West End News: October 24

Happy people:  details below
Happy people: details below

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The annual story telling dinner at Lutsen Resort, sponsored by the North Shore Commercial Fishing Museum, is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 22 at 6 p.m.  
 
The storytellers this year are Clint Maxwell, commercial fisherman from Beaver Bay, and author and historian Tim Cochrane from Grand Marais.
 
Clint is a life-long Lake Superior commercial fisherman and is known for his lively conversation style and great sense of humor.  He has many stories of his own and also knows a lot of the old stories.
 
Tim Cochrane is the superintendent of the Grand Portage National Monument, holds a Ph.D. in history and is the author of several books on local history.  Tim is also a terrific storyteller and possesses a wonderful dry sense of humor.
 
The storytelling event is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the fishing museum, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.  Reservations can be made by calling Lutsen Resort directly at 663-7212.  This is a very popular event, so reserve early.
 
Arrowhead Electric’s annual customer appreciation barbeque was held last week.  Interim manager Joe Buttweiler said that they usually have about 30 people at the event, but this year they had over 300 people, following the news that the new, fiber optic broadband Internet service was up and running at the Arrowhead headquarters.  Joe said they briefly ran out of food, ran out of parking and caused a minor traffic jam on Highway 61.
 
Interest is running very high in the broadband Internet service.  Joe said that home hookups in the West End should start this winter, probably after the holidays.  Like any other large construction project, it seems like it will never be done.  But, once it’s up and running, we’ll forget about all that and it will seem like we’ve always had it.
 
For now, you can stop by Arrowhead Electric in Lutsen to try out broadband on two desktop computers in their lobby, or connect your own device by wifi.
 
The 23rd annual Bluegrass Masters weekend is coming up at Lutsen Resort starting Friday, Nov. 1, and running through Sunday, Nov. 3. 
 
This amazing event seems to run under the radar of most local folks, but I highly recommend stopping by to check it out.  This year, Grammy-winning fiddler Jim Van Cleve and a few of his friends will be teaching workshops, jamming all weekend, and presenting a concert in the ballroom on Saturday night.  Van Cleve is one of America’s most respected fiddlers and has recorded with the likes of Johnny Cash, Vince Gill, Merle Haggard, Alison Krauss, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and the list goes on.
 
What the weekend is really about, though, is the gathering of amateur and professional bluegrass musicians from all around the midwestern U.S. and Canada.  From Friday through Sunday, at all hours of the day and night, Lutsen Resort is alive with music as musicians gather in the lobby, conference rooms and hallways in lively jam sessions.  If you stop by Lutsen Resort, you can wander from jam to jam enjoying an incredibly high level of musicianship.  Listening is always free and I guarantee that you’ll be surprised how these folks can improvise great music at the drop of a hat.
 
If you are a musician, you can sign up for one of the many formal workshops, or you can learn from all the music going on around you.  Even the famous performers join in the jamming and everyone is very friendly about sharing their knowledge. 
 
It’s amazing that this world-class musical event happens every year right under our noses and most West Enders have no idea.
 
My daughter, Clare Hansen, had an amazing coincidence this week.  Clare is in graduate school at the University of Montana in Missoula.  For some reason, she is going to be driving a university van soon, so she was required to take the official state of Montana three-hour defensive driving course.
 
She arrived at the class and picked up the instruction booklet from the table by the door.  The instructor began the class by asking the participants to think about the five people in their lives that they love the most and pretend that those five people are in the vehicle every time they drive.  He asked them to open their booklets and write down the names of their five loved ones. 
 
Clare flipped open the book and was astounded to see a picture of herself, her mom and four Sawbill crewmembers from the 2007 season.  Her first thought was that the instructor had somehow managed to personalize the booklet for each student.  At that moment, the instructor turned on his PowerPoint projector and there was the same picture – splashed across the screen at the front of the room.
 
At the first break, Clare approached the instructor and told him that the picture was of her, her mother and four very close friends.  He was surprised and a bit flustered.  He said that he had authored the booklet several years ago and had searched for “happy people” in Google images to find the picture, which came from the Sawbill website.
 
Several of the students, including Clare, are law students, so the fact that the picture is copyrighted came up pretty quickly.  The instructor immediately, and a little guiltily, asked for permission to use the picture.  Clare granted the permission because she knew it would make a good story and she’s glad that her image comes up when you Google “happy people” on the Internet.

{photo from Sawbill Canoe Outfitters, Inc. - Used by permission}

Happy people: (l-r) Pat Nash, Cindy Hansen, Lida Casper, Johnny Herman-Anderson, Clare Hansen, Pat Hughes.  
The picture was taken because each piggy back pair shares a birthday.


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