The West Side Feels Like Home to Me

We all know housing can be an issue for young professionals, and if you’re like me, you’ve likely heard the stereotypes of the east and west sides shortly after moving to Duluth, and especially, if you grew-up here. They seem to be entrenched stereotypes that can keep many young first-time home buyers from looking at some very affordable, and not to mention, great outdoorsy and family-friendly options in neighborhoods that may not seem as “fashionable” when telling your friends about your new place. The history and stereotypes of a lot of these neighborhoods is simply that, history and stereotypes. 

Before Mayor Ness started his push to further improve and promote the West side, my husband and I had already discovered for ourselves what a hidden gem some of the West side neighborhoods are. Last summer, we made the move to Morgan Park, the historic US Steel company town that has seen its share of ups and downs with the company. We enjoy outdoor activities and a little more room to breathe. That’s the big reason we live in Duluth in the first place. 

While I’ve recently noticed more young people moving into the “Park”, I’m amazed that even more young people aren’t there. Crime statistics there are lower than many other popular neighborhoods, ancient city utilities have already been modernized, there’s more room and yard space between houses than in many downtown neighborhoods. There’s lots of green space and activities nearby, (Spirit Mountain, the St. Louis River and Clyde boat access). The Munger Trail is only a few blocks away that will eventually connect to the Cross City Trail and Lakewalk and the pothole laden Grand Avenue will be redone soon. Best yet, young professionals can get a lot more bang for their buck, many of which still may have lots of student loans to pay off. 

Many of these things can be applied to several neighborhoods along Grand Avenue including Fond Du Lac, Gary, Smithville and Riverside. I know great places where friends live in Denfeld, Spirit Valley, and Lincoln Park. In fact most of my young, professional friends have now moved to the West side as of the last two years.

I’m here to tell you to check out ALL of Duluth’s neighborhoods. There are great hidden pockets in EVERY neighborhood I’ve driven through when we were looking at homes. I have discovered a lot of places I never realized existed that I could see myself living at happily. Do your research and go there to check these places out. 

Jena Vogtman
Fuse Duluth Leadership Council
Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College



What Exactly IS Fuse Membership?

Since beginning my role as Director of Fuse this past February, I’ve been asked the recurring question:

Does Fuse Duluth have a formal membership? In short, the answer is no. Let me explain.

Historically speaking, Fuse Duluth did require a membership in years past.  Annual dues would allow members to attend any and all events without a payment transaction. It was discovered, however, that the young professionals did not prefer this method.  Fuse membership became confused with Chamber membership.  Dues were no longer being supported and participation plummeted.

Not long ago, the Fuse Duluth structure was revisited.  Annual membership dues are no longer applied.   In fact, we keep it simple.  Each event is charged individually, which allows you to pick and choose attending events that apply to your goals and your interests.  Plus, staying involved with Fuse has never been easier.  We encourage you to sign up for our emails to receive our event invitations and messages, and remain connected online through our social media networks and website.

We’ve discovered that as a simple, non-membership driven organization keeps Fuse open and welcoming to newcomers, events affordable for young professionals, and deters perceived exclusivity.

Moving forward as the Director of Fuse, my mission is to continue growing engagement and participation of both area young professionals and established professionals.  Without a formal membership, the Fuse Duluth world is your oyster – it is what you make of it.  Attend events.  Chat with us on social.  Mentor in College Connection.  Share articles with us.  Tell a friend about Fuse.  The more we stick together, the more we grow together.
 Grow. Connect. Fuse.

Martha Bremer
Director of Fuse Duluth
mbremer@duluthchamber.com  |  (218) 740-3754


Fuse Flash 4/23/14

Dear Fusers,

I was pleased to attend the 22nd Annual Joel Labovitz Entrepreneurial Success Award ceremony today in recognition of our many Chamber member nominees.  As a young professional myself, it is inspiring, encouraging and exciting to watch organizations - both young and... established - continue to thrive in our community.  Duluth truly is a great home for entrepreneurs.

Join me in congratulating these Chamber member winners:
Micro-Entrepreneur Award: Lake Superior Art Glass 
Entrepreneur Vision Award: Bent Paddle Brewing Co. 
Established Entrepreneur Award: Lake Superior Consulting LLC 
2014 Business Person of the Year Award: Mayor Don Ness

I am also thrilled to see many of those celebrated with a 2014 Labovitz Award nomination are young professionals who took the leap into entrepreneurial success.  See the full list of nominees here. As fellow Fusers and Duluthians, be proud of the undeniable talent [and entrepreneurial courage!] we boast in our community. I am.
Grow. Connect. Fuse.

Martha Bremer
Director of Fuse Duluth
mbremer@duluthchamber.com  |  (218) 740-3754


Green Your Routine

Hey Fusers!  Earth Day is a great time to evaluate your daily routine.  But remember, going green is not all about going big or going home.  You can take small, easy steps to make changes that really add up.  Last week at the FUSE Words from the Wise lunch panel we heard from Chelly Townsend of the DECC, Laura Mullen of Bent Paddle, and AJ Axtell of WLSSD about changes they’ve made at home and at work.  Chelly and Laura talked about using energy efficient lighting and other reduction efforts in beer making and event hosting that have resulted in fantastic cost savings.  AJ gave us the low down swapping out all the disposable junk that clutters up our lives for the sturdier, reusable options.  Quick fixes like toting your own coffee mug or water bottle and remembering those pesky reusable bags when you head to the store can save you green – both from the environment and from your wallet.
If you’re having trouble deciding where to start, you might want to get up close and personal with your trash bin.  Okay, not too close, but give it a once over.  Is it full of tin foil, plastic wrap, Styrofoam, disposable plates and cups, or food scraps?  Now’s a great time to try to eliminate these items from your arsenal.  Choose reusable containers whenever you can.  If none of your lids match the containers you have, donate or recycle your stash and start with a new batch that you can commit to using.  Food scraps weighing you down?  Set up a composter and start recycling those fruit and veggie scraps.  Don’t like digging in the dirt or don’t have any dirt to dig in?  WLSSD offers food waste drop sites for area residents.  Anything that is or was edible can be dropped off for WLSSD to compost for you!
If you’re already an avid recycler and composter, think about the next step.  Focus on buying local by purchasing a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share.  You can help support a local farmer and get weekly deliveries of fresh fruits and veggies!  Since you won’t be in the store as much, see if you can take it one step further and set a goal to buy everything local for a week or a month. It’s tricky, but it’s worth it!  And while you’re at it, try to avoid buying things with excessive packaging like molded Styrofoam and plastic.  You’ll be amazed at how much garbage you Don’t have on garbage day!

Good luck Fusers!  And remember, every day is Earth Day!

AJ Axtell, Fuse Leadership Council
Environmental Program Coordinator with the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District



Northland Job Fair Set for May 7

Job Seekers can connect with employers at the 5th Annual Northland Job Fair on Wednesday, May 7. The event is one of the largest in northern Minnesota. Job fair organizers expect about 1,000 attendees at the event. More than 80 employers from northern Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin will speak with job seekers about current and future job vacancies. 

The job fair offers job seekers the chance to link up with businesses that are seeking to hire workers for entry-level to professional jobs.  Job openings are in an array of fields including IT, engineering, hospitality, health care, finance, utilities, mining, government, transportation and manufacturing.  There will be several representatives from different building trades in attendance and Mesabi Range College is bringing welding and heavy equipment simulators!

Representatives from Lake Superior College and Duluth Business University will be available to talk with attendees about training and education options. In addition, job seekers can practice interviewing with employers and have career experts critique their resume in a resource area.

Stop by the MinnesotaWorks.net booth to tell us about your experience using our job bank.  

The job fair will be open exclusively to veterans, students and interns from 10 to 11 a.m. and to all job seekers from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

It will be held at the DECC Paulucci Hall, 350 Harbor Drive, Duluth. Parking is free, thanks to our Platinum Sponsor NORTHFORCE.

Here are our tips for gearing up for the job fair as listed on our complete Job Fair website http://mn.gov/deed/events/NJF14/index.jsp

·         Be ready to briefly tell employers the benefits of hiring you. You could even be interviewed on the spot.
·         Attend a workshop about making the most of the job fair. Go to  http://mn.gov/deed/events/NJF14/index.jsp  and select “Pre-Fair Workshops” to register for a workshop – schedule follows (all workshops are held at the Minnesota WorkForce Center – Duluth located at 402 West First Street and Free)
Wednesday, April 23rd at 9:00 - 10:30 a.m.
Thursday, May 1st at 9:00 - 10:30 am
Monday, May 5th (only for Veterans) at 9:00 - 10:30 a.m.
Tuesday, May 6th at 2:30 - 4:00 p.m.

·          Look at our list of employers attending. Plan to visit the booths of employers that you wish to work for.
·          Post your resume on MinnesotaWorks.net.
·          Check out our list of job fair prep recommendations at http://mn.gov/deed/events/NJF14/index.jsp
For more information, email Rhonda Rutford at rhonda.rutford@state.mn.us, business services specialist at the WorkForce Center in Duluth, or call 218-302-8406

DEED, a WorkForce Center partner, is organizing the event.



Five Tips for Young Professionals

For young professionals new to launching their career, emerging into the professional world at the very bottom can feel daunting. How do you continue to grow? Read this blog to find five tips for young professionals.


Grow. Connect. Fuse.


As the snow melts, Duluth’s Lakewalk season starts!

I know that us Fusers can speak for most when we say we are ready for summer. We have had one of the harshest winters that Duluth has seen. Some great weather is well deserved! Just in time for the puddles to start forming, we have a great event coming up on Thursday, April 17th. With the theme “Go Green to Save Green”, I think everybody could take something beneficial home with them from this anticipated Words from the Wise Luncheon

This time of the year is a great time to start thinking about how to be more environmentally friendly along with saving a couple bucks. It is also a great time of the year to ‘think out of the box’ as to how you are spending your time outside. It is always great to mix it up a little… maybe walk around your neighborhood and pick up garbage after the snowbanks start to melt, head up to the local Animal Shelter and play with the animals outside (they, too, are sick of being stuck inside!), or maybe it’s time to break the bike out of storage for the spring/summer and save money on gas and get some exercise.

Whatever you choose to do, get outside and enjoy the weather! Replenish your Vitamin D and explore all that Duluth has to offer during this favorite time of year. Take advantage of the miles of Lakewalk, hiking and biking trails and other countless outdoor activities that can be found in Duluth.

Alyssa Christiansen
Fuse Duluth Leadership Council
Holiday Inn & Suites