Northland Morning Interviews

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

Avera Health

More and better internet infrastructure in rural Minnesota is creating a virtual "perfect storm" of benefits when it comes to health care.

The ability of larger hospitals to extend their services to small rural hospitals via telecommuting and teleconferencing means patients can stay in their homes and communities when they're ill, small hospitals don't have to close, and small communities hang on to jobs.

Deb Holman/CHUM Street Outreach Advocate

St. Louis County's ten-year-plan to end homelessness is in either year ten or eight ... depending on how you count the process that began in 2005 or the completed plan that was adopted in 2007.  Can we end homelessness in St. Louis County within two years?

The 3rd Annual Housing for All Community Summit took a hard look at that question last week.

Bryan French

You know those YouTube videos showing people on bikes hurtling down rocky cliffs and jumping gorges?

COGGS (Cyclists of Gitchee Gumee Shores) wants to build one.

COGGS and Spirit Mountain made it to the final round of the Bell Helmets grant competition.  At stake is $100,000 to fund a trail building project, and if COGGS wins, Duluth Mayor Don Ness will ask the city council for an additional $50,000 for the project.

Pam Schmitt of COGGS explains.

Kat Stan/Flickr

Outdoor enthusiast and dad Tom O'Rourke (he's also the executive director of the Hartley Nature Center) says there's a way to plan, survive and even enjoy camping trips with your kids.  Spoiler alert: minimalism is not always a good thing, a little free-range parenting IS a good thing,  and never use the word "hiking"!

joshua_putnam'Flickr

Floods, fires, benzene spills ... when there's a disaster in the Northland, the emergency preparedness, management and response folks are the ones we count on to keep us safe.

Last week, many of those professionals attended the Under One Roof conference.  Tony Guerra is the Readiness Coordinator for the American Red Cross in Duluth and he was one of the attendees.

A couple of the take-aways? 

Photos by Brian Downing and Bryan French

Everytime you turn around, it seems, Duluth is out-performing other cities twice its size.

Here's another example:  Duluth it's 13th in the nation of cities with bicycle-friendly businesses.  And if you break it down to businesses-per-capita, it ranks first.

Healthy Duluth Coalition has presented awards to the most bicycle-friendly businesses in the city, and Active Transportation Coordinator Shawna Mullen Early says nominees were evaluated by the Four E's of Bicycling: education, encouragement, engineering and evaluation.

Duluth's Poet Laureate - and second term poet laureate at that, Jim Johnson, is interested in the idea of local and regional voices in writing, so it's not really a surprise that he was asked to deliver the keynote address at tonight's 27th Annual Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards at UMD.

Here, he talks about the "Midwest voice," a writing style he characterizes as, among other things, "honest" and "practical."

Chuck Schlegel/Flickr

Ice-out actually happened before the Minnesota fishing opener this year ... the water is warm and the fish are active.   John Chalstrom of Chalstrom Bait says there are always new baits and lures coming out ... but he's still recommending the classics.

Schplook/Flickr

Kids at Lincoln Park Middle School aren't getting suspended nearly as often as they used to.

In fact, the number of days students were suspended has dropped by more than half in just one year.

Rumors and misinformation, helped along by social media, aren't painting a true picture of the school, especially these days, says Principal Brenda Vatthauer, who's wrapping up her first year at Lincoln Park.

Michael Taggart/Flickr

Assisted suicide is against the law in Minnesota.

You can't advise, encourage or help someone take their own life here.

For years, the conversation - and controversy - has swirled around cases where someone who is already dying or in chronic pain wants to end their own suffering ... cases where, you might argue, someone is trying to compassionately help another end their pain or die with dignity.

But what about cases where that advice is, perhaps, being offered over social media, by someone trying to bully someone else into killing themselves?

Ruben Schade/Flickr

Tiny houses.  Micro-homes.  Re-purposed shipping containers.  We've heard the buzz about them not only as environmentally friendly housing options, but as low-cost options to help house the homeless in our country.

In Madison, WI, tiny houses to shelter the people struggling with homelessness cost about $4,000 apiece.

In Duluth, plans were afoot a year ago to convert shipping containers - which are plentiful and comparatively inexpensive in the Twin Ports - to housing, and at about half the cost per unit of traditional low-income housing.

Ali Gold/Flickr

Many families are familiar with the wrenching decisions that have to be made when a parent can no longer live alone.

But what happens to our elders who have no families - or homes, for that matter?

This week, KUMD takes a look at who is experiencing homelessness in the Northland. Who are they? Why don't they have homes? What are their options?

Tanya Dawn/Flickr

Around 600 kids aged 14 to 21 find their way to Life House in Duluth in the course of a year. And contrary to what you might think, kids aren't homeless because they "don't want to follow rules at home."

Substance, domestic or sexual abuse at home forces many kids out on the streets or into "couch-hopping" with friends every year.

This week, KUMD takes a look at who is experiencing homelessness in the Northland. Who are they? Why don't they have homes? What are their options?

Author and outdoorsman Andrew Slade joins us to talk about places you can hike - and places you can't - along the North Shore.  Even though it's cool and muddy this week, it's still a great time to get out and enjoy spring ephemerals.  Wonder what it is you're looking at?  Andrew also has a recommendation for a great Facebook page (Duluth Phenology) that may help answer all your questions about the natural world here in our little part of it.

Jeffrey/Flickr

What would it take to make you leave your home with nowhere to go?  For many women and families, it would take nothing less than violence.

1695 people* were helped by Safe Haven Shelter and Resource Center last year, many fleeing domestic abuse.

This week, KUMD takes a look at who is experiencing homelessness in the Northland. Who are they? Why don't they have homes? What are their options?

In this installment of our "Finding Home" series, Sarah Breyer of Safe Haven talks about women and children and where they can go -- short- and long-term -- when home isn't safe.

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