This Week at Rotary
By Stacy Oltmanns  – Chair of the Day
 
We meet at noon
Thursday, January 23, 2020 at
The Lyric Conference Room
 
 
 
Anna Tanski
President and CEO, Visit Duluth
 
Building on Duluth’s Tourism Momentum
 
Anna Tanski will provide insight into the latest initiatives by Visit Duluth to expand opportunities to promote and expand tourism within the City of Duluth with the ultimate goal to attract out of area customers, create jobs, and increase the quality of life. Chartered in 1935 as a non-profit the City’s Convention and Visitor Bureau is Duluth’s officially recognized destination and marketing organization now representing over 400 business connected to the tourism industry.
 
Highlights from Last Week’s Meeting
By Al Makynen
 
Traditional Thursday was in full swing as President Michelle Buria opened the festivities with the singing of the Star Spangled Banner with musical assistance from Past President John Baumgarten.  The Rotary Reflection was presented by Darlene Anderson in abstentia.  She had been scheduled, but life has its own agenda.  She was called away out of town to attend to her brother who is ill.  President Michelle Buria asked us all to reflect on how we respond to service when we receive that unexpected bad call.   
 
The Fellowship Report by Shana Stocke was an exciting jumble of folks being called and those eager to share good news.   Tom Young was tagged with a work zone fine for having the Young and Associates Insurance 2020 calendar prominently displayed at the U.S. Post Office (in the area generally reserved for the Top Ten Most Wanted)!  Sandy Hoff is working on yet another new development this time on Woodland Avenue.  Steve Burgess was in a recent article about the maple sugar industry of which he is a major player.   Next was a gentle intervention (only fines this time) on the full tables of men only.  Chana Stocke called up one table – no names here to protect the not so innocent - to pay their fines.  Then it was determined that there were two other tables in the same status.  They too contributed with dollars flying out onto the tables.  All in good spirits and all to fill the Golden Can.  Gary Melander contributed for the birth of his fourth Grandson.  Dave Holappa paid in recognition of his daughter who recently was sworn in as a new Duluth Police Officer.  Stacy Oltmanns has a new position with the Essential Health Foundation.  Robin Pestalozzi was happy to be back from a leave of absence.  President Michelle Buria reported on the 6th place finish of her cousin in the Copper Basin 300 Sled Dog Race where the temperature at the finish line was 44 degrees below zero!
 
Almost as startling as running a sled dog race at 44 degrees below zero is who appeared next at the podium.  Jon Ohman as his alter ego of the Yellow Duck appeared with his handler, President Michelle Buria.  The President assisted by leading our favorite duck to the podium and then placing the microphone squarely into his mouth so he could tell us about last year’s Rotary Duck Pluck and the challenge that if the $25,000 goal was reached the President would make a personal gift to the Club of a duck costume.  And Jon Ohman looked good in it!
 
Michelle Buria with Jon Ohman
 
January birthdays were dispatched in short order with a fine rendition of Happy Birthday.  Dick Swensen, Jim Schwartz, and President Michelle Buria were present to pay the customary fine, or even a bit more, some based upon age, others on years of Rotary service. 
 
Next up was the program but not before there was a seamless switch of the presiding officer to President Elect Dean Casperson who took the reins in hand and called up Dave Nolle, Chair of the Day, to introduce our speaker Ryan Sistad.  Ryan is the Outreach Coordinator of Better in our Backyard a non-partisan, advocacy group working to promote responsible industrial development in Northeastern Minnesota.  Ryan is from Fosston, Minnesota and has been in Duluth since 2014. His remarks were clear as to what projects his organization advocate for and why with an added focus on supporting jobs for young professions both those who may have graduated college and those who have or are entering apprenticeship programs.  Both types of young professionals are needed to keep our economy healthy.  Four current major initiatives are being supported.  Each of them are large private investments creating construction, permanent, and related economic growth jobs.  (1) Polymet copper mine with a $1 Billion investment, 350 new mining jobs and 600 additional.  (2) Enbridge Line 3 pipeline with a $2.6 Billion investment for safer transportation of oil.  (3) Twin Metals copper mine with a $1.2 Billion investment, 700 direct jobs and 1,400 additional economic development jobs.  (4) Nemadji Trail Energy Center natural gas power plant in Superior with a $700 Million investment with 25 permanent new jobs.  Each new industrial based job creates two additional jobs in the community which is a rate of job creation eight times greater than that of tourism.  Regional population declines since 1980 are 8% in Duluth, and 10% in St. Louis County.  This compares to a growth in population for Minnesota as a whole of 35%.  To keep young professionals in Northeastern Minnesota our local economy and population need to grow.  Clearly there are hurdles and challenges.  Not the least of which, as Ryan Sistad succinctly stated, is the complicated political environment.   
 
Speaker Ryan Sistad with Dean Casperson