Naomi Yaeger is a freelance writer and the former editor of the Budgeteer. See her blog at www.DuluthDailyPhoto.com.
- Member for
- 4 years 11 months
Sober faces filled the sanctuary at St. Mark African Methodist Episcopal Church in Duluth as it overflowed with grieving community members. The community prayer vigil was held Sunday, July 10, in response to the killings last week of young black men by police in Baton Rouge, La., and the Twin Cities area as well as the killing of five police officers in Dallas by a sniper with an assault rifle. The pews overflowed with people and many stood around the perimeter of the sanctuary. Over a dozen sat in the basement, which had audio of the service.
On Skyline Parkway, a father is working to finish a patio-sized flag in time for an Independence Day surprise for his 26-year-old daughter serving in the military. On a warm summer evening in June, Robert Birdsall and his friend Russ Sattler knelt with chalk and a cutout to stencil stars on blue-painted concrete blocks. The blocks form a patio which will serve as the field of a flag in Birdsall's front yard of a modest house.
It takes the whole body and mind to play an organ. Posture can affect whether an organist physically will be able to play. Esteemed organist Jesse Eschbach developed focal dystonia in his right hand and his career was sidetracked for 10 years. This week anyone who is interested in the organ is invited to a workshop to learn more about the mental and physical side to making beautiful music as well as "what's under the hood" of an organ. Knowing the mechanics of the organ can help players with emergency tuning and cyphers (continuous sounding of a pipe) and dead notes.
The sound of a small bell echoed for a long moment, creating a solemn mood as each name was read. Individually, nine Duluth pastors stood up and recited the names of all nine people shot and killed one year ago at an historic African American Church in Charleston, W.Va. On June 17, 2015 a gunman opened fire at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. The gunman shouted racial epithets while shooting a group of 12 people who were gathered for prayer. Nine people died. Because the shootings were racially motivated, it was considered a hate crime.
At a busy intersection at the top of the hill near First United Methodist Church, thousands of vehicles on Skyline Parkway pass by a small blue sign with white letters stating, "To our Muslim neighbors a Blessed Ramadan." Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims. It is observed by fasting from dawn to dusk, prayer and good deeds and celebrating with family and friends. This year it began on June 6 and will continue 30 days.
Local authors and book aficionados filled the Kirby Ballroom at the University of Minnesota Duluth on May 26 for drinks, fellowship, a book fair and to hear who won the Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards. Possibly the most high-profile of those winners was former Mayor Don Ness for his memoir, "Hillsider: Snapshots of a Curious Political Journey." "It's always refreshing and energizing to be around other writers," said Marie Zhuikov, a member of Lake Superior Writers and an author herself.
Mazvita Machinga, a visitor from Zimbabwe, spoke to members of First United Methodist Church on May 29 about a mission to help children affected with hydrocephalus and albinism. Both groups of children tend to be neglected and even abused. Machinga, a United Methodist and psychotherapist, is director of the Safe Communities Project in Mutare, Zimbabwe. When a doctor informed her that children with hydrocephalus and albinism are hidden away, she wanted to do something to help.
After 23 years of employment with CHUM, Meg Kearns, the agency's food shelf coordinator and former CHUM Church coordinator, is retiring. More than 60 people gathered in the basement of Our Savior's Lutheran Church on Grand Avenue on May 23 for a volunteer appreciation luncheon which doubled as a retirement party for Kearns. CHUM is an agency which provides social safety net programs like emergency food, shelter and advocacy to low-income people. It is supported by area faith groups.
Bob Ballou, 93, was honored with his own special day. Mayor Emily Larson read a proclamation declaring May 13 as Bob Ballou Day in Duluth during a Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra luncheon. The purpose of the luncheon was to draw attention to the programs of the symphony, especially the youth orchestra. Ballou has sung in the DSSO chorus for more than 50 years.
Sporting a red sticker on his lapel with the words, "I will vote," Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon wants to help Minnesota get its reputation back. For nine years in a row Minnesota held the record for highest voter turnout. But in the 2014 election, Minnesota fell to No. 6. "My goal this year it to help get us back to number one," Simon told the Duluth League of Women Voters at their annual meeting May 12 in Greysolon Plaza. "That's where we belong. And that's where we should return this year and no later," Simon told the crowd of more than 80 diners.