The Long Way Home -- Multiple Connections

In 1994 the actor Kevin Bacon spawned the notion of "six degrees of separation", a concept which posits that any two people on Earth are six or fewer acquaintance links apart. I’m kinda interested in people when I meet them, and often mention folks I know who might have some connection with them, usually geographic. So here’s a riff on some of those experiences. Before Kevin Bacon was in “Footloose” on the big screen, I was vacationing on a Florida beach with the Bohunk and our kids. A guy sat down in the chaise next to me while poolside and conversation ensued. As we divulged our residences, he told me he was from Boston, but had been to visit a childhood friend who had moved to Minneapolis . I mentioned that a good friend of mine (dyed in the wool Sox fan) was from Boston. Wouldn’t ya know? His friend was my friend. After moving back to Cook County in 2017 I was working for a hardware store in Lutsen. A customer wrote a check and I noticed his phone number had an Omaha, NE

Bluefin Bay Resort Brings Back an Old Show for Staff Appreciation

Supermarket Sweep was a television game show first aired in the 1960s. Contestants were followed by cameras as they ran through a supermarket grabbing items off the shelves to get the maximum dollar amount in the cart. The leadership team of Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts resurrected the concept as part of their staff recognition efforts this year. The five member team, led by General Manager James Taylor, were looking for ideas earlier this year to reward their valued employees while supporting local businesses. “We bought $50 gift cards from several businesses from Silver Bay to Grand Marais,” Taylor said. Each of their 105 employees received a card. Since they all reside anywhere from Silver Bay to Grand Marais, they let each person pick the business they’d like. The names of all 105 employees then went into a hat and the winner of the drawing, Evan Dunn, a restaurant manager at the resort, won a “Supermarket Sweep” at Buck’s Hardware in Grand Marais valued at $1,000. On Wednesday mo

Arrowhead Electric Members to vote on Bylaw Changes at Annual Meeting

The Arrowhead Electric Cooperative (AEC) will hold its Annual Meeting on Saturday, June 4, 2022 at 10:00 am. The order of business includes voting on a host of proposed amendments to its Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws, the documents containing the rules and regulations for how the Coop operates. The proposed changes will not be amended individually at this meeting, so members must vote to accept or reject the new Articles and bylaws as presented in their entirety. An analysis follows. Three to five years is a common rule of thumb for when associations or cooperatives should review and update Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation. The current AEC bylaws were last updated at its annual meeting in 2001. While most of the proposed changes involve updating language and recognizing the latest technology for communications, there are some changes that are fundamental. AEC has prepared and made available on its website a document that presents the changes along with lined out text of the

A Book for Newcomers to the North Shore

If last summer is a good indicator, more and more people will be moving to their little spot of heaven on the Scandinavian Riviera of Lake Superior. Beryl Singleton Bissell’s wonderful book of essays, “A View of the Lake,” is a must read for them, and for anyone looking to understand life on the North Shore. Bissell and her husband Bill moved to the shore line town of Schroeder, MN in August of 1998. She writes, “Bill and I were not like other couples who travel to the North Shore at every opportunity and who dream, year after year, of someday owning a home there.” In fact, their decision arose on impulse after Bissell completed two weeks of a writing retreat in Lutsen where Bill proposed marriage. Bissell writes, “I responded by saying I would marry him ONLY if we moved to the North Shore.” The essays she presents here are a true representation of all of the feelings newcomers have when they move to this vast and rural landscape that is inhospitable in the worst of times and glorious

Todd Ford Public Information Coordinator for Cook County + North Shore Health

Todd Ford Cook County government and North Shore Health are sharing Todd Ford. He serves as the new Public Information Coordinator for both organizations. He enters this new position after serving as Marketing Director for Grand Portage Lodge and Casino. Although the work of both organizations is quite different, Ford’s areas of influence are the same. A big issue for the county and the hospital is employee recruitment. He will work with Human Resource departments to effectively improve current, and develop new, recruiting programs. In the area of media and public relations, Ford will edit and distribute media releases and articles. He will arrange interviews for representatives of each organization and provide talking points that will keep a consistent and effective message. Ford received his Marketing Degree from Columbia College Chicago and he spent ten years in a leadership position with an advertising agency in Chicago. From there he was recruited to become the Creative Director a

The Best Years of Your Life on the Long Way Home

Somewhere in the not so distant past I heard a high school principal address his students with this. “Remember, these are the best years of your life.” I was dumbfounded (gobsmacked as my friend Adrian would say.) Then I remembered the wisdom of teenagers who know the bull excrement sessions they are forced to attend mean little to their present life, and less to their future. They would ignore this driveling swine. If any of us thought the rest of life after high school is all down hill, the despair would be overwhelming. My high school class had more than 1,000 students. I was a nerd. Nearsighted with astigmatism and my hair cut (not styled mind you) by former Sergeant Dad in the age of long haired, freaky people. He favored a more militaristic style. I simply wanted to endure my high school years, keep my head down, and stay hidden in the shadows as much as possible. There have been many best years of my life since then though. Getting married, and staying married, is the best. Hold

The Best Meetings are as Rare as Rocking Horse Poo

 No nice way to say this. I hate meetings. Thinking about what I could write for this fine Journal about goings on in Cook County, I spent some time on the county website. First, I was reviewing the blurb for each of the five commissioners to see who will have to decide about running for re-election this year. Turns out that due to redistricting, each of the seats will be on the ballot. We political hacks call that a gold mine for organizing and getting out the vote. Back to meetings.  Each of the blurbs list the various committees and other organizations, including those outside the county, each commissioner claims. I won’t say that none of them are valid, but depending on the commissioner, they list from 29 to 44 groups. I bet you thought the scheduled public meetings of the Board would be burden enough on the average person's schedule. Knowing that each of these involves at least one meeting a quarter, I got to stewing again about the uselessness of meetings. As a business perso

First HRA Exec Director in Cook County Jason Hale

Jason Hale has assumed the Executive Director position in the recently formed Cook County Housing and Redevelopment Authority. Most recently, Hale worked for almost seven years at the City of Duluth. He worked in business and economic development efforts, ending with the position of Senior Housing Developer, a newly created position that he held for three years. A native of Owatonna, MN, a small city in southern Minnesota that he says is a great place to grow up, Hale ended up completing his bachelor degree at the University of Minnesota Duluth and he has been in the Arrowhead for more than a decade. Hale received his Master Degree in Management and Change Leadership in 2016 from The College of St. Scholastica in Duluth. He has been a registered investment advisor and is a licensed Real Estate Broker and Appraiser. He worked for a year with the St. Louis County Assessor's Office as an appraiser in 2014. Hale was one of two finalists for the Cook County position and began his tenure