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Articles from the December 22, 2023 edition

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  • Creating, giving: Hazel's Christmas spirit

    Mike Creger|Dec 22, 2023

    Allow Hazel her moment. Allow her to consider herself one of Santa's elves. She certainly fits the bill. This holiday season, Hazel Aili stuffed the donation box at South Terrace Elementary with 19 toys for the 29th annual Toys For Carlton Area Kids drive. She did it the hard way, creating hundreds of craft items in past months and selling them at craft fairs in order to raise the money to pay for the gifts herself. She was able to spend more than $300 on toys. "It was an amazing, selfless... Full story

  • Free Christmas dinner returns

    Dec 22, 2023

    All Carlton County residents are, once again, invited to enjoy a free Christmas meal 11 a.m. -2 p.m. Dec. 25 at Zion Lutheran Church, 1000 Washington Ave. in Cloquet. The Christmas menu features appetizers, salad, dessert, meatballs, ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans and beverages. The Carlton County Disabled American Veterans is the force behind the free meal, just like at Thanksgiving. So expect to see many of the same faces at the church, making sure there’s enough food for both s... Full story

  • Cloquet musician pens Duluth rock 'n roll book

    Jana Peterson|Dec 22, 2023

    As a teenager growing up in West Duluth in the 1970s, music really mattered to James Wiita, even more than school sometimes. He's been revisiting those times in recent years, as he researched and wrote his first book: "Rock On, Duluth!" It is, the cover proclaims, the story of YANQUI Productions and arena rock in Duluth from 1973 to 1978: "One promoter, one dream, the story behind it all." Now in his 60s and a musician himself, Wiita can still recall the little details of concerts he attended... Full story

  • He's got an 84-year-old Rudolph relic

    Jana Peterson|Dec 22, 2023

    Pine Knot subscriber Billy Anderson shared his own piece of Christmas history: an original "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" book. Handed down to him by his grandmother, Claudia Johnson, the book was definitely read and loved over the years. The cute rhyming underdog (or is that under-reindeer?) story was written by Montgomery Ward advertising copywriter Robert Lewis May in 1939, because officials at the department store chain wanted to attract customers by giving away a free Christmas story.... Full story

  • Housing issues rise as priority in '24

    Brady Slater|Dec 22, 2023

    For a minute, the demolition field outside of a home on Third Street in Cloquet made it appear as if an explosion had taken the porch clean off. Come to find, it was the work of Lagom Restoration, of Duluth. "We're going to restore it and sell it," said Josh MacInnes, one of the Lagom owners and three workers onsite at the small home located at 217 Third St. "We want to see good stuff happen in our communities. It needs some TLC, but it'll have a second life." Upon meeting earlier this month,... Full story

  • 'It's never OK to murder, even if you're doing it to help'

    Jana Peterson|Dec 22, 2023

    Given the choice between watching his wife continue to suffer or ending her life, Raymond Julian told the courtroom that he chose to honor her request to die. He would do it again, given the same circumstances, the 67-year-old man stated. Emotions ran high during the sentencing hearing Monday, Dec. 18, held at the Carlton County Courthouse two years to the month after Tracy Julian's death. As with the murder that led to Raymond Julian's arrest, there was no easy choice, said Sixth District... Full story

  • Photo: A big tribute

    Dec 22, 2023

    The Esko Fire Department marked the passing of one of their own by hanging an enormous American flag between two ladder trucks outside Nelson Funeral Home Friday morning. Esko grad Scott Allan Sunnarborg passed away at the age of 65 on Dec. 8. Sunnarborg was a volunteer firefighter for the Esko fire department, and retired after 38 years. “He put in a long time with the department. It was nice to have someone close during the day when he was working for the township,” Esko fire chief Kyle Gus... Full story

  • Dana Ferguson|Dec 22, 2023

    Run it up the flagpole: Minnesota will have a new flag with a shape that resembles — well, itself — along with an eight-point North Star and a single, light blue block to the other side. The State Emblems Redesign Commission on Tuesday finalized a flag design for Minnesota after months of work and more than 2,000 designs were submitted for their consideration. A pair of designers recommended that the panel keep a symmetrical Minnesota shape and limit colors to shades of white and blue, eliminati...  Website

  • Obituary: Shirley E. Thompson

    Dec 22, 2023

    Shirley E. Thompson, age 69, of Esko, passed away Monday, December 18, 2023, at Inter-Faith Care Center in Carlton. She was born September 1, 1954, in Duluth, the daughter of Charles and Delores (Sondeland) Towner. Shirley graduated from Proctor High School in 1972. She spent many years devoting her full attention to raising her family, and later held a 33-year career at the Members Co-op Credit Union. Shirley loved traveling to St. Cloud, South Dakota, Galveston, Texas, Orlando, Florida and... Full story

  • Nordic skiers making do, minus the snow

    Jana Peterson|Dec 22, 2023

    The third weekend of December saw green grass and puddles at Pine Valley, where pine trees loom above a network of trails. There was no sign of the usual ski jumping and Nordic skiing that keep the city's woodland park hopping in the winter months. To find the skiers, one had to travel 12 miles to Duluth's Spirit Mountain, where they can make snow. More than 200 high school skiers from area schools were skiing quarter-mile loops next to the Grand Avenue Nordic Center on Thursday, Dec. 14. They... Full story

  • Raptors' opening win streak snapped

    Kerry Rodd|Dec 22, 2023

    The Carlton/Wrenshall Raptors had some momentum going into the inaugural boys basketball season for the paired schools, reeling off four straight victories in wins over Cook County, East Central, Mille Lacs and Hinckley-Finlayson. The team finally met its match Monday, losing to Cook's North Woods Grizzlies, 81-66. The loss to the Section 7A powerhouse marred what had been a perfect start for the Raptors. "The guys have really come together and are excited about the progress they are making,"... Full story

  • We can all help the watersheds

    Francy Chammings|Dec 22, 2023

    For much of the history of this country, rivers, lakes and waterways served as our sewers. That is until the Cuyahoga River in Ohio caught fire for the 13th time in 1969. This prompted the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972 and launched programs nationwide to clean up our surface waters. Under the direction of the Environmental Protection Agency, national standards regulating pollutants and the restoration and monitoring of all surface water began. However, as the understanding of water poll... Full story

  • Wrenshall schools levy set within $4K of last year

    Dec 22, 2023

    The Wrenshall school board approved a 2024 levy nearly identical to its previous figure, $1,513,112 — some $4,557 less than the current levy. Superintendent Jeff Pesta called it a “negligible reduction,” during Monday’s Truth in Taxation hearing conducted at the school. “It’s very small when you are considering it on a half-a-million dollars,” Pesta said. The district’s budget for 2024 is $6.5 million, made up of mostly per-pupil state aid funding, along with levy and federal dollars. No community members spoke during the hearing. A thir...

  • Carlton looks to hire elementary principal

    Ted Lammi|Dec 22, 2023

    Carlton schools superintendent Donita Stepan plans to relinquish her role as elementary principal at South Terrace Elementary and focus solely on her superintendent duties. Stepan wears two hats now, part of an arrangement conceived earlier this year as a cost-saving measure. With Stepan holding two positions and high school/middle school principal Warren Peterson working part-time, savings to the district could be in the range of $85,000 to $90,000. As the mid-school year approaches, it has become apparent to Stepan that South Terrace needs...

  • Recycle your Christmas tree, Xmas lights

    Dec 22, 2023

    Carlton County residents are encouraged to recycle Christmas trees during Treecycling, a free program with drop-off locations throughout the region. Christmas trees, like yard waste, are banned from landfills in Minnesota. Dispose of trees properly by bringing them to a Treecycling site. Remove all ornaments, tinsel, lights, tree stands and tree bags before bringing trees in. Here are the locations: -SAPPI Fine Paper (gatehouse entrance), Avenue B in Cloquet through Jan. 31. -​​Moose Lake Compost and Recycling Site, 2-6 p.m. Wednesday through F... Full story

  • Holiday break at the Knot

    Dec 22, 2023

    The Pine Knot News office will be closed the week of Christmas through New Year’s Day. We will not produce a paper that week, and encourage readers to take their time perusing the special North Pole News section in this week’s paper. Obituaries and breaking news will be published online at pineknotnews.com. Got news tips over the holidays? Call or text Jana at 218-213-1231. Email less urgent news tips to news@PineKnotNews.... Full story

  • Unpacking the county levy, up 3.99%

    Brady Slater|Dec 22, 2023

    More people phoned Carlton County to complain about tax increases than attended the Dec. 12 Truth in Taxation hearing. More than 30 people called the county to deliver messages about “unsustainable” increases, or to say, “you’re taxing us out of our home,” said auditor/treasurer Kevin DeVriendt. Only about a half-dozen people spoke briefly during the hearing, and only one rose to the dais to plead his case. “This is the kind of increase that’s not treating our elderly population with respect or dignity,” said Jim Kuklis, who owns Trails Edg... Full story

  • Grant will help city manage EAB-infested trees

    Jana Peterson|Dec 22, 2023

    At the final meeting of 2023, Cloquet City Council members prepared for 2024. They selected the Pine Knot News as the city’s official newspaper, approved standing rules and selected at-large councilor Lara Wilkinson as the acting mayor again, to take over when mayor Roger Maki is absent. The council also set updated fees and charges. Taking a look ahead at the time when the Cloquet police department gets its new body cameras, they set the fee for public data requests regarding camera footage as payment for actual expenses incurred. Public W...

  • Fire District: Fire and ambulance levies to increase

    Noah Beardslee|Dec 22, 2023

    Property tax levies will increase in 2024 after the Cloquet Area Fire District board unanimously approved the tax and budget changes at Wednesday night’s meeting. The fire levy and ambulance levy will increase 2.99 percent and 2.83 percent, respectively. The $3.6 million the combined levies will generate, not including the $118,000 to be collected for servicing ambulance debt, is meant to absorb some of the impact of inflation. “As far as expenditures go, inflation has hit everything and everybody and every organization,” district fire chief...

  • Harry's Gang: More 'we' needed in discourse

    Pete Radosevich|Dec 22, 2023

    Opinions are as unique as fingerprints. Everybody has one, and every one is different, even if only slightly. In politics, we gather together based on our opinions, much like metal shavings around a magnet, with people gravitating to one magnetic pole or the other, even if you don’t share the exact opinion with everyone in your group. In America, we call the magnetic poles “conservatives” and “liberals.” Republicans and Democrats. What most people are forgetting is that a magnet needs both pole... Full story

  • Thumbs up, thumbs down

    Dec 22, 2023

    Welcome to the final newspaper of 2023. For the first time in our five-year history, the Pine Knot News will be closed for a week, taking off the final week of the year, meaning there will be a two-week gap until the publishing of the Jan. 5 edition. Creating a newspaper every week is a labor of love for all of us at the Pine Knot News, but it’s labor all the same. We could use the breather, but not before we tell you how much we appreciate your readership and support. In the five years since we printed our first edition in October 2018, we’ve... Full story

  • Korby's Connections: Cold finally leads to inside baseball

    Steve Korby|Dec 22, 2023

    Obviously, it has been a strange winter. I didn’t (but could have) rake leaves in Cloquet on Dec. 18. There was no snow, but it was too windy. It’s wacky. The Rugged Spruce Senior Golf League in Mahtowa played competitively on Nov. 15. Greens were a hair slow, but it’s still pretty lucky to be hacking outdoors near the end of the year. The course was playing a little easier because the water hazards were frozen. The Twin Cities area, just last week, had golf courses opening for play and all t... Full story


    Dec 22, 2023

    Thursday, Dec. 14 Girls Hockey MLA 3 Duluth 2 Boys Hockey International Falls 5 MLA 4 (OT) Girls Basketball South Ridge 69 McGregor 30 Hinckley-Finlayson 72 Carlton/Wrenshall 31 North Woods 60 ML/WR 58 Boys Basketball Carlton/Wrenshall 79 Hinckley-Finlayson 59 Barnum 85 South Ridge 43 ML/WR 92 North Woods 85 Cromwell-Wright 78 Braham 64 Denfeld 82 Cloquet 65 Friday, Dec. 15 Boys Basketball Cromwell-Wright 66 Cook County 63 McGregor 64 South Ridge 56 Girls Basketball MIB 68 South Ridge 37 Pierz 68 ML/WR 43 Cromwell-Wright 61 Ely 51 Esko 73...

  • Bombers best Rebels

    Dec 22, 2023

    Entering Tuesday night’s girls basketball game, both Barnum and Moose Lake/Willow River sported the same record: one win and four losses. With the schools just 8 miles up the road from each other, fans did their best to root their team on to victory against their No. 1 rival. The Bombers persevered in the end, winning 50-44 after leading 27-19 at halftime. The start of the game turned into the “Alizondra Collelo Show” as the Barnum sophomore poured in 14 first-half points. Barnum gained a quick... Full story

  • Girls hockey: Visiting Mirage blank Lumberjacks

    Dwight Cadwell|Dec 22, 2023

    Izzy Fairchild helped the Proctor/Hermantown Mirage jump out to an early lead in the first period and go on to a 4-0 win Tuesday night over Cloquet-Esko-Carlton at Northwoods Credit Union Arena in Cloquet. Fairchild finished with a four-point night, including two goals and two assists to take over the Mirage team scoring lead. Hannah Graves started the scoring for the Mirage. Fairchild made a centering pass to Grace Nichols, who slid the puck through the crease to Graves on a power play... Full story

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