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The Long Way Home--City vs. North House

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I long ago gave up on FOX “News” and CNN, and by long ago I mean 20 years. I was much closer to some of the news back then and watching MSNBC left me less agitated than the other two cable networks. None of them were any good at presenting news. I eventually gave up on MSNBC as well. The problem with all of them is they fit a bit of news into their format. Since most of us aren’t “news junkies” they need to add theatrical “talk” shows to keep us tuned in. A cadre of guests spouting one gossipy political point of view or another is “zoomed in” on the checkerboard panels to bellow pronouncements that keep eyes on the advertisers' commercials. I gave up on the talk radio crowd long before the internet and podcasts were just a dream for shouting white guys, and they were almost all white guys. I decided that if I wanted to hear shrill screams I’d simply walk into the house without taking my boots off. Works every time. I apologize, clean up my mess, and get on with a happy wife, and h

The Long Way Home 7.22.22

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A member of my fan club who hasn’t paid her dues this month suggests I only write about the desserts my wife makes for me and stay away from serious topics. I hate to disappoint, but my column today is on a more serious topic. Wait for another time to read about Becky’s brownie brittle, Swedish Kringle, and Better-Than-Sex Cake. My mail ballot for the August 9th Partisan Primary election arrived and I’d like to explore it here. There are four parties to choose from. The two usual suspects are Republican and DFL, the so-called Major Parties. The other two, the Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party and Legal Marijuana Now Party seem to exist for one and the same purpose only and are irrelevant to my thoughts and most voters today. The major parties have paid staff, physical offices, and collect significant money during the year to fund election/campaigning operations. They each organize precinct caucuses in January to engage real people in the process of writing a platform and endorsing can

Ethnic Restaurant Fare at Grand Marais Marathon Store

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Sam’s Corner restaurant is now open (Fridays and Saturdays) inside the Marathon station/store in Grand Marais. Last Friday Sam introduced his Indian fare to local residents over the noon hour, serving up dozens of orders of Chicken Tikka Masala with Basmati rice, at no charge. “I kept it mildly spiced on Friday,” said Satinder Sarabjit Bains, known to all Marathon patrons as Sam. “On Saturday I made half the batch spicier and I found out that people liked it.” Of course, he’d been advised that there is such a thing as Minnesota spicy, which is pretty mild. Sam and his wife Sabby bought the Marathon location in January of this year from Craig and Lynn Schulte, the long-time owners of the business. “I looked at buying a number of gas stations around the midwest,” Sam said. None of the ones he looked at before the Grand Marais station were as well run as the Grand Marais location. “I was very impressed with the Schultes and what they built,” Sam said, having met them initially last Sept

The Long Way Home July 15 2022 A Simpler Time?

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Now that the dust of rage has settled, stirred by the mass shootings on the Fourth of July, I thought I’d reflect on a simpler time. Maybe give you something to smile about. It’s the 60s, and I’m a grade school student in a first-ring suburb of Minneapolis. We were taught to start and manage a “passbook savings account” at Richfield State Bank. One morning a week we marched a couple of blocks for some churching, during school time. And we had regular fire drills, parading single file out the nearest exit. A nice break from learning. Periodic civil defense drills found us lined up on the walls of the inside hallways, seated in neat rows on the floor with our knees raised and our heads bent between our legs. We weren’t afraid of active shooters of course, but the Russians who had the “Bomb” were an evident threat to our existence. Only later did we find out that if “The Bomb” struck our fair city our corridor pose would not have saved us, but it would have left our charred remains neatly

Roe v. Wade--A Complicated History

Northshore Journal July 15, 2022 Only a few issues rise to the level of controversy that abortion brings out. Civil rights, same-sex marriage, and access to birth control for married women have come close over the past 60 years, but they simmer in comparison to the boiling over of debate on abortion. On June 24 this year the United States Supreme Court, in a case titled Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overturned its Roe v. Wade decision of January 22, 1973, bumping legal abortion providers off the precarious perch they sat on for almost 50 years. Instead of relying on the Roe decision, they now contend with the various state laws that regulate the procedures. The recent decision will have far-reaching ramifications beyond abortion, but that shall be a topic for another time. The Dobbs case involved Jackson, the only abortion provider in the state of Mississippi suing Thomas E. Dobbs, a state health official, over a 2018 state law banning all abortions after the first 15 w

Fitting In With the Locals

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It is a real challenge moving into a new community, especially when you want nothing more than to “fit in.” But I can tell you from my own experience that you can fit in (in a way), but you’ll never be a local. In the last year I worked at the hardware store there were a noticeable number of customers telling us they had just moved into the county. Clearly, they hoped to “fit in” and become members of the community. I hope my story might help them. Toward the end of the last century, my family decided (well, we the parents decided) that we would make Cook County our permanent home. As early retirees, we could live wherever we chose, and our strong attraction to the North Shore, and Cook County especially, brought us here. We had no discernable roots in the county, so of course, we were not considered locals by the established community. I might have been kinda sad about that except we hadn’t been considered locals in Bloomington either. Early in the process of making the decision to mo

Border Giant Purchases Building in Grand Marais

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Border Giant, Inc. of Thunder Bay, ON, CA has purchased the property on the west side of Grand Marais that formerly housed Benny’s Collision Center. Border Giant had been renting space on the property for a year as it worked to establish its US presence. The company, which started in late 2017 in a literal garage, is licensed and bonded as a common carrier with Canadian and US authorities and as a Canadian Customs Broker. It originated to bring the cost and service benefit of technology to the logistics of e-commerce to small sellers and consumers in Canada. It is also registered as a Commercial Mail Receiving Agency with the United States Postal Service. US regulations required the firm to have a physical presence on this side of the border. “We had considerable difficulty finding commercial space for lease in Cook County for three years,” said Border GIant CEO James Foulds. It leased the Benny’s property in the Spring of last year. The history of e-commerce shows that when the behemo

Cook County EDA Publishes Housing Needs Analysis Report

The Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority has released a report it commissioned that is titled a Comprehensive Housing Needs Analysis for Cook County Minnesota. The 75-page report is dated May 2, 2022, and was prepared by a St. Paul-based consulting firm called LOCi Consulting. LOCi is managed by a man named Grant Martin who submitted this report. According to its website, LOCi does “market feasibility studies across the country for a wide variety of commercial real estate uses, including retail, office, residential, and mixed-use.” The report does not present much in the way of new information from what local folks might have heard in conversations at the post office, hardware store, or coffee shop in recent years. On the other hand, it is well researched and presented in a logical fashion. It provides an analysis of demographic and economic trends to estimate future demand for housing to assist government planners looking to address housing issues. Jason Hale, Execu