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DULUTH—Relatives found it odd that sisters Katye Stolp and Kendra Alfords slept in a bedroom closet when staying over at their uncle's home in the late 1980s. But they did it to feel safe. If their uncle opened the closet door, they'd be alerted. Both Stolp and Alfords had awoken to find their uncle standing silently next to the bed during past visits. They did not want a repeat of what they would later tell an investigator happened next.
DULUTH — School districts throughout Minnesota have spent years dealing with a delicate issue: an obligation to help pay for the needs of their resident special education students who opt to enroll in charter schools. The issue boiled over in Duluth last fall, when Duluth school district leaders characterized Duluth Edison Charter Schools as a major contributor to the district's multimillion dollar deficit. Duluth Edison fired back, accusing the district of using it as a scapegoat for a wider range of financial problems.
DULUTH—The impact of the $3.74 million awarded Thursday, March 15, to Shannon Miller in her lawsuit against the University of Minnesota Duluth will not be shouldered by UMD alone. University of Minnesota attorney Tim Pramas said Friday that the U of M System owns an insurance company — Regents of the University of Minnesota Insurance Company — that spreads risk across all five campuses. Miller's payment, pending any appeals, would come from that source.
HOYT LAKES, Minn. — Allyson and Tony Ponto were married in 2005 and wanted children immediately. Pregnancy happened quickly, but it didn't last. Allyson experienced her first ectopic pregnancy — when a fertilized egg attaches outside of the uterus — and then it was two years before she became pregnant again. The same thing happened, and then again, and again. "We had a lot of trouble," Allyson said, but they didn't give up.
DULUTH — Billy's life in pictures was laid out on the floor between him and a couple of other students: Billy skydiving and blowing out candles on a birthday cake. Pictures of his newborn niece and his family at a Christmas celebration. "You see me, you prejudge; every person does," said Billy, an inmate at the Northeast Regional Corrections Center in Saginaw, Minnesota. "But you see these pictures. He has a family, he travels. Once you start looking at it from this perspective, you start saying there is a lot more we can do as a society."
There are only a few desks in Cindy Nelson's first-grade class at Hermantown Elementary School, and they're not lined up in rows. Kids pick from those, along with scoop rockers, wobbly stools, cushions for lap desks and kneeling tables, beanbags, yoga balls and mats and camp chairs. Those are their seats to read or do their work. Nelson started out small a couple of years ago with alternative seating in her class, and this year went all in.
DULUTH — Matthew Campbell could not tell his parents he was depressed. It was only a little over a year ago that the Duluth East High School senior began treatment for depression, after several years of feeling unhappy, which turned to self-loathing and ultimately, to thoughts of suicide. The breaking point came during a night when his parents discovered the varsity soccer goalie and student government leader was failing three classes. He broke down crying in front of them, but wasn't able to share his struggles. "I couldn't get the words out," he said.
DULUTH — Jennifer Storm remembers the night she and her young daughter drove over the Blatnik Bridge to Duluth together for the first time. The sun was setting and the city was bathed in a warm pink light. Storm's daughter, Sophia, was excited to enter Duluth, a place she had heard mentioned so many times. For Storm, it was a moment she had envisioned every night as she tried to sleep: What would be playing on the radio? What would the city's lights look like cresting over the bridge? What would it be like to feel safe?
DULUTH, Minn.—The Duluth school district is almost out of reserve cash. While the amount is not final, district CFO Doug Hasler said remaining funds are about $111,000, down from $2.4 million the prior year. An increase in special education costs for district resident students enrolled elsewhere is contributing to the decline in reserves, Hasler said.
DULUTH — Heading back to class can be nerve-wracking for kids of any age. As much of the Northland returns to school this week,Forum News Service gathered tips from students and school leaders on how to ease the transition and settle into a new year. From taking "movement breaks" when you need them, going to class regularly and setting up routines for homework, students and school staff had a lot to say. For school newbies Lola Prado, Lowell Elementary, grade 1: • "Do not bite. Just do kindness."