Northland Morning Interviews

Daily interviews with a local focus airing at 8 a.m. Monday through Friday on Northland Morning.

Sharon Mollerus [via Flickr]

Last month, the Minnesota Legislature passed a $988 million bonding bill, including $25.4 million in funding for the St. Louis River Estuary Restoration Project.  This funding will ALSO trigger the awarding of $47.2 million in federal funds made available through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to accelerate the cleanup efforts of the St. Louis River and the Duluth- Superior Harbor.  We talk with Kris Eilers, Executive Director of St. Louis River Alliance, about the vital clean-up projects this funding makes possible.

Nathan Ratner

Nathan Ratner has always been a bit of an overachiever.

Not only did the med student help start Journey To Wellness in Indian Country here at KUMD, now he's one of 16 medical students (and the only one from North America!) invited to travel to Helsinki next month.

The 2017 Elsevier Hacks Hackathon will bring together programmers, coders and designers along with medical students to see if they can find solutions to some challenges in medical education.

West Midlands Police/Flickr

UMD's Police department is testing the use of body cameras on two officers this summer.

And Police Chief Sean Huls says it's not to monitor officers as much as to gather evidence and reinforce the trust-building in the community.

Huls admits UMD is late to the game, body camera-wise, but he says the legislature didn't finalize data privacy rules - including when body camera footage can be released to the public - until last year.

Jim Mullhaupt/Flickr

Cat Island, part of the Apostle Island National Lakeshore, is a great place for people to vacation.

Trouble is, it's a lousy place for bears to make a living.

This time of year,  mother bears start kicking out their adult offpsring.  And like slacker children everywhere, young bears are looking for a maximum reward for minimal effort.

In two words: camp food.

You can find more information about the status of the Cat Island Campground here

©Lisa Johnson

What do young professionals want in a city?

Studies suggest they want good transportation - and will even consider giving up their cars if they can rely on public transit.

They want access to amenities so they can have fun when they're not working, and they want to be connected with the community and make it their own.

So far so good, right?  But who would have thought day camps for their dogs are one of the things they're looking for as they contemplate a move to Duluth?

Duluth Public Library

The Duluth Police Department's Mounted Patrol team will face a whole gang this afternoon: of readers.

The Duluth Public Library's Squad Car Storytime was actually the brainchild of the Duluth Police Department. 

But this week, young readers are going to get to hear a story - and learn more about the Mounted Patrol - straight from the horse's mouth.

Roo Yori

Andrew "Roo" Yori might have been out but he's not down.

The Rochester man's sophomore appearance on the reality competition show American Ninja Warrior saw him triumph over obstacles like "Floating Steps" and "Broken Pipes," ... only to be brought "low by the lache" on something called "Crank It Up."

If he's disappointed not to make it to the city finals as he did in his rookie year, 2016, though, he's not letting on.

MN DOT

Minnesota's Department of Transportation isn't the first state department you'd think of if you were trying to combat sex and labor trafficking in the state, but as Angela Forsythe points out, transportation of the victim is almost always involved.

And unfortunately, thanks to ports, railroads and major highways, not to mention big events like the Super Bowl that draw crowds to the state, Minnesota is a hotbed for the buying and selling of human beings.

©The Grounds Keepers

You're hiking along, enjoying the day when ... trash.

Maybe some pop cans or fast food wrappers ... maybe a discarded television.

Enter Two Harbors-based Granite Gear, who chose 15 people from over 200 applicants to be Grounds Keepers.

And so far, they've gotten over a quarter-ton of litter off the trains, from the Appalachian Trail to the Pacific  Crest Trail to the Superior Hiking Trail, right here in our own neighborhood.

Midnight Oil Studio and Workshop

2-D artist and screen printer Jonathan Metzger on why no one ever brags they do better screen printing in their basement, and why art offers important training in analytical thinking.

Atelier & Stone

Jewelry artist Louise Payjack-Guillou on the line between creativity and commercial success, and the definitive answer to the question: "I tried on this ring and it's stuck; how do I get if off?!"

Ray Shelerud

Ceramicist Ray Shelerud on the "grand passion" of his life ... and where people really are when they call in sick from work. (Hint: check the area clay studios.)

CHUM

"They don't usually like the court at first," admits Deb Holman, ruefully.

But an innovative collaboration between legal professionals and community support service providers (Holman is a Street Outreach Worker for CHUM) is helping to break the cycle of homelessness, chemical dependency, mental illness and crime.

© Shawn Carr. Used with permission.

Joel Kilgour sighs.

Maybe the plan was "overly ambitious," he says.

Joel has spent the better part of the last 20 years with the Loaves and Fishes Community, working on behalf of people struggling with poverty, homelessness and "housing insecurity."

In 2007, St. Louis County launched A Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness.  In 2017, the crisis of homelessness has not abated, but all is far from lost.

evilfoo/Flickr

The perceived "east-west divide" in Duluth is significant, especially when it comes to socio-economic barriers and even a ten-year discrepancy in life expectancy, depending on where you live.

Could meeting in the middle somewhere, say, Canal Park, help get people thinking in a new way?

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation think so, and they're willing to shell out $200,000 to find out.  

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