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West End News - February 22

West End News 2/22/18

The recent winter storm has breathed some life into the mid-winter in the West End. If you haven’t been on the slopes at Lutsen Mountains in a while, now is the time to go! Lutsen got hit with about 13 inches of snow in the last storm and they know how to make the best of it. The snowmobile trails are also in excellent shape. The Lutsen Trailbreakers Snowmobile Club is hosting its third annual vintage snowmobile ride at Cascade Lodge on Saturday, February 24. Registration starts at 10 am and the ride begins at 12. It’s $10 per sled for the 20 mile trail ride with prizes for best-of-show and both the winner and loser of the fun run.

The cross-country ski trails are also in prime condition. On Saturday, March Third the Sugarbush Trail Association is hosting the Sugar Tour. From 10 am to 2 pm at the Oberg Mountain Trailhead in Tofte, there will be fun non-competitive ski routes set up with activities and personal challenges. Adults and children can choose a loop of 5, 8 or 18K. There will, of course, be treats and hot chocolate waiting for you back at the trailhead.

With March peaking over our shoulders, it’s time to start gearing up for the annual St Urho’s Day bash in Finland. Featuring a parade, music, and general merriment, St. Urho’s is a great excuse to go explore our neighbors to the west. The Clair Nelson community center has put out a call for vendors for the Urho’s day craft fair. It will be held on March 17th from 8 am to 3 pm and vendors can rent an 8foot display space for $20. If you’re interested in selling, call them at 218-353-0300 to reserve your spot.

There is also a Clair Nelson vocational scholarship available for anyone about to start a 2-year vocational program. The deadline to apply is March 1st so you still have a few days if you’re heading to vocational school and could use some extra help, check out friends of finland dot org to apply.

 Coming up on March 8th Bill Blackwell, Jr. will be leading a Social Justice Conference in Grand Marais. This talk is aimed at preparing parents and the community to continue the conversation around race, identity, and culture. The talk is free and begins at 6:30 at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts. I know, personally, that it is difficult to motivate yourself out the door and all the way into town on a Thursday evening. If you have kids in the school system here or have an interest in how our community handles these conversations, then you should make the effort to be there.

Bill Blackwell Jr is a member of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, the executive director of the American Indian Resource Center at Bemidji State University and a graduate of Cook County High School. Recently, he has been the recipient of the Distinguished Diversity Leadership Award from the Minnesota state colleges and university’s academic and student affairs division and the Martin Luther King Commitment to Service Award.

Conversations surrounding race, identity and culture are important to have across our county. I hope to see many of us come together for this important step in moving that conversation forward.
 For WTIP, I’m Clare Shirley, with the West End News.