Phone scam resurfaces in Northland

An alert News Tribune reader contacted us Friday to let us know, so we could let you know, about yet another apparent phone scam targeting Northland residents.

Our reader said someone called and said she was going to be sent a new Medicare card. The caller asked to verify her name and address, and then started asking about her bank and financial account information.

That prompted our reader to hang up — and you should, too, if you get a similar call from someone looking for personal information. And there have been similar calls — we reported on a nearly identical apparent scam last March.

Some resolution tips for the new year

Well, this is your last Eh? column for 2012, so we thought we’d better leave you with a few New Year’s resolution tips.

  • Quitting smoking? Consider signing up for the free “Together We Quit” program from Quitplan. They’ll send you daily motivational text messages to get you through the rough patches. You’ll also get weekly e-mail tips during that all-important first month of quitting.
  • Losing weight? Dr. James Donovan at St. Luke’s says you can lose 10 percent of your body weight in three months, but you need to avoid common errors. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water and eat your proteins, but go ahead and back off the carbohydrates. Don’t be too gung-ho. Donovan recommends trying to lose just a pound or so a week and then exercising more as the weight comes off.
  • Getting out of debt? You’re going to need to make more than the minimum payment, according to the LSS Financial Counseling. First, make sure your basics are covered: You’re paying the rent and utilities, there’s food in the fridge and a bit of cushion in your checking account. Then look for a regular expense you can cut, and apply that amount to the balance you’re trying to pay off.

Lingering holiday lights in the Twin Ports

The display at Bentleyville has been dimmed for the season, but there still are some options for Northland residents looking for one last dose of holiday lights.

Marcia Hales’ annual display on Park Point is scheduled to run through Jan. 6. The show at 3739 Lake Ave. S. is open 5-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 5-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday. The walk-through backyard display has been a fixture in the neighborhood for more than a decade.

Many other private homes keep the lights going into the new year, too. The Hart family, News Tribune readers from Superior, sent word that their animated Christmas light display will run from 5-10 p.m. through Jan. 1. The show at 2830 E. Third St. in Superior — in a neighborhood filled with many other nice displays — is set to music that you can tune to on your car radio at 106.5 FM.

And if you don’t feel like venturing out, you can get a look at a bunch of light displays from around the Twin Ports on a pair of videos we’ve posted at duluthnewstribune.com. Look for the video player on our home page.

Keep the safe streak going this New Year’s holiday

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety reports that the state has not had any drunken-driving traffic fatalities during the New Year’s holiday for the past four years; a safe holiday next week could make it five in a row.

It’s part of a trend of more people planning ahead for a safe ride home on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, officials said.

Between 2002 and 2007 in Minnesota, the holiday saw 25 traffic deaths (seven involving a drunken driver); 60 serious injuries (26 alcohol-related); and 1,608 DWI arrests.

Since 2007 on the two-day holiday, Minnesota has seen 10 traffic deaths (one involving a drunken driver, but not since 2008); 24 serious injuries (eight alcohol-related) and 1,477 DWI arrests.

“Statistics show more people are doing the right thing by planning ahead for a safe ride home on New Year’s Eve,” Jean Ryan, DPS Office of Traffic Safety impaired driving coordinator, said in a news release. “We hope people make a resolution to continue that behavior throughout all of 2013.”

We do, too.

Whether it’s calling a cab, arranging for a designated driver or using public transportation, make sure you take the necessary steps to stay safe — and keep everyone else safe, too — on Northland roads as we celebrate the arrival of 2013 next week.

One stop, two favors

The first favor is the kind that happens every day. The second one, not so common. Here’s the story:

Henry and Peggy Lueck were in town this weekend from Wisconsin visiting their daughter. They stopped for gas Sunday evening at the Holiday Station Store at Rice Lake Road and Arrowhead Road, and Henry was having a hard time with the pumps. A nice woman helped him figure out which buttons to push and levers to pull.

That’s favor No. 1. Nice but not all that newsworthy.

Then, according to Peggy, Henry finished pumping gas and went inside to pay. He stepped up to the clerk and learned about favor No. 2: The woman who helped him figure out the pump had also snuck inside and paid for his gas.

Henry and Peggy say thanks, 36 times.

Superior mascots head to Newtown

Bear Hugs and Moose Kisses, two large resident stuffed animals of the Superior Middle School library, are being sent to the children of Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.

According to the Superior Telegram, the school decided to send the stuffed animals and a card to welcome the Sandy Hook students to their new school. The stuffed animals have provided comfort to students in Superior, staff said, and it’s time to share them with people who have greater needs.

The school received help from Lake Superior Cleaners, Engwall Florist, Going Postal and the Safari in Ashland.

Duluth on the silver screen

The death of Charles Durning reminds us how proud we are that Duluth keeps showing up in the movies once or twice a decade.

Durning was here in 1987 shooting “Far North” with Jessica Lange.

Before that we had Patty Duke shooting “You’ll Like My Mother” at Glensheen in 1972.
In the early ’90s we had “The Good Son” and “Iron Will.”

Last decade it was “Leatherheads” with George Clooney and Renee Zellweger.

We’re still waiting for something to materialize this decade, but we’re only a few years into it, so no worries.

P.S. Yeah, we know “Leatherheads” wasn’t actually shot in Duluth, but it was set here and Clooney and Zellweger dropped in for a visit, so close enough.

Knitters for Newtown

Twin Ports yarn company Three Irish Girls is putting its needles to use for a cause — to knit 26 blankets for the families of the victims of the shootings in Newtown, Conn.

The store has used Facebook and Twitter in an attempt to raise $10,000 as part of “Knitters for Newtown” and had raised more than $5,000 as of Saturday.

“I just felt I had to do something,” Sharon McMahon, founder and creative director of Three Irish Girls, said in a news release. “I couldn’t do nothing.”

Go to facebook.com/knittersfornewtown or twitter.com/threeirishgirls, threeirishgirls.com or knittersfornewtown.com for more information.

New Year’s radio

KUMD-FM (103.3) in Duluth will celebrate the end of 2012 with its annual “Best of Live from Studio A” from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday (New Year’s Eve) with host and KUMD music director Christine Dean.

The programming continues with a 2013 kickoff New Year’s Day with a “Soul Village” marathon from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Looking for foster parents

The Itasca County Health and Human Services is looking for foster homes for children, particularly in the Grand Rapids area, and will host an orientation for prospective foster parents.

Some kids need temporary housing while they and their families work out problems.

The two-part orientation at the Itasca Resource Center takes place 6-9 p.m. Jan. 3 in Room 157 and 7-8 p.m. Jan. 15 in Room 122.

The Itasca Resource Center is located at 1209 S.E. Second Ave. in Grand Rapids.

Call child foster care licensor Anne Erickson at (218) 327-6111 for more information.