Thursday, November 19

Pet hotel opens in Duluth to much excitement from the pet community

After months of anxious anticipation, area pets were finally able to walk through the doors of Duluth's new pet hotel. The Pet Hotel Duluth staged its grand opening last week and welcomed its first 50 guests.

Initial reactions were uniformly positive. Riley, a yellow lab from Piedmont, showed his delight upon seeing his 450 square foot suite by staring blankly into middle space and then sniffing the carpet. The suite features a king bed, a jacuzzi, a television that shows continuous footage of a squirrel running around in the woods, and an automatically self-refilling crystal bowl of Perrier.

Shadow, a cat from East Duluth, was awed from the moment she walked into the lobby. No doubt it was the elegant chandeliers and Edwardian decor that caused an impressed Shadow to lazily stretch her legs before attempting to eat one of the imported potted plants.

Pet Hotel Duluth rates range from $190 to $875 per night, and the next four months are already completely booked. Owners who check their pets in say that the price is more than worth paying just to see the happiness on their pets' faces as they wander aimlessly around unfamiliar rooms. The looks on Riley and Shadow's faces certainly attest to this, in that they cannot be conclusively determined not to be indicative of joy and appreciation.

Wednesday, November 11

Swine Flu Fears Extend to Duluth

As the global threat of the H1N1 virus increases, the city of Duluth is also feeling its effects. Duluth area hospitals and clinics have been scrambling to get flu vaccines ready for those most in need. However, some of the most unlikely and hardest hit by the spread of the disease have been Duluth-area businesses.

Nick Swanson, an evening manager the West Duluth McDonald's, has seen quite a decrease in customers over the last few months. "People have been more afraid to come out in public, especially to a fast food restaurant," Swanson said. "The biggest loss we're facing now is slumping sales from our McRib sandwich."

The McRib, according to Swanson, is a "delicious, grilled pork sandwich, dripping with barbecue sauce, covered with onions and pickles on a hoagie-style bun." The return of the McRib, which is often a huge sale boost for local McDonalds locations, has been marred by fears of the swine flu virus.

"Normally, I love the McRib," stated local area truck-driver Tim Patulak. "It's so juicy and flavorful, I just can't get enough of them. Usually, I'll order a second, because they usually have a deal where you can add on a second McRib to your McRib Extra Value Meal for only $1. But now, what with that swine-flu, ain't no way I'm going anywhere near any bacon or ham or even sausage patties."

Swanson hopes that once the media frenzy surrounding the swine-flu dies down, business will pick up again. "Sales have been lacking quite a bit lately. Hopefully people will come to their senses and realize you CANNOT get H1N1 from eating a McRib sandwich. Even if H1N1 was transmitted through eating pigs, the McRib has such an insignificant amount of pork in it that getting the disease would prove utterly impossible."

Swanson fears business may become as bad as it was in the early 90's during the first Mad Cow outbreak when, "everyone stopped eating the McLean Burger."