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West End News Dec.17, 2009

The Johnson family has a wonderful display of lights in the West End--just up the Cramer Road
The Johnson family has a wonderful display of lights in the West End--just up the Cramer Road

WestEnd_20091218.mp35.69 MB

There is momentum with the financial match that the Grand Marais State Bank has offered to the Birch Grove Foundation. A little more then half the amount going toward the match has been donated or pledged so far. The deadline is Dec. 31. With all of the holiday activities complicating life, time passes quickly, so the end of the month is not far off. Every dollar donated goes into the endowment fund. Income from the endowment fund will flow to the Birch Grove children and the greater community for all time.

Take the time to drive up the Cramer Road to see the magnificent display of holiday lights at Floyd Johnson's home. This display has been offered for several years. Each year it gets better than the last. Thanks to the Johnson family for providing this spectacle to the community.

Since I wrote my last column including an appeal to get the H1N1 immunization for those eligible at that time, eligibility has been extended to everyone who wishes to get the immunization, without exception, at no charge. The shots are available at the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic in Grand Marais from 9 to 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. each day.

We have become complacent about the potential danger of infectious disease. Years ago people died of diseases that are effectively prevented by immunization now. All eight of my great- grandparents died of infectious diseases at fairly young ages. Would you believe that 750,000 humans die each year of measles? Right now, this year. Here, in this country, good concerned parents debate the plusses and minuses of getting their children immunized. Deciding for or against immunization is of course a personal decision, but the possible consequences should be kept in mind.

I remember a science fiction story written by my army buddy Isaac Azimov, who became a famous science fiction writer. In the story, all infectious diseases had been eliminated from the earth for some time. This was a great thing, but- no one on earth had immunity from any infectious disease anymore. Interplanetary travel was possible at that time. So, the Earth people had to mount defenses against introduction of any infectious disease by beings from other planets. That would have wiped out the Earth's population.

We will never get to that point, but a serious consideration of H1N1 immunization now that it is available seems to make common sense.

I am sure that deadlines for writing and broadcasts will get out of kilter because of the holidays, so I take this opportunity to wish all of the good people of the West End a happy holiday season. The West End is good at holidays. Enjoy!