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West End News April 22

Snow in August?
Snow in August?

Finalcut_WestEnd_20100423.mp34.85 MB

In the last column I mentioned that someone had said that August was the only month in which it had not snowed in Cook County. I expressed grave doubt that this could be correct. Eleanor Waha, the senior weather observer in years of service in the county, confirmed my opinion. There has been snow in August, lots of it on occasion.

The red flag fire danger has me spooked. Any evidence of careless behavior that might lead to a fire causes increased heart rate. So far all of the warnings that I have heard or read have failed to mention what to my mind is one of the greatest hazards, namely cigarette butts thrown from vehicle windows. This was reinforced when the pile of snow melted along the curb in front of our house. There are dozens of butts on the grass.

I fumed about folks who did not use their ashtrays in their vehicles. Then I realized that our car does not have either an ashtray or a cigarette lighter, but it does have four cup holders. So, if your vehicle does not have an ashtray, put an empty tin can in a cup holder. Please do not throw butts out of the window. Right now I would say that would be criminal behavior.

There are folks who make a lot of noise about doing very little; and than there are folks who do a lot with no noise at all. A good example of the latter is the induction of Jim Hall, of Lutsen, into the National Resource Conservation Hall of Fame. Jim was chosen for this honor because of his commitment to the development of the Laurentian Resource Conservation and Development Council in Duluth.

It is wonderful that Jim's many years of dedication and leadership to this very significant effort have been recognized. Folks like Jim are hard to find.

We had a fascinating e-mail from Art Wright. Art and Helen have many connections to the West End and its vicinity. Art was the engineer who had major responsibility for the design and installation of the telephone systems at the taconite plant and the town of Silver Bay when they were constructed.

Art was a scoutmaster and a youth leader. He brought many scouts and church youth into the BWCAW on canoe trips for a lot of years. His scouts, under the direction of Earl Hansen, the Forest Service ranger at Tofte at the time, built a rustic dam at the upstream end of Baker Lake. This made access to Peterson Lake much easier. This was more than 50 years ago and the dam is still there.

Art and Helen are charter members of the Commercial Fishing Museum at Tofte. At an annual meeting of the museum some years ago Art announced that the sum of their ages exceeded 180. Helen will be 100 on the 18th of May, and Art is not far behind. I am sure that Art is eager to announce that their ages now total more than 200 when that happens.

Art has an even earlier connection to the county. His mother taught at the Maple Hill School in 1904-1905. This was before Art came along. When he was around 12 to 14 years old he spent the summer at Maple Hill. Art learned to swim in the Hedstrom Mill pond, a dammed-up section of the Devil Track River. He was a friend of the entire Hedstrom family, and still stays in touch with Herb Hedstrom.

Another friend of the West End has left us with the passing of Tina Ingram. Tina was another of the one-of-a-kind folks. She never saw a plot of ground that did not need flowers planted. Every organization that she joined enjoyed her enthusiasm and leadership. As she made her way through the community and through life she made a multitude of friends. Tina successfully completed projects that would be daunting for most people. It is impossible to do anything but smile when we remember Tina.

Our heartfelt sympathy to Don and the rest of the family.

We renewed our friendship with Alan Ingram at the service for Tina. Alan was a summer employee for the Forest Service the summer after he graduated from Cook County High, and the next summer as well. He was the employee who took care of the campgrounds for the Tofte district, which included the Sawbill campground, so we got to know him well.

Alan went on to a degree in social work, and then a law degree as well. He has been the CEO of a non-profit for 32 years. It is very hard to know that Alan's tour with the Forest Service was about 40 years ago. Amazing.

As usual the Birch Grove Foundation is zipping along. Due to a new state law prohibiting overlapping boards of directors, two of the foundation board members who also are on the Birch Grove school board left the foundation board. So step forward folks. Two new board members will be welcomed. It could be you. If there ever is a worthy cause the Birch Grove Foundation is it. Jessa at 663 7977 has all the details.