders.

DULUTH, Minn.- Amid the many local restaurants forced to close under Governor Tim Walz’s Executive Order, OMC Smokehouse in Lincoln Park decided to get cooking again, doing takeout in an unconventional way for them. The restaurant opened up to online pre-orders only on Saturday, with food prepped and ready 5-10 mins before scheduled pickup. “I’ve been doing this 40 years,…

COVID-19 Outbreaks at Assisted Living in Duluth, Moose Lake Prison

Cases in St. Louis County now stand at 28, 14 in Carlton County.

MINNESOTA,- An assisted living facility in Duluth and Moose Lake Prison in Carlton County is dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19, bringing the total number to 28 cases in St. Louis County, and 14 cases in Carlton County. On Wednesday St. Louis County saw a jump in cases of 11, a large percentage linked to St. Ann’s Residence in Duluth….

St. Louis County to Provide Hotel Rooms for Those Without Safe Isolation Space

Hotel Rooms Will Be Available in Duluth, Hibbing, Virginia, and Ely

DULUTH, Minn. – St. Louis County Public Health along with AEOA and partners such as CHUM is working to make sure those without a safe place to shelter if they were to test positive for COVID-19 can self-isolate. Four hotels would be used at various locations throughout St. Louis County – one each in Duluth, Hibbing, Virginia, and Ely. According…

Local Liquor Stores Taking Extreme Measures to Keep Customers Social Distancing, Avoid Closing

If customers crowd liquor stores as time goes on, they could be forced to close.

Many people stuck at home in both Minnesota and Wisconsin are heading to liquor stores. But when those stores become crowded, business owners have to choose between serving customers, an following the law of public health by maintaining social distance. One sign in front of Shanty Bottle Shop in Duluth’s Hillside neighborhood says it best: “Do not rush into the…

Home Healthcare Service Accepting More Patients to Decrease Need for Hospitalization

Recover Health hopes to eliminate patients' need to go back to the hospital.

DULUTH, Minn.- A home health service in Duluth is doing its part to treat more people at home, while also lifting the burden off of local hospitals. Recover Health on Grand Avenue in Denfeld is currently accepting new patients at about 8 beds a week. They offer services such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and help with medications. The service…

U.S., Wisconsin Supreme Courts Rule Against Evers; Election Day Stands

The Governor's attempts to change or postpone the election have been blocked on all fronts.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- After going through three changes in the span of one day, Wisconsin Elections will carry on as normal. Rulings from both the Wisconsin and U.S. Supreme Courts now make Wisconsin the only state with an election scheduled in April that is proceeding as planned. Governor Tony Evers signed an Executive Order early Monday postponing the election to June….

Dogs, Anglers Enjoy Sunny Warm Day on Park Point Beach

Humans, dogs, and anglers out enjoying the weather.

DULUTH, Minn.- The sands of Park Point beaches were covered with some fur on Sunday, dog fur that is. Temperatures in the high 40s called dogs and their owners out of the house. “She’s been locked up for a while along with myself, with everything going on,” said Patrick Bittinger, playing fetch with his dog Bella. “So just trying to…

LSC Donates PPE to City of Duluth to Distribute

College donated 400 masks, 60 boxes of gloves.

DULUTH, Minn.- Duluth Emergency Management has received a large donation of Personal Protective Equipment from Lake Superior College. Officials picked up about 400 masks, 60 boxes of gloves, gowns, sharps containers and more. The smaller places that do nursing home or adult care, or even child care needs,” Duluth Fire Chief Shawn Krizaj said. “I think this partnership is going…

Wisconsin Primaries Continue as Normal, Superior Prepares for Tuesday

The Governor's request to make the election all-mail was shot down by state Republicans.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- A special session of the Wisconsin Legislature was held Saturday, to discuss making the Wisconsin Primary Elections all-mail, and extending absentee voting until late May. The meeting came to a halt when state Republicans shot down the request citing concerns for election security, and adjourned the meeting immediately. “Folks let me be clear this is not a Republican…

Less Driving, Demand for Gas Causes Prices to Fall

Prices across Minnesota and Wisconsin drop below $2.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- Gas prices across the Northland have dropped below $2 as demand for gasoline falls, as drivers get out less while stay-at-home orders are in place. One of the cheapest places for gas right now is Kimmes Oil in Superior. It was $1.49 a gallon Wednesday for Regular Unleaded. One customer normally spends $100 filling his truck, but only…

Getting Out of House to Clean Up North Shore

Two friends spend their time without a job picking up garbage along Brighton Beach all the way to Two Harbors.

DULUTH, Minn.- As more people are enjoying activities outdoors, two folks decided to show the environment some love, and pick up trash along the North Shore. After losing their jobs at Duluth Woman’s Club, Lane Prekker and Karina Bite decided to get out of the house and head to Brighton Beach. “We came up here to get out in the…

Wal-Mart To Take Employees’ Temperatures Before Shifts

The company will also supply masks and gloves for employees.

DULUTH, Minn.- Businesses that have been deemed essential are trying to find the balance between protecting its workers while staying open for customers. Wal-Mart announced it’s going to start taking employees’ temperatures at stores and warehouses everyday before their shifts start. Any employee with a temperature over 100 degrees will be sent home. Wal-mart will supply face masks and gloves…

Cloquet Public Schools Launches Distance Learning Plan

School has plans to utilize both paper packets and online resources.

CLOQUET, Minn.- Cloquet Public Schools launched their Distance Learning Plan for the rest of the year. Elementary School-aged children will receive paper packets weekly to work on at home. Staff will be in charge of picking up finished packets, while dropping off packets for the following week. Middle and High Schoolers will complete work online. The District has plans for…

Minnesota National Guard Delivers Cots to St. Louis County for Potential COVID-19 Shelter

250 cots from Camp Ripley will be stocked and distributed on a need-basis.

DULUTH, Minn.- The Minnesota National Guard arrived in St. Louis County Tuesday morning to deliver hundreds of cots for a potential COVID-19 shelter. According to officials, while they’ve planned for pandemics in the past, none come close to the magnitude of planning required for Coronavirus. The Minnesota National Guard assisted St. Louis County by delivering 250 cots, bringing their total…

Cloquet, Carlton County Prepares for Spread of COVID-19

City officials, emergency personnel and hospital personnel taking extra precautions.

CLOQUET, Minn.- As one positive case is confirmed at the Moose Lake Prison in Carlton County, the City of Cloquet and County Health officials are taking stronger precautions to try and minimize the virus’s presence. “We are preparing for the worst, and hoping for the best, and expecting something in-between,” Community Memorial Hospital CEO Rick Breuer said. The Hospital is…

Customers Buy Up Fridges, Kitchen Appliances at Appliance Stores

Daugherty Appliance sees increase in customers.

CLOQUET, Minn.- As more people are staying at home, some appliance stores have seen more customers. Owners of Daugherty Appliances in Cloquet said their fridges and freezers have been selling like hotcakes as people look for more storage to stock up more food. They also add that more people have been buying full kitchen suites to update their kitchen. The…

Five New COVID-19 Cases in St. Louis County Confirmed in One Day

Unlike the past five cases, the way these individuals were infected is not known at this time.

DULUTH, Minn.- St. Louis County saw a jump in COVID-19 cases over the weekend. Five new presumptive cases were confirmed, doubling the total number of cases to 10 in the county, in just one day. The newest cases include a woman in her early 60s who is being hospitalized for treatment–the first case severe enough to require hospitalization in the…

Angler’s Isolation: Fishing on the Brule River

Coronavirus doesn't keep anglers from fishing for steelhead trout.

BRULE, Wis.- Since solitary outdoor activities in state parks are considered essential in Governor Tony Evers’s Safer-at-Home order, some anglers took advantage of that, casting their rods on the Brule River. The babbling brooks feeding into the rushing river are the only sounds that greet you out along the Brule. “This is about as isolated as we can get,” Eric…

UMD Professor Stresses Importance of Long Clinical Trials for Any Potential COVID-19 Drugs

Without long trials before testing on humans, severe harm can arise.

DULUTH, Minn.- With discussions around the country about a potential vaccine or drug being developed to treat COVID-19, local experts are speaking out about the reality of treating the virus so soon. While President Trump has touched on different drugs that scientists have said might be helpful in fighting Coronavirus, UMD Applied Human Sciences Professor Jessica Hanson said testing them…