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Neighbors, April 14: "This is what a beloved community looks like and acts like!"

Copyright Ivy Vainio. Used with permission.

The Duluth Branch NAACP was going to spend an hour and a half last night, distributing free cloth face masks to anyone, but particularly to Black, Indigenous, and people of color in our community.

Minority populations across the country are disproportionately represented in both COVID-19 cases and deaths, partly due to less access to health care and partly to higher rates of hypertension, diabetes and respiratory diseases.

But half an hour later, all the masks were gone.

So the group is looking for volunteers to make more masks for the event this Thursday, and they're even wondering of they might have to make these opportunities a regular thing for a while.

Credit The Duluth Grill/Facebook

Tom Hanson, the owner of the Duluth Grill family of restaurants, used to joke to his wife that "If I fail, I can always get another job tomorrow."

And for Tom and his wife Jaima, who met when he was a bartender and she was a waitress, that was always the case - until now.

"Now I can't fail," says Hanson.  "There's nowhere to go!"

Last month as shutdowns and quarantines began, Hanson faced the prospect of laying off 200 employees, hoping to preserve "something they can come back to."

"We will be badly wounded from this," Hanson said in a text message. "But I will be that old guy shaking hands and smiling to my grave."

Lisa Johnson started her broadcast career anchoring the television news at her high school and spinning country music at KWWK/KOLM Radio in Rochester, Minnesota. She was a reporter and news anchor at KTHI in Fargo, ND (not to mention the host of a children's program called "Lisa's Lane") and a radio reporter and anchor in Moorhead, Bismarck, Wahpeton and Fergus Falls.Since 1991, she has hosted Northland Morning on KUMD. One of the best parts of her job includes "paying it forward" by mentoring upcoming journalists and broadcasters on the student news team that helps produce Northland Morning. She also loves introducing the different people she meets in her job to one another, helping to forge new "community connections" and partnerships.Lisa has amassed a book collection weighing over two tons, and she enjoys reading, photography, volunteering with Animal Allies Humane Society and fantasizing about farmland. She goes to bed at 8pm, long before her daughter, two cats, or three dogs.
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