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Four Santa suits and 30 years after he began making yearly visits to area schools, John Lange is still spreading holiday cheer. When he walked into the lunchroom at Lake Superior School Thursday, he was greeted with hugs and cries of "Hi, Santa." "I'll keep coming because I like being Santa," Lange, a local chiropractor, said. He also likes watching children make the connection that they can give back. Prior to Lange's visit, children collected items for the Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse (CASDA).
A Superior sex offender accused of violating rules of his supervised release by having topless hugging sessions with the mother of a young child and providing her with prescription pills may be reinstitutionalized under Wisconsin's sexual predator law. The decision about whether to revoke the extended supervision of Keith Allen VanBronkhorst, 66, rests in the hands of Douglas County Judge Michael Lucci following a Wednesday hearing. The proof of the rules violations rest in VanBronkhorst's own words.
The word blizzard brings a flurry of business to some Northland stores. "In retail grocery we always get a big surge of business prior to a storm," said Greg Kremer, manager of the Super One Foods store on Oakes Avenue. "It is good for business, actually," said Wendy Lundquist, co-owner of East End Hardware. Bad weather, said Angela Miller, assistant manager of the Video vision store on Belknap Street, "is always our busiest time." This weekend's storm was no exception.
A Duluth man accused of trying to gouge another man's eye during an alcohol-fueled incident will spend two years on probation. Joseph Thomas Saari, 29, pleaded guilty in Douglas County Court last week to one felony count of substantial battery and an amended misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct for his actions in the early morning hours of Oct. 4. Judge George Glonek sentenced Saari to two years of probation with a number of conditions for the misdemeanor charge.
Kay Karras is a poet. Now everyone will know it. The 90-year-old Bennett woman released her first full-length book of poetry, "Bits of Birch," last week. "If anybody in the world deserves it, she does," said Anna Merritt of Gordon. "Her poetry is absolutely phenomenal. It's nature, it's spirit, it's everything." Nancy Lengyel of White Birch Printing in Spooner was equally impressed. "It's a fun book," she said, with a lot of personality. The author weaves pictures of beauty -- a grandson and grandmother connecting over wintergreen, a haunting stretch of river, lonesome whispering pines.
Move over Jerry Lewis; there's a new telethon in town. The seniors in Superior High School's TV production class kick off a telethon of their own from 2-9 p.m. Dec. 13 on Channel 14.
A watched kettle really does collect coins. Dollars, too. The key ingredient to the Salvation Army's Christmas bell-ringing campaign isn't the bells or the kettles; it's the human hands and hearts behind them. "If there's no bell ringer there, money won't come in," said Major Rosemary Matson of the Salvation Army. Tuesday morning, an unmanned kettle stood unnoticed outside the main entrance to Wal-Mart. A few blocks away, Hugh Smith sat bundled up in heavy Carhardt parka and gloves outside Walgreen's.
Lonnie Dupre's pictures of seals, polar bears and sled dogs caught the imagination and interest of students at Four Corners school Monday. "I liked the seal," said Savanna Williams, a fourth-grader from Lake Superior school who attended the program. "I didn't know seals lived in the North Pole." But students from both schools picked up on the importance of the work done by the explorer, who has traveled more than 14,000 miles through polar regions by dog team, ski and kayak in the past 20 years. "I've always liked exploring things," said Dupre.
November is a month full of memories for Mike Jahn and Gloria Mattakat. On this month 15 years ago, Mattakat's son, Tom, saved the life of Jahn's wife, Susanne. "He's definitely our family's hero," said Mattakat, of Duluth. Susie, of Maple, suffered from an inherited condition called an idiopathic cardiomyopathy. Her heart was failing rapidly in 1993. After six-and-a-half-weeks in the University of Minnesota Hospital intensive care unit, the chance for a new heart looked slim. Then one family's tragedy turned into another's miracle. Tom Mattakat died Nov.
Paul Stein's retirement job raises a lot of eyebrows when he mentions it. "There are two comments I always get," said the Cloverland man. "'Euwww, ick,' or 'Do you have to have any training for that?" As a procurement technician for the Minnesota Lions Eye Bank, which is affiliated with University of Minnesota Department of Opthamology, Stein harvests corneas and whole eyes for donation and research. As one of three procurement technicians in the area, he drives from Sandstone Minn.