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West End News June 2

L-R: Tony Goldenstein, Lisa Shafer, Scott Gay, Christy Maxfield.
L-R: Tony Goldenstein, Lisa Shafer, Scott Gay, Christy Maxfield.

Finalcut_WEN_20110602.mp38.49 MB

Love was in the air in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness during the Memorial Day holiday weekend.  On Friday, I saw a young couple that became engaged while on a canoe trip out of Sawbill back in 2007.  When I jokingly asked them how their marriage was going so far, they cheerfully replied that it was good because they were still canoeing together.  On Monday, we had a group who had formerly been college classmates and now gather for a reunion camping trip each May.  They excitedly told us that one of the couples in their group had become engaged during this year’s trip.

We’ve seen quite a few engagements, and even a handful of marriages, in the wilderness over the years.  They are always lovely to hear about and we were pleased to hear about this year’s first engagement, but nothing prepared us for what happened next.

Lisa Shafer, from Minneapolis, has canoed out of Sawbill since she was a little girl.  Her group this year included her boyfriend and another couple who are her good friends.  They entered at Kawishiwi Lake and camped on Polly Lake for the weekend.  On Saturday, the two couples paddled up to Malberg Lake, where they found a nice open spot to stop for a picnic lunch.  After lunch, Lisa’s friends went for a walk down the shoreline.  When they were alone, Lisa’s boy friend, Tony Goldenstein, asked her to marry him.  She happily agreed and they excitedly waited for the other couple to return so they could share their news and get a picture.  Soon the other couple returned and when Lisa told them the news, they announced that they had just become engaged too.  Both men had planned to pop the question during the canoe trip, but had not shared their plans with each other.  By pure coincidence, they had proposed at nearly the same moment.

To add to the coincidence, Tony told me that he had secretly met with Lisa’s parents the week before, to share his plan and ask their permission.  He was surprised to learn that Lisa’s parents met each other for the very first time on Polly Lake, the very same lake where he and Lisa camped last weekend.  Needless to say, that part of the Boundary Waters will hold a special place in the hearts of Lisa’s family.

I encourage everyone to visit the Schroeder Historical Society’s current exhibit at the Cross River Heritage Center in Schroeder.  Titled, “Where Did You Go To School,” it explores the history of the public schools in the West End.  It is fun to see who went to school with whom and how it established the strong bonds between local families.  The busy Heritage Center is hosting an opening party on Friday, June 3rd, featuring author Dannielle Sosin.  Beryl Singleton Bissell will speak at the annual meeting on Sunday, June 12th at 2:00 P. M. And finally, mark you calendar for the always popular Lunde Home Tour scheduled for Saturday, July 16th.

The Minnesota Legislature’s failure to reach a budget agreement has set them up for a special session and the very real possibility of a shutdown of state government.  A shutdown would be deeply troubling for Cook County.  Our state parks and the state timber-lands are both important local economic drivers.  Additionally, state workers are already cutting back on their vacation plans due to the uncertainty of their situation.  I’m personally disappointed that the majority in the Minnesota House and Senate are delivering ultimatums, rather than seeking reasonable compromise that will keep Minnesota solvent and moving forward.  In my opinion, blind adherence to a “no new taxes” position is an extreme and unreasonable position that blindly ignores the nuance and complexity of state government.  After nearly ten years of this approach, we’ve seen the state’s K-12 funding drop to the bottom third of all states.  Higher education cuts have forced up tuition to be among the highest public for public colleges and universities.  Public nursing homes are in desperate financial condition, mental health services have been cut, and millions of federal matching dollars have been lost for badly needed infrastructure projects.  Some would argue that holding the line on taxes stimulates the economy.  It’s hard to accept that argument after the last three years of deep recession.

It’s time for the legislature to accept Governor Dayton’s offer to meet them half way and avoid a government shut down that will hit Cook County particularly hard.