For the last year, our Sawtooth Mountain and Grand Portage Clinics have been cooperating the Minnesota Department of Health on study of mercury exposure from eating fish in Cook County.
Several years ago, it came to light that newborn babies on the North Shore have a higher level of mercury in their blood than newborns in the rest of the Midwest. The current study is aimed at learning the fish eating habits of women in their childbearing years along the North Shore.
The study, which started last May, is attempting to interview and test the blood of 500 women, ages 16 to 50, before the end of June. Although this seems like an ambitious goal, they have already tested more than 450 women, so the goal of 500 is definitely within reach.
If you decide to participate, you just schedule a short visit at the clinic in Grand Marais or Grand Portage. You will be interviewed and a small amount of blood will be drawn. You will learn the level of mercury and fatty acid in your bloodstream. An important part of the study is learning the methods for eating fish in the healthiest way.
All information will be kept strictly confidential. You do not have to eat fish to participate. All participants who complete the study receive a $50 Visa card.
This is an important study that will lead to healthier lives for all of our children, so please help to reach the goal of 500 participants. I would, if I were eligible!
To schedule your appointment, call Sawtooth Mountain Clinic at 387-2330 or Grand Portage Clinic at 475-2235.
If you haven’t stopped in to the Birch Grove Community Center in Tofte recently, you owe it to yourself to pay a visit. The place has evolved into a vital gathering spot for the whole West End. The building and facilities look good and a wide variety of opportunities and programming for West Enders of all ages is offered. Wood fired pizza parties, community and senior lunches, fitness equipment, a lending library, farm fresh produce, pickle ball, community education classes and the list goes on and on.
If you have an idea for something you want to see at Birch Grove, talk to director Caroline Wood or one of the board members. This vital community resource belongs to all of us, from Silver Bay to Grand Marais and beyond, so stop by and take a look. I guarantee that you’ll find something to like.
According to a new report from the Minnesota think tank, Growth and Justice, income inequality in Minnesota is wide and growing. The percentage of all income going to the richest one percent is the highest that it’s been since the 1920s. Today the richest one percent of Americans own more than 40% of the nation’s wealth.
The brand new report, which you can see at growthandjustice.org, offers a look at Minnesota income inequality county by county.
For Cook County, it is the proverbial good news, bad news scenario.
The good news is that Cook County’s median income is right in the middle as compared to the statewide average. Although average may not sound that good, we are actually much better off, income-wise, than other small, rural Minnesota counties.
The bad news is that we are among the highest Minnesota counties in income disparity. This should be no surprise to anyone who understands the financial geography of Cook County.
In my opinion, the current level of income inequality is unnatural and unfair. It’s not the result of free market forces, but the outcome of more than 40 years of so called trickle down economic theory. It’s well past time to abandon that failed policy, get the big money out of politics and return to a system that fairly compensates people for their work.
I sense that most employers in Cook County would like to pay their employees better, but competition keeps them from doing it on their own. This is problem that needs to be solved at the national level. We all need to keep this in mind during the next election.
The Forest Service has been doing a lot of work in the wilderness now that weather has turned summer-like. On Wonder Lake, which was hit hard by the blow-down in ’99, they were concerned about some giant old white pines with dead tops. They were afraid that if the tops broke off, they could potentially land in a campsite. Normally, they would just cut down the hazardous trees. This time though, they brought in some firefighters who have been trained in the art of topping trees. They climbed the mighty pines and cut the tops off, leaving the magnificent tree for people and wildlife to enjoy.
My hat is off to people with the skill for that kind of work. You just never know what kind of unique people we have here in the West End.
For WTIP, this is Bill Hansen with the West End News.