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The Northland's Week in Review - Nov. 13-20, 2009

Friday through Sunday, Nov. 13-15

• Dr. Kathleen Nelson, president of Lake Superior College, announced her intent to retire after 13 years as the college's CEO and after 30 total years as a leader in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. Her retirement will be effective June 30, 2010. Nelson became the second president of LSC in 1997, two years after the legislatively driven merger of Duluth Technical College and Duluth Community College Center created Lake Superior College.

Monday, Nov. 16

• Shortly after 1 a.m. there was an attempted robbery at the 2605 London Road Holiday Station Store. A black male approached the clerk and said he had a gun, but when the clerk asked to see the weapon the suspect fled.

• The Duluth Transit Authority announced that four hybrid diesel-electric buses will hit the streets this week. The DTA is adding the four 40-foot buses to the two 35-foot hybrids already in operation. The hybrid buses are 22 percent more fuel efficient and reduce emissions by about 90 percent, according to the DTA.

• Five Guys Burgers and Fries celebrated its grand opening at Miller Hill Mall.

Tuesday, Nov. 17

• Duluth School Board members approved schematic designs for remodeling -- including a new gymnasium -- at Congdon Park elementary school. Gary Glass was the only "no" vote. The board unanimously voted against a resolution to take $100,000 from the district's fund balance to pay for a special election on the "Plan B" put forth by Let Duluth Vote. Board members directed staff to explore payment options that wouldn't take money away from the classroom.

• Three morning crashes involving eight cars blocked up traffic along the northbound lane of Interstate 35 near Spirit Mountain.

• During the first Give to the Max Day, more than $14 million was raised for 3,434 Minnesota nonprofits. More than 38,000 donors participated in the day of giving. Every donation made through also received a portion of a $500,000 match. Several local non-profits benefited, among them the Minnesota Ballet, Animal Allies and Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank. Second Harvest raised $39,839 from 380 regional donors.

Wednesday, Nov. 18

• Central High School was in lockdown for a short time after Nathan Allen Drift, 25, tried to run over a student in the school parking lot. According to the police report, Drift also nearly ran over a school resource officer who attempted to stop him as he fled the school grounds. Drift, who has had 15 prior criminal cases filed against him, is being held on two counts of attempted second-degree murder and two counts of attempted second-degree assault. School surveillance of the parking lot captured much of the incident on video, police said.

• Carinda Horton made her first official public announcement regarding candidacy for House District 7A State Representative at Blackwoods on London Road. Rep. Thomas Huntley (DFL) is the current state representative for District 7A, a seat he's held since 1992.

• With the exception of Gary Glass, the majority of Duluth School Board members indicated they will likely support closing Denfeld High School for the 2010-2011 school year while remodeling at the building is completed. Denfeld students would attend Central High School instead. The tentative plans have Central High School students being split between Central and East High School, depending on grade and the future east-west boundary line. That would apply to all of next year's ninth graders. Older students would get to choose between East and Central, with seniors getting first choice, then juniors, then sophomores.

Thursday, Nov. 19

• The fourth district council recount was held at City Hall. Challenger Gordon Grant submitted a waiver, which was received by the city clerk's office, for the balance of the recount after ballots from three precincts were recounted. Grant agreed to accept the official certification of the results by the city council from Nov. 9.

•Wisconsin regulators today released their final rules for ballast water treatment for ships in the Great Lakes, including changes giving ship owners an extra two years before the regulations take hold.

• Belgium's prime minister, Herman Van Rompuy, was named the first "president of Europe."

Friday, Nov. 20

• The financially strapped Minnesota Discover Center in Chisholm, which used to be called Ironworld, was set to close after Friday with no reopening date in site, according to a story in the Duluth News Tribune.

The center's board of directors decided this week to lay off the 26 full-time employees starting Friday and shutter the facility indefinitely.

Board Chair Rich Puhek said the board couldn't find enough money to cover day-to-day operations, including payroll. Puhek said they don't want to close the facility permanently. Efforts are under way to make sure the facilities don't freeze while closed.

Coming this weekend

• The Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad is hosting a model railroad show from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 21-22, at the Mariner Mall in Superior. Cost is $5 for adults, $3 for kids ages 4 to 12 and free for under 4.

• The Junior League of Duluth will host its annual Festival of Trees from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 21-22, at the DECC. Cost is $6 and free for children 12 and younger.

• There will be a holiday tea opening celebration from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21, for Cecilia Lieder's annual solo exhibit at Northern Prints Gallery, 318 N. 14th Ave. E.