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West End News: March 20

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The National Football League, yes, the National Football League, is supporting Birch Grove Community School in Tofte.  The NFL recently donated a picture board to the school, which is a group of photos and autographs of the following NFL stars: Dan Marino, Steve Young, Kenny Stabler, Brett Favre, Johnny Unitas, Carl Mauck, Joe Montana, Roger Staubach, John Elway, Mark Schlereth, Payton Manning, Tom Brady, Jim Kelly, Terry Bradshaw, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and Carl Ferrill.
Even if you don’t follow professional football, you will probably recognize most of these names as the mega-stars of the game.  The one name that may not be a household name is Carl Ferrill, but he is the key to how this valuable collectable item came to Birch Grove. 
As the saying goes, “Here is the rest of the story.”
Birch Grove contracts with the Central Minnesota Educational Research and Development Council to provide some financial services, as is required by the regulations governing charter schools in Minnesota.  Over the years, Birch Grove Principal Diane
Blanchette has become a personal friend with some of the people who work at the council.  One of them, Sue Anderson, is a good friend of Carl Ferrill, who is a college-level coach with strong ties to the NFL.
Carl is involved with an NFL program that donates these valuable autographed picture boards to schools that need to raise money.  Sue suggested to him that Birch Grove was deserving, and the rest history.
Diane hasn’t decided exactly what to do with the donation yet, but needless to say, she is investigating how to maximize the benefit to Birch Grove, probably through an online auction for collectors.  Hopefully, it will be on the wall at Birch Grove for a while so the community can enjoy it first.
Here is a cool thing if you have the time.  The Lake Superior Binational Forum is offering a full-day program called “Mysteries of Lake Superior, from Top to Bottom,” Friday, March 28 in Superior, Wisc.  The seminar will include presentations from scientists, adventurers, business owners, Native Americans, and other who know of some mysterious or unknown aspects of the Big Lake and its surroundings.
For instance, robots are now visiting some of Superior’s most remote depths, and those surfers you see at Stony Point aren’t completely insane.  25 different sessions will be offered concurrently, so you can go where your interest leads you.  The day will be capped by a reception beginning at 5:30 p.m. featuring musical and visual artists who are inspired by the world’s biggest freshwater sea.
The event will be held at the Barkers Island Inn on the waterfront in Superior and is free and open, with no advance registration required.  It should be fascinating.
Regular listeners know that I am a big fan of Cook County Higher Education, the “little college that could” on the North Shore.  Anyone can get higher education through Higher Ed, which brings a world of opportunity to Cook County. 
What many people don’t know is that Higher Ed has access to three significant scholarship programs, so you shouldn’t be discouraged from pursuing your dreams because of cost.
The Wes Hedstrom Scholarship honors the longtime community leader who was instrumental in founding Cook County Higher Education.  This scholarship is open to any Cook County resident who want to pursue a degree program through distance learning.  Awards are up to $300 and the deadline for application is April 15.
The Michel Beaupre Scholarship honors another longtime county resident and respected electrician, Michel Beaupre.  It is available to anyone who is working toward a certificate or degree in a skilled trade.  Awards are up to $300 and the deadline is April 15.
The Lloyd K. Johnson Scholarship is a new program that can be used for partial or full tuition assistance by county residents who are enrolled in an accredited distance certificate, diploma or degree program.  Awards are up to $2,000 and the deadline for application is again on April 15.
The good people at Cook County Higher Education will not only help you apply for these scholarships, but they will also do whatever it takes to help you plan and complete your education.  It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been out of school, or what your experience was in the past; they will see you through to your goal. Look up Cook County Higher Education on the web, or call 387-3411 for more information.
Lutsen Mountains announced this week that they are extending the downhill skiing season by a week, which puts their closing day on April 20, Easter Sunday. To acknowledge the important holiday, they have scheduled a “Sunrise Easter Service at Lutsen Mountains.”  The Right Reverend Mike Larson, who is not actually a minister, but a popular lay preacher, coach, financial advisor, marriage counselor, and fashion guru to the Lutsen community, will be officiating.
The service will be held at the Moose Mountain chalet at 8 a.m.  The gondola will start running at 7 a.m., as it is the only way up to the chalet.  It should provide an inspiring view of the forest and lake to get you in the mood for the service. There will be music and, with Mike presiding, plenty of laughs and fun.  Be there, or be square.