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Posted by sonny 02/25/2009 @ 13:28

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News headlines
Astros rally to victory behind Bourn's jack - MLB.com
By Brian McTaggart / MLB.com MINNEAPOLIS -- If Astros manager Cecil Cooper were going to hand out a game ball for Saturday night's 6-5 victory over the Minnesota Twins, he would have needed a hammer and chisel in the clubhouse to break the sphere into...
Game thread: Minnesota at Seattle - Seattle Times
STORM WIN: Seattle (4-2) defeated Minnesota (4-3) for the sixth consecutive time, 90-62 at KeyArena. Jackson led with 26 points and six steals while Bird had 10 assists. Joked with Bird about her teaching the posts how to throw the ball....
RIAA Copyright Fine Totals $1.92 Million - eWeek
The Recording Industry Association of America won its case—to the tune of $1.92 million—gainst a Minnesota woman for allegedly downloading 24 songs. The RIAA has continued an aggressive campaign against digital piracy, as propagated through P2P...
Minnesota native beats the heat and the odds to win Grandma's - Duluth News Tribune
Runner-up Kanyao said he's been training in 80-degree temperatures at home in the Ngong Hills of Kenya, but the weather in Northeastern Minnesota was too much. It was a fourth straight warm-weather Grandma's Marathon after a week of temperatures in the...
Former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Mike Fratello is a candidate for ... - The Plain Dealer - cleveland.com
by Starting Blocks, The Plain Dealer There are reports that Mike Fratello is among a trio of coaches being considered for the Minnesota Timberwolves job that became vacant recently when the team decided not to bring back Kevin McHale....
Brett Favre: Throwing Without Pain - Rotowire
Minnesota head coach Brad Childress says Favre is throwing without pain after recent surgery on a partially torn biceps tendon. "He's got to build some endurance in [his throwing arm] and see if he thinks he can get it back to where he wants to get it...
Ex-coach sues Minnesota's Smith - ESPN
A former assistant coach who said he quit his previous job to work with Minnesota's Tubby Smith, only to be denied the job later, has sued Smith for more than $50000, according to a report in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. It is the second lawsuit Jimmy...
VIEWPOINT: Unallotment wil hurt NW Minnesota - Grand Forks Herald
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty on Tuesday announced his unallotment plans, which will cut an additional $2.7 billion from the state budget on top of the nearly $2 billion in cuts passed by the Legislature this session. CROOKSTON — Minnesota Gov....
Minnesota politicians complain of cut - Duluth News Tribune
Tim Pawlenty's unilateral spending cuts, designed to balance Minnesota's budget, affect the poor seeking health care, cities and counties that will lose some state aid and countless others. ST. PAUL — Gov. Tim Pawlenty's unilateral spending cuts,...

United States congressional delegations from Minnesota

These are tables of congressional delegations from Minnesota to the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives.

ARice served from May 11, 1858 (date Minnesota enter the Union) until the end of the term March 3, 1863. BShields served from May 11, 1858 (date Minnesota enter the Union) until the end of the term March 3, 1859. 1 Norton served until his death on July 13, 1870. William Windom was appointed to fill the vacancy and served from July 1870 to January 1871. Stearns was elected to fill the term from January 1871 to March 3, 1871. 2Windom resigned his senate seat March 7, 1881 to become United States Secretary of the Treasury. Edgerton was appointed to the senate seat and served from March 12, 1881 to October 30, 1881. Windom resigned as United States Secretary of the Treasury and was elected to fill the vancy caused by his own resignation. He served the reminder of the term from November 15, 1881 to March 3, 1883. 3Cushman K. Davis served until his death on November 27, 1900. Charles A. Towne was appointed to fill the vacancy and served from December 5, 1900 – January 28, 1901. Clapp was elected to finished the term to March 3, 1905 4Knute Nelson served until his death on April 28, 1923. Magnus Johnson was elected to fill the vacancy and served from July 16, 1923 – March 3, 1925. 5Thomas D. Schall served until his death on December 22, 1935. Elmer Benson was appointed to the vacancy and served from December 27, 1935 to November 3, 1936. Guy Howard was elected November 4, 1936 to finish out the term to January 3, 1937. 6Ernest Lundeen served until his death on August 31, 1940. Joseph Ball was appointed to the vacancy and served from October 14, 1940 to November 17, 1942. Arthur Nelson was elected in November 1942 to finish out the term to January 3, 1943. 7Hubert Humphrey resigned on December 30, 1964 in order to take the office of Vice President. Walter Mondale was appointed on December 30, 1964 to fill the vacancy in the Senate. 8Walter Mondale resigned on December 30, 1976 in order to take the office of Vice President. Wendell Anderson resigned as Governor and was appointed on December 30, 1976 to fill the vacancy in the Senate. Anderson lost the 1978 election and resigned early on December 29, 1978. Rudy Boschwitz was appointed on December 30, 1978 to finish the term on January 3, 1979. Boschwitz than began his own term on January 3, 1979 9Hubert Humphrey served until his death on January 13, 1978. Muriel Humphrey was appointed to fill the vacancy and served until a special November 1978 election in which David Durenberger won and finished out the term. 10Paul Wellstone served until his death on October 25, 2002. Dean Barkley served from November 5, 2002 to January 3, 2003. 11The election between Democrat Al Franken and Norm Coleman is currently being challenged, and no election certificate has been issued. As of January 25, 2009, Franken holds a 225-vote lead in the contest.

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Flag of Minnesota

Minnesota ( /mɪnɨˈsoʊtə/ (help·info)) is a state in the Midwestern region of the United States. The twelfth largest state by area in the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with just over five million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state on May 11, 1858. Known as the "Land of 10,000 Lakes", the state's name is the Dakota word for "water". Those waters, together with forests, parks, and wilderness areas, offer residents and tourists a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities.

Nearly sixty percent of Minnesota's residents live in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area known as the Twin Cities, the center of transportation, business, and industry, and home to an internationally known arts community. The remainder of the state consists of western prairies now given over to intensive agriculture; eastern deciduous forests, also heavily farmed and settled; and the less populated North Woods. The large majority of residents are of Nordic or German descent, but ethnic diversity has increased in recent decades. Substantial influxes of African, Asian, and Latin American immigrants have joined the descendants of European immigrants and of the original Native American inhabitants.

The state is known for its moderate to liberal politics and social policies, its civic involvement, and high voter turnout. It ranks among the healthiest states, and has one of the most highly educated and literate populations.

The word Minnesota comes from the Dakota language name for the Minnesota River: Mnisota. The root Mni (also spelled mini or minne) means, "water". Mnisota can be translated as sky-tinted water or somewhat clouded water. Native Americans demonstrated the name to early settlers by dropping milk into water and calling it mnisota. Many locations in the state have similar names, such as Minnehaha Falls ("waterfall"), Minneiska ("white water"), Minnetonka ("big water"), Minnetrista ("crooked water"), and Minneapolis, which is a combination of mni and polis, the Greek word for "city".

Minnesota is the northernmost state apart from Alaska; its isolated Northwest Angle in Lake of the Woods is the only part of the 48 contiguous states lying north of the 49th Parallel. It forms part of the U.S. region known as the Upper Midwest. The state shares a Lake Superior water border with Michigan and Wisconsin on the northeast; the remainder of the eastern border is with Wisconsin. Iowa is to the south, North Dakota and South Dakota to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Manitoba to the north. With 87,014 square miles (225,365 km²), or approximately 2.25% of the United States, Minnesota is the twelfth largest state.

Minnesota contains some of the oldest rocks found on earth, gneisses some 3.6 billion years old, or 80% as old as the planet. About 2.7 billion years ago, basaltic lava poured out of cracks in the floor of the primordial ocean; the remains of this volcanic rock formed the Canadian Shield in northeast Minnesota. The roots of these volcanic mountains and the action of Precambrian seas formed the Iron Range of northern Minnesota. Following a period of volcanism 1.1 billion years ago, Minnesota's geological activity has been more subdued, with no volcanism or mountain formation, but with repeated incursions of the sea which left behind multiple strata of sedimentary rock.

In more recent times, massive ice sheets at least one kilometer thick ravaged the landscape of the state and sculpted its current terrain. The Wisconsin glaciation left 12,000 years ago. These glaciers covered all of Minnesota except the far southeast, an area characterized by steep hills and streams that cut into the bedrock. This area is known as the Driftless Zone for its absence of glacial drift. Much of the remainder of the state outside of the northeast has 50 feet (15 m) or more of glacial till left behind as the last glaciers retreated. 13,000 years ago gigantic Lake Agassiz formed in the northwest; the lake's outflow, the glacial River Warren, carved the valley of the Minnesota River, and its bottom created the fertile lands of the Red River valley. Minnesota is geologically quiet today; it experiences earthquakes infrequently, and most of them are minor.

The state's high point is Eagle Mountain at 2,301 feet (701 m), which is only 13 miles (20.9 km) away from the low of 602 feet (183 m) at the shore of Lake Superior. Notwithstanding dramatic local differences in elevation, much of the state is a gently rolling peneplain.

Two continental divides meet in the northeastern part of Minnesota in rural Hibbing, forming a triple watershed. Precipitation can follow the Mississippi River south to the Gulf of Mexico, the St. Lawrence Seaway east to the Atlantic Ocean, or the Hudson Bay watershed to the Arctic Ocean.

The state's nickname, The Land of 10,000 Lakes, is no exaggeration; there are 11,842 lakes over 10 acres (.04 km²) in size. The Minnesota portion of Lake Superior is the largest at 962,700 acres (3,896 km²) and deepest (at 1,290 ft (390 m)) body of water in the state. Minnesota has 6,564 natural rivers and streams that cumulatively flow for 69,000 miles (111,000 km). The Mississippi River begins its journey from its headwaters at Lake Itasca and crosses the Iowa border 680 miles (1,094 km) downstream. It is joined by the Minnesota River at Fort Snelling, by the St. Croix River near Hastings, by the Chippewa River at Wabasha, and by many smaller streams. The Red River, in the bed of glacial Lake Agassiz, drains the northwest part of the state northward toward Canada's Hudson Bay. Approximately 10.6 million acres (42,900 km²) of wetlands are contained within Minnesota's borders, the most of any state except Alaska.

Minnesota has four ecological provinces: Prairie Parkland in the southwestern and western parts of the state, the Eastern Broadleaf Forest (Big Woods) in the southeast, extending in a narrowing strip to the northwestern part of the state, where it transitions into Tallgrass Aspen Parklands, and the northern Laurentian Mixed Forest, a transitional forest between the northern boreal forest and broadleaf forests to the south. These northern forests are a vast wilderness of pine and spruce trees mixed with patchy stands of birch and poplar. Much of Minnesota's northern forest has been logged, leaving only a few patches of old growth forest today in areas such as in the Chippewa National Forest and the Superior National Forest where the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness has some 400,000 acres (1,600 km²) of unlogged land. Although logging continues, regrowth keeps about one third of the state forested. Nearly all of Minnesota's prairies and oak savannas have been destroyed or fragmented because of farming, grazing, logging, and suburban development.

While loss of habitat has affected native animals such as the pine marten, elk, and bison, others like whitetail deer and bobcat thrive. The state has the nation's largest population of timber wolves outside Alaska, and supports healthy populations of black bear and moose. Located on the Mississippi Flyway, Minnesota hosts migratory waterfowl such as geese and ducks, and game birds such as grouse, pheasants, and turkeys. It is home to birds of prey including the bald eagle, red-tailed hawk, and snowy owl. The lakes teem with sport fish such as walleye, bass, muskellunge, and northern pike, and streams in the southeast are populated by brook, brown, and rainbow trout.

Minnesota endures temperature extremes characteristic of its continental climate; with cold winters and hot summers. The record high and low span is 174 degrees (from -60 to 114 degrees) Fahrenheit (span of 96C°; from -51°C to 45°C). Meteorological events include rain, snow, blizzards, thunderstorms, hail, derechos, tornadoes, and high-velocity straight-line winds. The growing season varies from 90 days per year in the Iron Range to 160 days in southeast Minnesota near the Mississippi River, and mean average temperatures range from 36 °F (2 °C) to 49 °F (9 °C). Average summer dew points range from about 58 °F (14.4 °C) in the south to about 48 °F (8.9 °C) in the north. Depending on location, average annual precipitation ranges from 19 in (48.3 cm) to 35 in (88.9 cm), and droughts occur every 10 to 50 years.

Minnesota's first state park, Itasca State Park, was established in 1891, and is the source of the Mississippi River. Today Minnesota has 72 state parks and recreation areas, 58 state forests covering about four million acres (16,000 km²), and numerous state wildlife preserves, all managed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. There are 5.5 million acres (22,000 km²) in the Chippewa and Superior National Forests. The Superior National Forest in the northeast contains the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, which encompasses over a million acres (4,000 km²) and a thousand lakes. To its west is Voyageurs National Park. The Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MNRRA), is a 72 miles (116 km) long corridor along the Mississippi River through the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Area connecting a variety of sites of historic, cultural, and geologic interest.

Before European settlement, Minnesota was populated by the Anishinaabe, the Dakota, and other Native Americans. The first Europeans were French fur traders that arrived in the 1600s. Late that century, the Ojibwe Indians migrated westward to Minnesota, causing tensions with the Sioux. Explorers such as Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut, Father Louis Hennepin, Jonathan Carver, Henry Schoolcraft, and Joseph Nicollet, among others, mapped out the state.

The portion of the state east of the Mississippi River became a part of the United States at the end of the American Revolutionary War, when the Second Treaty of Paris was signed. Land west of the Mississippi River was acquired with the Louisiana Purchase, although a portion of the Red River Valley was disputed until the Treaty of 1818. In 1805, Zebulon Pike bargained with Native Americans to acquire land at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers. The construction of Fort Snelling followed between 1819 and 1825. Its soldiers built a grist mill and a sawmill at Saint Anthony Falls, the first of the water-powered industries around which the city of Minneapolis later grew. Meanwhile, squatters, government officials, and tourists had settled near the fort. In 1839, the Army forced them to move downriver, and they settled in the area that became St. Paul. Minnesota Territory was formed on March 3, 1849. Thousands of people had come to build farms and cut timber, and Minnesota became the 32nd U.S. state on May 11, 1858.

Treaties between whites and the Dakota and Ojibwe gradually forced the natives off their lands and on to smaller reservations. As conditions deteriorated for the Dakota, tensions rose, leading to the Dakota War of 1862. The result of the six-week war was the execution of 38 Dakota—the largest mass execution in United States history — and the exile of most of the rest of the Dakota to the Crow Creek Reservation in Nebraska.

Logging and farming were mainstays of Minnesota's early economy. The sawmills at Saint Anthony Falls, and logging centers like Marine on St. Croix, Stillwater, and Winona, processed high volumes of lumber. These cities were situated on rivers that were ideal for transportation. Later, Saint Anthony Falls was tapped to provide power for flour mills. Innovations by Minneapolis millers led to the production of Minnesota "patent" flour, which commanded almost double the price of "bakers" or "clear" flour, which it replaced. By 1900, Minnesota mills, led by Pillsbury and the Washburn-Crosby Company (a forerunner of General Mills), were grinding 14.1% of the nation's grain.

The state's iron-mining industry was established with the discovery of iron in the Vermilion Range and the Mesabi Range in the 1880s, and in the Cuyuna Range in the early 1900s. The ore was shipped by rail to Duluth and Two Harbors, then loaded onto ships and transported eastward over the Great Lakes.

Industrial development and the rise of manufacturing caused the population to shift gradually from rural areas to cities during the early 1900s. Nevertheless, farming remained prevalent. Minnesota's economy was hard-hit by the Great Depression, resulting in lower prices for farmers, layoffs among iron miners, and labor unrest. Compounding the adversity, western Minnesota and the Dakotas were hit by drought from 1931 to 1935. New Deal programs provided some economic turnaround. The Civilian Conservation Corps and other programs around the state established some jobs for Indians on their reservations, and the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 provided the tribes with a mechanism of self-government. This provided natives a greater voice within the state, and promoted more respect for tribal customs because religious ceremonies and native languages were no longer suppressed.

After World War II, industrial development quickened. New technology increased farm productivity through automation of feedlots for hogs and cattle, machine milking at dairy farms, and raising chickens in large buildings. Planting became more specialized with hybridization of corn and wheat, and the use of farm machinery such as tractors and combines became the norm. University of Minnesota professor Norman Borlaug contributed to these developments as part of the Green Revolution. Suburban development accelerated due to increased postwar housing demand and convenient transportation. Increased mobility, in turn, enabled more specialized jobs.

Minnesota became a center of technology after the war. Engineering Research Associates was formed in 1946 to develop computers for the United States Navy. It later merged with Remington Rand, and then became Sperry Rand. William Norris left Sperry in 1957 to form Control Data Corporation (CDC). Cray Research was formed when Seymour Cray left CDC to form his own company. Medical device maker Medtronic also started business in the Twin Cities in 1949.

Saint Paul, located in east-central Minnesota along the banks of the Mississippi River, has been Minnesota's capital city since 1849, first as capital of the Territory of Minnesota, and then as state capital since 1858.

Saint Paul is adjacent to Minnesota's most populous city, Minneapolis; they and their suburbs are known collectively as the Twin Cities metropolitan area, the thirteenth largest metropolitan area in the United States and home to about 60% of the state's population (April 2005). The remainder of the state is known as "Greater Minnesota" or "Outstate Minnesota".

Minneapolis and Saint Paul are the only cities in Minnesota with over 100,000 inhabitants. The state also has fifteen cities with populations above 50,000 but below 100,000 (based on 2005 estimates). In descending order of size they are Rochester, Duluth, Bloomington, Plymouth, Brooklyn Park, Eagan, Coon Rapids, St. Cloud, Burnsville, Eden Prairie, Maple Grove, Woodbury, Blaine, Lakeville, and Minnetonka. Of these listed, only Rochester, Duluth, and St. Cloud are outside the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

Minnesota's population continues to grow, primarily in the urban centers. The populations of metropolitan Sherburne and Scott Counties doubled between 1980 and 2000, while 40 of the state's 87 counties lost residents over the same decades.

From fewer than 6,100 people in 1850, Minnesota's population grew to over 1.75 million by 1900. Each of the next six decades saw a 15% rise in population, reaching 3.41 million in 1960. Growth then slowed, rising 11% to 3.8 million in 1970, and an average of 9% over the next three decades to 4.91 million in the 2000 census. As of July 1, 2007, the state's population was estimated at 5,197,621 by the U.S. Census Bureau. The rate of population change, and age and gender distributions, approximate the national average. Minnesota's growing minority groups, however, still form a significantly smaller proportion of the population than in the nation as a whole. The center of population of Minnesota is located in Hennepin County, in the city of Rogers.

Over 75% of Minnesota's residents are of Western European descent, with the largest reported ancestries being German (38%), Norwegian (17%), Irish (12%), and Swedish (10%). As of 2006, 6.6% of residents were foreign-born, compared to 12.5% for the nation. The state has had the reputation of being relatively homogeneous, but that is changing. The Hispanic population of Minnesota is increasing rapidly, and recent immigrants have come from all over the world, including Hmong, Somalis, Vietnamese, South Asians, and emigrants from the former Soviet bloc.

Although Christianity is dominant, there is a long history of non-Christian faith. Ashkenazi Jewish pioneers set up Saint Paul's first synagogue in 1856, and there are now appreciable numbers of adherents to Islam, Buddhism, and other traditions. The majority of Minnesotans are Protestants, though Roman Catholics make up the largest single Christian denomination. A 2008 survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life showed that 32% of Minnesotans were affiliated with Protestant traditions, 21% with Evangelical Protestants, 28% with Roman Catholic, 1% each with Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, and Black Protestant traditions, smaller amounts for other faiths, and 13% unaffiliated. This is broadly consistent with the results of the 2001 American Religious Identification Survey, which also gives detail on percentages of many individual denominations.

Once primarily a producer of raw materials, Minnesota's economy has transformed in the last 200 years to emphasize finished products and services. Perhaps the most significant characteristic of the economy is its diversity; the relative outputs of its business sectors closely match the United States as a whole. The economy of Minnesota had a gross domestic product of $234 billion in 2005. Thirty-six of the United States' top 1,000 publicly traded companies (by revenue in 2006) are headquartered in Minnesota, including Target, UnitedHealth Group, 3M, Medtronic, General Mills, U.S. Bancorp, and Best Buy. The largest privately owned U.S. company, Cargill, is headquartered in Minnetonka. Minnesota's state budget is currently facing a $935 million deficit.

The per capita income in 2005 was $37,290, the tenth-highest in the nation. The three-year median household income from 2002 to 2004 was $55,914, ranking fifth in the U.S. and first among the 36 states not on the Atlantic coast. White families earned more income than the national average but among the population under age 18, more than 20% of Asians and Hispanics, more than 40% of African Americans and more than 40% of Native American girls in Minnesota lived in poverty.

Minnesota's earliest industries were fur trading and agriculture; the city of Minneapolis grew around the flour mills powered by St. Anthony Falls. Although less than 1% of the population is employed in the agricultural sector, it remains a major part of the state's economy, ranking 6th in the nation in the value of products sold. The state is the U.S.'s largest producer of sugar beets, sweet corn, and green peas for processing, and farm-raised turkeys. Forestry remains strong, including logging, pulpwood processing and paper production, and forest products manufacturing. Minnesota was famous for its soft-ore mines, which produced a significant portion of the world's iron ore for over a century. Although the high-grade ore is now depleted, taconite mining continues, using processes developed locally to save the industry. In 2004, the state produced 75% of the country's usable iron ore. The mining boom created the port of Duluth which continues to be important for shipping ore, coal, and agricultural products. The manufacturing sector now includes technology and biomedical firms in addition to the older food processors and heavy industry. The nation's first indoor shopping mall was Edina's Southdale Center and its largest is Bloomington's Mall of America.

Minnesota is one of 42 U.S. states with its own lottery; its games include Powerball, Hot Lotto (both multi-state), and Gopher 5.

The state produces ethanol fuel and is the first to mandate its use, a 10% mix (E10) since 1997, and a 20% mix (E20) in 2013. There are more than 310 service stations supplying E85 fuel. A 2% biodiesel blend has been required in diesel fuel since 2005. As of December 2006 the state was the country's fourth-largest producer of wind power, with 895 megawatts installed and another 200 megawatts planned, much of it on the windy Buffalo Ridge in the southwest part of the state.

Minnesota has a slightly progressive income tax structure; the three brackets of state income tax rates are 5.35%, 7.05% and 7.85%. Minnesota is ranked as the 6th highest in the nation for per capita total state taxes. The sales tax in Minnesota is 6.5%, but there is no sales tax on clothing, prescription medications, some services, or food items for home consumption. The state legislature may allow municipalities to institute local sales taxes and special local taxes, such as the 0.5% supplemental sales tax in Minneapolis. Excise taxes are levied on alcohol, tobacco, and motor fuel. The state imposes a use tax on items purchased elsewhere but used within Minnesota. Owners of real property in Minnesota pay property tax to their county, municipality, school district, and special taxing districts.

Minnesota's major fine art museums include the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Walker Art Center, and the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum. The Minnesota Orchestra and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra are prominent full-time professional musical ensembles that perform concerts and offer educational programs to the community. Attendance at theatrical, musical, and comedy events in the area is strong. The Guthrie Theater moved into a new building in 2006, boasting three stages and overlooking the Mississippi River. In the United States, the Twin Cities' number of theater seats per capita ranks behind only New York City; with some 2.3 million theater tickets sold annually. The Minnesota Fringe Festival is an annual celebration of theatre, dance, improvisation, puppetry, kids' shows, visual art, and musicals. The summer festival consists of over 800 performances over 11 days in Minneapolis, and is the largest non-juried performing arts festival in the United States.

The rigors and rewards of pioneer life on the prairie were the subject of Giants in the Earth by Ole Rolvaag and of the Little House series of children's books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Small-town life was attacked by Sinclair Lewis in the novel Main Street, and more gently and affectionately satirized by Garrison Keillor in his tales of Lake Wobegon. St. Paul native F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote of the social insecurities and aspirations of the young city in stories such as Winter Dreams and The Ice Palace (published in Flappers and Philosophers). Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's famous epic poem The Song of Hiawatha was inspired by Minnesota and many places and bodies of water in the state are named in the poem.

Minnesotan musicians of many genres include soul star Prince, harmony singers The Andrews Sisters, rockabilly star Eddie Cochran, folk musician Bob Dylan, garage rock band The Castaways, pop songwriters Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, indie rock artists Jonny Lang and Soul Asylum, and cult favorites such as Hüsker Dü and The Replacements.

Minnesotans have made significant contributions to comedy, theater, and film. Ole and Lena jokes are best appreciated when delivered in the accent of Scandinavian Americans. Garrison Keillor is known around the country for resurrecting old-style radio comedy with A Prairie Home Companion, which has aired since the 1970s. Local television had the satirical show The Bedtime Nooz in the 1960s, while area natives Lizz Winstead and Craig Kilborn helped create the increasingly influential Daily Show decades later. Actors from the state include Eddie Albert, Judy Garland, Jessica Lange, Winona Ryder. Joel and Ethan Coen, Terry Gilliam and Mike Todd contributed to the art of film, and others brought the offbeat cult shows Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Let's Bowl to national cable from the Twin Cities.

Stereotypical Minnesotan traits include manners known as "Minnesota nice," Lutheranism, a strong sense of community and shared culture, and their distinctive brand of North Central American English sprinkled with Scandinavian-sounding words such as uff da. Potlucks, usually with a variety of hotdish casseroles, are popular at community functions, especially church activities. Minnesota's Scandinavian heritage makes lutefisk a traditional holiday dish. Movies like Fargo, Drop Dead Gorgeous, New in Town, Grumpy Old Men and Grumpier Old Men, the radio show A Prairie Home Companion and the book How to Talk Minnesotan lampoon (and celebrate) Minnesotan culture, speech and mannerisms.

The Minnesota State Fair, advertised as The Great Minnesota Get-Together, is an icon of state culture. In a state of 5.1 million people, there were nearly 1.7 million visitors to the fair in 2006. The fair covers the variety of life in Minnesota, including fine art, science, agriculture, food preparation, 4H displays, music, the midway, and corporate merchandising. It is known for its displays of seed art, butter sculptures of dairy princesses, the birthing barn, and the "fattest pig" competition. One can also find dozens of varieties of food on a stick, such as Pronto Pups, cheese curds, and deep fried candy bars. On a smaller scale, many of these attractions are also offered at the state's many county fairs.

Other large annual festivals include the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, Minneapolis' Aquatennial and Mill City Music Festival, Moondance Jam in Walker, and Detroit Lakes' 10,000 Lakes Festival, The Judy Garland Festival in Grand Rapids and WE Fest.

The people of Minnesota have a high rate of participation in outdoor activities; the state is ranked first in the percentage of residents who engage in regular exercise. Minnesotans have the nation's lowest premature death rate, third-lowest infant mortality rate, and the second-longest life expectancies. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 91% of Minnesotans have health insurance, more than in any other state. These and other measures have led two groups to rank Minnesota as the fourth-healthiest state in the nation.

On October 1, 2007 Minnesota became the seventeenth state to enact a statewide smoking ban in restaurants and bars with the enactment of Freedom to Breathe Act.

Medical care is provided by a comprehensive network of hospitals and clinics, headed by two institutions with international reputations. The University of Minnesota Medical School is a highly rated teaching institution that has made a number of breakthroughs in treatment, and its research activities contribute significantly to the state's growing biotechnology industry. The Mayo Clinic, a world-renowned medical practice, is based in Rochester. Mayo and the University are partners in the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics, a state-funded program that conducts research into cancer, Alzheimer's disease, heart health, obesity, and other areas.

In March 2008, The American State Litter Scorecard, presented at the American Society for Public Administration national conference, rated Minnesota along with Vermont as topmost Best states for litter/debris removals from public properties (roadways, streams, trails), resulting in an overall healthy environmental quality status.

One of the first acts of the Minnesota Legislature when it opened in 1858 was the creation of a normal school at Winona. More recently, the state ranked 13th on the 2006–2007 Morgan Quitno Smartest State Award, and is first in the percentage of residents with at least a high school diploma. More than 90% of high school seniors graduated in 2006, but about 6% of white, 28% of African American, 30% of Asian American and more than 34% of Hispanic and Native American students dropped out of school. Minnesota students earn the highest average score in the nation on the ACT exam. While Minnesota has chosen not to implement school vouchers, it is home to the first charter school.

The state supports a network of public universities and colleges, currently 32 institutions in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, and five major campuses of the University of Minnesota. It is also home to more than 20 private colleges and universities, four of which rank among the top 100 liberal arts colleges, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Transportation in Minnesota is overseen by the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Principal transportation corridors radiate from the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area and Duluth. The major Interstate highways are I-35, I-90, and I-94, with I-35 and I-94 passing through the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area, and I-90 going east-west along the southern edge of the state. In 2006, a constitutional amendment was passed that required sales and use taxes on motor vehicles to fund transportation, with at least 40% dedicated to public transit. There are nearly two dozen rail corridors in Minnesota, most of which go through Minneapolis-St. Paul or Duluth. There is water transportation along the Mississippi River system and from the ports of Lake Superior.

Minnesota's principal airport is Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), the headquarters and major passenger and freight hub for Northwest Airlines and Sun Country Airlines. Most other domestic carriers serve the airport. Large commercial jet service is provided at Duluth and Rochester, with scheduled commuter service to six smaller cities via Northwest Airlines subsidiary Mesaba Airlines.

Amtrak's daily Empire Builder (Chicago-Seattle) train runs through Minnesota, calling at Midway Station in St. Paul and five other stations. Intercity bus service is provided by Greyhound, Jefferson Lines, and Coach USA. Local public transit is provided by bus networks in the larger cities and by the Hiawatha Line electrified light rail service linking downtown Minneapolis with the Airport and Bloomington.

As with the federal government of the United States, power in Minnesota is divided into three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial.

The executive branch is headed by the governor. The current governor is Tim Pawlenty, a Republican whose first term began on January 6, 2003 and who was narrowly re-elected in 2006. The current Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota is Carol Molnau, who was also the head of the Minnesota Department of Transportation until the Senate refused to confirm her appointment in February 2008. The offices of governor and lieutenant governor have four-year terms. The governor has a cabinet consisting of the leaders of various state government agencies, called commissioners. The other elected constitutional offices are secretary of state, attorney general, and state auditor.

The Minnesota Legislature is a bicameral body consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The state has sixty-seven districts, each covering about sixty thousand people. Each district has one senator and two representatives (each district being divided into A and B sections). Senators serve for four years and representatives for two years. In the November 2006 election, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) gained nineteen house seats, giving them control of the House of Representatives by 85–49. The Senate is also controlled by the DFL. In early 2008, the DFL picked up an additional seat in a special election to expand their majority to 45–22. The DFL now controls a veto-proof majority in the Senate.

Minnesota's court system has three levels. Most cases start in the district courts, which are courts of general jurisdiction. There are 272 district court judges in ten judicial districts. Appeals from the trial courts and challenges to certain governmental decisions are heard by the Minnesota Court of Appeals, consisting of sixteen judges who typically sit in three-judge panels. The seven-justice Minnesota Supreme Court hears all appeals from the Tax Court, the Worker's Compensation Court, first-degree murder convictions, and discretionary appeals from the Court of Appeals; it also has original jurisdiction over election disputes.

Two specialized courts within administrative agencies have been established: the Workers' Compensation Court of Appeals, and the Tax Court, which deals with non-criminal tax cases.

Below the city and county levels of government found in the United States, Minnesota has other entities that provide governmental oversight and planning. Some actions in the Twin Cities metropolitan area are coordinated by the Metropolitan Council, and many lakes and rivers are overseen by watershed districts and soil and water conservation districts.

There are seven Anishinaabe reservations and four Dakota communities in Minnesota. These communities are self-governing.

Minnesota currently has only one United States senator, Democrat Amy Klobuchar. The outcome of the United States Senate election in Minnesota, 2008 is contested. The state has eight congressional districts; they are represented by Tim Walz (1st district), John Kline (2nd), Erik Paulsen (3rd), Betty McCollum (4th), Keith Ellison (5th), Michele Bachmann (6th), Collin Peterson (7th), and James Oberstar (8th).

Federal court cases are heard in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, which holds court in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, and Fergus Falls. Appeals are heard by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals based in St. Louis, Missouri and St. Paul.

Minnesota is known for a politically active citizenry, and populism has been a longstanding force among the state's political parties. Minnesota has a consistently high voter turnout, due in part to its liberal voter registration laws, with virtually no evidence of voter fraud. In the 2008 U.S. presidential election, 77.9% of eligible Minnesotans voted—the highest percentage of any U.S. state—versus the national average of 61.2%. Previously unregistered voters can register on election day at their polls with evidence of residency.

Hubert Humphrey brought national attention to the state with his address at the 1948 Democratic National Convention. Eugene McCarthy's anti-war stance and popularity in the 1968 New Hampshire Primary likely convinced Lyndon B. Johnson to drop out of the presidential election. Minnesotans have consistently cast their Electoral College votes for Democratic presidential candidates since 1976, longer than any other state. Minnesota is the only state in the nation that did not vote for Ronald Reagan in either of his presidential runs.

Both the Democratic and Republican parties have major party status in Minnesota, but its state-level "Democratic" party is actually a separate party, officially known as the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL). Formed out of a 1944 alliance of the Minnesota Democratic and Farmer-Labor parties, the DFL now serves as a de-facto proxy to the federal Democratic Party, and its distinction from the Democratic Party, while still official, is now a functional technicality.

The state has had active third party movements. The Reform Party, now the Independence Party, was able to elect former mayor of Brooklyn Park and professional wrestler Jesse Ventura to the governorship in 1998. The Independence Party has received enough support to keep major party status. The Green Party, while no longer having major party status, has a large presence in municipal government, notably in Minneapolis and Duluth, where it competes directly with the DFL party for local offices. Official "Major party" status in Minnesota (which grants state funding for elections) is reserved to parties, which receive 5% or more of the state's general vote in the U.S. Presidential election. Status is revised every four years.

Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2002, defeating former Vice President and former U.S. Senator Walter Mondale (D-MN), who entered the race as the Democratic candidate after Senator Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash on October 25, 2002. Before his election to the U.S. Senate, Senator Coleman was the mayor of Saint Paul, Minnesota from 1994 to 2002 and served 17 years with the Minnesota Attorney General Office, holding the positions of Chief Prosecutor and Solicitor General of the State of Minnesota. In 1996, after becoming increasingly frustrated with the Democratic Party, Coleman joined the Republican Party, which more closely matched his values. In his 1997 mayoral campaign for re-election as a Republican, Coleman received 59 percent of the vote.

The state's U.S. Senate seats have generally been split since the early 1990s, and in the 108th and 109th Congresses, Minnesota's congressional delegation was split, with four representatives and one senator from each party. In the 2006 midterm election, Democrats were elected to all state offices except for governor and lieutenant governor, where Republicans Tim Pawlenty and Carol Molnau narrowly won re-election. The DFL also posted double-digit gains in both houses of the legislature, elected Amy Klobuchar to the U.S. Senate, and increased the party's U.S. House caucus by one. Keith Ellison (DFL) was elected as the first African American U.S. Representative from Minnesota as well as the first Muslim elected to Congress nationwide.

The Twin Cities area is the fifteenth largest media market in the United States as ranked by Nielsen Media Research. The state's other top markets are Fargo-Moorhead (118th nationally), Duluth-Superior (137th), Rochester-Mason City-Austin (152nd), and Mankato (200th).

Broadcast television in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest started on April 27, 1948, when KSTP-TV began broadcasting. Hubbard Broadcasting Corporation, which owns KSTP, is now the only locally-owned television company in Minnesota. There are currently 39 analog broadcast stations and 23 digital channels broadcast over Minnesota.

The four largest daily newspapers are the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, the Pioneer Press in Saint Paul, the Duluth News Tribune in Duluth and The Minnesota Daily, the largest student-run newspaper in the U.S. Sites offering daily news on the Web include MinnPost, the Twin Cities Daily Planet, business news site Finance and Commerce (web site) and Washington D.C.-based Minnesota Independent. Weeklies including City Pages and monthly publications such as Minnesota Monthly are also available.

Two of the largest public radio networks, Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) and Public Radio International (PRI), are based in the state. MPR has the largest audience of any regional public radio network in the nation, broadcasting on 37 radio stations. PRI weekly provides more than 400 hours of programming to almost 800 affiliates. The state's oldest radio station, KUOM-AM, was launched in 1922 and is among the 10 oldest radio stations in the United States. The University of Minnesota-owned station is still on the air, and since 1993 broadcasts a college rock format.

Minnesota has professional men's teams in all major sports. The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome is home to the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League, and to the Minnesota Twins of Major League Baseball, winners of the 1987 and 1991 World Series. Target Field is currently being constructed on the west side of downtown Minneapolis, which will be the home of the Minnesota Twins once completed. The Minnesota Timberwolves of the National Basketball Association play in the Target Center. The National Hockey League's Minnesota Wild team reached 300 consecutive sold-out games in St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center on January 16, 2008. The Minnesota Thunder plays professional soccer in the USL First Division, the second tier of the American Soccer Pyramid; it plays at the National Sports Center in Blaine.

Minor league baseball is represented both by major league-sponsored teams and independent teams such as the popular St. Paul Saints.

Professional women's sports include the Minnesota Lynx of the Women's National Basketball Association, the Minnesota Lightning of the United Soccer Leagues W-League, the Minnesota Vixen of the Women's Professional Football League, and the Minnesota Whitecaps of the National Women's Hockey League.

The Twin Cities campus of the University of Minnesota is a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I school, with sports teams competing in either the Big Ten Conference or the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. Four additional schools in the state compete in NCAA Division I ice hockey: the University of Minnesota Duluth, St. Cloud State University, Bemidji State University, and Minnesota State University Mankato. There are nine NCAA Division II colleges represented by the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference in Minnesota, and sixteen NCAA Division III colleges represented by the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and Upper Midwest Athletic Conference.

Winter Olympic Games medallists from the state include eleven of the twenty members of the gold medal 1980 ice hockey team (coached by Minnesota native Herb Brooks) and the bronze medallist U.S. men's curling team in the 2006 Winter Olympics. Swimmer Tom Malchow won an Olympic gold medal in the 2000 Summer games and a silver medal in 1996.

Grandma's Marathon is run every summer along the scenic North Shore of Lake Superior, and the Twin Cities Marathon winds around lakes and the Mississippi River during the peak of the fall color season.

Minnesotans participate in high levels of physical activity, and many of these activities are outdoors. The strong interest of Minnesotans in environmentalism has been attributed to the popularity of these pursuits.

In the warmer months, these activities often involve water. Weekend and longer trips to family cabins on Minnesota's numerous lakes are a way of life for many residents. Activities include water sports such as water skiing, which originated in the state, boating, canoeing, and fishing. More than 36% of Minnesotans fish, second only to Alaska.

Fishing does not cease when the lakes freeze; ice fishing has been around since the arrival of early Scandinavian immigrants. Minnesotans have learned to embrace their long, harsh winters in ice sports such as skating, hockey, curling, and broomball, and snow sports such as cross-country skiing, alpine skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling.

State and national forests and the seventy-two state parks are used year-round for hunting, camping, and hiking. There are almost 20,000 miles (32,000 km) of snowmobile trails statewide. Minnesota has more miles of bike trails than any other state, and a growing network of hiking trails, including the 235-mile (378 km) Superior Hiking Trail in the northeast. Many hiking and bike trails are used for cross-country skiing during the winter.

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Duluth, Minnesota

Official seal of Duluth, Minnesota

Duluth is a port city in the U.S. state of Minnesota and the county seat of St. Louis County. The fourth largest city in Minnesota, Duluth had a total population of 98,564 in the 2000 census. The metropolitan census including outer suburbs and villages was estimated to be roughly 384,000. At the westernmost point on the north shore of Lake Superior, Duluth is linked to the Atlantic Ocean 2,300 miles (3,700 km) away via the Great Lakes and Erie Canal/New York State Barge Canal or Saint Lawrence Seaway passages and is the Atlantic Ocean's westernmost deep-water port.

Duluth forms a metropolitan area with Superior, Wisconsin. Called the Twin Ports, these two cities share the Duluth-Superior Harbor and together are one of the most important ports on the Great Lakes, shipping coal, iron ore (taconite), and grain. As a tourist destination for the Midwest, Duluth features America's only all-freshwater aquarium, the Great Lakes Aquarium, the Aerial Lift Bridge which spans the short canal into Duluth's harbor, "Park Point", the world's second longest freshwater sandbar, spanning 6 miles, and is a launching point for the North Shore.

The city is named for Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut, the first known European explorer of the area.

Native American tribes had occupied the Duluth area for thousands of years. The original inhabitants are believed to have been members of Paleo-Indian cultures, followed by the "Old Copper" people, who hunted with spear points and knives and fished with metal hooks. Around two thousand years ago, the Woodlands people, known for their burial mounds and pottery, occupied the area. They also cultivated wild rice, a crop that continues to be harvested today by Ojibwa tribes in the region and is often seen being sold in the area, especially in Wisconsin. Duluth's name in the Ojibwe is Onigamiinsing ("at the little portage") due to the small and easy portage across Minnesota Point between Lake Superior and western Superior Bay forming Duluth's harbor. According to Ojibwa Oral history, Spirit Island located near the Spirit Valley neighborhood was the "Sixth Stopping Place" where the northern and southern branches of the Ojibwa Nation came together and then proceeded to their "Seventh Stopping Place" near the present city of La Pointe, Wisconsin.

In 1659, Pierre Esprit Radisson and Médard Chouart des Groseilliers went searching for furs in the Lake Superior region, and visited the area that became today’s Duluth. Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut, the city's namesake, arrived in 1679 to settle rivalries between two Indian nations, the Dakota and the Ojibwa, and to advance fur trading missions in the area. His work allowed for this to occur, with the Ojibwa becoming middlemen between the French and the Dakota. As a result, the area prospered, and as early as 1692, the Hudson's Bay Company set up a small post at Fond du Lac.

It was not until 1792 that the next trading post, on the Wisconsin side of the St. Louis River, was opened by Jean Baptiste Cadotte of the North West Company. A fire destroyed the post in 1800, but a German émigré, John Jacob Astor, constructed a post on the river's Minnesota side. The store initially floundered as a result of the Indians' insistence in trading with established English and French partners. However, Astor managed to convince the United States Congress to ban foreigners from trading in American territory. His American Fur Company was re-formed in 1816-17. Hard times hit the post once again by 1839 due to fashionable Europeans choosing silk hats over those made from beaver pelts.

Two Treaties of Fond du Lac were signed in the present neighborhood of Fond du Lac in 1826 and 1847. As part of the Treaty of Washington (1854) with the Lake Superior Band of Chippewa, the Fond du Lac Indian Reservation was established upstream from Duluth near Cloquet, Minnesota, and the Ojibwa population was relocated there.

Interest in the area was piqued in the 1850s as rumors of copper mining began to circulate. A government land survey in 1852, followed by a treaty with local tribes in 1854, secured wilderness for gold-seeking explorers, sparked a "land rush," and led to the development of iron ore mining in the area.

Around the same time, newly-constructed channels and locks in the East permitted large ships to access the area. A road connecting Duluth to the Twin Cities was also constructed. Eleven small towns on both sides of the St. Louis River were formed, establishing Duluth's roots as a city.

By 1857, copper resources became scarce, and the area's economic focus shifted to timber harvesting. A nation-wide financial crisis led to nearly three quarters of the city's early pioneers leaving.

In the late 1860s, financier Jay Cooke (after whom the Jay Cooke State Park is named), convinced the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad to create an extension from St. Paul to Duluth. The railroad opened areas due north and west of Lake Superior to iron ore mining. Duluth's population on New Year's Day, 1869 consisted of fourteen families; by the Fourth of July, 3,500 people were present to celebrate.

By the end of the nineteenth century, Duluth was a thriving city. Duluth was home to more millionaires per capita than any other city in the world, and had become a favorite summer playground for the rich and the famous of the day. Magnificent manor homes and Victorian mansions welcomed family and friends to lavish social events. At the turn of the century, the city's port passed New York City and Chicago in gross tonnage handled, elevating it to the leading port in the United States. Meanwhile, there were ten newspapers, six banks, and an eleven-story skyscraper, the Torrey Building, already present in the town. In 1907, U.S. Steel announced that a $5 – $6 million plant would be constructed in the area. Although steel production only began eight years later, predictions held that Duluth's population would rise to 200,000 to 300,000. With the Duluth Works steel plant came Morgan Park, a once-independent company town that now stands as a city neighborhood.

The city experienced a large immigrant influx during the early twentieth century, and Duluth became home to one of the largest Finnish communities in the world outside of Finland. For decades, a Finnish-language daily newspaper, taking the namesake of the old Grand Duchy of Finland's pro-independence leftist paper, Päivälehti, was published in the city. The Finnish IWW community published a widely read labor newspaper Industrialisti. From 1907 to 1941 the Finnish Socialist Federation, and then the IWW operated Work People's College, an educational institution that taught classes from a working class, socialist perspective. Duluth was also settled by immigrants from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Austria, Ireland, England, Italy, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia, Ukraine, Romania, and Russia.

Arguably the most tragic event in Duluth history occurred on June 15, 1920, when three African American circus workers were attacked and lynched by a mob after rumors had circulated that six African Americans had raped a teenage girl. The Duluth lynchings took place on 1st Street and 2nd Avenue East, where today three 7-foot-tall bronze statues of the men who were killed have been erected as a Memorial.

For the first half of the twentieth century the city was an industrial port boom town, with multiple grain elevators, a cement plant, a nail mill, wire mills, and the Duluth Works plant. In 1916, during World War I, a shipyard was constructed on the St. Louis River, and a new neighborhood was formed around the operation, today known as Riverside. Similar industrial expansions took place during the Second World War, utilizing Duluth's large harbor and the areas vast resources for the war effort. The Population of Duluth (proper) continued to grow after the war and peaked at 107,884 in 1960.

By the late 1970s, foreign competition began to have a detrimental impact on the U.S. Steel Industry. This eventually led to the closure of the U.S. Steel Duluth Works plant in 1981, causing a significant blow to the city's economy. Duluth is often cited as "where the Rust Belt began." Other industrial activity followed suit with more closures, including shipbuilding, heavy machinery, and the Duluth Air Force base. By the end of the decade unemployment rates surged to 15 percent. The economic downturn was particularly hard on Duluth's West Side, where the Eastern and Southern European immigrant workers had traditionally lived for decades.

With the decline of the city's industrial core, the local economic focus shifted to tourism. The downtown area has been renovated with new red brick streets,skywalks, and new retail shops. Old warehouses along the waterfront were converted into cafés, shops, restaurants, and hotels, fashioning the new Canal Park as a trendy tourism-oriented district. The city's population, which had been experiencing a steady decline since the 1970s, has now stabilized to around 85,000.

At the beginning of the twenty first century, Duluth has become regional epicenter for banking, retail shopping, and medical care for northern Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, northwestern Michigan. It is estimated that more than 8,000 jobs in Duluth are directly related to the two hospitals. Arts and entertainment offerings as well as year-round recreation, and the natural environment have contributed to expansion of the tourist industry in Duluth. Some 3.5 million visitors each year contribute more than $400 million to the local economy.

Early doubts about the potential of the Duluth area were voiced in the speech The Untold Delights of Duluth, made by former U.S. Representative J. Proctor Knott of Kentucky on January 27, 1871 in the U.S. House; the speech against the St. Croix and Superior Land Grant lampooned Western boosterism, portraying Duluth as an Eden in fantastically florid terms. The speech has been reprinted in collections of folklore and humorous speeches and is regarded as something of a classic. The nearby city of Proctor, Minnesota is named for Congressman Knott.

Duluth, Minnesota's unofficial sister city, Duluth, Georgia, was named by Evan P. Howell in humorous reference to Representative Knott's speech. Originally called Howell's Crossroads in honor of his grandfather Evan Howell, the town had in 1871 just finished getting a railroad to the town, and the 'Delights of Duluth' speech was still popular.

Proctor Knott is sometimes credited with characterizing Duluth as the "zenith city of the unsalted seas," but the honor for that coinage belongs to journalist Thomas Preston Foster, speaking at a Fourth of July picnic in 1868.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 87.3 square miles (226.2 km²). It is Minnesota's second largest city in terms of land area, surpassed only by Hibbing. Of its 87.3 square miles, 68.0 square miles (176.1 km²) or 77.89% is land and 19.3 square miles (50.0 km²) or 22.11% is water. Duluth's canal connects Lake Superior to the Duluth-Superior harbor and the St. Louis River. The Aerial Lift Bridge connects Canal Park with Minnesota Point ("Park Point").

Duluth's geography is dominated by a rather steep hill which represents a transition from the elevation of Lake Superior's beach to that of the inland. It has been called 'the San Francisco of the Mid-West', referencing the California city's similar position on a hill, leading down to a busy harbor. This similarity was most evident before World War II, when Duluth had a network of street cars and an 'Incline,' which climbed its steep hill. The change is elevation is most evident when comparing Duluth's two airports. The Sky Harbor airport's weather station, situated on the Park Point sandbar, jutting into Lake Superior, (at 6 miles (9.65 km)) has an elevation of 607 feet (185 m), while Duluth International Airport atop the hill is at 1,427 feet (435 m).

As the city has grown, the population has tended to hug the Lake Superior shoreline, hence Duluth is primarily a southwest-northeast city. A considerable amount of development on the hill's upslope gives Duluth a reputation for steep streets. Some neighborhoods, such as Piedmont Heights and Bayview Heights, are atop the hill, at times giving scenic views of the city. The Goat Hill neighborhood overlooking the 'can of worms' freeway interchange around 18th Avenue West is an example of this; another is the skyline neighborhood above downtown from 5th to 10th Avenues West. Perhaps the most rapidly developing part of the city is a commercial mall and big-box retailer shopping strip "over the hill", the Miller Trunk corridor. Re-construction of U.S. 53 is scheduled within the next 5 years to alleviate congestion in this part of Duluth.

The city's climate is known for long, cold winters and cool summers. The nickname "The Air-Conditioned City" is given to Duluth due to the cooling effect that Lake Superior has on it during the summer months. During the winter months, temperatures often remain below zero degrees Fahrenheit (-18 °C) for periods of weeks. A normal winter brings consistent snow cover from December through March. Winter storms that pass south or east of Duluth can often set up easterly or northeasterly flow. Upslope lake-effect snow events can bring a foot (30 cm) or more of snow to the city while areas 50 miles (80 km) inland receive considerably less.

Summers are cool and comfortable, with daytime temperatures averaging in the 70s°F (20–30 °C) due to the cooling easterly winds of the lake (as opposed to occasional temperatures over 90 °F (32 °C) inland, although temperatures may remain below 50 °F (10 °C) during afternoons as late in the year as June along the Lake Superior shore, even when the inland temperature is in the 70s °F (mid-20s °C). The phrase "cooler by the lake" can be heard often in weather forecasts during the summer, especially on days when an easterly wind is expected. Due to the specific heat of the huge lake, seasons are substantially delayed, with November often much warmer than April. Great local variations are also common, due to the rapid change in elevation between the hill and shore-side. Oftentimes, this manifests itself as snow at the Miller Hill Mall and pouring rain in Canal Park at the same time.

Duluth and its environs are experiencing moderate population growth. As of the census of 2000, there were 98,564, 35,500 households, and 20,915 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,278.1 inhabitants per square mile (493.5/km²). There were 36,994 housing units at an average density of 544.0/sq mi (210/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.65% White, 1.63% Black or African American, 2.44% Native American, 1.14% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.29% from other races, and 1.82% from two or more races. 1.06% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 18.5% were of German, 16.0% Polish, 14.5% Norwegian, 10.9% Swedish, 7.2% Italian, 7.1% Irish, 6.9% Finnish, 6.9% Serbian, and 6.8% Croatian ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 35,500 households out of which 26.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.4% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.9% were non-families. 34.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.90.

In the city the population was spread out with 21.3% under the age of 18, 16.2% from 18 to 24, 26.1% from 25 to 44, 21.3% from 45 to 64, and 15.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 93.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $33,766, and the median income for a family was $46,394. Males had a median income of $35,182 versus $24,965 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,969. About 8.6% of families and 15.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.4% of those under age 18 and 9.5% of those age 65 or over.

Duluth is the regional hub not only for its own immediate area, but also for a large area encompassing northeastern Minnesota, northwestern Wisconsin, and the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It remains a major transportation center for the transshipment of coal, taconite, agricultural products, steel, limestone, and cement. In recent years it has seen strong growth in the transshipment of wind turbine components coming and going from manufacturers in both Europe and North Dakota, and in oversized industrial machinery manufactured all around the world and destined for the tar sands oil extraction projects in northern Alberta.

The city is a popular center for tourism. Duluth is a convenient base for trips to the scenic North Shore via Highway 61, or to fishing and wilderness expeditions in Minnesota's far north, including the Superior National Forest and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Tourists also may drive on the North Shore Scenic Drive to visit Gooseberry Falls State Park, Isle Royale National Park via ferry or visit Grand Portage National Monument in Grand Portage, Minnesota. Thunder Bay, Ontario can be reached by following the highway into Canada along Lake Superior.

Local attractions include a variety of arts opportunities. Museums include the Duluth Art Institute at the Duluth Depot, the Tweed Museum of Art at the University of Minnesota Duluth, and smaller local art galleries scattered around the city. See the List of Museums in Duluth. The city is the birthplace of Bob Dylan. Duluth is also home to a professional ballet company, the Minnesota Ballet. Duluth shares a symphony orchestra with Superior, Wisconsin, the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra. In summer there are often free concerts held in Chester Park where local musicians play for crowds, and the Bayfront Blues Festival is held in early August. Beginning in 2004, Duluth has celebrated Gay Pride with a parade on Labor Day weekend. The city celebrates the Homegrown Music Festival the first week in May each year. Started in 1998, the festival features over 130 local musical acts performing across the city. Another "music festival" is the "Junior Achievement High School ROCKS - Battle of the Bands," which showcases middle school and high school bands from central Minnesota to the Canadian border and northern Wisconsin. This event takes place at the DECC mid-April.

There also exists under a section of I-35 a stretch of graffiti known as the Graffiti Graveyard. It is known throughout Duluth and many residents remember visiting the Graffiti Graveyard during their teenage years.

The Duluth-Superior Dukes of the Northern League Independent Professional Baseball played in West Duluth's Wade Stadium from the League's inception in 1993 until 2002 when the team moved to Kansas City and became the Kansas City T-Bones. The Dukes were Northern League Champions in 1997. The Northern League, based out of the midwest, was also in operation off and on from 1902 to 1971, with the longest stint from 1932-1971. The Dukes were a farm team for the Detroit Tigers from 1960-1964, and several other teams in later years, before the Northern League folded in 1971. The Dukes produced notable players such as Denny McClain, Al Kaline, Bill Freehan, Gates Brown, Ray Oyler, Jim Northrup, Mickey Stanley, John Hiller, and Willie Horton, all who were members of the 1968 world champion Detroit Tigers.

Duluth is also home to Horton's Gym, the home gym of professional boxers Zach "Jungle Boy" Walters and Andy Kolle, as well as a number of other professional prizefighters.

The University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldog hockey games are a major event in town during the cold Duluth winter. Games used to be televised locally, and thousands watch the games in person at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC). Several Bulldogs have gone on to success in the National Hockey League, including hockey great Brett Hull. In addition, the UMD Women's ice hockey team has won three consecutive NCAA National Championships (2001-2003), and won again in 2008. The 2003 Women's Frozen Four was played at the DECC, where the Bulldogs defeated Harvard on a dramatic double-overtime goal by Nora Tallus in front of a sellout home crowd.

The Duluth Huskies are a college summer wood bat league baseball team which is based in Duluth and plays in the Northwoods League. The team plays its home games at Wade Stadium. They are made up from some of the top college baseball players in the country, playing 34 home games each summer between June and August.

The Duluth-Superior Shoremen are a semi-pro football team based in Duluth's Public Schools Stadium. They play for the Mid-American Football League, and placed second in that league's championship game in 2005.

The Duluth Xpress is an amateur baseball team that plays its games at the Ordean Middle School baseball field. The team is made up of current college baseball players, ex-college baseball players, and ex-professional baseball players. The Xpress compete in the Arrowhead league which is a class B league of Minnesota town team baseball.

Since 1977, Duluth has played host to Grandma's Marathon (named after its original sponsor, Grandma's Restaurant), drawing runners from all over the world. Held annually in June, the course of the marathon starts just outside Two Harbors, Minnesota, runs down Old Highway 61, the former route for U.S. Highway 61, along the North Shore of Lake Superior and finishes in one of Duluth's tourism neighborhoods, Canal Park (Duluth). The same route is also taken during the North Shore Inline Marathon, held in September, drawing racers from all over the world.

The Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon is Duluth's annual sled dog race organized in February and named after John Beargrease, the son of the Anishinaabe Chief Makwabimidem and one of the first mail carriers between Two Harbors, Minnesota and Grand Marais, Minnesota. He and his brothers carried mail by sled dog, boat, and horse for almost twenty years between the two towns, where there was no road. Competitors can choose between two distances; the longer 400-mile (644 km) course takes a round trip from Duluth to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, and the 150-mile (241 km) course departs from Duluth and ends in Tofte, Minnesota. The marathon was first held in 1980 and is acknowledged as a training ground for the larger and more elite Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

The city is home to the Duluth Curling Cluband the Duluth Yacht Club.

The current mayor of Duluth is Don Ness.

Duluth is located in Minnesota's 8th congressional district, represented by Jim Oberstar, a moderate DFLer, scoring 87% progressive on a range of issues.

In 2004, Duluth was center to a controversial legal battle between the City Council, local residents, and the ACLU. The debate and eventual lawsuit revolved around a marble fixture inscribed with the Ten Commandments which resided on the lawn of City Hall. The city eventually agreed to remove the fixture, and it now resides on private property near the Comfort Suites Hotel on Canal Park Drive. Ironically the Ten Commandments fixture is now in a much more prominent location than ever before.

The city was featured in the New York Times article "The Next Retirement Time Bomb", because Duluth recently conducted a financial study of the health care benefits it has promised its retired city workers. It turned out that its future health care obligations would bankrupt the city government. Duluth is held in the article to be considered representative of many local governments that have not kept tabs on its future health-care obligations promised to retired workers. Duluth's own newspaper, the News Tribune, portrays prior mayor John Fedo, who was acquitted in a 1988 corruption trial while mayor, in an unflattering respect with regard to responsibility in this. Decades of local politicians have a hand in the matter, including former mayor Gary Doty, as unions are powerful in the area and winning their favor is a major factor in being elected.

During the 2000 presidential election, Green Party candidate Ralph Nader received over 7.0% of votes from Duluth residents, one of the highest in the country for a city with a population of at least 85,000.

Colleges and universities include the University of Minnesota Duluth, The College of St. Scholastica, Lake Superior College, Duluth Business University and Cosmetology Careers Unlimited. The University of Wisconsin - Superior and Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College are in nearby Superior, Wisconsin.

Most public schools are administered by Duluth Public Schools. There are several independent public charter schools in the Duluth area not administered by District 709 with open enrollment.

The Duluth area marks the northern endpoint of Interstate 35, which stretches south to Laredo, Texas. U.S. Highways that serve the area are Highway 53, which stretches from La Crosse, Wisconsin to International Falls, Minnesota and Highway 2 which stretches from Everett, Washington to St.Ignace in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Just south of the city is Thompson Hill, from where most of the city can be seen from I-35, including the Aerial Lift Bridge and the waterfront. There are two freeway connections from Duluth to Superior. U.S. Highway 2 provides a connection into Superior via the Richard I. Bong Memorial Bridge, and the other connection is I-535 concurrent with U.S. 53 over the John A. Blatnik Bridge.

There are many state highways that serve the area as well. Highway 23 runs diagonally across Minnesota, indirectly connecting Duluth to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Highway 33 provides a bypass of Duluth connecting I-35 to U.S. 53. Highway 61 provides access to Thunder Bay, Ontario via the breathtaking North Shore of Lake Superior. Highway 194 provides a spur route into the city of Duluth known as "Central Entrance" and Mesaba Avenue. Wisc. Hwy. 13 reaches along Lake Superior's South Shore. Finally, Wisc. Hwy. 35 runs along Wisconsin's western border for 412 miles (663 km) to its southern terminus at the Wisconsin - Illinois border (three miles north of East Dubuque). Highway 61 and parts of Highways 2 and 53 are a section of the Lake Superior Circle Tour.

Duluth International Airport serves the city and surrounding region. Nearby municipal airports are Duluth Sky Harbor, on Minnesota Point, and the Richard I. Bong Memorial Airport in Superior. Both the Bong Airport and Bong Bridge are named for famed WWII pilot, and highest-scoring American air ace Major Richard Ira "Dick" Bong, a native of nearby Poplar, WI (died 1945).

Duluth is a major shipping port for taconite. The former Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway, now Canadian National Railway operates taconite-hauling trains in the area. Duluth port facilities also handle substantial amounts of grain, limestone, dry bulk cement powder, rock salt, bentonite clay, wind turbine components, and a wide variety of oversized industrial machinery which require especially high and wide road and rail clearances to reach their destinations in the interior of North America. Duluth is also served by the BNSF Railway, the Canadian Pacific Railway, and the Union Pacific Railroad.

The local bus system is run by the Duluth Transit Authority, which services not only the Duluth area, but Superior, WI, as well. The DTA runs a system of buses manufactured by Gillig, including new hybrids.

Duluth is also serviced by Greyhound Lines, with daily service to the Twin Cities, as well as Wisconsin, Michigan, the Iron Range, and Thunder Bay, Ontario.

On March 8, 2005 the sale of Duluth's CBS affiliate was announced to Malara Broadcast Group of Sarasota, Florida. The group agreed to pay Granite Broadcasting Group, which already runs the NBC affiliate KBJR, to take over the operations for KDLH. The majority of the news staff of KDLH was dismissed.

Local newspapers include the BusinessNorth monthly, the Duluth News Tribune, the Duluth Budgeteer News, and the free The Reader Weekly, Transistor, and The Zenith.

Duluth gets electric power from Duluth-based Minnesota Power, a subsidiary of ALLETE Corporation. Minnesota Power produces energy at generation facilities located throughout northern Minnesota, as well as at a generation plant in North Dakota. The latter supplies electricity into the MP system by the Square Butte HVDC line, which ends near the town.

Minnesota Power primarily uses western coal to generate electricity, but also has a number of small hydro-electric facilities, the largest of which is the Thomson Hydroelectric Dam just south of Duluth.

The short lived 1996 sitcom, The Louie (Anderson) Show was set in Duluth. Louie Anderson played psychotherapist, Louie Lundgren. The opening title sequence featured downtown Duluth buildings.

The 1983 Gore Vidal novel, Duluth was set in a stylized version of Duluth.

The 2008 American Sports Comedy Film, Leatherheads starring and directed by George Clooney was set in Duluth. Although the film was set in Duluth it was filmed in North and South Carolina. The film featured a fictionalized team called the Duluth Bulldogs.

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Source : Wikipedia