The Superior Telegram's 2021 Year in Review
Our reporting is possible thanks to our subscribers. We thank you for your support in 2021 and wish you all the best in 2022 and beyond!
Scrolling the archives to put this roundup together, all the stories our journalists covered over the past year was a bit overwhelming.
While we would love to, we can't recap every single one. Instead, we broke out some of the big stories into categories and recapped them below.
Superior was at the center of the COVID-19 pandemic with the University of Wisconsin-Superior serving as a free community testing site and a vaccination clinic later in the year.
Local nursing facilities like Harmony House did their best to keep residents connected with their families during the pandemic's darkest days .
As the pandemic sticks with us into the new year, many stories will, as well.
The situation has exacerbated labor shortages that existed before the pandemic, including for employees at the Douglas County Jail .
The Solon Springs School District had to move to distance learning in November after cases spiked.
Local hospital officials say they and their staffs are taxed and urged community members to get vaccinated.
Crimes that made headlines
The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd held the attention of people around the world.
Closer to home, the trial of Robert Lee Bennett III, who is accused of killing his mother, was postponed so Bennett could receive a competency evaluation .
Cody Lee Walker-Nelson faces numerous charges related to a six-hour standoff in Duluth on Oct. 1. He faces additional charges in Douglas County for allegedly trying to rob a drive-thru bank teller at gunpoint, driving the wrong way on the Bong Bridge and stealing firearms from a Superior residence.
Since the remains of a St. Paul man were found in cement-weighted buckets near Grand Portage in July, two Douglas County men have been charged in connection with Richard Balsimo Jr.'s death . Robert Thomas West, of South Range, has been charged with party to mutilating a corpse, harboring or aiding a felon and possession of a firearm by a felon in Douglas County. He faces similar charges in Cook County, Minnesota. Jacob Colt Johnson, of Superior, faces a second-degree murder charge in Cook County.
Despite the challenges of opening a business during a pandemic or moving an existing business to a new location, many people did just that.
From boutiques and restaurants to bars and retail stores, business owners decided to move, expand or open up shop in Douglas County .
Interchange work begins
Construction on the $343 million Twin Ports Interchange Project became more of a reality to folks on the Wisconsin side of the bridge this fall when ramps carrying traffic from Interstate 535 to Superior and U.S. Highway 53 to Piedmont / Miller Hill Mall started to close.
Traffic has been rerouted to the Bong Bridge, but drivers are still taking the Blatnik Bridge and exiting at Garfield Avenue when their patience allows. One-lane traffic combined with the Bentleyville rush made that option less than ideal as of late.
As demolition wraps up, construction will ramp up, with the first ramps set to reopen in late fall 2022.
The Superior boys hockey team made it to the state title game , and several local athletes advanced to the state wrestling, track and field and cross-country meets, respectively.
We also covered some interesting folks like Superior seamstress Megan Alanen, who rebuilt an heirloom wedding dress for a Duluth bride ; Northwestern alumnus Ron Maki, who donated $100,000 to the Tiger athletic department ; the first Veterans Day ceremony at Brule's Price of War Memorial ; Superior native Toby Heytens, who was confirmed to the federal judiciary ; and the departure of longtime Faith United Methodist Church pastors Joel and Barb Certa-Werner .
Our reporting on all of these stories is possible thanks to our subscribers. We thank you for your support in 2021 and wish you all the best in 2022 and beyond.
Feel free to reach out to us at any time with story ideas or feedback. Editor Jen Zettel-Vandenhouten is at email@example.com or 218-720-4102.