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Duluth’s NorShor Theatre gets final funding for restoration

ALSO: Duluth students seek more mental health support; 1 killed, 2 injured in Rochester shooting; two wind-power projects nixed; and more.

A rendering of the NorShor Theatre in Duluth.
NorShor Theatre

It’s a big day in Duluth now that the last piece of funding is in place for the restoration of downtown’s NorShor Theatre into a performing arts center. Plans call for a renovated 750-seat theater, a new stage, a connection to the skywalk system, an ADA-accessible elevator and new utilities. The News Tribune writes the project will cost $29.6 million and will take nearly two years to finish. David Montgomery, the city’s chief administrative officer, said no property tax money will be spent on the project. “None of it takes money away from police protection, street repair or any other city services,” he said. The Orpheum vaudeville house opened in 1910 and reopened as the NorShor movie theater in 1941. After 1982, it became a venue for live events including a strip club.

Henry Loomis committed suicide this summer. He was the second loss to suicide for the 2016 Duluth East High senior class; the first was in 2013. While struggling with the deaths, students have started a petition to mobilize for more mental health help at the school and more communication about what already exists. “The petition was to get the conversation started about what we have and what we need,” senior Jude Goossens told Jana Hollingsworth of the Duluth News Tribune. “As teens, we are emotionally volatile creatures. One little thing knocks you down. Then it’s that much easier for something else to knock you down even lower,” Goossens said.

Jonathan Michael Loun, 31, of Hinckley, faces three counts of felony second-degree murder after the child the man is accused of beating was removed from life support over the weekend, according to The charges come after the death Saturday of his girlfriend’s son, Dante Sears, 3. The boy was allegedly beaten Aug. 25 at his mother’s home in Sandstone. Loun will make his second court appearance Friday. Loun’s original arraignment last Thursday came on Dante’s third birthday. His previous criminal record includes a conviction for vehicular homicide in 2005 and at least two previous domestic abuse convictions, the report states.

William Morris of the Owatonna People’s Press got his hands on a list by a company called Express Employment Professionals that lists the most difficult jobs to fill. They are:

  • Computer numeric controlled machinist
  • General labor
  • Welder
  • Commercial Driver’s License driver
  • Accountant
  • Machinist
  • Forklift operator
  • Maintenance technician
  • Driver
  • Mechanic

Miller tried to get a comment from Betsy Lindgren, the owner of the Owatonna office of Express Employment, but she wasn’t available. Other staffing agencies said that, yes, in general it’s hard to find qualified welders, accountants and commercial vehicle drivers. Taylor Huber of Huber Supply in Owatonna said most of their students are either hobbyists or experienced welders looking to brush up on skills, but said there is a need for more new workers to enter the field. “I know that the majority of welders will be retiring, so there is a need for new welders,” Huber said.

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A 19-year-old Rochester man is in custody after a shooting Monday that left one man dead and two others injured, according to the Rochester Post-Bulletin. Courtney Eli Ocegueda was arrested at about 6 a.m. in Faribault after a five-hour standoff with a SWAT team. He is suspected of firing 15 rounds of ammunition into a group of people playing basketball about 2:15 p.m. Monday at 23rd Avenue and Park Lane Southeast. Trumane “Trey” Lamar Gillmore, 22, of Rochester was killed. Demonterious Davonte Jackson, 20, suffered gunshot wounds to his leg and chest. Jerome Richard Zachary, 18, of Chicago, also had a graze wound to his chest.

A man whipping donuts on his ATV was injured Saturday in Ripley Township, according to a report in the St. Cloud Daily Times. James Strassburg, 57, of Burtrum was laying down some donuts in a grassy area when his ATV rolled over him. He suffered injuries to his head and was transported to a hospital, officials said.

Two wind power projects planned in southern Minnesota were dumped by the Public Utilities Commission last week in St. Paul, according to Nancy Madsen of the Mankato Free Press. The Sibley Wind Substation that was planned for southwest of Winthrop, and the Comfrey Wind Energy plant planned for west of Comfrey had their licenses revoked. For its part, Sibley Wind had asked for its construction permit to be withdrawn based on bird and bat kill concerns. Barb Wenninger, a member of the opposition group, said the group was pleased with the decision. The planned 10 turbines spread over 1,000 acres would have powered about 3,800 homes.

The Fargo Forum had an item outlining the history of the freshman beanie required of all Cobbers during their first week at school. The tradition started in 1922 and required underclassmen to do the bidding of upperclassmen. That lasted until World War II when the specific German-made green dye necessary for the beanies was in short supply, and then the ban continued after the war when returning veterans – who no doubt had had their fill of wearing hats – took extreme umbrage to anyone making a fuss about their lack of a beanie. Now freshmen are asked to wear the beanies for only a week and there’s a tradition of MSU-Moorhead students trying to steal the hats.

A man’s body was found lying alongside a road in Garrison Sunday, the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office reports. The man was lying on the shoulder of County Road 26 near Rolling Hills Resort Road west of Lake Mille Lacs. The man’s name has not been released pending notification of family and his body was sent to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office for autopsy.

The St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office said a house exploded in the 3300 block of U.S. Highway 53 just after 1 a.m. Monday. The house, near Eveleth, was empty at the time, officials said. There was no immediate word on what caused the explosion.

Thomas Kaplan, 60, of Bemidji, was charged Monday with one count of felony theft over $35,000, according to a release from Bemidji Police Chief Mike Mastin. Kaplan allegedly embezzled money from American Garage Door Supply Co. of Bemidji into a personal account from 2007 until 2014. If convicted, Kaplan could face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.