Northland Morning Interviews

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Journalist Georgia Fort was maced and shot with a rubber bullet last week.

And she counts herself lucky she escaped with only a bruise.

First AmendmentCongress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


Minnesota car dealerships are stuck right in the middle.

On the one hand, they're in favor of the new emissions standards being proposed by the MPCA's Clean Cars Minnesota rule.


Hundreds of LGBTQIA2S+ youth took issue with the Minnesota State Legislature last week, flooding their email inboxes with demands for accountability regarding House File 1657.

It's the first legislation in the nation to threaten criminal consequences for transgender students using bathrooms or taking part in school activities.

Sammie Hofkes/Studio 310. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

To have seen the young couple and their dog posing on the beach and at the Rose Garden in Duluth last weekend, you might have thought they were getting engagement photos taken. 

Which is ironic, because Tria and Phil Isaacson eloped to Duluth last fall.  The Brainerd couple chose  to spend the money they would have spent on their wedding to provide treatment for their four year old dog, Lilah.

Lilah got cancer.  Then in went into remission.

Now it's back.

But the non-profit Live Like Roo Foundation understands what they're going through. One of the ways they support people and their companion animals at this time is through an arm of the foundation that helps folks make a bucket list for their beloved four-legged ... and start checking things off it.

©Lisa Johnson. All rights reserved.

K-9 officer Luna, the 3-year-old Dutch shepherd killed last week responding to a domestic violence call, was honored by a procession last Saturday, one that began at the emergency veterinary clinic where she died after being shot by the suspect, and ending at the pet cremation services building in Scanlon.

K-9 officer Luna's death sums up the dichotomy: she was sent after the suspect because she was not a human (and presumably to save human lives) and yet she was mourned and celebrated much as a human officer would be for bravery and sacrifice.

Pez Davila is a Black man who works with BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) kids here in Duluth.

So he knows first hand what kinds of messages these kids hear - and he still does, himself. "'You can't do this,'" he says. "It sticks in people's heads."

He knows there are Black entrepreneurs in the northland, but until a throw-away little idea took on a life of its own, he had no idea how many.

Fred Moon/Unsplash

This week, the Duluth City Council unanimously approved adding a third deputy police chief tasked with, among other things, a focus on police accountability.

But Jamey Sharp, the founder of what he calls the "grassroots data group" LEANDuluth, says whether it's 50 new deputy chiefs or one new chief, it doesn't matter if they're not willing to look outside the police department itself for answers.

© Deb Holman. Used with permission.

Don't get him wrong; Joel Kilgour is grateful for the public support of people who are homeless when we enter this kind of deep cold.

And as the coordinator of the Chum Warming Center, he's excited about the political will he says is behind a permanent, 24-hour warming center he hopes will be up and running by next year.

Thanks to a network of supports, Joel says he's confident that when people leave the Warming Center in the morning, they have another place to go.

Duluth Police Department/Facebook

Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken is proposing to amend the city charter and add a third deputy police chief, a position which would include, among other things, oversight of police accountability.

A group of Duluthians who have been studying and working toward police reform think that's a fine idea, but they have a bigger plan they'd like to propose, a community-based plan to respond to 911 calls, where appropriate, with unarmed civilian first-responders and non-violence.

Kelly Sikkema/Unsplash

The birds-and-the-bees conversation is still awkward and uncomfortable for parents, so the idea that you should start when kids are young talking to them about things like sex trafficking can seem unthinkable.

We've all shared the Facebook memes and posts about some plot to kidnap women and how they need to be aware of this and take X, Y and Z steps to be safe. That's just being thoughtful, right?  But people who work with victim-survivors say we're perpetuating the idea that the only way you can be trafficked is if a stranger kidnaps you, or that only adult women are trafficked.

And when we do that, we're ignoring the people - young people: boys and girls 12-14 years old - who ARE being trafficked in our community.


Katie Albert is St. Louis County's public health planner overseeing COVID-19 vaccination efforts.

She joins us this morning for a wide-ranging conversation about the County's progress through the first three phases of the highest priority groups for the vaccine, the need for volunteers, and how we find out who's next in line for the shots.

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Yesterday afternoon's  internet and cell phone outage made it that much easier to sit in front of the TV, transfixed, by what was unfolding at the nation's Capitol.

UMD's Dr. Cindy Rugeley, head of the Political Science department, pulls no punches in her analysis of the events Wednesday.  Demonstrations by thousands of President Trump's supporters turned violent and a mob swarmed the Capitol building.  One person was shot and later died.