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Articles from the February 9, 2024 edition


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  • Backlash is strong, unrelenting on Hwy. 33 intersection plans

    Brady Slater|Feb 9, 2024

    Cloquet residents converged at the public library Feb. 1 to address the future of what one resident called "the superhighway" through town. The resounding message: no more roundabouts on Minnesota Highway 33. "A roundabout, in my opinion, on Cloquet Avenue would kill my business in Dunlap Island," said NorthEastern Saloon and Grill owner Bert Whittington, citing the parade of industrial truck traffic through the neighborhood on the way to USG, Upper Lakes Foods and Sappi paper mill. "If you did...

  • Pine Knot reaps a pile of awards

    Pine Knot News|Feb 9, 2024

    The past week has been bittersweet in the Pine Knot News office as its staff said goodbye to the traveling Mills Trophy that marked the newspaper as the best weekly in Minnesota the past three years. While Millie is now 313 miles away in the office of the Worthington Globe, the Pine Knot remained the most decorated weekly paper this year, earning 28 awards in the Minnesota Newspaper Association's annual newspaper contest. "We did very well, like past years, but other papers definitely stepped... Full story

  • Sunset Brilliance

    Feb 9, 2024

    Darrell Davey captured what many people were marveling at on Jan. 31 when a radiant sunset was tossed across the region. Davey took this picture at the intersection of Cloquet Avenue and Minnesota Highway 33 in Cloquet. Unseasonable warm temperatures and clear skies have led to a few weeks of stunning sunrises and sunsets. Pine Knot News regular photographer Amber Nichols has some incredible pictures of the sun's magic on her Facebook page, under AmbersImpressions....

  • Moose Lake loses police officers

    Feb 9, 2024

    Interim police chief Chad Pattison was granted special authority in Moose Lake after the three-member department saw the resignation of two of its officers last month. Both officers resigned in the wake of a public hearing last month to determine if the city council would either maintain a force or disband the department and contract with the Carlton County Sheriff’s Office for the city’s law enforcement coverage. The board will vote on the matter during its meeting at 4 p.m. Feb. 14. In the meantime, city administrator Ellissa Owens explained...

  • Assisted Living Report Card is live

    Feb 9, 2024

    Minnesotans shopping for assisted living can now turn to a valuable new resource for help. The state’s new Assisted Living Report Card (alreportcard.dhs.mn.gov/) allows consumers to look up assisted living residences and find comparative ratings based on resident and family surveys, as well as ratings based on state inspections. Modeled after Minnesota’s longstanding and successful Nursing Home Report Card (nhreportcard.dhs.mn.gov), the Assisted Living Report Card is designed to deliver useful information to help consumers make decisions abo...

  • Union gets 3-year deal with Sappi

    Brady Slater|Feb 9, 2024

    The largest private sector union in the city of Cloquet ratified a new contract last week with the Sappi paper mill. United Steelworkers Local 1163 completed a three-year deal with the company that includes a 10.5 percent pay increase over the life of the deal, along with improved health care coverage. Union president Jay Arntson called it “the best offer” the union has seen from Sappi ownership. The deal covers 384 members in the production departments. “Since Sappi owned the mill we haven’t seen an offer this good,” Arntson said. Pay incre...

  • Forest center fate is subject of meeting

    Jana Peterson|Feb 9, 2024

    It’s been a year since the University of Minnesota made public its administration’s plans to likely give the 3,400-acre Cloquet Forestry Center to the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. Other than a presentation to the university’s Board of Regents by former U of M President Joan Gabel in February 2023, it’s been radio silence since then. Until now. On Monday, university officials announced they’re holding a public listening session 3-4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 13 at the Cloquet Forestry...

  • USG plant receives $300K state grant

    Feb 9, 2024

    Governor Tim Walz and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development announced more than $7.8 million in funding for seven business expansion projects statewide, including $300,000 for the USG Interiors plant in Cloquet. The Cloquet plant is USG’s largest production facility for ceiling tiles in North America, manufacturing products for customers — hotels, hospitals, offices, etc. — across the U.S. and internationally. The proposed project will replace an existing dryer with a state-of-the-art dryer that will include a heat...

  • Council ponders Highway 33 proposal

    Jana Peterson|Feb 9, 2024

    Cloquet City Councilors know where the Wood City Riders stand on potential plans for Minnesota Highway 33, after an hour-long presentation by club president Chris Rokke. They appeared to agree with Rokke on at least one point: that any highway modifications need to include some kind of multi-use trail or trails for pedestrians, bicyclists, ATVs and snowmobiles on the west side of the highway, particularly between Perkins and Pinehurst Park, where a steep hill leaves little space for anyone...

  • The Sticky Letter

    Feb 9, 2024

    Pine Knot News subscriber Sean Sundquist is on a quest to get this letter to its rightful owner, as it's now been delivered incorrectly to his own mailbox 10 times. Sundquist lives in Saginaw, the person on the envelope lives in Culver. They have the same street number but live on different highways. They also have the same zip code. Sundquist has previously gotten mail intended for this person. (We blotted out his name here.) In past instances, Sundquist just put any misdelivered mail back in...

  • Board tackles wolves, celebrates safety

    Brady Slater|Feb 9, 2024

    The Carlton County board appears on the verge of joining the chorus against wolves. During its committee of the whole meeting Tuesday, the board advanced a resolution that would position the county as favoring wolves being federally delisted and hunted in the state. The board packet included a sample resolution letter from Hunters for Hunters, the group that has riled anti-wolf sentiment during a series of public meetings throughout northeastern Minnesota. The group blames wolf predation for a...

  • Boards create consolidation committee

    Brady Slater|Feb 9, 2024

    Aiming at consolidation as soon as the 2025-26 school year, the Carlton and Wrenshall school districts have formed a joint committee to lead the process. The consolidation committee will meet regularly along with additional monthly joint sessions of the full boards. Wrenshall board chair Mary Carlson shared details Wednesday of an informal meeting between the districts held this week. “I had the opportunity to sit down with their chairperson and the superintendent of Carlton and we had a fantastic first meeting,” Carlson said during a Wre...

  • Making education better with the Blue Jean Ball

    Pine Knot News|Feb 9, 2024

    The Cloquet Educational Foundation's 22nd Blue Jean Ball brought a large crowd to Black Bear Casino Saturday to put the fun in fundraising. Close to 350 people attended this year's event - most of them in blue jeans - to see people, enjoy a good meal, admire the remarkable table decor, play and spend money, all to pay for educational initiatives that add to the education Cloquet students already receive. The Pine Knot News sat down with Cloquet Educational Foundation executive director Jody...

  • From the EDITOR: Why not read it in the newspaper?

    Jana Peterson|Feb 9, 2024

    Following the Cloquet City Council meeting Tuesday, a few of us were standing around talking about the Highway 33 public meeting last week. And one of the complaints — among many — was the lack of public notice about the meeting. How are we supposed to know, one person asked. “We had it in the newspaper,” I told her. She doesn’t get the paper. Granted, we didn’t run a giant story, but the notice was there on Page 3 of the Jan. 26 issue, with all the details a person would need to attend the... Full story

  • Letter to the editor: Protection for wolves makes a lot of sense

    Feb 9, 2024

    When politicians meddle with nature, trouble can happen. But people, such as Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wildlife manager Kelly Straka, seem to be a voice of reason when it comes to managing the population of Minnesota wildlife. As a hunter and a wildlife expert, I feel she can be trusted when she states wolves are not the only reason for the decline in deer populations. Over the course of a couple centuries, the wolf population in the United States declined from the millions to mere hundreds. The last survivors in the... Full story

  • On The Farm: Small can still win on farming front

    Sandy Dugan|Feb 9, 2024

    The “Go big, or get out” mantra has dominated U.S. agriculture for decades. It is getting push-back from small and medium-sized farmers in the Lake Superior regions of Minnesota and Wisconsin, and the public response is remarkable. At the Lake Superior Sustainable Farming Association annual meeting last weekend, executive director Julie Allen reported that its major annual activity, the September Harvest Festival in Duluth’s Bayfront Festival Park, was another huge success, attracting over... Full story

  • Local representatives offer session preview

    Feb 9, 2024

    The Pine Knot News asked the two members of the Minnesota Legislature who represent the area to offer their views on the session that begins on Monday, Feb. 12. The often head-spinning budget session of 2023 had both Republicans, Sen. Jason Rarick and Rep. Jeff Dotseth, questioning the spending decisions of Democrats, who control the House and Senate in the current biennium. That control includes Democrat Gov. Tim Walz. State lawmakers' primary job following an election year is to create a... Full story

  • Korby's Connections: So much spring already

    Steve Korby|Feb 9, 2024

    The gentle breeze was swirling at 7 miles per hour from a north-northwest direction. It was sunny, and a beautiful Groundhog Day, Friday, Feb. 2, 2024. Earlier in the day, Punxsutawney Phil had predicted an early spring. Being retired from full-time employment, I have the luxury of taking afternoon walks, sometimes with my bride or others, at various regional locations. On this particular day, since there was hardly any snow, I was walking the 2.5K loop at Cloquet's Pine Valley Ski Area and...

  • Jottings from Janis: Winter nights are made for storytelling

    Janis Fairbanks|Feb 9, 2024

    Last weekend, as they've done for more generations than there are records, Ojibwe descendents gathered for aadizookeng - wintertime storytelling which can be told only at night when there is snow on the ground. The fifth annual Ojibwe Language Symposium at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College attracted close to 200 participants from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, North Dakota, and Canada Feb. 2-4. Arne and Ivy Vainio shared my table during the feast. They said conferences like this one are...

  • Skiers swish into State slot

    Jana Peterson|Feb 9, 2024

    The Lumberjacks girls alpine ski team raced its way to State this week, taking second place during Tuesday's Section 7 meet. Head coach Ryan Zimny wasn't surprised - it's the best girls team he's had in 20 years as a coach, he said, proud that the girls performed "exactly as they should." "It's always a mental battle at Sections where the nerves are the main competition," Zimny said. "It's such a balancing act walking the line between going too hard and crashing, and playing it too conservativel... Full story

  • Nordic season ends at sections

    Feb 9, 2024

    The Lumberjacks Nordic ski season ended during Wednesday's Section 7 meet as it began, with unseasonal weather challenges. Held at the Giant's Ridge Recreation Area near Biwabik, the pursuit race - which includes a 5K classic race and a 5K freestyle race - was relocated to the alpine ski area due to lack of natural snow this year. Sprint relay racers competed in pouring rain. The Cloquet-Esko-Carlton boys team placed fourth in the pursuit race, while the girls team placed 10th. Scoring for the... Full story

  • The Ticker: A quick look at area teams in action

    Feb 9, 2024

    Thursday, Feb. 1 Girls Hockey MLA 1 Pine City 0 Boys Hockey Hermantown 6 CEC 1 Boys Basketball Deer River 84 South Ridge 58 Carlton/Wrenshall 78 Northland 65 Girls Basketball Esko 61 Carlton/Wrenshall 22 Cloquet 67 Grand Rapids 65 South Ridge 73 McGregor 33 Friday, Feb. 2 Boys Basketball Cromwell-Wright 80 Cook County 59 Esko 84 Carlton/Wrenshall 59 ML/WR 75 Barnum 63 McGregor 67 South Ridge 60 Girls Basketball Duluth Marshall 94 ML/WR 31 Girls Hockey CEC 2 Thief River Falls 0 Boys Hockey Becker/Big Lake 4 Moose Lake Area 1 Saturday, Feb. 3... Full story

  • 'Jacks off to a strong start in playoffs

    Kerry Rodd|Feb 9, 2024

    Tuesday night the Lumberjacks girls hockey team hosted Hibbing/Chisholm in the first round of the Section 7A playoffs. Cloquet-Esko-Carlton came in on a roll having gone 9-0-1 over their last 10 games and were the No. 3 seed while the Blue Jackets were seeded No. 6. The 'Jacks kept things rolling by skating to a 4-2 win over the Blue Jackets and will now play in the sectional semifinals against defending champion Proctor/Hermantown on Saturday morning in Duluth. The Lumberjacks were shocked earl... Full story

  • Captain will go to RPI

    Pine Knot News|Feb 9, 2024

    Wilderness captain Gustavs Ozolins has decided to take his talents to RPI. The veteran defenseman announced this week he had committed to play NCAA Division 1 hockey at the institution based in Troy, New York. Ozolins, from Riga, Latvia, began his junior career in 2019 in his home country. He is now in his second season with the Wilderness and third playing in North America. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound 20-year-old has skated in 34 games this season, generating two goals and 15 assists for 17 points. Wilderness head coach Colten St. Clair says he c... Full story

  • Rebels moving on after a 1-0 squeaker

    Kerry Rodd|Feb 9, 2024

    The Moose Lake Area girls hockey team opened their season with four straight losses, the last one Nov. 28 at the hands of the Rock Ridge Wolverines. On Tuesday night, the Rebels avenged the loss as they opened the playoffs with a 1-0 win over Rock Ridge as they rode the hot goaltending of junior Mallory Hartl. The first period ended with no scoring, but it was the No. 4 Rebels who carried the play to the tune of a 15-6 shots advantage over the No. 5 Wolverines. “I thought we dominated the f... Full story

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