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Bethel relights beacon of hope

The bright green beacon at the top of the Duluth Bethel, 23 Mesaba Ave., was re-lit New Year's Eve to signal hope and healing for those facing addiction to drugs and alcohol and their families. (Photo by Richard Thomas)1 / 2
Staff members from the Duluth Bethel and representatives from the Twin Ports recovery community react to the re-lighting of the beacon. (Photo by Richard Thomas)2 / 2

Duluth Bethel re-lit the green beacon atop its building Dec. 31 as a New Year's symbol of hope for those suffering from substance abuse in the Northland.

Bethel, a 143-year-old nonprofit center for chemical-dependency treatment and community corrections, also announced participation in a new initiative with detox and other treatment centers in the region to provide current information about bed-space availability for individuals seeking help with addiction.

In 2017, the Bethel will participate in a service that will allow those seeking help, or their friends, families or medical providers, to call 211, the phone number for a resource center operated by the Head of the Lakes United Way, to learn about bed space availability and other services.

The Northland, like much of the U.S., has seen an increase in addiction issues, largely stemming from abuse of opioid narcotics.

A year ago, the Bethel lit the beacon for the first time in more than 50 years. Prior to going dark, the distinctive green light atop the building at 23 Mesaba Ave. had shined as a symbol of hope. In addition, before advances in radar and other navigational tools, ships on Lake Superior would use the beacon to help sail into the Duluth harbor.

The re-lighting ceremony was followed by a celebration and dinner for the recovery community. For more information go to