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Duluth council recognizes police chief

DULUTH — Police Chief Randy Belcher was honored during Monday’s Duluth City Council meeting for his 30 years of service as the city’s police chief.

Mayor Nancy Harris told attendees of how there were only two police officers in the city when she was growing up, but that Belcher has helped the city get recognition on state and national levels.

“Chief Belcher has brought our tiny ‘Mayberry’ department up to a state and nationally-recognized precinct,” she said. “Our crime rate is low and it’s thanks to a lot of the work he has done.”

Belcher, who has been with the department for 37 years, said the reason he has been on the job for so long is because of the people surrounding him.

“I couldn’t have done it without the help from the city council and my fellow officers,” he said. “One man doesn’t do it alone.”

The mayor and council also voted by a 3-2 margin to approve a $3,000 Barefoot in the Park scholarship grant to go toward students in the city of Duluth. The scholarship helps promote strong cultural development in the community and provides financial support for arts education and program development for both the fine and performing arts.

The city council also recognized Mason Elementary counselor Robin Zorn for being named the national counselor of the year by the American School Counselor Association for 2014. Zorn was selected among five finalists after meeting criteria that included school counseling innovations, effective school counseling programs, leadership and advocacy skills and contributions to student advancement.

“My head is still spinning after winning this award,” Zorn said. “It’s such a tremendous honor. I’m trying to always think of new and exciting ways to help our students.”

Agenda items approved include:

• The appointment of council member Kelly Kelkenberg as mayor pro tempore for 2014.

• The setting of mileage reimbursements to 56 cents for business trips and 23.5 cents for medical or moving purposes.

• Approval for a bid not to exceed $16,288 for work on the artwork for the roundabout on West Lawrenceville Street and McClure Bridge Road. Due to the size and weight of the artwork, it was determined the soil was not suitable and needed to be excavated and filled with graded aggregate base.