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Duluth Times Daily Notebook: Friday, Dec. 10

Quote Me, Howie

An update on the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Northland, from longtime CEO Todd Johnson:

“Things at the Boys & Girls Club are going good, however we have not yet returned to pre-pandemic attendance levels especially with the teens.

The pandemic has been very challenging, with our staff ‘doing whatever it takes’ to support our members and their families.

Many of our members struggled with distance learning so our staff have been doing a lot of homework help and tutoring, even doing some virtually.

We work very closely with the schools to provide additional support for our members.

Our daily meal program has seen increasing numbers even with our daily attendance down slightly.

We try and make the Holiday season extra special for our members as many of them and their families struggle with lots of different issues.

We will be having Holiday parties at each of our sites where every member is given a gift. This is due to the generosity of local individuals and businesses that support our gift drives and adopt-a-family program.

We are currently working with the Superior School District to expand our programming in Superior at the Middle School starting in January.

We are also working to open a new Boys & Girls Club in Hibbing next fall. But, like most businesses we are struggling to find employees.

Anybody wanting to support the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Northland can do so by going to our website at or give us a call at 218-727-1549.”


Essentia Health, Northern Waters Parish Nurse Ministry celebrate 20 years of partnering

Northern Waters Parish Nurse Ministry was incorporated in 2001, and since then has partnered with Essentia Health to serve its mission of compassionately supporting and educating faith community nurses and faith communities.

Registered nurses in the parish are highly skilled, volunteer and faith-filled. They are passionate about promoting wholistic health of the mind, body and spirit. In addition to providing end-of-life and grief support, parish nurses conduct wellness checks and connect community members to valuable resources such as physical and mental health care, food access, wellness programs, housing and medical information. They make a difference at a grassroots level in our communities and are trusted, beloved friends and neighbors.

“Northern Waters Parish Nurse Ministry’s values are rooted in principles of faith, compassionate care, supporting professionalism and nurturing community,” said Kim Pearson, administrator at Essentia Health’s St. Mary’s Hospital-Superior. “Their values and deeply impactful work align with Essentia Health’s mission and values, and we are thrilled to continue our support with an $18,000 grant.”

Added Lyndi Sakuray, executive director of Northern Waters Parish Nurse Ministry: “That support is essential to our ability to continue serving community members in Superior and greater Douglas County. We exist to serve, and we do that with the bulk of our business overhead covered by this grant, so our in-house fundraising directly supports our mission initiatives.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NWPNM’s focus shifted toward education and awareness and, additionally, aiding vaccination efforts in 2020 and 2021. This year, NWPNM volunteers worked over 200 hours assisting Douglas County vaccination clinics as vaccinators, greeters and Spanish translators.

Essentia Health is called to make a healthy difference in the communities it is privileged to serve. During the past year, is has supported 120 nonprofit organizations across our service area with over $1.5 million in community contributions that impacted thousands of individuals. Additionally, Essentia colleagues gifted their time and talent via 12,000 hours of volunteering.

Duluth Skyline Rotary donates to DFD Foundation for new water rescue equipment

The Duluth Fire Department will soon have a new piece of water rescue equipment thanks to a $2,000 donation from the Duluth Skyline Rotary. The donation comes from the Rock the Skyline concert that has was held in late October at Clyde Iron Works.

“Duluth is known for our connection to Lake Superior and other bodies of water. We want everyone to enjoy our rivers and lakes safely,” Lisa Neitzel, Skyline Rotary Event Chair and President of Surge Communications said. “If something does happen, we want to support the Duluth Fire Department’s Water Rescue Program in their endeavor to save lives.”

Providing clean water, sanitation and hygiene is one of many of the causes that Rotary International bases their mission on.

“Focusing on water echoes Rotary International’s connection to water as one of its goals is supplying communities with safe drinking water, building wells in areas of the world that need them and other work to help ensure those communities have access to water. Therefore, Skyline Rotary decided on water as the focus of our club and chose to support the Duluth Fire Department Water Rescue Program with this fundraiser,” Neitzel said.

The Duluth Fire Department with the assistance of the Duluth Fire Foundation, will be using the funds to purchase an AquaEye handheld sonar device that is used to assist first responders in finding missing individuals. The device will be purchased in the new year and be located at the Gary-New Duluth Station 10. While Marine 19, the Department’s all-hazard response vessel has sonar capability, Marine 10, a 16-foot inflatable rescue boat does not.

“Without the support of Duluth Skyline Rotary this purchase would not be possible,” Chief Shawn Krizaj said. “We have been proud to partner with Skyline Rotary since 2019 in meeting the needs of the Department, and the Water Rescue Program. Duluth is unique with the amount of water, and types of water within our response area. This unique piece of equipment will only help our emergency response efforts.”

Duluth Police

Blue Santa Shop with a Cop

By Mattie Hjelseth
The Duluth Police Department’s annual Blue Santa Shop with a Cop is back.

Every year, the Duluth Police Department partners with multiple community outreach groups to help those in the community buy holiday gifts. Last year due to COVID-19, the Duluth Police Department wasn’t able to do in-person shopping with those in our community. This year Duluth Police will join families at Target to shop for holiday gifts.

A large donation by the Irving Community Club will allow 30 kids to use a $200 gift card to Target to shop for presents for their families. In addition, 20 families will also receive a $200 gift card to Super One.

“The Blue Santa Program is one of our favorite things to do with members of our community, because it allows us to spread some holiday cheer,” said Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken. “The main goal of Blue Santa is to help those in our community enjoy the holiday season without the stress of the added expenses of gifts and holiday meals.”

The event will be held at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Target in Duluth.

Duluth Human Rights Commission issues statements for International Human Rights Day

By Kate Van Daele
International Human Rights Day is commemorated every year on December 10, recognizing the day in 1948 when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees the most basic rights of all individuals such as the right to nationality, life and liberty, freedom from torture and discrimination, freedom of movement, and protection against arbitrary arrest, detention, or exile.

To bring International Human Rights Day closer to home, the Human Rights Commission asked the City of Duluth Human Rights staff and Commissioners what human rights mean to them. Their responses are below:

“Human Rights are important because they belong to all of us! They are the basic rights of freedom and they are here to protect us. It is important that we celebrate Human Rights Day but also use this time to educate the community on what their Human Rights are.” Human Rights Officer Carl Crawford

“Human rights recognize all people are equal, and by the very nature we are all equal, we all hold the unalienated right to freedom. Freedom comes with the understanding that all people are deserving of the ability to thrive in their community and we work collectively for justice as a society to remove systemic racism.” Commissioner Carl Huber

“Human rights to me are the commitments we have made to each other to honor, see, and value the humanity in each of us and to provide everyone with the minimum guarantees that you would want for you and your family.” Commissioner Bettina Keppers

“Human rights are basic rights and freedoms that belong to every person. These rights belong to us throughout our entire lives, and cannot be taken away. Human rights are inherent to all of us, no matter our nationality, gender, ethnicity, religion, language, sexual orientation, or any other status. Every human has the right to be treated with dignity, fairness, and respect.” Commissioner Tyra Jaramillo

“Human Rights are based on principles of equality and dignity, and belong to each of us regardless of what we believe, how we look, or how we choose to live. They are not only protected by numerous local and international laws, but each of us are entitled to these rights simply because we are human. With these rights comes the responsibility for each of us to protect this freedom for ourselves and others.” Human Rights Assistant Laura Laaksonen

“Human rights means everyone has equitable access to inclusive, supportive systems for things such as personal care, healthcare, educational opportunities, and many more, where we can all grow and thrive in our diverse, global society.” Commissioner Marsha Lue

“For me, human rights are what allow each of us to live authentically as we are–no matter what we look like, who we love, where we live, what beliefs we have, or how we choose to live. Human rights are the foundation of dignity and respect. Just as we all have inherent rights, we also have a responsibility to protect the rights of others.” Commissioner Sarah Lyons

“To me it means I have a responsibility to try to ensure that people and institutions know what human rights entail, know the importance of human rights, work to ensure people’s human rights and when people’s human rights are violated to stand up against those injustices. We all need to work to guarantee that everyone’s human rights are protected at all times and in all places.” Commissioner Sandra van den Bosse

Below is a statement from the Commission on work that is bring done in Duluth, opportunities to get involved, and work that is left to do.

There is much work to be done to ensure basic human rights are protected for everyone here in Duluth, in Minnesota, across the country and around the world. Now’s the time to self-reflect on what human rights mean to you as an individual in our community.

What work is there to do? If you have a child you could have a conversation with their teacher about how they are incorporating different peoples lived experiences into their curriculum so our youth have the opportunity to learn about people from all walks of life. You could host a book/movie club dedicated to learning about the intersections of people’s identities and discuss your thoughts, feelings, and reactions with everyone in attendance; share what had the greatest impact on you, something you learned, something you hadn’t reflected on before. You could ask the hard questions about equity, access, and privilege with your closest family and friends. You could actively confront bias, racism, prejudice, and discrimination in our community and reach out to community members impacted by hate crimes, discrimination, and bias to check-in on them and their mental well-being. You could work to dismantle systems of oppression at your workspace, in an educational setting, or at your religious/spiritual institution, for example. You could stand up, speak out, and do a lot of listening and learning by attending some of the upcoming events the Human Rights Commission has planned in 2022.

Where can you do the work? Schools. Hospitals. Community organizations. Businesses. Religious and Spiritual Institutions. Your family. Your friends. Social circles. Your neighborhood. Anywhere and everywhere!

Interested in opportunities to impact human rights in Duluth? There are openings on the Human Rights Commission. Apply today by clicking the following link:

Published in Daily Notebook Essentia

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