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Duluth store’s MLK-themed ‘Black Sale’ causes an uproar

The sale was advertisted on Global Village’s Facebook page.

Rachel Mock, the proprietor of Global Village in downtown Duluth, is horrified about all the fuss over her MLK Day sale. For the last four years, her shop has offered a 25 percent discount on all things black during Martin Luther King Jr. Day, writes Peter Passi of the Duluth News Tribune. But this year, when George Ellsworth came downtown with his 5-year-old daughter, Aina, to join in an MLK Day march, he was “incredulous” when saw the promotion. He took a photo and posted it on Facebook, where it was shared extensively Monday. He was more surprised when he saw an ad on the business’s own Facebook page: “Annual MLK Day BLACK SALE! He showed us that the struggle and lookin’ super fly can go hand in hand. We salute him with 25 percent off everything black, Monday, Jan. 20.” “It trivializes the legacy of Martin Luther King to praise him for looking ‘superfly,’” said Ellsworth, who is black. For her part, Mock says the store is well known for its progressive values and is horrified at the reaction. “I apologize to anyone we offended. I meant it as a celebration of Martin Luther King and a way to honor him because he was a positive black leader,” she said, adding that the store won’t offer the sale again.

The News Tribune also took a look at new statewide traffic statistics for 2013 and localized them for St. Louis County. The newspaper found that while road deaths and DUIs dropped across the state, deaths in the county skyrocketed. According to the Department of Public Safety’s Office of Traffic Safety, there were 375 traffic fatalities statewide in 2013, down from 395 in 2012. In 2004, there were 567 traffic deaths. St. Louis County, however, saw 19 traffic fatalities in 2013, up from 10 in 2012. Hennepin County led the pack with 39 fatalities, St. Louis was second, and Dakota County was third with 18. In addition, 23,800 arrests were made in 2013 for drunken driving, down from 28,418 in 2012. The newspaper notes that a large number of DWI arrests came in the final weeks of the year: From Nov. 27 to Dec. 31, there were 2,453 drunken-driving arrests.

A new survey that shows about 1 in 5 ninth-grade girls in Blue Earth County had significant thoughts about suicide last year, and the statistics are in line with results across the state, reports Amanda Dyslin of the Mankato Free Press. More statistics from the 2013 Minnesota Student Survey: 8 percent of ninth-grade girls in Blue Earth County and 5 percent of ninth-grade girls in Nicollet County who responded to the survey said they had actually attempted suicide in the last year. Across the state, 6 percent of ninth-grade girls said they’d attempted ending their lives. About 35 percent and 34 percent of Blue Earth County ninth-grade and 11th-grade girls, respectively, reported feeling “trapped, lonely, sad, blue, depressed or hopeless” about their future. In Nicollet County, the figures were 20 percent and 41 percent for ninth- and 11th-grade girls. “There’s still work to be done,” said Sheri Sander-Silva, associate director of the YWCA. She said the survey results show the importance of developing girls’ self-esteem. Sander-Silva also said many girls need more meaningful connections with trusted adult role models who are experienced and can help them navigate complex emotional issues.

When the New London-Spicer girls basketball team trounced Paynesville 59-42 Saturday, they handed coach Mike Dreier his 800th career victory, all at NLS, reports the West Central Tribune. Dreier, who grew up in Burnsville and is a Hamline graduate, became the head coach at NLS in 1978. His first win came on Dec. 12, 1978, when the Wildcats muscled a victory over Kimball 29-22. He took the Wildcats to their first state tournament in 1985, the first of 14 state appearances. NLS has reached the state championship game seven times and won Class AA titles in 1997 and 2002. “It’s been a blur how fast it’s gone,” Dreier said, adding that “as long the kids are still in it and I enjoy doing it” he will continue to coach.

David Little of the West Central Tribune writes of an odd experience in Dassel. A sealed chemical container ruptured at Spectralytics on Monday. There were no reported injuries. Little writes “Meeker County Sheriff Jeff Norlin said a Spectralytics chemical engineer was pouring used acids into a 55-gallon waste container when a reaction occurred, causing the sealed container to rupture. Spectralytics arranged for a private hazardous material company to remove the chemicals. There was no damage to the Spectralytics building or equipment. Spectralytics suspended shifts until the cleanup is completed.”

A private researcher has unearthed documents related to the US-Dakota War of 1862 that could shed light on what life was like in Central Minnesota during that time, say historians at the Brown County Historical Society. Kremena Spengler of the New Ulm Journal says that the researcher, who hasn’t been authorized to release her name, came across information about where in the National Archives in Washington, D.C., she might find property-loss statements that were filed just after the war. Using a small, private grant, she went to the National Archives and unearthed about half the depredation claims, which describe in detail the property losses sustained as result of the hostilities for the purpose of receiving federal compensation. About 2,900 approved claims were stored in the National Archives and while known to have been placed in the National Archives, had been missing since the 1880s. Brown County historians say the documents are a treasure of anthropological, ethnographic, architectural and other information. For example, the documents offered an architectural drawing by Julius Berndt of the first Turner Hall building, with a detailed description of the structure including materials, floor plans, and plans for a building addition, a fact never previously known. The claims include detailed descriptions of dwellings such as a house that belonged to brewer August Schell; its existence also unknown. The claims contain comprehensive descriptions of crops, farm animals, furnishings and personal property, painting a picture of lifestyles in that era. The BCHS museum has obtained a Legacy grant from the state to send Brown County historian Anne Earl and a volunteer to Washington, D.C., at the end of January to find and index the remaining boxes of documents. They hope this will lead to a larger grant to photograph, digitize and bring the relevant copies of records back to Brown County.

South Sudanese Christians from across the Midwest gathered Saturday at First Presbyterian Church in Albert Lea to pray for the innocent and dying, writes Tim Engstrom of the Albert Lea Tribune. “The South Sudanese church prays for those who are innocent and dying that God will save them,” said the Rev. James Rut, head of the Nuer Christian Mission Network of North America. South Sudan has been independent from Sudan since 2011 and is in the grips of a civil war between President Salva Kiir of the Dinka Bahr el Ghazal tribe and Vice President Riek Machar of the Nuer tribe. The Nuer say the military is killing Nuer families and raiding their homes. Reports say at least 1,000 people have been killed and 800 injured. The South Sudanese gathering in Albert Lea mainly were from the Nuer tribe. About 125 attended Saturday morning’s service, and Rut said wintry weather kept more from arriving until the afternoon from as far away as the Twin Cities, Rochester, Des Moines, Omaha, Sioux Falls and parts of North Dakota, Rut said. 

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Mac Riddel on 01/21/2014 - 03:04 pm.

    There’s always that one person who ruins it for everybody. Some people have a tough time going anywhere in public without being offended by something. George Ellsworth needs to take a chill pill.

    • Submitted by Charles Holtman on 01/21/2014 - 04:27 pm.

      Hear hear.

      Indeed, I’d argue that the enforced solemnity of MLK Day disserves the cause of anti-racism by allowing white society to substitute a day of ritualized respect for actual engagement in ongoing and uncomfortable issues. MLK never made a joke or looked in a mirror and told himself he looked pretty good in his new suit? Come on.

  2. Submitted by jody rooney on 01/21/2014 - 04:59 pm.

    I think the sale was well meant

    If the owner is of a certain era African Americans were called “Black” and at that time it was their preference.

    Although it would be a good opportunity to talk about existing racism and what makes it go away.

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