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West End News: May 29

Grand Portage 1857 by Eastman Johnson
Grand Portage 1857 by Eastman Johnson

WEN_20140528.mp33.94 MB

Congratulations to the 2014 West End graduates from Cook County High School.  This year’s graduates are coincidentally all from Lutsen.  Anna Carmen, Charlie Lawler, Megan Lehto and Shannon O’Phelan are exemplary students, which is exactly what we expect of our West End scholars.  All four are attending good colleges and have strong ambition.  They are the latest example of why it is good to grow up in the West End.
The Schroeder Area Historical Society has a lot going on at this time of year.  On June 6th they will be having the Opening Day Party starting at 6:30 pm. The party is a casual social time with wine, hors d’oeuvre and a chance to get up to speed on what is happening in Schroeder this summer. Of course, the party is at the lovely Cross River Heritage Center in Schroeder.
The featured exhibit at the Heritage Center this year is from the St. Louis County Historical Society and is titled “Ojibwe Faces and Stories.”  The core of the exhibit are portraits and every day scenes painted by Eastman Johnson in the mid-1800s.  Johnson spent an entire summer in Grand Portage, so the exhibit has a strong local connection.
On June 14th, Grand Portage elder, Billy Blackwell, will be speaking at the Cross River Heritage Center as part of this year’s emphasis on the original North Shore people.  You can call Suzanne at 663-7706 for more details.  As always you can call WTIP for contact information.
Don’t forget about the upcoming fundraiser at the Clair Nelson Community Center in Finland.  Saturday, June 7th starting at 6:30, there will be great food, music and lots of fun neighborliness. I especially encourage Cook County people to support our Lake County friends and neighbors.  If you haven’t ever been to the Clair Nelson Center, you owe yourself a visit.  It’s a beautiful facility and the hub of life in the Finland area.
April Knight left the Sawbill Lake canoe landing on May 17th for a solo voyage to Hudson Bay.  Over the Memorial Day weekend, we received a brief text message from her, reporting that she was camped on Washington Island in Basswood Lake and that everything was going well.  Andy Keith, who completed the same trip in 1987 said that based on her progress, she should be in Voyageur’s National Park by now and into Canada by the end of the week.
My hat is off to the people who have taken their hats off and thrown them in the ring for the upcoming local elections.  It is a significant personal decision to stand for election and serving as an elected official is truly a public service.  It is popular now-a-days to be cynical about politicians, but the truth is, they have a tough job and perform a valuable service.  It’s a lot easier to be a critic on the sidelines than it is to take on the responsibility of guiding public policy with the goal of improving the community for all residents.  Balancing the competing interests, like many things in life, is harder than it looks.
The filing deadline for county commissioner closes on June 3rd.  As a person with some experience in the matter, I urge everyone who has an interest it get involved.  Being a candidate is fun and interesting, even if you don’t win. Our democratic process is the basis of civil society and a big part of making the West End a wonderful place to live.