Make Duluth a cooler kind of nerdy

What if Duluth was a major destination for gamers?

That’s the idea behind a Kickstarter campaign that could be the start of an annual convention in Duluth much like Gen Con in Indianapolis and Dragon Con in Atlanta.

“Berserkon” would include role-playing games, tactical combat gaming, wargaming, a LAN room, costume contests, board games like Settlers of Catan and celebrity guests.

The crew behind Berserkon is looking to raise $42,000 in the next 22 days. Search for Berserkon at Kickstarter for more info.

Thanks for the ride

A recent visitor sent us a note to express thanks to a couple of perfect strangers on the Lakewalk.

Joan DeClerck of Moline, Ill., said she and her friend were strolling the Lakewalk when they decided it would be fun to take a carriage ride. They didn’t know where to go to catch it, so they had a chat with a young couple who told them where the carriages park.

Well, these Illinois visitors must have taken their time getting to the carriage because by the time they got there, lo and behold, that same young couple had paid for their ride.

“I want to commend this young couple for their hospitality in your beautiful city,” DeClerck wrote, and we commend them too.

Miracle season?

At the Mount Royal office of the U.S. Postal Service Wednesday morning, a customer asked a clerk how long it might take a small package to reach its destination in Minneapolis by regular mail.

“It should get there no later than Friday,” the clerk replied.

The sender said that was fine, although he hoped it would get there sooner.

“It might get there tomorrow,” the clerk said. “It is the season of miracles.”

Free pet exams

If you’re a pet owner who’s struggling financially, listen up.

PetCare of Duluth, a new veterinary clinic in Lincoln Park, is offering free dog and cat exams through the end of the year. The free examinations, a $25 value, are available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every Thursday through Dec. 27 at the clinic at 2701 W. Superior St. No appointments are necessary and anyone can bring in their pet.

Annual exams mean vaccinations for your dog or cat, and you’ll have to pay for those. Besides exams and basic shots, the clinic offers heartworm protection, fecal analysis and microchipping. Other work is referred to other clinics.

Info: (218) 461-4400

Almost a good deed

All would have been well if it weren’t for those clever crooks.

Yes, Luke Meints’ daughter walked away from her purse after setting it down for a family photo Saturday at Bentleyville. But she realized her mistake almost right away and went back to retrieve it. And a nice young couple had found it!

Unfortunately, someone else must have spotted the forgotten purse, too, because an imposter claimed it before Meints’ daughter could even get there.

“It turns out this couple gave the purse to a younger couple, after the younger couple approached them and said how grateful they were,” Meints tells us.

The Bentleyville crew, including Nathan Bentley himself, helped scour the park for the pretenders to the purse, but they were nowhere to be found. Meints said his daughter lost some cash and credit cards and her husband lost his cell phone.

“My purpose in writing this letter is to remind people when they are in a crowded or distracting situation to make sure they watch their belongings because others are watching them as well,” Meints wrote. “Incidentally, the Bentleyville light show is awesome this year. And being 56 years old and not 15, using this word can only mean the show really is awesome!”

A more serene Santa experience

Kids with special needs will get a quieter, calmer Santa Claus experience at the Miller Hill Mall on Sunday morning.

The Caring Santa event will be at the mall from 9-11 a.m. The event caters to families whose children have special needs by reducing sensory triggers, such as music and bright lights; replacing the long line with a numbering system to call the children; and providing special activities and stories for those who are waiting.

The elves at the mall asked us to encourage parents who want their children to participate to RSVP.

Duluth B&B holiday tours

Need to get into the holiday spirit? Looking for some decorating ideas? You can accomplish both during the holiday tour of Duluth’s historic bed and breakfasts on Sunday, Dec. 9. The city’s seven B&Bs will be all decked out for the holidays and open for public tours from 1-5 p.m.

Food and beverages will be provided at each inn. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door. For tickets, call (218) 341-0140. Proceeds benefit Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank. A raffle could win you a stay at the inn of your choice and dinner at Blackwoods Grill & Bar.

To do today: Break into showbiz

This is quick notice, but if you’re in the biz you probably already have your resume and headshot ready.

A production team is casting extras and supporting roles for a short film that will be shooting Dec. 6-10 in Duluth. Auditions for the 15 supporting roles are 5-9 p.m. today on the third floor of the Zeitgeist Arts Building, 222 E. Superior St. Send an e-mail to in advance. Info:

No auditions necessary for the extras spots, including people who look like dive bar regulars and people who look like vegan café regulars. Send a headshot and contact info to with the subject line: Duluth extras.

Seeking layaway users

Are you a regular user of layaway plans at Northland stores? Will it help you with gift giving this holiday season?

Whether you’re a new user or a seasoned regular, we’d like to talk to you about using layaway plans for a story we’re doing.

If you’re willing to be part of the story, call reporter Candace Renalls at (218) 723-5329 or e-mail her at

Eat for R.I.D.E.

When that tummy growls Monday, think about grabbing a burger for a good cause. North Country R.I.D.E. — Recreation and Instruction for Differently abled Equestrians — will benefit from a fundraiser at Five Guys Burgers and Fries’ Miller Hill Mall location.

A percentage of sales from 4-8 p.m. will go to the program, which uses horses as therapy for kids and adults with developmental and behavioral challenges.

In its 30 years of existence, North Country R.I.D.E. has provided service to more than 2,500 clients and more than 100,000 volunteer hours, according to the nonprofit organization.