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To spur flood recovery, Duluth council eyes lower building permit costs

The Duluth City Council convened a special meeting to take up a measure that would lighten the financial burden on flood victims who need to make repairs to their homes and businesses.
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The Duluth City Council convened a special meeting to take up a measure that would lighten the financial burden on flood victims who need to make repairs to their homes and businesses.

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Duluth volunteers setting up flood recovery fund

While the state and federal bureaucracies slowly creep toward getting financial help to flood victims, a group of volunteers in the Duluth area is taking a do-it-yourself approach. Volunteers organizing a recovery fund for flood victims have raised $1 million. They say loan centers opening soon around the region will help residents who qualify get loans of up to $200,000.

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Gov. Mark Dayton has floated a proposal to spend a lot more state money than Republican lawmakers were expecting on recovery and rebuilding after devastating June flooding. A special legislative session to deal with flood relief issues is tentatively set for Aug. 24.

Officials: Flooding caused $20 million damage to Duluth parks

Duluth officials said Friday that about $20 million in damages to parks was caused by the flooding in northeastern Minnesota in June. Damage was caused to roughly two-thirds of the Duluth's 30 parks, and all 14 of the city's trails were damaged. Officials said while repair work is under way at each park, residents can continue to use them with caution.

Flood-ravaged Duluth neighborhood residents frustrated with codes, fees

More than a month after the flood, property owners are still mopping up the damage in Fond Du Lac, one of Duluth's hardest-hit neighborhoods. Now some residents are drowning in paperwork as they struggle to pay fees and meet city codes. The city, too, is scrambling to keep up with building permits.

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All those media images of ruined roads and flooded-out buildings are not good for tourism, a major industry in Duluth, business owners in the region say.

Klobuchar surveys Duluth flood damage, calls it 'massive'

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar toured flood-damaged areas of Duluth and other parts of northeastern Minnesota Friday, and after declaring the damage massive assured federal aid would be coming to the area. The federal government contributes more than 75 percent to uninsured public infrastructure when natural disasters cause more than $8 million damage.

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Gov. Mark Dayton will meet with Republican and Democratic leaders on Friday to negotiate an agreement on flood relief, the Associated Press reports. Dayton says he won't call the special session until leaders agree to a limited one-day agenda. A legislative panel on disaster relief held a Capitol hearing Thursday, according to the AP. Republican Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem and GOP Rep. Mary Liz Holberg say a special session is on track for Aug. 24.

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The animal-rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says the Lake Superior Zoo in Duluth was negligent in allowing 13 or 14 animals to die during the flood Wednesday. PETA called on Duluth City Attorney Gunnar Johnson to bring cruelty charges against the zoo.