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Harry's Gang: I am boldly predicting where others fear to tread

Last year’s predictions were so eerily accurate that some people thought I had cheated, like maybe I had looked up the answers before making my predictions, which is, of course, impossible. My 12-year-old son, Patrick, suggested that maybe I had invented a time machine, as he thinks I am both brilliant and handy. But, alas, there is no time machine; I am just that good at predicting the future.

So, I again share my talents with you and make my remarkably accurate predictions for 2022:

• Target will announce a new location in town. While this rumor has been around as long as I’ve lived in town (and probably longer), the recent sale of land at the old Minnesota Department of Natural Resources site at the intersection of Minnesota Highway 33 and Interstate 35 (which sold for about $750,000) has revived speculation that Target will come to town to compete with Walmart.

It’s a good location for a big box store, much better than the industrial site along the north end of town. Although this is not part of my official prediction, the new Target will include a Starbucks kiosk, legitimizing our community among the 612-ers.

• Interest rates will rise as inflation continues, but the economy will steam ahead as it has been, making the inflation rate a political football used only by politicians running for re-election, which, if they do get re-elected, they won’t do anything about anyway.

Cloquet city engineers will realize that the lights on Cloquet Avenue at 14th Street and at Ninth Street are ridiculously timed, taking an excruciating amount of time, while one lone, single car crosses the street at those intersections.

Brilliant as they are, they may also figure out how to harness the steam coming from the ears of the dozen delayed drivers at each side of Cloquet Avenue as they wait.

• Domino’s will offer higher wages to attract employees and, as an added perk, will pay up to one ticket per shift for drivers who run the excruciatingly long red lights along Cloquet Avenue, as they rush to deliver pizza to the good people of Cloquet.

• Someone will take over the former Pedro’s restaurant space in the old Solem Hotel, probably serving a contemporary Greek and Italian menu, with a bar that quickly becomes the toast of the town. Parking will be a bear, which only increases the charm of the place.

With Pedro’s relocated a couple blocks away, and the increasing popularity of the bars and nightlife in the area, Cloquet Avenue will become a regional hotspot and will be bustling from morning until late in the evening.

• Those mourning the loss of Casino Pizza and their daily lunch specials will be pleased when new management takes over the space, with patrons waiting in line on the stairs of the garden-level restaurant for an hour to get their favorite meals.

• The new roundabout at Washington Avenue and 14th Street will confuse drivers for weeks before being fully embraced by the community, which will clamor for more roundabouts to be installed at other intersections around town.

• Minit Mart will change hands once again, and the stores will thrive under the new owners, who are from these parts and understand the local community. They will also give Kwik Trip and Holiday a run for their money.

Carlton County will lose one of its three weekly newspapers. I won’t predict which one, but I will predict that you will be reading my predictions in next year’s Pine Knot News.

Wrenshall schools will benefit from the uncertainty of the neighboring Carlton High School situation, seeing increased enrollment so great that the district will finally build a new building.

• Everyone keeps asking me for my predictions about the coronavirus. I do not have much to offer them. But I do know that if more people would have gotten vaccinated, and if more people took greater efforts to slow the spread of the airborne virus, like social distancing, wearing masks, and better hygiene, the virus would have died out last year. Maybe if enough people take it seriously, it will die out next year.

• Finally, both Rep. Pete Stauber and Gov. Tim Walz will get re-elected, although please don’t consider this predication as an endorsement. Politics will continue as usual, but the tone will lighten a bit and both sides will start working together again, just like they did when America truly was great, or something other than what it is now.

There’s no need to review last year’s predictions to gauge my historical accuracy. Like any good fortune teller, questioning my abilities will cause you bad luck, intestinal discomfort, and misfortune. Trust me.

Pete Radosevich is the publisher of the Pine Knot News and an attorney in Esko who hosts the cable access talk show Harry’s Gang on CAT-7. His opinions are his own. Contact him at [email protected].

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