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ESKO, Minn. — Esko native Micaila Hey, known for her warmth and eagerness to help others, took her own life in January by overdosing on pure fentanyl, a powerful and often deadly opioid. Days later, Hey's funeral was the scene of another overdose, when a friend nearly died while sitting among others during the service. Quick action by an attending emergency responder resulted in her being revived in a back room by the overdose antidote Narcan. "Instead of being angry," said Hey's mother, Rachel Colombe, "I channeled Micaila and urged her to get back into treatment."
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 — For more than a decade, Duluth's high schools have been without a seven-period day. A way to deal with cuts in state funding, the decision to move to six periods has long been lamented by students, parents and educators. Five years ago, Duluth's middle schools suffered the same fate.
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 — Superior Middle School eighth-grader Maddie Galovich smiled wide for photos Sunday in her hot pink wheelchair, holding a new tote bag displaying the words "New York." New York is where she is headed this week thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, where she will meet actress Leah Remini. "When I was little and having surgeries, my dad would put on her shows and they would always make me laugh and get my mind off all the bad things going on," she said from her send-off party at Bluestone Flats in Duluth. "And I kept on watching her."
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."
A University of Wisconsin-Superior professor has been put on paid leave while the university investigates a report it received last week about a decades-old conviction in Utah of attempted child sexual abuse, according to a UWS official. Matthew Faerber, director of choral activities and a professor of vocal music education at UWS and the chorus director of the volunteer Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra Chorus, has been employed with UWS since 1998.
Apostle Islands National Lakeshore officials have closed an island to all visitors after an increase in bear activity. Sand Island was closed to overnight camping Monday because of bears entering campsites and finding human food.
University of Wisconsin-Superior theater professor emeritus John Munsell was the kind of guy who would "draw an analogy that would stay with you for 35 years." So says Rick Sordelet, one of Munsell's former students. Munsell, 70, died Tuesday. During his 34-year career with UWS, he taught courses in theater, television and speech, hosted a decade of Wisconsin Public Radio programs and directed more than 60 stage productions. He was artistic director of the school's theater, ran a touring summer theater for the university and acted.