Sunday, July 31, 2016

Remembering the birth of the DECC fifty years ago...

Today the Duluth News Tribune paid homage to the upcoming 50th anniversary of the DECC (formerly known as the Duluth Arena-Auditorium). I was a fledgling reporter in 1963 covering the beginnings of what later became the Duluth Arena-Auditorium. A few years later, in August of 1966, I covered the events of the gala celebration week of it's grand opening. I was asked to recount some memories of that time for the Duluth News Tribune and my recollections are included in a column in today's special DECC edition of the paper. You can read the column HERE.

Pictured to your left is a photo of an event held in the arena that celebration week. I, Voula (my fiancé at that time and now my wife) sat across the table from our long-time friends, Dave and Karen Erickson now living in Denver Colorado. Many TV and other celebrities were also in attendance.

Pictured (right) is an old post card 10 years later (1976) showing the Arena-Auditorium with the Curling Club/Pioneer Hall addition (to the right of the original structure. Docked at the Arena pier on the St. Louis Bay is the Norwegian Training Ship, the Christian Radich of Oslo. A couple of years ago, I was able to again visit that ship docked at it's home in Oslo.

The DECC complex has, of course, expanded and changed in subsequent years. Read more about the 50th anniversary in today's DNT HERE.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Duluth hit hard by summer storm...

Early morning storms crept into Duluth and area fast and furiously Thursday. Strobe-like lightening flashed every second and hurricane-force winds measuring upward from from 69 mph to 100 mph swept through the area. Lots of trees were uprooted, torn in half or broken off so that neighborhoods hit the hardest had obstructions on roadways, trees on cars or roof-tops and electrical lines catching trees or laying live on the ground. Minnesota Power noted 75,000 were without power in the region, with many still without power even now. The Lakewood pumping station near lake Superior was out of power as well and area residents were asked to conserve water. Duluth was finally getting back to normal after the big 2012 flood so this has hit the city hard.

And, believe it or not, Duluth is having a heat wave. It's 90 degrees right now–hot and humid.

You can read more about it and see video footage of the scenes around town on the Duluth News Tribune website HERE and HERE.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Government Programs Benefit Millions

What follows is my letter to the editor appearing in today's Duluth News Tribune...

                         Posted on Jun 24, 2016 at 11:59 p.m.
The June 16 letter, “Intrusive federal bureaucracies kill prosperity and jobs,” ended with the statement: “We have a president and government that seems to suspect it knows what’s right for you. Do you find that comforting?”

Yes, I find that comforting when I look at the history of government programs designed to help Americans, programs such as Social Security, which was established in the 1930s and saved older Americans from abject poverty, and Medicare, which was established in the 1960s and guarantees basic medical insurance coverage for those over 65.

The liberal-led administrations and congressional majorities that instituted these programs knew what was right for millions of Americans who have benefited for decades in the face of conservative interests that rail against them even today while also thwarting any measure — such as increasing the federal minimum wage and Obamacare — aimed at improving the lives of the poor and middle class.
Jim Heffernan

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

WHAT BUSINESSES DO WITH PERSONAL INFORMATION...

By Jim Heffernan

Many of the bills I get in the mail include a sheet describing what the company does with the personal information gathered over the life of our business association.

Some people are uncomfortable with the sharing of personal information accumulated by businesses and other organizations. My own reaction is not so much discomfort as resignation. What can you do about it? Not much.

Most of these notices are lengthy and describe in detail why they share, what they share and with whom this information is shared.

Here is an example of such a disclosure sheet:

Dear Valued Customer,

All financial companies need to share customers’ personal information for the purpose of making oodles of money. We protect this information to the extent that it is available only to parties whose vital interests depend on such information or anyone who wants it, whichever comes first.

We limit personal information sharing to clients’ home addresses, e-mail addresses, Social Security numbers, height, weight, color of hair and eyes, shoe size, bathing habits, TV watching preferences, religious affiliations, educational attainment, dining proclivities, vehicle preferences (car, truck, SUV, motorcycle, ATV, tractor, skateboard), and any and all other information we choose, including blood pressure, exercise habits, bank account numbers and investment accounts, not to exclude credit history, pets and voting record.

Organizations receiving information on you may include, but are not limited to, the MAFIA, ISIS, IRS, NAFTA, FBI, CIA, DPW, MNDOT, COPS, ROBBERS, ADT, HOTLCOG, NEMDA, CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, CSPAN DNT, AARP, DDT & NRA, among others.

You have the right to challenge sharing of your personal information by contacting us between the hours of midnight and 3 a.m. at South Florida Cellar Enterprises, atten. “Blackie”, at 1-912-GO-PUNT. A telephone fee of $1 per word applies. Mail inquiries to: Afghanistan Banana Man, 314 Taliban Way, Kabul, 90210 and include your mother’s maiden name.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

A beefeater’s prayer...

By Jim Heffernan

I like to eat steak, and almost always order it when I’m dining in restaurants. A New York strip, baked potato, Caesar salad and a bread roll is all I need to satisfy me.

In recent years, though, friends, with whom I occasionally dine, rib me in a friendly way about always ordering steak, while they proudly have some kind of fish, which is better for you, they say, and you read that all the time in articles on healthy eating. Omega 3 in fish is good for the heart, we read. There is no Omega 3 in steak, but there is fat. Bad old fat.

But I still like steak. These friends are part of the International Anti-Red Meat Conspiracy (IARMC) and I try to ignore them when they get on my case about eating steak.

I know they think I haven’t got a prayer, but I have:

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
If I should die before I wake,
Tell Him I ate too much steak.
Amen


Be sure to fold your hands when you say it.