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Duluth Times Daily Notebook: Wednesday, Dec. 8

Quote Me, Howie

So, how is retired Western Lake Superior Sanitary District Executive Director Kurt Soderberg keeping busy these days?

“After retiring from WLSSD, Barb and I kept an apartment in Duluth for a couple of years, but moved full-time to our lake home near Ely. Both of our moms were still living and needing more care, so we moved back to our original ‘hometowns’. They have passed on, but we were able to spend quality time with them both for several years.

I was privileged to lead WLSSD for 17 years but then also served on the Ely Utility Commission for nine years, another well-managed utility but for sewer and water. Our original retirement goals were grandchildren, golfing and gardening, and we have been blessed to do all of those things as we please. In fact, I had a hole-in-one on our most recent short trip to Phoenix for golfing and visiting. Today I serve on the town board for Eagles Nest Township, as the secretary for the Rotary Club of Ely, and am active with the Ely Golf Club, having served as a board member and finance committee member.

I still follow WLSSD activities from afar and I am proud of the work that continues with pollution prevention, excellent treatment and award-winning programs. Marianne Bohren is a credit to the industry, and the staff remains as competent as can be found. Both the board and staff continue to manage this complicated and ever-changing facility exceptionally well. We still come back to our ‘other hometown’ of Duluth whenever we can because it holds a special place in our hearts and we spend a number days there every year just to take advantage of the things that it has to offer.”


CherryRoad Media, Inc., which publishes the weeklies Rainy Lake Gazette in International Falls and Cook County News-Herald in Grand Marais, has acquired the daily La Junta Tribune-Democrat in southern Colorado from Gannett Co., Inc., as well as weeklies Fowler Tribune, Bent County Democrat and Ag Journal. Terms were not disclosed.

“CherryRoad is excited to be the new owners of the La Junta Tribune-Democrat, Fowler Tribune, Bent County Democrat and the Ag Journal,” said Jeremy Gulban, CEO of CherryRoad Media. “We look forward to investing in the coverage of local news and events in these communities, as well as expanding upon the great coverage of agricultural topics provided by the Ag Journal. I want to thank Gannett for working with us to transition these publications to a new future.”

CherryRoad Media has also signed a definitive agreement to acquire the Trinidad (Colorado) Chronicle-News, a five-day-a-week publication that has served Trinidad and surrounding communities since 1877. The Chronicle-News is one of the oldest continuously published newspapers in Colorado.

“We are looking forward to working with the existing staff to continue the excellence in coverage of local news and events in Trinidad and surrounding areas,” Gulband said of The Chronicle-News purchase.


Duluth East lost to Forest Lake 5-3 in high school boys hockey Tuesday night at Essentia Duluth Heritage Center. The Greyhounds are 0-6 under first-year head coach Steve Pitoscia, who replaced Mike Randolph who led the program for 32 years.

Grant to fund a Mobile Mountain Bike Fleet in Duluth

By Kate Van Daele
Kids in Duluth will soon have more access to mountain biking on the Duluth Traverse once recommendations are approved to fund $167,783 for a mobile mountain bike fleet and programming.

The Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission (GMRPTC) just completed its extensive application review process and chose the Duluth Traverse Mobile Mountain Bike Fleet along with 19 other parks and trails around the state for a record $12.2 million in funding for Fiscal Year 2023. The GMRPTC will now ask the Minnesota Legislature to approve the recommendations through the Parks and Trails Legacy Fund, one of four funds created by the 2008 Minnesota Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment. The Legislature has annually approved GMRPTC requests, since Legacy Funds are already dedicated and may only be spent to support parks and trails of regional or statewide significance.

“We are so excited that that the Duluth Traverse has been selected for this program grant from the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission. This grant will allow us to get more kids on bikes, provide instruction, transportation, offer instructor-in-training opportunities, and ideally help us grow the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts and stewards,” said Parks and Recreation Manager Jessica Peterson. “This project builds on the good work of many organizations focused on reducing barriers to outdoor recreation, especially on public lands. We have a tremendous trail system, and yet it’s not yet accessible to everyone. Thanks to feedback from our community, the mobile mountain bike fleet will include a range of bikes to make the programs and trails more accessible for riders of varying abilities and comfort levels.”

“Every grant awardee is very deserving, and we commend them for how thoroughly they described their needs in their grant applications,” said GMRPTC Executive Director Renee Mattson. “It’s the dedicated people at the local level who make Greater Minnesota’s parks and trails really shine, and we’re pleased to assist them with their efforts.”

Mattson said the Commission is also allocating $212,053 to a new Connecting People with the Outdoors Small Grant fund, which will be available to all 67 designated parks and trails in Greater Minnesota. Emphasis for grant criteria will be placed on increasing access for underserved and communities of color, enhancing handicap accessibility, transportation and programming. Grant fund applications will be available in early 2022.

The 20 parks and trails recommended for funding are below. District numbers in the grid refer to these geographic areas of Minnesota: 1-Northeast; 2-Northwest; 3-West Central; 4-East Central; 5-Southwest; 6-Southeast.

Grant Recipients

Duluth Traverse — $167,783.00
Duluth Spirit Mountain Recreation Area — $1,254,471.00

“Legacy Funding is an amazing and far-reaching gift that Minnesotans chose to make happen by voting to tax themselves,” added Mattson. “Without Legacy dollars, many of these projects simply would not happen or would take many years before coming to fruition.”

The GMRPTC provides recommendations to the Minnesota Legislature for grants to parks and trails of regional significance in the 80 counties outside the seven-county metropolitan area. Since 2014 the GMRPTC has awarded more than $52 million in grants to over 50 regional parks and trails. Combined with $20 million in community matches, grants are used to fund infrastructure improvements, land acquisitions, new facilities, trail rehabilitation and more.

Published in Daily Notebook

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