What we’re saying about Dylan/Chrysler

Yes, yes. We know. We love to fill the pages of the News Tribune with Dylan this and Dylan that.

But, to be fair, lots of people are still analyzing the Chrysler commercial starring our native son that aired during Sunday’s Super Bowl.

* A blogger for the Washington Post wondered: “Can a Dylan superfan actually justify this most egregious sellout?”

David Malitz wrote a five-part justification including the fact that Dylan actually sold out in 2004 when he teamed up with Victoria Secret.

And, No. 3, “it was nice to actually hear his voice.”

His voice is shot, he doesn’t fill his sets with banter.

“Sure, I’d rather hear him say things that aren’t straight out of some jingoistic pitchman handbook, but still,” Malitz wrote.

* A blogger for the New Yorker doesn’t mind seeing Dylan shilling for Chrysler. But she does mind the commercial:

“It is a problem that he is in a poorly made ad, one that proves the truth of a line in its script: ‘You can’t fake cool,’” wrote Amy Davidson.

* Maybe it doesn’t really matter. According to Forbes, the third-quarter placement of the extended-length ad could have been great. But with the Seahawks’ blowout already in the books, no one saw the commercial, anyway.

Ice? Salt? Smarts?

Recently, a reader from Duluth, Erik Holmstrom, posed the question about what can be done about the icy roads besides using salt.

As it turns out, there are a couple things that can be done to make travel safer on Duluth’s icy roads.

There is a chemical that is sometimes used to melt the ice at temperatures lower than 15 degrees, roughly the coldest pure salt will work at. It’s called chloride (which covers sodium, calcium and magnesium) and this chemical can melt the snow even in 60-degree below zero weather. Sounds great, right? Sadly, no. Chlorides are harsh chemicals that can scorch the ice off the roads, but there are problems associated, not the least of which is cost. Some estimates put it at $10 to $18 per 5-10 pound container. The Environmental Protection Agency has guidelines for the other problems.

The EPA:
“Chlorides can cause serious problems. They can be detrimental to animals and plants, and they are corrosive. Site conditions, particularly where roads are immediate adjacent to streams, must be evaluated carefully if chlorides are being considered for use.”

With Lake Superior so close, and myriad rivers and creeks flowing into it, the use of chlorides, while not forbidden, is likely not the most environmentally conscious thing to dump on city streets. At least, not in the amounts needed to rid the city of its ice encrusted streets.

There is, however, another solution.

The awesome cognitive, mechanical and visual spatial skills necessary to obtain a driver’s license ensures that everyone is capable of recognizing slippery conditions and can plan accordingly. This includes not following too closely. Leave a few more car lengths between your car and the one you are following. Go slower in icy conditions. Don’t wait for others to learn to drive better, be the change you want to see in the world.

A Custom Christmas on Duluth streets

Custom Cab must have gotten quite a charge out of delivering Thanksgiving dinners to families in need this year, because the folks over there are gearing up to do the same for the Christmas season.

Owners Joe Thopson and Dan O’Hearon are looking for families in the area who could use a nice holiday meal this year. The duo plans to deliver up to 100 ready-to-cook meals the week of Christmas.

To nominate a family, go to customcabcompanies.com and complete the entry form on the main page.

Christmas City of the North Parade, no parking

The Christmas City of the North Parade is coming Friday, and motorists in downtown Duluth should plan accordingly.

Parade participants will stage on Railroad Street in advance of the event, which is scheduled to begin at 6:20 p.m. They will travel east on Railroad Street to Lake Avenue, cross the freeway on Lake Avenue and then head west on Superior Street to Fifth Avenue West.

There will be no parking allowed along the parade route after 5 p.m. Traffic diversions around the staging area will begin at 2 p.m.

Exits to northbound and southbound Lake Avenue off Interstate 35 will be closed from 5:45-8:30 p.m.

Buses will use First Street.

In short, avoid the area with your car. If you can’t, be patient and “nicicle.”

Duluth street’s for dancin’

A street dance will impact traffic on Duluth’s First Street on Friday.

Spurs on First is holding a street dance from 8 p.m. to midnight. As a result, First Street will be closed to traffic from First Avenue West to Second Avenue West from 6:30 p.m. until midnight for setup and the dance, according to the Duluth Police Department. All westbound traffic on First Street will be diverted at First Avenue West. Drivers are urged to use caution when driving the area of the event.

Crosswalk alert

To raise awareness that youngsters will be crossing streets to get to the new Myers-Wilkins Elementary School in Duluth’s hillside next week, a group of crosswalk ambassadors will be out in force today and Thursday.

The ambassadors will be walking the crosswalks by the school on East Ninth Street at the Sixth Avenue East and Eight Avenue East intersections from 7-8 a.m. and 2-3 p.m. each day to coincide with the start and end of the upcoming school day.

The Share the Road events are being held one week before school starts next Monday. The Safe and Walkable Hillside Coalition teamed up with the Healthy Duluth Area Coalition to do it.

They are reminding us that both drivers and pedestrians are responsible for pedestrian safety at intersections. And they point out that every intersection is a crosswalk, whether it’s marked or unmarked with lines, stop signs or stop lights.

Mail to the moon

The moon is a long way to go to deliver a letter, but three Duluth postal carriers have done it twice.

Not literally, of course. (The moon doesn’t have a ZIP code, yet.) But Lee Henderson, John Anderson and Larry Rauvola each have driven about that distance — a million miles — during the course of their careers, the U.S. Postal Service tells us. And none of them has had even a single accident.

For that feat, the Duluth trio is among eight Minnesota postal carriers to receive the National Safety Council’s Million Mile Safe Driving Award.

“Reaching this pinnacle requires 30 years of service and a safe attitude,” the Postal Service’s news release says.

Henderson, Anderson and Rauvola are part of the world’s largest civilian fleet, the Postal Service says. Nearly 300,000 letter carriers and truck drivers in almost 214,000 vehicles drive more than 1.2 billion miles annually while delivering mail to 151.5 million addresses.

Free wheelin’ Labor Day weekend

On Labor Day weekend, Minnesota will host its first “Free Wheeling Weekend,” making it free to ride on state and grant-in-aid trails for two days, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials said.

On Saturday and Sunday, Minnesotans whose ATVs are registered only for private or agricultural use can enjoy riding the more than 3,400 miles of state and grant-in-aid trails without paying the additional registration fee to ride on public trails. Out-of-state riders can explore Minnesota trails, too, without the need for a nonresident trail pass.

Information on trail maps and where to ride is available.

Crane disruption nearly over

The massive crane that has obstructed traffic in the 100 block of West Superior Street this week should soon be done with its work.

Crews used the machine to lift equipment and supplies to the top of the US Bank Building, where they were used to replace the roof and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems and to update a sign. The work was expected to wrap up by today, said Dennis Lamkin, a vice president and senior property manager for the bank. He said the bank arranged for all the work to coincide so as to minimize the disruption.

“We’re trying to be good neighbors,” Lamkin said. “We apologize for the inconvenience it has caused, but unfortunately this is part of doing business in a downtown area when you have a tall building and you need to maintain it.”

Fair bus service

The Duluth Transit Authority and the city of Superior will provide special evening service between downtown Duluth, downtown Superior and the Head of the Lakes Fair from today through Saturday.

Look for “Fairgrounds” displayed on the bus’ front destination sign.

The evening runs to the fair will depart downtown Duluth hourly at the Holiday Center from 6:15-10:15 p.m., with service along Route 17 toward South Superior. Return trips from the fairgrounds will run hourly from 6:40 p.m. with the last return trip leaving the fairgrounds at 10:45 p.m.

Daytime bus service to the Head of the Lakes Fair is available on the DTA’s regular Route 17 weekday service. Sunday service is available to the fairgrounds on Route 17 from 10:15 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.