Mar 122010

Today, Friday, I continued to isolate myself from others so that I wouldn’t expose them to my cold. I wondered what I photo I could take to give my viewers of sample of this March day in Duluth. I looked out my window and was surprised to see a street with NO snow or ice on it. In fact, for a second or two I had to do a double-take, I wondered if a street-cleaner had swept the center of the street, leaving the edges full of gravel. But I don’t think that is the case.

Duluth is especially challenged in it’s snow and ice management on streets during the winter. We don’t want vehicles and people slipping and sliding, but we don’t want to pollute our streams, creeks and of course Lake Superior. Our sand and gravel has 10 percent gravel in it. The main thoroughfare get more sanding than the less traveled streets.

One year I saw a woman, whom I am sure thought she was being a good, clean neighbor, sweep up all the sand and gravel and push it into a street grate – storm drain. Another time I saw an elderly couple raking and sweeping dog-doo into the storm drain. They were angry at their neighbors for letting their dog go to the bathroom on their yard. This is the WRONG thing to do. Sand and gravel in the sewer pollutes or water and is hard on our sewer system.

Think of your curb and gutter as lakeshore property. Here is quote from the Duluthmn.gov website:

Think of your curb and gutter as lakeshore property- remember that whatever is on the street that washes down into a storm drain runs straight into our local streams and then Lake Superior.  Don’t blow your leaves and grass clippings into the street.  Sweep up road salt in the spring. Pick up pet droppings.  Wash your car on the lawn where the soapy water can soak into the ground, not the driveway where the water will flow into the storm sewer.  Don’t litter- much of that trash ends up in our lakes and streams.

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Jan 182010

With the former Washington School in the background, Doug Happy holds up a sign complaining about the current school district

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr Day. Each year Duluthians parade from the 300 block of Lake Avenue downhill to Superior Street and onto the DECC (Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center) in honor of Martin Luther King and to show their support for civil rights. The large building in the background of this photo is the former Washington Jr. High School. About 12 years ago it was converted into artists’ studio apartments and a youth center.  The man holding the sign is named Doug Happy. The Duluth school district is Independent School District 709.  Many changes are taking place with the locations of the schools. The plans include closing several schools in order to have bigger schools, which can provide more services. Many think it will cut down on expenses and be cheaper than repairing the old buildings. This plan is named the Red Plan or the Long Range Facilities Plan. One of the school’s to be closed is Nettleton Magnet School, an elementary school in the Central Hillside. The other school to be closed is Central High School. Some opponents of this plan say it will further divide the town between east and west, with most of the minority people living and going to school in the west, and cause unnecessary stress on children who will have to be bussed to school rather than walking to school.Click on the link to see the school’s website on the Long Range Facilities Plan.

Click here to see a MPR story on a group opposed to it.

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